Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Centered Presence”

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  • 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...

  • 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 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...

  • 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....

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