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Awakenings: In Stress, We Often Choose Action Over Reflection

June 23, 2020

“Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are discovering a lot about how people react and adapt to change during these challenging times by listening closely to the narratives emerging. We are finding much wisdom and many insightful perspectives. We also see and acknowledge that most everyone is feeling some form of stress, whether it’s financial, emotional, physical or otherwise. 

And when we’re stressed, we humans tend to revert to patterned ways of being to endure it. We revert back to these patterned ways of thinking, acting and feeling that sometimes don’t serve us very well. We understand this as we’ve been studying people’s internal experience under stress for more than 15 years.

One part of what we’ve researched are the dimensions of experience people tend to rely on most under such pressure. We look at three dimensions of our internal experience, best expressed as head, heart and gut or thinking, feeling and wanting. (more…)

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Posted in: Awakenings|Heal The Divide

Awakenings: Still Ambitious, but with Boundaries

June 16, 2020

“Find a purpose to serve, not a lifestyle to live.” 

― Criss Jami, Venus in Arms


We all know what it is to be Type A personality: A high-achieving, sometimes high-intensity doer. Someone who works hard and plays hard. As we listen to the narratives of this COVID-19 time, we’re hearing about how many of you are adapting to a new daily rhythm and getting a glimpse of how our lives could be different how we can make things better.

Take one coach, for example, who was struggling with the assignments necessary to complete a narrative coaching certification. When we set up a time to talk, she was seeking advice on how to handle the workload of the portfolio assignments. Yet, when we finally met a few short weeks later, she had easily conquered the assignments with no additional support. When I asked what had changed, she answered, “Well, normally I’m going out every night and going to the symphony, or I’m going to dinner with friends… I don’t have a lot of bandwidth to do things like the portfolio assignments on a certification program. But now that I can’t do all those [social] things, I find I have plenty of time.” (more…)

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Posted in: Awakenings|Heal The Divide

Awakenings: Same Scenery, Different Perspective

June 10, 2020

“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” 

― George Eliot

A coach and friend of Learning in Action recently shared this thought, “Every day’s a new adventure. It’s just that the scenery doesn’t change very much.” Isn’t that a wonderful perspective as we explore the narratives of people during these COVID times? 

It invites an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions of what life should be like right now, very much like the beginner’s mind the Zen masters refer to. We wake up every day to the same house, family, work from home schedule, whatever. And we can wake up to all of that and see it new, see it for the first time, see it as an adventure. (more…)

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Posted in: Awakenings|Heal The Divide

Awakenings: Facing Ourselves – Maybe for the First Time

June 5, 2020

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” —Thales 


Before the pandemic and quarantine, most of us could give a full account of our busy days with barely a moment to sit down and take a breath before bedtime. We go to work, meet with friends, have dinners out, rush back and forth to kids’ activities, make travel plans, hit the gym — go, go, go!

Until recently, we might have barely even allotted 20 minutes to sit with our own thoughts, even in an entire week. In listening to the narratives of recent times, this statement from a friend felt tender: “I’m spending time with someone I’ve never spent time with before, me.”

It feels so true for many of us. We say “yes” to invitations so we don’t let other people down.  We entertain ourselves with activities that are more distraction than enjoyment. Is it possible that “busy” is a way of distancing ourselves from certain aspects of our lives or of our inner experience  Are we numbing or ignoring parts of our lives, parts of ourselves, parts of our past that we don’t want to face or be with? (more…)

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Awakenings: From Monotony to Mindfulness

June 2, 2020

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” 

Thich Nhat Hanh

There are so many original and unique expressions emerging from conversations as we adapt to routines of social distancing and limited travel in these pandemic times. Take this funny quip I heard from a guy in my CEO group say— “I’m getting three weeks to the gallon! 

We’re finding clever and delightful ways to talk about what we’re experiencing, including referencing the movie “Groundhog Day” or renaming the days of the week to just “the day after yesterday” to convey how the ways we track time have unraveled. 

One recent comment I heard relates how we experience the sameness of our days; ”monotony takes a lot of energy.”  (more…)

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Posted in: Awakenings|Heal The Divide