Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Centered Presence”

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  • December 19, 2017

    Don't Take Anything Personally: Three Suggestions

    Don't Take Anything Personally: Three Suggestions

    There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

    When I ask workshop participants and coaching clients what they're hoping to gain from our work together and we begin to write down goals, they often say they want to learn how not to take the conflict personally. It's a very common theme.

    I look at this a lot, because I want that, too. In Don Miguel Ruiz's insightful book, The Four Agreements, one of the agreements he suggests we make with ourselves to have a happier life is just this: "Don't Take Things Personally."

    Benjamin Zander, author, motivational speaker, and conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, often quotes his father as saying, "There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."

    I live in New Hampshire where winter can make each day a challenge. And, especially when I have to travel in snow and ice, I can even take the weather personally! 

    So how to we actually do it--not take things personally?

     

  • 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...

  • December 5, 2017

    The Power and Presence of Forgiveness: Letting Go

    The Power and Presence of Forgiveness: Letting Go


    Such a big topic, isn’t it? Forgiveness? 

    I’ve written about it in various contexts before, and it came up again recently. A subscriber wrote about "a family situation where there has been a lot of hurt," tracing back to growing up without learning how to share feelings or manage conflict well. He asked me for advice on how to practice forgiveness and offer an apology when they might not be reciprocated.

    "I know that I've hurt them, too," he said. "But I'm not sure how to forgive when I haven't received an apology. And I don't want to appear to be the one giving in, though I know that's not the most sacred approach."

    I was touched by the writer's honesty and grabbed once again by the questions surrounding forgiveness. When I think of forgiving my own difficult people, I have similar questions...

  • 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....

  • October 10, 2017

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    I open my eyes. Morning.

    Quiet time. Meditation.

    I  relish this moment. Yes, there is much to do. The difficult conversation ahead. The pile of work sitting on my desk and on my mind. The emails to return. The seminar to design. Do I have time?

    Yes. I will make time. I will sit quietly and do nothing. Nothing except to notice the breath coming in and going out of my body. The thoughts, the physical awareness, the birds chirping outside my window. All coming and going, like the breath.

    Wendy Palmer, a teacher of aikido and leadership presence categorizes the many ways to practice centering into three areas: committed practice, ritual practice, and spontaneous practice.

  • 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.

  • September 12, 2017

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment


    I'm writing a new book about how to manage and resolve employee confict. One of the key ingredients in working with conflict and possibly the most underutilized communication skill is acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is the secret to turning difficult conversations around.

    Because it demonstrates a willingness and ability to reflect back a view or thought process that is different and possibly in opposition to your own, acknowledgment makes a powerful statement. It says, “I heard you, I’m trying to understand, and this is the meaning I’m making out of what I heard.” It shows respect and a disposition toward resolution....

  • 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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