Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

The opposite of scarcity is enough

I had my last conversation with my grandfather. After three weeks hanging out together, five times a week for half an hour a day, he tells me it is enough. It is time for me to get back on my meditation cushion and sit and breathe, and be by myself.

Image courtesy to FlickrHe wants to talk about scarcity. He likes the Lynne Twist quote in Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly” (p25):

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of Not Enough occurs automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, complaining or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack… This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life…”

“Elly, the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It is enough… I wished you’d see that you have enough. Enough income, enough time, enough self-confidence. You don’t need to force yourself to get more. You have enough within you and around you to live the life that fits you. You don’t need to look for anything more. You are all set to get all the clients you want, to create a booming business, to thrive, to live and to love.”


There is nothing lacking in me? I’m pretty, popular, smart, funny, verbal enough? I don’t need to “improve” myself? I don’t need to try to be a better version of myself?

Being myself is plenty enough, and exactly what the world needs?

I think of Carl Rogers and self-actualization: our innate, irresistible tendency to grow into ourselves, to be us in the fullest sense of the word. Maybe I don’t need to challenge that. Maybe I don’t need to force myself to be, do, or have anything more than life offers. Maybe I can trust that my current conditions are more than enough to be happy, and that I can relax in the flow of my energy.

I thank him. We have spent three weeks of humanizing my hero-image of him, of getting closer. Three weeks of deepening self-acceptance and self-understanding. A life-time of richness and gratitude. Yes, I have enough. More than enough.


You want help to experience your enoughness? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

Inner mediation between my grandfather and my father, 3/3

(continued from June 9, 2014 Inner mediation between my grandfather and my father, 2/3)

Image courtesy to FlickrI take a seat on the couch, in between the grandfather-part on the right and the father-part on the left. I feel shy. I didn’t expect my grandfather to accept me for my Elly-ness. I didn’t expect my dad to understand that I try to live by my principles, not my considerations. I feel relieved. I have the acceptance and understanding I’m longing for. It creates the connection I want. It integrates different parts in me, which is healing and relieving. I have clarity about my next step: continue being me, just me. Do what I know to be life-serving. Have what I receive with love and gratitude.

Life is actually pretty simple that way: we are born, we live, we die. No matter what happens in between, we know we’ll die in the end, so we better live to our best. I once heard a beautiful saying:

At the end of his life, rabbi Zusha wasn’t asked “Why weren’t you like Moses?” He was asked “Why weren’t you Zusha?”.

The only purpose in life is to be ourselves. We achieve greatness when we fulfill our potential. We reach our potential if we let go of old beliefs, core convictions, and limiting self-doubt. I have found this inner mediation a fantastic tool to do that. I recommend it to anyone.


You want help to mediate different parts of yourself and reach your potential? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

Self-compassion, day 7: Empathy

empathy-quotesMy new client walks in with some apprehension. I bid her welcome and offer tea. She sits down and starts to talk. About everything that bothers her. Her concern for her mom, her struggling relationship with her husband, her worries about finances. I give her space to talk, non-stop, uninterrupted. I want her to know that I am here for her, that she is not alone in this, that I’ll support her the best way I can. She cries. She feels so much sorrow, grief, guilt, confusion.

She takes a breath. I reflect back what I heard her say, using her words. She looks at me surprised. “Yes, that’s exactly it, that’s exactly it.” She relaxes.

We are silent. We are connecting to ourselves, savoring what has been said.

Then she continues talking. Worries about losing relationships she cares about. Celebration of relationships where she receives acceptance for her choices. Her best friend, her sister, her colleagues. I share what I observe: her tears, her softening frown, her relaxing facial muscles. I guess her feelings, her needs. Simple empathy. She softens even more. She tells me how good it feels to just be heard, without being talked over. How grateful she is for my enthusiasm to work with her. How she appreciates the support and acceptance she is getting.

I look at her with a smile. I feel compassion for her. I see a woman who carries a lot of pain. A woman who has tried to carry this pain by herself, not wanting to burden anyone. I see a woman who is dedicated to bring more support, trust and acceptance in the world. A woman who is committed to work on herself, before judging others.

I feel honored that she chose me as her coach.

“Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing.” Marshall Rosenberg

“Empathy is a strange and powerful thing. There is no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of “You’re not alone.” Brene Brown

If you want my help to deepen your self-compassion, healing and integration, contact me for a complimentary, discovery session.

Living halfheartedly

Brené Brown talks about living wholeheartedly. Well. I do everything halfheartedly. I use Nonviolent Communication with some friends, but not with others. I work, but keep looking for other jobs. I eat vegan, but not around my family. I visit my Sangha, but not when I am tired. If there is anything I do wholeheartedly, it must be creating reasons to live halfheartedly.

My inner critic comes to my rescue. “Well, as Brené Brown found out, people who live wholeheartedly have a basic sense of worthiness. They believe they are worthy of love, belonging and connection. You don’t. You are full of self-doubt and insecurity. You grew up being scared you would be ridiculed, rejected, excluded. You never developed a sense of worthiness.” A second critic shows up “Stop being a whiny. Grow up. Get your act together and start living your life! Have the guts to be vulnerable. Take a risk and show everything that’s you, even parts you feel shame around. Remember David Schnarch? Remember that unilateral self-disclosure is a key element in differentiation? Sharing your authentic self, even when the other person is not disclosing anything personal in return? Be willing to stand there naked, trembling in your vulnerability, and be proud for doing so?” Gosh, I can’t imagine ever doing that. Writing a blog and inviting feedback from colleagues. Calling an organization and offering my services. Reaching for the moon, and landing on the stars. Living a full life of ME. I rather hide. And die in the end.

I think of my stepdaughter. She goes for it all. She wants to be a member of the city youth council? She writes and delivers a speech. She wants to do the summer school dance program with the Chicago Ballet Company? She auditions. She wants to go to college? She applies. She is willing to fail, to succeed. That explains her success.

I wonder. Can I do that too? Can I start a 30-day journey into living wholeheartedly and ask Brené Brown to comment on my blog? Can I face all the voices in my head that cry out loud I shouldn’t do that, that she is too busy, has no interest, that she has much better blogs to read? Can I tell them it’s not about her saying “yes”, it is about me getting into the arena and taking a stand? For myself? Showing up for who I fully am? To reach for the moon, and land on the stars? YES, I CAN!

Day 9 My Journey into Wholeheartedness

Yep, I changed the name.  Rejection doesn’t ring true to me.  I don’t believe there is something like rejection, just someone who says ‘no’ to what we ask.  And it hurts, because we think it is about our worth.  We think we are not worthy enough, that we don’t matter enough to receive a ‘yes’.  That’s a misconception.  Our worth has nothing to do with it.  It is just someone whose needs are not met by our request.  That’s all.  We can  find another request that works better for them, or we find another way to get what we want.

And that’s where wholeheartedness kicks in.  I commit myself to have the courage to stand up for my truth, to express myself authentically and to ask for what I truly, truly want.  I honor my own vulnerability and chose to live a life based on my values and dreams, not my fears.

That’s my journey into wholeheartedness.