Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

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  • Coaching Corner: 4 Centering Practices to Increase Confidence and Focus

    Coaching Corner: 4 Centering Practices to Increase Confidence and Focus

    How do you practice centering?

    It's been a while since I've written about specific ways to get centered and to incorporate the practice of centering into your daily life, and it's best to start with the basics, like breathing in and out consciously. One of my personal favorite reminders to center is to notice when I'm holding my breath--it happens more often than you'd guess--and to open my throat and let the breath come in.

    We're usually not breathing when we’re upset or in conflict, but sometimes we stop for no real reason--opening a car door, for example, or sitting at your computer. You could be doing it now. Are you breathing? Just try to notice more often. It's a simple and powerful practice.

  • Conflict as a Gift

    Conflict as a Gift

    A key belief and teaching in conflict resolution is that conflict can be useful--an opportunity to learn, grow and see something the conflict is trying to show us.

    Why then do we run from conflict or turn it into life- and relationship-threatening wars? Why do we behave as if conflict is the opposite of a gift--a terrible, negative thing? Some reasons are fear, poor role models, and lack of skill, to name a few...

  • 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....

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • Discovering Your Immunity to Change

    Discovering Your Immunity to Change

    Have you ever really wanted to change something about yourself and found it was harder than you expected?

    I used to believe that if you really wanted to change, you could. But since reading Immunity to Change, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, and taking their facilitator training, I'm not so sure. Why are some behaviors so resistant to change? Like New Year's resolutions, why are some well-intentioned plans forgotten by April?

    According to Kegan and Lahey, when change is unsuccessful or unsustainable, there may be unconscious mental and emotional systems at work--hopes, fears, and competing commitments that keep us from making the desired change....

  • Email Aikido

    Email Aikido

    In the business world, we practice acts of respect, such as shaking hands, using professional language and paying attention to other people's time. But what about when it comes to email? Conflict and communication tools apply to email, too! 

  • Unlikely Teachers and Hidden Gifts

    Unlikely Teachers and Hidden Gifts

    November is an inspirational month. I find the cultivation of gratitude a powerful path to centered presence and to finding the gift in every moment. Thanks-giving permeates my thoughts. And there is so much to notice....

  • An Interval of Meditation: Centered Happiness

    An Interval of Meditation: Centered Happiness

    Have you ever been so happy you ...

    • were afraid it wouldn't last?
    • lost your equilibrium? 
    • couldn't stay present with it?

    Such is Anne Elliot's happiness at the end of Jane Austen's Persuasion, that she engages in "an interval of meditation" as the best way to preserve and appreciate the feeling.

    I write a lot about centering in conflict. Searching this phrase on my website turns up 112 results. And yet, what about being centered in happiness? 

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