Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Happinessoptimism”

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  • 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 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? ...

  • 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.

  • January 16, 2018

    Take 10 Minutes and Make Someone's Day

    Take 10 Minutes and Make Someone's Day

    Ugh. The guilt.

    The morning started off so well. Early morning sunshine filtering through the windows as I sat with my coffee, journaling, thinking about how my life could be better and what I could do to make it so.

    And then I read something in the paper that changed my morning and made me reflect in an entirely different way...

  • December 9, 2017

    This Little Light

    This Little Light

    I decided to listen to my own CD yesterday. Driving home from a long distance errand, I put the disk in and was surprised at how it calmed me down and lifted me up--support I needed in that moment. 

    I wrote This Little Light: The Gift of Christmas a couple of years ago, and I hadn't listened to it in quite some time. In addition to my work as a conflict and communication skills trainer, I'm also a singer, and holiday carols are some of my favorite songs to sing. And, I like to write. So I combined these two loves in This Little Light--stories and songs of the season...

  • November 21, 2017

    Thankful: A Ki Moment at Portsmouth Harbor

    Thankful: A Ki Moment at Portsmouth Harbor

    My early morning walk takes me by the waterfront in Portsmouth, NH, where I live. I see the sun rising over the fast-flowing Piscataqua River and the fishing boats moored nearby. I feel the cool autumn breeze and hear the seagulls calling to each other.

    I have my headphones on, listening to an audiobook. It's a good story, and the audio takes me away from where I am in time and space. I lose my sense of place, and pretty soon I no longer see the harbor, feel the breeze, or hear the gulls.

    But.... this particular morning the sunrise over the harbor pushes its way into my consciousness: Stop! Take those headphones off! Look, listen, feel. Be. Be present to the awesomeness of this moment.

    And I had to take the headphones off. It was an exciting chapter, too!

    I watched myself make the decision to stop, take them off and look around...

  • October 24, 2017

    Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion

    Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion

    You have more power than you think.
    When you change, everything changes.

    Recently I gave a 30-minute presentation on Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion for Creative Mornings Portsmouth. It helps to add a little creativity and compassion to conflict, don't you agree?

    I get inspired by what I teach -- how to use the energy of conflict instead of fighting it. How to work with your opponents and turn them into partners for problem solving. How to think a little differently....

  • September 26, 2017

    The Language of Centering

    The Language of Centering

    The driver cut me off without warning. We almost collided. My pulse accelerated, my adrenaline pumped, my anger went from 0 to 60 in less than a second.

    I breathe in, exhale, and choose to center. At first I'm only about 20 percent centered. I keep breathing. 30%. I think: what rational explanation would allow for that driver to do what he did? 40%. More breathing. 50%. Smile to myself--everything’s okay. No damage done. 75%. It’s over, without me doing anything I’ll regret later. Life is good. 100%.

    The language and practice of centering is one in which some people are fairly fluent. Yet even those who understand the concept are often unsure exactly how to get there on purpose.

  • August 28, 2017

    Centered in Center Field

    Centered in Center Field


    When Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the pioneer of positive psychology, writes about the "flow" state, he describes it as a quality of being, with certain traits:

    • Challenges are higher than average.
    • Skills are higher than average.
    • You're doing what you really like to do and are completely involved.
    • You have clarity; you know what needs to be done and how well you're doing.
    • A feeling of serenity; going beyond the bounds of the ego.
    • Timelessness; totally focused on the present; time disappears.

    This pretty much describes how it was on July 31, New Hampshire Day at Fenway Park, when I was invited to sing the National Anthem at a Boston Red Sox game. I was honored to be in this position. And I knew it was going to be a test of sorts and an opportunity to practice what I teach....

  • August 15, 2017

    Time Management is Self Management

    Time Management is Self Management


    When I think about time management I smile. Time is what it is. What we manage is ourselves. Time management is self-management, energy management. If I only have so much energy, where do I focus it? So this is really a conversation about Purpose.

    In Aikido, we have a free-style sparring practice called "randori," in which the student stands alone on the practice mat and as many as five opponents attack simultaneously. The term literally means "chaos taking." The workplace—and life—can feel like this. Which task, event, or relationship do I take on first? How do I manage the chaos?

    The first secret of randori is to handle one adversary at a time....

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