Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • January 14, 2020

    Think of Something Pleasant: Mantras for the New Year

    Think of Something Pleasant: Mantras for the New Year

    How do you regain perspective?

    When I'm anxious, I usually go to the woods or the ocean, take a walk around my neighborhood, or make myself a cup of tea. I get out of that little corner of my mind that likes to obsess about what could go wrong, and instead look for what's right. I find a lot of beauty--in nature and in people--if I can change the filter on my viewing lens.

    Another way I can regain perspective is to watch what others do. How do they manage the obstacles that come their way, sometimes without warning? What mantras, values, and beliefs do they hold that give them back their sense of balance?

  • December 31, 2019

    Looking Back From the Future

    Looking Back From the Future

    When I first met Thomas Crum, my most generous mentor in this work I do with conflict and aikido, he asked the group he was leading to partner up and do an exercise on visioning--a very different kind of visioning.

    Instead of imagining the year ahead and writing down goals, Tom asked us to imagine we were looking back on the year ahead from a vantage point of having already lived it.

    We were to tell our partner all the things we hoped the year would bring--financial well-being, strong relationships, physical health, workplace success--but in a way that told the story as if these things had already happened. 

  • December 17, 2019

    The Rocks Don't Care: Regaining Perspective

    The Rocks Don't Care: Regaining Perspective

    I went to the ocean over the weekend. There was quite a storm and I guessed (correctly) that there might be some fairly dramatic waves. I live about ten minutes away from some of the most beautiful seacoast in the world.

    As my husband and I sat watching the heaving, roiling waves bursting onto the rocks that line the shore, here's what I came away with:

  • December 3, 2019

    In the Spirit of Giving: Respect, Presence, and Pausing for Breath

    In the Spirit of Giving: Respect, Presence, and Pausing for Breath

    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

    -- attributed to Ian Maclaren (1850-1907)

    In this month of sharing gifts, I'd like to share four brief stories from Ki Moments subscribers like yourself. Over the years, stories like these from generous readers demonstrate how big a difference it makes when we pause, take a moment to find our presence, and offer respect, sometimes when it is least expected. 

    These writers' experiences highlight real-world applications of aikido principles, such as respect, moving with instead of against, and that the only real enemy is the one within. When we practice inner self defense, we can manage whatever comes our way from outside...

  • November 19, 2019

    Gratitude--A Path to Center

    Gratitude--A Path to Center

    I've written often over the years about gratitude as a path to the centered state. When I catch myself feeling uncentered and think of something I'm grateful for, I get lighter, happier, and clearer about my next step.

    In my CD, Simple Gifts: Making the Most of Life's Ki Moments, the story about Mimi--my Aunt Mary--is a great example of a woman who practiced gratitude when a bad break at an early age might have pushed her toward negativity and depression. Her ongoing choice to be grateful for what she had, rather than sad about what she didn't, not only made her life more joyful--her choice rubbed off on all around her, especially me. Read the story here. Or you can purchase the CD, which is on sale now on my website as part of the "Conflict as Opportunity" bundle of gifts that include all my books and CDs. 

    A Path to Center

    Thinking about Mimi makes me go deeper and look for more people and things I'm grateful for but sometimes take for granted....

  • November 5, 2019

    Sitting Off the Mat: Practicing Spiritual Aikido

    Sitting Off the Mat: Practicing Spiritual Aikido

    Always practice The Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner.

    ~ Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei

    Silence.

    I'm sitting off the mat at Portsmouth Aikido, as 27 people line up in seiza (kneeling position) to await the seminar instructor. This is the dojo I founded 25 years ago and that is now impeccably managed by its new owner and chief instructor, Aaron Cass Sensei.

    For about five minutes, it is completely silent. I sit quietly, alone, in a spectator's chair on the sidelines, taking it all in: the mat, the beautiful space, the Japanese calligraphy adorning the walls, the flowers on the kamiza (spiritual center of the dojo), the pictures of Kanai Sensei who helped us found the dojo and of O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido.

    I sit there in peace, noticing everything, both outside and inside....

  • October 22, 2019

    Working On Yourself Alone: A Metaskill for Difficult Conversations

    Working On Yourself Alone: A Metaskill for Difficult Conversations

    I had to have a difficult conversation. I was invited to deliver a training for the organizational development team at a large U.S. tech company. At the last minute the company said they wanted one of their facilitators to partner with me. I was already at the site, and I could see they wanted to give this person (let's call him Max) some experience, and I said OK.

    I explained to Max how to follow my lead. I indicated where he could be of assistance, and asked him to otherwise be an observer of the group. Things went well for a while, but soon Max began to add content, most of which seemed designed to show his expertise but wasn't relevant. When I asked a question of the group, Max spoke instead, taking a "front of the room" position and expanding on the topic.

    At the break I decided to talk with Max. I should tell you first that confronting people is not my favorite thing. My default style in conflict is to accommodate. But there was a job to do here, a group experience at stake, and objectives to be met. A strong purpose to protect the training experience propelled me to speak....

  • October 8, 2019

    Life Lessons From a Crying Baby

    Life Lessons From a Crying Baby

    I edged into my seat aboard a recent flight home from a long work trip. I was pooped and looking forward to being quiet for a while, when I heard a loud cry from the seat behind me. I didn't look. I knew it was a tiny baby wanting to let Mom know she was upset! I smiled and settled into my seat, feeling fortunate I was near this "lucky baby." 

    A long time ago, I learned a life lesson from another crying baby that changed the way I view life--and all because of an almost ruined special evening.

    "On This Planet" (aka The Lucky Baby Planet story) is the preface of my first book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the HIdden Gifts in Daily Conflict. If you haven't read the story, I'd love to hear your thoughts. It's one of those life lessons that seems to show up at just the right time. This timely baby helped me turn a seemingly negative event into a positive one. And it was as simple as telling myself a new story....

  • September 24, 2019

    Self-Awareness Primer: What It Is. How to Get It.

    Self-Awareness Primer: What It Is. How to Get It.

    Occasionally I enjoy sharing posts by other writers--personal favorites by fellow coaches and leadership consultants like Joe Dunn, the author of today's post on self-awareness.

    Self-Awareness Primer: What It Is. How to Get It.

    by Joe Dunn

    We know it when we see it. We say “she’s highly self-aware,” and we mean it as a compliment. We mean that person is able to take criticism, correct her mistakes and learn as she goes. We can work with that person, tell her what we think and expect a reasonable response.

    Being self-aware is a strength. It’s a foundation for authenticity, for communication, for decision and for leadership. It’s also something that can be simply defined, learned and practiced...

  • September 10, 2019

    How to Influence the Way People Act During Conflict

    How to Influence the Way People Act During Conflict

    I was delighted when my friend Tammy Lenski agreed to let me reprint her post on "How to influence the way people act during conflict" because I think everyone should read it. I'm fond of saying we have more power than we think, and Tammy's well-researched article on behavioral confirmation reinforces this point. Tammy is a conflict resolution strategist, teacher, author, and mediator, which is why her post ends with "Two special notes for mediators". 

    Tammy's website--tammylenski.com--is full of skills for communication and the self-mastery needed to transform conflict into opportunities for relationship building. You can also read Tammy's original post and subscribe to her podcasts.
     

    How to influence the way people act during conflict

    If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others? If someone believes you are a hostile person, are you likely to act more hostile when you interact with them? It’s called behavioral confirmation and if you’re interested in your own or others’ conflict behavior, it’s worth understanding.

    ~ Tammy Lenski


    A man gets on an elevator with his dog. At the next floor, a second man gets on the elevator, scowls at the dog, and says angrily, “Dogs don’t belong in this building!” The dog growls at the man.

    Several floors later, the annoyed man exits the elevator and a third man gets on. He smiles at the dog and says enthusiastically, “You are such a cute fellow!” The dog wags his tail happily at the man.

    So where does the problem lie? Is the dog a “difficult dog”? ...

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