Monthly Archives: November 2009

GRATITUDE: THE SECRET TO YOUR WELL-BEING

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um-1124-emailThe secret to having greater well-being is not only to feel more gratitude, but also to cultivate feelings of thankfulness.

Today, both psychologists and sociologists have shown that people with high levels of gratitude sleep better, handle transitions more effectively, and are more resilient in stressful situations. This is not a new idea. Even as far back as 54 B.C. Cicero the philosopher and statesman said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

With Thanksgiving just a couple days away, many of us are focusing on gratitude, even when we are facing challenging situations or difficult people. I can easily access gratitude by thinking of my children, and just like that, a grin spreads across my face. I look at a picture of my granddaughter in dance class and my heart fills with joy. I think of my daughter’s dog, Frankie, and I start laughing. I think of my godson Sam, and love spills over. I think of countless friends, and I am entirely grateful that they’re in my life.

WHAT MATTERS MOST?

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inq-112009-blogWhat matters most to you? 

I’ve been asking this question a lot lately, in workshops and web conversations. I’ve included some insights here that may be helpful in elevating and refining your practice.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

Most of us have some idea of what deeply fulfills us. I believe this to be the evolutionary impulse that Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. It seems that we are all called to journey where we have not been, and bring our invisible dream into the physical world; to make it real.

I’ve also noticed:

Although most say they have some sense of what matters most, many say they don’t put enough of their focus on it, as if the action to begin it belongs somewhere in the future. It’s certainly understandable how life, with all its complexities, can push our deeper needs aside, and yet this is what we’re here to attain or accomplish. This is what we came here for.

TRANSFORM YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

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um-1117-emailI know you’ve never had a breakdown in your relationships. Well … maybe one or two!

Sometimes you just want the breakdown to go away, and miss the opportunity that it offers while it’s happening. However, I’ve come to realize that the bigger the breakdown, the bigger the breakthrough opportunity.

I’ve often talked about breakdowns into breakthroughs in business. I encourage managers to actively use breakdowns as opportunities to innovate, and create breakthroughs in sales, product design, hiring strategies, or communication. But, I want to talk about breakdowns here, as opportunities to transform your relationships, not just for the aha moment or to remove the spotlight of discomfort, but to create a bond that transcends time and circumstances.

Breakdowns in a relationship reveal the truth of who you are, what you think, and what you value.

WHAT’S NEXT?

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inq-111309-blogINQUIRY

Last week, I posed the question, “How do you gain access to what you don’t already know?” I’ve been holding this question in mind all week as well. From time to time, with little or no effort on my part, I would remember it. Then I would come to the question behind the question, which is about knowing and not knowing, and what I can learn from each one.

I have a preference for not-knowing as you can probably tell, because I have seen the way knowing gets in the way, especially when something new is being explored.

LEADING THE WAY

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um-1110-emailWhat are you willing to do, if what’s happening now is less than what you want, and has reached a point of, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore? On the one hand you have the status quo, which is the existing state of affairs, and on the other you have your thoughts about what’s possible. Are you willing to move what’s possible into action? If this sounds like I’m trying to turn you into an activist, I’m not!

The definition of activism is using energetic campaigning to bring about change. I’m good with that so far. Yet, activists are defined as zealots and protesters who are radical and extremist. I wouldn’t use any of those words to describe me. I’m not an activist, but I am an actionist!

An actionist challenges the status quo by leading the way with love, inquiry, involvement, and awareness.

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

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whatWELCOME

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.

AWAKENING YOUR BENEFICIAL PRESENCE

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um-1102-email“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” My friend Rose sent me that quote from Carl Jung, and it inspired this week’s Uplifting Moment.

As I considered what Jung said, I thought about what this practice of looking inside might create. I suspected that it would focus my personal practice on awakening as a force for the highest good, as a beneficial presence, in my conversations and interactions.

Beneficial means, resulting in good. I’ve been thinking about the significance of what it means to be beneficial, and I’m left with the statement; consider the highest good for all concerned.