Category Archives: Vision

Our Un-United States

Enjoying a bit of downtime after two very full weeks up at Haven.  In just a couples days we’ll be celebrating the 4th of July here in the USA.  I have noticed a number of postings related to how hard this 4th of July will be as we here in the United States seem riddled with uncertainty and divide.

I have to say, I totally get how there is a bit of a challenge in how to best celebrate our country’s freedom with so much devision constantly making the headlines.

I find myself wrestling with my frustration with our current President and what seems like daily headlines demonstrating the irreconcilable differences between decision-making parties and elected officials.

Indeed at times it is heartbreaking to read stories of people’s lives impacted by decisions being made often based on a desire to just overturn policies made by the previous administration. Or creating new policies out of fear or threat.  It seems as though our politicians have lost the connection to the people and the impact of these sweeping changes.

It’s also hard to read almost daily about another shooting involving someone opening gunfire in a public place.

Yes, our country currently seems very wobbly and quite divided.  Not much to celebrate in terms of a United States.

Yet somehow I find myself wanting to connect.  To share why I do love this country inspite of the politics and the current direction.

Deep down I do believe in the people.  Even the people who think very differently than me!

I have sat in circles at The Haven where people from very different lives have found pathways for bridging differences and creating relationships that last through pain, sorrow, anger and joy.

I have worked with leaders and teams where the anger and the frustration was creating division and with support, these teams dive into the mess and new possibilities emerge.

It’s the work I love.  Not avoiding the messy but owning it and working through to new possibilities.  However, those new possibilities won’t come without embracing  both our shadow and our light!

What I’d like to do for this 4th of July is identify and share what I do love about this country and what I find difficult.

I love that I live in Montana – it’s beautiful and somehow even with our differences, people come together here to support each other when there’s a call for help.

I love that even with some horrible political stuff happening – communities across the country are gathering and standing forward together.

What I find difficult.  The current political fighting between the right and the left.  The rising levels of violence and the fact that it is hard to sit and talk about our differences.

I imagine I’ll have more to reflect on in terms of my answers over the next couple days.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear from any of you celebrating this 4th of July – what do you love about this country and what are you finding difficult!  (to my Canadian friends feel free to join in since you just had your big 150 – what do you love about Canada and what’s do you find difficult)

That I can even put this out as a question and almost guarantee I will get some very different types of responses is another reason I do love this country.

I think the 4th isn’t just a time to celebrate what’s beautiful but to also celebrate and reflect on the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

I do think that is the only path to re-uniting us!

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

Find Your Mojo In Montana

You know I love living, laughing and hanging out in Montana!  I also love that I am bringing more of thrive! to Montana.

Our thrive! focus started with our six week Be Brave program. What we’ve heard is that many of you were very attracted to the 3 Day In Person Retreat rather than the six weeks. So we listened.

So we have adjusted and created: Finding Your Mojo in Montana with you in mind. It is for you if you are:14715633_1330130983666130_7704171479520731284_o

  • Procrastinating on what you want most
  • Unable to move forward on an important project
  • Struggling to take action on your heart-centered goal
  • Hesitating because you think you can’t be successful
  • Wanting to hang out with us!

We’ll take you through the steps to see your situation, goal or project in a new light giving you the inspiration and support to move forward. We are incorporating the horses, mi14666096_1330131053666123_5571803453701076254_n1nd-body, creativity, yoga, gourmet food, luxury accommodations and much more. Just get yo14695589_1330131060332789_7915947341387174241_nurself to Whitefish and we’ll take care of the rest.

We wanted this to be intimate so this All-Inclusive 3 Day Retreat in Whitefish is limited to just 8 people.14711621_1330138010332094_8586158324706217639_o14542424_1330145196998042_865427924870034475_o

Dates are: November 11-13th, 2016
It is coming up fast! Hey we are last minute planners!

Good News:

Bring Your Friend Discount

      for you and your friend, making it just $1500 USD

 

 

How To Build Your Mojo and Accomplish Your Dreams

14355106_1447679188581726_6618664619152362553_nI get incredibly excited when I get the opportunity to help someone shift from “I must be doing this wrong,” or “I’m broken,”  to engaged, embodied living!

It’s what I am passionate about – because PEOPLE – YOU ARE NOT BROKEN nor are you doing everything wrong! This is simply a crazy story line that you have somehow gotten stuck believing.

Sure, sometimes the outside results are not indicating the success you imagined, and maybe there are some ways to tip things in the your preferred direction.

Building Your Mojo is for you if you:

  • Keep procrastinating on something that means a lot to you
  • Go forward then stop and give up on your dreams
  • Self-sabotage your success
  • Long for the ability to bring your great ideas to fruition

Let’s be clear, with my clients it’s not about a lack of competence or some fatal flaw that stops them from moving forward and succeeding.

No, most of the time it’s got a more to do with owning and opening to your increasing velocity and using your own brand of genius (or as I call it Mojo) to get to the next level.

Let’s face it – many of us are wary and afraid of abundance, unlimited possibilities, loving and shining brightly, thinking thoughts like —

  • OMG if I shine, I may leave people behind
  • if I succeed, I will fall harder later
  • I’ll become too full of myself
  • I’ll become one of those obnoxious happy, positive people

These are all tapes I have running through my mind. I haven’t gotten rid of them. I know there are some folks that have, but not me.  I have discovered ways, however, of letting the tapes run without losing my larger connection to source, magic and my mojo!

If you struggle with your own version of “I must be doing this wrong!” Or “I’m broken” and you want to try something different – Mojo Coaching might just be for you!

So let’ s talk about what Mojo Coaching has to offer right now!

Right now I am test-driving a new 3 part online Building Your Mojo Group, and I want you to sign up to try this out with me!

What’s in it for you:
• Practical tools you can use to build your Mojo immediately!
• Feedback and support as you take Mojo action in your life!
• Fun learning and relating with me and other Mojo seekers!

This will be a one hour group meeting on October 5, 12 and 19 at 1:30 PM PST

This one will be FREE!!! What have you got to lose?

  • What I am looking for from you:
  • That you can identify an area in your life where you are stalling and know you want to explore how to take action.
  • That you are game for test-driving a new online group process on Zoom. You will need computer access and a willingness to ride the waves of a new medium.
  • A willingness to practice some new tools, meaning homework!
  • You are open and willing to share your experience with others as a way of learning and supporting each other.
  • Plus, you’ll give me straight feedback about what works and what doesn’t for you as we go!

If this is you, email me right now at susan@thriveinc.com. Tell me why you want to try Build Your Mojo. I would love to work with you!  I will let you know if there are open spots.
Let’s do this!

One of My Favorite — Mojo Magic Stories:

My body is a problem

Sally’s initial reason for stepping into Mojo Coaching was around her slower than desired launch of her new service line in her coaching business. I know you are probably wondering what her launch success has to do with her body being a problem.

Well that’s the cool thing about Mojo Coaching. Finding your Mojo to move to a new, uncharted possibility, rarely comes from where you think it will. Most often it comes from tapping into unknown, or exiled parts of yourself, and bringing new breath and life to what has been shutdown or unconsidered.

In looking at her focus area, the launch, it was clear that she had everything in place, yet she was stalling. She had a strong belief that the slow movement was due to her incompetence in one of the business target areas. However, I am a strong believer that often it is important too not get too focused on just the surface but go deeper and broader.

So I asked Sally, “When you think about the launch what do you notice in your body?” Sally shot back quickly, “My body isn’t a resource. It’s a problem.”

She and I both noticed the amount of energy she had in that statement. Sally was curious about the belief and also about how that might actually be related to the launch success.

The big shift came during a ten-minute session. On a call she had scheduled, right when she was packing and heading out on an important trip. Being the responsible person she was, she had given some thought to canceling but did not want to inconvenience me.

About five minutes into the call, I asked, “Would it be better to cancel?”

“Well, I thought about that yesterday…and decided “No, I can not do that.”

I commented, “Instead of thinking about it – how about feeling about it right now.”

She laughed, “Of course, I did not do the breath, feel and check in with my body.” She did and decided to finish the session right then.

Later she shared how powerful that one shift had been. Not thinking, but breathing and using her body as a resource, was not only useful to make the best decision regarding our session, but as result, she was more regularly stopping the habitual – think it through – and instead started taking a breath and listening to her body.

It didn’t have to be a big deal and she was amazed at the quick and valuable input offered!!! She had more energy and vitality as a result!

The Secrets About Boundaries and Me

I consider myself someone who is quite good at speaking up for myself in general.  As a result, I have spent years working with clients, supporting and encouraging them to find their own voice and risk speaking up even if it may create conflict in their most important relationships.

Truth is, surfacing conflict really did save my life.  So I have been passionate about it.  It’s not that I love conflict.  I don’t.  However, a lack of conflict and overly nice and calm is way more of a safety issue for me than loud and messy.

Why?

The easy answer is simple.  Not speaking up can and does lead to health issues.

Stay silent long enough and your body talks, in the form of headaches, backaches, joint pain, and even cancer.  If you want references check out Dr. Gabor Mate’s book, When the Body Says No.

My personal experience is that my cancer began to resolve when I found my voice and spoke up.  I believe staying silent creates ‘dis-ease’ in you, negatively impacting your health.

But please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying if your are ill you must not be saying something.  It is not that simple!  However, speaking up and speaking your truth does help your sense of well-being and life energy.

But there’s more to it.

I’ve been in relationship now for over 16 years with a classic Conflict Avoider, CrisMarie. Yes, she has good reasons for having developed a super power in navigating and defusing conflict.  In many ways, it has served her well.  However, there has been a tremendous cost to her.  You can hear her story in our TED Talk, Conflict Use It, Don’t Defuse It.   It’s also been hard for me and our relationship.

See I do not pick up on her subtle cues. I am also the first to own up to being blunt, persistent and persuasive about my ideas.

As a result, I have gotten upset when I learned later that CrisMarie was quite uncomfortable with my strong debate style, but didn’t say anything at the time.

I am sad when I realize she was asking me questions and working to meet my needs without ever bringing up what she wanted.

I feel blindsided and betrayed  when she has addressed her unhappiness and even once thought she might want to end our relationship because she wasn’t sure there was room for her.

Wow!

That particular situation was a horrible moment for me.  In my past, I would have quickly tried to change and  stopped speaking up.  Although, having done that before and knowing it did not work,  I chose I different path.

I stayed with me and my style, and I also encouraged her to do whatever it took to find her voice even if it might meant leaving me.

So far, that has not happened.  She’s been working on her own track for a while now and yes, it has impacted our relationship.  She is speaking up. We fight more or at least differently.

Things get tense we sometimes separate and each take space to settle ourselves.  When we’re with others she doesn’t often come to my defense when I get into my own reactive style. No, instead, she usually tells me what she really thinks.  Sometimes that stings.  Yet, I know I am getting straight feedback from her these days, and I like that – even when I hurt myself with it.

As a result, I have also discovered my own issues with boundaries.  For me, it’s not so much saying something I don’t like or think differently about. No. It’s often more about saying, “Ouch! That hurts.”

I tend to have a protective layer that can be more like a wall than a boundary.  I have a fight style that served me well in my past and now can be hard to dissolve.  So people may not know that they are having quite a significant impact on me, and my angry face or silence is a mask.  Underneath, I may be swimming in uncertainty or worse hurting myself with something they’ve said.

When I am at my best I drop the wall and stand forward in my vulnerability.  However, that’s at my best, and I am far from perfect.  I do still wrestle with my walls when I interpret an attack. It is often worse when I am blindsided by a situation where I thought someone was standing beside me, and later learned they were just too afraid to speak and tell me they didn’t like what, or how, I said something.

That moment.

When someone finally finds their voice after long time, and I didn’t know they were being silent to avoid conflict with me.

That moment.

When that truth surfaces, is the most painful for me and yet, the most valuable. It’s the reason I believe surfacing conflict, speaking your truth in real time and hanging in through the messy is so worth it.

I also know I have my own work to do.  Because when I don’t say, “Ouch!” or own up my wobbly vulnerability,  I am really just as dishonest and in avoidance for being real in that moment.

Walls are not boundaries.

Boundaries are not about defense but about self-definition.

Boundaries are for defining me and showing up – not about changing you.

When, and if, me and you ever learn that lesson – well may be then we can live in a more self-responsible relational world!

Do you recognize yourself in any of the above?

CrisMarie and I started Be BRAVE, a six week virtual program, because we believe that speaking up, learning to self-define and stay in your own shoes is critical for aliveness, health, success in business and in any significant relationship or partnership.

If you want to learn more join us for our FREE Training, September 14, How To Set Boundaries that Stick!

Also, we are so excited because we have added a 3-Day In Person Retreat for Be BRAVE!! It is right here in in our charming town of Whitefish Montana.

I’ll be working with you on boundaries using a horse in an arena! You’ll meet a real life cowgirl, horse whisperer, there will be a photo shoot with you and the horses, and mind-body work to help you settle your nervous system in the midst of conflict!

Plus you’ll be eating organic and gourmet food, staying in luxurious accommodations!

You just get yourself to Whitefish and we take care of the rest! Sign up now there are only 6 spots left!!

Check out our three options for Be BRAVE if you are ready to find your voice and speak up!

 

 

Why I Work With Horses

IMG_0198I was listening to a webinar by the awesome Susan Hyatt, on getting people to say yes.

I suck at promoting myself.  Yes, I can promote The Haven, CrisMarie, Be BRAVE, thrive! – but when it comes to my work – well I just – don’t!  Okay may be that is a bit to universal.  I don’t think I do it well.

Here’s the deal.  I do enjoy working with people and introducing them to Mojo Coaching with the horses.  I have put it out a little online and with a local card rack offering.  I’ve had some great sessions, but I would not say I am gaining the traction I want.

So as I listened to Susan, I came to the conclusion that I have not yet really landed on my message and passion for doing this work.

I know I love it.

I know my heart opens when I am working with the horses.

But I am not yet communicating why you might really want to work with the horses!

So I decided to work on my message through just doing something else I love writing.

Why do I love Equus coaching and why might I be just the perfect person for you to come and give it a go?

What you need to know about me is that I have many layers of protection.  I have some great reasons for all that protection.  I have done 10,000 hours of working on my reactivity and learning how to clean up the messes I make, and I am still a work in progress.

However, when I started working with the horses, something new and profound happened.  I discovered just how quickly I could drop those protective walls and relax.  I can’t totally explain why, but when I step into an arena with a horse or horses.  I settle.

I don’t have to explain my face, my intensity, my reasons for being nervous or fidgety.  All I have to do is be me, fully and freely.  I get that a horse isn’t asking for anything more.IMG_0196

There’s an acceptance – as though that horse knows the inside of me not all the packaging or protecting I may attempt to do on the outside to keep myself safe.

I am invited to feel when I am scared, when I am angry, sad or upset.  The horses have the capacity to handle all of my energy as long as I am not pretending to be something I am not.

That acceptance has been profound for me.  Horses seem to genuinely want the company of someone who is fully themselves. They love it and they live it themselves.

I actually think that is one quality I share with horses. I can and love holding a space for people to bring all of themselves.  I don’t shy away from BIG feelings – be they happy glad, sad or mad.  I also haven’t yet heard a story I couldn’t hold when someone is sharing their truth.  But unlike a horse I am not without my flaws.  Sometimes my face isn’t easy to understand, or I do feel deeply and with intensity.  But like a horse, I relax when someone drops the walls and stands forward – scars and all.

I think that is what my Equus coaching practice offers.  A moment and a space where you really have a felt sense of being received and accepted for all of who you are. You really don’t have to do or be anything more.  Having that experience is life changing because being able to accept yourself and be yourself is what creates happiness and fulfillment. I don’t know about you, but I could always use more self-acceptance!

 

 

 

Welcoming Rosie!

Little Rosie!
Little Rosie!

2015 started with us making a long trek to pick up our new family member, Rosie!!

We had been looking for our new dog by visiting the local shelters often. I had hoped to find a great match for us there, but it wasn’t happening.

The dogs that seemed to be good fit were quickly taken, and it wasn’t easy going into the shelters and seeing some of the same dogs there time after time. Part of me longed to bring one of those dogs home, but I know I am not the right match for a dog that is too anxious, or aggressive, or needs extra help adjusting.

So we decided to try a different strategy for finding our doggie.  Instead of actively looking, we sat down and started discussing what we loved about Sooke and our other dogs.  What worked, and what didn’t, for us.  We created  some critical qualities for both of us.

  1. calm
  2. confident
  3. affectionate
  4. smart
  5. good with people and other dogs
  6. not too hyper or in need of constant exercise

We then called on Sooke, whose spirit we know is still right here with us, to help guide us to our next dog.

Well, let’s just say,  the results of this more energetic effort, were FAST!!

That same day, not two hours later, our good friend, Susa Holt, sent us an email and shared about her brand new Sheeperdoodle puppy AND that there was one more female in the litter needing a home. BTW, Susa mentioned that she was headed back to the breeder’s that very same afternoon, and could put in a good word for us and check out the available puppy.

We had never heard of a Sheeperdoodle, but had been interested in the “doodle” doggies previously.  We did some quick research and soon discovered the qualities were amazingly in line with our list.

  • smart
  • friendly
  • people oriented
  • playful but also calm

Without too much more thought, we called. Two days after putting our vision out into the universe, we received a beautiful, playful puppy, Rosie! (We forgot the part about asking for her to be close by. It took us two days to get her home and a total of 25 hours of driving over a three day trip. Whew!)

Aside from the long trip, this has been a significant reminder of the magic in practicing visioning, and aligning, to manifest what will come next – be it a puppy, a house (we’ve done that couple times now) or new business.

It’s all very exciting. I am aware that I want to avoid become a totally neurotic puppy parent.  There are some early signs that I will have to work hard to not let Rosie become a spoiled little one.  I want to stay on the path towards training, and establishing some solid boundaries and clear guidelines.

As I write, Rosie is sleeping in her gated play area.  There are probably too many toys inside, but she’s learning to settle in her own space, and we are learning to let her whine.

Unless you are a dog person like me, you may not be as interested in this post.  However, I am hoping that the real take away is to remember that if things are not happening quite the way you like, stop trying so hard to make them happen. Instead, pause, and spend some time getting really clear about what you want, the qualities, the way you want to feel, and for a few moments stop worrying about how it will happen.

Amazingly things start to happen when I stop thinking that I have to make it happen. Thanks for Rosie, Universe!

I am sure I will need to be reminded of these steps when I start forcing Rosie to comply to my will. I imagine CrisMarie will be all too willing to encourage me to – stop trying so hard, pause and get clear, let go of the how and wait. I imagine Rosie will get more from that tactic than she will through my forced compliance!

Watch this is a short video clip – listen carefully to me in the background – demanding accomplishments from a 10 week old pup. Not my proudest parenting moment!

IMG_0072

It’s time for some more house training! Got to go take Rosie outside!! Wish me luck!

 

Clearing The Mist of Haven

The Haven Faculty
The Haven Faculty

I just returned from a very special week up at The Haven.  It started with a meeting of the Educational Steering Committee.  As Chairperson, I lead this team of five faculty, Elfi Shaw, Gillian Enright, Terri Wolfe, and Linda Nicholls, plus, two organizational leaders, Rachel Davey and Morag Ruckman.  It is a pretty amazing group.  Our responsibility is guiding the educational direction of The Haven.  As faculty contributors, we do the job as volunteers.  Sometimes it can be many, many hours of work.  Sometimes we have to make hard decisions and communicate those decisions directly to friends and colleagues.  Sometimes we get the joy of seeing the hard work pay off and sometimes we don’t.

This time it was perfect, I went from our full day meeting right into leading a Couples Alive with my partner CrisMarie.  This was great because I stepped right into experiencing the pay off for the hard work.  Seeing couples who often arrive in some type of crisis point in their relationship or life and slowly open to themselves and to each other – well that is amazing.  Being in the room on that last morning as couples share the impact of our journey together, I am honored and touched.  I am also awed by what The Haven has to offer.  Yet for all that awesomeness – The Haven remains a bit like the Mists of Avalon.  An amazing transformational center that isn’t that well recognized or known out in North America, it remains a mystery.

Part of my job as a leader at The Haven is to expand our reach and our presence out in the world.  I have always been grateful that I have never been asked to be a hard sales person.  Yet, maybe I have been remiss.  I don’t want to push people to Haven – I want to invite them.  However, I am thinking I may be holding back.  I honestly don’t understand why all the programs don’t fill.

Following the Couples Alive, I went straight into the Haven Faculty and Assistants weekend.  Each year the faculty is invited for a weekend gathering where we talk about new ideas and areas of our own development.  I was tired and unsure of my participation, yet I also knew I had wanted to connect.  Our faculty is probably the best kept secret of The Haven.  The diversity and the depth of the knowledge and experience in that room is unequaled in any gathering I have ever attended, and I have been among great leaders.  Maybe the best way to say it is, that not only is there wisdom, depth, there’s real and raw, or another great line, “a room of angels with assholes.”

photo 3We are not perfect.  But we are human and that might be even better.  Ben Wong, one of the founders, died this past year.  He was the rock on which the Haven was built, and he’s gone.  However, I got this weekend that his gift of being that solid, clear locator continues, now through us.  His message was always:  Come sit in a circle, be curious, be honest, locate yourself – in your body, in your heart and with an open mind – that creates magic, medicine, science, art and possibility.

It wasn’t all wonderful this weekend.  We had moments of conflict and moments of being with a dear friend as he went through a seizure and had to be taken to the hospital.  We cried together and continued with our work because we knew he would want that.

We left with a thick fog blanketing the island.  Yes – the Mists of Avalon – the hidden Haven.  Oh, how I wish I could lift the fog and show the world the magic that is so close and so possible.

No, I’m not much of a salesperson – but if you are slightly intrigued – think of this as an invitation.  Visit the website, www.haven.ca or better yet sign up for a Come Alive or if you are a couple, Couples Alive.  I invite you and hope you will come!

“Marco!” “Polo!”

As a Martha Beck coach-in-training I have been reading and working through her tips for Finding My North Star.  It sounds like an awesome idea, figuring my true purpose and setting my direction to arrive at that defined point in this lifetime – cool!

However, I have yet to really get the north star concept.  Instead my life is a bit more like the game Marco, Polo.  In case you never played this game it usually takes place in a pool or lake.  One person must close their eyes (or be blindfolded).  They call out “Marco” and all other players must respond, “Polo”.  The unsighted person calling out Marco must find the sighted Polo people.  Usually the Blindfolded person is diving in various directions with limited success as the sighted ‘Polo’ folks quickly move about to avoid getting caught.

As to how this applies to my own life, well I seem to have quite wild swings in my directional course.  One might think I am simply like the Marco blindfolded person, calling out and waiting for the next marker to call back, Polo.  Once I get a signal, off I go chasing to find the source.  Truthfully it is not a bad way to live.  I am  very present focused.  However, my north star seems more like the vast milky way, not a single star calling out and laying out a clear path.  I go every which way.  May be there is some course being mapped by a much higher source than myself. But just like it was playing the game long ago, I often feel like my life is more test of blind faith with random movements, than a path laid out by a clear guiding star.

Last month I had a fairly good idea of the months ahead.  I was planning on being at home, focusing on redefining our business and doing some solid ground work on our book.  But there was a very loud, Polo, so instead I am off to Canada again.  This time with CrisMarie for A Living Alive Phase program.  The exciting part is that we will be leading together.  The difficulty is that our plans to fully articulate the new ‘thrive! will likely go a bit background as we focus on the day-to-day demands of our group of follow travelers.

May be there is a path. It does seem as though we are getting a clear message that instead of simply focusing on corporate work we need to make plans to engage in working with couples and individuals in a personal mode as well. Again I am simply going on faith, listening for the universal equivalent of “polo” and calling out when I am feeling lost.

“Marco”

“Polo”

Off I go.