The Green Tea House Opens!!

Today is the first official day that The Green Tea House (TGTH) in Whitefish, MT is open for business.   TGTH is not my business though I am very excited and engaged in making it a success.  My friend, Vickie Kelson, had the inspiration for TGTH over ten years ago.  Last year she really started raising cash and breaking ground.  Over this past year there have many, many reasons why TGTH was not practical or viable.  TGTH is a gluten-free, organic, vegan cafe and tea house in the center of Whitefish, MT.  Nothing about the place is cheap or inexpensive.  In the current economy it is not looking like the best time for such an endeavor.  However, the opening day is proving that it is worth holding on to a dream even when the winds of resistance and frequent storms and obstacles get in the way of manifestation.

TGTH, is bright and colorful, the food is wonderful and I do believe it will inspire even the dieheart meateater to try a few vegan meals.  For anyone who has discovered the importance of taking in healthy food that nurtures the soul,  TGTH will be a naturally sweet surprise in a world too focused on fast-food, refined sugar, carbs and red meat.  For me it is the energy of a dream that I tap into whenever I come through the doors.

As I sit here today with the doors open and folks coming in for tea, I actually believe I will write my book.  I may just do it sitting here.  The place is alive with excitement.  Of course there are still many bridges to cross before The Green Tea House is solidly on it’s financial legs.  That the doors are open is a miracle and reminder that we do live in a world of unlimited possibilities.  I want to celebrate and spread the word – miracles happen when someone has the inspiration and courage to dream and stay with the dream through the storms that come with bringing a new idea to life. Way to go Vickie and all who have been a part of making The Green Tea House possible!!!

If you are interested in learning more or even in offering financial support to The Green Tea House you can find out more at www.thegreenteahouse.net.

Of course what I most highly recommend is stop by for tea!!

Balance = Alignment + Flow

Today, I attended a great workshop combining the Ancient Teaching of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga.  I have had an interest in Chinese Medicine for many years and though no expertise, love the concepts of Chinese Five Elements.  These days I have become interested in yoga.  I admit I have had resistance to yoga – primary because I have interpreted yoga’s emphasis on ‘balance’ as a transcendence of the ‘ugly and messy’ aspects of being human – such being angry, jealous, pissy or proud.

However, I have been practicing more recently with a friend who has helped me get over my own judgments and give it a try.  She also happens to be a masterful teacher who is okay with not being a ‘perfect’ yogi.

Today I got that the definition of balance is not some inner peace – no – balance is simply aligning so that flow happens.  In our dualistic universe that means movement or energy flow between opposites such as positive/negative, hot/good, perfect/imperfect and even balance/imbalance.  There is not one without the other.  Yoga is about alignment, which allows the free flow of energy or ‘en-ligten ment‘,  or enery flowing at the speed of light.   Buddha did have negative thoughts, however, he was aligned so that the energy  flowed so fast, there was no internal resistance (i.e. judgment) so no external visable evidence.

So a true ‘yogi’ isn’t without the ugly and messy but is simply aligned and allowing the flow of energy to happen so fast,  the experience is quite different.

Now that idea excites me.  I think of child that ‘flows’ through emotions rapidly without getting ‘stuck’, one minute crying and another laughing.  We come into this physical form with that type of flow and aligning much more gracefully.  Then we get more caught up in the dualistic mental constraints and before long our bodies are far from ‘balanced’.

In Chinese Medicine the information is systemic, dynamic and when I was dealing with cancer I discovered the Five Element Model allowed for me to see the patterns and energy flow or lack of energy flow in my life that was contributing to my “stuckness”.  The ancient model allowed me to discover a story and way of looking at ‘cancer’ that allowed for unlimited possibilities and engaged my curiosity. I was no longer attached to a ‘cure’ but to discovering how my energy was flowing or not.

Now I see yoga offers a new level of discovery in the realm of alignment which allows  increase in the rate of energy flow.  I don’t have to be flexible and graceful, perfect and peaceful.  I simply need to be willing to practice noticing when I am aligned and when I am not and through that awareness, acknowledgment and acceptance, I can discover an action that allows for greater flow.

In closing I leave you with the quote offered by the day’s instructors:

‘Water that flows does not decay’ .  Balance is embracing the dualist universe we live in through aligning and allowing the free flow of all energy.

Being in the Change – When Wow! mets Whoa!

As I mentioned I am just returning from being fully engaged leading an intensive program at The Haven.  Now back home I find myself feeling a bit lost and disoriented.  It’s not like there isn’t tons to do.  I have bills to pay, household projects friends to catch up with and Thrive! work such as coaching and consulting.  Yet I am still swimming and uncomfortable.  I know this is classic transition stuff.

I love the work I get to do at The Haven, being present and engaged with people , not to mention I get fed and all basic needs met while I do what I am passionate about.  Back home I don’t have the same structure and though I have a great partner both at home and work, the practical day to day things like food, bills, marketing and financial oversight, don’t happen unless I play my part.

So I miss the ease of having all the basics taken care of and I miss the intensity of a residential program.  Indeed there is a letting go process that is happening.  I also believe being away,  my homo status shifted and I find myself in chaos or the neutral zone.  A wonderful time for creativity and new possibilities but equally filled with uncertainity and discomfort.

I don’t have the answer or the ‘right’ path yet.  I want to find a way to bring some of the energy and juice I generated while working at The Haven back into my life and work here.  I don’t want to change everything and I don’t want to lose the new seeds of possibility that got planted.

I guess I believe this happens whenever we go through an intense emotional experience. There’s often a wow! moment and then there the re-entry back into our more familiar world,  “whoa”.  I believe it is that phase when “wow!’ meets  ‘whoa’ – that has incredible potential for change and transformation.  I also know it’s not easy staying in the chaos and discomfort long enough to really listen and figure out what needs to stay the same, what needs to change and what is up for creative synthesising.

What I do know is I am in that phase now.  The writing is helping and I want to figure out an answer.  Best that I wait but that isn’t easy!

Still I do think ‘being’ not ‘doing’ in the change is what will create the more creative, intersting outcome. For now Wow! meeting Whoa is a touch uncomfortable – best I breathe and stay with it!!    I’ll keep you posted!!

My 3 C’s: A Recipe for Overcoming Obstacles

I generally like to keep things simple.  Often that means boiling down and summarizing what I know and belief into three steps.  I was told three steps is the magic number for success.  So when I am struggling or find myself in fear and doubt I like to go back to the basics – my three c’s.

  • am I curious about what’s happening
  • am I willing to use my courage
  • am I committed

Curiosity is the magic ingredient for me because when I become curious my energy shifts and the striving, driving part of me relaxes and I become more playful.  It is amazing how much more information is available when I am playful and relaxed then when I am striving and driving.

Often through being cuirous I recognize something I am not doing.  Then it becomes an issue of courage.  Will I step in and do what’s new, or what’s uncomfortable.  I use to think of courage as being tough and never letting on that I am struggling.  However, now I belief toughness does not take much courage at all.  Let’s face it – it is easier to fire someone and never see them again – then it is to have a crucial conversation, give feedback and then show day after day working with someone you may not always agree with or even like.  Courage is about not being tough but about being ‘real’- showing my vulnerability and staying in.

Which brings me to commitment.  Am I willing to stick it out.  I’d like to think of myself as a very committed person to things I say I will do.  But I know I can easily get distracted or decide the pain is not worth the gain and then my commitment wavers. Take this Blog – I said I wanted to write daily in the beginning.  It’s easy to let a day go by without writing because maybe I have nothing to say or I am busy doing other things.  But really how long does it take to write something – to stick to my commitment.

Indeed the 3 C’s are just one quick recipe for challenges and obstacles.  Let me know what you think or what simple recipe you use to kick start yourself out of the pit or over a stuck point.

The Haven Communication Model

This summer a spend over a month at The Haven, an amazing center for personal and professional development.  I have been a part of The Haven for close to 30 years and I believe the learnings there turned my life around.  But that story is a bit long for a morning blog. Still there are some elements of the story worth revisiting and today’s topic is The Haven’s Communication Model it is a simple model offered generally towards the beginning of every core program.

The first time I learned about it I hardly noticed it and definitely did not practice it enough to have any idea of the possibilities for a richer life I could discover once I put it into play.  Indeed I now refer to the practice of the model as my spiritual practice, meaning the model assist me in connecting to a larger reality and allows me to connect to people with greater depth then I ever dreamed possible.

I realized the magic in the model pretty early on.  I found myself talking with someone about my life, sharing a very horrible event in earlier childhood and instead of having the usual response of “wow, it’s amazing you survived, that’s horrible what happened to you”,  he started laughing.  I was so surprised I looked up at him instead of wallowing in my sad story.  Immediately I was intrigued.  “Why are you laughing?, no one has ever done that.”, came out with a bit of energy.  His response was tears and laughter with the comment, “honestly your story is so outside of my reality and I just could not think  of anything else to do and I started laughing because I felt so helpless.”  Instead of getting angry I continued to look at him and saw he was quite sincere and curious about his response and me.  He wasn’t laughing at me.  even more important I had a moment of being outside of my story.  In that moment I got how trapped I was inside my own self-generated horror story.  Reliving over and over and generally getting the same response of ‘poor me’.  May be that was one of the first moments I really got how I create my own reality – and then go about believing it is the only one.

Having the awareness that each of us constantly creating our own experience through the way we take in data through our senses, interpret the data and then generate a internal response, intention and action – (the key pieces of the communication model) was huge.  That I could alter my story through the willingness and courage to expose my inner authorship and ‘check it out’ with someone else – turned everything around.

Now it sounds simple but still not always so easy.  Stories are addictive and sometimes I like to have people feeling sorry for me.  However, the price I pay is too great.  I prefer to think I may not be able to control everything or everyone – but I can take charge of my responses, reactions and reality creation.

This summer was a great refresher.  Thirty years later and I still can learn so much just by engaging my curiousity and using the model – how cool is that!!

For more information on The Haven or The Haven Communication Model visit:  www.haven.ca.

Getting Started – The Pressure Is On!

I had the idea for a blog months ago.  I had just completed a wonderful writing project where I shared my thoughts weekly with a group of folks and got some great feedback.  I had said then I would get this blog going and did not.  Now I am set but after watching Julie & Julia have put tremendous pressure on myself.  I loved the movie and no way can my little blog compete with Julie.  Still I am committed to get started!

What you need to know about my style of writing is that sometimes I am short and to the point and other times I ramble.  I will do my best to keep it simple but I’m going to be learning along the way.

Second thing you need to know is  that I am doing this in hopes that I will hear from you.  I write because it gets me thinking and I like it when folks read and share the impact my words have in their world.  I encourage you to agree, disagree – just let me know when I have made an impact.  I anticipate that impact being both positive and negative and highly value both.

The third thing you need to know is that I am dyslexic and messy. I don’t always have someone to edit my work so it might be misspelled, missing words – but hopefully you can get the gist as you read.

Last comment – though I work with Executives, teams and corporations, my passion is people.  I was a therapist but did not really fit in that world.  Coaching is a better fit but still not quite right.  Bottom-line I got my health back through becoming curious about life – all aspects of life and my relationship to the world around me.  These days I know keeping that curiosity engaged and active is a critical key to my aliveness – so I work to stay curious about pretty much everything and everyone.

So the pressure is on! And I am up for the challenge – let the Blog begin!!!