Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • August 14, 2018

    Internal Aikido: Being and Doing

    Internal Aikido: Being and Doing

    The new owner and chief instructor at Portsmouth Aikido, Aaron Cass, gave a seminar at the dojo recently on "Internal Aikido." It was enlightening, and fun. You may say this is what I do, and to some extent you'd be correct. I help individuals and organizations use the aikido metaphor to think and act more purposefully in stressful situations, like conflict. I teach them how to incorporate aikido principles, such as blending and redirecting energy by using words to listen, acknowledge, and express a point of view.

    However, Aaron was teaching something else--specifically  how to carry ourselves physically so that our posture is aligned in a way that allows for efficient and effortless body dynamics.

  • July 31, 2018

    Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Framing

    Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Framing

    I was interviewed last month by Tom Rosenak of Diamond Mind in Evanston, Illinois. Tom helps people engage in transformative conversations in order to strengthen relationships and drive results. You can hear or download our interview, Conflict Transformation and Aikido on the Diamond Mind site.

    Tom's podcasts arrive every couple of weeks, and I highly recommend his interview with Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres on their new book, Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement.

    Jackie and Cheri are internationally known for their work in Appreciative Inquiry (AI), a problem-solving tool introduced in 1987 by David Cooperrider, known for his contributions in the fields of leadership, change management, and organization development. Interestingly, AI solves problems by focusing on the question "What do you want?" and not on the problem, maximizing the power of noticing what is already working rather than on what is broken.

  • July 17, 2018

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    I first heard the phrase--"questions in service of the asked"--as a participant in a workshop with Essential Partners, originally the Public Conversations Project, in Boston. It took me some time--and a lot of practice--to figure out what it meant and how to do it.

    I've written previously about the power of inquiry, curiosity and discovery, of asking useful questions, and of acknowledging what you hear to make sure the "asked" knows you're listening. After almost 25 years of teaching, coaching, and my own experience in conflict situations (yes, I have them, too), I can still get stuck on what questions to ask. What would help unravel this conflict knot? How can I better see where this person is coming from? What needs to happen here to find resolution?

  • July 3, 2018

    The Freedom to Choose This Moment

    The Freedom to Choose This Moment

    Each year around the fourth of July, I become more thoughtful about freedom -- external, internal, mental, emotional, and psychological -- the freedoms I often overlook in the normal everyday "stuff" of life. For example, two earlier stories from my July 4 ruminations...

    Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- about choosing and practicing happiness, even when there seems to be no reason to.

    -and-

    Inner Freedom: Celebrating the Freedoms We Take For Granted -- about the freedoms we have to laugh, smile, breathe, and choose our attitude, even when we can't choose our circumstances.

    How free are you right now? ...

  • June 19, 2018

    Making "I Statements" Easy: A Feeling, A Need, A Request

    Making

    Reading a recent online post, I was struck by the author's thoughts on the "I-statement." She was referring to the sometimes tricky communication technique by which I express to you a need, a feeling, or a request, by putting the responsibility for clarity or understanding on myself, rather than on you. It helps me communicate the impact of your behavior, whether positive or otherwise.

    Think of a recent verbal conflict. Did you make accusations like "You always ___! You never ___! You are such a ___! You make me feel ___!"

    Notice how the focus of those statements is on the other person--the "you" you are facing in the fight. An "I" statement shifts the focus and helps you express what's going on for you, as in, "I'm feeling surprised at your remark. I need to hear more in order to understand what's behind it. I'm asking you to elaborate." Your conflict partner is less likely to feel defensive, when you leave the "you" out. And you're more likely to connect by stating the need behind your feeling.

  • June 5, 2018

    Make That Pit Stop

    Make That Pit Stop

    Race car drivers – make pit stops to go at top speed.  To get top understanding in a conversation — do the same thing.

    Many thanks to Carrol Suzuki (www.listeningbetter.com) for the gift of this post....

  • May 22, 2018

    How Not to Take Yourself So Seriously: 5 Practices

    How Not to Take Yourself So Seriously: 5 Practices


    "Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive." -- Elbert Hubbard


    Last week I was offered another lesson at the indoor pool where I swim. Sunday, it seems, has become everyone's favorite day. The pool was packed. Lane designations are important when it's crowded, and two lanes are reserved for slower, leisurely swimmers--like me.

    So, I was in the first leisure lane with two other swimmers, while another very slow swimmer was in the second lane. Things were flowing well until three guys got into the second leisure lane with the slower swimmer. They were much faster and kept running into him--literally.

    I got upset and finally spoke to the guys...

  • May 8, 2018

    Get Up and Get a Drink of Water

    Get Up and Get a Drink of Water

    I learned an emotion management technique from my local paper, in a story about Charles Donald Downing, a centenarian living in York Beach, Maine. 

    He and his wife--his "precious Irene"--were married 78 years. Although Irene died earlier this year at the age of 97, Charles reported they "never had a fight in all those years." I agree it's hard to believe. Their secret is that they made agreements with each other, and one of them was this: whenever a disagreement arose or they got angry, one of them would get up and get a drink of water. Then, after the pause, they would begin again, discuss things, and come to a conclusion on what to do.

  • April 24, 2018

    Defusing Customer Disputes: 7 Strategies

    Defusing Customer Disputes: 7 Strategies

    Defusing difficult or angry customers calmly and assertively benefits the company, the customer, and the service representative. Managing any difficult situation requires clear communication and intention. You improve with practice. And the rewards, both in terms of personal comfort and bottom line profit, are great. The key lies in your ability to manage yourself so that you can manage and support the customer.

  • April 10, 2018

    Unlikely Friendships: Reaching Out, Finding Connection

    Unlikely Friendships: Reaching Out, Finding Connection


    Hi -- I'm not writing much today. Instead I'm sharing two YouTube videos, each 4-5 minutes in length. 

    I'm indebted to a Ki Moments subscriber for the first one. The title--"An Unlikely Friendship" reminded her of the title of my first book, Unlikely Teachers, and so she sent it my way.

    Donna and Bob--An Unlikely Friendship unlikely-friendships-donna-and-bob

    The second I found when I plugged "Unlikely Friendships" into the Youtube search engine, just to see what else I might find. Apparently there are quite a lot of unlikely friendships out there, but this one touched me because of the intergenerational nature of it....

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