Look to the future, but stay in the present…

Today, I was walking my dog Leo on the icy sidewalks. Leo is old, and has hip dysplasia and arthritis, so we were taking it very slowly. I was very, very careful, helping him navigate the really slippery spots. A tumble for Leo could be very serious. He kept tugging to walk further than I was comfortable, but I let him lead.

After a while, I found my mind drifting off into the future, fueled by my morning journaling. I love thinking about future possibilities and goals. Not 90 seconds into that daydream, I felt a tug on the leash. I turned around and Leo was flat on his belly with all four legs splayed out, unable to get up! I snapped back into the present, carefully lifting him and making sure his back legs were still working. He was a trooper and kept walking. Whew!

As I continued to walk home I realized how important it is to stay present in the here and now.

The end of a year, and beginning of a new one, is a great time for reflection. What went well for you? What do you wish would have been different? What does that mean for you in the coming year?

Enjoy the fun of setting your North Star for the year, but don’t forget that it is your hour-by-hour actions and behaviors that set the path of living the life you want.

As you reflect on 2018, may you do so with gratefulness, no matter what happened, and be open to the possibilities of 2019. Be gentle with yourself and act your way into your dreams.

Break out of your own perspective…and get empowered.

  • Break out of your own perspective…and get empowered.

I don’t know about you, but many of my friends, family and clients are dealing with a sense of being stuck…almost victimized. Yes, I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling a bit like this lately too. So, what do we do for ourselves, or with our clients and loved ones, to help us gain a sense of empowerment and possibility? And perhaps even kindness? Adaptive Action and Stance of Inquiry

Adaptive Action – What? So What? Now What? is HSD Institute’s simple iterative process, that when processed deeply, opens up invigorating energy and movement. We all take adaptive actions every day when we see what is happening in situations (What?), analyze it (So What?), and take action (Now What?) You see it all around you – look at the protesters, the migrants looking for a safety, the families with infighting. The key difference in Adaptive Action is that it points to useful action (not your habitual action!) as you analyze your situation to inform your next step. Adaptive Action helps you reflect on where you might only be seeing it through your own lens, the people you know, the experiences you’ve had, your education and preconceived notions. It is not easy to approach situations with an openness that brings about new ideas, perspectives and possible action. We need tools to help us be more mindful and to break open the gates to more ideas and perspectives.

In these times when it feels like we are all firmly grasping at own beliefs and perspectives, we need to help ourselves, and our clients, live our values and stay open to possibilities. So, what can help us do that? Here is one of my favorite HSD tools that I often use with my coaching clients – Stance of Inquiry.

  • Turn judgment into curiosity
  • Turn disagreement into shared exploration
  • Turn defensiveness into self reflection
  • Turn assumptions into questions

WHAT is your current situation?

SO WHAT new thoughts or ideas might you have if you stand in inquiry?

NOW WHAT will you do?

Can you see how this might help you in a jam you are in, or perhaps a decision you have to make? Can you see how this might help your team, your clients, your family? Using inquiry is a way to process the current situation, live your values and stay open to possibilities beyond your immediate response.

If you are a coach or consultant and would like to learn more tools to help you and your clients stay in choice, sign up for the Adaptive Action Coaching Lab that Royce Holladay (HSD Institute) and I are offering in March-April. Learn more HERE.

And post a response about what you learn by standing in inquiry!

Reframing the Negative: A Lesson From My Dog

  • Reframing the Negative: A Lesson From My Dog

I have two dogs, Siena is 14 and Leo is 11. They have always been complete opposites…except they both like treats. Everything else is basically opposite. Now that they are older, those differences seem to grow even wider, especially when it comes to pace and walks. Siena is fired up with lots of energy and a skip in her step, while Leo walks as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Walking two dogs at this different of a pace was starting to drive me crazy and stretching my arms out so I was like a Stretch Armstrong doll. (Yes, I know some of you may not be old enough to remember this amazing toy. ☺)

I decided I had to change things up or I would go nuts. I decided to walk them separately so that they could both get a walk that was satisfying to them. I found myself still irritated, “Give, give, give, that’s all I ever do. Now I really won’t have time to meditate in the morning.” Ick, another mindset that wasn’t very satisfying.

This morning I decided to give myself lots of time while walking them separately instead of trying to jam two walks in the same amount of time. What I realized is that walking Leo was meditative. If I wasn’t leaning forward, trying to get somewhere (even though there was no where to “get”), then in fact, he was actually giving me the opportunity to meditate. And meditate where I prefer – outside! So today I did a walking meditation with Leo and I found great delight in my dogs’ differences. Siena gave me the opportunity to get my heart rate up and Leo the opportunity to ground myself.

Where are there things or people in your life that are frustrating or irritating? Where is difference feeling like it is getting in the way versus giving you an opportunity? What might happen if you repurpose or take a new perspective? What beauty might unfold?


What I Learned From My Vitamix

  • What I Learned From My Vitamix

Today after making a nasty tasting pea protein shake (which they usually are because pea protein is gross), it was time to clean my Vitamix. While I do not enjoy cleaning at all, cleaning my Vitamix is a joy. All you have to do is drop some soap and water in the blender and blend-wash it. It’s slick, easy and gratifying. Ok, maybe I’m a little eccentric, but it’s the small things in life for me. Anyway, as I cranked on the blender and watched it spin and clean the blender, I noticed something stuck to the side of the blender. Rats, those little flax seeds really get to me sometimes. I let the blender run and run, waiting for that seed to finally give up its grip on the side and get sucked into the washing funnel…but it didn’t let go.

As I reflected there looking at that flax seed, I realized that washing my Vitamix was a bit like life. We can shake things up to try and “clean” things up in our life and that is good. I love shaking things up! And yet, sometimes there are things that stick to you, like the flax seed — things that need more than a shake up and whirlwind cleaning. There are things that need close examination, scrubbing, reflection and attention. There are many ways to take steps in your life that give you a clean, fresh feeling. And the things you want to freshen up, what do they need? A burst of energy and shake up? Or a slower examination, scrubbing, and nurturing attendance?

Take a little time with your Vitamix life and see how you’d like to refresh it.

Photo via GetInspiredEveryday.com.