Welcome to December's Ki Moments ...
and thank you for subscribing.
"Ki" is energy, life force. How is your "Ki" today? Take in a deep, easy breath and let it out slowly. Another. One more? There you go.
The Dalai Lama said, "If you don't like what's happening in your life, change your mind." It only takes a moment to breathe, center, and change things for the better.
Wishing you joy, health, love, and purpose - as always.
Happy Holidays, and Good Ki!
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The Greatest Gift
"Go ahead, Judy, talk to your father. What do you want to say?" With these words offered by my favorite Aunt Mimi, I was given the greatest gift - the gift of myself.
Mimi and I had gone on an aunt-niece shopping adventure, and at age 15, I became the proud owner of my first mini-skirt. Upon seeing it, my dad hit the roof, and as usual, I was angry, scared, and tongue-tied. Years of admonitions to not "talk back," had my voice stopped in my throat.
Before that moment, I believe I didn't know that I could have wishes of my own, schooled as I was in pleasing others. How could I speak my thoughts if I didn't know I had them? But with Mimi at my side, I was emboldened. I had an ally. And I found words.
I opened my mouth and talked to my father. I don't remember exactly what I said - it's not important anyway. What's important is that I talked to him. I found my self - my sense of authority over what I wanted to wear and why, my feelings in that moment, and the quiet power that comes with the acknowledgment of these things.
Every time words get stuck in my throat, that moment comes to me, and I think: "Judy, what do you want to say?" And I find my self, and the words come.
This was the greatest gift I ever received from another human being. And it was a gift I could share with my father. As I found the weight of my own convictions, I was able to communicate with him in a new way - not to hurt, retaliate, prove a point, or to show him how wrong he was, but to remove a barrier and let him see a part of me I'd not ventured to show before. It was a gift to both of us.
In this season of giving, what will you give yourself and your relationships? Is there a "stuckness" somewhere that could be freed up by finding your center and communicating in a new way with someone you love? Are you hiding? Or are you expecting someone to guess your feelings? Give them and yourself the greatest gift.
Check out my friend Judy Warner's book, From Chaos to Center
This is the fourth in a series of brief articles on holding difficult conversations. In September's Ki Moments, I suggested ways to open communications that create mutual respect. In October, we talked about the importance of knowing your purpose for the conversation, and in November, we added Inquiry and Curiosity to your conversational toolbox.
Today the Topic is Advocacy
Advocacy is the flip side of Inquiry - the opportunity that you open for yourself to tell your story. What can you see from your perspective that they've missed? Can you clarify your position without minimizing theirs? For example: "From what you've told me, I can see how you came to the conclusion that I'm not a team player. And I think I am. When I introduce problems with a project, I'm thinking about its long-term success. I don't mean to be a critic, though perhaps I sound like one. Maybe we can talk about how to address these issues so that my intention is clear."
Tips for sharing your side of things:
- Wait to offer your side until your partner has expressed all his energy on the topic. Check to make sure he's finished.
- Remember your purpose for the conversation. It's easy to get off on tangents, become reactive, and lose your way. Know and return to your purpose at difficult moments.
- Don't assume. When telling your story, go slow, be clear, and don't assume they know what things looks like from your point of view.
- Teach, don't preach. Notice your desire to "sell" your partner on your story. Simply state how things look from your side.
- Listen to yourself and try not to use words that will cause your partner to react defensively. You want him to listen, so use words that he can hear.
- Share facts rather than subjective interpretations. "When you walked by me and didn't say anything" is a fact. "When you ignored me" is a subjective interpretation.
Most important, speak with respect. On the aikido mat, we bow to our partner before beginning and ending each technique. Imagine bowing to your conversation partner before you begin the conversation. As you begin to lose your center, think about this, and remember that you advocate best when you respect your partner's story.
Next month will be the last in our conversation series - Building Sustainable Solutions. Good luck and good communication!
Visit my website for more articles on Difficult Conversations
It won't be long now. As you know, I'm writing a book - Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict, containing stories, practices, and reflections on removing the barriers to dealing with conflict. I'm about to choose a cover and am getting quotes from printers. The response from early readers is very good, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you soon. Stay tuned!
Aikido - The Martial Art
Many of the principles reflected in Ki Moments come from aikido, the Japanese martial art that teaches self-defense through the redirection of energy. Some Ki Moments subscribers have asked where they can try out aikido practice.
Portsmouth Aikido is an ongoing martial arts school located at the Seacoast Family Y in Portsmouth. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:45 p.m., and Sundays at 1:00 and 2:15 p.m. You can stop by anytime and watch a class. Or you can visit our web site - http://www.portsmouthaikido.com - or call 603- 431-8560 for more information.
The next Aikido Beginner Class will start January 15. The six-week course will run through February 19, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. each Sunday. The cost is $65.00 per person for the course and includes a Portsmouth Aikido t-shirt. Anyone aged 12 or older is welcome.
Learn more about Portsmouth Aikido
Power & Presence Training
76 Park Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Judy Ringer is Founder of Power & Presence Training, a Portsmouth, NH company specializing in unique workshops to help you and your organization manage conflict, communicate effectively, and co-create a more positive work environment. E-mail Judy at email@example.com for a free initial meeting to discuss your training needs.
Ki (from Ai-ki-do) is Japanese for life energy. Ki Moments is a complimentary monthly "e-zine" with tips and how-to articles to help you manage the key moments in your life.
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