Focus, Balance, and Power

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

Trying a new format below—a little stream of consciousness inner learning this Thanksgiving… Grateful for much, including small epiphanal gifts of the unfocused mindstate. Hope you all connected well today.

The Discovery

While doing TRX burpees today, I learned again how purposeful visual focus maintains balance.

In the shower, I appreciated how simply closing my eyes seals them against the sting of soap—amazing!

All hail the random genius of evolution:  Every function selected for its highest purpose… but is this really true?

Eyes open or closed, what is the difference?

Sensory integration holds us up

To balance well on one leg:  Plant whole foot on terra firma.  Sense the connections: toes–midfoot–heel–calf–knee–quad/ham–hip flexor/glute–paraspinals/abs–parascapulars–trapezius–neck—head–crown skyward:  One solid chain of simultaneous proprioception.  How strong and stable, as if elongating one’s own core could pull earth to sun.

But with eyes closed, instability immediately ensues. 

I’m forced to lean heavily on internal body cues, but I’m not well-enough attuned.

…What else do we take for granted?

…What calls us to attend now, before we lose our balance when stakes are high?

Presence

What all is happening here, now? 

Do I really see, am I truly present?

Be here.  Finish this task.

Have patience.

Maintain focus.

Practice determined, mindful, inner balance by closing the eyes sometimes.

Sharpen the other senses.

Training activates strength.

Strength, especially the inner kind, affords power—not power over, rather loving power, the ability to effect positive change.

Focus upholds balance.  Balance, properly trained, yields power.

I’ll keep meditating on this.

What do you think?

Ask Me Anything

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

Ozan Varol’s Inner Circle is still going strong.  I visit every day to see what people are doing.  Jeff has recently picked up ukulele playing.  Prior to this week I would have spelled ukulele totally wrong.  Ozan will host an Ask Me Anything (AMA) call next week, and solicited questions in advance.  I submitted three.  I never ask questions that I’m unwilling to answer myself, so here goes:

What are you working/playing on now?

Working on:  Mindful, Humble, and Learning Leadership.  Every day feels so intense right now, every encounter important.  I know I’m messing up, but I don’t always notice right away.  So I’m working on awareness, prevention, and accountability.

Playing on:  Piano.  I love our baby grand, and wish daily to commune with it.  Gotta wait for the kids to be up, and when the hubs is not on a call.  I’ll get good at this one song, maybe two, and keep going from there.

What really stands out to you about this year?

Disparity.  Clarity.  Reality.  Humanity.  Never before has it been more clear to me who we are, how we relate, and how everything is interconnected.  Core values, minimum requirements, and default priorities emerge, sometimes in harsh light.  We are called now to be deeply honest, and better.

What unexpected lesson are you really grateful to have learned in 2020?

I have a long way yet to go in truly living out my ideals.  Once again, I see that diligent study and cognitive understanding do not necessarily translate into limbic motivation or competent ability.  But I’m already stronger in my self-compassion practice, understanding that most skills require training to hone, and competence derives from cumulative experience.  So I’m okay.

Hope Ozan finds these questions as fun as I did.

At My Best

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

Tonight’s lesson emerges from my Engaging with Difference class.  It’s a classic “Duh-HA!” (Duh + ah-HA!, thank you Tony & Diane!) epiphany, arising from a novel (to me) and profound mindfulness practice that I plan to adopt permanently.

Duh-HA!  At my best, I am relentlessly curious and ask excellent, open and honest questions.  When I’m hijacked or triggered, I speak in unqualified declarations and generalizations, which I hate

What is the worst version of yourself, is it what you loathe most in others?

The practice is Critical Moment Dialogue (CMD), developed by the Personal Leadership folks.  In a nutshell, when I feel “something’s up,” ie I notice some kind of internal hijack occurring in real time, I can choose to react as usual, or do a CMD and find a better way through. 

I reflected on a recent, disconcerting conversation with a colleague.  One of the six elements of CMD practice is attending to physical sensation.  The Duh-HA occurred when I recalled my desire to raise an eyebrow, cock my head, and curl my lip, which manifested as left temporalis muscle tightening.  The CMD exercise helped me understand my subjective experience in that moment:  I felt a disconnect.  My counterpart and I were enacting our usual misunderstanding pattern.  I usually blame him for being vague and self-absorbed, but now I realize that we probably grasp divergent meanings for the words we choose.  Just this one insight, in the instant I apprehended it, reoriented my entire attitude toward him and our future conversations. 

The next time we meet, I can breathe slower and more deeply, and slacken my jaw.  Evoking my commitment to curiosity, I can remember to ask more clarifying questions before making false assumptions and jumping to antagonistic judgments.

Seriously, DUH.  HA!