What do you do when you are in a conversation with someone and realize, to your dismay, your communication is breaking down and you’ve lost your point of connection? It can be incredibly frustrating and many people either amp up their position and become blaming or argumentative, while others might finally give up — just walk away and “lose heart.”
It is so tempting to enter a blame game, think the other person is obstinate, irritating or just plain stupid. Or you might turn the frustration and blame on yourself, question your own wisdom, clarity or reasons. Either way, the result is a “disconnect” that, over time, can become self-perpetuating.
In a recent blog, A Model for Compassionate Power, Sharon Strand Ellison speaks with eloquence on breaking the habits of self-defeating anger at the same time you increase your internal sense of power. Combined with embodied qi practice, I find this approach a powerful exit out of the revolving door of power struggle.
The following short qigong practice “transforms knee-jerk reactions into heart-felt response by distilling information as it comes to you. This creates an energetic netting that “separates the wheat from the chaff,” so that you pay attention to what is useful, while allowing that which is not useful to be filtered out of your consciousness.” (excerpt) Way of Joy
Bay Area Peeps: Mark your calendar for 4-part LIVE class series beginning March 3. And it’s not too late to join the Sustain the Flame video teaching and tele-series to make those recent New Year’s resolutions STICK. Let’s go for it together and make 2013 unlike any other!
I’ve been wearing a wide variety of hats lately, from working as a consultant for a group in conflict, to teaching qigong, to coaching clients through profound transformations to performing with my theater company to participating in organizing a family-run funeral for my “mother-out-law” with my partner.
One of the things I’ve been noticing as I’ve moved from one way of being to another is that the unifying theme has been energy. How do I raise it for any given challenge? How do I direct it? Express it?
And I gotta say that I’ve actually been thriving as I move from one thing to another…I Even with some serious setbacks, like when I tried out my first webinar this week and hit some major roadblocks, I feel excited, curious and fully engaged. Around this time last year, though, I felt more resistance to wearing all these different garments.
Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment…It is not a matter of faith; it is matter of practice. —Thich Nhat Hanh
Embracing each moment with an “Ah HAH!” is one of my favorite taiji/qigong practices. In fact, (to quote my own book) “when there is so much going on that you feel like you don’t know which end is up, or there is so much “brain mutter” in your mind, you forget even to breathe, you’re not operating at your full capacity… When you are truly present, embracing this moment, you can stay calm and centered, relaxed and energized, regardless of what is happening around and within you.”
When you embrace this way of being, I think it becomes undeniable that “linear time” is actually an illusion. I’m not talking about an abstract philosophical construct here. In fact, I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself.
Philosopher, dancer, performing artist, and internationally acclaimed taijiquan master, Chungliang Al Huang’s practice of “Ah Hah” radiates in a way that is positively contagious.
Vicki Dello Joio is a speaker, performer, teacher and creator of The Way of Joy Spiritual Fitness Program. Integrating over 40 years of Chi Kung practice with other martial arts as well as her work in Yoga, Feldenkreis, physical fitness and theater, Vicki has developed a dynamic set of tools to increase awareness, transform obstacles into opportunities and enhance creative potential.
Whether or not you can see signs of Spring yet in the area where you live, Nature has begun to move us forward into this next season.
Although many people associate Spring with light-hearted images of young love and butterflies, Spring is also a time of “emergenc-y,” where your life force — as well as any suppressed feelings or intentions — may come out in unexpected and potent ways. Signs of budding energy emerge in our bodies and spirits as Nature begins to show signs of birthing.
In my book, The Way of Joy, there is a concept, Circles Open into Spirals, which looks at how the Natural World, and we as humans, evolve through an unending cycle of life, death, and rebirth. For me, perhaps because I was born in the Spring, there is no time when these cycles are more evident than during this time of year. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, on a purely physical plane our actual bodies are born, live, then die and return to the earth as compost, which is in itself the source for new life.
Given that this is a time to water the seeds of what you have planted, how will you nurture and tend to what is growing in you or may even be clamoring to Burst Forth?
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. — Wayne Dyer
Sometimes it feels like coping with a technologically developing culture can create as much difficulty as it does convenience. When you feel frustrated by things “beyond your control,” I believe it is always a good idea to come back to your breath.
In Taoism we are all seen as manifestations of divine breath. With my students of The Way of Joy, I talk about how when we actively inspire (draw in breath), we are more easily able to connect to our larger vision and, in so doing, experience a personal connection to the divine or the cosmos.
If you are willing to take the time for even 1 -3 long slow breaths before reacting to something that is happening in your life that you don’t want, you are far more likely to be able to shift your knee-jerk reactions into a response that is open and empowered. This indeed has the capacity to change how you experience what is happening.
One concept I work with in The Way of Joyis what I call “Integrity Activates Change”. The way I see it, in order to create change — to pivot what you don’t want into what you dowant — requires being able to acknowledge and embrace your “whole” self — including all of your history, both “positive” and “negative”. Then I believe you are better able to make self-respecting choices that integrate all of who you are, including all of your different aspects or inner voices.
The questions I often return to that guide me back to my own integrity, the embrace of my whole self are:
Do you feel aligned with your vision and your passion?
What do you do when you hit roadblocks?
Even when something frightens, angers, or demoralizes you, how might you use it?
The next performance of Living Arts Playback Theater will be Traces of the Trade: An Afternoon of Film and Interactive Theater on the Legacy of Slavery on Feb. 4.
What is a challenge you’ve grown from that contributes to who you are and what you offer others?