Monthly Archives: October 2009

Welcome

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First, I want to thank you for coming here today. Your presence adds to our collective intention, and creates a subtle bond that calls up the best in each of us.

My intention for this blog is that it be a forum for discovery; a place to bring awareness to what is important and beneficial, with suggestions on how to put what is discovered into action. The best way I know to enhance discovery is through practice, so I will encourage you to put the theme of each week into practice, and then to notice what you notice. Future posts will address your questions and observations, to help make the experience as interactive as possible. I hope you will report what you notice in the comments area — to deepen your own understanding, and so others can learn from it.

SWITCH ON YOUR CHOICE MAKER

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um-1027-emailThis week I have been thinking about some of the everyday choices I make, and I’m left wondering why one day I make effective choices and on another I make poor choices. I know the difference because effective choices leave no residue and poor choices leave a trail of “why did I”, inconsistent with my bigger goals and commitments.

The last 2 weeks I’ve been writing about the shift from careless to conscious. What precedes that shift for making choices?

How do you switch on your choice maker to get in front of the choices you make, instead of having them made for you by the conditions of the moment? How do you make what you say is important, important? It seems to me that knowing what you want for your highest good prepares the way.

THE SHIFT FROM CARELESS TO CONSCIOUS PART 1

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um-1013-emailWords create, but we often treat our words as if they don’t have an impact. They do. Words influence the actions and reactions of others. When someone says, “I don’t want to sound like the devil’s advocate,” they in fact bring that point of view into the conversation. Words are action. And action is the process of doing something to achieve an aim. So when you’re speaking, what are you aiming for?

Conversations are integral to life, relationships, work, and family. Yet my experience tells me, we often spend more time cleaning up what we said, than getting it right in the first place. Words have power. You only have to look at someone’s expression or listen to their reactions to note when words go off course, and then statements usually follow that sound something like:

“I was only kidding”, or “You’re over reacting”, or “I’m just being honest”, or “You don’t understand”, or “That wasn’t my intention”.

THE SHIFT FROM CARELESS TO CONSCIOUS PART 2

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um-1013-emailI was going downhill fast when I realized that I was more connected to my opinion than I was to the person I was talking to. I took a breath and knew I had to shift quickly or the moment of insight would fade.

The conversation was important. I was being fired. I had a 5-minute warning. I took a breath and made a mental list of demands. However, when the conversation happened, instead of giving my opinion, which I normally would do, I faced it, and experienced an overpowering connection to what was possible. In my executive positions, I have been involved in hiring and firing conversations for more than a decade. So, I was prepared. I got to hear things that I’ve said to others in similar situations. “This isn’t personal. This is business.” However, what I said in response surprised me, there was no list of demands, only a simple statement, “I joined this organization for the highest good of all concerned, and that’s how I’ll leave it.” And then I was quiet. Something shifted in that moment for everyone in the conversation, because what happened next was totally unexpected. I walked out of the meeting and went back to work. What followed was nothing short of miraculous. The conversation among board members shifted from decision to inquiry: why are we doing this, what is the impact, and what is served.

EVERYWHERE I LOOK I SEE THE FACE OF GOD

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um_100609_emailOnce upon a time I was walking down the streets of New York with my husband, Michael, and two friends, having a lively conversation about the benefits of anger; when one of them, a brilliant PhD in linguistics, told Michael you need to get more angry! Michael paused, thought a moment and said, “Maybe so, but everywhere I look I see the face of God.” His response evoked a stunned silence and we all stopped walking. It was not lost on any of us how the world would transform through that simple statement. And then we broke into a group hug, and everyone knew we were from California.

The discussion that followed focused on what would be possible if we could see each other through the eyes of connection regardless of our culture, beliefs, or social status. What if we focused more on what joins us than what separates us? The question that remained, and does till this day is this: How do you develop a way of seeing that is steeped in connection, when mostly what we see are our flaws and differences? And how would we treat each other if we could practice it, even in the most difficult circumstances.