I hear voices. Don’t worry. They’re not anyone else’s voice. They’re all mine!
These voices are part of the way I think and act. Here are just a few.
An action voice: Decide. Make a choice. Fulfillment is in the action you take right now. Just do it!
A reflective voice: What do you see now? What can you learn? Pause before you make a choice and consider fulfillment for yourself and others.
An analytical voice: What happened? What are the facts? What’s possible?
A compassionate voice: Tell the truth with love. Appreciate what you have. Speak kind words. Let it go.
Then in the midst of a relaxing massage, when the therapist was gently working through some tight knots in my shoulders, a painful memory popped up in perfect rhythm with the manipulation and stretching movement of the therapist’s hands. My compassionate voice noticed and said, “Just let it go.” I breathed that message in and with a quiet exhalation relaxed more deeply. Read more...
I mediated a conflict the other day and dropped easily into a field of awareness that has come with 35 years of practice. I wasn’t there to solve the problem; I was there to allow balance in the relationships so solutions could emerge.
Someone noted how easy it was for me to see what was going on for people. For me there was only energy present and I could ride the energy like a wave and bring what was real present. It’s a practice born out of not being attached to a particular outcome and instead holding the highest good in mind.
A skill that seems easy to others often reveals a commitment to practice.
What can practice teach us about happiness? Read more...
Are You Listening?
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who responded in a way that suggested they heard something different from what you actually said? Some might call this a miscommunication — Nicole Mercolino, an intuitive coach, calls this “selective listening”. She told me:
“You know you’re speaking with someone who has selective listening when blame or excuses seem to be the name of the game. When I present Active vs. Selective Listening as a key aspect to successful communication, I often find the initial response is a quizzical look, followed by:
What do you mean by Active vs. Selective Listening? I hear what you’re saying… doesn’t that mean I’m listening?
No, actually, it doesn’t. Active Listening requires that you shut off your internal voice that is trying to hastily figure out how to respond. Why do you have to figure out how to respond before you respond? Here are the usual suspects that identify when you stopped listening. You’re not listening because you’re more concerned with: Read more...
A savvy young manager was telling me that his colleague was starting to speak in a CYA kind of mode. Then he hesitated and asked me, “Do you know what CYA means?” I laughed saying, “Cover your ass!”
Relieved to know I knew what he was talking about, he went on to tell me that he asked his colleague why he didn’t just tell the truth.
I stopped laughing, and thought that indeed, the best strategy is to tell the truth.
You tell the truth because those listening can:
- Understand the problem
- Look into what’s possible
- Support you in making a decision
- Fit what happened into a larger context
- Tell you what they’re thinking that you didn’t already know
- Count on you for reliable information
And yes, they might get irritated too! But it’s like ripping off the Band-Aid. Get it over with. Read more...
Think of someone you judge as negative. You see them coming, you groan, and steel yourself against the onslaught you know is coming whether it’s directed at you or others.
I’m here to remind you to relax and take a breath. You don’t have control over other people.
You can complain about them, but what does that bring you?
- Commiseration from friends
- Advise from colleagues
- “Don’t take it personally!” from well meaning associates
- An entrenched judgment that change isn’t possible
Then there’s the negativity you direct towards yourself. Your own stinking thinking that consists of not measuring up.
There is a remedy! And it’s not hard; it just takes focus and practice.
First understand what negativity means to you when you use it to complain about another person or yourself. You may be using it as a catchword to describe what might be better reported as: Read more...
I am in the popcorn business. Shelf life is important. We have space-age packaging that preserves the life of the popped corn. But open the bag and if you don’t reseal it, you lose the protective properties of the packaging, and expose the corn to outside conditions like moisture and air.
So we give you instructions on how to keep your popcorn fresh!
Because I’m a philosopher at heart, it struck me that most of us go in and out of happiness as if it had a shelf life. Do you have conditions that need to be met to be happy, like the shelf life of popcorn? Or can you be more unconditional in your approach.
How do you allow your happiness to be fresh and accessible each day? Read more...
I’ve worked for more than half my life. I can see when people love their work. They bring an ability to solve any problem. They plan for the unexpected by leaning in to problems and asking questions. They don’t fear information or contrary ideas.
Others love to be around them. They inspire with their unstoppable ability to create a new path.
They are not afraid of obstacles or conflict.
Over the years I’ve observed countless conflicts. Conflicts based on differences of values, styles, and expectations. I’ve observed conflicts that have the potential to sink a business or a relationship.
What I have also observed is how these conflicts resolve when one person brings love to the table. Love, not fear … they may not love the person because so many of us have love confused with an emotion. But they love the game, and they have compassion for each other. Read more...
I can hazard a guess that we’ve all had moments that we wished we could erase from our lives, and also moments where we were giddy with happiness.
On balance, we deal with what shows up and file it away as useful, wonderful, or awful.
The past is useful for learning lessons, seeing patterns, and identifying trends. But don’t live there … either in your successes or your failures. In one, you feel the memory of fulfillment, and in the other you feel the regret.
What happens if you try to hold on to the past? You get indigestion! You get an ache in your soul. How do you use the past instead of allowing it to use you? Digest it!
It’s a meal. Some meals are easier to digest. Some are harder to digest. Either way absorb the best of it and eliminate the rest of it so your body can function in the here and now. Read more...
I love to hear two words that usually don’t go together, like healthy and regrets. My friend Kathy was musing on an unfortunate situation when she used those words to describe her feelings.
The juxtaposition of healthy and regrets stopped my mind, and allowed an instantaneous dive into how healthy regrets might work.
How can there be something healthy about regrets, which are usually embodied as feelings of loss, disappointment or sorrow over something that happened?
The idea caused me to bring to mind some lingering regrets of my own … the kind that show up on long drives that a remembered song or unresolved disappointments bring to mind.
I noticed that I didn’t have regrets when I faced challenges and broke through to a new level of awareness. The regrets disappeared with the evolution of my thinking or a new freedom for action. They took their place in the historical record of my life, enriching the journey. Read more...
My husband and I were walking and talking discussing the topic of unconditional love. He asked what the conditions are for unconditional love, and then burst out laughing at the conundrum his question implied.
No conditions. It reminded us of a process we ran for years in our On Course personal empowerment training. Two people would sit facing each other. One would say “I love you unconditionally.” The other person would think of what they were afraid would sever the connection of love.
What if I leave you?
What if I disparage you?
What if I leave the top off the toothpaste?
What if I get fat?
What if I get sick?
What if I was broke?
What if I lost my job?
What if I didn’t agree?
What if I get angry?
What if I forget to take out the trash?
What if I disappoint you?
And on and on the list grew with the only response, I love you unconditionally until it came to be that there was nothing left. No fear that would sever the connection from one person to another, not some event from history or life today as it unfolds.
It was transformational, everyone walked out of the training with a glow of unconditional love. Then they ran into their first conflict. Bam! How do you make unconditional love a practice rather than a memory of what’s possible? It’s simple really. Just revise your point of view.
I’ve had two recent conflicts that reminded me to revise my point of view. And do you know the most common point of view to revise? Whichever one that makes you right and the other person wrong! Conflict is hard. It’s a collision of points of view. But it only takes one to revise to unconditional love. The past disappears as an overpowering imperative to hang on to hurt feelings, wrongs, or indignation, and instead creates a pathway to greater awareness.
Maya Angelou reminded us that history in all of its anguish and pain cannot be unlived. But if faced with courage can be a catalyst to create life anew. It takes courage to allow love to come through when life delivers a blow or a raw deal.
I told my daughter when she was 16 years old that she couldn’t screw it up with me. No matter what I loved her unconditionally. We still laugh over the truth of that moment.
So when life doesn’t meet my expectations or delivers a blow to my self-image, I take a breath and respond to an inner alarm to use what’s happening to wake up. Look around. The world whether it’s at work or with your family doesn’t need more animosity. We need the generosity of spirit that love brings. We need the truth spoken with love.
When I’m upset or concerned, I nudge aside the limits of how I think life should be. I step outside of my predictable thinking to find an unlimited universe of possibilities. That’s where I continue to discover the practice of unconditional love as a way of seeing in the world.
Consider that love is your nature. When you practice unconditional love you affirm your nature. Don’t confuse love with attraction, need, or dependence. Love makes you strong not weak. Love allows you to live and laugh with awareness instead of attachment to any one point of view. Love is enduring and forgiving.
So when you’re stuck in an endless cycle of concern about something or other practice unconditional love with yourself, others, and the situation itself, and see what emerges. It may release the regret and forge your strength to carry on.
I find the words of Martin Luther King inspiring: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
My love goes with you as you work with this Uplifting Moment.