Posts Tagged 'discussion grp'

Exercise on Increasing Joy

Here’s an exercise I offered in one of my teleclasses toward cultivating Gratitude and Celebration. In this case, the exercise is applied to self-acknowledgement. And how many of us couldn’t use a bit more acknowledement from time to time?

For me, gratitude and celebration isn’t just about feeding my high of joy – gratitude and celebration are subtle-body life blood. If our passions, our deepest purpose, and our desire to contribute are the soul that unconsciously keep us waking up in the morning, still we need to nourish our energy cup to have the strength to continue and to press on in the face of daily challenges. As I increase my frequency of letting my subtle-body fill with the impact of my gratitude and celebrations, so too do I have increased energy and capacity to move forward, to press on, to climb even to the top of the peaks of Mount Everest.

Click here to listen – it’s about 20min long.

In hopes it serves you!

The Art of Morality

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.”

— G. K. Chesterton

“The art of morality is understanding where you draw your lines, how, and why. “
— Gail Taylor

In conventional morality, we draw a line because we’re trying to conform (or get others to conform) to what we’re taught is right/wrong, good/bad, acceptable/not acceptable. In relativistic morality, we draw a line only if it’s right for the person/persons involved; the relationship of the issue to the individuual or group becomes priority, and the “right choice” for “each person” could differ. In integral morality, we look at the system along with our awareness of cultural norms and relative needs, and draw a squiggle that will most open the system. But the capacity to do so requires an aptitude to consciously identify the underlying commitments at play. Is it moral to lie to your spouse? If we have come to a transparent spiritual play of it as a means to open each other and our relationship, it may be. Is it moral to participate in war-oriented projects? What are the underlying values we’re trying to fulfill? Are we making choices that are inclusive of all needs, or are we making choices at the expense of someones / some culture’s needs?

Where, how and when do you draw your lines? For any given decision, does my morality tend toward a more conventional, relativistic, or integral morality?

Win/Win in the Inner Community

Win/Win in the Inner Community – Who what?

Ok – have you ever had one of those moments where 2 parts of you want 2 different things?

“Oh I really want to stay home today; but man am I exhausted.”
“I care about her and I see she wants to go out. But I want my freedom!”
“I really want to contribute to my child playing, but I have to get to work!”
“I know I feel guilty about making so much money while others can’t afford health insurance, but that’s just the way the world works!”

We as human beings have the incredible capacity for adaptation. Unfortunately, one way we adapt is by powering one side of ourselves over another side of ourselves – in fact, abandoning part of us in favor of another part.

We don’t actually think about our choices as, “Ok I’m going to choose to abandon part of me in favor of another part,” but bottom line, that’s what we do out of not having other options. Here are some examples:

“I know I’m exhausted, but forget that part – I have to go to work – I have to make money and cover my a** with my boss.” (choosing my desire for stability over my desire for self-care and rest)
“Sure a part of me cares for her…but in this case I’m going to put my freedom first.” (choosing my desire for autonomy over my desire to express care)
“I can’t do this; no play with Billy right now – work wins.” (choosing income stability and contributing economically to my child, over my contributing to my child now in play or in acknowledgment)
“Ok Bob, keep your nose down, and I’ll just do the best I can. I can’t take care of the whole frigging world.” (choosing self-care over the part of me that cares about the wider circle)

Although tragic (in that we abandon part of ourselves for another part), this is a common, natural response when we have (what I like to call) a “crisis of imagination”. If we had another option, we’d use it. But we’re all doing the best we can. In each of these cases, when we abandon one part of ourselves in favor of another part, what we’re really saying is “I don’t have clarity on how to move forward in a way that takes both sides into account.”

So we just pick a side. “Life is about sacrifice,” we tell ourselves, pushing the other side under the carpet. “Sometimes you just have to compromise,” we rationalize.

Until recently, this triage of choosing one side over another has served us. It has been a fundamental, critical survival and coping mechanism. It’s given us answers. It tells us what to do. Boom, done.

More recently, however, what we’re noticing is that this self-abandonment seeds dozens of other troubling, and highly costly consequences:
– depression
– apathy
– chronic irritation
– stress disorders
– rebellion (mid-life crisis is often about the supressed side resurfacing and taking power over the supressor-side)
– chronic (and costly) health issues

What’s worse, what we do to ourselves (in self-abandonment and habitually using ‘power over’ as a means to cope) we also do to the world around us:
– parenting, “What I say is all that matters, do it or else. Forget what you need. Behave.”
– management, “If you don’t do what I say when I say it, I’ll find someone who will. Comply.”
– education, “We want control and order, so sit down, shut up, and regurgitate what you’re told on test papers. Be Good.”
– government, “Your situation, voice, and needs don’t matter; the red-tape, rules, and regulations are the final word. Conform.”

Everywhere we go, there we are. In the same way we wind up accomplishing one set of needs (ex: order, movement, or confidence/safety from trying to assert power/control), we ultimately also create environments of resentment, rebellion, apathy, distrust by not integrating all of the needs on the table.

So fine. Powering one set of values over another creates problems. What do we do about it? I mean, if I *had* a solution that were more effective, more fun, and less costly, then I could use it, right?

Here is one solution: I’m going to call it the Both/And solution. Here’s what that might look like in math:
A + B = C?
B + A = C?

In other words – If I take both A (the needs I’m inclined to shove under the carpet) and B (the needs I’m choosing to meet by doing that), instead of carpet-sweeping one of them I’m going to put them both together and ask myself a question – C.

It goes something like this:

How can I do A in a way that also takes care of B? or
How can I do B in a way that also takes care of A?

This A + B is what we call “power with”; both/and. This is very different than doing our habitual A OR B, either/or, which we call “power over”.

Here’s what “power with” might sound like in the examples above:

– “Wow I’m exhausted; I also have work. How can I give myself peace with my boss IN A WAY THAT ALSO takes care of my need for rest?” OR “Woof, I’m tired. How can I give myself rest IN A WAY THAT ALSO will protect my income at work?”

Notice that as we ask the question – the solution may not appear immediately. However, we cannot get what we do not ask for. By simply asking the question, and being willing to hold onto the question, we open up possibilities.

– “Hrm. She wants to go out… How can I express my care for her IN A WAY THAT ALSO gives me the freedom of choice that I want?” OR “Hrm. She wants to go out. Ok – How can I get a sense of my freedom IN A WAY THAT ALSO contributes a little bit to her desire for companionship?”

Often, the answer will show up in the form of “partnership”. Ex: “Hey, I have a dilemma. I care about you, but I also want some freedom tonight. What could WE do that would take care of both of us?” In this example, not only does it hold both sides of you (your care and your freedom), but it also fulfills your intent for expressing care for the other person. You’re saying, “I know I don’t have a solution yet, but I’m not going to abandon any of this. Let’s work together to find a solution.”

– “Eek…I’ve 10 minutes to get to work and Billy’s playing. Ok – How can I support Billy playing IN A WAY THAT ALSO gives me what I need in integrity about getting to work on time?” OR “Uh oh, 10min until work – How can I fulfill my intention around work IN A WAY THAT ALSO contributes to Billy’s play?”

Sometimes unexpected answers will appear – “Hey Billy! I have a game!! Last one to the car is a rotten egg!!!” Now you’re cultivating BOTH play AND your hopes for integrity around your work schedule. Or “Huh! If I’m 3 minutes late I can deal with that. I
don’t need to yell at Billy and yank him away from play after all.” Or, “Hrm. I care so deeply about my son’s wellbeing that I’m going to collaborate with him, show him that he matters, and enroll his support. Hey Billy, could you help me? I’m scared about being late to work, I’m afraid the boss will yell at me. Could you and I play in the car on the way?”

Sometimes the answer comes not in the form of an immediate solution, but a conversation we can have today that will generate a solution tomorrow or a month from now or a year from now.

– “How can I provide for my prosperity IN A WAY THAT ALSO accounts for the prosperity of others in my organization?” OR “How can our company provide Health Care IN A WAY THAT ALSO contributes to the company’s bottom line?”

You may not have an answer today. But I absolutely guarantee that if you make this intention a company policy, as a leader you will gain respect even if it takes time for the solution to appear. I also guarantee that what you focus on, you attract, and if you concentrate on the question long enough, and ask for others’ recommendations, a solution *will* surface.

What if it were possible to suffer less and thrive more?
What if it were possible to get the system doing what we want in ways that were more fun and less costly?

What if A+B=C? is the formula that provided 10, 20, or 50% greater success, more of the time?

What if cultivating A+B with ourselves could impact the planet at large, without one ounce of cost?

In the integral community, some people bash A + B as “green swamp”. They are afraid that if we start collaborating with others to find workable solutions that include everyone all the time, we’ll spend all of our time negotiating and “holding the question” and never get anything done. It’s true, I have seen people take A + B to the dysfunctional extreme. Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone wants to be heard and we leave the meeting without ever getting anything done?

Again, Both/And comes to the rescue. When we combine our skills from “power over” (let’s make the best decision we can, and DO something), but in a way that includes an A + B perspective (I will not meet one set of needs at the expense of another), what we have is a capacity to decisively choose a direction that accounts for both sides as best we can. When we add to this a heap of flexibility, when we give ourselves room to adjust the plan as we go if we find a better way, what we have is both inclusion and movement. The net result – results with a more system-inclusive approach.

Moving from an either/or framework (first tier) to a both/and framework (second tier) provides solutions that account for more of the system, more of the time. That system may be two sides of myself, or us, or our groups, or the Material Plane at large. In any case, Both/And results in solutions that are more effective, more fun, and far, far less costly.

An Opening for Values-Based Awareness

“Chaung Tzu insisted that judgments like right and wrong, good and evil, fair and unfair were just mental habits, ideas that had gained currency through repeated used rather than through inherent truth.”

J. Geary, Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists, p. 227

Let’s try on the coat for a moment and imagine this to be true. If “good/bad”, “right/wrong”, “fair/unfair” are simply cultural habits – what’s the alternative?

On what basis do we assert “good/bad”, “right/wrong”, “fair/unfair”? What barometer do we use to measure this?

If we had a more powerful, more life-serving way of expressing, what would it be?

Sending playful smiles,

What Type Are You?

Have you ever met someone who was just far easier to talk to after 11am than he/she was at 7am? Oh yeah, that’d be me – I’m a night-person. You bright-eyed bunny-hopping morning people make me crazy; how do you do it?? I simply can’t cope with the sensory overload until after my system has had a chance to wake up slowly on its own. But give me a party that starts at 9pm or a social phone call that starts at 11:30pm and I’m good to go.

So, Gail is a night-owl. So what?

Not only am I a night-owl, but I’m an auditory, descendant, yin-in-relationship yang-at-work, sameness-processing, 2nd-tier (I think, generally), planning-oriented, INFJ, yellow-red, 6, American white girl. No, I didn’t just drift into speaking spy-code, I just expressed my inclinations and my social education in terms of type.

So what?

The great thing about identifying your type across many subjects is that it gives you power – the power to choose circumstances that are a greater fit for you, the power to function more effectively as your Best Self, and the power (if you wish it) to cultivate the other type dynamic’s skills. (thank you Frank Herzog for our pretty image of power in the form of a brunette)

However, let’s be careful not to imagine we can pigeon-hole the complexity of humanity into a few letters and key words. We’re dynamic; we change, we grow, we adapt to suit our circumstances; in infinite ways, we find ways to be unique. We’re not simplistic two-dimensional robots who are always simple to categorize.

Meanwhile, I also propose that in the midst of our dynamism, we also tend toward preferred ways of being, in the same way some of us are right-handed and some left-handed. Even ambidextrous folks typically sign their name and eat with one hand or the other, and put their pants on one leg at a time.

In TIA – The Integrated Approach, we are invited to continually cultivate “both/and”, rather than living from “either/or”.

In this case, “both/and” means cultivating skills across multiple types, across multiple traditions, complementing the skills that we already hold and prefer and are adept with. We each naturally tend toward a particular type, as though we were dealt a hand of cards by the universe in our family, our genetics, our preferences, and our natural abilities. However, how many card games could we win if we always held a full deck of cards rather than the limited hand of cards we are dealt? Ha! With the entire deck we could win any card game we wish to play. Four aces, anyone? Anyone?

If you had your choice, would you walk around with one arm atrophied and limp with the other arm super-powerful? Or would you choose to cultivate and use both arms, even while one arm is stronger?

Likewise, in TIA we know that we have exponentially more power (the capacity to mobilize resources to fulfill the needs of ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world at large) when we are capable of choosing between two sets of skills rather than being hijacked and limited only having one set of skills. The pillar / module of TIA that invites us to this discovery and evolution is called, “Fully Expressed Energies” .

Also, by identifying our type tendencies we can identify our blindnesses, our biases, our unconscious expectations of what’s “good, true, and beautiful”. We unconsciously develop social biases by race, by country of origin or immersion, by gender, by religion, by political affiliation, by age… And when we remain passively isolated in this particular education or type-inclination, we inadvertently arm ourselves with a weaker, skewed, less complete perspective. It’s natural to be inclined toward a particular niche, strength, or bias; there aren’t enough hours in the day to enjoy an “occu-passion” and to cultivate omniscient mastery in all traditions’ types. However, we can choose – as a form of play – to actively broaden our horizons from time to time by deliberately exposing ourselves to unfamiliar types, cultures, countries, and ways of being. I’m sure you’ve experienced the expansive fulfillment and value of getting out of your comfort zone at some point in time, haven’t you?

Learning about type also is sane-making, in that it shows us “they’re not crazy, they’re just not us,” and “I’m not crazy, I’m just not you.” In exposing ourselves to a variety of type trainings we not only cultivate strength, choice, and power, we also cultivate compassion, tolerance, and acceptance of diversity.

From “Fully Embodied Energies”, below you’ll find a list of types from across many traditions. In each tradition, identify your niche preference / tendency. In each tradition, where do you tend to most often gravitate in your skills?

How much more powerful would you be if you cultivated *all* of the following type-skills? *

Here’s to options and possibilities,

Are you dominantly – a night-owl or a morning person?
Are you dominantly – auditory, visual or kinesthetic? *
Are you dominantly – ascendant or descendant? *
Are you dominantly – yin or yang? *
Are you dominantly – sameness-processing or difference processing? *
Are you dominantly – left-brained or right-brained? *
In business / at work are you dominantly – a planner, manager, or a doer? *
In wealth are you dominantly an employee, self-employed, a business-owner or an investor? *
In communication, are you most often informing or directing?
Are you dominantly – (Spiral Dynamics center of gravity) 1st or 2nd tier? *
Are you dominantly – (Spiral Dynamics center of gravity across lines of development) red, blue, orange, green, yellow, etc.? *
Which Myers-Briggs type do you most identify with (E/I, N/S, T/F, J/P)? *
Which Personalysis type do you most identify with (red, green, yellow, blue)? *
Which Enniagram type do you most identify with (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 + a wing) *
Which world culture do you most identify with?
Which race, gender, political affiliation, religious training do you most identify with?
How old are you?
If you’re a woman, which energy do you most often embody: queen, amazon, seductress, comedienne, nun, nurturing mother, whore, superheroine, bimbo, little girl.
If you’re a man, which energy do you most often embody: king, warrior, lover, comedian, monk, nurturing father, gigolo/player, superhero, idiot, little boy.

* To learn more about types, or to cultivate your power and skill across types, enroll in a 12-session coaching cycle by calling 1.877.535.5438. I’ll even throw in an additional first-hour for you for free, so we can discuss your
goals and hopes for the study/practice and cater the program to suit your needs and intended outcomes. It’s a toll-free call, so ring me today!

Decisions Decisions Decisions

High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.

– Robert H. Schuller

I love this quote; to me it translates to “successful people make decisions quickly”. Let’s not make the mistake though of confusing wide-reaching, systemic decisions with low-risk, low-impact decisions that affect only a small circle in the system.

When I’m making general, day-to-day, low-impact decisions, I try to remember that I want to thrive, and life is short. So my practice is to notice when I’m hedging or dragging my feet, and just pick a choice. Just pick one. I realize I can always correct the handlebars on the bike if I find I’m going too far out of the way of my intended direction. But if I sit on the bike mulling over which direction to set the handle bars, I’m never getting anywhere.

More systemic-impacting decisions I’ll take more time to do due diligence, but still, the idea is to inform myself to the best of my abilities in a reasonable amount of time and then choose, knowing I may always adjust the direction later if new information comes in.

A multi-millionaire I once worked with said, “Successful people make decisions quickly and change their minds slowly. Unsuccessful people take forever to make up their minds and then change their mind continually.”

Hrm…should I or shouldn’t I take this advice…hrm…let me think…


How might I / you / we apply this to a more powerful, effective, thriving life for us, our families, our work places, and our planet?

Cheers to living alive!

Recommended Treat – The Joy Diet

In hopes of inspiring even more opening, fulfillment, and joy,Love,

The Joy Diet – Martha Beck

Note From the Publisher

Welcome to The Joy Diet, a menu of ten behaviors you can add to your way of living and thinking to enhance every day’s journey through the unpredictable terrain of your existence. You can add these behaviors gradually and watch your life become steadily more vivid and satisfying. Or you can go on a “crash Joy Diet” to help you navigate life’s emergencies.

The ten menu items are:

• Nothing: Do nothing for fifteen minutes a day. Stop mindlessly chasing goals and figure out which goals are worth going after.

• Truth: Create a moment of truth to help you unmask what you’re hiding—from others and from yourself.

• Desire: Identify, articulate, and explore at least one of your heart’s desires—and learn how to let yourself want what you want.

• Creativity: Learn six new ways to develop at least one new idea to help you obtain your heart’s desire.

• Risk: Take one baby step toward reaching your goal. The only rule is it has to scare the pants off you.

• Treats: Give yourself a treat for every risk you take and two treats just because you’re you. No exceptions. No excuses.

• Play: Take a moment to remember your real life’s work and differentiate it from the games you play to achieve it. Then play wholeheartedly.

• Laughter: Laugh at least thirty times a day. Props encouraged.

• Connection: Use your Joy Diet skills to interact with someone who matters to you.

• Feasting: Enjoy at least three square feasts a day, with or without food.

No matter what your long-term goals are, The Joy Diet, written with Martha Beck’s inimitable blend of wisdom, practical guidance, and humor, will help you achieve the immediate gift of joyful living in the here and now. Begin your journey today.

Thank you Love!

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