Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Emotional potty training

Image courtesy to Wikimedia

I am so happy with my emotional potty training. After I realized that I’m emotionally incontinent, I went on a quest to learn how to stand my anger, jealousy, fear, and other unwelcome feelings. I learned how to have my feelings, connect, accept and understand them and respond with compassion, mindfulness, and care for everyone.

I can proudly say that I am a little bit more emotionally continent. I still my accidents where my painful feelings overwhelm me, and I yell, blame, and judge despite my value of compassion and connection. And I’m noticing moments where I feel anger, jealousy, fear arise and maintain my calm.

I couldn’t have done it without John Kinyon and Ike Lasater’s self-connection process. This is how it might work for you.

So there you are. With your husband. You come home, and, again, he didn’t clean the counter, as promised. You think you don’t matter and that what you want doesn’t count. Angry thoughts are piling up one after the other. Yep. That sometimes happens.

Then you catch yourself. You’re getting triggered. Oops. Just in time to do the self-connection exercise. You move to a spot on your right (I always chose my right, so my body builds up an instinctive routine and doesn’t get confused in times of challenge) and focus your awareness on your breath. Just noticing it. Nothing else. Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in. Breathing out, I know I’m breathing out. Maybe a first sigh of relief of pausing.

Then you bring your attention to your physical sensations. Just an invitation to get out of your head and into your body. Maybe you’re sweaty, maybe your stomach is tight, maybe your heart is racing. Just bringing body and mind together, and ground yourself in the present moment. Your body cannot be anywhere else. Maybe a second sigh of relief of self-connection.

In this safe container of breath and body awareness you connect to your feelings. Wow. You might be surprised by your feelings. You might notice that there is sadness underneath your anger. A tender sadness. Maybe a fear too. A fear that you don’t matter, that there is not enough care and support for your needs. Ouch, maybe the pain of the thought that you are not good enough, that you are not worthy of connection, love, belonging.Maybe a third sigh of relief and self-compassion.

Breathing in, breathing out. Physical sensations. Feelings. More clarity about your needs.

This is it. Just some spaciousness to listen to yourself before you respond. Just an opportunity to hold your own experience with love and gentleness.

I’m curious to hear if this self-care helps you to respond with more loving-kindness, compassion, and understanding. It does for me.


You want help to ground yourself in your breath, body, and feelings? Contact me 512-589-0482512-589-0482 for a complimentary, discovery session. I would be delighted to work with you.

One step is enough, just one step towards your vision

One step towards our visionI’m cleaning our guest room. I dread it. The task seems overwhelming. The room is filled with little rattletraps and the desk hasn’t been cleaned for more than five years. It just collected stuff upon stuff, dust upon dust.

I decide to clean for an hour, then stop. I don’t have to catch up with the cleaning arrears all at once. I can do it one bit at a time.

I think of Peter Senge’s ‘The Fifth Discipline‘. He writes about the emotional overwhelm we feel, when the difference between our perceived reality and our aspired vision seems too big. We don’t trust that we will ever be able to reach our dream, and to avoid the pain of this unfulfillable vision, we give up on what we truly want. We resign to what we think will never change: an unsatisfying marriage, overweight, financial scarcity, low self-worth, a simmering conflict. We pretend we accept our situation, so we don’t need to face up to the pain of not having what we want, and fearing we will never get it.

I have been in that place of stuckness more than once. And I have been in the place of holding on to my dream, ferociously trying to find ways to make it work, even in the face of discouragement and disbelief. Peter Senge calls that creative tension. It generates the energy to move forward.

I have found that I am more energized to take a step, when I realize I don’t need to get to the top in one jump. You know ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.’

When I am brutally honest about my current situation ànd passionate about my dream, I can invite my future self to tell me how she got there, and then take that one step. And then, maybe, rest a little. Celebrating the commitment it took to take that one step. Maybe learning if it didn’t get me closer to my vision.

You don’t need to get from toddler class to the PhD program in one year. It is fine if you start with the alphabet and 1+1=2. You can take your time to cycle through all the classes. That doesn’t make you stupid, slow or bad at it. It makes you a champion of personal mastery and a hero of holding on to your dream.

To my fellow participants in the Mediate Your Life Intensive who feel overwhelmed: hang in there and focus on the one skill you can practice. That is your first step to your aspiration of mediating your life. And one step is all you can take in this moment. That is enough.

May we enjoy being on a journey!


You need help to figure out your next step? Contact me 512-589-0482. I would be honored to help.

Building collaborative communities

Mediate your LifeThank you, John and Ike, for facilitating the Mediate Your Life retreat.

I thoroughly loved it. I loved the community, the safety, the acceptance, the learning, and the comradery on the path of compassionate communication. I feel grateful for all the practical tools and practices that I directly can use in my daily life. And most of all, I feel touched, inspired and appreciative of the respect, inclusion and openness you showed towards any idea offered by anyone at any time. With all your years of experience in teaching, training and mediating you never pretended you knew it all. Every day seemed like a fresh, new day with new answers to new challenges to best support the participants in this workshop at this moment.

You modeled how I want to build community and collaboration. Not contracted and constricted, guarding my carefully crafted opinions. Not scared that my ideas will be swept off the table as irrelevant and uninteresting. Not attached to my points of view, thinking that I know the truth, and the only truth.

I aspire to stop my chatter mind when someone offers an idea I don’t know, or might even feel resistance to. And then listen. Just listen. What does the other person have to say? What is important to them? How are they contributing to expanding my world view? Where is the valuable gem in their words? How can I honor their willingness to share their unique wisdom with me?

It seems so simple. Just stop and listen. And then, with an open heart and curious mind, explore their ideas. Like tasting wine. Or chew chocolate. Oh, the wonderful nuances of this idea… how it reveals itself… what an unexpected surprise to hear this…

My monkey mind immediately protests. ‘What if the idea is harmful, like blacks are lazy?‘ I don’t have any other answer than that you can always empathize with them. Understanding where the speaker is coming from, their fears, pain, desires. How those are captured in this idea. How there might be something precious in their idea, even if I don’t like the way they express what is important to them. And I can imagine that creates connection, and maybe a new understanding for both of us.

It sounds simple. Just stop and listen. I guess it takes a lot of personal growth, radical honesty about where you’re stuck, and courage to let go of preconceived ideas, before you can show up like that.

Ike and John thank you so much for being role models, as I strive to be who I want to be.


Contact me if you want support to open up to new ideas and build collaborative communities 512-589-0482