August 1st, 2019
Let’s face it. Most of us really like certainty. It’s just so much easier to see the black or white in any situation than to muddle around in shades of grey. As the Democratic Presidential contenders do their debate thing, aren’t we hoping for a clear, clean message that shows a way forward, one way or another? Case closed.
Yet, life isn’t like that.
More and more, I’m realizing that moving from Certainty to Ambiguity, to a place of curiosity and wonder, is harder to come by but well worth the effort. It takes a commitment on my part to dig deeper, push past my judgments and reactions. And do it with compassion and grace. To stay still, within myself, and offer what I know about myself, rather than self-righteously telling someone else what I see is ‘wrong’ with them. Or worse, feeling it but not saying anything (which will bleed out in some passive aggressive way later, to be sure).
I’ve shared Kim Scott’s model of Radical Candor before, and while it
still applies to many situations, what I’m talking about here has more to do
Analysis. In large part because when
I’m ‘stuck’ in a place of Certainty, because I see myself as right and/or
others as wrong, so that I can take comfort in my black and white analysis, I’m
almost always operating out of my old child self – protecting, defending,
rationalizing my position.
When I can return to my present self, willing to live within
the ambiguity that the present almost always requires, I find my way back to a
connection with others that is far more satisfying and productive. Yes, uncomfortable at first (not black or
white, and that makes me squirm), but healthy in that curious, wondering, willing
to look at my own shit kind of way.
I do hope the Democrats take a look at their shit and figure
this out, sooner than later.
Thanks for listening.
Let me know your thoughts when you have a chance.
September 19th, 2012
Guest blog by Alexa Cole, VP of Client Services, Cole Consulting
Yesterday I participated in a call by the Wealthy Thought Leader, Andrea Lee, called “Coaching Skills for Highly Uncertain Times.” It was comforting to participate on this call and have the gentle reminder that things aren’t just hard for me and for my clients, they’re hard for most EVERYONE right now. These are uncertain times, and it’s the way we navigate through these times that make us stronger and wiser human beings.
Andrea Lee provided a wonderful tool during this talk on how I can help my clients get clearer about an ultimate goal and how to drive to that destination, being sensitive to the fact that our route is often circuitous. What she didn’t talk about, and what I’d like to address today, is how we can best take care of our minds, bodies, spirits and souls through these uncertain times.
According to Dr.Stone, a prominent and well-respected teacher, “the reason why we have these various bodies is so we can interact with and experience the various dimensions of reality. Our physical body allows us to experience and interact with this Earthly plane. Our emotional body gives our Soul and Spirit a “house,” so-to-speak, on the emotional plane, and our mental body allows interaction on the mental plane. We are multi-dimensional beings, and this is why we have multiple bodies.”
The road map, or action plan, is also important but I find it can be hard to discern the right action steps to take when I am overwhelmed or exhausted. Usually feeling depleted happens because I am not making the time or space to get in touch with my true heart’s desire.
I propose a four-part alignment exercise to use as a centering device for when you are going through a difficult decision called, aligning your four bodies.
1. Aligning the mind – What do I need to have clarity on before I can move forward with my decision? What is left unresolved in my mind?
- Homework: Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, making two columns. On the left write “Content” at the top, on the right column write “Context” at the top. Record each issue or mental block you may be having such as “I don’t feel I deserve to have a job in the field I want because I lack experience” and in the Context column next to it write down all of the limiting beliefs you may have around the issue such as “I lack confidence because…”, “I can take a class to gain more experience…”, etc. They can be positive or negative blocks but writing them down often helps free your mind from the burden of your decision.
2. Aligning the physical body – Carve out half an hour each day for the next three weeks to dance, walk, go for a run, or whatever you like to do for physical activity that is pure enjoyment.
- Homework: When you move from this activity to your job or other tasks in your day, be aware of your feet firmly planted on the ground for rooting into the energy of the earth, our greatest resource.
- Before bed: When you’re lying in bed at night, imagine breathing into your feet, legs, hips, stomach, all the way up your body. This will bring you into your body and re-ground you for sleep and relaxation.
3. Aligning the soul (or emotional body) – What are some things that make you come alive, or feel very fulfilled in your life? What brings you a sense of calm and joy? Alternately, what are some things that leave you feeling depleted or lackluster?
- Homework: Spend at least one part of your day doing something that makes you feel happy and vibrant, and less time in your week being with people or activities that drain you. Especially when going through a difficult period or decision in your life, it is important to keep routine around things that feed you and provide you with emotional support.
4. Aligning the spirit – Whether you are a spiritual or religious person, or you feel most connected in nature or with people you love, get in touch with how you like to connect to the world around you. It may be through music, art, travel, or church. For me it is feeling a sense of community when I get to share a meal with those I love or meditate in the mornings.
- Homework: see if you can spend time each week connecting with your own inner spirit and the spirit around you. If you don’t currently believe in a drawing force that connects us all, perhaps look into a non-denominational meditation or church service. I find it incredibly helpful in times of turmoil to have a sense of unity with others in the spiritual sense.
By getting in touch with these four parts of ourselves, our heart can release into the present more fully. It is easier to face decisions head-on because we feel nourished and grounded, ready to take on whatever comes our way. Use this method as a tool for making a tough decision, or just use it before bed, calling in your four bodies mentally in order to put each part of yourself to rest at the end of a long and productive day.
Let me know how it works for you and if you have any suggestions or feedback, please let me know in the comments below.
April 4th, 2011
It was 1986. I just had to scratch the entrepreneurial itch again. I had helped start a parent-cooperative elementary school, The Schoolhouse, ten years earlier, and wanted to start something in my ‘new’ field, energy conservation / energy management, which I entered back in ’79 after six years as an educator. Bernie Sanders had been elected Mayor of Burlington by a 10 vote margin five years earlier and Burlington was just beginning to be a hotbed for progressive politics, food and business, my real passions.
I answered an ad in the Burlington Free Press titled “Wanted: General Manager/Entrepreneur” to start-up and head-up an employee-owned and managed energy services company, that was to be the for-profit part of Vermont Energy Investment Corp’s (VEIC) double business plan.