Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • August 13, 2019

    Power Plays: How to Regain Power In Difficult Situations

    Power Plays: How to Regain Power In Difficult Situations

    All meaningful and lasting change begins on the inside.

    – Martin Luther

    I've been reading the first book I wrote in 2006, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict, looking for a story to help you regain power in difficult situations. I'd forgotten that the book is peppered with anecdotes from students who tell their own stories about regaining perspective in difficult situations. It was fun to rediscover this feature of Unlikely Teachers, because that's what the book is about--the teacher hidden in the difficulty. The difficulty is the teacher.

    So...instead of sharing one story, I'd like to share four that struck a chord for me. The chord is one I play often and that you are probably familiar with, and one we all forget all the time...

  • July 30, 2019

    How to Rebuild a Damaged Work Relationship

    How to Rebuild a Damaged Work Relationship

    A friend and colleague asked for some advice about rebuilding her relationship with a coworker. The relationship used to be easy. The two worked well together, laughed often, and accomplished their department's goals cooperatively.

    When a change of leadership in the organization caused a realignment of roles, my friend Mary and her coworker Sarah (not their real names) got out of synch. Sarah's responsibilities with the new leader increased, which reduced her availability to support Mary. Trying to make things work, Mary stayed curious and open-minded about the change, asking for help when needed. Both the new leader and Sarah seemed to hear when Mary expressed her need for support, but nothing changed. Mary ended up finding other ways to get the department's work done, usually by staying late and working weekends.

    Mary also thought she noticed a change in Sarah's attitude--from friendly conversation to terse replies, minimal eye contact and limited connection. Trust eroded, and gradually they stopped talking unless it was absolutely necessary.

    As you might imagine, Mary began to dream up stories and interpretations for Sarah's changed behavior. I suggested Mary invite Sarah out for a cup of coffee, lunch, or a sweet and talk about the relationship. Mary emailed me asking how to begin the conversation. I thought my answers might be helpful to anyone in this situation, and Mary gave me permission to share her story and my thoughts...

  • July 16, 2019

    Interesting Times: When Disagreement Is Good

    Interesting Times: When Disagreement Is Good


    "May you live in interesting times".

    This ancient curse, of unknown origin, speaks to the fact that the "uninteresting" times are generally quiet and peaceful, with not a lot going on. And the "interesting times" are often fraught with anxiety.  At best.

    The curse comes to mind a lot lately. One of those "interesting times" happened recently when a local teenager wore a T-shirt with a political slogan on it to a school patriotic day. What was most interesting to me was not that the principal asked her to change the shirt or cover the slogan, but rather the behavior of the girl’s parents. Instead of reacting with rage or self-righteousness, as we’ve come to expect these days in such circumstances, they responded with civility, reason, and respect...

  • July 2, 2019

    Another Lesson at The Pool: Being a Good Neighbor

    Another Lesson at The Pool: Being a Good Neighbor

    I'm a swimmer. Not a competitve one, but one who enjoys getting in the water for 30-45 minutes each morning to center myself and begin the day. I usually swim between 6:30 and 7:30 am. It's a busy pool at that time, and I often run into "unlikely teacher" lane partners--which I've written about in the past.

    I've been swimming at my pool for almost 40 years (since it opened), and I can get territorial. I have a favorite lane, which I think of as "my lane" (I know, I'm not proud of this, just telling it like it is). And I think new members should familiarize themselves with pool rules about circle swimming, showering, and the lanes designated for faster swimmers, leisure swimmers and so on. So I see myself as an elder at my pool, if you will, and do my best to respectfully enforce some of the etiquette. But today I received a well-timed and delivered etiquette lesson from Sam (not his real name), who didn't even know he was teaching.

  • June 18, 2019

    Two Steps, One Breath

    Two Steps, One Breath

    One of my coaching clients attends a weekly meditation class. We were talking about ways to return to center when we get triggered, and he shared a motto from the class--Two Steps, One Breath. In other words, feel your feet on the ground, and breathe.

    The motto came in handy during a challenging meeting the client had in which I was an observer...

  • June 4, 2019

    Listening When It's Not Easy

    Listening When It's Not Easy

    Many of my posts in the past few months have been focused on my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace. The four phase model starts with managing yourself, making sure your mindset and emotions are centered and purposeful, before engaging others. An integral part of managing yourself is the practice of active, aligned listening, sometimes when it's not easy. And I realized recently just how long I've been making this point.

    I had the occasion to re-read my first book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict last month. One of the stories--"Listening When It's Not Easy"--gave me pause. Because it's about listening when it's not easy to do so, I found it as relevant to our current cultural landscape as it was when I wrote it in 2006, maybe moreso. The story is about a conflict that arose as I was leading a workshop back in the day, and how I practiced metaphorical aikido by managing myself in order to manage what was coming at me....

  • May 21, 2019

    Finding My Better Self: How About a Cup of Coffee?

    Finding My Better Self: How About a Cup of Coffee?

    An article I wrote many years ago has seen a lot of play recently on various internet sites. It's called "Working with Difficult People: Turn Tormentors Into Teachers". The article has been generating a lot of comments from readers hoping to think differently about the unlikely teachers in their lives. It seems clear that most of us have these folks in our lives and just as clear that we’d really like to change them from tormentors to teachers.

    I’m certainly no different.  And maybe because of the article, and maybe just because I want to walk the walk as well as the talk, I decided to practice one recent day with a "tormentor" of my own...

  • May 7, 2019

    Beginning Again and Again

    Beginning Again and Again

    Beginning again and again is the actual practice, not a problem to be overcome. --Sharon Salzberg

    As I made my way to the exit, the other passengers on my jetBlue flight were taking their time making their way down the aisle. If I could just get off this plane, I might make the 6:10 bus to Portsmouth and home, and not have to wait an hour for another bus. The flight was already late getting into Boston, and I really wanted to make that bus. Uncentered and pushing mentally, if not physically, I was grinding my teeth and trying to do whatever I could to hurry the passengers in front of me along, including bypassing some seats where the passengers didn’t immediately get up to retrieve bags from the overhead bin.

    And I caught myself. And breathed, and smiled, and returned to center...

  • April 23, 2019

    Teaching the Power of Purpose: Aikido's Unbendable Arm

    Teaching the Power of Purpose: Aikido's Unbendable Arm

    In this last video of the five-part series about my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, I demonstrate how easy life can be when we're clear about what we want for ourselves and our relationships. This feeling of flow, ease, and connection is demonstrated through The Unbendable Arm, a physical experience of the power of a clear purpose. 

    The Arm has become my metaphor for living powerfully, communicating with purpose, and expressing emotions with the intention to connect rather than harm.

  • April 9, 2019

    Teaching the Art of Centering

    Teaching the Art of Centering

    In my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, a key element in the process is the leader's ability to center herself. As a manager, supervisor, or anyone caught in the middle of two conflicting parties, you must first manage your own mindset and emotions before trying to support others. Then, if you choose, you can coach others in the art and practice of centering.

    It's a great concept, isn't it, to choose to be centered? To notice in the moment that you're off balance, and then decide to shift to a more centered state. If you know how you do this--catch yourself and re-center--you can easily coach others.

Page 1 of 29 Next