Purpose: Create the best possible 2013.
Cooking time: 1 1/2 – 2+ hours
- Post-it Notes
- Flip chart page – or large sheet of paper
- 2012 calendar
- 2013 calendar (optional)
- Delicious food and beverage of your choice
- Yourself & Loved one/s
- Musical instruments, dance music, inspiring images/photos, recorded music to play, clay for sculpting – whatever is handy
Overview: This is a process for setting the direction and creating a path to a wondrous 2013. It begins with a celebration of 2012, harvesting all that you learned, and bringing the resulting wisdom into 2013. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions others make in your life. It ends with contemplating 2013 and letting go of all hopes and fears you may have about it. Why let go of hope? Because while you’re busy hoping, you’re not getting done what needs to be done (or resting), and you’re not living in the present. Ditto for fear.
Step 1: Set your intent to celebrate 2012 and envision what you want in 2013. Divide the large sheet of paper with a vertical line. At the top of the left side, write “2012” and “2013” at the top of the right side. Looking month by month through your 2012 calendar, find the significant events. Write them on Post-it notes, and place them on the 2012 side of the paper. Declare each event aloud, and express appreciation for the role others (and you) played in it. You can talk about how that event developed you and others. If it was a challenging event, talk about what skills and capacities you had to draw upon to meet the challenge. If the situation was difficult and/or still unresolved, make note of it. Honor your challenges.
Step 2: Step back and reflect. What did you learn and accomplish in 2012? What got done that pleased you? What amazed you? As always, express appreciation for your partner/s. If partners are not with you, think about how you can later convey your appreciation to them. What challenges did you face and what values did you embody/express/learn as you met those challenges? Were their failures? What have you learned from them? If you like, you can dance the year. You can sing it, draw it, or sculpt it. Make sure to write the lessons you learned on post-it notes.
Step 3: Scan and reflect again on 2012. What do you want to take with you into 2013? Take all the Post-it notes that express the positive capacities, values, and lessons learned from 2012, and move them to the 2013 column. These are the gifts and hard-won lessons which will help cook up a wonderful 2013 for you.
Step 4: Imagine the future. Imagine it’s 2015 (or even farther out into the future). You can go out hundred or more years, if you like. There is no limit. From that date and perspective what positive events would you notice that had their start in 2013? What seeds of future accomplishments were already present in 2013?
Step 5: Now, write what you imagine you will to accomplish in 2013. Write your goals on Post-it notes and place them in the 2013 column. You can imagine them as events leading to accomplishments or the final results – whatever seems most natural for you. As you write them down and post them, say out loud what the benefit of accomplishing that will be. And then brainstorm more benefits and say them out loud. Who will benefit if these things are done? Who else will benefit? (BTW these are particularly inspiring questions from Solutions Focus).
Step 6: Making safety your highest priority, find a safe way to burn all the leftover post-it notes from 2012. Express gratitude for 2012 as you burn them. Declare what you are leaving behind in the old year and what you are carrying forward to be part of your life in 2013.
Step 7: Listen to the audio instructions to remove obstacles to achieving your goals.
Step 8: Notice in what ways the seeds of your 2013 success are already present now, even in the smallest ways. Express gratitude and appreciation to others – offer toasts, libations, dancing, and expressions of love. Congratulations! You have already begun your brilliant new year. (If you are doing this solo, love those who will help you and receive benefit from your success. None of us is alone).
I’ve avoided looking into EFT for years. It seemed so simplistic and facile to me. How could tapping on a series of points on the face and torso while uttering statements bring relief from intractable psychological pain? However, I tried it a couple of weekends ago and it worked wonders.
For the uninitiated, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. According to Gary Craig, the author of “The EFT Manual,” a clinical psychologist named Roger Callahan was working with a patient in the 1970’s who had a fear of water. Dr. Callahan had been unsuccessful at treating this patient’s phobia. Because he was interested in the energetic systems of the body, he decided to tap acupressure points under his patient’s eyes. To his amazement, she reported that her disturbing thoughts about water had completely vanished. Immediately they tested this out in the backyard swimming pool, and indeed she was free of her phobia. Dr. Callahan went on to develop a series of protocols for various psychological condition that required tapping on a specific series of points which he called algorithms.
Later, Gary Craig simplified tapping procedures so that one set of points could be applied to many conditions. And EFT was born.
In writing this post I consulted Wikipedia, which maintains that no research has ever proved tapping more effective than cognitive behavioral techniques or other methods. The Wikipedia article says tapping is no more effective than a placebo. Given that placebos are often amazingly effective with no side effects, I call that high praise.
Richard Bandler (co-developer of NLP) was so impressed with the placebo response he wanted to create a product simply called, “Placebo.” “Think of the vast array of experimentally proven results you could claim,” he said. He even planned to roll out a second product, Placebo Plus (with twice the number of inert ingredients). His idea turned out to be particularly prescient. A year ago I ran across research that said the placebo effect works even when people know they’re taking a placebo! But I digress.
What made my weekend encounter with EFT so successful was my devouring of Jack Canfield and Pamela Bruner’s new book, “Tapping into Ultimate Success.” The book contains a DVD with some masterful demonstrations of EFT, and it also leads readers through exercises that remove resistance to achieving their goals. By the end of the weekend, working on myself in the comfort of my own home, I felt light, clean, and clear. It was as though I’d attended the best seminar of my life – all for $17.84.
Whether my results were due to the placebo effect, I cannot say. But EFT seems to be a format for all manner of skillful therapeutic techniques. I recognized elements of NLP, psychodrama, gestalt, inner family systems, and more. If you are a skillful change agent, I believe you’ll be able to apply what you know to the EFT protocols and get amazing results. If you are a coach, it could be a remarkable resource.
I encourage you to explore EFT.
Here’s a link to Jack’s website and book. Click here.
This post is a departure from our usual Dragons at Work fare, because I want to encourage you to read Anat Baniel’s Kids Beyond Limits – here’s why…
Each year millions of children are diagnosed with autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disorders. Parents of these children want to know, “What is possible for my child?” Often the answers they get from physicians are devastating. I know of one child, whom I’ll call Jacob, who contracted meningitis at three months old and then developed encephalitis. His neurologist solemnly delivered the diagnosis and prognosis to the mother. “Your child has cerebral palsy. He will never walk or talk.”
I can only imagine how difficult it is to not only hear such a pronouncement, but to deliver it. The neurologist based his prognosis on scientific research. He did not believe it was pessimistic. Rather than give Jacob’s parents false hope, he thought it best to deliver the hard news straight.
By contrast, the waiting room at the Anat Baniel Center is a friendly and hopeful place. On a visit there I met a delightful six year old boy. By the graceful way he moved and his willingness to engage me in conversation, I assumed he was not a student of Anat’s. Perhaps he had a brother or sister who was being helped. Aside from the fact that he was especially alert and nearly luminously happy, he appeared completely normal.
Later I learned that this child was Jacob, the same child whose dismal prognosis so alarmed his mother. He walks and talks… fluently in three languages.
This extraordinary outcome was not a fluke. Not only can Anat Baniel reliably work these miracles, but practitioners trained by her achieve them as well. I find this remarkable. One can find rare practitioners of an art whose results defy explanation, but even more rare are the magicians who can not only articulate the principles by which they achieve results, they can transfer that mastery to others.
Through her new book, Kids Beyond Limits, Anat Baniel has extended her teaching to parents of children with special needs. Through reading this short volume, parents can develop the skills and the confidence to make a tremendous difference in the trajectory of their children’s path toward optimal functioning. It is also an invaluable and inspirational parenting manual for parents of normal children.
I mention Anat Baniel’s work in this blog for three reasons:
1. You may know (or be) a parent of a child with special needs. In that case, this book will change lives.
2. I recommend Anat’s work to my executive coaching clients. The same principles that work miracles with children produce astonishing results in high functioning adults. I believe leadership is a performing art, and possessing a body-mind brimming with vitality and mental acuity can make all the difference for an executive. Anat has produced excellent DVD’s which make home study easy. Using these DVDs has also enabled many people to eliminate chronic back, shoulder, and neck pain.
3. Anat Baniel’s work has done wonders for me. Not only has it improved my athletic performance, it has made me a better learner. I am more curious, more inventive, more acutely aware of my sensory experience, and more enthusiastic. Having studied her method for three years now, I understand why her work awakens such disparate and delightful qualities of experience.
One last point: the Anat Baniel Method appears deceptively simple. It looks a little like yoga or physical therapy, and because of that people may miss its unique power to change the brain. If Jacob’s mother had taken him to a physical therapist, the neurologist’s prognosis would have been confirmed. Instead, having found Anat Baniel, he will lead a normal life.
Last Saturday night Michal Merzenich spoke at a gathering celebrating the launch of Kids Beyond Limits. Dr. Merzenich is a preeminent authority on neuro-plasticity and brain functioning. He ended his talk with a fervent wish that the Anat Baniel Method will soon be the treatment of choice for children with special needs. The publication of Kids Beyond Limits is an important milestone in making that wish a reality.
I recommend you visit www.anatbanielmethod.com and see the results for yourself.
Ten months later…
At first, he saw only her silhouette as she entered the restaurant, yet her upright carriage and her graceful movement made her unmistakable. Michele smiled when she saw him. She headed directly for his table, and greeted him with a look that was both appraising and appreciative.
“Looks as though you’ve kept up the good work, Dan.”
“I have. Life gets better and better”
“I’d love to hear the details.”
“How is grandfather?”
“Like a river, endlessly flowing, with undercurrents of impishness,” she said. “Much the same.”
“And you?” he asked.
“A lot has changed for me. A few months ago I went to a weeklong retreat called The Hoffman Process that re-energized my life.”
“You? With more energy? That’s a scary thought.”
“It’s the quality of energy that’s changed. During the retreat I revisited and resolved some very old wounds. During the Cultural Revolution my parents were taken to a reeducation camp from which they never returned. I believe they died there.. I felt abandoned by them and stricken with inconsolable grief. Grandfather healed much of that, but the Hoffman process reached places in me that tai chi and meditation hadn’t touched. Life feels fresh to me now, innocent of the past. I’m still dedicated to my work, but I feel more relaxed about it. There’s a lot more joy in my life, and business opportunities keep pouring in.”
The waitress took their drink orders and returned with a glass of Zinfandel for Dan and for Michele, Elijah Craig 18 year-old bourbon, neat with two ice cubes on the side.
Answering Dan’s unasked question, Michele said, “Bourbon is as American as you can get – declared America’s native spirit by a 1964 Act of Congress. I like to honor my adopted country, my home.”
“What about your Chinese liver?”
“The secret of all medicine is dosage. One ounce, sipped over an hour has a lot of flavor and Grandfather says it relaxes the nerves.”
“Here’s to Grandfather,” he said raising his glass.
“To Grandfather,” she said as their glassed clinked. “And the U. S. of A.”
“The last time I heard from you,” she said, “you told me that Bob resigned under duress.”
“Yes he did. I gave him a chance to take the high road, but George discovered him falsifying data, and showed him the door. Bob went to work for a financial services firm in New York. An old college friend arranged that for him. I think he had that job lined up way before he left. Guys like Bob always land on their feet. Or on other people’s feet.”
“Then what happened?”
“Then Catherine and I brought in Rob Evans. With his help, we gathered all the stakeholders, redesigned and re-scoped the project, and it’s been relatively smooth sailing ever since. Mind you, I say relatively. After all, this is enterprise-wide software integration. But, so much for Bob’s being indispensable. People liked working with Rob so much that we used him to help us redesign other business processes. The guy’s a gem. I take back my every consultant joke, at least where he’s concerned.
“We’ll know better in a year, but the initial surveys show much happier policy holders and agents are enthusiastic again, especially after we removed the onerous parts of Bob’s risk management program. Our revenues are up. So, things are looking good. And our group just celebrated a major deployment, which went as smoothly as anyone could have hoped. My staff is happy and their teams under them are producing great work.”
Their waitress appeared, took their dinner orders and left.
“OK, Michele. What did you do to me?”
“Dan, you were there for all of it. What do you think happened?”
“I know what happened. I want to know the thinking that guided your process.”
Michele took a micro sip of bourbon, put down her glass, and rested her hands, fingers interlaced, on the table.
“Now that’s a good question. I don’t think a client has ever asked me that.”
She looked into Dan’s face and let memories of their meetings filter into her awareness. She saw him in the Thoreau room, in meetings with his staff, and in Golden Gate Park with Grandfather. She thought of the feedback interviews, his behavior chart, and their first meeting where she’d challenged him. She remembered meditating with him at Half Moon Bay.
“I could tell you the technical details, but that’s not the heart of it,” she said.
“Then tell me the heart of it.”
“What I do is simple: I help people feel more fully alive. I reintroduce them to their natural vitality and gifts. I teach them how to appreciate others and bring out their best work. But none of this would work if the essential lesson didn’t take hold.”
“And what’s that?”
“Get over thyself.”
Dan laughed. “That’s it?”
“Yes. Until you begin to care about the world beyond your personal sphere, you are not useful and not fully alive. Lao Tsu says, ‘The invincible shield of caring is a weapon from the sky against being dead.’”
“Some people use their work to avoid their humanity. These people inevitably create organizations where telling the truth is dangerous, where overwork is a virtue, and work-life balance is scorned. So I introduce sanity into the system, like a positive virus.”
“And I thought we were trying to get an IT project under control.”
Michele laughed. “Yes, that’s why you hired me, and that’s a result you got. But to make it happen, to paraphrase Einstein, you had to approach it from a new level of understanding, not from the level of thought that created the difficulty.”
They sipped their drinks.
“How are things at home?” said Michele.
“Janice may have gotten at least as much out of coaching as I did. She listened to all the ALIVE MP3s, and the Sedona Method CDs, too. She’s happier, and more willing to say what’s on her mind.
“If I said I knew, I’d just be fooling myself. Adolescent girls mystify me, but Janice and she have grown closer, and that makes me feel better. These kids are so locked into their phones and social networks, it’s a little scary. But Maggie seems to want to connect with me, too and I’m grateful for that.”
As their conversation began to wind down Michele asked if Dan wanted to learn something new. He did. Most dinner guests had left and only one other table remained occupied. It was quiet.
“Dan, part of our work has been about letting go of emotions that block you and working with the physical body to feel fully alive. There is another way of working that removes energetic blocks. I learned this from Bruce Frantzis, an American Taoist, who learned it from his teacher in China. Sit quietly and tune into your breathing. Let your posture naturally find its balance. Bring your attention to just above the top of your head and feel any sensations of energy there. Can you feel something?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Now, imagine there is a downward flow of energy from the heavens. It’s like a mist, like a gentle rain that dissolves all knots, all obstructions.”
She waited until his breathing deepened.
“Now keep that going and extend your awareness to the space that is both outside and inside you… like we did at Half Moon Bay…and rest in that space… as this dissolving energy works to soften you…remove energy blocks. I am doing this meditation with you.”
Dan felt the top of his head tingle with energy. Then he felt as if his brain was being saturated with a calming mist that continued descending. After fifteen minutes he felt it fill his torso down to his belly and finally to the bottom of his feet. His breathing became effortless. He felt both clear and full at the same time – filled with soft energy and empty of thoughts and concerns. He opened his eyes and looked into Michele’s, and for a moment he saw endless space. She asked him to sit quietly and rest in the experience.
They sat silently for a while longer and then said their goodbyes. They agreed to touch base in a couple of months. On the way out of the restaurant, he noticed the feeling of softness was still with him. And it was there in the car on the way home. Softness and peace.
It was almost 10:00 when Dan pulled into his garage. The house was dark, save the few dimmed lights Janice had left on for him. Through Maggie’s opened door, he could see her sleeping. She liked the door angled just so – not completely closed, not wide open, and the night light in the corner adjusted to cast its glow on her stuffed animals.
Looking at her face he saw no trace of dreams. He quietly lifted a chair, placed it next to her bed, and settled into it. As he gazed at her, he remembered when she was only an hour old. The same mouth, the same lips, in miniature. The same ears. The color of her eyes had changed but the feeling of Maggie, the person behind them, had stayed and remained in his care.
Dan smiled as he noticed his own breathing had fallen in with the small rise and fall of the quilt covering her. He let his ribs and spine catch the rhythm, too, until his smile, his breath and the movement of his torso sang this simple song with her. After a time he stood, replaced the chair and left Maggie’s room, leaving the door just the way she liked it.
In his own bed now, he carefully reclaimed some of the covers that had migrated to Janice’s side of the bed. She stirred lazily, turning under the sheets. Close to her, lying on his side, he reached out and placed his hand on her back and felt her body through her silk pajamas. She rolled onto her back, cradled his hand in hers and took it to her breast. He slid his other hand under her and they lay still. She kissed him and they lay still again, then kissed and laid still, alternating this way until stillness was no longer possible.
Michele entered the front door of her house. At 10:30 Grandfather would have just begun his evening practice. Moving though the kitchen she could see the outline of his sitting form in the garden, motionless in the moonlight.
She changed into her cotton pants and tai chi slippers and stepped into the back yard. Night blooming jasmine mingled with the moisture of the evening air and its softness called forth in her the gentlest of tai chi forms. She settled into each movement – stately, yet yielding and poised. With each successive posture, she eased into deeper connection to the earth beneath her feet. She sensed and absorbed the profound peace of her grandfather’s meditation, until her every motion was both still and vibrantly alive. She continued this way, with stillness in motion, motion in stillness, until the distinction between them, and in fact all distinctions, vanished.
Thank you for reading Dragons at Work. Please leave comments.
To send D@W to a friend, click here.
Click here to start reading Chapter 1 of Dragons at Work now.
Dragons at Work
Available on Amazon
Paperback or Kindle Version