Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Inner Self Defense”

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  • 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....

  • 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....

  • 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...

  • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

    I was a grouch yesterday morning. Not sure why, but I arrived at the pool noticing all the things that were wrong--Why is everybody so noisy today? She never turns the shower off! Oh, that swimmer practically ran me over!

    Luckily (!) I noticed and centered myself. As I've often written in these posts, centering doesn't always make me a nicer person or make difficult emotions go away, but it does show me I have a choice in this moment about how I respond.

    When I centered myself, I could see that I was the one who needed to change. And I decided to smile. At myself. Then I decided to smile just because it's a lot more fun than the alternative. And then I decided to appreciate what I could about the day, the water, the weather, the people, and whatever else I could find.

  • What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    The achievement of goals is important. But the real juice of life, whether it be sweet or bitter, is to be found not nearly so much in the products of our efforts as in the process of living itself, in how it feels to be alive.
    ~George Leonard

    I receive many thoughtful responses to my monthly posts. Recently an Aikidoist from Canberra Australia, James Samana, emailed me some late night reflections on his Aikido journey. 

    James is a black belt in Aikido and works for the Australian Public Service as an executive coach, course designer and facilitator. I couldn't help extending his Aikido experience to the way we practice, learn, and attain mastery in any endeavor, including the mastery of conflict and communication--if that indeed ever happens.

  • How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    Assertiveness has never been my strong point. Maybe that's why I watch people who are really good at it, read books and take courses on it, and practice whenever I can.

    The impetus for my current life's work teaching conflict and communication skills actually grew out of my inability to express myself. 

    I was a successful real estate agent and company owner back in 80's, and I often found myself in the middle of a heated contest between buyer and seller or with a banker, building inspector, or concerned family member. My default conflict style is to accommodate other people’s wishes, and that isn’t always useful in negotiated transactions.

  • Coaching Corner: A Difficult Conversation With My Daughter

    Coaching Corner: A Difficult Conversation With My Daughter

    Recently a reader sent me a question after reading my “Checklist for Difficult Conversations” at JudyRinger.com. She described a difficult conversation in which her daughter said some things that were hard for her to hear. Afterwards Mom was struggling not to take her daughter’s remarks personally and asked for advice and maybe some tools to help her respond and not make things worse.

    The following is how I replied to Mom. Since most of us have similar goals to hold conversations that are useful, to not take tough comments personally, and to stay grounded in purpose, I’m sharing my reply more broadly. 

  • Leadership Presence and the Relational Field

    Leadership Presence and the Relational Field


    Relational fields are the invisible, yet palpable fields of energy that connect us when we are present with someone….

    The more resourceful and congruent we become, the more our energy and presence begins to shape the relational field in which we are interacting. Our organizing principle as an individual becomes an organizing principle in the system. 

     

    Leadership Presence: What is it exactly? I'm asked this question often, and recently I read a wonderful post by my colleage Doug Silsbee that offers deep insight into this question, as well as how to develop it and manifest it in the world. As Doug says, we are living in unprecedented times. Developing the awareness to understand how we influence our environment and do so purposefully is a much needed leadership competency.

    Thank you, Doug!

    Please enjoy Leadership Presence in Complexity, by Doug Silsbee

  • 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...

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