Here’s one to think about:

THE APPOINTMENT

What if, on the first sunny day,
On your way to work, a colorful bird
Sweeps in front of you down a
Street you’ve never heard of.
You might pause and smile,
A sweet beginning to your day.
Or you might step into that street
And realize there are many ways to work.
You might sense the bird knows something
You don’t and wander after.
You might hesitate when the bird
Turns down an alley.  For now
There is a tension:  Is what the
Bird knows worth being late?
You might go another block or two,
Thinking you can have it both ways.
But soon you arrive at the edge
Of all your plans.
The bird circles back for you
And you must decide which
Appointment you were
Born to keep.

 

~Mark Nepo


Wow.  I just came home from a celebration of life service honoring a 42-year old man who lost a very short battle to cancer.  He was the son of one of my former bosses, and I had met him only once– so I was mostly there in support of his parents.

After this 2-hour celebration filled with stories, laughter, tears and all emotions that go along with those, I feel like I know him better and more importantly heard the valuable lessons of how he lived.

Zach resided in multiple places in the United States over his relatively short life.  He grew up in Pennsylvania but spent considerable time in New York City, Philadelphia, Colorado and finally California.  He majored in an engineering discipline in college but he ended up studying the ways of Native Americans in the west.  I remember his father scratching and shaking his head multiple times over the years when I would ask how his son was doing, and he usually ended with something like, “I’m not sure if he’ll ever settle down and figure out what to do.”  Of course his father–a classic baby boomer–was used to the ways of choosing a career discipline and following that discipline throughout your life until retirement.

Ah, but the stories today.  The free spirit; the kindness; the sense of humor; the “being present” for people in his life; the choosing warmth, openness and helpfulness over impatience and aggravation; the making everyone that entered a room–even his hospital room at the end of his life–feel welcomed and honored; the singing in the shower and the car; the laughter; the hikes; the honoring nature; the loving animals; the being present for children.  I’m not kidding.  Person after person (and there were quite a few who spoke) had the stories to back up the character that was Zach.

The last gentleman who spoke was a friend from Colorado.  He told us that just before he left for the airport to make the flight across the country for the service, he made a decision to change out of his dress clothes–so sure he was that Zach was laughing at him from somewhere in the spirit world.  And, instead he put on a flannel shirt, hiking pants, and substituted a duffel bag and a cooler for his suitcase.  He spoke of Zach the way everyone else had but somehow he captured the spirit of Zach in this last quote–from Tecumseh, a Shawnee leader from the 18th and 19th centuries:

Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.  Trouble no one about his religion.  Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.  Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.  Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.  Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.  Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.  Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.  When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.  Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.  If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.  Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools and robs their spirit of its vision.  When your turn comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.  Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

Zach was an accomplished photographer and he had his own blog where he clearly demonstrated his talent and love for nature.  You can access his blog here:  https://feralzach.com/tag/zachary-e-dautrich/

Many of you know I’ve been aware of red tail hawks flying close above me on numerous occasions in the last year.  Well, Zach loved red tail hawks and has numerous gorgeous shots of them on his blog.  On the way out of the service today, we were handed a post card with one of Zach’s red tail hawk photos on one side and the Tecumseh quote on the other.  Wow.  There are messages here for me to learn.

Finally, I will send a note to Zach’s parents to thank them for the service and for Zach.  I think his father, in particular, now has his answer about Zach’s calling.  It wasn’t so much about what Zach was “doing” that mattered…it was what he was “being” that brought so much joy, respect, laughter and peace to so many people who filled that room today.

Rest well dear SMOG.

 

 

 


I found a meaningful quote on a Ten Thousand Villages blog post, written by a woman who has found a way to make her life work even within a challenging economic and sociopolitical system.

It was a great reminder for me.  I love sharing my journey on this blog.  I have always been motivated by trying to help others, as well as by sharing my frustrations, joys and learnings.  I have to always remember, however, that my way is not THE way.  It is not the one, the only and/or the RIGHT way.  It’s my journey.  Yours is your own.

If these posts help you to think, wonderful.  If they help you to learn, fabulous.  If they keep you in touch with who I am becoming, super.  If they inform your development, cool.  If they make you think I’ve lost my marbles, that’s okay too.  It’s all good.

Journey on, my dear SWOG friends!

 

 

 


Sometimes when I read a passage I find myself saying, “Huh?” Having no idea what the author just said, I scratch my head, read it again, and if I still don’t get it–I move on.  Maybe I’m just not meant to get it yet.  Maybe I haven’t reached that level of discernment, enlightenment or whatever other “ment” I’m meant to reach at that particular moment.

I’ve decided, however, it shouldn’t keep me from trying.

Cynthia Bourgeault is one of those authors who I can sometimes “get” and sometimes I scratch my head.  She’s been a guest writer in Rohr’s blog over the course of the last couple months.  She is so deep that I often lose her on the way down into the cave mountain she’s trying to take me.

So, when her post today made sense to me…it was a moment of excitement, encouragement, and wonderment.  In other words, the “ment’s” were working to form a great big “Ah.  Ah Ha” today.

What does it say to you–even if it is bemusement?

 

The Opposition Is Never the Problem
Sunday, March 19, 2017

This week Cynthia Bourgeault, one of CAC’s core faculty members, continues exploring how the Law of Three can be put into action to facilitate positive change in the world.

We’ve been exploring the Law of Three in a theoretical way, getting acquainted with its major precepts and a few of its peculiarities. But what do some concrete examples of Law of Three in action look like? Consider the following Law of Three triads:

seed/moist earth/sun = sprout
flour/water/fire = bread
plaintiff/defendant/judge = resolution
sails/keel/helmsperson = course made good

But these are only textbook examples, while the Law of Three is all about action. It is one thing to recognize a Law of Three configuration in a theoretical exploration; it is another thing altogether to recognize it in actual life and be able to work with it confidently and skillfully.

The single most liberating insight to come out of my work with the Law of Three was the realization that what appears to be the resisting or opposing force is never actually the problem to be overcome. Second force, or holy denying, is a legitimate and essential component in every new arising: no resistance, no new arising!

That realization in and of itself radically rearranges the playing field, shifting the focus away from trying to eliminate the opposition and toward working collaboratively for a more spacious solution. According to the Law of Three, once an impasse is reached, it can never be solved by going backward but only forward, into that new arising that honors all the players and brings them into a new relationship. (Einstein seems to have been on to this insight in his famous dictum that a problem can never be solved at the level at which it is created.) The three forces are like three strands in a braid; all three are required for the weaving.

One woman in a group I was working with was almost instantly able to turn around a very difficult standoff with an ultraconservative bishop when she realized that his resistance was not the problem to be solved but a given to be worked with. With an almost visceral “Aha!” she relaxed her sense of polarization and was stunned to learn the next day that he had miraculously softened his stance. While it was not clear to her who had actually been the broker of third force here, it was clear to her that the two relaxations were not unrelated.

One can only imagine how greatly the political and religious culture wars of our era could be eased by this simple courtesy of the Law of Three: (1) the enemy is never the problem but the opportunity; (2) the problem will never be solved through eliminating or silencing the opposition but by learning to hold the tension of the opposites and launch them in a new direction. Imagine what a different world it would be if these two simple precepts were internalized and enacted.

Ah.  Ah Ha.


The pursuit of grace.  It’s difficult to put words to what this means.  It likely means different things to each of us.  Part of why the title of this post is “A” Path to Grace is that I sense each of us has to take our own journey to find it.  So much of what I’ve been posting about on “adult stage development” really boils down to finding a way to embody grace in deeper and deeper ways.

Everywhere I’ve turned in the last few years I’ve come into contact with the mindfulness movement.  Whether it’s reading Rohr or Bourgeault, whether it’s in my Georgetown program, whether it’s in BB&T’s Leadership program, whether it’s all the neuroscience research–meditation, consciousness, mindfulness, and being present have become mainstream.

I figured the universe was trying to get my attention by bringing this subject in my path repeatedly (there’s only so many times you can ignore something pulling on your sleeve).  So, I started, stopped, read some more, tried again, gave up, learned some more, and got a tip on a tool from a Georgetown colleague.  The “tool” was Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Experience.  I started in November and have been pretty consistent ever since.

After completing the first set of meditations, I went to their website to find other subjects.  Imagine my delight when there was one titled, “Manifesting Grace through Gratitude.”  I purchased that one and one called “Finding Your Flow.”  Onward I went into this brave new world of listening first to Oprah introduce the topic for the day and then to Deepak who took the information deeper.  Then as Oprah always says, “We’ll meditate!” and the session basically concludes with about 10-12 minutes of meditation.    That’s probably the right amount for an antsy gal like me but they do offer an extended session version where the meditation time lasts around 20 minutes.

I have to say all of these meditations have been enlightening and encouraging, but the one on grace has been inspirational.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised–given my resonance with its title.  The following is an excerpt from one:

Living in a state of grace takes gratitude from a feeling to a way of being in the world.  You no longer question the value of trust, love, surrender and faith because you have tested them and made them your own.

Before the state of grace has ripened completely, however, a moment of grace or a feeling of gratitude can be fleeting.  To make it last and become a way of life requires that we establish new habits.  The conditioning from our past that’s based on negativity, struggle and judgment needs to be worked on.

This work, which happens inside, becomes a joy because you can feel that each step brings more happiness and fulfillment.  You feel free as you become who you really are beneath the layers of habit and old conditioning.  All this time grace stands beside you.  It never changes even as we do.

How do we get there?  The only answer I know to this question hit me square between the eyes when I was watching the movie Doctor Strange.  No, really!  I’m not kidding.  When the good doctor was trying to understand the new world he was drawn into he asked his spiritual guide/advisor the question, “How do I get from here to there?”  She returns his question with a question, “How did you become a doctor?”  To which Doctor Strange answers, “Study and practice.”

Study and practice.  It’s probably the only way–at least for me– to let go of old thoughts and habits and adopt new ones.

Sigh.  I was hoping for a magic vitamin.

 

 


OK, get out the tissues.  This one was powerful–in many ways.  Because I read slowly, I had trouble reading his whole message while the video was playing.  You might not suffer the same pokiness, but in case you do I’m going to include below, after the video, the exact words written on this gentleman’s sign.  As always, I’m interested in your thoughts!

 

 

Hello.  My name is Karim and I am an Arab-American.  Like many people who are black, brown, women, LGBTQIA, Latinx, Muslim, Jewish, Immigrants and Other, I am very scared.  We are anxious and uneasy in our own country and it’s difficult to see what lies ahead for us.  But I have HOPE that I am SAFE with YOU.  Together we can build a community of caring rather than one of fear.  You can trust me to care for you no matter who you are, what you look like or where you are from.  ?Will you embrace me as willingly as I embrace you?

Will you shake my hand and/or HUG me and/or take a photo with me and post it as a sign that I am safe here with you?

I TRUST YOU.  #youaresafewithme    #safetyinnumbers

 

There is so much to say and do.  Let’s make sure our voices are heard.  Feel free to pass along the video, the post or whatever.  Write your congressmen and women.  We can promote safety and security without promoting racism, hatred and exclusion.  It does not have to be one or the other.  Our policies can protect ALL Americans, no matter what their religious beliefs or skin color, and allow for a reasonable approach to immigration.  It does not have to be dualistic, polarized and all or nothing.  Hatred is not the way, and now is not a good time to be complacent.

Please remember, as I know my dear SWOGs and SMOGs you do, that we are ALL descended from immigrants (unless you are 100% Native American).  Irish, English, German, French, Spanish, Greek, African, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, Brazilian, Japanese, Iranian, Israeli, Saudi’s, Russian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, and the list goes on and on and on.  We are a melting pot of people.  Our heritage is rich and deep.  And, as one of our greatest Presidents (a Republican, I might add) reminded us in a very famous speech a long time ago:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers bought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.  And that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.      ~Abraham Lincoln

One man OR woman should not have the ability to put actions in place that are essential unconstitutional.  And, I know there are friends of mine reading this blog who struggled through the Obama Presidency for the same reason.  So, clearly something has to change with the way Executive Orders work, because it seems to me that EO’s have become a way for one individual to circumvent the Constitution and the principles by which we were founded.  In addition and most importantly, those same EO’s should not give that President’s followers the right or rationale to spew hatred toward our fellow men and women.  THAT is actually the most disturbing part of all of this.

OK, that’s enough politics for this week.  It’s not my intention for this blog to become a voice for one political party over another.  In my heart, I’m an independent anyway.  I subscribe to ideologies from both major political parties.  I was just struck by this video which I actually received via email a few days ago on my Georgetown listserv.  Then came the events of this weekend, and I just had to vocalize my deep concern over what I see happening in a frenzied pace.

 

 

 

 

 


A funny thing happened to me yesterday on the way to trying to live life wholeheartedly.

But, let me first digress.  Wholeheartedly?  What in the world are you talking about SWOG-blogging lady?

About a month ago I started listening to Brené Brown’s book, The Power of Vulnerability.  Thanks to a fellow SWOG (you know who you are–DGK), I latched onto Brené a few years ago when her book, The Gifts of Imperfection was recommended to me.  She’s a qualitative researcher that does work on topics like shame and vulnerability.  If you haven’t read any of her work, try watching her out on YouTube in one of her many TED Talks that she’s done over the years.

Anyway, one of the things she’s discovered through interviewing thousands of people during her career is there is this small percentage of people who have found a way to embrace vulnerability and live in a very, what she refers to as, “wholehearted” way.  As I listened to The Power of Vulnerability I found myself thinking–Eureka!  That’s it!!!  This is kind of all over the strength with grace thing.  I need to get me some more of this wholehearted stuff!

The way she describes “wholehearted” is by referring to ten sort of principles or ways these people choose to live their lives.  I do pick the word “choose” intentionally, by the way.  My Georgetown mentor told me, “We are always at choice.  We can choose for ourselves different ways of thinking and behaving.”  So these wholehearted people, Brené found, do something interesting.  They cultivate certain things on one hand and they let go of certain things on the other.  So instead of striving for more, more, more they do what makes more sense.  They do more of something and less of something else.  They do more of the good wholehearted things and less of things that get in the way of living a peace-filled and joyful life.  I’ll be laying out more about these ten principles in my blog over the next few weeks/months.

So, I did as I so often do…jumped straight into the deep end of the pool.  I went out three days ago and bought myself one of those wee little pocket journals–the size and nature that could literally fit in a man’s dress shirt breast pocket.  And I took every one of of the ten principles and I wrote on the left side of one spread of two pages the things I needed to “cultivate” and on the right side, the things I needed to “let go of.”  I made a vow that I would get up every morning– before I did anything else–and I would read one of the ten principles, in successive order of course, and I would practice cultivating and letting go of those particular things on that day.  I would do this everyday and maybe by 60 to 90 to 120 days, I would have wholehearted living absolutely figured out.

You just KNOW where this is going, don’t you??!!

So, Day 1 I get up and read my little journal and the notes that went along with the first principle.  It was about authenticity.  I was all over it.  This is cool!  I did a fairly good job of keeping the lessons in the forefront of my mind all day long.  I really felt good and like I was onto something important.

Day 2 comes–which was yesterday– and I bound out of bed.  I had a ton to do…I had a bunch of phone appointments.  I had company coming for dinner and staying to help me with genealogy research I was doing on my extended family (you know who you are SWOG-lady and thank you DS!).  I had some pre-work I wanted to do for that meeting ahead of time.  I had about three potential SWOG posts competing in my brain cells for wanting to be posted next.  I had some clean-up work to do.  I wanted to fit in a work-out.  You get the picture.  I was off and running to what promised to be a very busy day.

And, yes, the little diary was TOTALLY forgotten.  Did not give it a moment’s thought.  Did not even think, “Oh, and I need to read my little diary and see what I need to practice today.”

Somewhere around 2:30 pm I remembered it and the conversation in my head went something like this:

GEEZ Louise, Bev.  I CANNOT believe it’s only Day 2 and you’ve ALREADY forgotten what you committed to doing.  What is the MATTER with you?!?  You can’t commit to anything and see it through!

So, I scrambled to find my little diary and opened it to the second principle for wholehearted living.  It is as follows:

Cultivate Self-Compassion and Let Go Of Perfectionism.

I LAUGHED OUT LOUD.  So much so that I doubled over and snorted a few times just for good measure.  And, do we think that was a coincidence?  Naw.  Probably not.

Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

 

 


Did you ever get onto one of those ideas or thought trails and everywhere you turn, there it is again.  It’s like Chinese water torture desperately trying to get through to your brain (or in this case, my brain).

I opened my new copy of Fast Company magazine and there’s the main Editorial titled “How to Lead in 2017.”  The Editor makes seven major points as I’ve listed immediately below:

  1. True Leadership Requires More Than Just Agility and Quick Thinking
  2. Humility and Curiosity Matter More Than Fame 
  3. Millennials Have Answers and Questions
  4. Cognitive Diversity Can Save the Day
  5. We’re All Responsible
  6. Social Media Isn’t Social Enough
  7. Business Is the Future

And then later in the magazine, there is a two page spread of quotes.  Here are a few of them:

Learning is probably the most important currency you can have as a human.  Companies will continue to hire and to value employees who can transform.                         ~Grad Conn, CMO Microsoft

We’re always on the lookout for candidates who have a “learner” mind-set rather than an “expert” one.  Learners are interested in new ways to solve problems; experts can’t wait to tell you the answer.        ~Tim Jones, Director of Strategy 72andSunny

Engender trust, engender trust, engender trust.  It really has to do with building empathy and vulnerability in yourself and your team.  It is risky to do that, but take the risk.       ~Kate Bednarski, Chief Experience Officer, Live in the Grey

Practice better listening.  It’s not just appearing as though you are paying attention.  And try to embrace the things you don’t want to hear.   ~Joy Howard, CMO, Sonos

You can’t know it all.  We have users in 197 countries, and what is taboo is vastly different.  My challenge is to check my ego about what I know works in the United States and really listen to what locals say is going to work.                ~Jack Harrison-Quintana, Director of Grindr for Equality, Grindr

When you can take away the ego, you learn a lot about yourself and the world around you.     ~Kevin Jonas II  formerly of the Jonas Brothers

All of the above was written last night.  So when I was doing my morning email reading and responding, I stumbled on this LinkedIn article about Deloitte’s first female CEO–Cathy Englebert.  They did an interview with her and this was one of her answers:

I delivered the commencement speech at the University of Southern California’s Leventhal accounting school last year, and I told the seniors “never graduate,” which is sort of counter-intuitive at a graduation. But that’s exactly the point—there’s never a point in time when we can stop learning. So one of the things that set me up for success is to always stay curious and ask questions—never stop learning.

I think the universe is speaking…

 

 

 

 


I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time.  In fact, it’s part of what prompted this blog in the first place.  In my “About SWOG BLOG” section, I write about the struggle many women have with being strong, confident and self-assured while maintaining dignity, grace, approachability and humility.

Brené Brown talks about this in her book The Power of Vulnerability.  She has worked on this not only through her research but personally, herself, to the point that she uses a mantra to try to combat shame and maintain the delicate balance between strength and grace.  She repeats the following “authenticity mantra” when she finds herself in sensitive situations including when she is triggered by events and people in her life:

Don’t shrink; don’t puff up; just stay in your sacred ground.            Brené Brown

Humility, I think, is something we develop toward over time.  Rohr said the following in a recent blog post on humility:

Space, time, and patience reveal the patterns of grace.  This is why it takes most of us a long time to be converted.

I am speculating–very unscientifically by the way– that we go through phases or stages on our way to the potential of humility, and there are a variety of reasons why we struggle to get to a balance of strength with grace.  Let me mention a few here in this post and, as always, I’m interested in your comments and wisdom.  Please keep in mind, I’m reflecting from my own experience and perspective; yours will add to the richness of the post.

As women we are notoriously insecure, frequently compare ourselves to others, are more prone to experience shame including body image issues, and we are generally convinced our worth isn’t as substantial as that of our male counterparts.  So we somehow end up in an inferior state of mind, in jobs where we don’t work to our potential, in unequal pay situations, in a state of burnout from continually trying to prove ourselves to—–well frankly—-to ourselves….and so on.  When we are feeling these things, according to Dr. Brown, we tend to “shrink” or move away from the shame we feel.

Then somewhere along the way we get angry about all that.  That’s when we start to “puff up.”  The large chip shows up on our shoulders, and we tell anyone who will listen and a lot of people who don’t (listen) that we deserve “more.”  More respect; more money; more recognition; more adulation; more proof of love; more, more, more.  At that point the pendulum has swung to the other side, and we are women– hear us roar.  In this reaction, we’re using shame and blame to fight our shame.  We are no closer to the actual issue when we “puff up.”  The actual issue is loving ourselves, accepting ourselves and our imperfections, being honest with our shadow sides and understanding what triggers us.  We’re just directing our shame outward.

Some women never “puff up” but they turn that anger inside and it shows up in a form of depression.  They are convinced they will never be good enough so why even bother to try.  Self-defeating behaviors show up here and the spiral downward only continues.  This is another form of “shrinking.”

I also think because of this insecurity, we are prone to look for affirmation in not-so-healthy ways.  This is the classic people pleaser.  This is where we fall into relationship traps.  This is where we make job changes for the wrong reasons.  This is where we feel a need to tell people how special we are or celebrate out loud things that may be best absorbed within our spirits.  We crave others recognizing our “superiority,” and we do a lot of “resume-sharing” and one-upping during conversations, cocktail parties, and work events.

Two other potential threats to leading a humble life are knowledge and experience.  In his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Deepak Chopra writes:

The Yoga of Understanding has been referred to…as the razor’s edge and we are cautioned to tread carefully on this path.  As we gain understanding about the laws of nature we run the risk of arrogance.  Arrogance inflates the ego and the ego overshadows the spirit.  The original sincere quest for discovery leads to an alienation from the very source which intimacy was sought.  Truly great scientists are known for their humility.  For even as they explore and unravel the secrets of the unknown, the unknown looms larger and becomes evermore mysterious.  Humility leads to wonder which leads to innocence.  The return of innocence invites us to enter the luminous mystery of life and surrender to it.  Yoga of Knowledge can be a wonderful path if we are mature enough to understand that there are seductive temptations that may entrap us for awhile in diversions of the intellect.

Rohr writes:

But the Bible does not make transformation dependent on cleverness at all; rather, transformation is found in one of God’s favorite and most effective hiding places: humility. Read the opening eight Beatitudes in this light (Matthew 5:1-12). Such “poverty of spirit,” Jesus says, is something we seem to lose as we grow into supposed adulthood.

We all need what Jesus described as the mind of a curious child (see Matthew 18:1-5). A “beginner’s mind,” which is truly open and living in the now or in what some call “constantly renewed immediacy,” is the most natural and simple path for all spiritual wisdom.

Experience, knowledge and a degree of “success” in the career world can lull us into “puff-dom” (that just sounds like a cool new word–doesn’t it??!!).  We just KNOW what’s the right way because it was our way of doing things that reaped rewards.  Judgments and polarizations abound and anything that resembles a different path from ours has to be the WRONG way or at least inferior to our way of thinking or doing.  All or nothing.  Right or wrong.  Good or bad.  My way or the highway.  This can also be disguised more subtly as “counsel,” “advice,” or “wisdom” from one who “knows the ropes.”

The reason I speak about all this is because I have struggled with it.  I have lived it.  I seek to develop away from it.  And, I think it’s like smokers who quit or try to quit.  Many of them have difficulty being around other smokers.  At first, it tempts them to start smoking again, and they have to guard against being sucked back into the habit.  Self promotion, judgment, finger pointing and competitiveness are very contagious.  Just like gossip, it’s easy to get drawn back in.  Then later, the former smokers struggle with being around the smoke.  They are hyper sensitive to it, and it just flat out annoys them.  They become a bit self-righteous about the behavior they used to engage in.  So goes the recovering “puff-upper” (ANOTHER new word!!).  For those of you following the adult stage development reading, this is why the “Individualist” or “Self-Questioning” stage has difficulty with the “Expert” or “Skill-Centric” stage folks.  They are both self-righteous in their meaning making.

How to overcome shrinking/moving away, people pleasing and/or puffing up?  Loving and accepting ourselves first–whatever that takes–maybe through coaching, counseling, meditation, spiritual studies & practices, self-improvement reading, Ted Talks by thought leaders like Brené Brown and whatever else works for you.  Taking care of the company you keep because it does impact you.  My coach likes to say, “Keep yourself out of the line of fire.”  Try not to subject yourself to people and situations who try to shame you, try to suck you into a competitive relationship, and/or demonstrate the kinds of behavior that you are trying to overcome.  It doesn’t mean you can’t regard those people with love and compassion, but like the addict, you may not be able to be around them and stay free of the behavior you are trying to change.  And finally, Rohr’s quote above is a good source of advice…maintain a “present” focus and approach life with curiosity instead of a knowing certainty.

Those are ideas I’ve pulled from men and women much wiser than me.  What are your ideas?

“Don’t shrink; don’t puff up; just stay in your sacred ground.”

 

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Actually, I think the title of this post is a bit misleading.  I’m not sure there’s anything particularly graceful about stage transition based on what I can discern thus far.  Maybe it’s a blessing and therefore “of grace” that one goes through stage development.  I’m not sure about that yet either.  There are certainly no guarantees of being happier on the other side–or at least the instructors Barbara Braham and Chris Wahl noted that in their two day conference I attended back in September.

I’ve included a couple of their slides and a few other pictures with quotes to help me attempt to explain this topic.  First, some quotes on Stage Transition (click on picture to make it larger):

 

slide1

 

How do you know when you’re going through a stage transition?  (And, I do use “stage” before transition purposefully, because according to Barbara and Chris, you can go through a transition, but not necessarily develop to a new “meaning making” stage at the same time).  I really love the Bridges quote to attempt an answer to that question:

One way or another, most people in transition have the experience of no longer being quite sure who they are.           ~William Bridges

Life transitions include things like career changes, relationship changes, residence changes, education, health changes, life phases (parenthood, empty nest, retirement), and aging.  Just because you experience those changes doesn’t mean you are necessarily going through a developmental transition.  The latter are more evidenced by the following (from Braham & Wahl):

  1. Dissatisfaction with aspects of the current stage
  2. Experiencing the limits of current meaning making
  3. Life is getting more complex and demands expanded meaning-making
  4. Exposure and attraction to later stages of meaning-making (education, friends, colleagues)
  5. Purposeful, intentional development
  6. Mysterious reasons

 

So, developmental transitions are often prompted by life transitions, but they don’t have to be.  In my case, life transitions started the process moving and then I would point to numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 and perhaps even 6 as reasons behind my feeling tugged and unsettled.

Speaking of unsettling, here are the stages you typically go through when experiencing a developmental transition:

 

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I think I’ve given you plenty to digest for the next few days (I know, I know…perhaps the next few months!!).  Some of the implications of these transitions include (and I’m quoting the seminar leaders here): losing friends who have no idea what is the matter with you right now; career indecision; choosing different activities and people to hang with because the former people and things don’t fit so well anymore; drive seems missing or non-existent; you or others experience you as volatile, uncertain, ambiguous, indecisive, unclear, and so forth.

I can’t help end this post with two wonderful quotes.  Namaste everyone!

owning-our-story-quote-brene-brown

 

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