Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • April 7, 2020

    Centering in the Time of Corona: The Work of Optimism

    Centering in the Time of Corona: The Work of Optimism

    Life itself is always a trial. In training, you must test and polish yourself in order to face the greatest challenges of life.

    ~Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido

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    In this time of uncertainty and unsettledness, but also of surprising kindness, generosity, and creativity, I’m reminded about the importance of centering and true power. 

    Centering—the ability to access our clarity, flexibility, stability, and compassion. A mind-body state of calm at the center of the storm.

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    True power—the ability to achiever purpose, to turn obstacles into energy and resistance into connection.

    In my work, I teach these concepts through aikido activities I learned from my teacher, Thomas Crum, many years ago. They offer a physical grounding in these concepts and a path to presence and personal power, which are especially important in difficult moments.

    Just like you probably, I've had some amazing ki moments in the past month, and my emotional energy has gone through its ups and downs. Below are links that I hope will help you return to center, and to see the opportunities available to you every day.

  • March 24, 2020

    Not Cancelled: Love

    Not Cancelled: Love

    It's good to do uncomfortable things. It's weight training for life.

    --Anne Lamott

    Things have changed. The world is not the way it was a month ago. 

    • The pool is closed, swim teams canceled, my daily swim on hold.
    • Aikido classes canceled.
    • Public Library closed.
    • Workshops canceled.
    • Church canceled.
    • Grocery store shelves with holes where canned goods and paper products used to be.
    • Many losing jobs and worried about the next meal.

    And yet....

    • Calls with family increase exponentially, making sure we're all healthy and that Mom is safe.
    • Daily routine more relaxed, less stressed.
    • Learning to work virtually, be more creative.
    • Long walks, hikes, and rambles in the warming weather, strangers smiling and waving at me.
    • Families playing outside together.
    • Restaurants, businesses and residents pitching in to help neighbors and others who need food and assistance.
    • Reading a lot, my pile of "someday" books dwindling.
    • Quiet time-yes!
    • My suitcase unpacked!
    • Church on Facebook Live!

    An inspiring graphic from WeAreUnsinkable.com appeared by way of my sister, Paula, on Facebook last week, and it helped me regain some perspective....

  • March 10, 2020

    Training Your Inner Dragon

    Training Your Inner Dragon

    Wendy Palmer is writing a new book on "Dragons and Power". It's about how to to cultivate benevolent dragon energy. Quoting Wendy: 

    The power within us is like a dragon. In order for our dragons to become protectors they need training. We need to have a way to keep our dragon energy from running wild and becoming destructive.

    I love this concept of an inner dragon and can't wait to read Wendy's book. The concept puts me in mind of the DreamWorks animated movie "How to Train Your Dragon"...

  • February 25, 2020

    The In-Between Place

    The In-Between Place

    I'm excited to introduce a good friend, Susan Poulin. Actor, author, playwright and performance artist, Susan recently created a Talk for TEDxPortsmouth, here in Portsmouth NH where I live. Susan's TEDx Talk--Can You Find Your Identity Through a Heritage-Language--is fabulous. You should watch it if you want to see a really great Tedx Talk, and learn a bit about Susan's journey to re-learn her native French language. 

    As fascinating as is Susan's story of the journey back to her roots, how she achieved the goal of a stellar online video is an education in centered presence and emotional intelligence, and I asked her to write about it. I know you'll enjoy Susan's video, and the tale of discovery that led there....

  • February 11, 2020

    Predict the Potholes

    Predict the Potholes

    Carrol Suzuki is an online friend, colleague, and teacher. Her posts always inspire me to be a better listener, and her "Listening Better" website is a guide and instruction manual for how to do just that.

    Carrol is recognized as one of North America's premier business and workplace listening coaches, facilitators and specialists, and her writing is terrific and to the point. I love how much she says with so few words. I've passed along her nuggets before, and here's another for your learning pleasure.... (Thank you, Carrol!).

  • January 28, 2020

    I'm About to Learn Something!

    I'm About to Learn Something!

    Whenever conflict, large or small, comes along we are about to learn something.
    —Donna Schaper, Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City.

    I write often about the opportunities inherent in conflict, and about the importance of practice. The concept of practice applies to any skill we want to cultivate and, without doubt, practicing new conflict and communication skills requires some risk-taking.

    Yet, every conversation we engage in can be seen as a kind of practice. In the ones that go well, it may be easier to see the skills we used -- I had a clear purpose, I was centered, I asked some useful questions that helped my partner get to what was really bothering them.

    Yet, in my experience, it is the challenging, difficult, risky conversations that offer the greatest learning....

  • 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...

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