Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Centered Presence”

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  • 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 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?

  • 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.

  • 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....

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