Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • November 21, 2017

    Thankful: A Ki Moment at Portsmouth Harbor

    Thankful: A Ki Moment at Portsmouth Harbor

    My early morning walk takes me by the waterfront in Portsmouth, NH, where I live. I see the sun rising over the fast-flowing Piscataqua River and the fishing boats moored nearby. I feel the cool autumn breeze and hear the seagulls calling to each other.

    I have my headphones on, listening to an audiobook. It's a good story, and the audio takes me away from where I am in time and space. I lose my sense of place, and pretty soon I no longer see the harbor, feel the breeze, or hear the gulls.

    But.... this particular morning the sunrise over the harbor pushes its way into my consciousness: Stop! Take those headphones off! Look, listen, feel. Be. Be present to the awesomeness of this moment.

    And I had to take the headphones off. It was an exciting chapter, too!

    I watched myself make the decision to stop, take them off and look around...

  • November 7, 2017

    Get Out the Highlighter, by Carrol Suzuki

    Get Out the Highlighter, by Carrol Suzuki

    I always look forward to hearing from Carrol Suzuki. Carrol is principal of Suzuki & Associates - The Business of Listening - and a premier listening coach, serving business leaders across North America.

    As Carrol says:

    Listening is an endangered skill in today's quick-bytes, hurry-up world. Although listening is one of the most neglected business skills, it's possibly the most vital. 

    Her newsletters offer brief golden nuggets on critical listening skills, like her current post on acknowledgement, or as Carrol puts it: highlighting, underlining, and amplifying the speaker's words so that they know you heard them. 

    I share her most recent newsletter in this issue of Ki Moments. Enjoy!

  • October 24, 2017

    Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion

    Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion

    You have more power than you think.
    When you change, everything changes.

    Recently I gave a 30-minute presentation on Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion for Creative Mornings Portsmouth. It helps to add a little creativity and compassion to conflict, don't you agree?

    I get inspired by what I teach -- how to use the energy of conflict instead of fighting it. How to work with your opponents and turn them into partners for problem solving. How to think a little differently....

  • October 10, 2017

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    I open my eyes. Morning.

    Quiet time. Meditation.

    I  relish this moment. Yes, there is much to do. The difficult conversation ahead. The pile of work sitting on my desk and on my mind. The emails to return. The seminar to design. Do I have time?

    Yes. I will make time. I will sit quietly and do nothing. Nothing except to notice the breath coming in and going out of my body. The thoughts, the physical awareness, the birds chirping outside my window. All coming and going, like the breath.

    Wendy Palmer, a teacher of aikido and leadership presence categorizes the many ways to practice centering into three areas: committed practice, ritual practice, and spontaneous practice.

  • September 26, 2017

    The Language of Centering

    The Language of Centering

    The driver cut me off without warning. We almost collided. My pulse accelerated, my adrenaline pumped, my anger went from 0 to 60 in less than a second.

    I breathe in, exhale, and choose to center. At first I'm only about 20 percent centered. I keep breathing. 30%. I think: what rational explanation would allow for that driver to do what he did? 40%. More breathing. 50%. Smile to myself--everything’s okay. No damage done. 75%. It’s over, without me doing anything I’ll regret later. Life is good. 100%.

    The language and practice of centering is one in which some people are fairly fluent. Yet even those who understand the concept are often unsure exactly how to get there on purpose.

  • September 12, 2017

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment


    I'm writing a new book about how to manage and resolve employee confict. One of the key ingredients in working with conflict and possibly the most underutilized communication skill is acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is the secret to turning difficult conversations around.

    Because it demonstrates a willingness and ability to reflect back a view or thought process that is different and possibly in opposition to your own, acknowledgment makes a powerful statement. It says, “I heard you, I’m trying to understand, and this is the meaning I’m making out of what I heard.” It shows respect and a disposition toward resolution....

  • August 28, 2017

    Centered in Center Field

    Centered in Center Field


    When Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the pioneer of positive psychology, writes about the "flow" state, he describes it as a quality of being, with certain traits:

    • Challenges are higher than average.
    • Skills are higher than average.
    • You're doing what you really like to do and are completely involved.
    • You have clarity; you know what needs to be done and how well you're doing.
    • A feeling of serenity; going beyond the bounds of the ego.
    • Timelessness; totally focused on the present; time disappears.

    This pretty much describes how it was on July 31, New Hampshire Day at Fenway Park, when I was invited to sing the National Anthem at a Boston Red Sox game. I was honored to be in this position. And I knew it was going to be a test of sorts and an opportunity to practice what I teach....

  • August 15, 2017

    Time Management is Self Management

    Time Management is Self Management


    When I think about time management I smile. Time is what it is. What we manage is ourselves. Time management is self-management, energy management. If I only have so much energy, where do I focus it? So this is really a conversation about Purpose.

    In Aikido, we have a free-style sparring practice called "randori," in which the student stands alone on the practice mat and as many as five opponents attack simultaneously. The term literally means "chaos taking." The workplace—and life—can feel like this. Which task, event, or relationship do I take on first? How do I manage the chaos?

    The first secret of randori is to handle one adversary at a time....

  • August 1, 2017

    Giving Advice: Help or Hindrance?

    Giving Advice: Help or Hindrance?


    I received an email recently from a gentleman asking for my help, saying he wanted to be less judgmental and more sensitive to friends and family. He explained that he was in a close, loving relationship, and that his lack of awareness sometimes creates stress.

    In a recent conversation, for example, his partner pointed out that when he gives her advice and uses the word "you," she tends to become defensive. He says he wants to help his partner solve problems, and he thinks of his suggestions as brainstorming, even though she hasn't necessarily asked for advice. 

    In my reply email, I thought hard about non-judgment, advice, and the willingness to change. I hope these tips make your day a little easier, too....

    I thanked him for his inquiry and emailed back a few thoughts. I appreciate his quest for knowledge, and he clearly has a dedicated partner on his side--someone who cares enough to advocate for what she needs. With his growing awareness and her willingness to offer feedback on how his genuinely positive intention is affecting her in not so positive ways, they'll learn a lot from each other.

  • July 18, 2017

    Practice Deep Breathing

    Practice Deep Breathing


    I saw an article recently titled "Rise Above Your Awful Commute" about how to stay calm in the midst of traffic jams, rapid transit delays, commuter rail breakdowns and other similar challenges of getting where you want to go on time. The article encouraged strategies to be productive, lower tension in crowded places, and calm yourself during the commute as well as ways to shake off the effects once you arrive at your destination, such as:

    • Download and listen to calming music, audio or e-book.
    • Take a walk around the block before going to your desk.
    • Think about an inspiring person, story, or value you hold.
    • Spend a few minutes in a setting with natural light, vegetation or similar calming attributes.

    What stuck with me most: practice deep breathing...

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