Imagine a HUGE, life-size, chunk of an interesting stone. By life-size, I mean the HUGE chunk is large enough to encapsulate your physical size. The stone needs only to be of interest to you. The chunk of stone is AS beautiful as it is NOT beautiful. The beauty is not necessarily the attraction, rather the attraction is the inner sense of the something more. The felt sense. The value of the stone is in the power and possibility that resonates with you. Only you. 

The valuable chunk of stone represents you. You are the noticer of the stone, and the noticer of the intrigue. You are the noticer of the radiant power felt when admiring and observing the stone. You notice the essence of the something more. You notice a sense of inspiration not only by observing the stone as is, but also inspired by a sense of what can be – possibility. 

You are the everything and the nothing. 

I think this is called dualism.

Since you are the noticer, you are the sculptor. To use a more familiar metaphor, you are the hands in the clay…and the clay.

My attempt at creating a visual metaphor to begin this blog is to affirm value and worth definitively before examining problematic behaviors. One is sourced with value and worth, yet sometimes, unintentionally, one’s hands in the clay, or chipping at the stone, can lead to limiting results that keep one stuck or spinning in a familiar pattern.

Groundhog day.


Let’s go.

In a school setting, one behavior strategy I learned is called Competing Pathways. As best as I understand it, the formula is based on narrowing down a problematic behavior and interpreting its function by analyzing frequency, intensity, time (duration). Oddly, I learned this same formula when in undergraduate school to become a physical education teacher. To improve health/fitness outcomes was to change one element: how often, how hard, how long. 

The curiosity to examine the behavior was to result in a data-driven decision about the function of the behavior. A data driven decision is not personal. A data-driven decision is information, not ammunition. OPB (other-people’s-behavior) can be deeply personal. 


I learned from the multiple (at least three) professional development trainings I attended in a somewhat desperate effort to wrap my brain around what a Functional Behavior Analysis was, or better yet: to grasp some level of conceptual understanding of how to improve behavior outcomes in students; I learned what are considered to be the basic functions of problematic behavior – avoid/escape, peer/adult attention, obtain tangible/intangible, or an autonomic/sensory response. 

To sum up the Competing Pathways formula: a maladaptive behavior exists in a particular setting. The same behavior may be perfectly adaptive in a different setting. An event, circumstance, situation, or sensory experience (loud noise, bright light, tone of voice, texture of food, etc), is the stimulus (ie. trigger). This is called the antecedent to behavior. It is what is observed to happen right before the behavior. The antecedent tees up the behavior.

And then what happens?

Relief? A sense of power and/or control? Satisfaction? Acceptance? Validation? Freedom?

The and then what is reinforcing the behavior. 

The Competing Pathways is to recognize the maladaptive pattern and to replace the problematic behavior with an adaptive/non-problematic behavior to achieve the same outcome: a sense of relief, a sense of power and control, a sense of satisfaction, a sense of acceptance, a sense of validation, a sense of freedom, etc.

Nuggets to chew on folks. 

OPB can be highly personal.

Disrupting behavior patterns that contribute to more of the same defeating outcome of which you are the common denominator, can lend itself a greater contribution to the shared humanity. 

When we see in ourselves that which is vulnerable, that which can improve, that which is not satisfying and is contributing to lagging outcomes in day – we can connect to the other in a way that is not personal. 

Like you, I too, know what it is like to feel stuck or spinning in a limiting pattern of undesirable results. 

This month is function. November is replacement. December is plan.

An openness to chip away at the ever-present beauty within.
Like you, I too, feel good in the essence of the something more.