Feeling Aliveness

Change-Making at Solstice— How the Light Gets In

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This post is a reprint from December 2016

Building Connection, Creating Community, Holding Presence

Now, on the shortest day of the year, with even northern California cold enough to wear hats, scarves, and gloves, I'm reflecting on the seeming polarities like light and dark, love and fear, that have swung us back and forth over our political and personal landscapes this past year. For me, the experience has been like standing on rock cliffs, being battered and splintered by an ongoing series of huge waves under the low-hanging clouds of a storm.

One such wave was the result of the presidential election in the United States. For myself and the majority of the electorate there is now the fear of having a president, a Congress, and a Supreme Court that will actively work against what we hold dear for our society— a healthy environment, health care access for all, up-to-date public education, and fundamental equal rights for all— so that we may have work and build lives in connection with our authentic desires, our relationships, and our world.

At such times, it seems that there are only the polarities of storm or calm, vitriol or caring, hate or love, dark or light. When people are able to stand steady in the heart of the storm, grounded in awareness of the connectedness of life, there are ways to bring oppositional forces into calm and wholeness. And it is in this place of wholeness and connection that positive change can emerge.

Recently, for example, I heard the story about the brilliant poet, songwriter, and singer, Leonard Cohen, who just died this year, and how he quelled a riot at the 1970 Isle of Wight rock concert in England. I was there, too, one of 600,000 in the passionate, free-flowing audience, many of whom were upset about political, economic, and social injustices of that time, including the Vietnam War. However, since the concert went on day and night, I seemed to have slept through Cohen's 4 AM performance on the last night of the festival that followed a literally blazing Jimi Hendrix set.

This was what I missed. Apparently, on that dark, rainy night, the audience was cold and restive and trashed the stage. Cohen, awoken at 2 AM after Hendrix played, was only bothered because the organizers couldn't locate a piano and organ for his musicians. "I'll come out when you find them," he said, and did, two hours later. As film reviewer Mike Springer wrote, "Perhaps the most moving moment [was] at the beginning, when Cohen [brought] the massive crowd together by asking a favor: 'Can I ask each of you to light a match, so I can see where you all are?'" In this way, he gathered that huge group of disparate, upset people in a cold, damp, inhospitable place into one whole, and soothed them into listening with his calm and deeply centered presence.

Fast forward to 2008, to Leonard Cohen's concert in London at a time of world-wide economic depression. I was very moved by what he said before performing his famous song, "Anthem," to the people in his audience. Again, he brought them together by speaking to their feelings of fear, anger, and upset with lovingkindness— "Thank you so much, friends. We're so privileged to gather in moments like this when so much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos."

And then he sang:

"So ring the bells

that still can ring,

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything,

That's how the light gets in."

In our lives, it's not so imperative to seek perfection as to embrace our wholeness.  This includes our stormy encounters, as well as the thin band of light we see on the horizon. When we put our attention on this light, we can see it radiating outward, reflected on the waves of the sea, reaching and opening our hearts.

So try this— when you find yourself in a difficult work situation, relationship, or political landscape, focus on whatever you can that is beautiful or inspiring in the midst of that challenge. Find that crack where the light gets in, whether it's a compassionate glance from a colleague, a memory of a loving moment, or a song that opens your heart. In this way, allow the change you long to make begin from within.

As poet and inspirational speaker, Mark Nepo, wrote in his book, The One Life We're Given: "When we can keep breaking through what has hardened and keep what is alive soft, the cracks turned into openings fill us with an undying light." In this season's darkest days, may we celebrate the beauty of the light and love within us as we move forward into the challenges and changes of the new year.

Evoking Your Passion for Life with Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion by Gregg Levoy

I was delighted to get an email recently from a favorite human-potential speaker of mine, Gregg Levoy, letting me know that his new book, Vital Signs— The Nature and Nurture of Passion, is coming out on December 26th. His first book, the bestseller, Callings— Finding and Following an Authentic Life, is one of those touchstones in my life that I often revisit for its inspirational insights (contemporary, historical, and literary) into creative, authentic ways of living and working. Because of its personal resonance for me, as well as the lively elegance of its writing, I used quotes from it in my own book, Success with Soul— Loving Your Livelihood, Living in Balance.

With Vital Signs, seventeen years and several significant life passages have passed for Levoy since the publication of Callings. This time he explores the particular ways he has learned to cultivate living with passion— cultivating wonder, the quest route, the call to wildness, the way of love, authentic expression, and taking risks. In Vital Signs Levoy is more personally revealing and willingly takes more risks, sometimes stripping himself— literally, emotionally, and spiritually— before our reading eyes, to let us feel “what inspires passion and what defeats it. How you lose it and how you get it back.”

When I opened to the first chapter, “Eyes Wide Open— Cultivating Wonder,” and read, “Years ago I saw the Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti perform….,” I was hooked, because years ago I, too, had heard Pavarotti sing and had had the same experience— that “it was impossible not to recognize that Pavarotti’s voice was heart-stoppingly beautiful, like nothing I’d heard in my life….”

This sense of the wonder in being fully alive and engaged in an experience that heightens one’s senses and one’s spirit is what I, too, have learned to cultivate and embrace— and seek to share with others through my work today.

Throughout this book, Levoy shares from a wide range of sources what it’s like taking on and renewing a passionate stance with the deepest relationships in your life— with the longings and sensations in your body, in intimacy with another, with the wildness within yourself longing for expression, and in risk-taking that cracks open your fears and touches your spirit.

As in Callings, Levoy in Vital Signs draws from a rich, quirky, anecdotal brew of his own life stories and those of other life adventurers, mythology, art, music, biographies, philosophy, and science to share how people throughout the centuries have learned to re-discover and re-ignite passion in their lives from the same materials that haunt us in our own lives— our dead ends, stuckness, depression, and failures.

One of these stories is that of my friend, Bonnie O'Brien Jonsson, for whom the trauma of having her father declared missing in action during the Korean War ultimately led to her facilitating dozens of Year-to-Live groups (based on Stephen Levine's book, Year to Live].  In these groups, participants act on the assumption that they have a year to live, and are guided through a series of experiential exercises designed to help them come to a deeper understanding of the value of living fully in their lives now.

Basically, Vital Signs is a wonderful, highly readable book for gaining new perspectives on re-lighting the flame of your own passion when the demands of daily living or the weight of past misfortunes drain you of energy and curiosity.  I strongly recommend it for inspiration that can kick you forward towards the changes you long to make to re-connect with your alive and vibrant self!

Below are a few examples from Vital Signs about reconnecting with passion that I really enjoyed and would like to share—-

What we’re after isn’t the wildness that’s divorced from cultivated life and exists only in outbacks and hinterlands, belonging only to other species and other eons— though we seek that, too, sometimes. We’re after the wildness that exists alongside daily life . . . It surfaces in those rich and raw emotions that occasionally manage to claw their way out of the bag of behavioral restraint and in those moments when you act with spontaneity— from the Italian word “sponte,” meaning, once again, “willful,” “of one’s own accord,” “obeying natural impulses.”

The rub is that to take advantage of the healing power of a confiding relationship, you’ve got to actually confide. You’ve got to reveal things that many people are terrified will lose them the very love they’re after. Meaning that the hunger to be safe works against the hunger to be known, which will have to fight against a stiff headwind to gain purchase in your psyche and your relationships.

Just prior to quitting my job as a reporter, I had lunch with a mentor of mine, and when I mentioned my fear of failing at self-employment, he said, “Gregg, if you’re not failing regularly, you’re living so far below your potential that you’re failing anyway.’ Which reminded me why I had lunch with the guy maybe once a year.

But whether life came about through accident or intention, through natural selection or God, whether we believe every atom in the universe is saturated with infinity or divinity or lime-green Jell-O, it doesn’t diminish the fact that it’s amazing any of it is here. And equally amazing that each of us is connected to the passionate force that put it all here.

Awakening Your Heart-- Transforming the Nature of Your Work and Your Life

When I was thirty-three and in the middle of a spiritual transition that deeply affected the way I began to look at my work life and my relationships, I woke up from a dream with the words, “My heart, which is alive and awake and aware,” resonating in my body.  At the time, I knew little consciously in the way of spirit, but I felt that I had a new foundation on which to grow the new direction of my life-- whatever the shape of that would be.

As I wrote in my book, Success with Soul: “Dreams with impact don’t have to be elaborate, technicolor affairs in order to bring home how you need to re-connect with your passion, energy,  and inner direction.”  They arrive like a gift.  If they capture your attention, be with them.  Even if your mind doesn’t understand them, your heart will open to them and invest your life with a greater knowing of what it is to be alive and aware.

It took a few years for my dream to gestate, but eventually I redesigned my career path so thatthe work I did was based on the aliveness and awareness of my heart.  As a somatic therapist, and then a life coach, the nature of my work was firmly rooted in the process of helping people transform their relationship to their careers and their whole lives by paying attention to whatever awakened their hearts and stimulated their energy.

Now it’s early spring in northern California.  Some winter rain has finally penetrated the drought of the past year, and the fragrance of the plum tree blossoms wafts through the moistened air.  It’s a time when I remember the coming of the English spring in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beautiful book of heart awakenings, The Secret Garden, when the dead-looking rose vines come alive, and the green thrusting leaves of daffodils and snowdrops poke up above the gradually warming earth.

The re-emergence of life is what Mary, the unhappy ten-year-old orphan in The Secret Garden (whose life is transformed by digging in the earth in the company of a life-affirming local Yorkshire lad), celebrates as “the Magic.”  “The Magic” is what brings things to life-- whether they are the neglected garden of this story or the neglected children.

“The Magic” is being touched by a growing desire to change and the compassionate attention of others directed towards us as we change.  To paraphrase therapist Brené Brown, spirituality is awareness of the inextricable connection among all living things , which “is grounded in love and compassion.”

“The Magic” is what touches the life flow at our core that animates and vitalizes us.

And what is vitality?  Vitality is our energy and passion to live fully, to discover our purpose, to awaken to the gifts we have to offer and not just get by-- on the job, in our relationships with others, in every activity we undertake-- in the short amount of time we have on this planet.

Let this Valentine’s Day be a special one for you!  Ask yourself, “How will I awaken my heart today?”  Remember that fifty years ago today, The Beatles first began to play--  “All you need is love”--  to touch your awakening heart.

The Art of Play As Work You Love

Recently, I had a very special time sharing my home for three wonderful weeks with my goddaughter and her life partner from Stockholm and their eleven-month-old, Edgar.  Being with Edgar was a totally absorbing experience-- watching his shining face, bright with the pleasure of going out to the garden to scatter pebbles, dig in the ground, squish fallen plums with his thumb, or examine the hose nozzle with complete attention.  

Was he playing?  Or working hard?  Or both?  He was fully absorbed in all his activities, repeating his actions over and over until he was satisfied in some way.  Only then would he pause to look up and watch a butterfly, or call out, “Ah da da,” clearly meaning “I did it!”

In my ebook, Success with Soul-- Loving Your Livelihood, Living in Balance, I opened my chapter, “Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body” in this way:
              
When you watch well-cared-for babies and toddlers at play, it’s amazing to see the spontaneity of their movements and voice.  When they feel something, they act on it.  Or yell, or gurgle, or sing.  They’re so free inside to express themselves with their whole body selves.  It’s such an enlivening experience to be around them and interact with them!

The point is, when you love what you spend a lot of time doing-- whether you’re playing or working, whether you’re 11 months or 45 or 80 years old-- you radiate a joy of engagement and accomplishment that is as contagious and inspiring to others as it is compelling to yourself.  You are in your own energy, where, as one client told me about her new, consciously chosen profession, “It doesn’t feel like working because I’m involved in learning and doing that fascinates and motivates me.”

Carol Zweck, author of the best-selling book, Mindset, refers to studies where children with an open mindset, when offered the choice of doing easy or more difficult puzzles, chose the latter because engaging in learning that was challenging was what energized them.  It was “work” that was play in its purest form-- apart from the need to look successful to teachers or peers.  As Buddhism states, attachment to outcome is one of the sources of suffering in humans, for which the antidote is to stay in the energetic interplay of oneself with the activity or situation at hand.

In the work I do as a coach-- supporting people in going through the process of making new choices that will let them move in the direction they really want to go-- I’m informed by my many years as a somatic therapist to help them slow down and pay attention.  With each step forward, they also deepen their learning about what they’re feeling in their bodies and their spirit.  The process of change is so much more than making leaps from this job now to that position there.  It’s about the way your whole being is involved in feeling, learning, expressing, and connecting with what is real and true for you.  

Concerning the work you do, it’s really quite amazing how much valuable information you can sense with your body about a career decision or change you want to make by taking time to explore and go deeper into yourself during a time of transition-- rather than just running forward to the next thing.  In fact, time expands and opens possibilities for you when you stop rushing and pay attention to the sound of a bird call resonating, the feel of sunshine on your shoulder, and what you’re really wanting to do now.  

When you really feel the depth of what you’re wanting for yourself, you will then know, with confidence and clarity, what you have to do-- and the path opens before you with surprising ease.  The actions you take will then lead you to greater career and life satisfaction and into the art of play as work you love.

Claiming Your Voice for Successful Action!

I’d like to share a post of mine below from July 7, 2010, that still goes to the heart of what I hear in many people concerning their desire for, and fear of, change. “What will I be asked to give up in exchange for moving forward?”  Some people fear the loss of approval of people they love; others, the steady income with which they financially support themselves and family; for others, it’s a loss of professional identity, of their selves that others recognize and admire.  What is the drive that makes people transcend the fear of such losses?  That’s the fascinating story behind all these quests.

      “In the Hans Christian Anderson classic, The Little Mermaid, Ariel gives up her beautiful voice in exchange for legs . . . Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with change or variety or newness or with improving our condition.  The catch is when we are asked to give up our voice in order to move freely, when we are asked to silence what makes us unique in order to be successful.” (Mark Nepo)

      I was reading this passage and thinking of clients of mine whose concerns around being professionally successful are really issues about the loss of their voice and of speaking their truths.  I wondered, do you really have to give up your voice (the ability to speak your truth) in order to have legs (success and mobility in the world)?  That’s an odd condition, I feel, that you would have to exchange one for the other, when, in fact, you need both to make changes that are fulfilling to you.

      I’m thinking of one of my clients, a woman in her 50’s who was in a transition from stay-at-home mom to becoming a professional.  Her goals in coaching with me were all about becoming successful in her career.  Then during one session I commented on the lack of inflection and expressiveness in her voice.  I knew she was enthused about her new career direction, so what was this about? I asked her.  From this question came a surge of responses from deep within herself that she hadn’t expected, mostly reflecting the way she used to give and do for her family, without questioning what was important to herself.  When her youngest child finished high school, she allowed herself to go for a meaningful career, but still found herself giving time and energy to relationships that gave little back to her.

      She hadn’t recognized that while she was changing outwardly, she was also changing inwardly-- and that she needed to re-create the conditions of all of her life to move forward in her career path.  She needed to create boundaries in certain relationships and become more open in others.  She needed to use her voice to claim what mattered to her-- WHILE she used her legs to go forward professionally.  Now I can hear in her voice the enthusiasm and engagement she was experiencing in the work she has chosen.  She has brought her voice in alignment with her legs and her energy to living a full, rich life of her choice.

Facing the Fear of Change-- & Opening to Life!

For most of my adult life, personally and professionally, I’ve been exploring the phenomenon of change. As long as we live in a body on this planet we will be subject to the process of change-- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As a number of us know from the runaway hormones of our teenage days, change that is unconscious, that takes us over, is tumultuous and makes us feel out of control. That kind of change leaves its imprint for many people in a desire to control all change, even to hold back from the inner promptings that try to tell us when we’ve outgrown a particular path and need to move on in a new direction.

Many of the people I’ve worked with as a career and life coach contacted me saying that they’d been feeling for some time that they needed to make a change in their jobs and the way they live. Some had had significant dreams, body signals (stress, pain, illness), and other signs (e.g., burnout at work) that the way things were was no longer purposeful for them. However, they resisted change because they were afraid of loss (of a job, a relationship, control) and the unknown.

Ram Dass-- a visionary explorer of change, loss, and re-emergence into authentic being-- writes in his book about awareness of change through aging, Still Here, that “without remaining open to change, we cannot remain open to life.” By diving into the deepest fears of many people in western cultures-- those of aging and dying-- he also opens ways for us to release our fears of moving out of old, constrictive patterns that tie us to ways of working, relating, and living that throttle our energy and diminish our well-being. As he relates about himself, being “thrown out of Harvard took away the secure professor role from my Ego . . . My creativity was released when the identity of Harvard professor was ripped away.”

A simple thing you can learn to do when you are on the brink of change, or in the midst of it, and struggling with your fears and your Gremlin (the part of you that doesn’t want you to change), is, as Ram Dass suggests, to “practice moment-to-moment Awareness by learning to do one thing at a time.” Taking a slow breath in that expands your entire rib cage and then letting it out allows you to savor being in the present moment. This experience opens your parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes your mind, your digestion, your breathing, and creates a calming center from which action that feels right to you can emerge.

Gradually, as you cultivate your awareness of just being in the moment, you realize that each action you take-- beginning with your breath-- simply leads you into the person you truly are. Conscious change begins to happen more effortlessly with less need to hang on to habitual ways of being that drain your energy. As your actions align with your authentic self, you move past your fears and your Gremlin with greater confidence into change that is positive and that matters to you.

Can You Hear Your Body Talk at Work?

Today I’ll be offering free coaching sessions for non-profit professionals at the Craigslist Boot Camp at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.  This event is designed to inspire, nourish, and support people whose work directly benefits our communities-- and I’m really looking forward to being part of it as one of 50 volunteer coaches from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).

As part of my coaching there, I’ll also invite the Boot Camp participants I work with to honor and listen to what their bodies are saying to them.  I distinctly remember a photo a colleague took of me hard at work in our non-profit office many years ago.  Now, after my training in somatics (body awareness), I can clearly see the rigidity of my back-- leaning tensely forward over my desk and locked into itself-- that went with my shallow breathing as I strained all my awareness into my work.

Over the years, as a somatic therapist giving stress-management workshops, I’ve seen that type of body posture often in professionals from other non-profits, software companies, schools, and business firms.  The message so clearly embodied is:  “Work is hard.  It takes all my energy and leaves none for breathing and feeling.  I will myself to focus only on my work and not my well-being, unless maybe there’s time for that later (and there probably won’t be).

Recognize yourself?  When did you last stop to check in with yourself at work, inhale and exhale slowly and deeply, and actually feel the sensations in your body?  For it is in this way that your body speaks to you, through sensations-- warmth, cold, tension, openness, flexibility, depletion-- and can help you learn to access the energy and aliveness you need in order to find fulfillment in what you do and how you are in the world.

For me, it took a change of profession (into my own businesses of somatic therapy and coaching), plus meditation, yoga, and qi gong to learn that I could stay present with both my work and conscious opening in my body.  In fact, when I stay pliable and open by breathing and moving with awareness during working hours, I notice that my mind focuses more easily, my interactions with people flow, and I feel better, physically and emotionally, at the end of the day.

This is the experience I’ve seen replicated with the many people I’ve worked with through their career and life transitions over the years.  Listen to your body talk-- at work and in all the other areas of your life.  Listen to the wisdom of your body self, and just breathe into it. 

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         Are you . . .

  • Experiencing a difficult career transition?        
  • Feeling stuck in your work or relationships?        
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  • Finding little time for family, self-care, creativity or enjoyment? 

For over twenty years, I’ve offered a unique approach to personal and professional transitions using conscious touch called Body-Energy Experiencing that has helped many people transform patterns of physical distress into new ways of living that are energized, healthy, and authentic.  Experiencing your body and its energy lets you re-connect with your own sense of purpose-- and go forward more effortlessly towards your professional and personal goals.

 I’d like to invite you to feel the value of Body-Energy Experiencing by offering you two very special rates good through June 30th-

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You can do these sessions in person at my office in El Cerrito (near Berkeley), California, or from anywhere in the world via Skype.

NOTE:  This offer is for people who have not yet tried Body-Energy Experiencing with me. 

Enriching Your Life-- Taking the Time to Engage with Others!

The other day, I was waiting for a subway after a meeting in San Francisco.  I was just starting to read an engrossing book on the impact of an inspiring public speaker on a particular society when a distinctly British voice asked me which train he needed to take.  I looked up from my reading and saw an elf-like man in his mid-70’s with a twinkle in his eyes looking intently at me.  I gave him the information and picked up my book again.  He sat beside me, silent, but I felt his alert, alive energy, turned to him again, and asked him where he was from.

The next twenty minutes was one of the most extraordinary happenings of my life!  My companion (that’s what he felt like, though we’d only just met) was a professional photographer, formerly an engineer, traveled everywhere, and was interested in about everything.  Nimbly thumbing through photos on his iPhone, he toured me through his self-designed studio in London, introduced me to San Francisco’s jazz community, and engaged me in conversation about the endless possibilities of life.

Later I realized I’d almost bypassed this incredible opportunity to enrich my life by connecting with a chance-met person every bit as compelling as the public speaker I’d been reading about.  Or was it chance?  What is it that brings certain people into our lives at certain times?  What is there for us to learn in connecting with them?  What might we have missed if we’d refused to engage? 

One person I remember vividly over the years for what he taught me was a young homeless man sitting by an ATM in San Francisco where I was looking over my two checking account balances.  I had just gotten a second bank account for business expenses, and had not much money in either account.  When this man demanded my attention by asking for some money, I looked at him and said, “Why are you asking me?  I don’t have much money.”

       Suddenly he really looked at me, his eyes overflowing with compassion and said, “It’s all right, it’s going to be all right.”  I felt the warmth of the connection between myself and this stranger who was no longer a stranger.  I laughed then, realizing that I had the luck of having two bank accounts, but he needed a handout and was comforting me.  He laughed, too, and I gave him five dollars and thanked him for being there for me.

As authors JIll Lebeau and Maureen Raytis say in their wonderful book, Feng Shui Your Miind, “Look for synchronicities.  Pay attention.  Each time a synchronicity occurs, relax, allow yourself to truly experience the awe, gratitude and excitement . . . Let the positive flow of energy in.”

These so-called chance encounters are often the exact synchronistic experiences you need to transform times of limitation into awakenings that can change the whole flow of your life!

Creating Spaciousness-- and Finding What You Really Want

During the last week of 2010, I attended a meditation retreat in the countryside of Colorado, much of the time in snowy quietude.  I hadn’t really wanted to travel at that time of the year, since I had things I wanted to do and friends I wanted to be with at home before the new year started.  However, I’d made a promise to myself that I would do this, so I went.

What I found was what I remembered from earlier times creating a similar space for being in a deeper way with myself-- parts of me opened up that had been cramped and lost to view during the year.  My mind felt clear, my energy brighter, and I felt at peace with who I was.  The sense of striving and complexity of my professional and personal lives eased and simplified.  I had a renewed perspective of myself as relaxed into wholeness.

How had I forgotten how vital it is to take time out to renew and remember my true nature?  When I returned, I was very conscious of the sheer amount of distractions and choices required every hour of my waking day.  When I was on retreat, there was only thing to do at a time-- wake, meditate, eat, listen to a teaching, walk, eat, meditate. listen to a teaching, stretch, walk, eat, connect with the group, and sleep.  I remember having the powerful realization during one meditation period that I was very happy, that I felt at ease in my body and filled in my spirit-- and ready for all the possibilities of living fully!

For those of you who have been grappling with the many aspects of creating career and life transitions, busy every minute of the day, dealing with uncertainties and complex choices, I strongly recommend creating a way to feel spaciousness in your lives.  While a vacation getaway is important during the year, you can fashion your own way of taking briefer but potent timeouts daily or weekly from the demands of everyday life.  

Here are some examples from clients of mine that allow them to feel peace within themselves and know what they truly want -- 1) a nature walk by water or by your favorite trees, breathing in the fresh air; 2) a relaxing bath with soothing music; 3) a weekly yoga class with a favorite teacher who helps you open into the spaciousness of your own body; 4) taking time to sit in a favorite place drinking tea from a beautiful cup and just letting your thoughts roll by.

As Tarthang Tulku-- the promoter of the Tibetan Buddhist body-energy exercises called Kum Nye-- wrote:  “We all have had moments or times when we felt particularly alive, when the world seemed fresh and promising, like a flower garden on a bright spring morning . .  . The air pulses with life.  Our bodies feel healthy and energetic, our minds clear and confident . . . Nothing is fixed, and we feel spacious and open.  We act with perfect ease and appropriateness.”

I invite you to plan ways to bring moments and times of spaciousness into your lives so that you will feel the clarity and energy to go forward towards what is really important to you, with work and in the rest of your life.  Just as grace notes in classical music offer a pause in the melody to renew your enjoyment of the whole piece, so creating spaciousness through timeouts for your body and spirit reinvigorates your power to enjoy the unfolding of your whole life.

Join in the Discussion!

  • How have you created spaciousness and timeouts in your life?
  • How has this supported you in finding what you really want for yourself?
  • What are your concerns about creating spaciousness and timeouts in your life?

Career Transitions to Expand Your Life and Spirit!

Today as I was briskly walking around the waterfront, letting the lively bay breezes freshen my mind, I thought about people I’d worked with or heard about recently who’ve made or plan to make career changes for the pure joy of doing work that gladdens their hearts.  Some of these people have advanced degrees and experience in engineering and software technologies, and are seeking new ways to express themselves through work that is more people-oriented and calls on a very different range of personal and professional skills.

             One man I talked with about coaching, for example, wants to get out of a profession that is computer- and profit-driven, and instead work directly with people.  He has many areas of interest, from science to sports.  The main thing that’s important for him now is being actively involved in helping young people do things they really want to do-- and spending way less time at his computer monitor.  He’s now exploring working for a non-profit whose mission resonates with his new career goals.

             I also was recently contacted by a classmate of mine from Stanford University who’s helping organize a class panel for our upcoming reunion on “having second [career] chances”.  One of the people she was delighted by who’ll be on the panel had been a realtor for many years, and recently began living out his dream of being a blacksmith!  Why does a person go from selling houses to blacksmithing?  What’s his drive to do this?  Apparently, it satisfies a long-time creative yearning in himself.  He may well be making a good living at this, too (more news after the reunion!). 

            The drive to find work that deeply satisfies the needs of a person’s spirit can be so powerful that it blows right through the old messages of “you can’t” or “that’s not what you’re trained to do” or “you won’t be able to make a living at that.”  Time and again I’ve seen that if you’re intelligent and able in one career path, you can harness your intelligence, abilities, AND, most potently, your desire, into another career direction that’s energizing and rewarding to you.  If, also, you wish to make a positive difference in the world, one of the best ways to start is by loving the work you do and sharing the aliveness it brings you with others. 

            For those of you who are interested in exploring career transitions as a way to expand your life and spirit, I invite you to join me for my upcoming free tele-class, “Career & Life Transitions-- Am I in One?  What Do I Do Now?” on Wednesday, October 6th.  For further information and to register, please go to http://www.kailaslifecoaching.com/?id=presentations

                   Join in the Discussion! 

  • What is it like to feel alive in your spirit through your work? 
  • Have you been through a career transition that had a positive outcome for you? 
  • What changed in your life?  What did you have to overcome?  Why was it worth it?