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Showing posts from June, 2006

when connections get stretched

It is now summer. We've had smog days, humid days, lots of heat and loud thunder. The season of kicking back to relax is also the season of temperatures rising. Tempers rise with them.

What do you do with your anger? Do you keep it on the back burner or let it flare? Restrain yourself or make others tremble? Relish it or run from it?

Eventually, you know it is time to let go of anger. Do you release it like a balloon or burnt it out?

What gift is hidden within your anger and why is it useful to you?

What gift is hidden by your anger and why do you need to uncover it?

winning in the final seconds

The World Cup this year is making a good point: a game includes every moment from starting whistle to final whistle. Every moment in between contains all the potential of every other moment. Spectators watch and think, "what can happen in 15 seconds?" Winners focus on scoring until the whistle blows.

I watched the Australians fight bravely against the Italians. Although my recent trip to Italy has me cheering for the Azzuri, I couldn't help but cheer for the Australians. Like almost everyone watching the game, I thought they had pushed the Italians into an overtime they could very well lose. And then, with only seconds left on the clock, the game ended. It ended because no one told the Italians forwards it was time to give up. The charge up the left wing was intent on goal.

The charge ended with a foul and the game ended with a penalty shot. Just before the shot, the camera went in close on the eyes of Franceso Totti, the man taking the shot. I had no doubt watching …

blank slates, fresh starts and instant satisfaction

I am writing this post on a brand-new, fresh from the box, the battery isn't even fully charged yet macBook (that's a laptop computer for those of you who do not yet speak Apple). I knew that my business partner would consider it money wasted if I was not excited enough to try the computer right away, although I need to acquire a cable and a certain amount of free time before transferring files from my trust iBook and making this my main machine.

Truth be told, I need the time to think about what I want to transfer.This is one of those pivotal moments: I have a chance to start fresh, free of stuff that kinda sorta works. The computer truly is a blank slate - although this computer is a blank slate that will take care of all my photo/movie/music/internet needs and might even allow me to do some work. Thisis the moment to figure out which of my bookmarks I actually visit, which of my documents can be labelled "archive" and which programs I enjoy using.

It's exciting.…

psyche, cupid and the rest of the world

One of the Greek myths tells the story of Psyche. An oracle foretold that she was to marry a monster; her parents abandoned her to her fate. Instead, she found herself in a paradise - a beautiful, isolated palace where invisible servants tended to her every need - and some of her wishes.

There's the rub. She was not entirely alone (a mysterious husband appeared in her bed each night), and yet she was completely cut off from everyone human. What price would you ask in order to live without human connection? Psyche had everything she could want - every physical need met (the mysterious husband in her bed was Cupid himself, the God of love). It wasn't enough. Before long, she was pleading with her husband to let her visit with real people again.

We are all like Psyche: what we want includes other people. As human beings, we have evolved precisely for social connection. Like Psyche, we all find that connection a mixed blessing. In the myth, Psyche's sisters influence her in …

What are you doing in class?

We began a new nlp practitioner certification course last week - new in that we are training new practitioners and new in that we have redesigned our program. What was not new was how hard it seemed to be to find words to answer the question "what are you doing in your nlp course?"

What they were doing this weekend was fine-tuning their awareness of states in themselves and others. As human beings, we experience the world as a chain of unified states.That means that all different parts of our experience (mental, emotional and physical, for instance) are experienced simultaneously, not in sequence. What we do in a situation depends on the fit between circumstances and the state in which we experience them.

If you think of our clients as being in training for a competition, this is the phase where they develop strength through exercise and repetition. Strength is the ability to exert force in a particular direction to meet a particular purpose. In order to develop a stronger ab…

Running your course

Have you heard these expressions?

"It's just running its course."
"of course"
"race course"
"the rain was coursing down"
"the course of true love. . ."
"taking a course"

I'm running a course this weekend, and thinking as I do about what the language tells us about all these different courses. Some of them mean something like "to move quickly through a path or channel," and the others preserve this sense of something set moving so that it's direction can be foreseen.

Running a course is like flowing smoothly and naturally in a direction that is set and flexible. It is like putting all of mind and body to work to get somewhere quickly while responding to what is going on around me. It is like being immersed in movement, even while standing still. And it never does run entirely smooth.

Before I run a course, I set its course with plans and outlines and strategy and hope. It's the hope that provides the sp…

How do you rest?

What makes you feel rested? It is an interesting question, an interesting and very human concept. We do not know if hibernation or seasonal change allow other organisms to rest. My dog sleeps about twenty hours a day - it is hard to believe she needs this much 'rest'. People are often aware of needing rest, less often of being well-rested. We cannot sustain continuous activity for very long and yet we often wake feeling less than rested. What's up?

Your best source of information about the rest you need is you. You probably have many strategies for being tired and needing rest. As you think about them, you can sort out the kind of tired that comes from physical activity, the kind that comes from thinking of too much information, the kind that results from powerful, and powerfully mixed, feelings. Since none of these is a situation that can be avoided, you need to look from here to the times when you have rested effectively.

Trace a time when you were tired and follow it un…

Come and play

The email and phones have been strangely quiet this week. As the weather remains good, we sink into summer, daydreaming about long days of deep relaxation. We will dream about them until August, when we will start to launch back into high-speed with worries about all the things we have not yet done to prepare for fall.

How can we escape this cycle of longing for a break that never materializes in the way we hope? Watch little children. What do they do? Left to their own devices in a stimulating and supportive environment, children play until they are tired. Then they sleep. Then they play.

Maybe its the lack of planning that gives kids so much energy. Kids do not plan: even when it looks like planning, they are merely playing at planning, cococting schemes knowing that the pleasure is not in the product but in the process. Planning means keeping one part of our brain for life now while the rest of it engages with something that might or might not happen. It is useful in lots of ways.…

Where your attention is, there change will be

To what did you pay attention today? Paying attention makes a difference - sometimes in situations or other people, sometimes in ourselves. When we pay attention, our minds work differently and the way we access information is changed.

Consider experiments on what happens when a particular patch of skin receives stimulation. If the tip of one finger, for instance, is touched repeatedly over a period of time, then the "brain map" of that tip will grow larger. By this I mean that the tiny collection of brain cells associated with information from that finger tip spreads sto include neighbouring cells. The tip of your finger now takes up a bigger part of what is, quite literally, your mental real estate. Unless. . .

Unless you weren't paying attention. If your attention were elsewhere while that fingertip was touched, the stimulation would not result in a larger number of brain cells associated with that finger tip. No attention, no growth.

When we pay attention to som…

What if learning is like eating?

We've all talked about food for our brains; we all have known times when we were hungry to learn, and times when we were so stuffed full we could not digest a single new piece of information. Food keeps us alive physically. Thought keeps us alive.

In a very real sense, consciousness is life: we cease to be ourselves when we cease to be aware of ourselves. Life means thinking and thinking changes what we have stored in our minds so that all thinking is learning of a sort.

That's a lot in one paragraph. It depends on readers to realize that what I mean is that everytime we "think" we access a particular neural web, and in accessing it, we change it. When what we think changes, we say we have learned something. So everytime we think, we also learn because we also change the neural representation of our thought. Sometimes we change it by realizing that we want to hold on to that particular thought. Neurologically, we change our representation so that the pathways are dee…

When did you learn the most?

Think about the times when you have made changes in your life, the times when you have needed to acquire a whole new set of skills, the times that have followed or preceeded milestone moments. As you think about one of those times now, allow yourself to become highly aware of the learning you were doing. Move your attention through the things you learned to the process you used to learn them. Now notice how much of that learning you did without teachers.

Through our years of formal education, we are conditioned to think of learning as something that is done with the guidance of teachers. Most of us remember that our most significant learning - even in school - was done without teachers. We learned all the unspoken rules of the playground and the classroom without teachers. We learned most of what we know about relationships, personal and professional, without teachers. We learned most of what we know about how to simply get things done - whether that meant raising a baby or taki…