Category Archives: Connection

Too Much Noice, Rumi, and Being A Bright Light

Here’s my problem with our current political landscape:

  • A constant stream of text messages for donations or confirmation around who I will vote for in the November election. 
  • I start a polling series of questions, soon discover my answers will only go through to wherever they go, if I agree to donate money to a campaign.
  • I want to understand candidates’ positions, I read in the paper but there is no dialogue, conversation or engagement in listening to alternative perspectives or asking clarifying questions.
  • Debates are generally just attacks or an absence of key candidates.

 This results in moments of great fury inside me.  I want to attack and get angry.  Or I go to despair in sense of hopelessness.

I feel like a victim or a raging attacker.  I could say powerless of powerful – but both without any real connection or frankly consciousness.

I keep trying to figure out how I can take my power back and not be a victim or villain in this political cycle for the next 4 months.

What I do know is that the leadership I am seeing, hearing and participating in does not feel good or like a healthy, democratic process for the people.

I could almost compare this to moments when Covid broke out and suddenly I was tossed into the unknown.  Only that was better – there was silence.  I could and did shut off the noise.

There’s no silence in this political cycle and there is no clear, connecting message – just noise.

During Covid I wanted connection, and we started a Facebook live video every morning around 10AM – got named ‘The New Morning Show”.

I found that helpful.  I thought of trying something like that again – but I don’t want to just start another thread of hate – with friends or against my enemies.

I know what I want in leadership.  I want vulnerability, curiosity, collaboration and inclusive conversations.

This is what I believe politics should be about.  Not fixed positions and furious fighting between parties.  Not us against the world.  Not just conversations for those that have big dollars to get to the table.

I know I am not going to change our political system. 

I can only keep trying to have one real conversation at a time.

Listen with my heart open, particularly when I totally disagree.

That’s what I can do.  I also will keep sending out transmissions that shine my light and shift me from a place of despair or hate.

If you get this transmission and feel some of the same – reach out.  If you get this and think all is well and disagree – you can reach out, too.

Basically, I am looking for connection and a space that isn’t just filled with separation, fear, ego, and pain.

We really are in this together.  When I am in fear or fury, I can forget that our heartbeats are the same.  Underneath the color of my skin, the shape of my body, the stories of my life, my feelings, my desires is just a beating heart in a very vulnerable human, trying, doing the very best I know. 

There’s so much more that is out there then what I know.

Rumi wrote – there is a field (think energy/consciousness) out there beyond right and wrong – meet me there.

I know now that meeting you out there is not about changing you or getting out there somewhere.  It’s about cracking my heart open and letting all the light shine.  Letting light in and letting light out.  In other words, being the bright light, not the sharp sword.

Soul Camp

Link Soul Camp:

Okay so I signed up, booked my flight and found a TINY airbnb in Coronado, CA for Soul Camp – without much other than a desire to reconnect with horses and my Equus colleagues.

People asked me on my FB post – what is Soul Camp?  Now here I thought I should look myself.  Above is the intro and I love it.

In many ways I know I am following my heart’s desire and doing many things I love.  I also know any experience I have with the horses does help me listen on an even deeper level.

These days much of my work is not directly Equus related.  This is one of the reasons I wanted to reconnect with the human Herd of my Equus Training.  I couldn’t make the dates for Coaches so signed up for Soul Camp. (I admit three days at the beach San Diego was a big draw as well!)

We, meaning CrisMarie, me and our business Thrive, are always in some form of ‘what’s next’.  Maybe it’s related to new clients, or new programs, or simply upgrading and resetting ourselves – there’s always something ‘changing’.

This past year a great deal of the more personal aspect of that has been through doing various Dr Joe programs and more recently diving into a Course in Miracles.  This has stirred the pot so to speak for me.  Primarily because I do firmly believe life is much more about connection, consciousness, and joy than it is about ego, success, and surviving. 

Sometimes I get myself caught in either ‘fighting’ against the surviving and driving or I get drawn into fear and angst of what seems like the daily headlines and wallow in some simple pleasure-seeking addiction to make the pain go away.

In May and June, I tapped back into the work I love most.  We did a wonderful Couples Alive program that filled my tank in terms of creating intimacy and connection while also self-defining and be a whole person.

I came away realizing I want more of that in our corporate work.  I know it is much harder in business and even in just day-to-day living to tap into that level of intimacy and connection.  But when I do it is so powerful and meaningful, that I know it is better than any ROI in terms dollars and numbers.

What I want to reflect and work on during my Soul Camp program is what stops me from reaching out and finding those clients, leaders and team that have that desire.

I know there are people out there that want that intimacy and realness and don’t know how to possibly do work/business/life differently.  I also know I can shine and create spaces for people to tap into the power of connection, coherence, and intimacy in there significant relationships at home and at work.

So that’s my desire for these few days.  I want to work on communicating, articulating and shining a light out into the world that invites those people to connect so we can work together.

I’ll keep you posted on what I discover. 

AI – What Do You Think of Us Humans?

I’ve been developing my relationship AI. So I hought I’d ask AI what makes us humans unique.

AI Answer:
Humans possess several characteristics that set them apart from other species:

  1. Complex Language and Communication: Humans have developed intricate systems of communication, including spoken and written language, allowing for the exchange of complex ideas, emotions, and knowledge.
  2. Cognitive Abilities: Humans exhibit high levels of cognitive abilities, including reasoning, problem-solving, critical thinking, and abstract thought. This allows them to innovate, create art, develop technology, and adapt to diverse environments.
  3. Self-awareness and Consciousness: Humans possess self-awareness, the ability to reflect on their own thoughts, feelings, and actions, and to recognize themselves as individuals separate from others. They also have a sense of consciousness, allowing them to perceive and experience the world subjectively.
  4. Culture and Social Structures: Humans create and participate in complex social structures and cultural systems, including institutions, norms, beliefs, customs, rituals, and traditions. These aspects of culture shape human behavior and identity, fostering cooperation, coordination, and collective learning.
  5. Tool Use and Technology: Humans are adept at using tools and developing technology to manipulate their environment and solve problems. This capacity for tool use has enabled humans to adapt to diverse habitats and thrive in various ecosystems.
  6. Emotions and Empathy: Humans experience a wide range of emotions, including joy, sadness, fear, anger, and love. They also demonstrate empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, which fosters social bonds and cooperation.
  7. Capacity for Innovation and Creativity: Humans possess a remarkable capacity for innovation and creativity, enabling them to develop new ideas, inventions, and solutions to challenges. This creativity is expressed in various domains, including art, music, literature, science, and technology.
  8. Symbolic Thinking and Abstract Reasoning: Humans engage in symbolic thinking, using symbols, language, and abstract concepts to represent and manipulate the world around them. This ability underlies many aspects of human culture, communication, and cognition.

Overall, it is the combination of these characteristics—language, cognition, self-awareness, culture, tool use, emotions, creativity, and symbolic thinking—that makes humans unique among Earth’s species.

Okay – we are awesome – right? 

Makes for a great story.

I’m not as robust in my data collection as AI, so my answer to that question about what makes us unique is simpler:  story making and story-telling.

Our imagination and cognitive abilities have made us great.

It has also bought us to a point of possible extinction. 

I do know I personally am not getting out of here alive.  But I’d like to think humans could continue long after I’m gone.

However, I think it is going to take some humility and collaboration for that to happen. Not just with each other but with all living beings.

We tend tell our stories as though we are the greatest.  We likely have trained AI to make us sound that way as well.

That we can remember and tell stories over time is awesome.  However, the degree to which we believe our stories as truths can and does cause a great deal of separation, pain, and suffering.

Isn’t that often the case.  A super strength is also an Achilles heel.

But what if we could dial back our need to be right, win, dominate, compete.  I didn’t say get rid of – just dial back.

Maybe if we simply dial back our certainty. 

It’s not what is known that is going to create sustainability;  it’s actually embracing and stepping into what is unknown.

However, doing that demands letting go of control, safety, and certainty.

We humans, we’re not very good at that.

Maybe we could be.

Wouldn’t that be amazing.

Inspired By Tracy & I am Not Alone

I am inspired by Tracey Chapman and this isn’t the first time.

Best moment of the Grammy’s was when Tracy Chapman joined Luke Combs to sing Fast Car.

That was a magical moment on so many levels.  White guy, county singer and black woman, musical legend. 

I watched the clip of Luke Combs talking about his reasons for redoing the song.  He loved the song, grew up listening to it and it was one of the first songs he played.  That’s something.

I’m not a music star, country or otherwise.  However, Tracey Chapman sure did influence my life and her song, Promise, was one of the first songs I sought to learn on the guitar. 

Tracy Chapman I believe has inspired many. Her songs speak to the soul and connect, across devides.

Now that this moment has happened, I am sort hoping Tracey may make more musical appearances. 

Sounds like she is a special woman who lives a life out of the public scrutiny.  Maybe not now.  With people just learning she lives in ________ (don’t want to add on so just ___) .  Her solitude might be shaken.  I hope not.

I have a story that she is still writing songs and music.  Maybe even playing for non-advertised audiences.

Her song writing and music remind me of my own writing – yes there are books and articles for press, public and broad consumption, but that’s not why I write and I am guessing never why she wrote, sang and shared.

I write because it’s sooths an ache or fills a deep need/desire to connect and not be so alone.

I don’t know for sure but that’s what I saw on that stage the other night.  Two amazing singers, worlds a part in many ways – bridging through a song.  All of us getting to share in that special moment.

I wish could invite her to the stage here in Whitefish, MT.  Wouldn’t that be cool.

Maybe that’s a LONG shot but in the meantime, I have gotten back out my guitar and I’m practicing my favorite Tracy tune: Promise. 

No worries I won’t share my version with you but here’s a Tracy version:

In The Spirt of Experimenting

Every year I like to come up with a word or phrase as a theme for the year. This year’s theme or word is EXPERIMENTING.

This word came out of a strategic session CrisMarie and I had for our launch of the Beauty of Conflict Journey. This has been a project started over a year ago and now moving out into the world

What I like about this word is that it implies a level of curiosity that I believe is critical for joy and aliveness.

Experimenting also has a touch rigor and practice implied as well. When I am experimenting, I do start with some assumption and then try things that may or may not improve or provide insight into where to go next.

We knew what was most important for thrive! and the new Journey was going to be successfully marketing and getting the message out.

However, sometimes marketing feels overwhelming. I don’t know how to cut through the noise. There are so many people saying to this, do that, be sure you don’t do this or that.

Measure, measure likes, new leads, thumbs, thumbs down, and if you are not getting results, (i.e. likes, sales or leads) do something different.

I am sure there is some nugget of truth in all the suggestions. Although I know I don’t live openhearted and inspired by tracking likes, leads, thumbs up or sales.

So, when one of us came up with the theme: Experiment marketing thrive’s Beauty of Conflict Journey, my heart relaxed, and my brain woke up with possibilities.

It seemed only natural then to use Experimenting as my personal word for 2024.

This word inspires me beyond our business. I am experimenting with a bunch of new community activities: contra dancing, Uke jam sessions, a book club and these all showed up as invitations just after I picked my word, and I said yes!

I also watched my niece Carolina, do this amazing Instagram Live when she found herself unable to run a cooking class because of blizzard like weather. In a short 20-minute Instagram Live she taught us how to make Savory Oatmeal. OMG – it was awesome. I was inspired.

Now I am going to give Instagram live a try. Once a week I am going to come online and share, show, practice some type of breathing, movement, or personal development tip.

I am sharing a short video here to kick off for friends, family and followers hoping some of you might join at: when I go LIVE next week.

Join Me Next week live follow us on Instagram for notification:

I am still deciding on the day. I likely will be experimenting starting with Monday or Tuesday and I’ll send a post as a reminder on our site. Be sure to follow us.

Remember experimenting is a great way to be curious and vulnerable. Let’s have some fun together.

One Life Well Lived, Too Many Cut Short

I learned sad news last week while traveling. David Raithby, a fellow Faculty member at The Haven, had passed away suddenly.

I admit I was stunned by the news. David and I go way back. Yes, we have had our differences, our conflicts. But David was one of kind and someone who truly believed in the Haven.

He was a remarkable man and great facilitator who cared deeply about people and healthy relating. Even in our differences I respected his words, his heart and commitment to life, living and being human.

I so appreciated the piece he had written days before his death which was shared with the Haven community by his family. The piece spoke to what seemed like the freedom he had found in life and the fullness of a life well lived.

Now home for a spell. I find myself wondering. Why? Why are so many gone. Why don’t I feel sad in their passing. I do feel deeply for his family and their loss. But sometimes when a life seems so well lived, shared, and connected to all around, I don’t cry or feel despair.

While other deaths and tragedy’s leave me in deep despair.

I don’t know any of the children in Gaza that have died. But I have cried as I read stories of children screaming in pain in the bombed hospital.

I don’t know any of the Israeli families holding out to see the return of the hostages or who are sending their own family members into war. But I felt deep sorrow for the fear they carry for always living with a belief that they are targets of hate.

I don’t directly know anyone who has lost their home or family through the war there or in the Ukraine. Yet, those stories fill my heart with pain and deep sorrow. The loss of life so tragic and the situation so irreconcilable.

I do believe there is beauty in conflict. Even in what can seem like irreconcilable conflicts.

However, when the divide has become religious or political, the humanity seems to get lost and there are only sides, enemies, and righteousness.

People lives become numbers.
No time to bury the bodies.
To be together and honor a life too short or one well lived.

The pain just stays, and the conflict and divide grow deeper.
There becomes only agony and pain. Hate

This is why I don’t care much for religion or politics.
The right or wrong of the many paths all seeming to come from the same point of origin.

So many wars have been fought.
So many lives lost.

For what.

I know many will say for freedom.
But I can’t help but go to the words of Nelson Mandala:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Not sure we’ll ever get there through religious or political beliefs.

Though I imagine based on David’s words – he got there.

Covid and Trump

Just when I thought Covid was background after a few years of playing havoc in our lives, it’s shown back up loudly in my world.

I never got sick during the first three years and about three weeks ago after lots of travel, I had what I thought was allergies. I tested postive. It was a bit of a shocker, and a bit rough for a day or two, but I moved through and went back to testing negative and moving forward.

Then CrisMarie had it and that resulted in me going to a two day off site without her.

It all worked. However, I was pissed at Covid.

Come Alive

I headed off to Haven for a Come Alive. I had a full group and great team. One day in and I was heading up to group and got informed one of the participants had some symptoms and had tested positive.

I have to admit it was a jolt. COVID again!

We’d been together as group and I knew there were likely to be concerns. I wasn’t sure what to do. Yet there we were.

It became a great opportunity to face uncertainty and dialogue. We each had to address how we would deal with our uncertainty. Some put on a mask. Some asked to test. Others were fearful and just spoke to their concerns. Our now quarantined member, couldn’t leave the island, so we had them join on Zoom.

All things considered Covid did disrupt, but also gave a great moment for deep dialogue and self-responsible relational living.

The Come Alive ended well and even our Zoom member reframed their Come Alive experience amazingly well. My heart was warmed by how everyone worked with all that came up.

Next Couples Alive

Couples Alive starts today and already Covid is in the air. One couple couldn’t come. CrisMarie is still not well and not able to join. One of the assisting couples had heard about the CA and has their own journey with Covid beliefs and concerns, causing them to cancel.

Suddenly I was confronted again. Covid isn’t going away. It almost seems louder than in those silent days of being at home.

Covid and Trump

Covid reminds me right now of Trump. I thought he’d for sure be gone by now too. But much like Covid, he seems to keep rearing up and stirring up fear and polarized opinions.

I really want to blame Covid (and Trump) for what seems like a horrble thing. Yet I get it’s not the virus or Trump that’s really the biggest problem. I think it’s the fear, the division, and the lack of conversation that is the real issue. Actually I think that fear may be keeping both much more alive and influential than either would be if we could learn to talk and share better.

Covid like any virius is going to keep surviving. I believe our job is to not to let it’s existence tear us a part and cause us to live in fear and righteousness.

Maybe what Covid offers is a chance to self- define, listen, and be curious. Do our best to be relational and make choices that honor ourselves and others.

Rules and regulations are not going to rid us of the virus. Just like court cases and votes don’t get rid of Trump.

Somehow we have to learn to live better together and not let our fears be what spreads dis-ease.

Seems I have to be curious and relational with Covid and even with Trump.

Celebrating Life: The Heart Beats & Connections

Love this Client gift AND the message – Speak Freely!

I don’t want to write about my reactions to headlines and stories of the madness that seems all about.

I do though want to connect.  To find a story or subject that resonates with my heart and possibly through simply sharing will resonate with you. 

Since my birthday is approaching, June 12 is the official day, I do want to take a moment to celebrate my precious time on this planet.

I have some fun planned here in Montana, a Pride rafting trip and the Downton Abbey New Era movie with friends. 

I’ve also added an extra day on a trip to Seattle, where I’ll be with family – Penny, Rob, Melissa, Melissa’s new boyfriend, Rick,  my mom, Clarke, Carolina, Janet.  I am hoping this will be an evening of music and fun.  Between Rob, Clarke, Rick, Melissa, Carolina – there’s plenty of musical talent.  

Want To Help Me Celebrate – Here’s one way – Bobbi’s Arena

These days it’s cool to have a way for people to share in a birthday through a charity or cause.  I know there are many big global options. But this year I would love to have you offer a donation to Bobbi Halls’ new arena.  She’s a special woman and I do look forward to being back out at the ranch for Find Your Mojo in Montana, happening October 6-9, 2022.  If you are inclined to offer a birthday gift, please offer a donation towards Bobbi’s new arena.  Here’s the link:

Gratitude Does Come with Age and I am getting OLD!

I feel incredibly grateful for my life.  My amazing wife, CrisMarie and our two four-legged family members, Rosie and Zuzu.  Life is good.  Even with all the crazy.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been 62 years – damn, I am getting old.

I don’t really feel it.  Sure, I have the odd ache or pain.  My hair is grey (and I love it).  However, over the years life has simply gotten better – richer and fuller. 

This year did mark a big milestone.  I finally got that book out.  I’m pretty proud of my book, Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.  At one time it would have been about the pain and loss. It also could have been longer and included other stories.  However, it’s short and makes the point I really think is worth making – Life really is about being relational – Not Right.

Heartbeats & Connection

As I step into year 63, I know time is limited.  However, life isn’t really measured in time. I think it is best measured in heartbeats and connections. 

I plan to make the most of those. 

I hope you do too.

Happy Birthday Lincoln – A True Bright Spot

Today’s is my great-nephew, Lincoln’s second birthday. (May 30)  This is little guy came into world at a time when things were not easy.

The world was in the throws of a global pandemic.  Our country was just day’s out from the murder of George Floyd.  There were fears, stress, hatred and much pain and grief.

In his own family, he was born not to long after his grandpa, Monte, my sister Melissa’s husband, had died after a battle with Pancreatic cancer.

However, this little guy has been nothing but a bright shining light!  Pretty much for all that get to visit and know him. 

I haven’t had that up close meeting yet.  But have stories and many pictures all showing the rays of sunshine he’s been radiating out for his first two years.

This latest birthday was celebrated with more bright spots.  I loved learning about his amazing joy in getting both a grilling tent and a small kitchen as his new favorite places to play.

Monte, his grandpa, was a great cook and griller.  No doubt some of that came through in the gene pool. 

You got love it when a little one takes to tee ball, golf, cooking and grilling.  Now that is a well rounded soul.

There is a lot of pain and sorrow in the world.  It’s hard to remember or find the bright spots.

Little Lincoln – he’s a definite bright spot.  So is all the loving and connection he and his family have shared together and via photos and Facebook with me and those of us not so close.

Happy Birthday Lincoln!!  Keep shining! 

So My Mask is off – Now What?

Mask Off

Here I sit.

Back at the coffee shop.

Last week everyone had on a mask.

Today, no one.

Now I am pretty sure everyone here in the coffee shop is not vaccinated. I might be wrong but statistics of our state support my prediction. It’s odd.

From mandatory to nothing. Overnight.

I’m comfortable enough. I am fully vaccinated and have found a table off in a corner. Plus, earlier this week I went to a evening musical event at the Great Northern. The place was BUSY. Myself and one other had on a mask. I kept mine on there partly because I just couldn’t quite shift from the all in to nothing.

Maybe it makes sense. In our state and area if you wanted to get vaccinated you could have done it by now. Plus there was already a strong segment of the population that was never going to get vaccinated, nor wear a mask.

I am working my way through the change. Bringing a mask and making my decisions as I go.

Are we heading back to normal? Is Covid now the new flu?

Then there’s all the bigger, may be even more critical issues that have surfaced. Social injustice, equity and poor public health and access to health care. What will happen with those issues?

I’d like to think we won’t just go back to the way things were. Yet if the ease at which we eliminated wearing mask is any sign – well I’m not so sure we’ll stay engaged without an ever present crisis. Let’s face for many out there – things may still be a crisis or a painful period of grief.

Am I glad that I am fortunate enough to get pick my vaccine – yes. Am I grateful I didn’t lose a family member to Covid – yes. Am I grateful if I get pulled over it is unlikely i’ll be assumed guilty or worse – yes.

Indeed I am grateful for being privileged and I believe that comes with taking some responsibility. Yes – I can take off my mask and return to some type of normal. I also want to listen and not just assume all is now right in the world. It’s not. We still have a lot of work to do.

Let’s get to it. Be grateful. Hug your grandchildren. Throw a party. Then invite the conversation that isn’t happening.

The world really could be a better place for more – not just some.

Maybe you care about the climate.

Maybe you care about equity and justice.

Maybe you care about inclusion.

Pick something and take a step to make a difference.

It doesn’t have to be loud.

It doesn’t have to be HUGE.

Just take a step and if we all do that.

Well I believe we CAN make the world better for more than just ourselves.

When I was wearing my mask over these past months – it wasn’t for me. I liked knowing there was something I could and was doing for others. The mask made that easy.

I still want to do that.

So yes – the mask is off and now comes the hard part. What will I do next?

What about you?