Acceptance in the Flow of Facilitation

Via a tweet today from @HHG I came across a blog post from author Susan Piver on Buddhism and Relationships: 3 Stages to Heal a Broken Heart. I was taken by the post  not because I am currently experiencing a broken heart, but because her three bits of advice seemed incredibly relevant to the practice of facilitation.

It is so easy to get blocked by our own feelings of wanting to both succeed in facilitating and to be accepted or “do right” as the facilitator. It is easy to get caught in the emotions of others in moments of heat and fire. It is easy to beat oneself up – and that rarely makes us better facilitators!

Open but still largely unread on my desk is the book, “Standing in the Fire: Leading high-heat meetings with clarity, calm and courage,” by Larry Dressler.  It too, is about how we accept what is happening around us as a way of staying usefully engaged, rather than consumed and frankly, burnt out and hurt.

I am deeply interested in these practices as I feel I have finally begin a phase in life where I am breaking free of  old “please the people” habits and finding more comfortable ways of holding disagreement, conflict and dissent. I want to find practices that bring in critical thinking, use the heat instead of pouring on water at the first spark.

Here is a bit from Susan’s post. I have edited out the specific material about heartbreak and out of respect for her full text. So click in and read the rest.

I have three suggestions for figuring out how to accomplish this very mysterious feat of feeling without attaching a narrative as to what it might, could, should, or dare not mean.

1. Develop a non-judgmental relationship with your mind. …When you’re under the sway of strong emotion, you come into contact with a state of being that I like to call Insane Obsessive Thinking. If only, I should have, what I really meant was, how dare she, I am a loser, you are a loser, love stinks… .Without addressing a mind run amuck, the chances of skillfully working with your feelings is kind of limited. So I suggest introducing a note of discipline to your everyday life, beginning today. Spend some time everyday, not squashing your icky thoughts and promoting your good ones, but simply watching your mind in a relaxed way—no matter how wild it gets, you can remain steady. This is what meditation teaches you how to do…

2. Stabilize your heart in the open state. When you regain some sense of dominion in your own mind, naturally your attention will turn toward that raging, screaming, 24/7 searing thing in the middle of your chest—your heart…

3. View your whole life as path. With a sense of clarity in your mind and stability in your heart, the third stage becomes something altogether different. There is no practice associated with this one. With mental clarity and emotional stability comes the ability to see your entire life as path. You have created the foundation for an entirely authentic life, one full of joy and sorrow, meetings and partings, giving and taking, and deep meaning. ..

via Buddhism and Relationships: 3 Stages to Heal a Broken Heart | Susan Piver.

How do you stand in the fire? Accept and move forward as a facilitator?

Photo Credit:

Rituals for Healthy Living – What are yours?

Sao Miguel Island, the AzoresMy friend and neighbor, Ashley Cooper, has created a new blog to share what she learned when she asked her network, “what rituals do you do to invite balance and well-being into your life. She was so taken by the responses, she is compiling them into a blog, Rituals for Healthy Living.

When I work with people who are using the internet for work (and play, and life) the topic of “balance” often comes up. That tension between “face to face and online life.” (I cringe when the word “real life” is applied to F2F.) I realized about a year ago that I was ignoring the invitation to balance, so I have added some rituals to my life, like dance-like exercise, walking, simple daily meditations and trying to have the machine shut off one day on the weekend. However, reading Ashley’s new blog, I can see there are wonderful inspirations. So if you are looking for an invitation to balance and well being, take a read. Here is a snippet from the blog introduction:

Rituals to Invite Balance and Well-being

By changing the way you do routine things
you allow a new person to grow inside of you.
~Paulo Coelho

This site is a compilation of rituals and stories from many different people around the world. Each post is a different person’s response to an invitation to share their rituals for healthy living, activities or behaviors they do regularly for the purpose of bringing value to their well-being. Perhaps there is a ritual in these pages that will catch your attention and find its way into your own life. To help keep this site alive, comment on what you read, share your story if you try one of the rituals, and submit new rituals.

Sharing my Birthday with ALL OF YOU

Today I cross the half century mark. I am turning 50 on a typical Seattle spring day – the birds are singing wildly, the tulips are waving in the morning rain and the sky is just lightening. I won’t be online much today, but already I wake to a queue of well wishes on my Skype and even – a first for me – a blog post birthday greeting from the warm and wonderful Holder – Change Management Blog: Happy Birthday, Nancy White.

I am blessed and happy to be alive. My sister called earlier in the week and asked how I was feeling. You know, in my culture, turning 50 can be intimidating – some morbid “one foot in the grave” theme. But I feel very alive, and that life is full of love, meaningful work, and always a learning path in front of me. So as I head out to the last day of the Seeds of Compassion with the Dalai Lama, I’ll be carrying all of you in my heart. Here is my birthday gift to you for being in my life, both visible and invisible – some flowers created by Seattle youth for the Dalai Lama yesterday.
Flowers for the Dalai Lama

Seeds of Compassion Begins in Seattle

Seeds of ChangeI awoke before dawn to many birds singing, then a beautiful sunrise. An auspicious start for Seeds of Compassion , a 5-Day Gathering in Seattle with his Holiness, the Dalai Lama and a huge community of people who care about the role of compassion in the lives of children. This morning I attended the session on the Science of Compassion, and am currently listening to the live stream of this afternoon’s second science day. Archived materials are being translated into 24 languages. That is a mind-blowing, bridge-building commitment. (The image to the right is a close up of Tim Corey’s work)

Experiencing the Dalai Lama
You hear about this remarkable human being — of his warmth, humility and compassion. Even from high in the stadium stands, I felt this. Such humor too… his twinkle twinkled across the stadium. He spoke without pretension, took his time and radiated calm. While I was intellectually engaged with the offering of the panelists (and they came across very compassionate themselves), I found myself just experiencing his Holiness. Sometimes I could not understand with the amplification and echoes, but that didn’t seem to matter. It mattered that I was able to just be there.

Graphic Facilitation at the Seeds of Compassion
I’m also a Seeds volunteer over the next 5 days, helping with the graphic recording of many of the events and welcoming people to put their mark on paper in the Conversation Cafe room where people can debrief and talk with each other about their experiences over the 5 days. Today Patti Dobrowolski and Timothy Corey recorded. You can see photos here. Our full team also includes Keith McCandless, and Steven Wright. I am thrilled to be able to watch and learn from them, as well as provide a contribution to the event WITH them.

Today after the morning event ended, I hung out while Tim and Patti completed their charts. It was wonderful to see people look at them, remark at how it helps them remember what they heard, and their amazement that “they drew this DURING the presentation!” For me as a newbie practitioner of this art, it was immensely useful to see their two different styles and watch their final additions.

I’m looking forward to five days of learning, community and compassion. It seems a fitting entry point to my 50th birthday on April 15th.

Monday Video: 1 to 100

Because I’m turning 50 this year, I am contemplating age. My age. Anyone’s age. So this video fits in to my reflections. I like it for my Monday video series as well!

YouTube – People in Order (correct version)

Hat tip My Extra Life