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16 February 2018 1 Comment

What Are You Like Right Now?

What Are You Like Right Now?

Self awareness, spiritual presence, motivational impetus, real will, clarity, excellent boundaries: All of these advantageous states of being have in common knowing what we are like, right now in this moment.

Let’s talk about this speech pattern we’re hearing so much of lately, where people stammer: “And I’m like, I’m like,” or even more deeply still, “I was like, I was like.”

By definition, “like” is always similar, never definite, always indistinct, always approaching, never arriving. Never fully here. Like is “not quite.” Like is “sort of.” Like is “almost” or “maybe.”

In energy work, healing and diagnoses, the more exactly one perceives actual conditions the more power one has to influence, impact, heal and change them. Sort of, almost and somewhere-in-the-ball-park, leave a great deal of margin for error.

It is old news that our speech patterns reflect inner processes. What does this one reflect?

Sometimes uncertainty. Sometimes a need for approval. Sometimes being overly porous and letting in the energetics of people with the same pattern—which is one reason this linguistic virus has spread so much.

Discussing this speech pattern with people when it is active, I’ve explored what is happening inside as this almost spasmodic linguistic loop is taking over their communication. They usually don’t even hear it.

What about self awareness? If we’re saying something constantly and we do not hear it or notice it, let alone assign any meaning or value to it, what does this communicate to others? How does it impact us?

Indeed, everyone of us is asleep to ourselves to a lesser or greater degree from moment to moment. We think we are self aware. We generally don’t notice our bugs, twitches, automatic behaviors, or habitual speech patterns. Yet we can use any of these to wake ourselves up a bit more by observing them and feeling into how they arise within us. Being present to them and relaxing any judgment we may have about them allows us to view them instead of checking out and becoming unconscious.

Underneath the patterns that put us to sleep, we’re almost always uncomfortable or in some kind of dismay. Self observation really does require the ability to lean into our underlying discomfort. Discovering it gives us an opportunity to minister to it with kindness.

“I was like,” shelters discomfort. I feel nervous and uneasy when I hear people saying it. I know this is true for other people too because friends, colleagues, and even strangers have mentioned it. Some want to shake people who say it and demand, “What ARE you like? Right now?”

That speech pattern runs counter to my drive to wake up, and to help others wake up—expression of which may or may not be welcome in the moment. Part of my reaction is childhood stuff about not being heard or feeling valued. So when someone who is not present is talking to me, a young part of me feels uncomfortable. I aim to lean into that discomfort, to relax it, to affirm to myself that I do indeed exist, giving myself the compassion that was absent in the past.

If you have that speech pattern, or if you react to it in others, you can use it in your spiritual work to wake yourself up. Notice what is happening inside and make a kind and intentional response.

If you say, “I’m like, I was like,” give yourself permission to HEAR and FEEL yourself doing it. Meet it with curiosity. Relax any shame. Treat it like a stone that you roll over gently with your toe. Look underneath.

Ask yourself: “What is going on in this moment? Who AM I right now? What do I want? What do I need? What are my boundaries?”

Nail it exactly! What are you—right now?

Be sincere—not rhetorical. Rhetorical in general questions, posed to one’s self, like “Who do you think you are?” tend to be aggressive or shaming. A beautiful fix for the internal impasse this piece of meanness creates is to answer the question with full sincerity.

Sincerity is a real response that makes defense unnecessary. If you respond to, “Who do you think you are?” with an accurate and compassionate summary of who you are and what is important to you in the moment, the mean voice will bow out. By defining yourself in the moment, you are not subject to being defined by shaming voices.

Much spiritual growth relies on being able to hear and make constructive responses to our internal voices. Whether those voices are shaming ones or the voice of inner guidance, learning to recognize them is a big advantage. Then we can tell the difference between guidance and desire or compulsion.

With time and application, we learn to feel in our bodies the difference between these voices by the vibrations they initiate and the states they establish within us.

Where and how does a particular voice resonate inside? What does it lead to?

2 February 2018 2 Comments

Power, Mastery, & Acceptance

Power, Mastery, & Acceptance

I used to fear that if I developed and allowed my full vitality to be present in my body that I would get too fiery and have trouble managing my energy. I’ve needed restraint lest I speak out too suddenly, too forcefully, or at the wrong moments and cause unwanted consequences. Now I have more discipline, more skill handling various situations, a greater need for vitality, and more kindness toward myself and others.

Fear of one’s vitality is a fairly common underlying element of chronic illness. Sometimes, to get well, it is necessary to find and face that fear.

One way I’ve worked with mine has been by invoking a certain divine name that helps one keep from expressing the kind of power that surges up inside oneself but is better left unexpressed. Resonating with that frequency makes it easier to remain clear and unruffled, and helps confer immunity to external energies.

The root word of that Name has to do with clearing out the house. Invoking this energetic helps release everything that does not belong with us, to be open, and to favor internal emptiness. This positive emptiness keeps other people’s energy from sticking to us. That energy passes through our transparency as we have no attachment to it. The same practice is also used to help relax fear of death.

Over-riding the impulse to act is different than surrendering the impulse. Surrender allows everything, accepting it without trying to alter anything. Saints surrender. Those developing mastery—for these are different paths—intentionally alter conditions and circumstances.

Mastery aligns with guidance and creates influence through intention and developed will. Surrender releases the need to change things and lets the energy go.

Mastering an impulse still retains the energy, which can be reassigned to more optimal aims, or simply relaxed into one’s general vitality if we are empty of motive.

Choosing NOT to act requires the ability to release personal will without releasing higher will. This means you do not act accidentally, automatically, or from personal desire. We will act intentionally, if guided inwardly to do so. Choosing not to act is more often powerful than action unaligned with guidance.

Choosing not to act can also express healthy self love. Well-timed, aligned action spares us discomfort and inconvenience set in motion by ill considered action. This choice is not the same as suppression or hesitation. One pauses, checks in, garners resources, and then acts with good timing if the object of the goal is of benefit.

How do we balance acceptance and non-action with applying intention and optimizing our choices within circumstances and conditions?

While our life paths and personal natures probably favor the path of the saint or the path of mastery, we can all work with whichever mode best serves our spiritual needs at any given moment.

People often say we can only change ourselves and our reactions to things. This direction of thinking is useful, however, I believe it is incomplete. The difference we make in the world is partially predicated by our degree of self mastery and our energetics. These do create influence, which if accepted by others, leads to change. Our ability to engineer creative change is enhanced by positive energy, and diminished by resisting what is actually going on.

Our interface with the world as also enhanced by positive surrender; acceptance—not giving in.

Mastery and acceptance feed one another. Acceptance frees up our energy and resources to respond with creativity and intelligence, giving us more mastery within conditions and circumstances. Mastery includes sensing when surrender is the wisest path.

Is your personality more suited to mastery or sainthood as a direction for Work on Self?

Are you more comfortable with one over the other?

If so, what arises for you when you consider developing the other mode?

28 June 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 86: Re-Defining the Awful Hole

Manage Your Energy Part 86: Re-Defining the Awful Hole

“God is an activity of the soul.” ~Murshid SAM Lewis

You know the hole. The one almost all of us run from. The hole deep inside, where we experience soul-sucking fear of emptiness, loneliness, gnawing isolation, or the pain of bone-cracking absence of connection. That hole.

Some of us try to fill it with multiple contacts with people, some with an idealized mate, some with sex, food or drugs. It doesn’t work. We just debilitate ourselves with the endless, distracting effort without changing the hole itself.

We have our stories about the Hole. Most of them start with “If only . . .” They vary from personality to personality, but often end with feeling like a victim, wasting our lives trying to be enough or have enough without finding any of it somehow fully satisfying, or realizing that we keep trying to make ourselves lovable to others instead of doing what we really want. Trying to escape the Hole keeps us from finding out what that might be.

In order to free ourselves from being enthralled or enslaved by the Hole, we need to be aware of the Hole. That means we need to be able to face it with some measure of detachment. Then we can investigate it some instead of being obliterated by it. Getting close to it is frightening at first. Since itIMG_4110 operates in the background of awareness, and has such power, we fear being sucked into it and obliterated by it. Paradoxically, this is what happens, to a greater extent, when we invest in avoiding that Hole. The less we see it the more power it has over us.

Another important step in freeing ourselves from that thralldom is being able to objectively observe the story we tell ourselves about the Hole, and what we believe about it. When we can see how it functions, we can challenge the myths that have developed around it.

Examples of such myths:
I will be destroyed if I experience the Hole
I have no power in the face of it
I have a problem if I feel there is a hole

The most dangerous myths are what we tell ourselves the Hole IS. What makes defining the Hole dangerous is that—supposedly knowing what it is—we cease to examine it and go on with business as usual. This gives it power.

Re-defining the Hole is a powerful act. What is that Hole, really?

Some spiritual literature describes the Hole in detail. In the spiritual context it is seen as our basic, engrained sense of disconnection from the Greater Whole. We long for connection, for Love. This can be viewed as feeling separate from the Divine, but it can also be viewed as feeling separate from our own innate essence. When we are fully Present, moving from the authenticity of our essence rather than the compensatory dictates of personality, we feel whole and complete. The Hole is not driving.

It is important to stop telling ourselves that the Hole is a need for love/food/drugs/distraction etc., and stop telling ourselves that feeling it means something is wrong.

When we start telling ourselves that noticing the Hole is a step forward in awareness, and we begin to observe our orientation with it, we can begin to direct energy and attention to the question of developing Presence. As a dear friend used to tell me: “A good plan is a plan that works.”

How do YOU experience the Hole?

What do you tell yourself about it?

What have you felt this might mean about you?

25 March 2016 6 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 77: Conundrums in Personal Growth

Manage Your Energy Part 77: Conundrums in Personal Growth

“Whenever we work through a particular layer of our personality, the issues of the next layer automatically present themselves.” (From “Understanding the Enneagram,” by Don Richard Riso)

This fact can, frankly, be annoying, especially if we are trying to achieve a particular state or condition. It tends to pop up when we are making progress—and feel like a setback. We may then feel like we are NOT making progress, but the emergence of that next layer IS a sign of progress. One may feel weary and frustrated at working diligently for a breakthrough, only to confront the constellation of issues at next layer of personality.

This new layer often consists of things we believe we have previously handled. In this case it can be a deeper expression of the familiar issues. The related challenges and wounds may be familiar, yet as we enter more deeply into the territory, it may be constructed somewhat differently.

Sometimes growing and confronting challenges can show up like climbing stairs, since we tend to stabilize at a plateau before hitting the next challenge. We may experience these figurative stairs like climbing, as in increasing achievement, or like heading deeper, down into core Beingness.IMG_0226

Like stairs in an Escher painting, these directions and processes are occurring at the same time. Which way they are going may be primarily a matter of how we are looking at it at the moment.

The work going down and in often involves confronting any prior trauma. Trauma causes rigidity in the personalty. When we can relax our defenses against encountering our historic trauma and accept it, we heal, becoming freer and more flexible in our responses to life.

In the stair metaphor, encountering inner or outer challenges can be like going along the tread of the stair and hitting the wall of the ascent or decent, which symbolize challenges that require a shift in awareness to effectively negotiate. Periods of stabilization—symbolized here by the tread—are required to integrate learning into life. These periods can be short during times of rapid growth.

During quick growth we need to take advantage of stabilization periods to intentionally rest and recover. Saying, “Phew! I’m glad that’s over!” is natural but can be ill-advised—unless we are equipped to gently laugh at ourselves when the next layer shows up. Looking for that next layer is savvy, by observing objectively so we don’t manufacture it from expectation.

When we become accustomed to a certain level of development, dipping back into previous issues or backsliding so that our experience, comfort, and performance are not what they have been can bring up distress.

The Path is a labyrinth. We seem to be getting close to something and then find we are far way, or visa versa. These metaphors describe certain kinds of experience, but they break down and our experience changes when we surrender to life in the moment without the need to fix or change ourselves. The descriptions are useful only if they help us to bring in light and increase self awareness.

How do YOU experience the path of growth?

What is your balance between seeking to grow and accepting yourself?

18 March 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 76: Creating Your Reality?

Manage Your Energy Part 76: Creating Your Reality?

“No sooner does man become the creator of the drama of his dream state through the projection of his dormant impressions, than this very projection of his own dormant impressions reflects his past as if it were really his present, and man, finding himself involved in this drama, gets absorbed in his past while still maintaining his past to be his present.”  ~Meher Baba

This quote may initially seem convoluted, while it is actually quite lucid. It is structured in the same way the energy kind of bends when we are DOING what the quote is about. That energy structure makes the description more vivid, once we can wrap our perception around it.

Perceiving this evokes some of the elements of looking at the bottom half of your arm and hand under water. You see the illusion of disconnection between body and arm as the image is displaced by the view through water. The hand seems to be the wrong size and angle. It’s a bit confusing. At the same time you can SENSE P1120995that your arm and hand are in correct relationship with your body.

When we are involved in our pasts and taking them to be the present, a certain amount of distortion of the current reality occurs. This displaced reality often feels normal or continuous. We might say this is what happens in a dream; things that are bizarre when awake seem normal. Unlike correctly sensing that your arm in water is still straight and continuous, the illusory, shifted past-in-present can be a compelling “reality,” displacing the fresh, clean, present moment and casting that awareness into the background of perception.

As we begin to wake up into Presence, we may begin to notice when we are becoming absorbed in the past, replaying things that happened before and projecting them out like overlays upon the faces and events around us.

Have you noticed yourself doing this?

Re-live your awareness in that moment. Note that you can tell The Observer part from the parts of yourself, and of your experience, that you are observing.

What do you notice about when you are present to this awareness?

6 March 2016 0 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 74: Self-Inquiry & Going Deeper Versus Wallowing

Manage Your Energy Part 74: Self-Inquiry & Going Deeper Versus Wallowing

Self inquiry allows us to fully embrace our wholeness. It assists greatly in personal growth, and in discovering how to step beyond endlessly repeating painful experiences. Self inquiry takes courage and intention.

It is not uncommon for those entering more deeply into a path of self discovery to have trouble sorting out IMG_0456the difference between self pity and healthy experience of difficult emotions. Tears, for example, are often equated with self pity. If we shame ourselves for tears, we block the relief, compassion, and insight that so often follow sincere expression and release of pain.

When we are Present we are able to experience any emotion without getting lost in it.

Let’s look at some of the many differences between self inquiry and wallowing in self pity or negative emotion:

Indicators for self pity or wallowing:

–no sincere intention to create real change; lack of positive motivation
–negative self talk
–feeling helpless or being a victim
–lack of objectivity
–self absorbed
–a tense sick feeling
–shame or negative emotions take you over
–out of touch with your body
–thoughts about what I did “wrong”
–sarcasm toward yourself
–asking rhetorical questions without answering them kindly or sincerely
–deeper insight is blocked
–thinking may become like a repetitive recording
–judgments instead of exploration
–feeling bad about how you are
–places in yourself you do not want to see
–you get stuck on the emotions you judge
–thoughts loop without resolution
–fear becomes an excuse or a jump-off point for destructive thoughts or behavior
–feeling of being in the dark
–using a difficult feeling to avoid another that is deeper and has more power over you
–feeling trapped
–“That’s just how I am,” is often a futility trap, accompanied by a sinking feeling.

The Inner Child keeps things from changing—including yourself.

It defines “comfort” as clinging to the familiar—no matter how abysmal that might be.

Feelings and sensations present in healthy self inquiry:

–positive motivation for understanding, freedom, growth, new experience
–an open feeling; curiosity about your processes
–honestly exploring questions that arise
–supportive self talk
–your body relaxes
–you may notice shame or negative emotions and enter into them, but you are always aware that you have space outside of them, to observe them and to nurture the vulnerable parts of yourself even as you notice them
–compassion for yourself for your pain
–capacity for greater objectivity about one’s own and other people’s experiences
–inviting yourself to try new approaches
–feeling of moving forward, even while going down and into your darker feelings
–deeper insight is available
–able to face fears without allowing them to consume you; your Observer stays present
–positive and realistic motivation
–feeling like you are bringing light into dark areas
–allowing yourself to experience any feeling without giving it power over your motivation or life choices
–feeling like this work increases your inner and outer freedom
–“This is how I am and it’s really okay, I accept myself” feel relieving

“How do you experience the difference between self pity and self compassion?”

“What does acceptance feel like in you your body?

12 February 2016 5 Comments

What is Genuine Love?

What is Genuine Love?

“How few understand what love really is, and how it arises in the human heart. It is so frequently equated with good feelings toward others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service.  But these things in IMG_0108themselves are not love.  Love springs from awareness.  It is only inasmuch as you see someone as he or she really is here and how and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection that you can truly love them, otherwise it is not the person that you love but the idea that you have formed of this person, or this person as the object of your desire not as he or she is in themselves.

“The first act of love is to see this person or this object, this reality as it truly is. And this involves the enormous discipline of dropping your desires, your prejudices, your memories, your projections, your selective way of looking . . . a discipline so great that most people would rather plunge headlong into good actions and service than submit to the burning fire of this asceticism. When you set out to serve someone whom you have not taken the trouble to see, are you meeting that person’s need or your own?” ~ Father Anthony de Mello

Contrast this understanding of genuine love with your conditioning about what it means to be loving.

What do you discover about yourself?

22 January 2016 4 Comments

Barriers

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers

within yourself that you have built against it.  ~ Rumi

 

IMG_0843

 

8 January 2016 3 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 73: When Personal Growth Becomes Narcissism & Dealing with Self Hatred

Manage Your Energy Part 73: When Personal Growth Becomes Narcissism & Dealing with Self Hatred

“The moment a person becomes straightforward a straight way opens before him.” ~ Inayat Khan

Personal growth becomes narcissism when one engages pursuits of growth in ways that demand attention, without taking the steps that release oneself (and others) from the self-obsessed compulsions of what we consider to be our flaws.

Habitually indulging self hatred, for example, can be a fancy way to avoid self awareness. The intensity of feeling becomes like a sand trap one wallows in. Engaging the hatred can become a way to stay stuck, to avoid personal growth. This differs IMG_0430from sinking in to the feeling to carefully observe and release our tendencies, structures of experience, motivations, and the less-familiar emotions underneath. Seeing behaviors in yourself that you don’t like and saying, “I’m bad! I hate myself,” without aiming to discover what exactly what you are actually doing and what you need reinforces the issues instead of resolving them. It’s like spinning around and around in an eddy.

Discovering self hate can be startling and arresting. Be very kind to yourself if you are in this place. This type of condition is very difficult, especially for those who do not have the advantages of Inner Work, who have not been exposed to techniques for self observation, forgiveness, exploration, and transformation, and do not have the support of qualified professionals.

Those who do have the advantage of such skills and support, who habitually stop at self hatred without moving into and then beyond it, may be indulging narcissistic or masochistic tendencies by wallowing in self hate. The narcissistic part shows up in rage at one’s self because one “shouldn’t be this way,” and is “better than this,” and in being too caught up in one’s own process to respond compassionately to others.

When we get lost in any negative emotion by reacting against it, we are turning away from noticing important aspects to what we are doing, inside and with others. We short-circuiting awareness and remain with the familiar feeling. Hatred or negativity then function as an inverted form of self love, feeding the ego self. This works the same way that an inferiority complex accompanies and underlies superiority.

Attempts to make oneself look good delay solutions and function as a fancy form of defense. Such attempts ultimately backfire. Avoidance makes things persist.

Genuine, healthy remorse of conscience supports healthy motivation and healing. This requires going THROUGH the self hate or negative emotion, without stopping at that depot. Remorse of conscience is not like guilt. Guilt is a sand trap. Remorse of conscience is a process of sensing into the heart and making a decision based on understanding and deeper values.

Accepting, embracing, and then relaxing underlying motivations slims them down and helps to integrate them, creating greater scope for genuine positive expression.

What steps help to release this type of compulsion?

  • Quit judging and stay with feeling—but do not allow feeling to become stuck or static; keep going deeper.
  • Identify the behaviors you use to avoid looking at your feelings and experience.
  • If self hatred arises, welcome it gently and look more deeply. Do not give self hatred special importance.
  • Stop identifying as ‘special-bad,’ as if your issues are more unforgivable and damning than those of anybody else.
  • Identify and take responsibility for your underlying motivations. Notice what motivates behaviors that challenge intimacy or success.
  • Admitting to the parts of you that want to stay stuck. Accept them—without endorsing them. Find positive ways to address the underlying fears.
  • Remember that emotions are not excuses.
  • Take direction from your true values and allow them to inform your choices. Aim to be true to them even while you are having negative emotions .
  • Create straight-forward ways to meet healthy needs and desires, while accepting and releasing those that are not.
  • Take responsibility for communicating your needs without being demanding or trying to make someone else responsible for them.
  • Get help addressing the remnants of childhood issues with your parents, which will otherwise inform your behavior with intimates.
  • Never suppress or ignore emotion—but do not allow it to run you. This means being aware of it, not it acting out.
  • Practice compassion by bringing your spiritual practice fully into your body, right along with your difficult emotions. Allowing them to be less important without trying to get rid of them. If they intrude, acknowledge them or get to the bottom of them, then bring in love and change the subject inside.

What is the difference between having an emotion and being run by an emotion?

What makes the difference between whether talking about your emotions (with someone who is open to feeling) develops intimacy or becomes overly self-involved?

21 November 2015 5 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 68: The Intersection Between Taking Influence & Inner Work

Managing Your Energy Part 68: The Intersection Between Taking Influence & Inner Work

“The word that is not heard is lost.” ~Inayat Khan

Allowing and taking in influence, we take reflections we receive from someone we respect and actively incorporate their insight into our Inner Work. The next time we have a conversation with that person, the results of our previous communication are then reflected by changes in our orientation, manner, insights, and understanding.

Aware practitioners who do healing, therapy, or spiritual work notice when clients make the work their own, returning with a picture that has evolved.

Clients or friends who do NOT do their Inner Work return to the next conversation pretty much the same as they were before the last encounter.

In contrast, those of us who have developed a sense of continuity may maintain important conversations as active and ongoing processes, which we together build on over time. Carrying continuity of conversation when the
P1050630other person does not can make interaction draining.

In relationships between professionals and clients, satisfaction and a feeling of shared accomplishment arise when the client begins to actively internalize and practice what they receive. In contrast, working with clients who ONLY work in session can feel like shoveling gravel.

An insightful client once asked, “If I take in what you say and reflect on it, will it have an impact without you doing anything else?” I smiled, and decided to write about this.

I had just shared an insight. I could feel and see it go IN. Her energy fields received it. Her chakras opened to it. Her energy system shifted in response to what I said. When that happens I KNOW that it is something the person will hold within themselves. It becomes a part of their consciousness because they took it in and assimilated it. Insights or healing energy work best by becoming internal to those who receive them.

People who are ready and receptive take things in and reshape their reality. A change occurs within, changing the way they view things. Insights that are grasped and absorbed this way, with presence, involve the functions of sensing and feeling as well as thinking. Such insights contain and deliver a degree or charge of momentum toward change—whether or not we consciously remember their content or reflect upon them later.

When people do not do take outer work—such as insightful interchange—into their Inner Work, their energy and reality do not change from what they hear. The insight or energy does not become a part of their own fabric of Being. Even if they go away and cogitate (“go figure”), this theorizing and speculation are likely to remain buffered from real feeling, maintaining the habitual structure of a status quo.

When ones energy actually changes from hearing something and taking it in, Inner Work is occurring right in the moment. Inner Work is not something one must go away to do. Solitude can help with focus, but it is important to learn how to stay with and true to ourselves while relating to others.

One who is wedded to a status quo is challenged to flex and adjust in order to take in influence. Similarly, one who over-flexes and over-adjusts without a clear sense of self also has trouble maintaining positive influence, if they take it in. Any new program is quickly overwritten by whatever happenstance influence occurs next. This derails intentional positive influence and functions, if covertly, as a rigid status quo.

Without the precious step of internally working new understandings against (like rubbing against) the realities of life, with presence, self-observation and openness, one returns to status quo, which is often constructed by opinions, unexamined beliefs, and assumptions. Sensing and feeling are not adequately informing experience.

Someone who remains tightly compartmentalized controls the scope of influence so that results of apparent Work do not actually create change. Think of someone who is pretending to eat, cutting up the food and circulating it around the plate. He or she may want the appearance of or credit for Work—without its actual accomplishment. Time and energy are expended but the status quo remains untouched. Such a person may work at Working, and even receive support and attention for the same without taking things in deeply enough to stimulate transformation.

Rigid people can be draining to those who speak and listen with committed focus. Our words are lost instead of being mutually invested in the relationship, gaining value, interest and momentum over time.

My greatest joys are sharing with insightful friends as we hold and develop one another’s perceptions, deepening shared learning and stimulating mutual growth. Our conversations become a part of us as we cherish elements of our exchange over the course of months or years, keeping parts of our conversations on tap and developing shared humor.

Learning to take influence intentionally and to be intentional about our own influence on others increases both our sense of self and our experience of real intimacy with others.

What do you do internally when you want to open yourself to influence?

Are you confident when you invite influence that your sense of self and your power remain intact, or do you feel a need to deflect?