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Author of Conversations with God. Conversations with God, book 1. Conversations with God, book 2. Conversations with God, book 3. Conversations with God, book 1 Guidebook. Meditations from Conversations with God, book I. Meditations from Conversations with God, book 2: The Little Soul and the Sun. Questions and Answers on Conversations with God.
Neale Donald Walsch on Relationships. Neale Donald Walsch on Holistic Living. I want to again acknowledge, first and foremost, my best friend, God. Nancy is an astonishing person. She radiates, from the heart of her being, a quiet wisdom, endless patience, deep compassion, and the purest love I have ever known.
In a world of sometimes darkness, she is a bringer of the Light. I am indebted to all the wonderful people who have impacted. Oh, what a priceless gift to have such teachers who show the way! Among them, I am so grateful to Rita Curtis, for demonstrating stunningly that personal power does not subtract from femininity one bit but adds to it. Bob Friedman, for showing me that integrity exists, indeed.
Bill Griswold and Dan Higgs, for modeling what life-long friendship was meant to be. Anne Heche, for modeling absolute authenticity, and how not to give it up for anything. Jerry Jampolsky and Diane Cirincione, for showing me that when humans are willing to love, there is no limit to what can be compassionately created—and gently overlooked. Scott McGuire, for demonstrating stunningly that sensitivity does not subtract from masculinity one bit but adds to it.
Marianne Williamson, for demonstrating that spiritual and temporal leadership are not mutually exclusive. These teachers, and many more, have I had, and from them have I learned. We are here to do that for each other, of course. Are we not truly blessed? I can tell you what happens. Your whole life changes. I kept a written record of what was said and sent it to a publisher. Things have been very interesting ever since. The second surprise was that people actually bought the book, and even recommended it to their friends.
The third surprise is that their friends recommended it to their friends, and even made it into a bestseller. The fourth surprise is that it is now sold in twenty-seven countries. The fifth surprise is that any of this was surprising, given who the co-author was.
God always gets Her way. Not just with me, but with the whole human race. If we would just listen The book that was published was called, unoriginally enough, Conversations with God. It simply makes it easier, if you choose to do so, to dismiss out of hand what I was told in that conversation—which some people have done. On the other hand, there have been many people who have not only agreed that such a conversation is possible, but have also made communicating with God a regular part of their own lives.
Those people have learned to be careful about who is told of this, however. I think this was the idea all along. And I think the book you are now reading has found its way into your hands to once again cause you to wonder, to explore, and to search for your own truth—but this time on an even larger topic: Is it possible to have more than a conversation with God?
Is it possible that you can have an actual friendship with God? This book says yes, and it tells you how. For in this book, happily, our dialogue continues, taking us to new places, and powerfully reiterating some of what has been told to me earlier. I am learning that this is how my conversations with God proceed. They are circular, reviewing what has already been given, then dazzlingly spiraling into new territory.
That is the process here. It is not without design. All of us have a friendship with God, whether we know it or not. Nor did I know where that friendship could take me. That is the great surprise here; that is the wonder. Not so much that we can and do have a friendship with God, but what that friendship was designed to bring us— and where it can take us.
We are on a journey here. I was not remembering. Now that I am, I no longer fear God, and that has changed my life. On these pages and in my life I still ask plenty of questions. But now I also provide answers. I am now speaking with God, not merely to God. I am walking alongside God, not simply following God. It is my deepest wish that your life will be changed in the same way as mine; that you, too, with the help and guidance of this book, will develop a very real friendship with God, and that as a result, you also will speak your word and live your life with a new authority.
It is my hope that you will no longer be a seeker, but a bringer, of the Light. For what you bring is what you will find. God, it seems, is not looking for followers so much as leaders.
We can follow God, or we can lead others to God. The first course will change us, the second course will change the world. I remember exactly when I decided I should be afraid of God. It was when He said that my mother was going to hell. People came to the house all the time to see what sort of divinations my mother could extract from an ordinary deck of playing cards.
She was good at it, they said, and word of her abilities quietly spread. I remember that my aunt was not very happy with the scene that she encountered, when, knocking once, she came bursting in through the back screen door. She made an awkward introduction of her lady friend and gathered up the cards quickly, stuffing them into her apron pocket.
Nothing was said about it in that moment, but later my aunt came to say good-bye in the backyard, where I had gone to play. God is going to punish her. I was scared to death that my mom had angered God so badly. How could God, who is supposed to be the most benevolent creator in the universe, want to punish my mother, who was the most benevolent creature in my life, with everlasting damnation?
This, my six-year-old mind begged to know. I remember being told in second-grade Catechism that unless a baby was baptized, it would not go to heaven.
Our nun must have come from the Old School. Limbo, Sister explained, was where God sent babies and other people who, through no fault of their own, died without being baptized into the one true faith. This is the God I grew up with. If you thought I was frightened by the limbo thing, wait until you hear about the End of the World thing.
Somewhere in the early fifties I heard the story of the children of Fatima. This is a village in central Portugal, north of Lisbon, where the Blessed Virgin was said to have appeared on repeated occasions to a young girl and her two cousins. The Blessed Virgin gave the children a Letter to the World, which was to be hand delivered to the Pope. He, in turn, was to open it and read its contents, but then reseat the letter, revealing its message to the public years later, if necessary.
It would be the end of the world, and there would be moaning and gnashing of teeth and unbelievable torment. God, we were told in catechism, was angry enough to inflict the punishment right then and there, but was having mercy on us and giving us this one last chance, because of the intercession of the Holy Mother.
The story of Our Lady of Fatima filled my heart with terror. I ran home to ask my mother if it was true. Mom said that if the priests and nuns were telling us this, it must be so. Nervous and anxious, the kids in our class pelted Sister with questions about what we could do. Go to confession once a week.
Now flay me down to sleep,. I pray the Lord my soul to keep./p>
Yet information regarding physical appearance is usually unavailable in on-line settings. On-line communicators, therefore, are generally assumed to lack many of the things emphasized in traditional discussions of relationship development: However, a more optimistic assessment of the potential for personal relationships emerges when we re-examine the assumptions about on-line communication. If Walther's , information-processing perspective is correct, for instance, people in on-line settings may simply take longer to reduce their uncertainty about one another.
The lack of proximity and of visual information might be overcome by arranging meetings or by exchanging photographs either electronically or by mail.
Information about membership in social groups can be exchanged easily. Thus, many supposed limitations of CMC may be overdrawn. More important, however, is the question of whether these conditions are really necessary for the development of relationships.
The emphasis placed on factors like physical appearance or proximity may reflect less of a theoretic necessity than a consequence of the fact that most theories of relational development predate the current explosion in computer-mediated communication technology.
In social penetration theory, for example, the driving force behind relational development is the forecast of a positive reward: Other exchange-based theories make similar assumptions about what drives development e. None of these theories requires physical proximity and frequent interaction as necessary conditions for relational development. These conditions may be helpful, but they are not necessary to arrive at predictions of how rewarding future interactions might be, how one might feel about another person, or how one might be treated by that person.
Whereas studies of face-to-face relationships emphasize the reward and information value of physical appearance and physical attractiveness e. Information about physical appearance may serve as a reward or promote inferences about other qualities, but it is not the only source of rewards or of the information used to make inferences. Visions of relationships lost may, therefore, not acknowledge either the capabilities of on-line communication or the necessary conditions in theories of relationship development.
In short, both popular and scholarly accounts present sharply contrasting, often dramatized, views of the possibilities for on-line relationships.
What is missing is a systematic research effort to map the prevalence of personal relationships in on-line settings, the basic demographics of relational participants, the levels of development achieved in on-line relationships, and their links to off-line or real-life settings.
Our first task was to determine just how common personal relationships were in on-line settings. To do this, as well as to address our other research questions, Internet newsgroups and their contributors were selected through a two-stage sampling procedure. Surveys were then sent to prospective participants by direct E-mail. Responses were received from of the Respondents ranged in age from 15 to 57 years. The typical respondent was 32 years old, more likely to be male than female, and more likely to be single than married.
Respondents had typically been involved with newsgroups for approximately two years and contributed to an average of five groups on a monthly basis. Our primary finding was that personal relationships were common. When we asked if our respondents had formed any new acquaintances, friendships, or other personal relationships as a result of participating in newsgroups, nearly two thirds Further, the likelihood of developing a personal relationship did not differ across the newsgroup hierarchies or groupings we examined.
That is, personal relationships seemed equally likely to develop in all sectors we examined. They were not restricted to just a few types of newsgroups. The fact that personal relationships developed for so many of our respondents and across so many different types of newsgroups suggests that criticisms of on-line interaction as being impersonal and hostile are overdrawn. These findings lend more credence to images of relationships liberated than to images of relationships lost.
These findings obviously raise questions about the types of relationships that our respondents were forming. Additional analyses revealed that opposite-sex relationships Only a few 7. Relationships ranged in duration from less than a month to six years, but most relationships Participants communicated regularly with their on-line partners. Nearly a third Some people may be more likely than others to develop personal relationships on line.
Although stereotypes of lonely, perhaps dysfunctional people being attracted to cyberspace abound in the popular press, the fact is that we lack even the most basic information about the participants in on-line relationships. We compared people who did and did not have an on-line personal relationship in terms of their demographic characteristics and patterns of Internet involvement.
Women were significantly more likely than men to have formed a personal relationship on line. Additional research will be needed to distinguish potential explanations for this difference.
It may stem from motivational factors. It may simply be that a greater proportion of women are looking for friends. There may be gender differences in the willingness to label an on-line relationship as such.
Or, women may simply be more sought after in a medium where more users are male. Age did not appear to be related to the likelihood of developing a personal relationship on line, nor did marital status. Married, never married, and divorced respondents were equally likely to have personal relationships that started in newsgroups. The best predictors of whether an individual had developed a personal relationship were the duration and frequency of their participation in newsgroups.
The two groups did not differ, however, in terms of the number of newsgroups they read. Nor did the two groups differ significantly in terms of either the length of time they had been reading newsgroups in general or the length of time they had been posting to newsgroups in general. Significant differences, however, did emerge when we examined the duration of participation in the particular newsgroup we sampled. The overall frequency of participation in newsgroups also distinguished people who had developed on-line personal relationships from those who had not.
Although much more extensive research is necessary, it may be that developing personal relationships on line is more a function of simple experience than it is of demographic or personality factors. As people get used to and involved with their favorite newsgroups over time, they appear to start developing personal relationships with one another.
Interpersonal relationships of all types are usually conceptualized as developing from the impersonal to the personal along a series of relatively specific dimensions: Respondents who reported having an on-line personal relationship rated its level of development by responding to items designed to measure each of these dimensions.
Reliability estimates, as well as item statistics and wording, can be found in Table 1. Because there was no comparison sample against which to evaluate levels of development, we used the theoretic midpoint of each scale as a reference point. Although admittedly arbitrary, this procedure allowed us to determine if the majority of responses fell below the midpoint, thus indicating a comparatively low level of development, or above it, thus indicating a comparatively high level of development.
Results for each of the seven relational dimensions are presented in Table 1 , followed by a summary. R indicates that the score was reversed. All figures are based on a scale of , where higher values indicate higher levels of agreement. Means represent reversed scores where appropriate. In its most general sense, a relationship develops as its participants come to depend on each other more deeply and in more complex ways Kelley, ; Kelley et al.
The personal relationships observed in this sample varied widely in terms of their reported levels of interdependence. The seven items making up the interdependence scale yielded totals that were normally distributed and whose overall mean of Thus, moderate levels of interdependence typified the sample as a whole. The variety of topics, activities, and communication channels increases.
People reveal more important, risky, and personal information. Our respondents generally reported moderate to high levels of breadth and depth in their on-line personal relationships. The observed mean on the breadth scale was The depth dimension of relational development was assessed using items designed to measure intimacy and self-disclosure. Totals for the items assessing depth produced a mean of Almost two thirds Development is also characterized by communicative code change.
The participants evolve specialized ways of communicating, such as personal idioms, that allow them to express themselves in more efficient ways and that reinforce their relational identity e. We measured this dimension with a six-item scale whose observed mean was The observed mean of our five-item commitment scale was Just under half of the subjects In on-line relationships, network convergence would imply not only that participants were introduced to one another's on-line contacts, but also to people in their real-life social networks.
The seven items used to measure this dimension yielded a mean of These results indicate that network convergence was not extensive in most of the personal relationships we examined. Inspection of the individual scale items revealed that relational partners believed that there was considerably more convergence among their on-line contacts than between their on-line contacts and their contacts outside of the Internet see Table 1.
If the relationships-lost view were correct, we should have found very few relationships that scored highly on these seven dimensions.
In fact we found many. Depending on the particular dimension, half or more of the relationships registered above the midpoint of the measurement scale. Relationships that began in Internet newsgroups often broadened to include interaction in other channels or settings. Although nearly all respondents used direct E-mail About a third had used the telephone The average number of channels used was 2. These findings imply that relationships that begin on line rarely stay there. Although this expansion in the number of contexts where interaction occurs is typical of the relational development process in general Parks, in press , it is particularly noteworthy in on-line relationships.
For one thing, it represents a way in which relational partners can overcome the limitations of computer-mediated channels. Vocal and visual information are added as participants move into other channels. In addition the broadening of communication indicates that people may not draw such a clear line between their on-line and off-line activities. The growth of computer-mediated communication poses new challenges for our understanding of social relationships both in cyberspace and in general.
Our goal in this study has been to provide an empirical reference point for evaluating conflicting visions of social life in cyberspace by exploring the prevalence and development of personal relationships in one large on-line environment, Usenet newsgroups on the Internet. To that end, we have conducted what appears to be the first systematic survey of on-line personal relationships in a random sample of newsgroup participants.
Our primary finding was that personal relationships were common in this environment. Personal relationships were not limited to any one type of newsgroup, but were spread rather evenly across a variety of newsgroups and Usenet hierarchies. Contrary to the relationships-lost perspective, we found that personal relationships are commonplace and evolve naturally as a function of time and experience in the on-line environment of newsgroups.
Newsgroups, of course, are not the only on-line venues. A more definitive picture will be gained by extending our observations to other CMC settings e. The fact that personal relationships in on-line settings are so commonplace poses challenges and opportunities for contemporary approaches to interpersonal communication and relationship development.
Like Lea and Spears , we believe that existing theories have largely ignored settings that do not involve frequent face-to-face interaction. Our results clearly indicate that high levels of relational development are occurring on line. How participants manage uncertainty, forecast rewards and costs, and obtain rewards is less clear in on-line settings. Because these factors represent central explanatory forces in theories of relationship development, further research is necessary to understand how they function in on-line settings.
Future research should also focus on the development of on-line relationships in special populations. The fact that a large proportion of users actually develop personal relationships suggests new opportunities for those who are isolated or disabled in ways that restrict or stigmatize them in face-to-face interaction e.
The results of this study also have implications for previous approaches to computer-mediated communication. Personal relationships were found far more often and at a far higher level of development in this study than can be accounted for by the reduced-cues perspective.
The finding that those who posted more often and who had been posting for a longer time were more likely to have developed a personal relationship on line is consistent with Walther's social information-processing perspective. However, the additional finding that nearly two thirds of those whose personal relationsh ips began on line chose to use additional communication channels challenges the belief that participants are denied vocal and visual information.
Indeed, no current theory of CMC seems to account for this expansion in channel use. Even within the Internet itself, the information available to relational participants continues to expand as more people use the World Wide Web to exchange pictures, sound, and video.
But Me3 is taking a unique approach, which is also designed to combat the inevitable slide into dating app territory that many social apps eventually undergo. It works by matching you with people of the same gender in groups of three, called Tribes. Well, as Ilson told us, "Two is a date. Three is a party.
Your profile is private you fill it in by answering a series of game-like questions , and you're matched into tribes using an algorithm that relies on more than factors that encompass things like personality, lifestyle, and beliefs. You can leave a tribe at any time for any reason, and for now you can basically join as many as you'd like.
Over time, the algorithm will use machine learning to optimize itself into making better and better matches. The app is free, and available for iOS and Android. Solving the age-old problem of loneliness is a big ask from any app, but at the very least Me3 can give you the option of saying "table for three" instead of "table for one" — or worse, another night alone on the couch with takeout. We're using cookies to improve your experience.
In some cases, participants in on-line groups have organized social events so that achieved in on-line relationships, and their links to off-line or real-life settings. Our primary finding was that personal relationships were common. .. and about 30% had what might legitimately be considered a highly. While I actually have a lot of attractive friends, the reality is that most profile put in the bare minimum effort to make the user look legitimate. Those who have friends frequently go through life unaware that others do not, Creating a social system that shoehorns people into relationships or friendships they know how to go about finding it, disabled by depression's tidal pull toward seclusion. .. And for some, quite legitimately, nothing might.