Indeed, I Do Have A Spiritual Practice!

A few years back, I was down in the San Francisco area participating in a program called Transformational Lessons. I was there with about 40 or 50 other folks. We started with introductions where we were asked to share our spiritual practices. I listened as each person spoke about either a yoga practice, a meditation/prayer, or mantra, and/or some guru or ashram where they were currently studying or regularly attending. As my turn arrived, I wondered what I was going to say.

I couldn’t really relate to the question, nor did I have any idea of an answer. At that time I was not at all interested in yoga (too tight for that) and I sort believed chanting, meditation, and ashrams were all about transcending this human experience–and I wasn’t interested in that.

However, I did consider myself a spiritual person. Finally, as my turn arrived, I spoke about the one practice that I believed transformed my life and has regularly provided me a pathway to my most spiritual experiences – connecting with other people in a deep and personal way that expands my reality. The practice involves utilizing The Haven communication model.

When I mentioned my practice, I could tell a few people did not understand how a communication model could be a spiritual practice. Since that day, I have regularly referred to The Model as a spiritual practice. These days, I practice yoga, enjoy chanting, and even regularly do some form of meditation. However, I still firmly believe the most spiritual experiences I have come from those times when I practice intimacy through open, honest, vulnerable communication – the essence of the communication model.

Almost thirty years ago I was introduced to The Model. Now after years of teaching it, practicing it and applying it in every relationship that matters to me, I still learn new things, discover deeper connections and expand my world.

Why? Because to practice The Model authentically, I have to fully own my judgments and whatever feelings I am generating. I have to take full responsibility for whatever experience I am creating or having. This requires discipline and can be hard. However, even more challenging at times, is suspending my own rightness about my views or opinions and listening with heart and curiousity to someone else. When done well there is an opening that takes me way beyond the limits of my human ego experience, providing a moment of loving that reminds me of the quote: “To love another person is to see the face of God”.

To me, that is what defines a spiritual practice, an experience that allows me to see the face of God. Something that I will likely never fully master and will continue work on as a way to open doors and bridge differences that not only transforms my life but profoundly impacts the world around me.

If you want to discover more about this model and possibly start you own practice, visit: The Haven website, or better yet take any of their core programs.

Finding All Of Me!!

I am thrilled to be writing this blog as a way of supporting CrisMarie’s adventure into teleseminars! Thursday she’ll be doing her first solo online seminar. She has decided to focus this one on her interpretation of The Haven’s selves model.

I can always use a reminder of the many ways I avoid accepting and living with all of me. My ideal self would love to think I have this model down. (What is there to learn?) But the truth is, my actual self often isn’t quite as ideal as I would like.

For CrisMarie, an Olympic athlete, I find her take on this model refreshing because she focuses on tapping back into the authentic self. Of course in the end, it’s really about accepting all parts of me.

If you are interested in joining the teleseminar please follow this link:  Join us on Thursday April 14,2011 at 2PM PST.

Working With My Little Ego-Self!!

I am not really sure I am up for writing this blog. However, I know writing is often very helpful for me in finding a path through things I don’t really like feeling.

To set the context without giving details, I am having a tough time because I put myself out for something I thought I’d be good at, and someone else was selected. Now really, this sounds like a childhood story of not being picked as the captain at recess. The truth is, it feels a lot like that, and I sure wish it didn’t.

Right now I wish I had never thrown my name into the hat. It would have been much easier. I realize I have probably done that a few times in my life, not admitting I wanted something, watching someone else get picked without letting on that I was ever interested.

The problem for me with that approach is that I work with leaders and a leader’s job is to be willing to step up and be vulnerable. There’s a lot of vulnerability in saying you want the job, thinking you can do it. It is easy to see the ego in that effort, and sure, there has to be some self-confidence and desire to even say, “pick me”.

In my case, vulnerability may be a bit harder to see. I wanted the job but I wasn’t the one picked, and now I have to find a way to still be willing to play. That’s the tough part. I want to pull back and not get involved.

I want to say they didn’t pick the right person. I wish I wasn’t like that. The worst part is the humbling aspects of my very unattractive need to make the winner wrong.

Somehow that keeps the pain away. On some level I know this heartache isn’t all from this one event. That’s part of the problem. My rational brain could easily help me out of this mess. The person picked is actually pretty good. The truth is, I think the person selected is pretty regularly picked to be captain and I guess I wanted my shot.

Now I am trying to find some graceful path through this. I am working to embrace the ego aspect of myself that hurts and does some unattractive ego things; I am doing my best to avoid doing these ego-related activities out loud or at least not outside the circle of friends who know I am venting.

The next step is to reach out to the winner. As I mentioned before, it’s not like this person is the problem. I actually have enjoyed some of the work we have done together in the past. Maybe I will get to a place where I can find the best role for me to play.

I really wish could transcend my little ego self. But I have never been any good at transcending anything. The best I can do is dive right into my overly active storytelling self and do my best to ride through all the feelings that come up. I’d like to think I don’t spill them everywhere as I find my way through wild range of emotions that surface when I am hurting. I think I am better than I use to be. But there are still some occasional splashes and I need to do my best in cleaning things up as needed.

This is no hero’s journey, it’s more like a fool’s jump. I think I feel more alive as a fool rather than a hero. It doesn’t feel as comfortable, but life isn’t about being comfortable or looking good. It is about being real. This pain feels real and I imagine this too shall pass!!

Recovering From My Blogging Blunder

It’s tough when my latest blog is old news before it gets sent to readers. I feel responsible for getting another post up quickly.

Technical difficulties resulted in yesterday’s blog arriving after last night’s game. So now I am quickly working to recover. I wish I could say my cold was gone and my head was clear. This blog might be easier if that was the case. Unfortunately, I am still a bit clogged and tired from a cold that is very, very slowly moving through my system!

As a result of this cold, I missed some fun events. Last night I had some great plans both for the big game and for supporting a local fundraising event for the school of which I am a board member. I didn’t think it was right to show up at the event coughing and contaminating everyone while asking for money to support our programs. Still, I would have liked to participate. I had also intended to watch the big game on my friend’s big HD TV. We had plans for sushi and basketball. Instead, I watched the game on my very small iPhone screen and ate Rice Dream. Not the same.

So I am not loving this opportunity my body is presenting me. I generally don’t do well with any type of health issues that demand I rest. I have trouble slowing down. Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I am driven or a workaholic, I am not that kind of fast or productive person. I like my walks, jogs, yoga, and connecting activities like lunch at The Green Tea House, or a movie with friends. So when I can not do those things, I find it hard.

I wish there was an easy way to get through a cold. The fact that I am even getting this post completed is a sign of improvement. At some point I will likely take Bailey out for a short walk in the woods. I may even make it to The Green Tea House. Life will return to normal.

But for now, this is the best blog I have in me for a quick recovery from my blogging blunder.

Butler Again!!!

There are so many possible blog topics:  Butler University in the men’s NCAA National Basketball Championship game again, my saga with a cold that wouldn’t quit, more lessons through Bailey—and those are just the simple choices.  There are always the heavy hitter topics, like radiation leaks, earthquakes, the Middle East and stuff like that.

Let’s start with Butler.  Of course, I am rooting for Butler tonight.  There are so many reasons why.  Once again, this small school with way less money and resources is taking on a giant.  I even like UConn.  Well, I like some of the players.  Kemba Walker has a great story, and I have no doubt all of Harlem will be rooting for him to shine.  However, I still have to go for the little school with the geeky looking coach.  Tonight, Butler I hope takes home the championship.  I am rooting for the coach who is a math and science guy and who left the great corporate ladder to take the assistant coaching job because he loves basketball.  I am rooting for the team that has the higher graduation percentage and who isn’t under an NCAA investigation.  This isn’t a mistake this time around.  This Butler team came right back to the Final Four and back to the championship game.  They are not some wild card.  Tonight, I want to see them take home the prize!

I could go on and attempt to talk about other noteworthy topics. However, the cold I mentioned is demanding I quit trying to write long interesting pieces and wrap this blog up quickly. I think taking another nap may be more important than sharing deep insights.

Plus, if I don’t post this soon, the big game will be over and I will have missed adding my two cents along with all of the other bloggers out there about Butler and basketball.