Archive for “December, 2013”

Unrealized potential is only pain

“She has a lot of potential.”

“He’s full of potential.”


So what?

How many people live excruciating lives of unrealized potential?

Your potential is nothing but pain if you don’t realize it.

Don’t wait. Start now.

And if you’ve already started, persist.

Take care of yourself. Get the support you need.

And persist.


How to say I’m sorry and express an apology

We often gather with our closest family and friends during the holiday time. And it just so happens that those relationships are often the most challenging ones, due to past or present impacts that you and your loved ones may have had on each other. Pain, judgments, and resentments can get in the way of being open and present with each other.

Do you struggle finding resolution in conflicts with people you are close to? When we connect with mourning over our own actions, and share that with the person who was affected, it can help to resolve conflicts, promote healthy connection, and help everyone to be more present to the relationship.

In this short video, I show you a way to apologize that gives you a better chance of being heard. The advanced tip toward the end helps you understand what else might be needed before expressing the feelings of regret or mourning involved in an apology after our actions have impacted someone else.

I and my team are here to support you in being courageous. We want to support your efforts to rebuild damaged relationships by trying this compassionate approach over the old right vs. wrong approach to saying sorry. Please post a comment below letting us know how this was helpful and what happened when you tried it.

If you enjoyed this, you might want to also check out our video on How to Say Thank You During the Holidays.




The “ring theory” of venting

When someone goes through trauma or a high-needs situation — momentary, chronic, or terminal — not only is it hard on the person going through it, but it puts a strain on everyone trying to support and give care.

So much so that caregiver burnout is literally a cliche in some circles.

I first heard about “the ring theory of kvetching” from Jay Darling — who joined the Cascadia Workshops team earlier this year — who got it in an email from his mom, Ann Darling. Below is my brief paraphrase followed by a link to the original article.

The person or people with the illness, trauma, or super hard situation — they get to complain outwardly to their first circle of support.

The first circle of support does NOT vent — about the challenges, the loss of sleep, the emotional toll, etc. — to the person or people at the center of the trauma.

But they DO get to vent outwardly.

Again, the first circle of support is spared from the venting of the second circle, who, again, only vents outwardly.

Support, caring, comfort FLOWS IN.

Kvetching, venting, complaining, requests for empathy, all of this only FLOWS OUT.

Here’s a little graphic I created to illustrate this, and below that, the original email I received.

Vent Out - Support In

“Vent Out – Support In”

My closest community is going through this in more than one situation, and this concept has been very helpful as a reminder of how I want to show up with whom.

(Thank you to Susan Silk and Barry Goldman, who wrote this up as an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times).

To the young Changemaker

A young Changemaker contacted me. We talked. I enjoyed talking with him: big heart, big vision, big potential.

We set up another time to talk.

He didn’t show.

Part of the issue was that he’s too cool to have a calendar, or calendars are “too linear” — or something like that — and so he tries to keep it all in his head.

He contacted me apologetically. We all space from time to time, and I can accept that.

We set up a second time to talk.

Again: no-show.

Here’s the deal:

The forces that are destroying Life on Planet Earth are efficient. They keep appointments.

If in the name of higher values, or spiritual freedom, we become flakey, then we are not effectively part of the solution.

Most of the people I work with operate at a very high level. When I have a hundred conversations coming my way, I can’t wing it. The only way to maintain order is to take turns, to sequence it chronologically. And the only way to keep myself from going nuts is “distributed cognition” — having an externalized system that I trust and that works for me, so that I don’t have to keep it all in my head.

This frees up essential neurons for more important stuff than tracking appointments.

So for the young Changemaker out there: please challenge your own assumptions.

Frank Zappa once said, “I’m neither above nor below wearing a tuxedo.”

Please adopt the same attitude toward the tools at your disposal so that you can be more effective at what you want to accomplish.