Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • September 22, 2020

    Batter Up!

    Batter Up!

    I'm delighted to share a new post from my friend and fellow blogger and coach, Carrol Suzuki. 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. The good news is listening intention and capacity can be learned.

    And that's what Carrol does--helps us become attentive and authentic listeners. She's also a great blogger. Enjoy!  ....

  • September 8, 2020

    Looking Through Their Window

    Looking Through Their Window

    In Turn Enemies Into Allies, I share multiple stories about seeing events through another’s eyes. I sometimes find that easy to do, and other times not easy at all. I think wearing masks in this Covid environment when we’re in close proximity to one another is a good idea, for example, and I’m not trying too hard to see the other side of that argument. And… I know there is one....

  • August 25, 2020

    Awase in the Time of Covid

    Awase in the Time of Covid

    by Aaron Cass

    The word Aikido (合気道) is made up of three kanji. The first character, 合(ai), may be translated as ‘harmony,’ ‘confluence,’ or ‘agreement.’ This kanji can also be used on its own as the verb 合わせる(awaseru) meaning to ‘match,’ ‘fit,’ or ‘join together.’ If I wanted to set my watch to someone else’s we would 時計を合わせる, tokei wo awaseru, ‘set our watches to the same time.’

    In the context of training, much of our practice is 合わせ稽古 (awasegeiko), or what might be called cooperative practice. We refer to the person who applies the technique as 投げ (nage, ‘person who throws’) or 取り (tori, ‘person who executes the technique’). The attacker, who later finds himself on the receiving end of the technique, is called 受け (uke, literally, ‘person who receives’). These are prescribed roles, and in class we alternate between them with our partners as we practice.

    One of the greatest criticisms of Aikido on the Internet--for those who pay attention to these sorts of things--stems from this approach to training. When uke attacks, he knows he’s going to be thrown or pinned. As nage, we know we’re going to ‘win’ and successfully apply our technique to the other person because that’s our role. The criticism then becomes that Aikido is merely an elaborate performance in which people take turns falling down for one another like some sort of martial dance....

  • August 11, 2020

    Remaining Centered While Living Your Dream

    Remaining Centered While Living Your Dream

    Living in an RV and traveling the U.S. is a life-long dream for many people. Of course it is a dream to travel where we want, when we want, and to not have to worry about seasons. If it’s too hot, we go north. Too dry, we head to water. If we get sick of the ocean we go to the mountains. You get the idea.

    But when, in one 24-hour period a few weeks ago, we hit a very large deer, were backed into by a Prius, and had an engine malfunction, I completely lost my center...

  • July 28, 2020

    Beyond words

    Beyond words

    My friend and colleague Amanda Ridings recently wrote a new book, Weekly Leadership Contemplations. I'm really enjoying it and wanted to share one of her pieces with you called "Beyond words".

    As the book title suggests, Weekly Leadership Contemplations offers 52 short pieces, each one ending with questions for contemplation. The book is designed for leaders, and I find it can work its wonders on anyone. I appreciate that Amanda understands the tight schedule most leaders have, and so gives us short pieces with thoughtful questions to reflect on each week.

  • July 14, 2020

    That Is Their Story. This Is Mine.

    That Is Their Story. This Is Mine.

    Perhaps others who shared these events with me, whose lives crossed mine, would recount the events differently, But that is their story. This is mine, my life as I recall having lived it, my life as I recall having loved it. --Michael C. Metskas

    My grandfather, Mike Metskas, was a brave young man when he left his native Macedonia as a 16-year-old to come to America and find his way in the world. In short order “Gramps” found work, founded a business and in time returned to Greece to marry my grandmother and bring her back to raise a family of five in Oak Park, Illinois.

    With a third grade education, Gramps eventually wrote and published his autobiography, Journey to Eternity, an amazing story, and a treasure for our family. I began reading it again recently, knowing it is my story, too....

  • June 30, 2020

    Making Assumptions: Why Should You Catch Yourself?

    Making Assumptions: Why Should You Catch Yourself?

    In my last post, I posed a question about whether you can catch yourself when you're about to make an assumption about another person's thoughts or actions, and whether you can choose to move toward curiosity instead of judgment--a crucial awareness if you want to have more skilled conversations.

    I think now a more important question than "whether" you can catch yourself is "why you might want to".

    As I read and re-read the post, I came to see it as naive. Those of us who want to catch ourselves making assumptions will do it and get better at it. And there are some who don't want to get better and maybe don't care. If you just want to be right--or know someone who does--read on....

  • June 16, 2020

    Making Assumptions: Can You Catch Yourself?

    Making Assumptions: Can You Catch Yourself?

    Have you ever wondered what was going on in another person's mind when they spoke or acted in a way that for you was unimaginable? Did you leap into curiosity or judgment? 

    When our indoor pool was still open, I was enjoying the hot tub after my daily swim when I was joined by a fellow early morning swimmer. We know each other by name but otherwise not well. Without preamble, he began talking about the news of the day as if I was in his brain, knew exactly where he was coming from, and agreed with his views on the politics involved.

    He was really upset with what was going on in the primary race (COVID-19 wasn't yet a common topic of discussion) and he assumed I was also upset. I couldn't tell if he expected me to engage in the conversation or if he just needed to be heard. I didn't engage. I was enjoying my quiet time in the tub, and didn't want to encourage his strong emotions. I also felt differently about some of things he was angry about. 

    Regardless, he kept up a one-sided conversation, with increasing anger and frustration....

  • June 2, 2020

    Not Too Close! New Normal, New World

    Not Too Close! New Normal, New World

    Friend and colleague, Susan Poulin, produced a sweet video--The Coronavirus Shuffle--when the C-Virus first started making itself known here in NH and Maine. Susan's an author, playwright, and performance artist aka her wise and funny alter ego, Ida LeClair from Mahoosuc Mills, ME. In the video Susan/Ida reminds us what we should do to stay safe, while singing, dancing, and gesturing phrases like: "Wash your hands!" and "Wave to your neighbor!", and "Not too close! Not too close!" 

    Ida would be happy to know how often I think of her when I'm washing my hands, waving at a neighbor, or when I've wanted to respond to a close shopper or runner the way she does: "Not too close! Not too close!" Instead, I laugh at myself and regain my center.

    There is plenty about this new virus that doesn't make me smile, of course, at least not at first. One of the changes I've had to make, for example, is moving most of my in-person training (workshops, presentations, one-on-one coaching) to an online format. What?! Aikido movements on Zoom? How could that possibly work?

  • May 19, 2020

    The Tao of Tea

    The Tao of Tea

    My Ki Moments post today, The Tao of Tea, is by Jonathan Blakeslee, who writes about someone from his past, a role model who used aikido principles to disarm and redirect a difficult customer. As Jonathan puts it, I learned a lot from Veerinder, who in many ways inspired me to walk the path I am on now work-wise.

    If you live anywhere in or near the seacoast of New Hampshire, you probably know Jonathan and his work. He and his restaurant--White Heron Tea--are a wonderful feature of life here. Even in the shutdown, White Heron Tea continues to offer healthy and organic signature teas (and delicious muffins, cookies, and sandwiches). Knowing this, I think you'll appreciate Jonathan's essay even more.

    Whether Veerinder knew of aikido, he certaily understood how to turn an enemy into an ally, and how to advocate without attacking. Thank you, Jonathan, for the wonderful story....

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