Pioneering Living It!

Living It online! Yes!!
Our first session on Skype!

We launched the first Living It! September 11th, with a weekend in person at The Haven, with online sessions to follow! It’s been a year or more in the making. The initial plan, to launch a nine-month blended onsite and online Living Alive Phase I, did not make it out of the gates. However, we listened and tweaked the plans and came up with Living It!, a much shorter format, designed to give people a taste of a blended program.

I have to admit I expected a different collection of folks than the ones who arrived in the circle on the evening of the 11th. I was anticipating people who were adept and comfortable online or on computer. Not the case. In our opening circle it was clear some were newbies to the land of the internet and others spoke right up about their lack of confidence in the online part of the program.

Wow! Right at the outset we were confronted with a few challenges and some resistance to a core portion of the program!

However, living it was not called loving it – and I guess for a good reason!

We could have been discouraged or bagged the design. But no – instead we decided to make the most of just what was happening.

Truth is, I appreciated the honesty and I guess I’d be the first to admit living it for me has always had some significant elements of resistance, fear and reactivity!

So, instead of waiting for the online dates to start we built the online learning into our weekend!

What we discovered was the creativity that comes from diving into conflict, resistance and the potential of people choosing in, instead of opting out!

I loved how our computer literate members stepped up and partnered with those who were uncertain or new to Skype. Frankly, the lessons offered were way more patient and relational than I would provided if I had tried to get everyone up to speed myself.

I also loved that the people resistant or new, jumped in, even with fear and doubts. I found each courageous and developing computer chops much faster than I ever did!

One of our evening groups was done via Skype and the evening was filled with laughter, failure and a coming together (literally –six folks cuddled very closely together so they could be seen by others on the Skype screen, with Toby and I running between other rooms trying to invite, accept and add everyone to the party!). Yes, it was quite rich!

We also took full advantage of the circle and our time together in person to revisit and refresh some of the core models and bring them to life with breath and energy! I loved the commitment and willingness that folks had in stepping forward and sharing, listening and relating!

We weren’t certain how Living It! was going to go. It wasn’t, and isn’t, a set format. However, I am thrilled to be a part of the pioneer program and enjoying all those folks along for the ride!

If nothing else we all know now that indeed you can be personal, relate, laugh and learn online AND in person!

Indeed we are Living It! Thanks guys for making it happen and making it real!


Susie’s Unfinished Stuff

When I was young I would spend my summers at camp, which had a wonderful arts and crafts program.  Almost every day I would spend time working on a summer craft project.  I loved the feeling of  working with wood.  I started spoons, forks, a lamp, a duck, a fish, board games – I had such high hopes.  Alas, I believe almost all of my projects ended up in a box of in-completes, like the misfit toys.  I’d start with gusto, but at some point the wood would crack, something would look more promising to start, or I’d simply tire of the struggle and give up.

My memory is that box in corner stayed throughout my many years at camp and was labeled – Susie’s Unfinished Projects!

It’s possible I have dramatized and over-personalized that box of unfinished projects, but I do know that I was one of the primary contributors.

Over the years the memory of that unfinished crafts box, and my success in filling it, has indeed haunted me.  See, I am just not that great at finishing.  I am all about the excitement and possibility of starting and the joy of learning, but I can be a bit weak on crossing the finish line.

So today I am celebrating a completion!  A solid start to finish effort on my part!

At the start of the year I was wrestling with my father’s dying process and all the unfinished business I had with some of the pieces and history of my life.

Over the years, I have done a lot of work in reclaiming my life and have shifted from focusing on the past drama, to now becoming a healthy, thriving person, charting my own destiny.

Still I knew things were resurfacing from the past, during the last few months of my father’s life and  I wanted to see if I was ready to integrate these pieces and feel complete.

I decided to embark on a coaching/counseling project with a highly recommended therapist in my area.

I’ve got to say, I had some fears of explicitly revisiting the past.  I did wonder if I was opening some crazy can of worms that I might wish I had left unfinished.  But I also wanted to discover if I had the resources to stir up the past and in the process resolve some of the reactivity I knew was a big part of my current charm. Okay. I call it charm, but I know some of you reading might have other words for my reactivity!

Well today I sat with my therapist after eight months of consistent work on a series of events from my life that have haunted me, and as we talked, I realized I was complete.  We talked about my intentions in starting the project and I realized I had done what I came to do.

I also had just come home from leading a Come Alive at The Haven in which I had stayed in touch with my joy, curiosity, and love of the work and the people in the room.  I hadn’t gotten impatient, reactive, nor found myself hooked in an old story.  Was everything perfect – of course not – but life isn’t about perfect.

In addition, in the process of my eight month reclaiming project,  I delivered our TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It!,  which was an on-stage opportunity to uncover my past and share it without crumbling.

Earlier today I also finished and published I written piece I am most proud of: How Surfacing Conflict Saved My Life.  For me it was a powerful experience of telling my story and not getting stuck or caught in how it would be received.

So today I walked out of my therapist’s office feeling complete.

As I drove home I remembered that incomplete crafts box and all those unfinished projects.  I thought about other in-completes in my life, like my book or relationships that no longer serve me. Things that I have started, but have not been clean, clear, or successful in crossing the finish line.

Today, I felt differently.

I am grateful for the journey and for my therapist’s reflection to me that my work with her is complete.


So today I am celebrating!  It’s like taking a few of those incomplete projects out of the art box, finishing them, and placing placing them on the mantel, recognizing indeed they are done and are works of art – as is my life!