Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • The Dance of Relationship

    The Dance of Relationship

    My last post, "Don't Tell Me To Relax!" drew quite a few email responses--readers grateful for the reminder to center and extend ki (energy) in more intentional ways. The line I quoted from E. E. Cummings--i am through you so I--reinforces the central theme of the post--who we are in any given moment creates that moment and has a huge influence on those around us.

    I'm currently reading, The Elephant in the Room: How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and Organizations, by Diana McLain Smith. The premise of the book is that the quality of your relationships ultimately determines the quality of your life. More than technical skill, our ability to understand how we "dance" with each other in the complex world of relationship is at the epicenter of social and business success. 

  • Don't Tell Me To Relax!

    Don't Tell Me To Relax!


    “i am through you so I”— E. E. Cummings


    As Sue Shellenbarger wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article,

    It’s a paradoxical fact: When someone is getting stressed out, one of the least effective (and perhaps most annoying) things to say is “Relax.”


    Have you ever done it? How did it turn out?

    I teach workshops and coach individuals on the art of centering: how to return to calm composure under pressure; how to hold a difficult conversation without stressing out, remain flexible with life's myriad attacks, and remove the hot buttons that hold us hostage in conflict situations.

    I was promoted to third-degree black belt in Aikido this month! Which should mean I'm pretty good at staying relaxed in most situations, right? Well, there's a cute Aikido quip that goes like this:

    What did the 10th-degree black belt say to the 9th-degree black belt?
    Relax!

    That's right--it never ends. And, it isn't the best way to encourage someone else to calm down....

  • Being Present Prepared Us for Goodbye

    Being Present Prepared Us for Goodbye

    Leaving Kids at College
    by Tracie Shroyer

    It’s one of those moments you wait for as a parent: you hold your breath and wonder how you’ll respond, hoping you won’t embarrass yourself or, worse, that you won't embarass your kid who is trying so hard to be brave and cool and grown up at the same time.

  • More Blessed, Less Stressed: My Four Agreements

    More Blessed, Less Stressed: My Four Agreements

    Recently I found myself offering words of encouragement to my nephew and his bride in advance of their upcoming wedding. What interested me was that the words were very similar to suggestions I'd made to a client upon the completion of some work together.

    I had to stop and think about that.

    Was I really saying the same thing in these very different settings?

    I was.

    And when I looked more deeply, I saw how the suggestions suited both circumstances. My intent was to offer support in both cases, and the applications are limitless. Like Don Miguel Ruiz' Four Agreements, they are guides to peace and quality of life--medicine for our volatile and stress-inducing world.

  • Memorable TED Talks and Corporate Empathy

    Memorable TED Talks and Corporate Empathy

    Two recent Wall Street Journal stories caught my attention because they support critical leadership competencies I teach in many of my workshops. Even though the topics may seem quite different from each other--how to give a memorable TED Talk and how to become a more empathetic boss--you'll notice some commonalities, such as empathy, authenticity and practice...

  • Mindfulness and Ki Moments

    Mindfulness and Ki Moments

    My 90-year-old mother is a positive force in my life. She lives independently, walks up to a mile most days, just passed her driver’s exam again this year, and is one of those people who makes you feel better just being in her presence.

    She took a fall in her kitchen recently and hit the ground pretty hard. Luckily nothing was broken, but her body, her confidence and her spirit of independence were badly bruised. 

    Much of my writing is about life’s ki (key) moments—moments of mindfulness in which you are fully aware of your life energy and your ability to influence your environment. Ki moments hold challenge and opportunity. How you handle them is what makes life interesting and powerful. This experience with my mom and her temporary loss of independence gave me a new perspective on life's ki moments...

  • Freedoms We Take For Granted

    Freedoms We Take For Granted

    Every fourth of July week, I try to remember some of the freedoms I overlook in my day-to-day existence in this amazing country. I first started writing about them in a post a few years ago, called Inner Freedom, and I included them in my CD of songs and stories, Simple Gifts: Making the Most of LIfe's Ki Moments.

    I hope they give you pause, and that you take that pause to reflect on this Ki Moment.

  • Would it Help?

    Would it Help?

    James Donovan:  Aren't you worried?
    Rudolf Abel:  Would that help?

    At least three times during the movie Bridge of Spies, Tom Hanks asks Mark Rylance... 

    "Aren't you worried? You don't seem to be concerned."

    In this movie based on real-life events, Tom Hanks plays the American lawyer James B. Donovan who represented Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (played by Mark Rylance) during the U-2 spy-swap incident in the 1960's.

    There are several scenes in the movie where the potential dire consequences of his actions are laid out for Rylance. Each time, Rylance seems to merely accept what he's told with little change of facial expression or demeanor. He doesn't get angry, depressed, or reactive in any way. Tom Hanks can't make him out and keeps asking "Aren't you concerned/worried/anxious?" 

    Each time, Rylance makes the same reply...

    "Would it help?" 

    He seems honestly curious. If being anxious or manifesting concern would improve the situation in any way, he's prepared to try it. His presence of mind and connection to deeply held values (in the movie, at least) is beautiful to behold--Mark Rylance won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his portrayal.

    Rylance's reply reminded me of a family crisis a few years ago...

  • Single Most Important Thing To Manage Stress

    Single Most Important Thing To Manage Stress


    "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."
    --William James, American psychologist


    A good friend sent me a great YouTube link recently -- a visual lecture titled: The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do To Manage Stress, by Dr. Mike Evans.

    Any guesses as to what the single most important thing might be?

  • Your Rival is An Asset: Engage Your "Enemy" and Win

    Your Rival is An Asset: Engage Your

    In a recent family conversation about how to support my mother after a fall in her kitchen, my sisters and brother and I had different ideas about how best to help her. We ended up putting five possible options on the table, options generated by our conversations with each other and with her caregivers.

    The eventual solution, which turned out to be the perfect one for her (and us), was a combination of three of the five options we looked at. I was fascinated with how the process unfolded.

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