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  • The Inside-Out Revolution: The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever
    The Inside-Out Revolution: The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever
    by Michael Neill
  • I Can Make You Happy
    I Can Make You Happy
    by Paul McKenna
  • Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing
    Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing
    by Anita Moorjani
  • The Ultimate Key To Happiness
    The Ultimate Key To Happiness
    by Robert A Scheinfeld
  • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
    Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
    by Adam M. Grant Ph.D.
  • The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders
    The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders
    by John E. Sarno
  • Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition
    Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition
    by MD, PhD, David Servan-Schreiber
  • A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
    A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
    by Rebecca Solnit
  • More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty
    More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty
    by Dean Karlan, Jacob Appel
  • The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
    The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
    by Olivia Fox Cabane
  • Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine
    Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine
    by Randolph M. Nesse, George C. Williams
  • The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
    by Eric Weiner

Thousands of You

"When there are a thousand people in the room, there are a thousand different Katies in this chair..."
--Byron Katie

So, for every hundred people you interact with in your life, there are a hundred different takes on you, one for each person.

Your Mom sees you one way, your boss sees you another. Your friends each see you in terms of what they focus on, what they value. A politically focused person might think you're not as involved in politics as you should be. A needy friend might want more of your attention. You get the idea.

So which you are you? Some of them? All of them? None of them? You get to decide.

We are all multifaceted beings. Our perceptions of ourselves and one another are multifaceted as well. We are many people to ourselves and a slightly different person to everyone we meet. There is no one truth about who or what we are. And whoever we are today, we'll be subtly different tomorrow, and the day after, and so on.

Identity, as a fixed value, is a fiction. Who we are is a relative value, meaning it depends on who it is that's doing the evaluation, and when they're doing it and why.

People can't be pigeonholed. Identity -- who we are -- is a mixed bag and a moving target, and it all depends on your point of view. A patriot from the perspective of the opposition is a terrorist.

Plus no one is any one thing for long. We're constantly changing and evolving. Which is why fixed ideas about ourselves or one another aren't a good idea. People can surprise us. We can surprise ourselves.

Leave room to discover more. Leave room for surprises. Don't imagine that you know anyone completely, or better than they know themselves


What Works in Coaching and Therapy

"Over fifty years of research shows that it is not the type of therapy that provides the conduit for emotional growth and healing. In fact, research shows that client traits are the first factor that influences the success of therapeutic outcome and the second factor is the trust that the client puts in the therapist, as part of the strength of their unique and personal therapeutic relationship."-Margarita Tartakovsky,

Therapy is, in essence, a partnership, so results depend mostly on the quality and efficacy of the therapeutic partnership or alliance between the therapist and client, and the quality of the relationship, in turn, depends on the overall intelligence and life experience of both client and therapist, with a special emphasis on relational responsiveness and emotional intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence
the capacity to be aware of, manage, and express one's emotions appropriately and usefully and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically so as to strengthen harmony, cooperation and constructive outcomes.

Other factors to be considered would emphasize social and relational skills on the part of both the therapist and client:

1. Communication: knowing how to listen to and understand others and also being able to share one's own thoughts and feelings clearly and honestly

2. Respect for differences, showing respect for others, demonstrating appropriate empathy, sharing, demonstrating mutuality, reciprocity and fairness in one's relationships with others. Very little blaming or criticism of self or of others.

3. Conflict Resolution skills: conflict-resolution skills include techniques such as staying calm, a willingness to engage in fair and open discussion (reflected by a lack of defensiveness or cross-complaining or argumentative behaviors), staying focused on the topic at hand, being less interested in being right and more interested in a mutually agreeable resolution, being ready to forgive or apologize, knowing how to bridge differences and find common ground, demonstrating good faith by keeping promises and commitments

4. Empathy: Demonstrating an accurate and appropriate understanding of the feelings and needs of others by exhibiting compassion for others and a willingness to support others according to their needs

5. Emotional self awareness: the person has made inventories of their strengths and weaknesses and is striving for improvement; able to accurately self evaluate -- neither over- or underestimates their own social worth and relative importance

6. Stress management: strives for equanimity amidst loss and gain; monitors and manages one's own stress levels; understands that the quality of one's own life depends less on circumstances and more on one's response to the circumstances

Any and all of these things contribute to good outcomes in coaching. Where they do not exist we would do well to learn them.


Words to live by...

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller

In the long history of life and the world, there has never been any part of creation -- man, woman, plant, animal, insect (and let's also include forests, mountains, oceans, worlds -- even galaxies)-- that has had any kind of preeminence or control or dominion. We all exist in relationship to one another, each in his or her or its own way, each in its own time and place. And each for our own season.

We are secure to the extent that we accept the truth of our mutually interdependent existence. We are secure in that we all have our place in the grand scheme of things -- no one thing more important or necessary than any other.

No one and nothing has ever had control. Influence, perhaps, but not control. A seeming momentary advantage perhaps, but no one has had an inside track. No one has enjoyed true independence. We've all utterly depended on one another, first, last and always. We've all been important, and meaningful, and necessary and significant each in our own way, whether people or society has recognized it or not.

The world is secure. Security lives on that level, on the level of the whole. The world, as a whole, is in control, secure. It is ever-arising, ever-renewing, self sufficient but only as a whole. We are secure in that we are part of that great whole. Parts can never control. They can influence, but they can't control. We have no separate existence or power excepts as parts of a whole.

We are each an integral part of all that has ever been or ever will be. But as parts we will never have control -- nor do we need it.

So no one individual person or thing has every needed to be secure or in control. It has never even been remotely possible. We live in probabilities. We live in borrowed time. We depend utterly on that which gave rise to us, whether we call it God or the Universe, or Nature or Life. Loss and gain, give and take, rise and fall -- this is the nature of Life itself. We are secure in that we are provided for and maintained by that which birthed us -- we have no independent existence, no independent security or control.

We all are born and die utterly dependent on that totality which gave rise to us and we are secure only in our dependent role within that larger whole, that ever expanding system that is true mother and true father to us all.

When the prayers say, "May the good lord hold you in the palm of his hand..." or "Give us this day our daily bread..." hasn't that always, already been the case? Could there be any life apart from that?

The history of one such as Helen Keller serves as a shining example. She was beset with crippling disadvantages -- blind and deaf. She was completely dependent and vulnerable, as are we all. And yet she lived her fearless words. Her life became a thrilling adventure and she lives on as a brilliant example to all of us.


Be more like a plant than like a jewel

"To be a good human is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertainty, and on a willingness to be exposed. It’s based on being more like a plant than a jewel: something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility."

-- Martha Nussbaum


"There is no finish line in life" and some other expressions I'm fond of saying...

1. "There is no finish line in life," meaning life is never over, life is never done. You either get the prize and keep going or correct course and keep going. Another way of thinking about it is that every ending is a beginning. Another aspect of this is the idea that enjoying the trip is every bit as important as reaching the destination.

2, "Things have no meaning, no value, no significance outside of a context," meaning, the value of anything is determined by how much you need it, and how scarce it is at the time. A breath of air is worth a great deal to you if you're drowning.
What things mean depends on the context in which the are said. Things spoken in anger are always exaggerations. Also true of things said in fear or in grief.

3. "A full belly cannot understand an empty one." A corollary of #2. That one comes from my Grandmother. Probably an italian proverb, one of the few she was able to translate. Most of them could not be properly conveyed in English for some reason -- they lost their meaning, as in "A head that doesn't talk is nothing but a coconut."

4. "Beggars can't be choosers," which conventionally means if you're a beggar, you must take what you're given. When I say it, I mean if you act like a beggar you can't be a chooser. Not acting like a beggar means taking responsibility for whatever it is you're doing and do it with grace and dignity and conviction. And if possible, with charm and style.

5. "If no one wants to spend time with you, don't complain. Ask yourself if you'd want to spend time with you, given how you're acting."

6. "The only sin is self attack." I got that one from William Blake. I believe it to be a very useful idea. It doesn't mean that there are no other destructive or harmful behaviors. There are. It means that the only thing that separates you from your better nature and makes it difficult to correct your bad habits and behaviors (which is what I think a sin really is) is self abasement, self condemnation, self attack. Self acceptance is a pre-requisite to change. We erroneously think that if we accept something, it will stay that way. Not so. Accepting something allows us to deal with things in a comprehensive meaningful way.

7. "There are three ways to be in relation to anything: 1. Putting up with things, which is a form of passive resistance. 2. Resisting things, which keeps things from evolving and changing, and 3. Accepting or welcoming things, which allows us to deal with them and move on." Another version of #6.

8. "Love never fails. It is the refusal to love that fails."

9. "Don't hurry. Don't wait." Another corollary to #6. There's too much fear in hurry, and there's too much passivity in waiting. Try being patient and looking forward to things instead.

10 "Your desires, like everything else, are given to you by Nature. Do your best to honor and support their fulfillment." Caveat: desires never feel desperate and never feel resistive. They feel good. They feel like relief.

11. "If Life has inspired something in you, it has also provided the means and the possibility of fulfilling that inspiration." Sort of like #10.

12. "Whatever it is you're upset about, it isn't happening now." That's because being upset is always a contrast between memory and desire, neither of which is happening in the present moment.

13. "Take care of today and the week (and month and year and decade) will take care of itself."

14. "Truth can't be said or put into words." Line one of the Tao te Ching. One should not confuse the menu with the meal, the toy with the box it came in, the map with the terrain.

15. "Trust your experience, not your ideas." Example: Stick your hand in a bucket of water. Do you have to think about it to know whether your hand is wet? Knowing doesn't require thought. It is not knowing that requires thought. Pondering is playing with uncertainty, with possibility. Trust your knowing -- your direct, non-verbal experience over your verbal beliefs or what someone else has told you.

16. "You're no better than anyone else. And no one is better than you." No exceptions. Ever. Trying to be the best or your best is idiotic.

17. "Don't try to be happy. Try to enjoy yourself, find ways to be satisfied."

18. "Everything is apples and oranges." Comparisons are convenient, but ultimately they break down, and then they are odious.

19. "Love is not desire. Love is not something that can come and go. If it can come and go, it isn't love."

20. "The future will not be found in the past. Nor will the future be found in the present. Don't bother looking in either place.

21. "Human beings are utterly incapable of predicting the future in any kind of consistent way." Another form of #20. Which is the reason why Foxwoods makes so much money.

22. "Nobody knows nothing." William Goldman said this about the experts in the movie business. Don't put too much stock in experts, as in doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, therapists, economists, politicians, publishers, hiring managers etc. Even the best guides get lost. Make use of guidance, but ultimately you must rust yourself.

23. "The things you focus on, for better or worse, will get bigger for you." Focus on what you have and watch it grow. Focus on what you don't have and watch it grow. Your choice.

24. "Don't criticize. Don't complain. Don't blame. Don't condemn." Ever.

25. "Get in the habit of saying, "I love the idea of (fill in the blank with whatever you want.)" And leave it at that.

26. "Don't support anything you don't want or anything that makes you unhappy." See: smoking, overeating, bitching, resisting, finding fault, etc. Another corollary: "If you don't want to eat it, don't buy it. Don't even go down that aisle in the supermarket. Make it easier on yourself to resist temptation."

27. "Focusing on what fits and what gives relief breeds peace and well-being. Focusing on what doesn't match, what doesn't fit, what adds tension, breads energy and change." Think about it.

28. "Every creature follows their own nature. What can control accomplish?" From the Bhagavad Gita. It's sort of a foundation for #29.

29. "Follow the path of least resistance." This is Nature's way: always the path of relief, tension buiding toward relief, not tension building toward more tension.

30. "Don't follow the road less traveled. Follow the road that appeals to you, the road you'd truly prefer to be on, whether it's well travelled or not."

31. "If there is a Punch and Judy show going on inside of you, try to remember that you're the puppeteer." This one is self-evident.

32. "You can't really say you've seen anything unless you've looked at it from at least three different perspectives." I learned this in drafing class.

33. "Things are never the same twice." From Heraclitus, "You can't step in the same river twice." Life is ever new, ever growing, ever improving.

33. "An all around good attitude is, 'Happy where I am and eager for more..."

There are a lot more, by the way, but it's getting to be supper time. (That wasn't one, but it might as well have been one. See #28-30, 33.)


Don't confuse love and desire...

“Love is not selective, desire is selective. In love there are no strangers. When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer interested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure intensity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source.”

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Don't confuse love and desire. They are two very different things. They may exist together, but desire is no substitute for love.

Desire is like a river, love is more like the ocean.

Desire is never the same. It ebbs and flows. Love doesn't vary.

Desire excludes. It picks and chooses. Love includes -- it finds a place for everything.

Desire is temporary. Love is eternal.

Desire is never satisfied for long. Love is always full, always complete, yet every expanding, ever growing.

Desire can succeed or fail. Love never fails.


Decide what you want and start talking yourself into it (instead of talking yourself out of it.)

"You're either talking yourself into what you want or you're talking yourself out of it. You might wonder why it is you'd want to argue that you can't have what you want." -- from a talk I gave in 1991. I'd say I was ahead of my time with that one.

Ever notice how kids, especially the little ones, always seem to come up with really good arguments as to why they should get everything they want? They can be very persuasive and they don't give in, the little beggars. Sure, they don't know what they're asking for half the time, but there is something to be said for their faith and dedication.

A few years later, the same kid has resigned himself to the fact that he can't have what he wants most of the time. He is getting more "mature." He's even starting to feel like he shouldn't ask for things because it's selfish.

A few years go by and the same kid as a teenager is starting to complain about how they NEVER get what they want -- because people won't let them have it. It's so unfair! Wait till I'm an adult, they say.

But wait a few more years, and the adult will insist that no one can really have what they want. IT'S JUST THE WAY LIFE IS. Sure, if you're lucky enough to have money you can buy things, but you STILL CAN"T HAVE MOST OF WHAT YOU WANT, especially the intangible stuff that really matters like good friends or love or happiness or creativity or security or satisfaction or peace of mind. Even massively successful and fortunate people can't seem to get what they want, so what chance do the rest of us have?

And I ask: who says we can't have what we want? Mostly, it's us. We say it, and we insist on it.

How did we all get so cynical? So pessimistic? Why do most of us argue FOR our limitations?

I think we should pay attention and find out (or decide) what it is that we want and then start supporting the idea that it might be possible to have it -- maybe even go so far as to say that we can and should have what we want, not in an ignorant way the way we did when we were three years old, (I want a pony! I'll take care of it!) but in context, taking into consideration the needs of others, as sensible and intelligent adults.

Think about relationship goals, business goals, financial goals, enjoyment goals, learning goals, you name it. (Do you have them?) Are you saying you can or can't have what you want?

Start by deciding to support the idea that your goals are reachable. Start there. Talk yourself into your goals, not out of them.