Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Inner Self Defense”

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  • December 1, 2021

    The Path Is Made by Walking

    The Path Is Made by Walking

    Traveler, your footprints


    Are the path and nothing more;


    Traveler, there is no path,


    The path is made by walking.

    ~ Antonio Machado, excerpt from Traveler, There Is No Path 
    (Trans. Asa Cusack)

    Last summer my friend Melodee related a story about centering that stuck with me. When Melodee was a teacher she had a centering bell she'd ring for her students as they returned from recess. 

    As they flowed back into the four walls of her classroom, wired with frenetic energy, she'd let them get somewhat settled then ring the bell. She'd explained the purpose on day one, so they knew the ringing tone meant for them to take a breath, exhale, and go to the quiet, centered place that was uniquely theirs.

    There is No Path

    This time of year is alive with energy--frenetic and flowing, excited and solemn, relished and resisted. All kinds of ki flowing in, out and around, so much that we're not sure what to do with it all. Families celebrating, children anticipating, workplaces buzzing with holiday joy, preparations, and even fear about what the holidays might bring this year.

    Recently I was reminded of the Antonio Machado poem, Traveler, There Is No Path, an excerpt of which begins this post, and--for me--its reflection on living a more intentional life....

  • November 1, 2021

    Thankful to Be Thankful--It's a Practice

    Thankful to Be Thankful--It's a Practice

    From early on in my professional career, and probably my whole life, I've been thankful that I'm thankful. Because I'm an aikidoist who teaches conflict skills, and because aikido teaches that the attack can be a gift when we embrace the energy, my ability to notice what's good has grown.

    My first book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict consists of 28 stories dedicated to this theme. And my blog is filled with posts about gratitude as a path to center, and the people in my life who have shown me how to be thankful, even when there seems to be nothing to be thankful for.

    And there are days, of course, when I forget to practice. I don't start the day with gratitude and I don't say "Thank you very much," when someone gets in my way. And that day isn't usually as easy or as fun. I notice what's hard and what's not good in my life, instead of what is.

    But because I do practice most days, I usually find my way back. And sometimes I get reminded. 

    I was reminded recently by a movie....

  • October 4, 2021

    Be the Vaccine: An Inoculation for Stress

    Be the Vaccine: An Inoculation for Stress

    My sister works hard. She's a lab tech in a busy university hospital where she's been a valued member of her team for many years. As you might imagine, her workload and the pressure for accuracy have only increased during the pandemic. Sometimes the stress is more than she can take, and so we were talking recently about ways to de-stress in a stressful environment....

  • August 9, 2021

    The Mask as Metaphor

    The Mask as Metaphor

    I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about masks. Of course I'm always alert to situations in which conflict might rear its head. I'm not looking for it, but I pay attention when it arises. I process, often in the moment, what I do, how I feel, and where I am on the centering continuum.

    I'm also curious about how people are managing this whole crazy pandemic world we're in, and what I might learn from talking with those who feel differently from me. Also, this was a friend I trust to be thoughtful, kind, and as curious as I am about these things. 

  • July 13, 2021

    One Positive Thought

    One Positive Thought

    I'm listening to an audio CD by Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun and teacher. Called Embracing the Unknown: Life Lessons from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the content is fascinating and readily applicable to everyday living. You can find it on Amazon and on Hoopla.

    Toward the end of the audio, Ani Pema* talks about heaven and hell in the Buddhist tradition. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a guidebook. In explaining the Tibetan view, she says she's not suggesting we necessarily adopt the view as truth but rather use the teachings as support for living life more mindfully....

  • June 29, 2021

    The Non-Comeback Comeback After an Insult

    The Non-Comeback Comeback After an Insult

    Tammy Lenski is a frequent guest on my blog. I read her posts consistently, and I love sharing them. This one gave me pause not only because the Zen koan was so poignant but also because I have been on the other side of Tammy's story. I've had moments of judgment about mask wearers. I've never spoken my judgment out loud, but I've been there. Most of the time I center myself and shift fairly quickly to wonder, curiosity, and non-judgment. And now, thanks to Tammy's story--to compassion.

    As always, I'm grateful to Tammy for sharing her wisdom, and for the insight I gained. Enjoy this great story and the Zen koan.....

  • June 15, 2021

    The Gift of Asking for Help

    The Gift of Asking for Help

    Last week my car battery died unexpectedly. Early in the day, I went into my garage and put a CD into the car player to check if the CD still played (my home player wasn't working). It did (yay!) so I ejected the CD, came into the house and went on with my day. 

    About 2:30, I looked for my keys to get ready to drive to an appointment about 20 minutes away. My keys were not in their usual place. I got a sinking feeling. I went out to the garage, and there they were in the ignition (in "alt" position) where I'd left them five hours earlier. Oh no. No juice left in the battery. I'd drained it.

    My husband was unavailable and so was his car. I thought of a few friends I might call. Although this was an appointment I didn't want to miss, I hesitated. I don't find it easy to ask for this kind of help--for someone to drive me somewhere or (heaven forbid) loan me their car, especially on such short notice. It felt like a big favor, and I went back and forth for a while. Do I cancel? Reschedule? Call someone? ....

  • June 1, 2021

    Should I Say Something? When to Speak Up In a Group

    Should I Say Something? When to Speak Up In a Group

    A reader wrote in recently with a difficult (and common) question about when to speak up in a group, and what to do if you speak and then wish you hadn't.

    From my reader:

    I read your message on how you can always center yourself--anytime and anywhere. However I have a hard time knowing when to speak up in a spiritual circle I belong to. We’re supposed to listen and not acknowledge our reactions, and this is hard for me. Sometimes I speak and have a tough time feeling okay afterward, as if I'd done something wrong. Any advice?

    I love this question because it hits on something that happens to me quite often, and I know from experience what it's like to wonder whether I should say something or stay quiet in a group setting....

  • May 4, 2021

    Questions About Common Conflicts

    Questions About Common Conflicts

    In my workshops and coaching, I'm often asked about how to resolve specific conflicts. Especially now that workshops are happening on Zoom, the questions that appear in "Chat" will often have similar themes. Two themes that appear frequently are ones around new relationships and others around "letting go."

  • April 20, 2021

    Noticing the Now: The Power of This... Ki... Moment

    Noticing the Now: The Power of This... Ki... Moment

    On my newsletter and website, I use the slogan "Support for life's 'key' moments..." to help readers understand how I use the word "ki" and how to pronounce it. This constant association between "ki" and "key" in my writing and my thoughts--as in: "Each moment is a 'ki moment' or "Make this moment a 'ki moment' --has reinforced for me the awareness that all we really have is this... ki... moment. 
     
    When I first named this blog and newsletter Ki Moments, I had just a general idea of what I meant by it. I still like this as a working definition, and the phrase "this... ki... moment" has come to mean more...

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