The Owl's Perch
For the last several years, I’ve shared a daily intention/affirmation with an accountability partner as a way to be more mindful each day as part of an annual intention/goal setting process. I love this time of year for this very reason! Then today, I read this provocative quote: “Do not imagine that the good you intend will balance the evil you perform” (attributed to the stand up comedian, Norm MacDonald). Read More >
Many holidays are often accompanied by increased depression caused by loneliness, feeling left out or disconnected from loved ones. For years, I’ve known a deep sense of happiness during the holidays, especially as I watched my kid’s wonder at the lights, the celebrations and the giving of gifts. Well, this year, unexpectedly, I was hit with a sharp case of the blues when an invitation to a dear friend’s holiday party didn’t arrive in my mailbox.
Memories of great times with these friends in past years kept flooding my thought – and that’s where I got stuck. This is a common problem that shows up frequently in conflicts. Participants get stuck in their story and can’t move out of it until someone shows them great compassion and walks through it with them and they find a way to be gentle with themselves. Gratefully, I’ve experienced both: a partner who shared heaps of compassion with me and nudged me not to be so hard on myself, while also objectively encouraging a new way of thinking about it.
With such kindness, I realized what was happening. By simply paying attention to what is going on in this moment, even if it is grief or pain, I get un-triggered. Saying, “How fascinating that I’m grieving over this situation” brings me into the present, which is really the only place there is happiness… even if I was very happy the last time I went to the party. It doesn’t make the emotion go away, it just gives it the voice it desires. My disappointment got named and acknowledged, compassionately validated and then I had a choice whether to stay there or move on.
This year, I’m choosing to move on and get a wider glimpse of what I see as the true spirit of the holiday – a present sense of innate goodness arising. As families and friends gather in the next weeks, how will you stay present and notice all that you’re feeling? How about giving yourself the mindful gift of a well placed, “How fascinating?” Read More >
Sitting down into my coveted aisle seat after a very full week, I looked forward to the 4 1/2 hour flight to the West coast to catch up on my reading, relaxing and resting... until a family of 7 descended into the seats behind and next to me. As my seat back began to rumble back and forth, my heart sank. One of the kids had special needs and talked very loudly just as the grandfather in front of him launched into his political views to everyone who glanced his way. The dad chose the corner seat and quickly plugged in his earphones. Ugh... so much for MY sense or peace! Read More >
Recently, I was co-leading the final workshop of a six-month project for the managing board of a local company. The curriculum had taken weeks of hard work to refine and the result was a brilliant design. During a break, the CEO quietly talked with us about where we were headed for the afternoon. We all looked at each other and knew what we needed to do... we had to toss our script and dance in the moment with where the team really needed to go. Read More >
It sounds great not to have an agenda, especially a hidden one, when in conversation with others, right? Recently, I recalled the coach training I received from the Coaches Training Institute many years ago about holding a "Big A" and a "Little a" agenda for our clients and wondered how it factored into the way I converse with others, especially in sticky situations. Read More >
Ever notice how awkward it is for some people to receive a compliment, either because it’s given somewhat backhandedly or because it feels like they are being singled out? I felt the same way until several years ago when two events took place in close proximity to each other. Read More >
In the midst of a difficult conversation or conflict, and even sometimes when I’m simply pressed for time, I often make a snap decision that is often a result of some latent fear. Were I more conscious of that fear, I’d likely be less reactive and may even make a different decision, but that’s seldom the case. Read More >
Someone once told me that the best way not to get into big ruts was not to get into small ones. I took this to heart when, for nearly two decades, I walked from the train station to my office 8 blocks away, using a different route every day. It was fun and challenging to find new alleys, watch stores come and go, walk through different office buildings and try dodging the raindrops by seeing how many underground routes I could find. The commute never got old and I always got to work happy having mastered the challenge. Read More >