Tag Archives: Blog

Stalled By The Shiney Object Issue

This morning I awoke to find my good friend Renée Safrata’s latest Blog/Vlog on The Big Picture, The Shiny Object and The Overwhelmed. It was all about the ‘stuckness’ that can occur when working on great ideas and projects. I loved it.

I am someone who suffers from not only the Shiny Object issue but more appropriately the Any Object issue. I often find myself piling on projects. I have one great idea which I start with great motivation and intention. However, it does not take much for me to get distracted. I can use the old ADD disorder excuse, but that does not get any project completed.

I liked Renee’s idea of breaking it down into smaller steps and feeding on the adrenal rush of small successes.

Like this blog. I wanted to try again to include images into my blog. Some of you got to see pictures of my Super Senior parents in the last blog, but many of you may have missed out because the original posting did not quite work. I had to get technical support to fix the problem. I saw Renee’s vlog today and had the idea to try sharing video this time. I knew the first step was to write my own blog. I got a bit distracted, of course, by other possible subjects and then other images to insert. But I stayed on task.

Hopefully you have been able to enjoy learning from Renée’s blog as well. Giving you a chance to identify which one of these trouble spots may slow down your projects!

P.S. It took me a week to get this blog completed. I wasn’t able to insert the video quite as easily as I had hoped, and truthfully, I got distracted by another project. At least I remembered and watched the video again. That helped me to get the job done!!

The Importance Of Integration

It’s been a while. I am back from Croatia and have been quite busy with work and other things here in Montana. I realized over the weekend that since my Dad’s 90th birthday, I have been traveling: I spent the month of May on Gabriola leading the Phase; got back for a day or so and was then off to Croatia; came home from that and headed into class for a couple days; took a trip to Columbus, Ohio to work with a client; and then over the weekend drove to and from Spokane to visit with my cousin from South Carolina for a few hours. Everything has been great but with so many significant events happening I have had very little time to integrate, write, or fully absorb any one of these events. The good news is that I believe I was pretty present, so I know I let things in and believe there is still time for needed integration.

Last night I went with some friends to hear Susan Gipson, a singer and songwriter, play at an outdoor pavilion just outside of Whitefish. Gipson wrote the Dixie Chicks’ song Wide Open Spaces—one of my favorites. She was awesome, a great storyteller and songwriter. Her songs are clearly like my blogs, a path for her to integrate life events and share them with the world.

With so much happening I feel like I haven’t been doing the sharing part. For instance, I missed writing about the wonderful Croatian guides we had on our trip, Marko and Matej, who were sort of opposites in personality but together they delivered such a rich passion, history and love for their country that I came away wanting to tell others about the people and the place. Then there’s the World Cup, what an amazing event. It’s not just about soccer. My favorite side story was about the grandmother’s South Africa soccer league. These woman started playing when many couldn’t walk and they definitely were not supposed to be out in shorts and sneakers. People laughed at them. But this league changed the lives and health of many of the women. I love stories like that.

Here’s hoping I can find the time to integrate recent events and write some blogs that let me share some of the special times. I am not always good at slowing down. Especially with so many exciting things to do. But listening to Susan Gipson last night reminded me of the value of finding a path to share the story—not just live it!

Celebrating Life: Muchness Vs. Shouldness

Jim and Renee arrived yesterday to join us on our big adventure. In honor of my birthday they created wonderful riding shirts for each of us. They had planned these shirts with my birthday in, mind but instead of simply focusing on me, the shirts broadcast celebrating life. I personally think everyone else on the trip will want one. They are great.

As always when we get together, we started chatting about everything and my latest blog on muchness came up. The concept was one that we all agreed was important especially in relationship to our trip and celebrating life. As we talked we realized life can as easily become about shouldness as well as muchness and that the real challenge is to recognize it when it occurs and to do something about it.

Most of us lose our muchness when we get to caught up in the shoulds and the obligations of life. It is easy to do. Whether it is a passion that becomes a job and suddenly instead of taking risks and learning the job, it becomes routine and lifeless. Or a relationship that slowly becomes more about doing what’s predictable and safe rather than what is desired, which thereby causes conflict or tension. We all make these small decisions and choices and though they may not seem that serious over time, the result is a loss of our muchness in exchange for shouldness.

It is what I like about being with friends like Jim and Renee. Together we talk about these things and confront each other about our patterns. Sure sometimes it can be uncomfortable. That is the problem with living with muchness, it can create anxiety and tension. Instead of being predictable, I am in the moment and may not do what everyone expects and thinks is ‘right’. When each of us is living that way, there is more potential for differences and conflicts. However, there is also more newness and possibility. So if I am willing to stay in that uncertainty and tension there is an aliveness and freshness to life that is definitely worth celebrating!

As we travel together for these next few days, I look forward to discovering where am I living my shouldness and how can I recapture my muchness and celebrate life by more fully engaging. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover and commit to the next part of my journey and be clear that it is not the shoulds that my life reflects but instead all the possibilities, i.e. my muchness.

Grateful And Fulfilled – Heading Home!

I am on my way home, back in the Alaska Boardroom on the last leg of my trip.  I am thrilled to be meeting CrisMarie, Sooke and Bailey tonight and sleeping in my own bed again.  The month at The Haven has once again been rich and fulfilling.  This morning as we shared our last circle together, I had a chance to look around and reflect on my connections with each of my follow travelers, forgeting about the hard parts and the moments when I wished to be home. Instead, I felt touched and honored to have witnessed transformation.

I am soon leaving again, this time to celebrate my 50th birthday with a bike trip to Croatia. I realized today, in thinking about turning 50, that I have spent over half my life involved in programs and transformation at The Haven. I believe it was a May Come Alive that launched me on my journey many, many years ago. At that time I didn’t even think I would make it to 25, much less 50!  However, here I am turning 50, and though I will be officially celebrating in June, it seems right to have had a month at The Haven to test my aliveness, remembering what turned my life around back then and what still keeps inspiring me.

It’s really pretty simple.  People.  The power of two or more human beings opening and revealing themselves to each other—the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful moments of realness that happens over and over in the Haven session rooms. I did have a few moments in the past month when I wondered why I still keep coming. I questioned my ability to be like others had been for me: a mentor, a guide, personal and authentic. I caught myself putting up some walls and disengaging. And I called myself out, challenged myself to make a choice—to risk, to have some faith and trust the process. Much like the Grinch, my heart grew in size three or four times throughout a given day.

This time around I discovered the joy in developing a longer more intimate relationship with my co-leader. We have been doing enough together now that we have a way of working together that is smooth and connected. We can laugh, cry and clear things up. We know when the other is tightening and are willing to say something and hold each accountable to the task of staying present, curious and open.

I was touched when Carole pulled out a poem I had written after an earlier Phase and wanted to use it in our closing circle. I wrote those words to go with a closing song over a year ago and when we read it again, I was very glad she had kept it alive.

Sometimes writing is the easiest way for me to freely share my heart, writing a poem about touching a raw moment, and sometimes it’s writing a blog.

I am grateful for The Haven, for each of the many lives that have touched my own over the years, and for myself for sticking with it!

When Self-Awareness Becomes Self-Excuseness

I have a major project due for completion and I am struggling to get the job done. It’s not like I haven’t known that I suffer from procrastination issues. However, this is one of those times when awareness has not led to new behavior. This project has been looming for months and though I have attempted to pull the necessary pieces together so I could focus and get the job done, I have now waited until the last minute, blogging about this issue instead of doing the job.

So what is that about? I could tell you about my Myers-Briggs type.  On Judging/Perceiving I am a high ‘P’, meaning I like to put things off until the last minute.  Apparently I thrive on the rush of pulling the all-nighter (this might have been true in college but I am much older now and I doubt I would do well at all without sleep). I don’t like closure because I like to leave myself open to all possibilities. Still, there comes a time on a project when choices need to be made.

Even with all this awareness, I am still not moving ahead.  My Myer-Briggs also says I suffer from internal perfectionism, meaning sometimes I won’t do a job because I am too afraid of letting others down, so instead, I just say I can’t do it.  Well this might have been okay months ago when I could have said ‘no’.  But now I am need to overcome any internal concerns about failing and as Nike would say: Just Do It!

As I have mentioned before, I also have some ADHD symptoms and can be easily distracted.

I could probably dive into some other personality assessment or childhood experience that could offer an excuse for this behavior. It is amazing how sometimes self-awareness can simply become self-excuseness.

Enough!  It is time to quit making excuses and get to work.

Though it is quite nice outside—may be I should go for a bike ride!

Just kidding!

Getting To Clarity & Connection

I am spending the day in the house. I woke up this morning running a fever. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am not one that likes to rest and recover, I tend to overdo.  But I really want to kick this cold/flu, or whatever it is, out of my system. So I am willing to spend a day inside. I hope CrisMarie will be willing to pick up some Rice Dream for me when she heads out. I don’t have much of an appetite but Ice (Rice) Dream sounds wonderful!

I have a book to read, papers to work on, my computer and a variety of beverages sitting on my bedside table. I am working on a newsletter article about Pat Lencioni’s book, Naked Consulting. Basically the book is all about being real and authentic—and that is why I love it. I don’t want to give away the newsletter by writing too much about the book, but I think it’s a great read. Of course the title is a bit provocative. We sent a copy to an HR friend and she said this book would be an HR nightmare. There’s no doubt Pat probably was hoping for that type of reaction. 

While the title may be potentially an HR nightmare, the subject matter really isn’t an HR issue.  HR departments have simply become the enforcers of programs, guidelines, and policies, set up to overcome longstanding prejudices and ignorance about the differences between people and power. I’ve never thought that laws and policy were a very effective solution for relational dynamics. Sometimes laws give a certain amount of comfort, defining for someone the parameters of certain types of behavior that are either bad or wrong. This can confirm a person’s opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily create a significant change in attitude. People might learn to say the right words but it is unlikely to really change their views and may even create more distance.

So what is the solution? I think the best way to create a shift in attitude and behavior is by learning to understand the impact certain behaviors have on others. Instead of counting on a policy to ensure that inappropriate language is not used in the workplace, I have to speak up whenever I see it happening.  Not just when it happens to me but, even more importantly, as an accountability measure when I see someone I work with saying or doing something to someone else that I find offensive. Not to make them wrong, but to be real and authentic and in the moment is when I believe real change can happen.

When I have done this—I have been surprised by the results. Often I have either learned something very valuable about the person I was speaking to, which in turn influenced my position. Or they were curious about my reaction and we had an dialogue that I would later discover had a positive impact on them.  Of course this does not ensure change or agreement, but when it comes to relationships, that is not really the most important outcome. The most important outcome is clarity and connection by way of authentic and real conversation.

A Boardroom Blog: Visiting Family

Another day in the Alaska Boardroom. I am traveling home after a day of coaching and visiting family. I must admit that one of our best investments has been this Alaska Boardroom pass. Who would have thought?  I almost enjoy getting to the airport for the required two hour wait because I can sit and get fast internet, not to mention free beverages, chips and fruit. So here I am again.

Yesterday I flew into town for some coaching and visits with clients. We had also intended to be here for a one day off-site that was postponed. With the extra time I decided to visit my folks, John and Bernie, who live about an hour from Seattle in Lacey, WA. I have been waiting for a chance to visit. My dad will soon turn 90 and even though I have no doubt he intends to live beyond that memorable number, I knew he had been dealing with a bad, unrelenting cold. I am not sure if I was worried more about him, or my mother, who often not only cares for him, but also helps with other elderly friends who are in various stages of moving on.

For many years I was quite distant from my family as I worked through some resolved childhood issues. During that time, my parents seemed to find their own creative ways of filling the gap. While I was doing tons of personal growth work, they were exploring Edgar Cayce’s, A Course in Miracles, and various other new age/energy type work.  When we finally reconnected, I discovered there were similarities between us that I otherwise would have never known. Like my mother’s interest and skills in working with energy, for instance, and my father’s desire to be known as the Cosmic Man.  Now, when we get together, I often am intrigued by their outside-the-norm lifestyle. Their current reading material is almost always interesting and includes some titles I make sure to write down. I can also count hearing some interesting stories about my mother’s Healing Touch work and my Dad’s latest athletic pursuit. At 90, he has just decided that he will shift from Ping Pong (which he’s done on a large scale in their community), to the Wii machine. I suggested he might like revisiting his tennis days without the need for an overhead serve. I can imagine on my next visit he will have created some type of round robin interactive Wii event for the Panarama folks.

I am quite amazed at the life my parents live. They are very engaged.  Next week they are heading up to Canada and will be visiting one of my favorite locations—the Wikkinnish Inn.

It is an amazing gift to me to be able to discover who my parents are as people. Not in the roles as Mom and Dad, but what makes them tick as individuals and what they choose to value and believe in. Sure, it has taken a lot of work on my part to get out of the old family patterns. Sometimes I can still get drawn in. But with this visit I just enjoyed connecting with them, listening to John convince me to read his latest book club book, The Elegance of the Hedge Hogs, and helping Bernie with a computer project.  As I worked my way through the cluttered harddrives my mother has created, which contain everything from pictures to poetry, finances to educational materials, I could tell I was indeed her daughter. My computer is just as crazy and I could hear myself saying the same things she does, “One of these days I will get this all in order”.  Sure she might, but what I liked was that she didn’t let keeping things organized and within control get in the way of compiling an awesome lifetime of experiences. Even John’s desk, which he too has been organizing, reveals the many layers of his life, kind of like a tree trunk.  Tidy but tons of rings.

I enjoyed walking through their world.  Knowing some bits and pieces of who they are as people and also confirming that, indeed, we are a family.

Well it’s about time for my flight.  So I’ll be on my way.

Back Online

I am just returning from a wonderful yoga retreat down in Mexico.  I haven’t been online or in touch with anyone outside of my other yogis for over seven days.  The retreat center does not have electricity in any of the open air living spaces and recommends  ‘disconnecting’ for the time you are there.  Last year I went and packed as many batteries and power packs as possible for fear that I would need to get online, watch a show or call someone.  I didn’t and it was great!  This year my bags were lighter without all the extra power cells and once again I loved being disconnected.

Of course that also meant no blogging.  So now I am back sitting in the airport on my way to an event in Calgary.  I downloaded the mess of email that had collected over the week and I will eventually get back to all of that.  But I wanted to blog before the ‘high’ from a week of healthy eating and lots of yoga wears off.

Some might be thinking that after a week of yoga I most really be loose, flexible and enlightened.  However, that is not yet the case.  I have made progress in my yoga but honestly I am likely never to be someone who looks or acts very ‘yoga’ like.  I am too paranoid, direct and hyperactive for a total transformation.  Still I am discovering some wonderful aspects of breathing and aligning through yoga.

Our group was quite the spectrum of people.  Most of us were coming from Montana and following our yogi master, Jodi Petlin.  We had beginner beginners, various injured folks, some immediate folks and some advanced beginners.  We also had folks who had never gone a day without an expresso or a burger and the food at Harmara is glutten-free, meat free, mostly vegetarian and no sugar. We were not the typical group that came for a yoga week.  Yet I loved the contrast, the ‘realness’ and the opportunity to watch a master (Jodi) deal with such a range and still manage to give each of us a path for advancing our own practice.

Of course I had my moments of trying too hard, forcing my body into poses without breath and forgetting this was suppose to be fun and relaxing.  I also had some wonderful moments of doing something I did not think I could (a headstand and backbend); laughing through a mediation (a full body laugh that felt great!), making new friends with folks who are part of my community back home as well as connecting on a deeper level with friends who had joined us for the week.

The time was rich and yes I would love to linger in the mellowness that was a part of being disconnected and offline.  But just like yoga is a practice that is designed to impact my day not just the one or two hours I am practicing.  This past week shouldn’t really be about staying offline or out of the choas, it should be about being calmer and more relaxed diving right back in.  I will let you know how it goes!!  For now I will breath and go get on a plane!!

Hanging on To The Fire Hose!

I feel like 2010 is starting out a bit like a fire hose and I am trying to keep control without much success.  When I have had a chance to sit down to blog I have found my mind too busy to focus on any one subject long enough to write.  Sure I could tell you about the current Bailey challenges.  However, a dog’s digestive tract just doesn’t seem like a topic worth sharing.  There have been some really positive things happening.  We found an excellent trainer and are regularly going to class as well as puppy and dog social hours.  This has been time well spent because Bailey is enjoying a great variety of dogs of all ages and sizes and we are getting trained along the way.

Then there’s work which is picking up.  We had an excellent session with a team we had not been with for a while.  They have done some great work building cohesion and clarity based on some of the original work we did.  It’s neat to see what folks do with what they have learned!!  Now we are prepping for a much larger group.  Shortly we’ll be presenting in front of a group of 150 financial folks.  This will be bit more challenging because there is more of a speaker element to the day and we will be talking more to leaders then to teams.  I like the challenge and of course with anything new there is some anxiety.

Then there’s the Board that I am on for the school I am a part of here in Whitefish.  Last year was a year of significant transition for the school and though I think we did a good job of shifting from a founder as leader to a broader group of folks leading,  we are still dealing with some transition issues.  The founder hasn’t found the shift easy and there’s tensions that have yet to resolve.  Because the school is a centered around a spiritual community and focus there is a belief that the issues are somehow unique.  I am not so sure about that.  Basically the hardest issues the school faces seem pretty much the same as any business I have worked with – breakdowns in communication and silo’s activity that slows down overall progress.

Of course I also am trying to stay enagged in the various activities happening at The Haven.  As part of the core faculty there I like to stay as informed as possible.  I love the times that I am there leading programs.  Over five years ago The Haven went through it’s on transition as Ben and Jock stepped away from being involved in day to day operations.  That transiton was very difficult for me because The Haven was more family then buisness.  I struggled with the shift and at one point pulled way back. I have reengaged though not quite at the same level.  Some of that is because I moved to Montana and I am not at The Haven as much or in contact with folks who are there as frequently.  Some of it is because I have become more enagged in the community out here and don’t have the band width to stay fully present in both worlds.

So my life is busy.  I have no doubt everyone goes through their own version of juggling what’s most important in their lives.  It’s not easy to keep a healthy balance.

I do have a image in my mind of trying to control a fire hose with the water turned on full force.  Right now I feel like the hose is whipping around in too mnay directions.  I either need to get a firmer grip on the hose to control the flow or I need to expand the hose so the water has more room to flow.

Next week I’ll be offline at a yoga retreat. Lots of time to figure out which way I want to go!

Reflections & The New Year

Today’s the close of 2009.  For me this year seems to have flown by.  I think as I age the time passes quickly.  For many years my plans for new year’s eve involved The Haven and a wonderful program there called Reflections.  Each year the program started on the 28th and ran through the 1st of the new year.  The morning of each day  was spend with friends reflecting on the year and catching up and the afternoon was either free time or an opportunity to be a part of the fastest put together play production ever.  The play’s storyline was always the same – someone(s) is trying to stop the new year and someone(s) have to save the day.  Though the storyline is the same the characters are always new and developed by the folks participating.  Everyone gets to be the character they want which sometimes makes the play a bit wild.  Still on New Year’s Eve the play is the center of a great evening.  Along side the play is an awesome talent show.  Basically everything happens by 10pm and the rest of the evening is dancing and hanging out down in the lodge until midnight.  I always believed it was the best New Year’s event around.  By new year’s day there’s been enough reflecting and some imagining that the last morning’s sharing of the one word for the next year is magical and so much more fun then resolutions!

It’s been a few years now since I have made it to The Haven for Reflections.  Partially because it’s not an easy trip and I am generally going back later in January for a faculty weekend.  But I miss Reflections.  I try to create some of the same experience wherever I end up.  Of course the play is out; however, I do still spend time reflecting on the year and trying to come up with a word that resonates with the year ahead.  I’ve added a few things like a collage of images and words of things I want to fill my world with going forward.  This year I may even go and participate in a midnight meditation.

It’s a bit different this year because CrisMarie is in a place where she is grieving the passing of her brother, Tom.  We got so busy after he died that she never had the time to let her feelings surface and flow.  Now she realizes the loss and is working through her own process of letting go.  It is wonderful to be in support and I am aware that is also a process she needs to do at times alone.

Looking back on 2009, I am aware of some very exciting additions to my life.  Bailey of course.  Plus my blog.  Also I have become a yoga fan and even though I am not great yet believe I have reached a point where I can show up for a class anywhere and hold my own.  I did my own workshop – Living Life Full Out and had a positive experience.  We had some great work opportunities and created some excellent relationships.  I signed on as Chairman of the Board of JMSI and have been learning tons in that new role.  Some of the highs were going to the Harmara Yoga retreat, a wonderful Phase program in the summer (plus two excellent Come Alives!), finally making it to the Going to the Sun Road and discovering just how much fun it is to bike in Montana!!  The lows were my horrible winter cold, Tom’s passing, not being able to make to Spokane to visit with my family for the holiday and still not getting any skiing in yet.

Looking ahead I am excited about moving into my 50th year!  We are going back to Haramara for a the second annual yoga retreat and in June will head to Croatia for a bike trip.  It looks like there will be some changes in our work relationship to the Table Group and we are open to that.  There are many events already on my calendar for the year and I am sure there are many things that will pop up.  Last year my word was integration and I think the year’s reflected that.  Many parts of my world(s) came together and that was cool.

This year’s  word has not come forward yet.  I am thinking it has something to do with play, joy and wonder.  I know there are many challenging things happening in the world these days and fear and doubt are abundant.  However, may be it’s Bailey but my heart is light and excited about the possibilities.  When the final word surfaces I will let you know.  This blog has been like my reflections.  I haven’t heard as much from friends but invite you to share your own reflections and what you anticipate lies ahead.

Have a very Happy New year!!