Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Communication”

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  • 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.

  • March 26, 2019

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Bringing the Parties Together

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Bringing the Parties Together

    "When co-workers can't get along, what are some ways to bring them together to resolve the problem?"  -- a common question from the managers and leaders I work with.

    In this third video of the five-part series about my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, I introduce "Phase 3—Redirecting", or how to bring the parties together.

    In Phase 2--Entering and Blending, the book talks about the wisdom of working with each party to the conflict individually for one or more sessions, in order to hear them out, defuse the conflict, and teach skills. Phase 3 offers ways to begin the joint sessions--now that the parties are more prepared and skilled--to talk about what they’ve learned, plan for the future, and keep the conflict from recurring. This phase also offers questions, ideas, and tools to resolve the conflict and redirect any remaining challenges...

  • March 12, 2019

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Work Individually First

    Resolving Coworker Conflict: Work Individually First

    "When co-workers can't get along, should I work with them individually or bring them together?" This is a question managers, supervisors and HR professionals deal with frequently.

    Time pressures and the need to resolve the problem encourage us to get the parties together right away and help them talk things through. And while this strategy is tempting, it often makes matters worse, because the parties don’t yet have the skills or perspective they need to be open to any view but their own.

    Each individual pushes to have their perspective acknowledged. No one listens. Emotions run high. And the problem escalates. This is especially true if the conflict has a long history. Each party has fine-tuned their narrative about why the other person is the problem....

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