A Series of Small Acts

These past few days, I have been waking up to a jumpy body and an overall sense of “How am I going to get it all done?” It seems that life has a way of constellating all the “yeses” I have offered over a long period of time into lots of activity in a short period of time.  As I sat meditating, I reached for a copy of Tao Te Ching and read these passages: … Read more…

Building Infrastructure for Engaged Leading

Cyril Oberlander, Dean of the Humboldt State University Library, recently took Roger James and me on a tour of the library. It’s impossible to capture in words how inspiring he and the library were to us. In the most recent HSU Library Annual Report, Oberlander stated, “HSU Library provides information resources and curates many outstanding opportunities to investigate, inspire, and invent.” In the last five and a half years he and his staff have transformed … Read more…

That Which Is Unseen…

How do you feel in your meetings at work? Happy, sad, glad, mad or scared? What are your thoughts during those meetings? “This is such a waste of my time.” Or, “I am glad to be part of this conversation.” How does your body feel? Tired, engaged, agitated, calm? All three of these—your emotions, thoughts, and body sensations—contribute to a larger social or relational field in which the meeting is happening. The social fields we … Read more…

Honoring How Michael Showed Up

This post is more personal than typical posts. I wanted to share some of the reflections on the past couple of weeks.  June 8, 2019  I am in route to Massachusetts to see my older brother Michael who is quite ill and in hospital. There is a strong possibility this trip is not just to show love and support, but also to say goodbye. Michael, who is ten years older than I am, was often hard … Read more…

Are We Stuck at a Cognitive Threshold?

The complexity of issues facing us is outstripping our ability to understand and solve them. Governmental institutions spin on gerbil wheels of outmoded, linear processes and procedures, attempting to tackle issues with multiple, inter-connected parts one part at a time. This is as true in the United States Congress as it is in state legislatures and city councils. In the world of business, economic considerations (i.e., profit), trumps all other criteria in determining whether or … Read more…

Curious about Curiosity #1: Self-Reflection

This is the first installment in a three-part series on curiosity. Today’s post investigates being curious internally, i.e., introspection. February 27’s entry will consider how to cultivate curiosity in others and in yourself about others. Finally, on March 13 we will explore the role of curiosity at work and its relationship to organizational and group performance. What if the old proverb about curiosity killed the cat is wrong? What if it is lack of curiosity that kills … Read more…

Change the Brain for Good: Being a Verb Instead of a Noun

This entry* on attention is the final one of a five-part series on what we know about the impact of contemplative practice on the human brain and the relevance of these findings to doing meaningful work in groups. The first entry introduces this series and describes the impact of meditation on whether we can respond effectively to disturbing events instead of reacting to them. The second one investigates resilience; the third considers empathy and compassion; and the fourth investigates the impact of meditation on … Read more…

Change the Brain for Good: Resilience 

This entry on resilience is the second in a five-part series. The series describes what we know about the impact of contemplative practice on the human brain and the relevance of these findings to doing meaningful work in groups. The first entry introduces this series and describes the impact of meditation on whether we can respond effectively to disturbing events instead of reacting to them. Over forty years ago, I started dabbling with meditation because I … Read more…

Change the Brain for Good: Responding to Disturbances

This entry is the first in a five-part series. It will describe what we know about the impact of contemplative practice on the human brain, and the relevance of these findings to doing meaningful work in groups. For 15 years I’ve been tracking the impact of meditation on the human brain and its potential to help people be more constructive in meetings. In my work as a leader, consultant and facilitator it seems to me … Read more…

Tackling “…ist” Talk

To begin 2018 I offer two pieces on how to counter talk that undercuts and damages our ability to interact in constructive ways. The first one, Tackling Toxic Talk, considered how to stop toxic talk in the work place. This one explores how to handle talk that cuts close to people’s core: degrading comments about race, ethnicity, gender, age and sexual orientation. When faced with degrading comments about anyone’s race, ethnicity, gender, age, or sexual … Read more…