Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Conversations about change, introduction (1/6)

changeYou want to change, and you’re failing. You try, you struggle, and finally give up. Your mind tells you: “Ah, it was not so important after all.” “It is too hard, it is just impossible.” “You don’t have time for it anyway.” “Your dreams are too big, you are not worth it.” Your mind has all kind of good reasons to stop trying. That’s what minds do: maintaining homeostasis, maintaining the status quo. You’ll just never wear these skinny jeans, you’ll never be a compassionate Bodhisattva, you’ll never make enough money.

Feelings of disappointment, self-judgment and criticism arise as you acknowledge that you are not the person you want to be, and might never be. Peter Senge calls that emotional tension. It often leads to lowering your vision, bring it closer to your current situation. This helps lessen the tension, and the anxiety. Personal masters are those who use this emotional tension creatively. Instead of bringing their vision closer to their current situation, they use the tension to think of steps that bring their current situation closer to their vision. Emotional tension becomes creative tension.

Personal masters are brutally honest about their reality ànd hold on to their vision. Personal masters have compassion with themselves, and excitement about their dreams.

We all want to be personal masters. We all have dreams of togetherness, compassion, contribution. We all want to strive for what is good, pure and wholesome for all of us.

We often aren’t.

This week is dedicated to change. I will support you taking steps towards strengthening your mastery skills. So that you can transform the emotional tension into creative tension, and create the life you love. So that you can honor your dreams and hold on to them, even if evidence seems to indicate that they are unattainable.

This week, at the turn of the year, we’ll take a step towards our dreams. Together.

Contact me, if you want my help to bring more self-compassion, healing and integration in your life.

Self-compassion, day 11: Love, light and life

CandleAt the Christmas eve celebration with Unity Center Austin we lit a candle for each apostle, and recited a meditation to reinforce their qualities in us. The last candle was for Judas.

I cry. I feel so moved that we include the one person whom we consistently have excluded throughout history. I feel so touched that we honor him, that we acknowledge him as a source of inspiration.

I once read an article about Jesus and Judas. New research showed a different perspective on Judas, “the traitor”. It described how Jesus and Judas talked about the kingdom of God. That it is the kingdom of thís present moment. Of being fully alive with whatever is. Of being fully present with our suffering, feeling it, saying “yes” to it. That it is the kingdom of our vision, our dreams, our soul’s calling. Of holding on to what is true for us, what we envision for the world, even if all circumstances might indicate it is impossible. It is the kingdom of asking for what we need, and knowing we’ll receive it.

Jesus and Judas discuss how reluctant people are to enter this kingdom. How hard it is to give up on the habitual patterns of fear, of holding back, of not trusting we can reach for the stars. For all the miracles in the world, people are still blind to the truth that embracing the present moment and holding on to our dreams transforms suffering into light, life and love.

Something more radical needs to happen. They come up with a plan that will lead to Jesus’ crucifixion, so he can resurrect after three days. That should be powerful enough to open people’s eyes. Judas is willing to be the one who betrays Jesus. He shares Jesus’ vision of transforming suffering. So deeply that he is willing to be rejected, excluded and ostracized in pursuit of this dream. Jesus trusts Judas enough to know that Judas will stick to the plan, and not back off when the going gets tough.

We all know the rest of the story. We repeated it for 2000 years. Last night we celebrated his existence and his contribution to our well-being. We included him in our acknowledgment and affirmation of love, life and light. I felt touched and honored to have been there.

I wish you a merry Christmas, may your dreams come true.


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

Self-compassion, day 3: radical honesty

Radical honesty. Nope, not my thing. It sounds nice, but not for me. I rather believe what I want reality to be, than be upfront with what is true.

Byron Katie suggests we increase our self-awareness by turning thoughts about others around to the self. You replace the ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’ in the thought with ‘I’.

Castel Sant' Angelo, Roma.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I much rather not do that. It shows up as “I am not completely honest with others about my actions and situation.” I don’t like that at all. I prefer to keep my focus on the other, and judge him for not being completely honest. It’s just easier that way. I have no desire to focus on the not-so-sunny-sides within myself. I rather keep believing that I am completely honest with everyone and everything.

Hum. That doesn’t work either. It creates cognitive dissonance. My system remembers all the times I didn’t disclose information if I thought it would harm me. My system remembers all the times I presented myself much more positively than I in reality was.

Peter Senge describes personal mastery as the ability to be completely honest about your current situation and to hold on to your dreams. Personal masters are those people that don’t get overwhelmed with the emotional tension that arises when they see the difference between where they are and where they want to be. Or who they are and who they want to be. They don’t get discouraged when they are less compassionate than they want to be, they don’t give up when their mindfulness is not as full as they want it to be. The difference between reality and vision generates creative tension, and they use it take a first step to their vision. Their honesty helps them to identify where they are and buy the relevant map to get to where they want to be.

They want to arrive in Rome. They bought a map of Germany, thinking they were in Germany. Now they wake up to reality and realize they are on the North pole. That sucks. And they understand that their German map doesn’t help, and buy themselves a new one. Then continue their journey to Rome. They don’t despair for being farther away than they thought. They don’t blame themselves for being stupid thinking they were in Germany. They take a breath, nurture themselves, get the right equipment and continue their journey.

Hum, that sounds yummy… Maybe I should tell my friends that I have secretively been eating their chocolate, every time I’m at their house. To get more real with who I am. And then take it from there. On my path of more joy, compassion and harmony.

Self-Compassion, day 2: Your Future Self

Every day I go out for a walk. During my walk I imagine my future self, a year from now. I see how happy she is, how loving her marriage, how abundant and prosperous her financial situation. I see her walk around in a clean, organized home, where friends drop in and are welcomed with a big smile. She has clients who are satisfied, and changing their lives. She contributes to others from the fullness of her heart.

I call it the Future Self Process. It invokes the power of the subconscious mind to attract what you desire, and wholesome and beneficial to everyone.

You can do this for yourself too:

  1. Imagine what you want more of in your life that is positive and within your circle of influence. Imagine your future self having all the love, connection, acceptance, support, abundance and prosperity she longs for.
  2. Really feel into what it is like to be your future self. Feel it physically, emotionally, and mentally. Have the thoughts, physical sensations, feelings and experiences your future self has. Look at her environment, her home, her relationships, the steps she takes into her life. You see her reality as your reality.
  3. Repeat this process at least once a day, preferably more often.
  4. Do what you can do in this moment to take a first step towards your future self. You are committed to her becoming a reality, and not all the other versions of your future self. Chose love, peace and harmony for your future self.
  5. Give thanks for the abundance, prosperity, wholeness, love and connections that are already yours.
  6. Let go. Trust your subconscious mind to tap into the source of Life, Light and Infinite Love that brings her into existence.