20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

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20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

There are some people who Yes, and some who Yes And. When we share something about ourselves with others, some people respond just by saying, “Cool”, or “Great”, or “That’s interesting.” They offer some form of acknowledgement. That’s the Yes of Yes And. And then there are those who offer an acknowledgment, AND then ask a question that further explores what we shared. They say, for instance, “Wow, that’s fascinating (Yes). What was that like for you? (And)” We love it when people show genuine interest in us. Whether it is simply a check in to see how our doctor’s appointment went, or a series of questions, it feels good when people are genuinely interested in us. It feels like the person cares about us and our […]

Liberating Yourself and Others from the Need to Agree ~ Entering the Dance of Connection

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Liberating Yourself and Others from the Need to Agree ~ Entering the Dance of Connection

One of the most beautiful things we can experience is a connection with another person. Being able to connect is a gift in that it gives each person the opportunity to safely open and share their authentic feelings, desires and concerns. However, often when one person meets another with an agenda, the connection is broken because he is no longer open to what the other has to say. He is not meeting her in her reality, but rather attempting to align her with his own. To align without agreement is to communicate, “I don’t agree with you, and I am still with you.” I am here for you and with you, and I am willing to open to your world even if I am not […]

Your Presence is Enough ~ Giving the Gift of Your Self in Conversation

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Your Presence is Enough ~ Giving the Gift of Your Self in Conversation

When I teach listening skills, my participants struggle with simply being still and present when someone else is sharing something personal with them. It is not enough, in their mind, just to be with them. They must at least nod, or verbally acknowledge the other person in some way, and make them feel that they are being attended to. We must do in conversation, not just be in conversation! This need stems from a deep and old belief that who we are being is not enough. Our presence, and the gift of our spirit, is simply not enough! When we realize how powerful we are, we don’t doubt the gift of our presence. By resting more fully into our deeper Self, we can rest more fully in the conversation. Spaciousness is created […]

4 Reasons Not to Fix or Solve People’s Problems

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4 Reasons Not to Fix or Solve People’s Problems

We are well conditioned to believe that it is our job to fix others and solve their problems for them. If we see someone struggling or uncertain, we are quick to race in and save them from their challenges. We have been trained to see this as an act of care, a gift to another. But is it really?  What is it that we may be assuming and impeding by jumping in and acting as the savior? Perhaps it is more about our thoughts, needs and feelings than theirs. Reason #1: People are more capable and resourceful than you think We are born with much more inherent capacity and resourcefulness than we know. Unfortunately, we don’t realize this because we have been treated otherwise our […]

Embracing the Space Between ~ Falling Into a Sea of Possibilities

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Embracing the Space Between ~ Falling Into a Sea of Possibilities

Everything you want is in the space between. When you embrace the emptiness of space, you fall into the fullness of space, and all it holds for you. It is often without our choosing that we are forced into the space between. Maybe we have lost a job, or a relationship, or the dream we have held so long. But in what appears to be nothing but an empty space, when embraced, lies a universe of possibilities greater than the plans we’ve conjured up. What if emptiness was productive? Opportunistic? It doesn’t sound so, and certainly it goes against all our upbringing and the values of our society to believe so. But what if by allowing things to sit, to simmer, we discover what we […]

Boundaries versus Speaking Your Truth ~ Own Your Voice. Own Your Worth.

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Boundaries versus Speaking Your Truth ~ Own Your Voice. Own Your Worth.

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” ~ Barbara De Angelis  A friend of mine recently told me how he doesn’t create strong enough boundaries. People take advantage of him and disregard his needs. After listening to him for a while, I realized that the problem wasn’t so much about boundaries, but rather speaking his truth. When I mentioned this to him, a light bulb went off. When I think about setting […]

Play ~ The Artful Dance of Living: Surrendering to Joy and Our Magical Universe

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Play ~ The Artful Dance of Living: Surrendering to Joy and Our Magical Universe

“Children dance before they know there is anything that isn’t music.” ~ William Stafford The essence of play is an experience rooted in the present moment without attachment to specific outcomes. It is this moment that matters, and the experience of joy, wonder and imagination. That is why play is such a gift. Over and over again it brings us to the here and now, away from our discursive and troubled minds. Just a few moments of joyful interaction with another, or swinging on a swing set, or twirling around in our living room, can shift our energy, change our focus, and redirect our day down a road we would not have traveled otherwise. We temporarily let go of our plans, our agendas, our thoughts, […]

Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

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Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

Beware! Saying “You” in conversations can be dangerous! We all know what it is like when someone says to us, “You need to…”, or “Why are you always…?” It immediately puts us on the defensive. Speaking on behalf of ourselves is effective. Saying I, Me, My, and Mine helps people stay open to what we are saying. But so does speaking on behalf of the relationship. Recently I had a conversation with someone that left me feeling confused. Instead of saying, “You confused me,” I said, “Our conversation confused me.” By using the word “Our” I point to the relationship. I, of course, could also have said, “I feel confused,” and that would have been fine as well. Other examples of speaking on behalf of […]

5 Assumptions for Non-Judgmental Living ~ A Personal Challenge

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5 Assumptions for Non-Judgmental Living ~ A Personal Challenge

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer We hear it all the time – don’t judge others. Yet living a non-judgmental life is not easy. We are judging machines, conditioned from birth to see through the lens of limitation. Here are two specific reasons why we judge: 1. When we judge others, we judge ourselves: The essence of judgment arises from a place of judging ourselves. When we are told at a young age that it is inappropriate to be __________ (such as angry), or not to be ____________ (such as silly), on some level we make these aspects bad or wrong. We then grow up projecting this idea onto others. If we see someone being angry […]

Finding Middle Ground ~ 3 Steps to Creating Consensus & Connection

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Finding Middle Ground ~ 3 Steps to Creating Consensus & Connection

To find middle ground, we must be willing to accommodate another perspective, and leave the ground we stand on. Finding middle ground is not always easy because needs are often so diametrically opposed. And yet when we realize that people, more than anything, want to feel heard and understood, finding middle ground can become a simpler process. Here are three steps you can take to find middle ground: 1. Be Calm This is essential. Your calm state creates a sense of openness, and a feeling of safety for others to express fully without fear of judgement or reaction. 2. Acknowledge the Other’s Position People are more likely to loosen their stance if they feel heard and valued. People want to feel that their position is […]