Black Lives Matter

Black Lives MatterThere’s been a great deal of dialog about this cry for action in our communities. A common response, primarily by white people, is to say, “Yes, but all lives matter.”

I believe that this rejoinder is part of the problem. When anyone responds this way, we yet again shift our focus away from a laser focus on the issue at hand, which is that in our country, the most overlooked and least-protested murders are those of black people.

By saying that black lives matter, no one is saying that other lives don’t. That’s just plain faulty logic. Of course all lives matter, but the reality is that we act as if some lives matter more than others, repeatedly, in our systems of justice, education, economics, housing, and on and on.

Let’s keep our focus on the problem, however uncomfortable we get about it, and not dilute the message or delude ourselves into complacency.

 

“We Can Do This the Easy Way or the Hard Way…”

This famous movie line sums up the choice I had before me when I realized I was going to need surgery.

It all started back in February when my husband and I made a snap decision to go see the Lake Superior ice caves on our way home from a cross country ski and snowshoe trip to the Porcupine Mountains (okay, really big hills) in northern Michigan. We’d spent three days in a fairyland of sparkling powder, skiing through Christmas-card scenes up and down the mountains. The caves were only an hour and a half away, and we could just make it by sunset.

We walked a mile along the frozen shore in the subzero winds as the sinking sun colored the ice from gold to rose to violet. In the first cave we reached, we stood in wonder, grinning and gaping at the fantastical forms above and around us. I took a step deeper into the cave, and I slipped. “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!” I yelped, cradling my left arm. “Something’s really wrong.” Read more

Am I Just Lazy? The Real Reason We Resist Change

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Bob Kegan teaching Immunity to Change

Last spring, I traveled to Harvard University to study with Dr. Lisa Lahey and Dr.  Robert Kegan. For the past 35 years, they’ve been developing a process for personal, group and organizational transformation called Immunity to Change. What they’ve learned in over three decades of research and field application is that they’re on to something that works. They’ve used this process with individuals who came to them for help and with international corporations on a large scale, and they get results where other approaches have failed.

While I walked from my inn to campus on the first day, I wondered what I would learn that surprise me. I felt that I knew myself pretty well after years of counseling, self-help and personal growth work, and coaching. As I sipped my coffee from a silver urn in the swanky Harvard Faculty Club, a diverse group of people from all over the world started to arrive, hailing from Russia, Australia, South Africa, England, and all over the US. There were ministers and therapists, leaders of industry and graduate students. I was energized by the passionate conversations we had about creating positive change in the world and was glad I came, no matter what the training was going to be like.

I suppose I wondered if the esteemed professors would be, well, aloofly professorial, but not at all.  Bob and Lisa were totally down to earth, warm and engaging, and clearly passionate about their work and their years of professional partnership and friendship. They set a tone of “We’re all learning and practicing and flubbing up together,” so we relaxed and dove in to some amazingly personal and vulnerable work together, experiencing the Immunity to Change process for ourselves before being trained how to guide others through it.

All was going smoothly – no surprises yet – when bam! They revealed the piece of their process that makes it distinctly powerful, picking up where most self-help leaves off and showing what was previously unseen and disconnected.

“Oh…hmmm….well, look at that…didn’t know that was still there…whoa.” That was my reaction when my own immunity to change was revealed. The “Whoa,” was the leverage I needed to finally move past a block I’d had for years, which I actually thought I’d already moved past. Amazing. Read more

Walking Into the Unknown

We can't always see around the next corner

We can’t always see around the next corner

“I really want to go back to grad school this year.  I’m going to do it!”

“I wonder what it will be like?”

“Do I even remember how to write a research paper?”

“Will everyone be younger and smarter than me?”

“I have no idea how I’ll keep up with work and everything else in life and go to school at the same time.”

“It’s probably more than I can afford anyway. Oh, well.”

If you’ve ever had a version of this internal conversation yourself, then you’re in good company. This is an example of how we let our fear of the unknown cut our dreams off at the pass before we even got on the horse. Our imagination paints pictures about how things would or could or should be, yet it is rarely accurate. Even so, we give it the reins and let it lead us down the same rutted path.

On a recent backpacking trip in the Badlands of North Dakota, we realized we’d been walking for some time without seeing a trail marker. Granted, they were few and far between and usually hidden under brush or grass, but this felt a little too far between. We stopped and debated what to do. Go back? Bushwhack? Get out the map and compass? Go forward? As we looked around, we realized that the small canyon we’d wound our way into looked impassable ahead, and the funny thing was that it looked impassable behind us, where we’d just come from. The way wasn’t obvious or clear in any direction. Read more