Reflections From Living Alive

I’m at the halfway point in the Living Alive Phase 1 program on Gabriola and enjoying a break.

This is always a great time to reflect on what I’ve be learning and discovering during this 26 day journey.

Probably for me, one of the biggest joys has been in witnessing a group of people with diverse backgrounds, ages and stories – come together and be so willing to embrace each experience and support each other along the way.

Sure there have been some moments when I have wondered if someone will hang in or come back when it’s been too much or something deep has been stirred. However, I haven’t found myself losing faith in the process or the more importantly the person!

I like that I haven’t found myself pushing or thinking – “They have to get this NOW!!”.

Somewhere along the road of my own journey, I have become less anxious when I don’t have control or the contact I might want with someone.

I have less need to get them on the path I think is best and so have more willingness to let someone do their own thing while I am simply maintaining my location.

I’m thinking a lot of my willingness to stay located inside myself and less focused on an agenda for others comes from my work with the horses.

I think watching and learning from the herd has helped me trust the connections even when there’s distance or differences that appear to be big. I settle knowing the best path through a storm is to maintain my own location and be a beacon, the mare – not pushing or pulling but present and aware.

So far I find myself being less concerned about making sure everyone ‘gets it’ – whatever ‘it’ is – and instead tracking my willingness to be open, curious and clear.

I’m not there all the time, but much more than in the past. As a result, I find myself much more joyful and open-hearted.

Who knows what will be stirring as we step into Part B.

I do love this program because it such a wonderful opportunity to settle in and discover. Discover patterns. Discover new choices. Become more comfortable in my own discomfort and/or uncertainty.

Some may wonder, as a leader shouldn’t I be more certain about what might come next.

I know enough to provide the playing field, the boundaries and a path. I also know enough now to let the each person’s journey unfold from there.

The Lessons of Humpty Dumpty and Horses

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses and All the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again

As a child this was simple nursery rhyme that was spoken, sung and incorporated into a variety of games.

I imagine I chuckled at the message back then.

Of course all the King’s men (and ladies) couldn’t put Humpty together again!

Why would Humpty Dumpty want to be put back together again?

We get so focused on Humpty being broken as the problem. I am beginning to believe that broken isn’t a problem at all. It’s an amazing opportunity for transformation and re-membering!

I believe we are having a Humpty Dumpty moment here in the States (and most of the planet) and of course all the King’s men are not going put us together again.

At least not in the way we think we should be!

So nursery rhymes are one thing and I know this is serious adult business.

So let’s apply a lesson from nature that speaks to the same message, only even more profoundly for me.

Yes, I am finding my joy working with horses. There are many, many reasons why this makes perfect sense. But there is one piece that I don’t hear talked about quite as much as all the science around mirror neurons and herd dynamics and such and that’s the story of how horses are the fastest species to go from domesticated (broken) back to feral (their true natural state of being in the wild).

You got to wonder – how is that possible?

Horses surrender!

We don’t, usually. But we can and there in lines the potential wonder of allowing oneself to be broken.

You got to wonder why horses ever engaged in their relationship with us. I know many will say they didn’t – we made them.

But let’s be clear – it was a relationship and like any relationship there were two parties playing their part.

Having now watched horse dynamics in many, many situations there is one thing that keeps shining through from the horse and that’s something about their ability to transform broken  into re-membering, returning to their true nature!

That horse in the picture above is Osa, she was broken and she wasn’t very comfortable with people when she arrived at Stillwater Horse Whisper Ranch.  Wouldn’t really now that now would you!!

Makes me think there’s more to the Humpty Dumpty story too. Because you know the truth is we started as an egg and frankly never would have gotten here with being broken.

Those Kings bring a mighty sword to the party and there’s all sorts of stories about why that is good, bad, painful, powerful etc, etc. – but again without that sword – that egg would have never been broken, you or me, would never have entered the picture. There’s something about that moment of conception that is worth considering.

I have been one to say at times, “you are not broken” – and I think I want to shift that. Yes, we are broken and that is a beautiful aspect of being human! It’s also a critical choice point. Will I surrender, will I fight, will I find a way home or make to my feral (natural) state!

I think we stay too focused on trying to stop people, the planet or simply the egg from being broken and that is not a problem to solve!

That is a very old story, that creates great suffering.

Just go watch a horse and discover another story-line that makes broken a beautiful opportunity for creating relationships.

My Fear of Fat

Just recently I stepped onto the scale and discovered that I had gained five pounds. Now I knew it had been a while and that I had been allowing myself some space to enjoy the Flathead Valley’s craft beers and various Whitefish food fare.

I was also skiing regularly, walking or running with my dog Rosie and was diligent with my home yoga routine. As I digested the new number on the scale, I reminded myself that muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, I didn’t need to panic.

But within a short period of time, panic was in full pursuit, screaming a need to fast immediately. I was ready to apply whatever sum of cash was required to get into a 10-day cleanse, juicing experience, or something that would deal with my surfacing FEAR of FAT!

To distract myself, I turned to social media. As if in answer to my needs, what should appear on my newsfeed but an Ad with an incredibly buff woman in a fitness bra, tights, and doing a move that required great strength and flexibility. What was loudest for me was her rock-solid abs and perfect dimensions. Right there on the Ad was the statement: The 10-day yoga program that will make you look like this!!

You may be thinking I signed up. But no – I blew up! I went into a full-on rage. Bullshit! Her body was not the result of any damn 10-day program!

I really, really hate that type of Ad campaign. It’s possible that with her genes and diet, at some point, she did ten days of intense yoga that shaped her into something even better than she already was. She may even believe her yoga routine maintains her excellent balance between muscle mass and flexibility. Well, let’s not forget her perfect bone structure, great hair and flawless young skin. But I can tell you one thing for sure: no 10-day program – be it yoga, fat camp, fitness boot camp – is going to transform my genes, scars, wrinkles and body into that!

The idea that Facebook decided this advertisement was best for me pissed me off! However, this Facebook Ad did knock some sense into me. I didn’t make any radical decisions based on my Facebook feed or my visit to the scale. Nor did I rant and fire off hate mail to that perfect looking yogini.

Instead, I decided it’s time to face my FEAR of FAT! Not run. Not stop eating. Not do a new intense exercise program. But stop and face my fear.

What you need to know is I was a fat kid. Since the age of 11, I started putting on weight, and can honestly say, with a touch of flush as I write these words, that I weighed more between the ages of 12 to 14 than I ever weighed as an adult.

Not only did I have weight issues, I did nothing to improve my looks. In fact, related to clothing, hair or make-up, I went the other way. I dressed more like a boy than a girl. My shoulder-length hair was either scrappy and full of tangles or cut short like I was wearing a soup bowl on my head. You could’ve read the invisible sign on my forehead that shouted: “Stay the f*ck away from me!”

I know now that kid had a whole bunch of reasons for getting fat, keeping everyone away and doing her damnedest to project “Don’t mess with me!” But I also know that young girl cared very deeply and had simply given up on humans.

Food was something that was comforting and relatively safe. Being called fat was simply a cost factor for a very reliable line of defense: fat, ugly and untouchable.

Then I discovered sports. I was a pretty good athlete – a fat one but a good one. I could play a mean game of tennis, and when I decided to make sports my new refuge – hockey and basketball became favorites. I wasn’t great, but I was determined, and underneath all that fat was some rock-solid coordination and tenacity.

Sports became my lifeline to human contact.

I soon discovered I could, with enough running and working out, stop the rising scales. I found a way to protect and guard myself that did not involve being fat! Exercise replaced food as a way to get far, far away from my fears, my terror and my demons, which made it critical to not get to close to people!

However, back to our perfect yogini. Even at the pinnacle of my athletic career, which involved playing three sports and practicing four to five hours a day, I never ever looked anything close to her – NEVER!

With all my exercise, I ran myself smack into the hospital in my early 20’s. I hadn’t noticed I had lost almost 60 pounds, which tells you about my relationship with my body. At 5’6” I was just under 100 pounds.

You might be thinking, eating disorder, and there’s some truth to that. But the real factor of my weight loss was cancer. Yes, the fight to not feel my fear, my terror and my demons had run its course. There’s a lot more to the cancer story but that’s a book, not an article on my FEAR of FAT.

Let me just say, in losing all that weight and even being very, very ill, I started to get lots of attention. Men suddenly found me attractive. I was boney and skinny and wearing a size 6. I was a piece of nothing, but there’s something about any woman that slender that attracts a certain response from men. I had never had that type of attention!

Sure, the dying of cancer wasn’t so great – but skinny – well, there was something about that I liked.

Seven years later, after a clean bill of health from cancer, I realized I had a new problem.

I was terrified of going back to FAT! This new problem has now been going on for the better part of twenty-five years. I don’t talk much about it. It’s not like cancer. It’s not the thing friends want to support you in facing. It’s a bit like mental illness, which I could write about too, but I’ll stick to fat.

When I saw the perfect yogini Facebook Ad, my rage exploded. I let myself feel fully. The rage turned into a deep grief and I wailed.

Then I realized my fear of fat would never be resolved by being thin.

Being fat was not the problem. I’m not ugly, and I am not even fat. I do, though, have trouble feeling fully. I don’t particularly like crying or feeling deep grief. Yet, life, and being in relationship with people and this world, does offer a lot to feel deeply about, and it is not all happy and positive!

I won’t be going on any radical diets or fasting for now, nor will I go on a Facebook fast. I just need to be kinder to myself and maybe stop running and exercising so much to the point of not noticing when my body, heart, or spirit needs some attention.

I simply need to feel deeply.

My fear of fat is not over. But I am much more committed to turning towards the fear and facing it rather than running to get further and further away from myself and my feelings.

Finding My Pluck!

This week I got to go CAT skiing, a.k.a Snowcat skiing, which is backcountry untracked skiing through trees and powder. So today’s piece  is all about finding the best untracked line,be it in the snow or on the page, and both take PLUCK!

Pummeled and humbled by the mountain and still I rise!

That’s right.  I have no doubt the reason I got the cheers as I skied up to the cat on our last run was because everyone there was just grateful to see that I had survived and was arriving smiling.

Yes – the mountains had humbled and pummeled me but I had completed all ten runs!  I had shown I had pluck! Who knew most didn’t.

Well let’s be clear most didn’t who signed up for a cat ski day at my level of skiing.

I haven’t been skiing that long and frankly have been a touch conservative about where I ski at our Whitefish Mountain Resort.

I have steadily gotten better and this year signed up for the women’s ski program that included weekly lessons.  Now I have made a few black diamond runs and have been feeling pretty good about myself!

So when I got the invite to go ski powder – I took it. I thought I was ready.  Yes, I was scared but I wanted to go.

The thing is if I had thought it all through, I would not have gone.  I would have been rational and realized skiing in powder really meant skiing through trees, very high up in the mountains of Montana.  That skiing where there were no tracks  meant  significant bumps, ledges and (little) cliffs that resulted in taking air!  That once you got out of the Cat and put those skis on there really was no other way down, except to ski and if falling regularly,  to keep getting up again, again and again.   Let me just say here,  though falling in powder is soft – getting up over and over is exhausting.

Rationally it made no sense.  But emotionally – well that is a different story.  My heart wanted to be out in the back-country and loved those moments when I would find some rhythm and even did land a little jump.  I enjoyed learning how to do a  flip through the powder as I was falling so my skis would be in a better position to get back up.  (just to give the full picture – this isn’t an airborne back flip – no this is falling face first towards the snow, throwing both of my skis over my head and sliding ski first so it would be easier to get back up! – nothing graceful about it – but once I did manage to get back up on my skis and continue on down as though I had never fallen!!!)

There were a couple runs that were near perfect through the untracked snow, through the trees and over the bumps.  A couple runs where I did find that perfect line our guide suggested we shot for at the start of each new run. 

I believe I will be a better skier having made this trip. (Yes, I’ll have to get over the stiff and sore muscles – but I will!).  But even if I’m not a better skier, I found my  pluck – having or showing determined courage in the face of difficulties and I’ll take that!

It’s not the first sign of my plucky nature.

Writing has been a bit like powder skiing for me as well.  I struggle with grammer, spelling and find it difficult to stay committed when that great story in my head just doesn’t come out on the page. I have been terrified of feedback (sort of like trees wells and moguls on our mountain!)

Starting my blog took an effort and know I have gone through hearing no feedback from a post , great feedback,  mean feedback – over and over.  I don’t wake with sore muscles but sometimes I wake up dwelling on someone comments.

Still I love to write. My heart sings.  I show my courage, to show up and work to speak from my heart.  It’s especially cool when I find a great story line and ride it through – editing, spell-checking, wrestling with the best way to make a connection.

Yes, be it skiing or writing,  life , or really most any great day, it’s about finding the best untracked line.  Your line and sticking with it.

Bottom-line, that’s life.  We know some day it will end or it’s very possible our heart will be broken over and over along the way  – will we take the risk?  Will we have the spirit and courage to find our best line through – even the rough spots – even when we fall?

Funny thing is, I bet if you asked your own heart – even if it’s been broken many times – the answer would be – yes – I will do it again!

I’m glad I got to ski untracked powder.

I’m glad I write

I’m glad I have opened my heart.

And if I when I have  the chance to to do any of the above again.

I say – YES!

Where’s the powder in your life?  Where have you been invited to open your heart, live full-out,  even when it’s not rational?

Did you say yes??  I encourage you to say yes!

Be Plucky!!

Special thanks to Merrill Lynch, specifically Jamie Carbo and Mike in Whitefish, MT and to Great Northern Powder Guides – you guys are awesome!!

 

 

 

 

Follow Your Heart Day

14542424_1330145196998042_865427924870034475_oValentine’s Day, the day of romance and hearts! Right? Cards, flowers, chocolates and gifts are shared on February 14, either openly or anonymously in the service of romance and following one’s heart.

The first time I even noticed the day I was in an airport in February 1999 and had recently met CrisMarie. I found myself looking at all the cards in the rack. I was smiling and felt the warmth, joy and elation of opening my heart to someone. I was quite thrilled to find just the right card and for the first time write some romantic note that spoke of my feelings.

I had every intention of giving her that card on Valentine’s Day…but it wasn’t until a year later that I found the card I’ d stashed away and finally had the courage to pass it along!

That’s right. I stalled, stumbled and almost walked away from the love of my life because the stories in my head, designed to protect and keep me safe, were controlling the choices of my life!

It’s funny, in my 20’s when I had life-threatening cancer I learned to follow my heart and take a chance, but when I was older and healthy, following the nudges and wisdom of my heart wasn’t so easy or graceful.

I have some pretty strong heart protectors, and frankly, for some pretty good reasons! Those patterns aren’t overcome easily for someone like me! So yes, I stumble, stall, procrastinate on those things that matter to my heart, but I have learned about my tendencies and also how to do it differently.

My Heart and The Horses

In 2011, CrisMarie talked me into taking a Koelle Simpson horse workshop. I was in awe watching Koelle work with the horses. The moment I stepped into the arena myself was life-changing. My heart opened similar to when I met CrisMarie.

There was an invitation to apply to become an Equus coach. Now, I was still terrified of these amazing beings, and had absolutely no background with horses.

Aware of my tendencies, I made note of my resistance and decided to apply anyway, and I got accepted!

Now you might think the path was set, and I would go with grace and ease towards starting an awesome Equus Coaching practice here in Montana, horse country.

No – that’s not what happened!

While in the actual training sessions with Koelle, I was doing great, but back at home I’d procrastinate, stall and not even go and work with the horses. UGH!

Again, having learned about my resistance I have developed strategies to work with my natural tendencies. I turned towards the fear and started using the many pattern-busters I’ve developed of the years. Pretty soon I found just the right ranch close to me and started my practice.

Now I have regular visits with the horses, and I bring my clients and teams out to Stillwater Whisper Ranch. Yes, the dream is happening. Without hiccups and bumps – no – but one thing I have learned is that which makes your heart beat, and even ache, is worth the effort.

So what about you?

I know there are other people like me – who stop themselves: put the Valentine’s Day card in the desk drawer, don’t send their manuscript to the publisher, never apply for that dream job, don’t sign up for the training they long to take.

Because it’s not logical, practical or safe.

That’s why I designed Get Unstuck: Build Your Mojo to help people like you and me!

If you’re like me, you probably have some part of you that protects you for some good reason. But that doesn’t have to keep you from following your heart and inner wisdom.

Build Your Mojo  gives you a proven, step-by-step path to face and work with your resistance.

You will move forward on what matters to you. You will find your way through your procrastination, distraction and avoidance to finally move forward successfully on what matters to your heart!

Sign up for Build Your Mojo  to make this Valentine’s Day a follow your heart day! You’ll get the support you need to make your career, project, relationship dream a reality.

PLUS FOR TWO DAYS ONLY – I’m offering a 50% OFF SALE! That’s right save 50% if you sign up today! It will expire tomorrow so make sure you take advantage now!!

Click here, go to the bottom of the page, hit the button and put in PROMO CODE: valentine2017 to get this special offer!

FINDING THE FIELD BY RIDING THE WAVES

IMG_0621I wish I could say I was busy fighting for what’s right, taking a stand or working towards something that would somehow make a difference in what seems to be our country’s current trajectory.

I read the news and I am upset by what seems like a surreal demonstration of either a dictator in the making or a immature boy trying to puff-up and run the government. What is even odder to me than watching this wild display of immaturity and bullying is seeing others go right along with it – support it – and ignore the very people who our government is designed to represent.

Oddly though I am not compelled to protest, march or actively rage against the unfolding political path.

Why?

I am not sure but something in me just doesn’t think that is a solution that will work. I notice I find much more possibility and encouragement through engaging in diverse groups of people working towards creating a path forward in their community, organization or family.

I find myself listening more and discovering that there is a very deep level of discontent that has now surfaced through this election process and is even louder now that the administration has changed hands.

I have believed for a long time that there isn’t such a thing as righting a wrong done. It’s just not that simple. The very nature of the statement suggest that there is a right or a wrong – a black or a white. This, I think, is the biggest pain point of being human – polarization.

We keep trying to figure it out. To right wrongs or fix the problem. Oddly though that effort just doesn’t make the gap between you and me smaller or any less of a gap. I can not fix what I may have done to you. You can not fix what you may have ever done to me.

I can find peace but oddly that does not come from the outside. It comes from within – when I get beyond my own right/wrong thinking.

I don’t want to sound too Rumi-like here though I love that poem – beyond right and wrong – there is a field – I will meet you there.

I know that field is out there. I also know I live in this very human experience that is you, me and other.

Both things are true – we are one – there is not an other – and yet there is.

The paradox, the pain and yes, the pleasure of that very human dilemma is always present.

So though I don’t know that there are really victims and perpetrators – I do need to own that I am both if indeed there are and not simply try to rise above that agony – but tolerate the pain of being one or the other and both!

That’s really the only path through this current trajectory for me.

I can’t make Trump wrong. Because his very transparent display of child-like narcissism is simply a huge projection of my own narcissistic qualities.

I don’t like what I see and I really would like to rage against what seems like a mad man – but all that I keep hearing is that mad man is me.
Find my own intolerance and work with it.
Be in my world and listen, engage with my neighbor.

When I hear what I judge to be prejudice or bullying – speak up.
Not necessarily to say – “you are wrong”.
But to say – I don’t like that and stand along side with as much compassion and curiosity as I have to offer myself or another – instead of right or wrong.
That journey for me is much harder than fighting a monster on the front page or in a White House.

I know that isn’t the journey for everyone. Some are called to speak out and play on much larger stages.

It will take all kinds to somehow ride this wave.

But I am convinced building a platform of any type of righteousness isn’t going to work. Being ‘right’ isn’t going to get rid of ‘wrong’.
Frankly in my righteousness I believe I may just be making the wave bigger!

It’s time to ride the wave (s) – on a surf board, in boats, maybe a yacht or bigger vessel should you be so inclined or able. But don’t put down an anchor – not yet – stay open – listen and see those riding around you – see the water – not the difference between your boat or mine.

May be we’ll get through this. May be we won’t.

I want to believe we can make and we can do this together – let’s work to get to that field out there beyond right/wrong.

Running Into the New Year!

IMG_3234January is getting off to a fast start!  We kicked off the year with our own week of visioning and planning.  I’ll add our vision boards here because they were fun to create and I think captured each of us, meaning CrisMarie and I, as the unique people we are and our interest together.

We’ve also been into the final edits for our book, The Beauty of Conflict, Harnessing Your Team’s Competive Advantage!  It is exciting and it has been a journey!  We are hoping to launch in March!!

We have a number of team client gigs happening.  We were up in Victoria working with Biocybernaurt.  What an amazing team of folks with quite an awesome offering.  This company works with neurofeedback and assisting people learning to tap their alpha brain waves to work through trauma, problem-solve and take the learning into their lives.   We’ll get a chance to try the technology and I am sure looking forward to seeing the possibilities!!

Soon we’ll be heading to the east coast to work with SkillsUSA.  I love their mission: to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.  At this point in our country this is really needed and timely!

We’ll also be continuing with Wolfe Mining – we love these guys and grateful to get to keep working with Terri!

There are a number of other opportunities brewing.  CrisMarie is doing more executive coaching in PNW area. Plus we are committed this year to having on-going FREE trainings in the area of Having Difficult Conversations!  As well, I’ll be offering series of Build Your Mojo: Get Unstruck (the first one starts February 21!) and BE Brave is on the schedule and you’ll be hearing more!   There will be two Find Your Mojo in Montana dates!  (the first one in May!!!)

So lots happening with thrive!

I am also excited about being at the Faculty/Assistants Weekend happening starting this friday at The Haven.  I love the energy of having faculty and assistants join together and engage in ideas, connection and ways of continuing to energize The Haven!

So there’s a lot.   Sometimes I can feel a bit overwhelmed and spin in too many directions.

I admit with the book, our different blog post and regular 406 articles, I find keeping up on my personal blog quite challenging.  Also my own writing project can take a backseat to everything else.

It is is hard to keep my focus and ensure I am addressing the right priorities!

What I have learned is that even though I resist structure – structure really does help.  I had planned at one point to have my word for the year be inspirited.  I like that word.  However, I think I will be better served to have my word be Structure!

There are many dreams I have for 2017.  I am also aware that aside from all that is happening in my world – there’s even more challenges/opportunities facing my country, the globe.

I don’t want to just spin around the sun this year.  Yes, I will be journeying around the sun as I have done now for many years.  But I am planning to make this year fun and productive.  I think that calls for some structure and a bit of discipline as I go.

I will keep you posted.  If you want to join CrisMarie and I for a FREE training visit and like our FB page at #THRIVEINCMT.

You may also be wanting to ensure you get unstruck and moving on your dreams  and goals – if so – check out Build Your Mojo!!

Finally, be sure to find your way to The Haven.  There’s tons happening there!  Take a Come Alive, join Carole Ames and I for Living Alive Phase  1 in April, bring you and your partner to a Couples Alive.  These are just a few of the options!

The year is moving and as my good friend, Linda Nicholls said recently it is time to Awake Up and Grow Up!  I wasn’t too fond of the comment at first.  I may have interpreted her statement as a need to be more adult-like.  But I have to agree – it’s time.  Doesn’t mean I have to leave any parts behind – but I do need to take responsibility and not assume it’s anyone else’s job to deal with or make space for what matters to me.

I’d love to hear from you – what’s on you plate for 2017!  If you have a word or plan for 2017, let me know!!

 

It’s Been Too Long & Life Goes On

It’s been a long time!

My last blog came just after the election.  I felt inspired to write and request some space, some time to think and not have to answer questions about how we could possibly elect someone like Trump.

I didn’t think it would be this long.

Life moved on.

I have a business to keep moving forward and a community of friends that remind me that even if Trump has won, we will go forward.

I did find some peace for myself.  Politics is a crazy, impersonal sport that has very little to do with the true hearts of people.  I say this because when I spoke to people I knew that voted for Trump, they were not racist or sexist people.  They were frightened, angry, disheartened about their own circumstances and lives and somehow thought that Trump would do things different.

I may not have agreed with their choice and I get we are here now.  There’s no turning back.  We got Trump.

I admit I lost a little heart when I saw the front page headline of the NYTimes with Obama saying he would have won a third term over Trump.  That just sort of pissed me off!

Really – Obama, can’t you do better than that.  Personally I think that was just a cheap shot on your way out.  Not really like the man I think you are.  I got use to hearing that talk from the likes of Trump – but not you – disappointing!

Anyway it’s time to move on!  We, the people, each have a life to live and people we care about to protect and make sure politics don’t continue to get in the way of talking, connecting, bridging and actually making our country and the world a better place to live  for everyone!!!

img_05772016 is coming to a close and even though this election has made a lot of it challenging there’s much more to a year than what makes the news!

We each have our lives that often don’t have a whole helluva a lot to do with headlines.  Even the people who are making those headlines usually are so much more than what we read about or see on the screen.

Life is NOT lived through media and politics!

So for me, this year has been about finding my Mojo here in Montana. Of course I still visit many other places for work, for connections with family, friends and some strong doses of chi building and heart healing.

However, this year I have wanted to do more right here!  It helps that I found the world’s best horse whisperer, Bobbi Hall and some very special horses.  I love the work I am getting to do with clients, friends, teams and myself out at Stillwater Horse Whisper Ranch!

I love that CrisMarie and I have our book written and will be launching, The Beauty of Conflict – Harnessing Your Teams’ Competitive Advantage, early in 2017!  It’s been a journey writing this book and I am thrilled to get it out into the world.

We’ve also been speaking and connecting more here in the valley.  We are engaged in PowerHouseMT, spoke at AERO and got to meet and write about some awesome couples here in the Flathead doing business together!

I found out there’s a Haven right here in my own hometown.  It’s for writer’s and it’s quite a amazing experience, offered by our local NYTimes bestselling writer and good friend of Bobbi Hall, Laura Munson.  She’s awesome and I believe we’ll be doing some more work together!  It’s amazing when the dots connect!!

The year’s also had some low points.  There have been some friendships ending and programs canceled.  It’s hard letting go of something that you think is going to be solid and yet it’s not.  Sure that’s been hard.

Still I don’t regret, the time spent or the acknowledgement of the need to let go.

It’s provided important lessons, I don’t like to say, “I quit”.  Especially when it comes to people.  But may be sometimes that is just what’s needed for all to be able to move on and build from the lessons learned!

We haven’t had our best financial year and that plays a factor in how we each deal with not meeting our expectations.  Were we successful?  Yes – but revenue/profit does matter and so even with some great learning, fulfilling work and new lines of business – it’s not easy looking at the final numbers.

This year, I traveled back to my hometown.  It’s been thirty plus years since I left.  I went with my mom to take my father’s ashes.  (Now that is a funny story worth writing and sharing but not today!) It wasn’t an easy decision but it was a good one.  I made it and I stayed okay with myself.  Visited the old homestead.  Acknowledged my Dad’s wishes for ashes scattered across Virginia and managed not to get reactive!

I reconnected with a friend from way back.  We shared some stories and some similarities about our journey living with our own versions of ‘crazy’.  I honestly never expected to have that type of connection.  Actually no longer thought I needed it and may be that is just why it was time for it to happen, I didn’t need it.  But it sure felt like something worth having.

I enjoy this time of year.  Reflecting, imagining and celebrating.

So the year is wrapping up and it’s been a good one.  I hope you will be inspired to take some time to reflect and share your year.

It’s a great opportunity to re-member and make space for whatever is due to come next!

Wishing you a wonderful end to 2016 and a great 2017!!

 

Hold Your Fire, Please

My chest aches. I’m not finding much comfort in my furious friends who are ready to fight back. Which is odd because generally I’m the first person to fight for the underdog.

But as I listen to the anger, projected on the people who didn’t vote, the people who did but voted for Trump, I don’t feel good. I feel icky.

When I watch the American flag being burned by people in one of our ally countries – I feel sad.

I want to write my international friends be they in Canada, UK or Mexico and ask that they hold their fire, please.

Yes, we are a country in deep conflict right now. The full extend of the division of our united people is easily seen through the election where Trump won as a self-proclaimed racist, xenophobic, sexist white male by getting the electoral vote. However, Hillary won the majority vote of the people. One a neo-nationalist, Trump and one a neo-liberalist, Hillary.

I like Hillary. Where I may have failed my neighbor is not going below the vicious hate I saw being directed at her. I didn’t like the delivery and so just dismissed it without speaking up.

With Trump, I haven’t been able to get beyond the vile presentation – the bullying, child-like behavior whenever there’s negative feedback and a general lack of respect for the job is being asked to take on, the Presidency of the United States.

As a result, I did not hear the real pain of half of my country.
That’s on me.

I am getting an understanding of it now. There are people who sit in the middle of our country who don’t believe their opinions and views are being heard. They believe government is focused on programs for people other than themselves, and they are being asked to pay for those programs when frankly, they are not making enough money to do it.

There are people who carry guns and use them well and don’t want gun controls that will infringe upon their rights to responsibly bare arms.

There are people who live on the border of Mexico that have had to face and deal with challenges due to illegal immigrants, and worry that if they say anything they’ll be called a racist.

I think white men and yes, some white women, feel threatened by being told they’re privileged. These people are told to shut up, it’s no longer your turn and they just don’t understand the impact of their so-called privilege.

These are just some of the issues I think Trump spoke to and as a result this LARGE group of people felt heard.

Do I agree? Well, that is not the important point.
The real question for me to be asking is, “Did I even listen?” and “Will I listen now?”

We all want to be heard. Often we can live without getting our way if we believe someone has truly heard us and considered our point of view with real interest and regard.

I am not sure I have done that to those people, which is why my heart aches.

Because now I will be living with a President that did listen. I’m not really sure I believe he has good intent for those that he stirred up, but he did listen and did it better than most of us.

So for all my desire for equality and freedom for all – I failed.

I don’t want to keep failing. I also don’t want to see us lose the ground we have gained because we have made progress. I will still speak up to racism. I will speak up to sexism.

But I want you to know, if you don’t realize already, that racism, sexism is within each of us. It’s not relegated to privileged, the rednecks, or Trump.

In my opinion, we’ve got to start really listening to each other and not just fighting back and continuing the cycle of winning and fighting again.

Yes, be angry and find ways to express that anger responsibly and then get back up and relate to each other! Because “We The People” are ALL people – not just the ones who agree with me and even those people who hate me because of who I am. I know that is painful.

I’m not great at listening without defending myself especially when someone is attacking. It is hard to stay open and be curious. However, I can’t just keep saying my own point over and over again. Or run the people I hate out of town.

Frankly, I think the only way to break out of this hell we are now in is to actually try to listen. Not to the press, not to the media but to my neighbor, your neighbor who very well might have voted for Trump.

Working to Live From My Heart Not My Hate & Fear

heartcrackedI am sitting pondering what to say after reading the headlines about where we are as a country.

I don’t want this to be a political post about who you should vote for or why.  Sure I have a opinion and I have voted.  Probably so have many of you.  Plus a lot of my regular readers are Canadian so just watching and wondering – what they hell are we up to!

It seems people around the world are watching and mostly either laughing, crying or fearful that somehow democracy has failed in a country that was founded on the idea and stood strong in defending those noble roots.

Have we lost it?

It would be so easy to just make this mess all about the names on the ticket – Hillary and Trump.  To make the issue about how they are such poor options.

But really?

That is such a cop-out.

Whatever, is surfacing is something each of us is participating in.

I am a believer in using conflict and this situation is putting that belief to a very strong test.

I work with individuals, couples, leaders and teams.  I speak to the importance of being willing to be vulnerable and curious.  Yet, I admit I have struggled to stay open and when people ask me what I am doing to make a difference.  I admit I have many times remained hidden in my opinion because of my fear of rage, retort and the venom that comes back.

So I have to ask myself, what will I do and who will I be on Wednesday if the elections results reflect something I don’t like or fear.

So much of this election has been about fear and hate.  I am not  talking about the candidates,  I am talking about us, the people.  

I’d like to say – not me.

But I can not say that.  I have moments of rage, hate and fear.  I have protected myself from owning my own shadow by projecting it out on people I thought were far worse.  But if I am honest and do the only work I have any control, I most look at my own part in this crazy process.

Maybe I am not standing on some political stage where everything I do is reviewed.  Maybe I don’t have the power to let my own fear and hate change the state of the world.  No, I don’t have control over armies, bombs or people’s right to seek refuge.  No, I don’t have that kind of reach.

But I would be kidding myself if I didn’t know my interactions matter.  I do and can make a difference.  Maybe not on the world stage but how I could I possibly know if that one person I screamed at in hate or recoiled from in fear won’t have the power to self-destruct or destruct a family, a community or country some day.

How could I not know that one kind and honest conversation made someone else do the same.

Don’t get me wrong I am actually not suggesting that making all my interactions positive is the solution.  Because frankly, I think that approach is just as damaging.

I mean show up real, raw, vulnerable.  Owning what I am thinking without just projecting it out without awareness and choice.  That is not an easy task.  But I do think one worth living. I think it is the only real path towards intimacy and connection.  I also believe that to be human does mean we will  make mistakes.  But we can recover if we are willing to look at our own part and not make it something outside of ourselves.

I have spent years working with couples and so often couples arrive in a crisis because of a big event – an affair or some type of event that seems to crack instantly the foundation of trust and possibility.  However, over and over in working with these couples I see that it isn’t the big events that ripped at the foundation but the little things that never got talked or addressed.

I think that is the issue in our country.  Our politics are simply a reflection of not dealing directly and honestly and with each.

This hate didn’t just surface because of Hillary and Trump.  We have been on this trajectory for a long time.

Now we have surfaced the beast inside.  Will we embrace, look at and own it?  Or will we try to kill?

The challenge is not an easy one.  It is one that can only take place in the hearts and minds of each of us as people.  This isn’t just a political problem.

We all have work to do.

Will we?

I want to wake up Wednesday and have my person win.  I admit it.  I think the world will be a better place.

But I do not know that I am right.  It’s my story – a story – not truth.

What I do know is that whatever happens, I want to wake up on Wednesday (actually every morning)  with a renewed commitment to not point the finger outward but to turn 180 and ask myself how will I participate in the interactions where I can have an impact? Will I live from my heart or from my fear and hate.

That my friend is the only thing any of us can do – including Hillary and Trump!

I have faith that all people have that as a choice!

I even have faith in Hillary and Trump.

I have faith in my ability and yours to make a difference one interaction at time.

I really don’t even need to wait until Wednesday, neither do you.

We can change the trajectory now!  Yes, we are cracked – but I don’t believe we are broken!