Why the Nuanced Language of the Soul is Rare and Needed in These Times of Growing Divisive Opinion

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Why the Nuanced Language of the Soul is Rare and Needed in These Times of Growing Divisive Opinion

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing  and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. “When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi As the world moves into increasing complexity and confusion, the lightness of nuanced language will be necessary to navigate the darkness. Because nuance is the language of the whispering, mysterious soul, and these are mysterious times. At a time when there is a platform for every person to shout from, and an ever-saturated supply of all sorts of conflicting mainstream and alternative information, there is a pull, for so many, to write and speak to our growing collective uncertainty. To toss their opinion into the widening arena of debate and conjecture. As […]

Set Fixing and Solving Aside. Your Relationship Needs You to Only Listen and Empathize.

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Set Fixing and Solving Aside. Your Relationship Needs You to Only Listen and Empathize.

“The more you need people to agree with you, the less open you are to what they think, feel and believe. You cannot share with them because you are trying to change them, and they cannot share with you because you are not listening.”  ~ Gary Zukav The temptation is to come to solutions with your partner, to figure the problem out that’s causing anger or resentment between you. But what if you did something quite different? What if you put the need to fix or solve to the side and instead focused just on connecting? What would that look like? Sitting together, perhaps a candle lit, one of you shares how you are feeling. The other responds with listening and empathy, only. No defending, […]

The Safe, Inviting and Eloquent Language of “I Miss” to Bring Another into Your Heart

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The Safe, Inviting and Eloquent Language of “I Miss” to Bring Another into Your Heart

Language is powerful. One word can make or break a conversation. Yes, most of what we communicate lies in the unspoken, the space between the words or energy underlying them; but the words you choose have the power to bring someone closer to your heart or further away. Connection—the tube The heart of communication is connection. Consider connection to be like a tube running from my heart to yours. The wider the tube, the larger the connection; the more can be passed through, felt and experienced between us. That tube is never static—it’s always changing given how something is communicated and what is being communicated. The tube, or openness between two people, fluctuates moment-to-moment depending on the words chosen, one’s energy and body language—the three main aspects […]

12 Questions Kids Need and Long to Hear ~ The Consent of Inquiry and How it Cultivates Self-esteem, Trust and Respect

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12 Questions Kids Need and Long to Hear ~ The Consent of Inquiry and How it Cultivates Self-esteem, Trust and Respect

“Trust children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” ~ John Holt 12 Questions (Scroll to the bottom for 6 follow-up questions) What do you want? What do you need? What do you feel / think? How do you feel (about that)? What does your heart / intuition / gut say? What feels right / true to you? What brings you joy? What’s your dream? What would feel like fun? What would you love to do? What matters to you? What do you hope for? Jack’s story “One major study of 700 preschool classrooms in 11 states found […]

“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

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“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

“New research at Stanford University encouraged middle school teachers to take on an ‘empathetic mindset’ when students were being disciplined. The study found that the number of pupils who were suspended across the academic year halved, from 9.6% to 4.8%.” ~ Study: Focus on Empathy, Not Punishment, Improves Discipline We all know how well children saturate themselves in the present moment. Lost in doodling, leaves, bugs and clouds, the present moment wraps itself around young ones like a warm, secure blanket. Here children enter a deep state of relaxation where they trust all is good in life. One reason children rest so well in presence is because they rest well in their heart. The heart dwells in what I call the “zero point”: The child […]

Discerning Unspoken Needs from Spoken Desires: Remembering What Matters in Relationships

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Discerning Unspoken Needs from Spoken Desires: Remembering What Matters in Relationships

“Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.” ~ Alice Miller When a boy asks his mom for a toy car at the store or a woman asks her husband to do his share of the household duties there is a spoken desire and unspoken need at play. In the first example, the boy’s spoken desire is for the toy car; the unspoken need is to be heard, validated, seen, valued. In the second example, the spoken desire is for the husband to clean the oven; the unspoken need is for shared responsibility and rest. […]

Beyond Feelings it is the Unmet Need that Deserves and Desires Empathy

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Beyond Feelings it is the Unmet Need that Deserves and Desires Empathy

“Sometimes someone isn’t ready to see the bright side. Sometimes they need to sit with the shadow first. So be a friend and sit with them. Make the darkness beautiful.” ~ Victoria Erickson When feeling frustrated, angry, sad, overwhelmed, or any other unpleasant emotion, it’s because a need is not being met. A child disgruntled at school may have an unmet need to move. A parent overwhelmed may have an unmet need of relaxation. A person struck with anger may have an unmet need of safety. Anger is their response to not feeling safe. The feelings are signals for a very important human need not being met.  Acknowledging someone’s feeling is a beautiful gift. Saying, “I can see how sad you are”, or, “This is really painful, isn’t […]

A Complaint is an Unspoken Request ~ Practical Keys to Asking for What You Want

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A Complaint is an Unspoken Request ~ Practical Keys to Asking for What You Want

A woman complained for years that her husband did not give her an anniversary card. One day a friend inquired if she had ever asked for one, and she said no. And so the woman mustered up the will to ask and from that point onwards her husband always gave her an anniversary card. A simple story, a true one, and one full of meaning. If only we’d just ask! A complaint is an unspoken request. Otherwise said, when we don’t ask for what we want we tend to complain about our needs not getting met. Given how much humans love to complain, we can safely say that asking for what we want is not easy. And why should it be? It’s vulnerable to put […]

5 Ways to Smooth Out Potentially Messy Conversations

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5 Ways to Smooth Out Potentially Messy Conversations

Conversations can be messy. When we account for different communication styles, varying worldviews, stress, timelines, competing agendas, children, chores, fears and trauma, we have good reason why a simple dialogue can spiral into triggers and chaos. And when a pattern of unhealthy communication forms, the walls get thicker and it becomes harder to speak candidly and address the meat of the problem and matter at hand. And so what can be done to limit this possibility? Here are five ways to smooth out potentially messy conversations: 1. Create a Signal: You and whoever may benefit from agreeing in advance to have a signal that an important conversation wants to be had. For instance, you agree that whenever one of you desires to speak to the […]

Becoming a Leader as Coach ~ 100 Questions to Motivate and Inspire Your Team

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Becoming a Leader as Coach ~ 100 Questions to Motivate and Inspire Your Team

It is quite tempting to manage employees by chasing them down, and telling them (perhaps over and over again) what they should be doing. In fact, that is what the word “manager” implies—being on top of staff, making sure they do what they said they would do, when they said they would, and in a proper manner. But an imbalance towards hounding, telling, advising, and admonishing can be incredibly exhausting for both the manager and the employee. In the long run, it does not serve to empower anyone. What is needed is a win-win situation rooted in a coach-approach. The coach-approach model of engagement and leadership takes into account the fact that people are naturally creative, resourceful and capable—meaning, they have the answers within them […]