Friday, November 7, 2008

Thoughts Made Visible

I taught yoga today at one very scrutinized company - no names to protect the innocent. Not suprisingly, the participants are all regulars . After all, it's a community-forming activity that participants quickly come to depend upon, so much so that even an ex-employee who is now a vendor is known to drop in from time to time.

While teaching I noticed one of them whom I'll transparently refer to by the psudonym "Bob" was more impatient and had less endurance than usual. Even in poses and sequences he knows easily, he'd give up, lose his balance, and otherwise huff and puff. Not normal for Bob.

I figured maybe it was from recently getting married. But even that didn't seem to explain his lack of tolerance. I observed and continued teaching, wondering what was up with him. It wasn't until after class when he made a joke about maybe "it would be great if I got reorged in my sleep more often" that the issue became clear. That explains it. Waking to a new boss, new organizational structure, new team members isn't an easy thing. His current boss didn't even know about the change.

Going through stuff? Don't wait to get on the mat to recognize just how destabilized you might be. Take a breath. Slow down. Nothing will put the world back together as it was, and NOW is always the time to make sure to put yourself back together moment by moment. After all, the one thing you can control is how you become present with yourself. And that, if attended to, is what can make the difference between poor reactions and grounded ones.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Freaky Friday

Happy Halloween, corporate yogis. To get things off to a peaceful start, I'm posting one of our Digital Guru files. After all, even though we say there are 24 hours to each one, you never really know how long a day will be. And with a whole lot of witching to look forward to tonight, you might as well make sure you're off to a great start!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


With the recent increase in reports of construction-related accidents and fatalities, the Tower of Babel has been on my mind. If you're rusty on your biblical allegories, this is what wikipedia has to say about the story:

According to the biblical account, Babel (Babylon meaning "gate of god") was a city that united humanity, all speaking a single language...The people decided their city should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens." (וְרֹאשׁוֹ בַשָּׁמַיִם). However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was dedicated to the glory of man, with a motive of making a 'name' for the builders: "Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves'" (Genesis 11:4).

So the story ends that God gets pissed and makes it so that no one can understand eachother - hence the modern word "babble" which basically means speaking nonsense. The building fails and the great society scatters into factions all over the earth. Digging a little further, it turns out that just about every culture has some form of this story, all with the advisory that when we work or strive to achieve for the purpose of satisfying our ego, we cannot sustain connection or communicate with eachother and society fails.

Hmmm...Babylon. Affluence. Ego. Economic crisis. Disparate aims. Breakdowns in communication. Factionalism. Talking about nonsense, things that don't really matter.

Gives pause to think, doesn't it, or am I babbling?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Peace Keeper

In 1993 there was a study conducted to measure the effectiveness of meditation in lowering the HRA (homicides, rapes and assaults) crime rate in Washington DC. The results: a 48% a direct quote from that report:

"Based on the results of the study, the steady state gain (long-term effect) associated with a permanent group of 4,000 participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs was calculated as a 48% reduction in HRA crimes in the District of Columbia."

What can you do to change the world? Based on the findings of that study, it's not a bad idea to just sit there. But I mean REALLY just sit. There.

Or in the case of one humble everyday guy in New York City, remember that the world you have to change is the one within you. You may not be able to read the writing in that photo above, but it says "Peace in me, Peace in the world." The amazing thing isn't just that this ordinary guy took the time to draw this reminder on a little white board in his office. Let's face it, many of us do have little reminders of our greatest selves at work. What is so completely fantastic is that this little white board is sitting on his desk in a cubicle in the middle of what is the heart of the offices of the world's finest police force.

This humble everyday guy, a police officer, father and local-grown Queens boy, not only had the inspiration to draw this and the courage to put it on his desk in plain view of the officers with whom he works, but when asked what made a meditator and guy with the word "sangha" in his email address join the police force, you know what he says? "When the last government job I had ended, I asked myself 'what would be the ultimate place where I can serve?'".

What a yogi.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sharing a Secret Garden

The best surprises don't come in little velvet boxes or brightly colored paper. They are moments of grace, of presence in which we allow ourselves to be present to events unfolding without judgment, expectation or any other limiting thought. Visiting my family in DC this past weekend I was graced with exactly this experience in which doing a favor for my little sister meant going down to the Mall to check out some art for her Art History class. Imagine my delight to walk unexpectedly into an exhibit of Hindu art at the Sackler Gallery called Garden & Cosmos.
Like most yogis I am a sucker for any form of cosmic consciousness - art, music, plays, conversations. But even my stepmother who confesses having no love for Hindu art was really absorbed in the display and altogether we spent over two hours in the three gallery rooms. Uncovered in Jodhpur, the pieces date from the 17th century, and explore a lineage of three maharaj's - looking at their wealthy lifestyles, their political intrigue, and finally, their relationship to a group of tantric yogis called Naths who were very powerful in the Mahal region at that time. Whether you dig the exploration of deities, you are curious about architecture and design, or you love the artistic expression of the ineffable, all together it's a show not to be missed. The audio tour is a bargain at $5, as the current maharaj of Jodhpur shares family stories and observations pertaining to the collection.
You can catch it now through January 4th, with little interactive presentations, storytelling and music on most weekends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Digital Guru Manifested!

Since we first fantasized of taking yoga into corporations we've dreamed of offering office-appropriate desk stretches and powerful clarity breaks. If it's true that timing is everything, I can't imagine a better time for such a toolkit to be available to professionals everywhere.

So Ta DAAAA...I am beyond thrilled to say we're finally launching our Digital Guru series of exactly that! We're kicking the series off with three short, effective files to help you feel better, and three to help you think better. Check out our media page to see what they're all about - and stay tuned for more as we are definitely just getting started!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grace Rubs

Whatever is going on right now for you, remember there's life afoot. And where there's life, there's change. Far from remote or esoteric, this is the key awareness through which to view any given moment. For me it's been the reminder that the being that I am is full of life amid community events such as miscarriage, mastectomy, divorce, a bedbug infestation, changes in staff, negotiating contracts, extensive travel, launching the Digital Guru download series, obtaining servicemarks for our ideas, watching the market, watching politics, watching my puppy, celebrating client successes, etc. Yes, yes, amid all that, all the maybes and maybe nots, there's a simple life form that is each of us and these twists and turns are all just scenery for the ride.

The image above of a plant managing to grow on a rocky surface says it perfectly. The yogis put it into their own words with the Mrityunjaya Mantra that says hey, look at the dance of creation and destruction, revealing, and concealing - it's all just a dance and how you think and respond to it influences your reality. If you ever doubted that thinking becomes action and influences reality, take a look at the current economic situation. Take a look at Palin's impact on the polls amongst the various populations. Look at how likely you are to postpone a big purchase right now.

The BBC Americas broadcast played dumb yesterday by reminding listeners that it's not as if there's less money in the world right now, and they're right: there's just less trust. There's just less confidence. There's just less focus on potential. And that emotional state drives actions which shape reality - both in terms of our individual lives and our collective situations.

In the Mritynjaya Mantra, the yogis pointed out that life persists no matter the constraints, and it is how we relate to the constraints that determines our experience of life itself. By remaining loyal to that awareness, loyal to life itself, we get out of the traps of fears of ruin or failure, fears of being unloved or lonely, and overcome attachment to outcomes of any sort - in all venues of life.

So what's your scenery? What's challenging your ability to remember that you are a living being navigating the changing terrain? Wherever you find the "rub" - that's where you are reminded to reconnect to life. Looking for grace in the midst of the most extreme challenges, you have already found it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Live on KGNU - Work as Transformation!

Tune in this morning as radio host Leilani Henry and I explore the concept of Work as Transformation.

Here's the blurb:

Work as Transformation: Connect Your Best to Work and Life

What is work? Is work another 4 letter word? Gallup poll reports that only 27% of employees express being "truly engaged" in their work. Your relationship to work impacts everything in your life. Do you integrate the best of who you are into work?
What would the workplace look and feel like if we integrated our higher purpose into everything we do? Organizations thrive when we take responsibility for who we are at work.

In spite of barriers we may face at work, we can influence the culture of our institutions by examining our relationship to work. Listen to gain tools and a new perspective about work and life!

If you miss it live, you can catch it later as a download by going to

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Redemption from Brazil

Never underestimate the power of a kind word. Today I was having a moment of what-the-*&)%^ know, that form of ancient mantra that seems to express itself tonally no matter the language. Whatever the issue in life - sales, management, growth, trainings, clients, invoicing, bookkeeping, politics, family, friends - there's lots to be excited about and sometimes we confuse excitement with overwhelm, embracing possibility with analyzing probability, thrilling eagerness with chilling anxiety.

All of that was in high gear when the stroke of grace in the form of a kind word reminded me of everything that IS a constant for me: the qualities I am emit as a habit and expression of who I am capable of being. An old friend 20 years lost to me in the concrete wilds of Sao Paulo reached out to say,

I was just telling a friend of mine about you, how incredible and determined you were, and fun too. You look absolutely radiant!

With total props to Facebook for making this global reunion possible, it's more than just cherishing an old friend. Owning the fact that it feels completely braggy to share her accolades, the story here is much more about being invited to remember those things about myself. When I remember I AM THAT, I become that. Reminding allows recognition. In recognition, we are redeemed.

So what do you need to remember about yourself? Is there a heartfelt reminder you can share with someone else?

Special shout in to Erica D. in Brasil: I so love your playful spirit and ability to smile from your heart with anyone you meet. You've got some lucky kids to have a mom like you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pre-Labor Day HuffPO - You & Work - ENJOY!

Click here! I wanted to call this post"Life Is a Tab of Acid" in homage to Ram Dass, but the PR divinity decided those days have passed. Check it out - just in time for a long, Labor Day weekend, so please forward and comment!

Interestingly, our summons earlier this week for Labor Day reading suggestions with yogic philosophy mostly resulted in books drawing from Buddhist philosophy. This may be due to the fact that the Buddhists have been much more prolific in commenting actively on day to day challenges of life in a modern context while yoga seems to surface more as a physical practice than the operational philosophy it was designed as.
Granted, Gautama Buddha was raised Hindu so the concepts are very aligned in many ways. It all works, no pun intended, but we're doing our best to create a space for those beyond the list of usual suspects. After all, given the number of Yogis who go to work, think about work, and even coach, facilitate, consult and "guru" in organizations, and the fact that yoga is a set of practices to support us IN LIFE, where the heck are all the yogis? C'mon yogis - put your voices out there!

Here's the list we came up with - doing our best to keep it yogic, you'll see one exception.

1. The Highest Goal - Michael Ray
2. Creativity In Business - Michael Ray
3. The Bhaghavad Gita - you can get this online for free, just Google it. Sally Kempton suggests the Eknath Esarwan translation for language.
4. Management By Consciousness - Sri Aurobindo Society, their .org should have sources for it
5. Yoga Nidra - Swami Satyananda Saraswati. This is a GREAT way to achieve meditative clarity and reenergize in the midst of midday monkeymind.
6. Quiet Leadership - David Rock. I don't know if David Rock practices yoga, but his explanations of brain patterns using laymans terms for scientific insights are a modern explanation of the Vrittis.
7. The Office Sutras - Marcia Menter
8. Yoga For Suits - Edward Vilga. Basic stretches you probably know but always forget to do. Stay tuned as we'll be debuting the media downloads version of this under the name Digital Guru on our website next month.
9. Ten Zen Seconds - this came from my brilliant friend, writer Martha Garvey. It's written by Eric Maisel who I certified as a creativity coach with - yes, Buddhist, but with two personal connections we had to let it in the list.
10. Paths To God - Ram Dass. From a Harvard/Stanford professor who delved into psychedelics to learn about consciousness and landed solidly in the practice of yoga, this is a transcription of a course he taught one summer at Naropa Institute. Supposedly the course was on the Bhagavad Gita, but the main take away I found is the relationship between the heart and the intellect.
Always looking for more - feel free to send anytime and I'll help spread the word.
Now, how about MOVIES??? Got any movies you particularly like to raise insight into work/self? Again, send me your faves and if you get me your address, I'll send you a little blue balance stone - they rock!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Balancing Action

Just a few minutes ago I sat down to do crank out some ideas for my blog. Let's be clear about the situation: here I am, Balance Integration founder, and after a nice weekend in the mountains with family, the sun is setting over beautiful Chelsea NYC, and at my feet is a sweet puppy I KNOW would love a walk - what am I doing? About to crank out ideas for my BLOG?????

Luckily our new branding gimmies came last week and I gotta say, these little blue glass stone balance reminders actually WORK! With a big bowl of them strategically placed by my laptop, one caught my eye and reminded me to be conscious of my choices and the actions I take and to do so in this very moment.

So damming the idea vesuvius from erupting into a molten mass of hours immersed in writing, I'm going to ask a question instead: what books do you LOVE that relate work to yoga or apply the concepts of the practice of yoga to the workplace? I have a couple in mind - so in honor of Labor Day quickly approaching I can't think of a cooler list of books to take to the 'zon or in prep for the long weekend than ones that reinforce yoga as a householder (ie. regular folks like you and me) practice and everyday ticket to blissful being.

Send me your suggestions and if you take a moment to email me your name/address, I'll send you one of these blue balance stones with a big huge karmic hug sprinkled in for good measure.

You never know - strategically placed it could just save you from a beautiful night lost in the cool glow of pixelated images.

With that, I'm OFF!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Belly of Balance

People always ask how we keep the good vibe going, how we manage to connect with such a broad spectrum of clients, students and workshop participants, and how we find the time to really be what we teach others. Not a secret, nothing serves the ability to connect and feel good and respect priorities quite so much as serving others.
Suann Polverari, our director of client relationships in NY shimmies the talk by teaching bellydancing to physically impaired women in her own time outside of her work with Balance...and though it is of her own choice and has nothing to do with our work in corporations, I can't think of a better portrayal of the values we strive to represent.

Rockin' the OM on NPR

Our whip smart corporate yogini and Director of Programs Sonia Wilczewski in Miami gave me the heads up on this great story that was featured on NPR.

The story explains the science of why breath and meditation techniques WORK in managing stress related dysfunctions and diseases - even for the doubters among us.


Lesson from the Mat - Falling Free

A lesson from practicing yoga: when people fall or fail, they smile. Really. In seven years as a teacher, with very few exceptions the moments of greatest levity and human playfulness in practice follow those in which a difficult pose is suggested and people FAIL to accomplish them.

Forearm stand, scorpion, kundiniasana, astavakrasana, handstand without the wall, bird of paradise, vishvamitrasana, tripod headstand. Calling the names of these positions has the power to furrow brows and harden the breathing of even hearty practitioners. More timid yogins may find an urgent need for the bathroom as excuse to slip from the room and flee their knee-jerk fear response.
Here's the secret I've discovered: in attempting the impossible it is those who try but fail that convey pleasure, humility and even a sense of renewal - a sense of YOGA or union with the moment, themselves and life itself. Those who actually somewhat achieve the shape tend to emerge with fretful expressions perhaps questioning their performance, resisting the natural urge to celebrate, or worrying if they will ever get into the shape again.
That picture above of me frowning in an "okay" version of astavakrasana is a great example of joyless, critical execution, ie. asana performed as an exacting technician, devoid of the experiential fruit of the practice of yoga. In comparing the faces and energetic bearing of those who give these more challenging shapes a try and find themselves humbled by failure to those who actually come close to achieving them, there's no second guessing the instances where grace is present and where grace has been evicted by the critic. Let's face it - if we're moving through what we do totally in our heads, locked in constant analysis, chances are we're not fully present or enjoying it much.

As a lesson from the mat, this suggests that ALLOWING oneself to humbly try the "impossible" and fail (gracefully or not) is the renewing or regenerating act. That you are not done evolving or acquiring new skills allows you to be small and humble in such a way that allows for your greatness to emerge. Be radical. Know you do not and cannot possibly have all the answers. Let yourself off the hook from pretending as much. The permission you give yourself to be a student and not be perfect requires your acceptance that there is growth at hand, and invites you to consider all the wonderful possibilities growth may bring. It reorients us towards the experience of the attempt rather than the evaluation of the outcome.
Where do you need to give yourself a little freedom to fall?

Monday, August 18, 2008


Check out our appearance commenting on Corporate Yoga on CNBC!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Corporate Yogis UNITE! - in the flesh!

Hey there corporate yogis - if you've got a passion to get a little more OM into the office by teaching yoga in corporations, come check out our Corporate Yoga Teacher Training at Omega next month! Check out
and come join us for autumn leaves, yoga, passion for work, and lots of like minded folks! We can't wait!

Monday, August 11, 2008


That impossible cuteness above - it's Ruby, my new puppy. The whole rearranging of life thing is true, in case you're wondering. Lamentation of such rearranging doesn't seem to be an issue, although I am really eager to be done with Nature's Miracle - every puppy owner's first line of defence against accidents. A month into this, it's been a great practice is to allow "dog culture" to provide a couple worklife lessons.

1. "Friendly?" This is the first word exchanged between two people walking dogs on the streets of NYC. This one-word indicator tells us how close to pass, if we should linger or if we should hurry by. Humbled by the fact that dogs are just as they are and efforts at changing their personality is a total waste of energy, you become very accepting and at one with the reality that there are friendly dogs and their are unfriendly dogs. It's not personal. There are dogs who love dogs, and dogs who love people and dogs, and dogs who seem to love no one at all. And still, there they go down the sidewalk. With the human at the other end of the leash, or any other human for that matter, how liberating that wisdom.

2. Even for dogs, focus matters. Currently enjoying some of her cutest moments, getting her to do what she needs to do outside is really hard with passersby oohing and aahing. Sound like sour grapes? Try planning an hour extra prep time before a long awaited pitch meeting at Yahoo to get a quiet moment alone on the sidewalk for her to pee. Makes me not so yogic, and reminds me of working under deadline to get something done only to be interrupted incessantly at work. Also calls to mind studies done by Kings College in London where IQ performance declined by 10 points with interruptions.

3. Bodily functions require attention. Hers result in little spots on the floor if not attended to. This one may not make sense to you, guys, but female incontinence is at an all time high specifically because of what great multitaskers we are. Women tend to ignore the need to pee for hours on end. Because of this, companies like Johnson & Johnson have entire divisions related to developing devices for women to re-learn bladder control because the truth of the matter is, if you abuse it, you lose it. Ladies, have a pitstop.

4. Food is fuel. Measuring food means having the right amount of food. With all due respect to the awe-inspiring practices of culinary artistry, the purpose of food is to fuel our bodies, nothing more. You see lots of fat dachsunds out there so the vet told us immediately that we have to measure her food and feed her three times a day and give her lots of exercise. Funny, that's EXACTLY what the nutritionist told me. Got the 10lb. cubicle or corner office spread? Go back to a utilitarian look at food. And just a bonus: a couple short walks every day has already made me feel lighter and even more connected to nature and my neighborhood.

5. Coercion brings compliance, enthusiasm brings engagement. I can't make this dog do anything. Try making her walk when she doesn't want to - I'm the jerk dragging the cute little doggy down the sidewalk. Sure, I can lock her in her cage, but the only way I'll teach her to walk when I want her to, stop when I need her to, or void her bladder when the time is right for me is if I study her actions and reactions and encourage the ones that are in line with my wishes. And oh, to respond to the "digging in heels"? Enthusiasm and delight for walking forward are the only thing that will get her moving.

The last lesson is accepting what IS. In the picture, Ruby is standing under the desk of the founder of Balance Integration (me) at our world headquarters in NYC. A plush executive suite, painstakingly renovated with a Hermann-Miller chair, some plants, bookshelves and internet access from the dining room it was six years ago, just when I think she's fast asleep and won't make a peep, every so often mid-conference call she'll lift her head and chime in with an idea or two. The first time it happened, I wanted to die. On the phone with the VP of Marketing of one of our client companies, pitching a Business Creativity initiative for her entire team, the voice of judgement inside of me reared up, my heart pounding. The VP, Michelle's delighted response: "Is that a PUPPY?", reinforcing my belief that for Balance to be what it stands for, we have to work with people whose outer corporate rock star is enhanced by their inner humanity.

So yes, we are moving forward with Michelle, and yes, we are putting Ruby on our team as Director of Friendly Relations.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In The Arena

Doesn't it seem like the messages we get are impeccably timed? Like the whispers and shouts of the world around us have somehow magically set themselves to exactly the wisdom we most need to listen to?

Lately I've heard and read many friends express the need to "get through it" - whatever "it" is for each of us. Jen Groover referenced this in her Ladies Who Launch profile yesterday. My Krishna Cab driver nudged me with his playful approach in that same direction. Wandering through LinkedIn this morning, I noticed that my old boss' boss, Fernando Espuelas of StarMedia and now VOY, seems to look to this form of counsel to keep himself going. Given his tenacity through brilliant venture to debacle and now back to brilliant venture, no doubt he is.

Teddy Roosevelt said this:

“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach the highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph...It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who errs and comes short again…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at least knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Keepin' on keepin' on isn't glamorous, fer sure. And what a powerful truth to remember. Be it reading words of wisdom from the greats or simply watching my own friends like Fernando, Jen or Beth Schoenfeldt - alternately revelling in their success as readily as I take counsel from observing their process of lifting themselves up again and again and again, it becomes easier to realize that my current "it's" are okay. That it's completely okay to not know what to do next. That it's completely okay that in running Balance Integration I am challenged to the core by staff, sales, training, finances, growth. That it's okay to not be sure how things are going to unfold. That it's okay to have my own quiet moments where in spite of my conviction that yoga-based tools have a huge contribution to make to the quality of our lives at work and the quality of our work - I feel in my core what Gandhi said about being first ignored/ridiculed/fought and truly praying through doubt to win. That all the things that make my heart tremble with fear and my mind seek ways to find new courage are nothing but reminders that I am in the arena, getting dirty and sweaty, and earning my way to the next round of play.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Krishna Cab

Practicing inspiration everywhere - today offered a "Life IS the Baghavad Gita " moment. Rushing to a meeting at Sony, I told my cab driver I was late. He lamented the same.

I said , "What are you late for - shift change?"

"No," he replied. "I gotta go fight a ticket."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that", I said, thinking about how his job depends on his ability to drive.

He said, "Don't be sorry, it's just PLAYING THE GAME. You gotta just love playing the game."

Right on, brother. I thought about all the little games at play in my life, and suddenly none of them seemed so onerous, nor were their outcomes so meaningful. Carrying a notion of playing them feels so much better than the vauge sense of getting played.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Passion Plays

I went to see the band "Supergrass" at Webster Hall in NYC last night. Admittedly it's been a while since I've gone to a concert and having just taught yoga I showed up a little blissed and very sweaty. What was cool about this show was that there were so many people MY AGE there, and somehow it didn't feel like a roomfull of people hanging onto the fading glory days of youth.

One of my practices is to look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere - because when I do look I DO always find. In this case the inspiration came in the form of a guy my age, longhairish, wearing a concert tshirt, singing every word, jumping up and down, even drumming on his sedate buddy's shoulders to the beat of the drums. One glance said he is a musician and that being at that show was his equivalent of sitting with a master and having a religious experience.
Of course, it's easy to disregard a 40ish guy squealing for a band like a 15 year old girl in the presence of Justin Timberlake. When I observed him with my heart - I thought "DARN! Look at this guy's passion and excitement! How often do most of us feel that way? Do I cultivate an ability in myself to feel that excited and alive?"

Yeah, I think it does come down to cultivation, to consciously allowing ourselves to have a predisposition towards excitement and passion. Even a casual student of human nature or even pets will tell you that there is clearly a shift that happens over time away from excitement or "gung HO" and towards "ho hum". Granted, this anonymous fan could be a total cumudgeon outside of that venue, but the inner mechanism in him that allows for excitement and expression is still very much alive and kicking and drumming and singing. Is yours?

It seems to be that keeping that mechanism or permission for being fully present, joyful and expressed has lots to do with deciding to do so. Mindfulness gets pretty dry treatment in most descriptions, so think about how great it is to be totally present with your morning latte, to really listen to the crescendo on your iPod, or to really taste a great dessert. Sitting here in my office with my new puppy, Ruby, on my lap, cultivating this ability for me means delighting in writing these words and the meaning they hold, pausing to really feel the sweet pleasure of her warm belly moving with breath upon my legs, or maybe even shifting from those awarenesses and really feeling the sweetness of my own breath.

In a few minutes I have a sales call with the global team and we'll all talk about things like numbers, networking, sales goals, PR and relationship building - things that all have the power to excite but also trigger fear. I think I'll go make a cappucinno and let savoring the flavor teach me how to be fully present on that call.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nine Minutes till my conference call...

...and even after 19 years in corporate America, anytime I lead a conference call I get jittery. Mostly, I am humbled just knowing that this is a rare moment where people give their time and hopefully attention to a single topic, and that the next hour will be basically me spilling my heart and attempts at wisdom into a silent void of muted listeners.

Isn't it so that even over fiber optic we have an opportunity to really be present with eachother?
Because the topic of the call is leadership and fostering it in other people, I'm reaching for my favorite hindu coloring book, Dancing with Shiva and flipping to the explanation of Dharma. After all, can there be true leadership without dharma?