Practice means learning from life instead of being bounced around by it. Once you know the worst isn’t going to run you over, you can look the world in the eye without blinking. - Krishna Das in The Sun (March 2011)
Times of great change invite us to discover our practice as EveryDay Leaders. How will I approach each day, each person, each joy or fear? I often ask my coaching clients to tell me what brings them back to center – breathing, a walk, a cup of tea, chocolate? Knowing and using these tools is essential to in-the-moment practice, creating a foundation of calmness and clarity. In my experience, practicing compassion and surrender also deepens my ability to hold the paradox of what is and what is possible, supporting me to lead my life from my loving, joyful, creative center. I believe this opening to love and creativity is essential to leadership development in these times.
What does it take to look the world in the eye without blinking? Coming across Krishna Das’ words today, I felt such strong resonance of truth. Earlier in life, I was “bounced around”, often quite dramatically. Always curious, I discovered many teachers and many ways of designing a reflective life practice, an approach to both learning and developing trust in myself and something greater that unconditionally loves me. Last November, I got bounced again, this time through being injured in an auto collision (the first in decades). After the initial shock and swelling subsided, the real healing opportunity surfaced. Something sculpted into the articulation of bones and muscles in my upper body began to shift. Working with my chiropractor, I stand, move, breathe more freely. Reflecting in my journal, I called this releasing the “cringe”, a fearful recoiling from anticipated anger, rejection, danger learned in my childhood environment. Through the years, I had layered calm and relaxation in myself, attempting to soothe these core somatic responses. Now, I’m deeply changed and sense that a cage has fallen open and away from my heart. Friends, clients and co-workers tell me I appear radiant, like I’ve just fallen in love. I have, in a way. I’m lovingly looking “the world in the eye without blinking.”
Discover and embrace your practice. Find the courage and the partners to do the work of releasing your fears. Lead your life with love and creativity.
With an open heart I remain your Quirky Auntie,
Inspiration arises from all sources. Yesterday morning, I again came to the last few pages of a book I never tire of reading, Daughters of Copper Woman by Anne Cameron. Whenever I thin my library, it’s one of the books that’s been a keeper for 20+ years. Once again, it brought me home to my core purpose, weaving and mending the society of women, the contribution of the feminine to the world, and what Cameron’s book calls our “soft power.” Here’s a section of the book’s ending poem:
In golden light
I recognize the enemy faces
fear of our bodies
fear of our visions
fear of our healing
fear of our love
fear of sisterkind
fear of brotherkind
fear of fear
love is healing
healing is love
There are Women everywhere with fragments
weave and mend
When we learn to come together we are whole
When we learn to recognize the enemy
we will know what we need to know
to learn how to come together
to learn how to weave and mend
In this morning’s Wheeeee! We’re Alive free tele-fun call, we danced with what we are weaving and what we are mending in our lives. Relationship to self, broken heartedness, connection to the divine, new ways of being -these and other patterns of human life all showed up as the shared stories unfolded. As the poem says, “when we learn to come together we are whole.” Women left the call having affirmed the one thing they would mend this week.
Facing our fears (those “enemy faces”) and doing our real work is, I believe, the core of human life and is accomplished in the company of others. When women take action, we make the lives and world we want.
What do you want to act on?
Six women have the opportunity to take action while being “fiercely loved and supported” in the new EveryDay Leaders tele-coaching group scheduled to start May 5. Click here for more information and the registration link.
Yours in the weaving,
Posted in Dealing with Change, Leadership, personal growth, Reinventing Self, Women
Tagged coaching, daily practice, Leadership, personal growth, personal values, Reinventing Self, self-care, support group, women
There’s a lot we might feel concerned about in our lives, and in our world right now. It’s good to be awake, paying attention, and feeling compassion for ourselves, others, and our planet.
It’s also good to take a break, let go and lighten up! This morning, participants on the free Wheeeee! tele-fun call gathered up their concerns, danced on behalf of them, and then released them into the morning light. Letting go is an act of self-care. Letting go doesn’t mean that we are selfish or don’t care. Letting go gives us the breathing space necessary to continue to care and to find the energy to take action on behalf of what we care about. If we don’t find ways to release our overwhelmed state, we risk burning out and no longer having the energy to pay attention or care.
Try what we did this morning…
- Breathe and sigh deeply; stretch and breathe again
- Put your palm on your forehead. If your mind has concerns, let them flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
- Put your palm on your throat. Let your concerns about speaking your truth flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
- Put your palm on your heart. Let your concerns about those you love flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
- Put your palm on your belly. Even if you can’t name the concerns in your gut, let them flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
Holding your concerns with respectful attention, lift your palm and let it dance. Let your hand move you around the room. Dance on behalf of all the concerns your hand now holds. Open your palm wide, move your fingers, and sense the concerns dancing right out of your hand and into the light around you. Let your hand lighten up – notice the lightness in your hand, body and mind.
Journal about what you notice from this experience.
Breathe and sigh……..and be well.
What’s Love got to do with it? Everything. Here’s 5 things I learned from the participants in this morning’s free Wheeeee! tele-fun call:
- Children spread love more than they spread sniffy noses and coughs.
- Simple signs, like breathing into our palms or hugging ourselves, are profound and necessary evidence of self-caring.
- To receive the love we are worthy of takes the courage to make eye contact.
- Love is everywhere and intangible; we have to notice and name it for ourselves.
- Slowing down makes the space for love.
Love is the “fire in the belly” that fuels our human lives. As we create our visions of a desired future, let’s make love the material from which we construct it, the adhesive that bonds it all together, and the energy that flows through it. What would happen if we replaced fear and worry with openness, interested curiosity, caring and a desire to make a healthy and purposeful life possible for all? What might be possible if we switch from finding problems to fix to passionately making together the future we really desire?
Isn’t Love the real work of our time?
How will love be present in your life this week?
With loving kindness,
A Merry Solstice to All! One of my favorite InterPlay forms is DOBO (Dancing On Behalf Of) and in this morning’s Wheeee! tele-fun call, we danced on behalf of where we will invest our attention and energy in the coming year.
The Winter Solstice marks the darkest day of the sun cycle and like the new moon, it’s an opportunity to reflect and then hit the “Reset Button” on our lives through intentionality and action. We humans are creatures of energy and since we are gifted with discernment and higher consciousness, we can invest our energy in making stuff happen locally, in our lives and communities, and in positive support of what we want to transform in our world.
Are you ready to Dance On Behalf Of 2010?
Here we go…putting your left hand in the air, take a breath and sense the connection to your visionary right brain. Breathe into that connection until it feels clear and strong. Now notice your hand’s response to that connection – moving, dancing, shaping, finding stillness. Breathe and sigh again, relaxing into the dance and lightly noticing – you might visit places, people, ideas. Allow any sounds that arise to have voice. After a minute or two, find a place of stillness to end.
Journal to reflect and gather up your experience. Finish your journal entry with a 3-sentence story or by drawing an image.
Now, to ground this vision in the current moment, write down what you are dancing on behalf of this week.
And there’s nothing quite like the power of being witnessed, so I recommend that you communicate this intention to someone you know. Call them up. Have a cup of tea together. Email them if needed. Just make your statement out loud to another human being. To Change Our Lives, We Have To Change Our Practice!
And lastly, I offer a Wordle of all that this morning’s Wheeeee! participants are dancing on behalf of in this new year. Enjoy!
Posted in Dealing with Change, personal growth, Playful Practices, Reinventing Self
Tagged 2010, change, coaching, downsizing, fun, personal growth, Reinventing Self, self-care, transformation
What does stillness offer you? This morning, during the Wheeeee! tele-fun conference call, we found how welcome stillness was for us. It’s an unusual experience to be on a telephone call in order to find some stillness and silence in our busy lives. But we discovered that it works! Bodies relaxed and voices deepened. We noticed that there was more information but less to say. Our group presence was tangible although virtual.
Stillness offers us presence, emptiness, release from overwhelm, chance to notice the smallest things, to be clearly awake and fully embodied. To pay attention.
Arms extended into our virtual circle’s center, palms up, we allowed our relaxed hands to cup the stillness offering it to ourselves, each other and the world around us.
Every Monday morning, I wonder how I will give you a taste of this nurturing experience. Try this:
- Breathe and sigh.
- Shake yourself all over.
- Breathe and sigh.
- Look at the flame in the picture to the right and say the words “The Miracle is You” out loud. Then close your eyes.
- Hand dance with 98% stillness.
- Pause and notice anything and everything.
- Hand dance with 98% stillness.
- Open your eyes and write and/or draw in your Journal.
- Determine how you will create this expansive space for stillness in your life this week.
[This activity powered by InterPlay]
Such an honor to witness people showing up and doing deep work. Wow. Every Monday morning at 8:30 when I leave the Wheeeee! tele-fun conference, I sit back for a moment and take it all in – the courage, laughter, willingness, shakiness, warmth. This is what nurtures my love affair with human beings.
Today we got curious about the question What helps me prioritize? Over the years, I’ve noticed that, as the complexity of the world and the uncertainty of life became more apparent, the difficulty of discerning, prioritizing and choosing has increased. How do we know what to do, what to choose when black-and-white is replaced by a rainbow of possibilities? Is there some internal compass we can navigate by? Here’s a playful way to explore this:
- Take a deep, deep breath and let it out with a sigh. Repeat.
- Stretch your body in all directions. Shake it out. Notice what’s tense – breathe into it and relax.
- Close your eyes.
- There’s a place in you that knows how to choose – put your hand there now. Trust yourself. Breathe and connect to this place of knowing within you.
- Raise your hand in the air and begin to move it, dancing on behalf of your inner authority, your ability to discern what your priorities are. If there’s a sound that accompanies your dancing hand, you can let it out. Dance for at least 1 minute.
- Find a place of stillness and silence. Breathe in and blow your breath out slowly through your lips.
- Open your eyes – notice, journal, doodle.
- What affirmation will you use this week to support your trust in your inner knowing?
[This activity powered by InterPlay]
Joyfully yours, Nika
Posted in Dealing with Change, Leadership, personal growth, Playful Practices, Reinventing Self
Tagged change, daily practice, fun, Leadership, personal growth, personal values, Reinventing Self, self-care
Waking up into anger and violence. Gut clenches me into a curve. Vigilant adrenalin soldier takes her post.
I know that for people around the world, this is not an uncommon experience. All the innovative possibility of the human mind also extends to expressing our anger, fear, isolation and violence. Wars, murder, torture, abuse to our loved ones, poisoning water and earth – I’m sure you can add to the list from what you’ve seen, read, heard, hold in your heart and in your body.
We embrace expectations of what life will be like.
We desire to feel in control.
We are afraid when things don’t turn out as planned.
We may even sense our identity, reputation, credibility oozing away.
We are angry with anyone and anything we view as changemakers, but…
we often express that on anyone and anything that is within reach in this moment.
Find a little peace today. Take a breath. Create a little peace today. Take a breath. Share a little peace today. Take a breath together.
“I don’t think that making ourselves invulnerable to feeling any onslaught to our feelings will help us in life, ultimately. I think we only learn and grow by allowing ourselves to be really challenged by those feelings that do overwhelm us occasionally.” - Ben Kingsley
Much of what we were told to count on is changing or failing, and whether we embrace or reject those changes, we feel the impact because eventually we must respond. And we actually do feel the impact to our bodies. When income dries up – whack. When home is threatened – whack.. When fire, flood or drought puts us and all our relations in jeopardy – whack. When we clearly see the suffering in the world – whack. In the past few months, more than one of my
coaching clients has used their session time to talk about how bruised they are feeling, and often, the tears flow. They experience their lives as overwhelming, like an avalanche that swallowed them whole. And they feel frozen, doubtful of their ability to know what to do or to take meaningful action. “What to do? What to do?” loops ceaselessly in their minds but they have few answers and feel exhausted by the questions.
I don’t believe the “figuring it out” aspect of our minds is where we should first look to when we feel overwhelmed. The very word overwhelm holds connotations of being faced with something much bigger than we can handle, something that overshadows us physically and makes us feel small and feeble. So I recommend that when you feel overwhelmed, take care of the body first. For example, you might:
- breathe, breathe, breathe – give the body more oxygen and expand that tight feeling in your chest and rib cage
- physically stretch – walk, stretch, yoga, swim to increase your sense that you are physically present and flexible
- shake and shout – releases the built-up energetic information and clears your communication channels
Once you are physically released and re-centered, it’s time to tackle what’s got you overwhelmed:
- write it all down – do a “brain dump” of what’s got you worried, afraid, confused, feeling that you can’t do it all
- break big things into incremental steps – shift into your power place; look for your inner response – “I can do that.”
- decide what you will do today – there’s always something we can do and taking action gives us confidence
- notice what you accomplish and celebrate successes (even small ones)!!!
And lastly, recognize that much of the change that we are all experiencing is not anything that we can control. We can only do our best to respond heartfully and intelligently. Practice deepening your compassion, for yourself, others, the planet. Feel the depth of what is moving you and also release it. Allow this practice to be a foundation for you in these turbulent times, supporting conscious interconnection and allowing ease where no action can be taken.