Showing posts from February, 2010

Stress, distress and longing for all to be well

I am writing this for all the people I know who are really struggling right now. The hazard of coming to care about lots of people is that some of them, inevitably, will hit rough patches. Life is like that. You can't outsmart it and you can't outrun it. Somethings just hit you from the blind side.

So what do you do when life shakes you up and scrambles your ability to find even a moment of peace and rest? What happens next when tomorrow might not be better than today? It's easy to talk about staying positive. It's hard to do when you're tracing the course of an emotional tsunami. Sometimes you can see the wave and sometimes it is building deep under the surface.

If you can't fight, float.

I don't know what that means to you, but you do. You know that fighting is eating up energy you need. You know that fighting is generalizing so that you are doing combat with the wrong things or the wrong people. You know that you don't want to fight. You want to …

Working your way to the weekend

I am writing this in class while observing how the bind I have set for my students plays out. It's not just Friday afternoon; it's their last class on the Friday before Reading Week. They would all say that they are ready for the weekend. To get started on the weekend, all they have to do is complete their assignment.

There are no marks on the line. When they make the presentation assigned, they will all get full marks.

So the question is. . . why is it so hard to get motivated people to move more quickly in the direction they say they want?

They want to move comfortably. They want to be comfortable with what they present to the class. They want to look at least as good as the other groups. They want these things more than they want to start their weekends a few minutes early.

I am wondering where my own lines are. What do I want enough to allow myself to move quickly in its direction?

Feeling Frazzled?

It's so very peaceful outside my window. The street is very quiet. The sky is about the same colour as the snow covering the lawns.
I could feel that way: calm and present and balanced.
I could, but I don't. I feel frazzled. A phone call, a scheduling headache, concern about driving through a snowstorm this evening. So many little things opening the door to a hoard of their friends: the goblins that poke and prod and annoy with screechy little sounds. These are not important things but they like to proclaim that they are urgent.
If I pack them away, one by one, I will spend my whole day forcing screechy beings into small packages.
I will have to quiet them instead, by moving my attention someplace bright and still and quiet. Someplace like the world outside my window. I will have to breathe gently and play Bach and tell myself: Just one thing at a time. Baby steps.

Restoring Your Attention

So many things knock us off our game. I've been busy with good things, but I've been so busy that it's been more than a week since my last post. I have friends who are being knocked around by big, bad news and others who are being pushed a little by physical stresses or too much work. It's hard to pay attention when your attention is up for grabs so much of the time.
I have just been scanning through this post at idealawg. It made me think about blogging, which is one of the ways I restore my own attention when I feel depleted. Writing a post allows me to gather my thoughts, to sit still, to find a point of balance.
Prayer helps, and so does ice cream. Sunshine helps, but it can be hard to get in February. A cup of tea works, but only when it is exactly right.
It's easy to find reasons to be depleted. It's easy to find reasons to stay depleted. Easy gets you stuck.
It's good to move if only in your mind. It's good to feel your muscles stretch and loo…

Through a glass darkly

Some people will immediately recognize the reference in the title; others will have no idea. This is partly true because the quote is from the bible, and partly because the quote is metaphorical.
Whatever your beliefs about the bible, it is worth considering the phrase "Now we see as through a glass darkly. . . " You can imagine looking through the side of a pop bottle if you like. Now we see as though there were a piece of dark, heavy glass between us and the situation we are observing. Whatever we see, we miss the details.
This is a fairly accurate description of what happens when we look at ourselves. Even when we stand under a bright light in front of a mirror, what we see is filtered through how we feel. It's true when you ask "how do I look in this outfit?" and it's true when you ask "how will I succeed in this new job?" Self-reflection is never 20/20. It's more like looking through a glass darkly.
This means that we never really make …

Synaesthesia: Learning to See with Your Heart

Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.A. St Exupery, Le Petit Prince
How do you see something that cannot be seen? We often try to answer that by discovering new ways to make something visible. There's a better answer. If you cannot see it, perhaps it's because you are looking for information through the wrong system. If it can't be seen, maybe it should be explored with your ears or your heart (kinaesthetics of emotion) or your physiology (touch and internal sensation). Maybe you are attacking a problem with logic that would be better approached through design thinking (as described by Roger Martin). Switching your perceptual system might yield faster, better results than working harder or digging deeper.
Switching perceptual systems can be learned, practiced and developed as a skill. Everyone does it naturally some of the time; most people never work at moving from what they know best and…

Is the internet a soapbox or a conversation?

A friend with considerable business success told me yesterday that she thinks social media is just a passing fad. While she might be right about any particular manifestation of social media, she probably doesn't want to be right about all of social media. Whether she - and the many traditional thinkers like her- understand it or not, social media is about the difference between a world where we each yell options at everyone else and a world of conversation.
I would rather live in a world where people talk to each other.
Social media gives us a way to talk to people we might never meet and to talk to people when they have the time or attention to offer to us. Those of us who converse on the computer find the telephone a little loud and intrusive. We would rather pick our conversations than have them thrust upon us. On a scale of a thousand years, landline telephones are beginning to look like a passing fad.
What is not a fad - what is constant, is the desire of human beings to sh…

Imagine we're taking a walk or having a cup of tea

That's what our new series of NLP Shorts is about. The one below is an introduction that answers the question "What do you do at NLP Canada Training?" Most of our recent additions to YouTube do more. They allow you to imagine that we're sitting or walking together). For between two and five minutes, you can step outside the busy-ness and confusion and gather focus and resources.
Why try an NLP short? Maybe your computer just crashed, or a phone call went badly, or you just can't focus on the work you need to be doing. You might be feeling sad or lonely or stuck. You might just feel like you need to get out of your own way for awhile.
So, get out of your own way for awhile and sit or walk with us. We'll look forward to spending time with you.

Every edge cuts two ways

We were intrigued when Tom Condon offered a course on the Enneagram and the Meta Model. That course offered a great review, but not much that was definitive and new. It did, however, make us take a second look at what we actually use of the Meta Model and how it works when it works.
If you're unfamiliar with the terminology, the meta-model is the way that NLP described the language patterns people use to dissociate from their own experience. It was developed by a linguist and a mathematician who observed psychotherapists - a strangely dissociated approach to language which results in a terminology-heavy and typically negative and combative model. Within the meta model, patterns were called "violations" and responses to them were called "challenges." The whole thing was supposed to be grounded in Chomsky's Transformational Grammar.
I've never thought that the meta model offered a rich enough understanding of what is at work when one person asks questio…

Getting Lost and Getting Lost and Getting Lost

For some people, last night was a momentous occasion. At our house, it meant a feast of ribs and tropical fruit while we watched the first two hours of the final season of LOST on television. We've been waiting a long, long time for the games to begin again.
Other people just don't get LOST. They don't see the fun in the endless, crazy plot twists, the striking images, the confusion of both ideas and emotion. All the characters are blends of good and bad, of likable and infuriating. The dead speak and the live are seldom allowed to get on with the business of living. Even time isn't a straight line on the island. Even the end is not certain. The mysterious, powerful, (now dead) Jacob says: "nothing has ended. And everything before the end is just progress."
Some people get lost in the jungle and some people get lost in this representation of the jungle. Each of the groups thinks the other is a little crazy. The fans feel a little lost without LOST; wh…