Saturday, May 30, 2009
Today, still frazzled but with some time, I put the CD on and found myself being drawn back to center. I found myself breathing deeply, feeling held by Judy’s voice and stories, hearing her smile and laugh and finding my own…being reminded of so many things I know and forget: the simple gifts of the present moment, the ability to choose what I focus on, the beauty of the world, how wonderful it feels to be grateful.
I thank Judy for the simple gifts of her stories and songs and presence and the great gift of friendship. I’m feeling refreshed and hopeful after listening to her CD, and know I’ll go back frequently for a story or two…
Give yourself a treat, and check out “Simple Gifts” on her website, www.JudyRinger.com…good ki comes in many forms.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
"At the end of my spacewalk, I had time to just look at the Earth, the most awesome sight my eyes have seen, undescribable" - Mike Massimo, USA (twittered from space)
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” - Neil Armstrong, USA
“Problems look mighty small from 150 miles up.” - Roger B. Chaffee, USA
For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us. - Donald Williams, USA
My first view - a panorama of brilliant deep blue ocean, shot with shades of green and gray and white - was of atolls and clouds. Close to the window I could see that this Pacific scene in motion was rimmed by the great curved limb of the Earth. It had a thin halo of blue held close, and beyond, black space. I held my breath, but something was missing - I felt strangely unfulfilled. Here was a tremendous visual spectacle, but viewed in silence. There was no grand musical accompaniment; no triumphant, inspired sonata or symphony. Each one of us must write the music of this sphere for ourselves. - Charles Walker, USA
Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I saw majesty - but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin, moving, incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the human drama and comedy. That's where life is; that's were all the good stuff is. - Loren Acton, USA
The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic. The Earth was absolutely round. I believe I never knew what the word round meant until I saw Earth from space. - Aleksei Leonov, USSR
For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light - our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance. - Ulf Merbold, Federal Republic of Germany
A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl who, upon seeing her beauty, become her protectors rather than her violators. That's how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. I could not help but love and cherish her. - Taylor Wang, China/USA
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Recently, I had the opportunity to face my inner critic yet again when I made an offhand remark to a friend and later wished I'd held my tongue. A colleague told me last week that he'd made a blunder that was keeping him up nights. While it sounded like a minor miscue to me, it was interrupting his sleep and sapping his usually upbeat energy.
It's a question that comes up all the time in my workshops. Most conflict is with ourselves, I think. It may be generated by something that happens on the outside, but eventually I have to go inside and consider what to do about it. How do I handle this situation and manage myself in the process?
Center. Stop, breathe, and direct your awareness towards the center of your body, about two inches below your navel. As you think about the situation from center, it will change.
Accept. As you're probably aware, I practice Aikido, a martial art in which we practice aligning with the attacker and redirecting the attack energy. So I ask myself, in life's conflicts, where I'm resisting this alignment. When I'm angry with myself, it's usually because I did something that's "not me." I resist this version of myself. Yet ... I did do it. Accepting and integrating my action as part of me helps. I recognize that I am capable of it. Then I forgive myself and let it go.
We can slay dragons, dance tangos, build businesses, and get straight A's, but we struggle to relax, let go, let fly. I'm learning to let go more each day. Like whistling, it takes practice.
You will find a longer article on this topic on my Web site. Please visit when you have a chance!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Aikido has no form – it is the study of the spirit. "
M. Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido
This quote showed up in my twitter account a day or two ago. I posted it in our dojo as a reminder to students who get too caught up in 'itemizing' all of their throws. Learning throws as 'tools' or techniques for handling attacks is essential but there is a place where we move beyond that process to 'see the forest through the trees.' Our practice evolves to where we are simply responding to energy, focusing upon connecting with the other person. Of course, to be able to respond appropriately, we need to have developed that toolbox of actions to draw upon in responding.
The same metaphor applies in so many areas of personal and professional development. We read about and study tools for communication, managing emotions, being a leader. But, always, there is a desirable place beyond this study where we are able to step back and focus more on the spirit of the person/team we are working with. At that point the quality of our relationships heightens. All those techniques/tools that we learned become simply resources that we can draw upon in strengthening our relationships. To throw out one more metaphor, a bit like a painter using his paintbox to paint a masterpiece.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Emotions happen. We can, however, make choices about how we manage them. When we reframe emotions and think of them simply as energy, we can begin to question the notion of "good" and "bad" emotions and instead work with this energy and direct it in positive ways.
The energy of anger, for example, can cause us to become reactive. Or it can help us to gain clarity - about why I'm so charged and what I'm really going for in the relationship. When we regain control, we can direct the energy with intention and begin a useful emotional practice.
Five Tips to Manage Your Anger in the Heat of the Moment:
- Stop, breathe, and center yourself. Under stress, we usually stop breathing. Without knowing it we close the throat, tense up, and get ready for a fight. We react to the perceived opponent and lose perspective, awareness, and the ability to make wise choices - just when we need these faculties the most. So stop, notice your tension, and open your throat. Let the incoming breath reconnect you with a higher purpose so that you can engage your opponent in more purposeful ways.
- Become curious. Why would a reasonable human being behave this way? An attitude of curiosity is really useful in difficult moments. It introduces a learning stance and brings you back to center.
- See the different parts of people. When we're angry, we see only the part of our "opponent" that we're upset with. Look for other parts - the big brother; loyal friend; doting grandma; proud mother - and talk to that part. You'll find yourself communicating differently.
- Inquire and listen. Asking an honest and sincere question to try to understand the other person is a powerful antidote to anger. As you become quiet and attentive, you also give yourself time to breathe, center, and regain control of your emotions. Listening is an art and an ally under stress.
- State your thoughts, hopes, and feelings. When you take the time to center yourself, understand your emotions, and listen to your conflict partner, you're more likely to communicate a message your partner can hear.
Anger can damage relationships, but it can also strengthen them. When you breathe, center, inquire, and respond intentionally, you begin a useful practice of directing your emotions with awareness. And you're also more likely to be heard.
Would you like to see more articles like this one? See the Free Articles page on my website.