JANUARY 17, 2019

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I was out driving today and I saw a man crossing the street. No big deal, right? Except this man was blind. Watching the traffic all stopped obediently at the lights, watching him calmly cross the street and then meet his bus... the scene really gave me pause.

Just think about all the systems he trusted to be in place and to keep him safe: the cars respecting the traffic lights, the beeping which indicated he could cross at that corner at that moment, his cane with the white tip indicating his visual challenge… all these systems and probably more all working at the same time to keep him safe while he ventured out into the world.

I turned 50 this year and I’ve noticed that as I’ve been getting older, fear is becoming more of a companion than I’ve been aware of in younger years. Perfectly able, perfectly (well, almost perfectly) sighted, and yet I am beginning to fear some things: fear of other people’s driving (and sometimes my own capabilities), fear of my sons out living their lives, fear of losing those I love, and so on. Like poker chips dropped onto the green felt table, bit by bit fear is mounting in my heart and I am so very aware of its presence and my need to not allow it to close down my world.

Which is why watching the blind man cross the street caused me to pause so much today. He appeared older than I. And yet every day he wakes up, and he overcomes the reasonable fear he must feel living blind in a sighted world. He faces down his fear, every day. I find that impressive.

“Walking through your fear makes you stronger. It makes you able to walk through other fears. It gives you courage. It gives you faith that there are bigger powers in the world than your fear. When you walk through fear, you… become a bigger power than the fear. It is its own medicine in the end.”

—Richard Wagamese, Him Standing

Trudy is an Integral Coach based in Ottawa. You can read more of her writing here

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JANUARY 9, 2019

stepping in podcastHow is empathy distinct from compassion? What is self-empathy, and why is it important? How can we develop ourselves into compassionate witnesses for our clients' experiences? In this episode Adam is joined by Whitney Hess, an Integral Coach dedicated to putting humanity back into business. Join them to delve into the important—and sometimes debated—topic of empathy.

Resources from this episode: 
The Language of Emotions, Karla McLaren
How Emotions are Made, Lisa Feldman Barrett
The Center for Nonviolent Communication 

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DECEMBER 5, 2018

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During times of significant change, whether it’s in our career, a relationship, or even a shift in our identity, the chatter in our minds can intensify. Like a ping pong ball that won’t stop pinging and ponging.

A common challenge I hear in my work with clients is either, "I'm caught between multiple ideas of what I should do next” OR "I'm just in a haze with no clarity at all."

This can happen for all of us.

What I often see underneath is a tug of war of competing inner voices. In some cases, the voices are so loud, we can allow ourselves to become paralyzed between opposing views. In other cases, the tug of war is so intense we can reside in a fog.

In an attempt to reduce the pain of internal clutter, a common strategy (whether it’s conscious or not) is to try and shut off, get angry at, or pretend these inner voices aren’t there. In other words, use the egoic mind to try and control itself.

I've done this too and still catch myself.

Although some of these ‘shutting down’ techniques may work in the short term, I find there's something else that can bring greater peace to our nervous systems and more inner clarity in the long run.

Letting the egoic mind be as it is.

This may sound counter-intuitive at first. However, in my experience, it’s where our true freedom lies, and it’s our most powerful doorway to the clarity we seek.

Why is this?

Deep within ourselves is a little voice that judges and interprets every experience we have. It even judges our inner experiences –– the very thoughts and emotions that flow through us.

So, in the original scenario above, this little judging voice sees the experience we’re having in our mind (the conflicting ideas of what we should do next in our life, haziness of what’s true in our business/career/relationship, and all the accompanying emotions), and it says:

These voices (and emotions) are driving me nuts.
Why is this happening to me?
Oh we go again! Not these endless thoughts.

In other words, all this inside of me shouldn’t be happening. And from there, our true source of suffering begins, and the deeper clarity we seek comes to a halt.


Because our mind gets amped up and goes to war with itself. Essentially, we’re just battling ourselves. This can wreak havoc on our bodies and our overall wellbeing.

Paradoxically, when we let the voices just be as they are and show kindness towards them, the mind naturally quiets down.

Showing kindness doesn’t mean believing the thoughts are true, or that the accompanying emotions reflect out true identity. It simply means showering them with the love of our own heart, like the love we’d show a frightened child.

In essence, when we accept what is there as it is and loosen the grip of what we think should be happening, it gives our minds and nervous systems a chance to relax. A part of our mind (like a child) begins to understand that it’s not doing anything wrong. It’s ok that these thoughts exist. It’s ok that these emotions exist. It’s even ok that there’s something in us that’s resisting our thoughts and emotions in the first place. We don’t have to be experiencing anything other than where we are right now and be present with it.

This is a true form of letting go.

Letting go isn’t something we ‘try’ to do. It’s a state of grace that we become aware of that already exists within us. When we open to this grace, the challenging thoughts and emotions start to let go of us, as they’re held in the light of love.

Awareness and loving kindness are the keys to inner freedom.

This takes ongoing practice to simply observe our inner world with kindness and, very often, the support of another to hold a space of presence so we can see the truth of what’s happening underneath.

From there the innate healing energy that lies within us surfaces and surrounds the frightened parts of ourselves with love.

It’s this place of deeper relaxation and understanding where we can experience more peace with not knowing the answer to something. With peace comes greater inner stillness and from there we can more easily hear the quiet whispers of our soul, if we choose.

Essentially, our deepest inner wisdom comes when we're not holding on so tightly. It's why so many people get their creative inspirations while they're in meditation, in the shower, out for a walk, engaged in a creative hobby, or playing with a pet.

As the mystic St. John of the Cross said, “In order to come to the knowledge that you have not, you must go by a way in which you know not.”

I keep that message with me daily for my own life.

How do you go about quieting the mind and opening the heart, at work, in the midst of tough decisions, or in other areas of your life?

Ryan is an Integral Coach, consultant and musician based in Northern California. Read more of his writing and learn about his offerings on his website

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NOVEMBER 1, 2018

stepping in podcastGrief can blindside and disorient the people directly affected—and those who wish to support them. In this episode Adam speaks with Richard Levi, who facilitates grief support groups and coaches individual clients in grief. He offers some ways we can ready ourselves to join our clients in the abruptly new world that grief often creates.

It's OK that You're not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn't Understand, by Megan Devine

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