“Ground is the place to go when overwhelmed with thoughts and fears. It can hold our confusion with unwavering presence. We can source the earth’s formidable strength to connect with how these qualities live inside of us. In her timeless gaze, we open to the present; we slow down.”
Kelsey Blackwell, Your Body is Your Guru
I’ve been thinking about grounding a lot over these few weeks, and sensing into the ways I am experiencing more or less ground at any given moment. Together we are in a collective disruption. Most of us have not encountered such a phenomenon in our lifetimes. For this, there is no road map, no certainty. (more…)Read more
“Dead condor chicks have been found with stomachs stuffed with cigarette butts, lighters, and plastic shards. Adult condors forage for bone fragments and calcium-rich shell to feed their babies, but inadvertently find and regurgitate plastics and trash into the mouths of their hungry nestlings, inevitably killing them.” (more…)
For the past few years, when it comes to doing any kind of work with teams and organizations, I’ve been increasingly drawn to the emergent and turned off by the planned and premeditated. To me, emergent potential is all about the possibility to disarm, reveal, become unapologetically candid, and fearlessly transparent. It is raw and alive. On the other hand, the premeditated feels like an outdated and outmoded clinging to a sense of control-based power that is strategic, transactional, dulling, and suffocating. (more…)Read more
Let’s just start where it hurts.
My friends and colleagues are worried about the recent push back on cultural progress. So is UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. His line “We must push back against the pushback” resonated with 10,0000+ gender equality leaders at the United Nations in March. (more…)Read more
“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute.
The good news is, there’s no ground.”
A friend shared his definition of innovation with me the other day. Innovation, he said, means we are going somewhere new and when we innovate, we never know how we are going to get from here to there. We are not in the territory of innovation when the process is linear, known and predictable. (more…)Read more
Most of us know how to host others. At gatherings we offer to take coats, pour a drink or two, check in now and then to make sure our guests are comfortable, and then wish everyone well as they head home. We know the feeling of being hosted well, and the immense comfort this focused attention of being cared for can bring, especially during challenging life experiences. Sometimes, being hosted well can even be the catalyst for shifting our perception of what is possible. (more…)Read more
I emerged from college with a solid sense of the daunting scale of our world’s environmental challenges. Yet, I was comforted by the array of amazing systems, tools, and technologies that would be of much benefit to mitigating these issues: permaculture, green urban design, alternative energy technologies, and so on. However, I quickly realized that many of these solutions were not being integrated into society. And if they were, it wasn’t happening near fast enough. (more…)Read more
As a young boy growing up in Jamaica, I believed that I was developmentally behind because I was black, Jamaican, and materially disadvantaged. As I became exposed to American culture through books, the media, and tourists, I was more convinced that I was less developed than my white American peers. (more…)Read more
In my organization, we do feedback a little differently than typical performance reviews. We have what we call GBOP (Get Better on Purpose) sessions with 5-7 colleagues with whom we work most closely. In these spaces we share feedback in support of each individual’s growth. Leading up to the session there is some preparation with individual self-reflection questions as well as 1:1 feedback conversations with our colleagues. By the time we come to the GBOP, we often have a rich repertoire of feedback to dig into, clarify, and explore together. (more…)Read more
Like so many other women when the #metoo movement emerged in late 2017, I pondered over whether I should share my story publicly. I felt inspired, stirred and paralyzed. I could not find my voice. Back then I did not realize that I was also in the midst of another round on the spiral of my healing journey. So while this post is only partly about finding my voice to share my #metoo experience, it also describes my healing journey and the skills I’ve learned along the way that are now core to the work I do with organizations and communities who have been affected by sexual harassment. (more…)Read more
I am coaching a fair number of coaches in my work today and one of the themes that keeps surfacing is a loss of personal passion. After years of coaching, interest wanes. Aliveness and creativity seem to fade. While a narrative of “I enjoy coaching” continues to circulate, for my clients the living experiences of joy, love and heartbreaking fulfillment are things of the past. Boredom feels right around the corner. For some coaches even a professional malaise or depression is on the rise.Read more
On a hot summer day in Brooklyn, I sat around a lunch table with my colleagues talking about Wholeness. In particular, our emotional wholeness in the context of work.
Recently, I’ve found myself really struggling when working with teams that are striving to invite in the “whole self” into the workplace. I was asking my colleagues what their experiences were in this dimension, and one of them shared a poignant example that helped me understand where I was getting stuck.Read more
I began my self-care coaching business as way to teach others about the self-care habits that sustained me through the toughest moments of my life. My first few sessions went peacefully, but as I gained more facilitation skills through Ten Directions’ Integral Facilitation certification, I noticed a few small interpersonal conflicts arising within the members of my community. Perhaps they hadn’t been there before, or maybe I could only bring myself to pay attention when I was actually capable of dealing with them. As I worked with the discomfort that arose from each one, I saw we were all growing – the clients I worked with, me as a leader, and our community as a whole. (more…)Read more
For the past 10 years, I’ve been immersed helping leaders and leadership teams develop more robust skills to help guide and shape their organizations, the markets they compete in, and the communities they operate in. I often see short-termism crippling boards, executive teams, and seasoned managers. (more…)Read more
I recently had a powerful dream. A bigger-than-life yellow snake was striking at me, baring its ominous teeth, snapping its jaws. Just when I thought my life was over, an enormous black snake appeared and attacked the yellow snake until it slithered away. This dream felt so real, so frightening that I kept reliving it, reflecting and unpacking it. I believe the yellow snake represents my Insecurity, and the black snake is my Audacity—my willingness to take bold risks.Read more
I was in my mid-twenties when I made the conscious choice to find the answers to some very important questions. An unexpected pregnancy had thrown me into an existential crisis and forced me to come to terms with my life choices. It became clear that I needed to begin to make decisions from my own moral compass and intuition rather than following others’ ideas and beliefs about what was right or wrong. Locating that inner compass took time. It also took practice to cultivate its sustainability. (more…)Read more
One morning in 9th grade I showed up to school and none of my five closest girlfriends would speak to me — they wouldn’t for the rest of the year. The following year, one of them finally broke the stand off. The first thing I asked her was, “Why? Why did you drop me so coldly?” Hers were simple teenager’s words: “You always took the best boys and left us the worst.” (more…)Read more
“I didn´t like what you did – it felt wrong.”
“We are disappointed about the result of the group process – this wasn´t what we expected.”
These are actual quotes from my clients. This was not the dream feedback for me as a proud, skilled facilitator! The fire alarm in my brain went on with a loud noise, my body froze, and my ego-mind automatically started creating explanations that would make me look better and make the pain and shame go away. Without any effort I had created lots of defensive and aggressive arguments about the logic of my actions and why everybody and everything else also were to blame (even my family and the food I ate the night before). (more…)Read more
A few years ago, after working with a business coach, I decided that self-care would be the central focus of my work. I chose a group coaching model where I bought 20 women at a time through a 10-week self-care reconditioning. This process included web content, group phone calls, and culminated in a three-day in-person retreat. (more…)Read more
I was in a meeting recently discussing the take down of Harvey Weinstein and others accused of sexual harassment, and the rise of the #metoo campaign. We were freely exchanging opinions about these trends in culture, except for several men who declined to add to the conversation. When I asked them about their thoughts on the matter, and they replied that there wasn’t anything they were willing to add; because, they said, the truth was that they were only allowed to agree with the perspectives already in the room. As much I as prodded to elicit other points of view, they remained firm. They weren’t angry, resentful, or upset about it. They were just unwilling to risk a damn word.Read more
Emergence. A word filled with openness, possibilities, and novelty. I often witness it with teams I work with, and it is truly beautiful to see a group of people unlocking new ideas that will carry them a little further. The resulting burst of positive energy and motivation creates momentum and amazing outcomes. As a facilitator, it’s a real treat to be part of the process. (more…)Read more
While I’m not aware of my fears all the time, when facilitating groups, my “big fear” becomes very alive.
Will I be able to serve this group well? Will I be able to intervene when necessary? Or, will I fall into my habitual pattern and avoid getting messy? And so it goes, on and on, the inner voice of anxiety. (more…)Read more
“I hate this exercise,” she announced in moment of quiet as the group sat working diligently on their own.
“I am sick of having to use my own oppression to teach white people about their privilege,” one of the only women of colour in the group angrily proclaimed, sitting back, arms crossed, challenging my authority, attempting to bring the group onside. (more…)Read more
I have been trying to find purpose and meaning in my life for a long time. Looking back, I would say at least since high school. What is it that we, and in particular I, am here for? What is it that will bring me passion and fill my heart? I searched for it in my Mechanical engineering studies and found bits and pieces. I also looked for it in during my MBA, but didn’t find too much there. (more…)Read more
As aspiring individuals and coaches alike, we are often inherently biased towards short term outcomes. Maybe as a coach, you’re looking ahead at six sessions where you are committed to quickly impacting your client’s life. Or, perhaps you’ve committed to six months to making some more substantive changes in your professional context and are eager to see the results. Or maybe the challenges you’re grappling with are changes that will inherently take you the next two years of concerted efforts to generate. (more…)Read more
As a psychologist and political scientist, I always felt drawn to two “acupuncture points”; engaging systemic structures and causes that give rise to deeply challenging societal conditions, and serving individuals in their own evolution into “being for life.” In my work right now I’m addressing both of these expressions through several new and exciting projects in societal development, conflict and negotiation? (more…)Read more
It’s 2001 and I’m standing on an elevated ridge in the White Mountains of Maine in the United States. My map is laid out in front of me on a flat rock, and with compass in hand I’m triangulating our group’s location. We are about to immerse our team into a thick deciduous forest for about 15 miles. The orienting calculations we make now have everything to do with our success of getting to our extraction point before we run out of food and fuel. It’s these fine measurements here on this ridge that will allow us to be successful later on. And with the right understanding of our location right now, we can calibrate each bearing, shoot from tree to tree, and plot an accurate course through the forest. (more…)Read more
A few years ago, I was asked to work with the board of a housing co-op who were having issues around workload equity. Resentments were brewing because a few members had become burdened with the lion’s share of the work. Before our first meeting, I was warned about the board’s ‘problem child’: a longtime member who often derailed meeting agendas with her combative style and strong opinions. (more…)Read more
“Let’s have a working lunch so we can make sure to get through all the content.”
When a client says something like that to me, I experience contraction and agitation. Why? Because this frame places a premium on the “content” (or the “it”). I am now simply a “content” dispenser and the groups I’m working with are passive consumers. I momentarily imagine myself sitting in front of the group reading aloud from a large book. (more…)Read more
Geologists have identified five mass extinctions in Earth’s history. Yet as the vast majority of life has been wiped out, our planet has continued to adapt and generate conditions for life to flourish once again. Unfortunately, many experts consider us to be living in a sixth mass extinction right now. And although we can situate this in a historic pattern, our current predicament is also a novel situation. Never before has a single species been almost entirely responsible for a mass extinction. Yet this is precisely the reality we are faced with today.Read more