Circle the Wagons

As 2012 comes to a close, and we are still gifted with life on Earth, I am reflecting on what is important to me as well as the question, am I living what I say is important or lingering onto old habit patterns of behavior. For me and most humans, it is a little bit of both. This year, as in other years past, I am trying to shift the balance. I do not want to totally jettison the old patterns that have kept me safe and allow me to know myself, but I want to continue to pay attention to how my words and actions shape my attitudes, my children, my partner and the possibility I see for myself in the world.

These patterns are insidious. They show up everywhere from the tone of my voice to way I hold my body, to the words I chose, the people I chose to be in relationship with, the righteousness I bring to my beliefs and many other aspects of me. Bringing consciousness to these patterns that live within the limbic system of my brain is challenging as they bring into question my true values and commitments. Deciding to notice, and possibly shift these patterns to align with my stated goals also brings a level of accountability to my life that is not as carefree but greatly expands my capacity to hold the old and the new.

For example, the kids, Neil and I have been on Holiday break for the last week. It has been wonderful to hang around together as a family. And when we all hang around together tensions can get peaked. There are two children who want to be funny, have fun and play; and adults who are trying to define our budget, create 2013 programs for our business and get out a mailing. These two things are pretty much the opposite of each other. At least it seems that way at the surface. Underneath both can be playful and have forward moving intention. For me, the lesson I am learning is that my mood, of seriousness because business is serious, is simply a choice. I could have a mood of playfulness with business which might make it more fun, but this is not a learned behavior or mood for me. It is a practice that I can be in and it feels awkward and really hard!

Even though it feels hard and weird, being playful is more in line with my professed values than being serious. I believe my children can offer me a glimpse into how to be playful and I hope I am flexible enough to watch, listen, learn and participate in a new way.

Since beginning my Somatic Coaching and Consulting practice, I have been experimenting for the last year and a half. Bringing together my past work in management, my studies in Applied Behavioral Science, my 20-year long yoga and meditation practice and my recent work with Somatics and Leadership, has proven a thorough foundation to build a replicable and sustainable process of development both for myself and others. Though I love to experiment, and will always keep exploring, there comes a time when circling the wagons and reflecting on the best processes is helpful. Here are the bare bones of what I have come up with so far:

  • The first step is a mindfulness practice. Until we reflect on the who of what we are and see ourselves and our patterns we have no way of knowing where we are at and the discrepancy to where we want to go.
  • Second step is setting a goal and then gathering information and getting feedback about our progress from a coach and our learning partners.
  • Third, create practices that help us learn the new ways of being required in attaining our goal.
  • Fourth, build skills. Take classes, listen to Ted talks, read books, gather knowledge that helps you move toward your goal.
  • Continually, recommit and reevaluate regularly: daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on your commitment and ease in falling off the wagon! Get help regularly, take time to reflect and be mindful of our process. If we ever choose to change again knowing the pitfalls to change will be valuable to us!

I believe this process and a little help from my chosen support people will allow me to shift the insidious patterns that rule me in order to align with my proposed values. Whether you are trying to be more playful, change the world or just be a better golfer, invite perspective. We have the gift of life once again, what are you going to do with your limited, glorious life!!