Mary Oliver wrote a beautiful poem entitled, The Summer Day, which ends with this provocative question: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Those words haunted and taunted me deeply today as I every breath I took reminded me of this day 24 years ago. Read More >
The Owl's Perch
“The Leadership Circle” developed an assessment tool I use in my leadership development work that has helped guide thousands of leaders to a more effective style of leadership. The tool probes deeply how people act as leaders, and also uniquely surfaces why we do what we do. The why results are called our “Reactive” tendencies and fall into three categories: Complying, Protecting and Controlling. Read More >
On Easter Sunday this year I decided to do something completely different. Having taught Sunday School for many years, I was pretty familiar with the biblical story both of Jesus' resurrection and Passover. Read More >
Being raised in a home where unconditional love was taught and modeled (along with the humanness of not always doing it very well) I was exposed to a sense of wholeness from an early age. I was assured that my inner self wasn’t broken or in need of anything in order to be complete. There is profound beauty and abundance in this way of looking at life that gave me a leg up as I competed in sports and later went into business for myself. I learned not to measure my events or days just by the winnings or losses – my self-worth wasn’t at stake. Read More >
Is it possible to stand up for yourself at the same time you forgive yourself? Some days this seems like an impossible task for me – the two behaviors often collide in the back of my mind as polar opposites. But I am compelled to find out how they must work together for progress and letting go of conflicts.
I’m finding that it takes equal parts of courage of compassion to look at my behavior objectively. Then, with a humble heart I can begin to own what is appropriate to own and forgive myself for my mistakes. For example, many years ago I had a falling out with my business partner and it took years to see what I could own in the downward spiral of our relationship because I felt so justified in my actions. It wasn’t until I was able to courageously take off the backpack of self-justification and own 100% of what I contributed – not 100% of the problem but 100% of my portion of it. Gratefully, years later this resulted in a reconciliation. Read More >
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 >