Wednesday, December 31, 2008
by fellow USM graduate and life coach, Christine Michel
Pretend you have a magic wand....Imagine all the good you could ever imagine for your whole life, your whole being, now hold the magic wand over your head.....and give it a shake....."Permission granted".....
You now have permission to be all that you ever imagined....To have all that your heart desires......To do all that you are called to do. When you give yourself permission to be your Truth, you no longer have to worry if you will "do it right", if you will "say the right thing", or make the "right choices", because from this place all the "right" doors open, the "perfect" words come forward, the "uplifting" thoughts appear.....
From this place you experience your All Good, you live a joyful life, your fantasies are reality (Real It I). When someone tells you to get your head out of the clouds, to come down to reality, to stop dreaming so big, you will simply smile and say inside "Thank you for sharing, I bless you and love you....and the Truth is all good is mine now and I say thank you, thank you, God." Pretty soon, as you practice the Truth, the Truth is all you will know and you won't even have anything other than Truth reflected back to you!I celebrate my good now and forever more!!!
January Is the Month of Renewal
Welcome to 2009!
I recently led one of my groups through a renewal evening.
We wrote down our goals and set intentions for 2009. In the midst of this , I stopped and glanced down at MY list. I was bewildered. It was the same list I had written down last year!
I looked up at the eager faces around me. Everyone was happy and pumped up. They appeared ready to run out the door to embark on their new lives.
I just sighed as everyone waited to hear the next step.
Pointing to the fireplace, I said, “We’ve got to burn this stuff – give it up. We already know what our intentions are. C’mon, look at your list. I’m guessing that you’ve written this down before. Like, last year? Are these the same goals you wanted last year?”
Every single person in the group reluctantly agreed.
How about you? Did you write down the same goals as last year?
For 2009, I offer you this question: What if we all renewed who we were and who we’d have to be in order to become our goals?
The idea that we are achieving something outside ourselves is false. We must realize that we must expand ourselves, where the true law of attraction is activated, to be big enough to house our big goals.
Imagine trying to house a tractor-trailer in a tiny garage!
We must expand our housing for bigger goals. Housing = Spirit. We have to be bigger energetically in order to expand and have the capacity to house our goals.
This month, we will renew our “real” selves. And it that idea, we will expand our capacity to attract love.
I created a daily contemplation to get us started. The free renewal meditation this month will begin to stretch you energetically to house your bigger life.
Set a powerful intention to expand and open yourself to spirit. I recommend the Spirit Guides Intention Kit for this. When you stand powerfully in that vast space with spirit, you open your capacity very quickly.
I also have a soft spot for the Open Heart Home Chakra Vortex. It’s simply stunning. If you’re attracted to it, the Open Heart Home Chakra Vortex will be very powerful for you. Hang it in your home or wear it!
Please let me know if you have any questions…
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
“Psychology today is torn and riven, and may in fact be said to be three (or more) separate, noncommunicating sciences or groups of scientists. First is the behavioristic, objectivistic, mechanistic, positivistic group. Second is the whole cluster of psychologies that originated in Freud and in psychoanalysis. And third there are the humanistic psychologies, or the “Third Force” as this group has been called, a coalescence in to a single philosophy of various splinter groups in psychology. It is for this third psychology that I want to speak. I interpret this third psychology to include the first and second psychologies, and have invented the words “epi-behavioristic” and “epi-Freudian” (epi = upon) to describe it. This also helps to avoid the sophomoric two-valued, dichotomized orientation, for example, of being either pro-Freudian or anti-Freudian. I am Freudian and I am behavioristic and I am humanistic, and as a matter of fact I am developing what might be called a fourth psychology of transcendence as well.” (1971, pp. 3-4)
~ Excerpted from "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature" by Abraham Maslow.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
her living environment. Here's Maslow's thinking on this:
"Resacralizing. Resacralizing means being willing, once again, to see a person "under the aspect of eternity," as Spinoza says, or to see him in the medieval Christian unitive perception, that is being able to see the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic. It is to see Woman with a capital "W" and everything which that implies, even when one looks at a particular woman. Another example: One goes to medical school and dissects a brain. Certainly something is lost if the medical student isn't awed but, without the unitive perception, sees the brain only as one concrete thing. Open to resacralization, one sees a brain as a sacred object also, sees its symbolic value, sees it as a figure of speech, sees it in its poetic aspects.
Resacralization often means an awful lot of corny talk - "very square," the kids would say. Nevertheless, for the counselor, especially for the counselor of older people, where these philosophical questions about religion and the meaning of life come up, this is a most important way of helping the person to move toward self-actualization. The youngsters may say that it is square, and the logical positivists may say that it is meaningless, but for the person who seeks our help in this process, it is obviously very meaningful and very important, and we had better answer him, or we're not doing what it is our job to do.
Put all these points together, and we see that self-actualization is not a matter of one great moment. It is not true that on Thursday at four o'clock the trumpet blows and one steps into the pantheon forever and altogether. Self-actualization is a matter of degree, or little accessions accumulated one by one. (1971, p. 49).
~ Excerpted from "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature" by Abraham Maslow.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
"Fifth, we have talked so far of experiencing without self-awareness, of making the growth choice rather than the fear choice, of listening to the impulse voices, and of being honest and taking responsibility. All these are steps toward self-actualization, and all of them guarantee better life choices. A person who does each of these little things each time the choice point comes will find that they add up to better choices about what is constitutionally right for him. He comes to know what his destiny is, who his wife or husband will be, what his mission in life will be. One cannot choose wisely for a life unless he dares to listen to himself, his own self, at each moment in life, and to say calmly, "No, I don't like such and such."
The art world, in my opinion, has been captured by a small group of opinion- and taste-makers about whom I feel suspicious. That is an ad hominem judgment, but it seems fair enough for people who set themselves up as able to say, "You like what I like or else you are a fool." We must teach people to listen to their own tastes. Most people don't do it. When standing in a gallery before a puzzling painting, one rarely hears, "That is a puzzling painting." We had a dance program at Brandeis University not too long ago - a weird thing altogether, with electronic music, tapes and people doing surrealistic and Dada things. When the lights went up everybody looked stunned, and nobody knew what to say. In that kind of situation most people will make some smart chatter instead of saying, "I would like to be different, unpopular, nonconformist. If clients, young or old, cannot be taught about being prepared to be unpopular, counselors might just as well give up right now. To be courageous rather than afraid is another version of the same thing.
Sixth, self-actualization is not only an end state but also the process of actualizing one's potentialities at any time, in any amount. It is, for example, a matter of becoming smarter by studying if one is an intelligent person. It does not mean doing some far-out thing necessarily, but it may mean going through an arduous and demanding period of preparation in order to realize one's possibilities. Self-actualization can consist of finger exercises at a piano keyboard. Self-actualization means working to do well the thing one wants to do. To become a second-rate physician is not a good path to self-actualization. One wants to be first rate or as good as he can be.
Seventh, peak experiences are transient moments of self-actualization. They are moments of ecstasy which cannot even be sought. One must be, as C.S. Lewis wrote, "surprised by joy." But one can set up the conditions so that peak experiences are more likely, or one can perversely set up the conditions so that they are less likely. Breaking up an illusion, getting rid of a false notion, learning what one is not good at, learning what one's potentialities are not - these are also part of discovering what one is in fact.
Practically everyone does have peak experiences, but not everyone knows it. Some people wave these small mystical experiences aside. Helping people to recognize these little moments of ecstasy when they happen is one of the jobs of the counselor or metacounselor. Yet, how does one's psyche, with nothing external in the world to point at - there is no blackboard there - look into another person's secret psyche and then try to communicate? We have to work out a new way of communication. I have tried one. It is described in another appendix in that same book, Religions, Values and Peak Experiences, under the title "Rhapsodic Communications." I think that kind of communication may be more of a model for teaching, and counseling, for helping adults to become as fully developed as they can be, than the kind we are used to when we see teachers writing on the board. If I love Beethoven and I hear something in a quartet that you don't, how do I teach you to hear? The noises are there, obviously. But I hear something very, very beautiful, and you look blank. You hear the sounds. How do I get you to hear the beauty? That is more our problem in teaching than making you learn the ABC's or demonstrating arithmetic on the board or pointing to a dissection of a frog. These latter things are external to both people; one has a pointer, and both can look at the same time. This kind of teaching is easy; the other kind is much harder, but it is part of the counselor's job. It is metacounseling.
Eighth, finding out who one is, what he is, what he likes, what he doesn't like, what is good for him and what bad, where he is going and what his mission is - opening oneself up to himself - means the exposure of psychopathology. It means identifying defenses, and after defenses have been identified, it means finding the courage to give them up. This is painful because defenses are erected against something which is unpleasant. But giving up the defenses is worthwhile. If the psychoanalytic literature has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that repression is not a good way of solving problems." (1971, pp. 45-47).
~ Excerpted from "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature" by Abraham Maslow.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Behaviors Leading to Self-Actualization
What does one do when he actualizes? Does he grit his teeth and squeeze? What does self-actualization mean in terms of actual behavior, actual procedure? I shall describe eight ways in which one self-actualizes.
First, self-actualization means experiencing fully, vividly, selflessly, with full concentration and total absorption. It means experiencing without the self-consciousness of the adolescent. At this moment of experiencing, the person is wholly and fully human. This is a self-actualizing moment.This is a moment when the self is actualizing itself. As individuals, we all experience such moments occasionally. As counselors, we can help clients to experience them more often. We can encourage them to become totally absorbed in something and to forget their poses and defenses and their shyness - to go at it "wholehog." From the outside, we can see that this can be a very sweet moment. In those youngsters who are trying to be very tough and cynical and sophisticated, we can see the recovery of some of the guilelessness of childhood: some of the innocence and sweetness of the face can come back as they devote themselves fully into the experiencing of it. The key word for this is "selflessly," and our youngsters suffer from too little selflessness and too much self-consciousness, self-awareness.
Second, let us think of life as a process of choices, one after another. At each point there is a progression choice and a regression choice. There may be a movement toward defense, toward safety, toward being afraid; but over on the other side, there is the growth choice. To make the growth choice instead of the fear choice a dozen times a day is to move a dozen times a day towards self-actualization. Self-actualization is an ongoing process; it means making each of the many single choices about whether to lie or to be honest, whether to steal or not to steal at a particular point, and it means to make each of these choices as a growth choice. This is movement toward self-actualization.
Third, to talk of self-actualization implies that there is a self to be actualized. A human being is not a tabula rasa, not a lump of clay or Plasticine. He is something which is already there, at least a "cartiliginous" structure of some kind. A human being is, at minimum, his temperament, his biochemical balances, and so on. There is a self, and what I have sometimes referred to as "listening to the impulse voices" means letting the self emerge. Most of us, most of the time (and especially does this apply to children, young people), listen not to ourselves but to Mommy's introjected voice or Daddy's voice or to the voice of the Establishment, of the Elders, of authority, or of tradition.
As a simple first step toward self-actualization, I sometimes suggest to my students that when they are given a glass of wine and asked how they like it, they try a different way of responding. First, I suggest that they not look at the label on the bottle. Thus they will not use it to get any cue about whether or not they should like it. Next, I recommend that they close their eyes if possible and that they "make a hush." Now they are ready to look within themselves and try to shut out the noise of the world so that they may savor the wine on their tongues and look to the "Supreme Court" inside themselves. Then, and only then, they may come out and say, "I like it" or "I don't like it." A statement so arrived at is different from the usual kind of phoniness that we all indulge in. At a party recently, I caught myself looking at the label on a bottle and assuring my hostess that she had indeed selected a very good Scotch. But then I stopped myself: What was I saying? I know little about Scotches. All I knew was what the advertisements said. I had no idea whether this one was good or not; yet this is the kind of thing we all do. Refusing to do it is part of the ongoing process of actualizing oneself. Does your belly hurt? Or does it feel good? Does this taste good on your tongue? Do you like lettuce?
Fourth, when in doubt, be honest rather than not. I am covered by that phrase "when in doubt," so that we need not argue too much about diplomacy. Frequently, when we are in doubt we are not honest. Clients are not honest much of the time. They are playing games and posing. They do not take easily to the suggestion to be honest. Looking within oneself for many of the answers implies taking responsibility. That is in itself a great step toward actualization. This matter of responsibility has been little studied. It doesn't turn up in our textbooks, for who can investigate responsibility in white rats? Yet, it is an almost tangible part of psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, one can see it, can feel it, can know the moment of responsibility. Then there is a clear knowing of what it feels like. This is one of the great steps. Each time one takes responsibility, that is an actualizing of the self." (1971, pp. 43-45).
~ Excerpted from "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature" by Abraham Maslow.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Transpersonal Life Coaching allows clients to become more competent in relationships, in their professional lives, in understanding themselves, and in affecting the world around them.
Does coaching really work? Yes! This is why:
1. Some of us don't know where we're going, what our lives are about, and how our values affect us each day. Coaching helps clarify our purpose, values and goals.
2. We may know where we're going and what we need to do, but we forget or simply get stuck in our limiting belief systems, ineffective habits or inability to focus. A well-trained coach gets us back on track by helping us identify those limiting beliefs or negative self-narratives and ineffective habits; then we may find more effective ways of living and enjoying life.
3. Many times we resist "sustained" change because it's so much easier and more comfortable to stay the way we are. Any change we make causes resistance and backlash within ourselves as well as from other people in our lives, often resulting in a relapse in behaviors or a way of being. A coach helps us move beyond that resistance with greater ease and flow. In the coaching relationship you may decide to work on all areas of your life at once or just focus on one.
Some Distinctions between Coaching and Counseling/Therapy:
Psychotherapy deals with disruptive emotional and behavioral problems. The underlying assumption is that clients come to therapy with some kind of deficiency or impairment. The goals of therapy are to remediate the dysfunction with face-to-face therapy, psychotropic medications, or a combination of both.
Coaching deals with well functioning individuals who want to move toward a more fulfilling and effective life. Coaching is a process similar to solution-focused methods that therapists use for less serious psycho-emotional problems and life stresses. However, coaching is qualitatively different from any mental health services. The coach does not assume that he/she has a specific kind of expertise, which must be taught to the client. Rather, the coach provides a relationship that focuses on the following characteristics:
1. Exploring and perceiving the specific needs of the client.
2. Exploration of the goals that would facilitate the client in reaching his/her potential.
3. Collaboration with the client- taking the client's lead rather than imposing the coach's philosophy and values.
4. Supporting an atmosphere of encouragement in which there are no failures; rather, each step the client takes helps him/her to know more about them and to take the initiative to move in a more effective direction.
5. Reaching into ways to help the client truly know his/her "Self" better and to find more meaning.
6. Using methods that are relevant to the client's personal, vocational, social, emotional, financial and possibly spiritual goals.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The transformational coaching approach to which I subscribe maintains that 80% of our work comes from our “being” and 20% is about what we know as coaches. “The Power of Now” addresses this experience of “being” and offers principles and practices on how to be “present” in the Now.
Presence is a quality of being that is essential to my practice as a coach. It informs the way I listen to my clients and what I listen for and at the same time allows me to listen from essence and purpose. But it also informs how I embody this presence with my clients. The Quantum One Life Coaching process is founded on “co-creating our wildest dreams and highest aspirations with the Power of Imagination.” Hence it requires a quality of being and presence that invites the clients to also come from their own being. “The Power of Now” encourages one to move deeply into the Now and this is where the deepest connection is made with the client/coachee and the One. The relationship between Presence and Imagination is one that Ekhart Tolle does not fully explore, but it has been my experience that Imagination is most successfully evoked and cultivated through our quality of being and Presence.
This process of Being uncovers what Tolle refers to as the Inner Body. Not only does the Coach connect with his or her own Inner Body but Tolle also addresses the somatics of coaching:
“Transformation is through the body, not away from it. This is why no true master has ever advocated fighting or leaving the body, although their mind-based followers often have.”
The ability of the coach to be in his or her own inner body and also be present to the inner body of the client is paramount in creating this experience of presence for both coach and client. It is from this experience of Presence that the coach is able to discern what it is that wants to emerge for the coachee.
Tolle also writes with profound depth about enlightened relationships. This applies both to the Coach/coachee relationship as it does to the relationship issues that the coachee may be struggling with. Tolle differentiates between “romantic relationships,” and addictive relationships or co-dependent relationships from relationships that are based on the client’s wholeness. He advocates for a suspension of judgment and a move towards acceptance of what is, which make us free of the mind: “You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.”
Tolle identifies relationships as “spiritual practice,” which is entirely in alignment with the principles of Quantum Life Coaching because underlying all relationships is the Oneness of all being. This is not just limited to persons but also to all of creation, events and phenomena.
“The Power of Now” implicitly addresses the question of one’s relationship with Time. This is valuable both for the coach as well as the coachee. In situations where a coachee may be identifying with the past, with their story, the coach can facilitate an awareness of the Now and the possibility of choices in the Now, choices that let go of the stories in the past and focus on the field of possibilities in the present.
Tolle makes important distinctions between inner purpose and outer purpose as well as distinctions between one’s life and one’s “life situation.” This is a vitally important distinction to make in Quantum One Life Coaching because often clients may be focused on their outer purpose and have no sense of their inner purpose. Such clients are then at risk of losing their centeredness if their outer purpose is not fulfilled, whereas clients who are more focused on their inner purpose are in the position of identifying an outer purpose in alignment with their inner purpose. And if their outer purpose is unfulfilled, they are more apt and prepared to accept a change of course in their life situation:
“The outer purpose belongs to the horizontal dimension of space and time; the inner purpose concerns a deepening of your Being in the vertical dimension of the timeless Now. Your outer journey may contain a million steps; your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now. As you become more deeply aware of this one step, you realize that it already contains within itself all the other steps as well as the destination. This one step becomes transformed into an expression of perfection, an act of great beauty and quality. It will have taken you into Being, and the light of Being will shine through it. This is both the purpose and fulfillment of your inner journey, the journey into yourself.”
This awareness by the client may take time to cultivate but it clearly provides for an enduring experience of well-being, which in and of itself can inspire the client to define the scope of their outer purpose with more clarity. Ultimately, the quality and manifestation of the outer purpose can be greatly enhanced when it is alignment with one’s inner purpose. What Tolle brings to the coaching milieu is an ability to identify effective spiritual principles for transformation without over-loading the content with “spiritualitis.” Hence there is an opening here to connect with one’s inner body, inner being and inner purpose especially for those who may not follow any particular spiritual tradition.
“The Power of Now” concludes with the meaning of surrender, emphasizing that no transformation is possible with an “unsurrendered state of consciousness.” It is only when we can fully accept what is that we can contemplate the next realistic incremental action steps. This is fully in alignment with the Quantum One Life Coaching practice.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Since Quantum One Life Coaching’s vision for its practice is “Co-creation with the Power of Imagination,” Dyer’s sub-title, “Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way” is very much in alignment with my “come from” on coaching. As a coach, I think it is essential that the coach and coachee are on the same page about both the intention for the session as well as the coachee’s intention for the general coaching topic/goal since this also requires the client to assume direction and responsibility for manifesting the outcome of the coaching.
Dyer’s break down of the notion of intention into its seven faces is very useful to both coach and coachee.
1. The face of creativity calls on the creative energy of both coach and client.
2. The face of kindness speaks to a positive energy in the universe that effects the immune system and an increased production of serotonin in the brain which itself makes one feel “comfortable, peaceful and even blissful.” Hence this is an essential quality for the Quantum One Life Coaching practice.
3. The face of love speaks to the energy field of intention which is nurturing and creates a supportive environment in which one is able to flourish and grow. It is out of love that the Quantum One Life Coach is able to see the fullest human potential and possibility in the client.
4. The face of beauty is very much aligned with the Eco-psychological orientation of the Quantum One Life Coaching practice because it invites one to attune to and be receptive to the beauty of the natural world and our elegant universe, our overflowing source of life in all its myriad forms.
5. The face of expansion speaks to the ever-expansive evolutionary process of our universe and invites one to reflect and contemplate the infinite field of possibilities. It is both an agent of change as well as a liberating force from “stuckness,” which is very often what may be presented by the client.
6. The face of unlimited abundance challenges our limiting beliefs about what we can experience in our lives both in material and spiritual terms. Connecting with the generosity of the Universe is one of the keys to unlocking and tapping the vast potential of each being on the planet, opening the floodgates to the psychology of gratitude
7. The face of receptivity speaks to the open arms with which both coach and client may encounter the secret suggestions from the field of intention. Often these secret suggestions far outshine any notions we may have had about possible outcomes.
Dyer invites us to connect to this Field of Intention by being the seven faces. This creates a very powerful field for manifesting dreams and possibilities. He uses a quotation by Thomas Troward which creates a powerful frame and context for Quantum One Life Coaching:
“The law of flotation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things,
but by contemplating the floating of things which floated naturally,
Very useful to me as coach and one that I have already used as a coach is to examine
some of the obstacles to connecting to intention. Dyer identifies five levels of energy, moving from the lowest and slowest to the highest and fastest frequencies. These are the material, sound, light, thought and spirit worlds. I completely concur with his prescription for raising one’s energy vibrations by
1) making meditation a regular practice in one’s life,
2) becoming conscious of the foods one eats,
3) retreating from low-energy substances,
4) being conscious of the energy level of the music one listens to,
5) becoming aware of the energy levels of one’s home environment,
6) reducing exposure to the low energy of commercial and cable television,
7) enhancing one’s energy field with photographs,
8) becoming conscious of the energy levels of acquaintances, friends and extended family,
9) monitoring one’s activities and where they take place, and
10) extending random acts of kindness, asking for nothing in return.
However, clearly not all of my clients espouse these principles and the most I can do as a coach is to encourage my clients if they are willing to look at the potential obstacles in connecting to intention. One of my clients in therapy was intrigued by Dyer’s book until she read about his prescriptions about avoiding alcohol. Being a frequent user/abuser of alcohol, she became very cynical about the power of intention. Hence, even though she was willing to set intentions in our sessions, she was not able to follow through on the intentions she set for herself.
Dyer looks at the relationship between purpose and intention as “beautifully and naturally intertwined as the double helix of your DNA. There are no accidents.” A very significant point he makes is that “purpose is not as much about what you do as it is about how you feel so that one’s feelings of being on purpose flow through expressions of the seven faces of intention.”
This is in alignment with Tolle’s perspective in “The Power of Now” (my next post) as well as the orientation of the Quantum One Life Coaching practice. My own experience in creating a collage on Eco-psychology was that my own fascination and intentions in this area became clear when I wrote out my inner and outer purpose statements.
Finally Dyer invites a Quantum One Life Coach to reflect and act on Maslow’s assertion that “Self actualizing people must be what they can be.” On this historic day, when Barack Obama, the first African-American (or as I would prefer to call him, the first Kenyan-American) has been elected as President of the United States of America, one can no longer under-estimate the Power of Intention or the Power of Imagination. It is clear that each of our clients is already moving in this direction and as coach it is vital to observe what is emerging.
Monday, November 3, 2008
This model of coaching is intimately familiar to me because it is the approach that my own father took - out of bankruptcy into financial wealth and stability. It happened in 1961 when my father had to declare business and personal bankruptcy much to the chagrin of his immediate and extended family because in the “British colonial” context and culture of his time, there was much shame attached to the decision to file bankruptcy, period. It was a time when an individual had to repay a percentage of one’s debts in order to be discharged from bankruptcy.
On the day that my father filed bankruptcy, he caused a sensation and a stir by declaring to the local press: “I am a bankrupt today, but I will be a millionaire tomorrow.” This was the front page banner headline of the newspapers the next day. There was no escaping the power of his words even though his son, that would be moi, was too embarrassed to go to school that day. As I write these words my father has a net worth of over a million dollars.
Almost forty years later, I also filed personal and business bankruptcy and declared that “this was not an ending but a beginning and an opening to something new” to a cohort of 200 plus students in spiritual psychology. Not knowing where this journey would lead me, I took the next steps, completed two advanced degrees in psychology and back in 2005, I declared that
"I will live, work, study and flourish as a therapist/life coach as a “citizen” of Santa Barbara, California with all the rights and responsibilities that go with such citizenship."
Up to the moment of my first declaration in June 2000, this author had cultivated a winning strategy of thinking positive and taking incremental steps towards some measured success in all my life domains. However, the financial success that was my primary goal continued to elude me, and with it, my dreams of a sustained intimate relationship. My winning strategy had - at the most - allowed me to survive with a smile. I wanted a bolder vision of life to step into and the experience of “dying” before going into battle, which Goss describes as an essential precursor to the success that has followed me since then was a way of “hitting bottom without giving up.”
I was thrust into a re-invention paradigm by the very fact that I was at ground zero with no cash, no income, no credit, no career and no intimate relationship, finding myself in a place of “accepting hopelessness – as a gift.” From here on, I had to take a stand. I was on my way to get my PhD, find a life partner and live in Santa Barbara because that is what I want in my life. My several visits to Santa Barbara since August 2001, less than a year after filing business bankruptcy, was my way of “honing my declaration.” Back in 2005, I wanted to “be “in Santa Barbara and this I have been “doing” consistently, but once I declared I wanted to "be" a Santa Barbaran, I was able to take the steps to make that a reality! This has much more power in it than wanting to be in Santa Barbara!
From this declaration, I am now ready to complete the expressive: “Who I am is the future of engaged citizenship.” And “I declare the possibility of being very happily married, while flourishing as an international authority and expert witness on authentic embodied well-being in all its spheres, both personal, transpersonal and systemic, and as a model citizen of Santa Barbara.”
Goss identifies these declarations as the process necessary for designing and inventing an impossible future, without regard to the possibility of failure, acknowledging that one may even fail. She develops a formidable Re-Invention Master Paradigm that focuses on an ontological system of committed speaking and listening, and achieving transformation by how one is being by altering the context. In my own case, the context of living, working and studying in Santa Barbara changes radically by being not only an engaged model citizen of Santa Barbara but an international authority and expert witness on embodied well being in all its spheres: personal, transpersonal and systemic.
Goss further emphasizes a different set of leadership skills between the Universal Human Paradigm and the Re-invention Master Paradigm which are 1) Declaring a future based on no evidence and no history, 2) Creating Context, 3) Taking a stand, 4) Fulfilling realms of possibility, 5) Making bold promises one does not know - in advance - how to keep, and 6) Acting from the future.
The Context for this new paradigm is “There’s no such thing as should/shouldn’t, right/wrong. They are always and only an interpretation.” Or as Rumi says “Beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field, I will meet you there.”
The Action required for Re-Invention is a series of conversations that one engages in to transform a possibility and build a bridge in to reality. These conversations generate commitment and bold promises, and a way of assessing the steps in this movement towards this reality by simply asking 1) “What happened?” without assigning any meaning to it, 2) “What’s missing?” without assigning any judgment to it and 3) “What’s next?” by answering this with taking action from the future based on declarations already made. Hence, there are no problems but merely one’s personal relationship to these conversations and inquiries.
Finally, Goss asks us to let go of all our limiting beliefs and let go of using our Winning Strategy in order to win and control so that life turns out the way it should, and doesn’t turnout the way it shouldn’t. Instead she invites us to the high stakes game of life of making the impossible happen, and taking quantum leaps by freely engaging in risk-taking in a game one is impassioned to play, while life turns out the way it does! There is no fall back position!
The one dimension that Quantum One Life Coaching adds to the Re-Invention Master paradigm is the transpersonal realm which invokes the One to co-create the game with us from the moment these declarations are made by adding the following phrase to each declaration:
“This or something better for the highest good of all concerned!”
And so it is.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The work of the founder of Psychosynthesis, the renowned Italian psychiatrist and friend of Carl Jung, Dr. Roberto Assagioli that will continue to inform and inspire my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach is explored in his book “The Act of Will.” (Penguin Books 1974). This work is essential reading for anyone who is contemplating a career in coaching because it addresses the issue of the development of one’s inner powers.
Essentially, one must appreciate the very nature of the will because it this understanding that can empower the coach to look at what the obstacles as well as what the opportunities may be for his or her clients to actually manifest their intentions and goals.
Assagioli begins his work by breaking down the different aspects of the will into 1) the strong will, 2) the skillful will, 3) the good will and 4) the Transpersonal will.
Strength is only one aspect of will, and when dissociated from the others, it can often be ineffectual and even harmful to oneself and others. The skillful will consists of the ability to “obtain desired results with the least possible expenditure of energy.” But without the ability to choose the right goals, the other two aspects of the will may be devoid of any ethical consideration, or sense of love and compassion. Hence it is vital to cultivate a “good will” to foster the most virtuous or benign actions.
Finally, Assagioli speaks to the importance of the Transpersonal Will which is the will of the Transpersonal Self. This is the field of the relationship within each individual between the will of the personal self or I, and the will of the Transpersonal Self which can lead to the fusion of the personal and the transpersonal self to the point that one experiences being “in the flow, ’ or “wu-wei.”
Next, Assagioli looks at the various qualities of the will. These are:
1. Energy – Dynamic Power – Intensity
2. Mastery – Control – Discipline
3. Concentration – One-Pointedness – Attention – Focus
4. Determination – Decisiveness – Resoluteness – Promptness
5. Persistence – Endurance – Patience
6. Initiative – Courage – Daring
7. Organization – Integration - Synthesis
It is important for the Quantum Life One Coach to consider the combination of all of these qualities when supporting the client to cultivate their will if they are to achieve their highest and fullest potential. In assessing how a client may be moving forward in manifesting their goals and dreams, it is vital to look to see whether there are qualities of the will that need deeper cultivation. Is there a willingness to amplify or regulate and manage the energetic component and focus on the task at hand or to cultivate self-discipline? Is there a willingness to act promptly or decisively, or to take risks? Is there a willingness to persist in the face of obstacles, rejections and curve-balls or integrate all of the qualities and aspects of the will in order to achieve the desired outcome or results.
Assagioli has created a number of exercises to support the client in cultivating each aspect of the will. These range from “faking it ‘til you make it” to active visualizations, from intentionality to practices for the cultivation of a Transpersonal Self in which individuals align their lives with transcending values.
The act of will receives considerable elaboration by Assagioli. He identifies six sequential phases or stages of the act of will that can empower the client to move from intention to realization. The desired outcome will be a result of how successfully and effectively each stage of the act of will is carried out: There are five clearly written chapters on all of the six stages which are:
1. The purpose, aim, or goal - based on evaluation, motivation and intention.
3. Choice and decision.
4. Affirmation: the Command, or “Fiat” of the Will.
5. Planning and working out a program
6. Direction of the execution.
A striking and very significant feature of this first stage is to explore the motivations of a purpose, aim or goal. This gets into the fine line between coaching and therapy. A well-trained Quantum One Life Coach will want to explore the motivations of each goal to assess whether there are unconscious motivating factors that may not at first appear on the surface. Lower and higher motivations may actually be embedded in a goal and there may be a multiplicity of motivating factors. It is important for a Quantum One Life Coach to tease these out to see if a goal is meeting a lower drive or urge. Assagioli takes the position that the “advantage of directing the psychological tendencies toward creative purposes accrues from the manner in which these tendencies, the very energies themselves, become transmuted and sublimated through being directed to higher ends.”
Assagioli completes his work by exploring the potential force of a “joyous will,” which, he considers, can often be intrinsic to the act of will. He goes even further in suggesting that there is a difference between joy and bliss, and that this difference is at the level of the Transpersonal Will because there is the potential for a harmonious union between the personal and Transpersonal Will, the potential for harmony between one’s Transpersonal Will and those of others, and “highest and foremost, the bliss of the identification with the Universal Will.”
The Quantum One Life Coach will always seek “to co-create your wildest dreams and highest aspirations with the Power of Imagination,” and in the process may empower a client from a place of joy to an experience of bliss. The question then arises: how does a client who may have no sense of the Transpersonal, attain a Transpersonal Act of Will.
Assagioli, and this practitioner of Quantum One Life Coaching would concur that this is an aspect of the will that may reveal itself in the process of identifying those unconscious higher motivations and also in the process of cultivating the other three aspects of the will.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
1. A Relationship based on mutual respect, mutual trust and freedom of expression between coach and client is the core principle.
2. Pragmatism brings an outcome based approach with a corrective feedback loop.
3. Coaching occurs on two tracks as both coach and client are engaged in learning and breakdowns may occur in either person’s commitment or competence.
4. Clients are always/already in the middle of their activity/journey and they come in with their own concerns, and commitments. They are not empty vessels.
5. Techniques don’t work but guiding principles do.
It has been the experience of this practitioner of Quantum One Life Coaching that although specific techniques in session do not work, guiding principles such as the “GROW” model of coaching can be very effective. Certain tools can be very effective, such as including exercises and creative expression assignments. A case in point is a “money exercise” that was recently done by a writing coach, in which she was able to deeply explore her personal relationship with money. This process took a couple of weeks of deep introspection and she did not hesitate to “put pen to paper.” The most profound question that required a shift in her way of being was “what did she have to give up” to have a more positive, wholesome relationship with money. This exploration not only required the client to change her patterns of consumption but also her way of being in her work and in her relationships as a mature human being responsible for effective management of her time and creative energy.
Flaherty’s most profound contribution to the art of coaching is his introspection about the nature of a “human being,” which goes to the heart of the question about our fullest and highest potential. The human being is the “focus, center, and subject of coaching.” This practitioner of Quantum One Life Coaching had success with a gay client who was unable to maintain steady employment because of his diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. The focus of the coaching with this client was: “can a human being be complete and whole without having a self-definition as an “economic being?” Instead of coaching this client to become employable by teaching him skills such as resume writing and helping him become more comfortable with the interviewing process, which other counselors have attempted in vain to do, this Quantum One Life Coach challenged the client to look at how he defined his very humanity, and become more comfortable with who he was rather than what he could do. One of his assignments was to watch the movie “Rivers and Tides” which is about an artist who does not work within the context of creating art for the market economy. The outcome of this was that the client was able to let him self enjoy knitting, gardening, playing the piano and volunteering as a sign linguist – all of which brought him joy and some measure of satisfaction.
Another useful analysis presented by Flaherty is to look at an overview of the coaching process, specifically the “Flow of Coaching.” This flow, he breaks down into, 1) Establish a relationship, 2) Recognize an Opening, 3) Observe/Assess, 4) Enroll the client
And 5) Coaching conversations.
Establishing a relationship is of course the fundamental foundation for a successful Quantum One Life Coach and has been addressed by most authors on the coaching process.
Recognizing an opening and making assessments are also essential to the coaching process since it is often the entry to a domain of life that needs attention and self-cultivation.
Flaherty identifies the openings for coaching into 1) performance assessment, 2) breakdown, 3) Broken promises, 4) Request for coaching, 5) Need for a new skill and 6) Business need.
Flaherty presents several models of assessment which can be very useful in planning the way forward with a client. The Five Elements model looks at 1) Immediate concerns, 2) Commitments, 3) Future Possibilities, 4) Personal and Cultural History and 5) Mood.
A second model looks at the Domains of Competence: 1) the “I” Domain which assesses self-management, 2) The “We” domain, which looks at relationships with others, and 3) the “It” Domain which looks at facts and events. A third model is based on Components of Satisfaction and Effectiveness and assesses for 1) Intellect, 2) Emotion, 3) Will, 4) Context and 5) Soul.
The enrollment phase is of course vital to the transformation of the client and the potential outcome of the coaching because it addresses the specific commitments of the client and the coach, and also the possible impediments and hindrances to meeting those commitments.
The final phase addresses the types of conversation that can be pursued in the coaching session. He presents three overviews. The first model looks at the initial coaching conversation – the possibility of coaching, enrollment in coaching, beginning to coach, supporting coaching and follow up. The second overview looks at conversations that might occur after the third or fourth session of coaching: reporting, connecting, changing, practicing, completing and follow up. The third overview is recommended for the completion of the coaching program.
In conclusion, one of the most important topics covered by Flaherty is the importance of self-development or self-cultivation for the coach. This requires a continuous honing of skills, self-assessments, personal growth and a cultivation of personal qualities, without which a coach cannot really be true to the coaching profession.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Max Landsberg’s definition of coaching is a useful place to start out in embodying the Tao of Coaching:
“Coaching aims to enhance the performance and learning ability of others.
It involves giving feedback, but it also includes other techniques such as motivation and effective questioning. And, for a manager-coach it includes recognizing the coachee’s readiness to undertake a particular task in terms of both their skill and will.
Overall, the coach is aiming for the coachee to help her – or himself. And it is a dynamic interaction – it does not rely on a one-way flow or instruction.” (2003, p. xii).
One of the key principles of this model of coaching is to appreciate the effectiveness of asking and not telling during the coaching session in order to empower the coachee to achieve a higher quality of task completion, a deeper level of understanding of the issue(s), a higher level of motivation, and a higher level of learning.
Providing positive and constructive feedback is another important component of this model of coaching. This also means discussing what the coachee might do even better next time. Clearly this is an essential aspect in the area of corporate coaching.
The fundamental component of "The Tao of Coaching" model, developed by former partner at McKinsey & Company, Organizational and business coach, Max Landsberg, in this book, is the structuring of the coaching session, which is known as the GROW model. G denotes goal, R denotes Reality, O denotes Options and W denotes Wrap-up.
In the Quantum One Life Coaching practice, the client/coachee is invited to explore and then set the goal at the outset of the session, although the term of preference for Quantum One Life Coaching is “setting intention(s)” both for the session and for the outcome of the session. This setting of intention may also be in the form of a vision or an affirmation for the individual such as
“as a result of this session, I see myself completing my Bohemian Club project in Santa Barbara, with grace and ease.”
The next phase of the session fully explores the Reality and also the context of the situation. The client is invited to make a self-assessment, check to see what has worked and not worked in the past, what the coachee’s relationship is with the issue and whether or not there is a sense of alignment with the long-range goals/mission/vision for the client.
In the Options process of this exploration, the coach is encouraging the client/coachee to identify and flesh out the various options and choices available based on past successes or the possibility of an alternative solution.
The Wrap-up aspect of this model requires a review of how viable or doable the options are, and then identifying the next steps, the support and resources needed. A time line is a valuable addition to this process.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"ONE OF THE MOST important aspects of what human beings do is build beliefs. Beliefs are what trap most people in their problems. Unless you believe you can get over something, get through something, or get to something, there is little likelihood you will be able to do it. Your beliefs refer to your sense of certainty on some of your thoughts.
Most people listen to their parents, teachers, and authority figures from an early age and learn lots of limitations they supposedly have. If you were told that you were not clever enough or not good enough at a subject or at a sport, the danger is that you believed it. As soon as we believe in something, we search for ways to prove it's true. What we are looking for here is to learn to doubt your limitations and be more certain of what is possible for you.
In order to create any change, it's necessary to help the person change their beliefs and build new beliefs that will allow them to maintain the change into the future. In order to change beliefs, we first need to learn a way of finding out the qualities of beliefs.
Once again, this is where submodalities come in handy. Like any thought, our beliefs have a structure in terms of their qualities. If I were to ask you, "Do you believe the sun is coming up tomorrow?" what would your response be? Typically you would immediately answer yes, but there is an intervening process. In order to answer the question "Do you believe the sun is coming up tomorrow?", you will usually represent this belief in your mind.
It's important to note that if I asked you the question verbally, you would know the answer without speaking aloud. When I ask, "Is the sun coming up tomorrow?", typically people flash an image of the sun somewhere in their minds. They may say yes inside their heads in a certain tone of voice, and they will have a feeling of certainty somewhere in their bodies that lets them know this is true.
This internal process is a guide for our behavior. It allows us to make plans. It allows us to buy a book and know that we'll read it in the future. Having beliefs as a guide to our behavior is an important part of being a human being. It's also an important part of knowing how to change a human being - and how to change yourself in particular." (2008, pp. 19-20).
~ Excerpted from "Get the Life You Want - The Secrets to Quick and Lasting Life Change with Neuro-Linguistic Programming" by Richard Bandler, hypnotherapist and Transformation Guru
Friday, October 24, 2008
"In my years as a psychiatrist, I have treated many highly "successful" individuals who have floundered upon confronting setbacks, considering themselves "failures." I have learned the following lesson : Truly successful people, the most successful, have a very checkered track record, peppered with what they consider many serious "losses." Success for them is defined not by any external, objective standard unvarying from one person to the next but rather by that level of accomplishment that the individuals themselves experience as unequivocally satisfying (and that often happens to, but need not, coincide with what others consider successful, too).
Invariably, those with near-perfect records, outstanding by "objective" standards, suffer from two afflictions: They are excruciatingly sensitive to failure (which is why when confronted with it, should they happen to be, they fall into the tailspin that brings them to my office); they consider themselves never really to have fulfilled their own potential, even when not in crisis. And they're correct, contrary to all to kind-hearted, humane and utterly useless self-esteem building that constitutes a substantial part of "therapy" nowadays.
In reality, a decent exposure to failure, over a long enough time, not only inoculates us against emotional collapse, it allows us to try things that expand our reach: if you can't fail, you can't succeed. The steepest learning curves (measured against a standard that varies from person to person, however) happen when serious loss is allowed and not avoided. When we avoid loss, we still may do well by the world's standards, but we know we are being cowardly. We therefore can't experience the joy of genuine accomplishment - and we shouldn't." (2001, pp. 14-15).
~ Excerpted from "The Quantum Brain - The Search for Freedom and the Next Generation of Man" By Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, practicing psychiatrist, past president of the C.G. Jung Foundation, and former Fellow in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry at Yale University. He has also been a William James Lecturer in Psychology and Religion at Harvard University.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"LIFE IN THE LESS THAN PERFECT LANE
What would life be like without the disease? (Yep, it is possible to live that way!) The opposite of Perfectionitis is what researchers call "healthy striving." Studies show that healthy strivers set realistic goals that are the natural next step from where they are now. You can too! Go ahead and dream big. Then lay out a set of reasonable steps that will get you there. That way you can work smarter, not harder.
Not only that. You get to acknowledge yourself for completing each step along the way. That adds up to a lot of positive internal reinforcement. The more steps you get to declare done and done well, the more you build your self-image as someone savvy and successful. And that feels great. Instead o rewarding yourself only when you reach the mondo outcome, you savor the delights of the journey. Since its a pretty fab expedition, you take the flubs and toe stubs into account as part of the adventure.
Healthy striving goes along with healthy self-esteem. And when your self-esteem is alive and well, you tend to live from the inside out. You "pick a game you can win," as my pal Kathryn Allen says. You go for things that have juice for you inside and are attainable outside. You pay attention to the smarts inside of you." (2007, pp. 109-110)
~ Excerpted from "Funky to Fabulous - Surefire success strategies for the...Savvy, Sassy, and Swamped," by empowerment expert, Eli Davidson, M.A. in Spiritual Psychology.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
"The journey of the coach, therapist, counselor, or journey guide is the journey of the Magician. Changing consciousness and awareness - is what we do. We change others by first becoming true to ourselves. We calm others by being calm ourselves and motivate others by being motivated. As coaches we also have an obligation to become familiar with the many change strategies that connect people to their own paths and to their own powers (their archetypal forces).
The very power to name can be magic and, when used with care, can be a transforming force. When used carelessly, however, this power can be damaging. Look at how much harm some psychologists did when they named many ordinary feelings and situations as diseases and turned health into illness. Name-calling is a powerful thing. The coach can help people reframe, rename, and see things with a different perspective with amazing (seemingly) magical results. The coach does this not by working magic on clients, but by teaching clients to be magicians in their own lives. Coaching is not something you do to people but something you do with people.
The unique nature of the coaching relationship calls for knowledge of the fundamentals of change, a profound respect for the client, and a sincere belief in the client's ability to change. If you don't believe with all your heart that a client is capable of change, don't agree to work with that client.
The Magician is also trying to reveal in the ordinary world the truth of the non-ordinary dimension. A simple example of of this is helping clients discover their purpose or calling. At a deeper level this may be manifesting heaven on earth - ideal forms expressed in the material world - by finding the real nobility of the clients (deeper values and special gifts) and helping them to express these in the way they live their lives.
The coach - as generalist and change agent - must also have some personal characteristics not always required in other professions. These include intense curiosity, the ability to inspire, creativity, imagination, intuition, and a passion to help others grow and learn - to help others find their own paths. Some of these characteristics can be learned, but others cannot. If you don't have passion, you can't fake it. Find another profession. This is not your calling."
~ Excerpted from "Depth Coaching - Discovering Archetypes for Empowerment, Growth and Balance" by Patricia R. Adson, Ph.D. (2004, p. 85).
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
"Those who have faced issues of faith many times over, come to a place where trust and faith are not so necessary. They've exercised these particular muscles to the degree that there is a level of mastery, a confidence, and a knowing that Divine wisdom is always and everywhere. They know they will be able to handle what needs to be handled. They know by following their bliss and their passions, their calling and their convictions, they will be given what is needed when it's needed. They know they can live in patience and peace while remaining open to allowing what is, to be what it is. Each of us has a capacity to live in this knowing; in this peaceful, open, and allowing space. We will not get there by living in the safety of the known and the possible while avoiding vulnerability. We will only get there by changing our relationship to the impossible.
Three ways to learn about faith:
1. Every religion and spiritual tradition has a component of mysticism, which is really the crucible for faith-based living. This is where the heart of faith and true practice of spirituality lies. There is Christian Mysticism, Judaic Mysticism, Islamic Mysticism, and Buddhist Mysticism. My experience is that they can be extremely supportive in your endeavor to live an empowering life in many ways. If you are curious enough, I would strongly encourage you to research these aspects of your religious and spiritual teachings.
2. Ancient wisdom, passed down for thousands of years, is accessible through many indigenous cultures. There are many resources available to you to research the ancient traditions and wisdoms.
3. Acknowledging all of the times you've experienced faith firsthand and survived, perhaps coming out better.
You are being asked to consciously choose a life worth living. If you've read these words then you're at choice about your options. In service to this intention, you might find it empowering to sit with an elder as a mentor, or hire a therapist, a spiritual director, or a life coach to support you through this process.
When you live into your true personal power you face your future and desires without the survival strategies that once distorted your personal truth so as to avoid vulnerability. Nothing real can be threatened or is in peril. What is threatened is only your attachment to the beliefs and interpretations you've lived by. Experiment by letting go - just a little bit - and begin to create the impossible."
~ Excerpted from "Self-Empowerment 101 - Re-enchantment with our own capacity for empowering ourselves and others" By Dr. Rosie Kuhn, Ph.D (2007, pp. 117-118).
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Those who will not slip beneath
turning down to its black water
will never know
nor find in the darkness
~ David Whyte ~
Friday, October 3, 2008
"How common illness is
how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings,
how astonishing when the lights of health go down,
the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed,
what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view,
what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals,
what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness,
how we go down into the pit of death and feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of angels."