Archive for December, 2009

December Updates from Ascent Institute

December 18, 2009

Hi folks.  If you haven’t received our newsletter with updates and current course offerings please visit:

http://ascentinstitute.com/news/ascent-news-2009-dec.html

To visit our new website:

http://ascentinstitute.com/

We would enjoy knowing what you think.  Send us your comments.

Wishing you a rejuvenating holiday season.

Big hugs from the Crew at Ascent

(ignore this code, it will list us with a blog search engine)

BKPA8ZZZ8MQY

Advertisements

Human DOING

December 10, 2009

[Post by John McConnell]

I have been going full tilt now for several months.  Really fully engaged in my work, my play, my family, my life.  It feels really good.

Yesterday I was scrambling to pull together the final details for our first newsletter, while packing for a trip to California, while attending to few client needs, while planning my holiday gift buying, while…. you get the picture.  Sound familiar?

On the one hand I love it.  I am so plugged in right now.  Generating, learning, sharing, doing, checking things off the list….  On the other hand, I think I lost the OFF switch.  As I boarded the plane I pulled out my laptop thinking “if I can just get one more thing done…”  And then I stopped.  And I FELT IT.  That state of being where I am no longer BEING, but rather stuck in the DOING mode.  I am a HUMAN DOING!

So what did I do?  I finished that one thing.  I kept pushing, even though some part of me was saying, “whoa, its time to slow down for bit.”  And I’m doing it right now.  Posting this blog as my last action before going into a 3-day training to continue my own personal and professional development.  I am choosing that.  Given what I am committed to right now it feels right to me.

That said, I know I am close to the point where I will lose the ability to CHOOSE.  I’ll be stuck in GO/GO/GO mode.  Historically I know that I’ll do that until something makes me stop.  Usually for me that involves getting hurt or sick.  So, I take a moment to breathe.  Stretch my shoulders.  Soften my eyes and brow.

Doing is so seductive.  Yet whatever I get done there will be another thing to do.  Fortunately, the training I am going into will help me slow down.  I am committed to slow down.  Do a Sudoku, take a nap, take a walk, take a bath.  Call my wife and tell her I love her.  It is time for me to bring my BEING self back to life.

How about you? Are you choosing your pace of doing or is it choosing you?  What are the unintended consequences your current pace?  How are you balancing the doing with the being?  What action or inaction might you do for a few minutes or a day to slow down, recharge, renew?  What little actions can you take in the midst of the doing?  My favorite on-the-fly techniques are: pause and take a deep breath; soften my eyes/brow; smile; think about something or someone I love; remind myself that I really do have all the time I need.

By the way, the project I was working so hard to push forward is our announcement of our new website and our latest offerings.  You can check it out here: http://www.ascentinstitute.com/news/ascent-news-2009-dec.html

We invite you to join us!

Astronauts

December 5, 2009

[Post by John Kanengieter]

“So this Russian Cosmonaut, and an Italian and American astronauts go into a bar…..”   Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right?

I’m writing this while on a flight home to Wyoming from Houston where I just spent 2 days in quarantine at NASA’s Johnson Space Center with an International Space Station crew.  I enjoy working with leadership teams in high-risk environments. The four of us engaged in an intensive team development and leadership session.  I laughed, commenting that living with them sounded much like the start of a bad bar joke as they were representing the afore mentioned countries.  It was a great experience and we all gained from working with each other on the dynamics of creating great teams.

One of the aspects we talked about was leadership practices while under stress. We discussed how they tend to react and communicate under stress and crisis.  I observed them as they prepared for an emergency crisis simulation that they would be put through by NASA later in the day.  I reminded them of the importance of calming oneself by slowing down and creating a stillness in the mind.

At the Ascent Institute, we work to teach this as a ‘leadership practice’.  It’s important to consistently practice this skill-whether you call it meditation, sitting, deep relaxation, etc- so that when your body and emotions hit the stress redline you can focus on what’s important and not react and be controlled by fear and aggression. Leaders especially need this focus and centeredness as they move through adversity.

…..

Now..…I mentioned I’m writing this on a plane.  Just an hour ago an alarm sounded and the pilot mentioned that we were diverting to another airport in Cheyenne in order to land as quickly as possible and get this checked out.  Apparently a sensor went off indicating that the door could open and lose pressure and that’s evidently not a good thing on a plane.  It didn’t help that two passengers near the front said they heard a bump just prior to the alarm.

While making the quick descent I noticed our small cabin went quiet and I started to see some white knuckles.  I felt my own breath quicken.  It was at this moment that I was reminded of the words that I spoke to my astronaut friends.  I shut my eyes, started focusing on my breathing and noticed my anxiousness literally flying out of my body.  We landed, smart guys fixed the light, and we’re now on our way.  By the time you read this I’ll have already been home in front of my fireplace, enjoying the stillness of the Wyoming winter.

Take a minute and create your own moment of stillness. Refocus on what you want to accomplish today. Be thankful for this wonderful life that you have.  Let whatever stresses you presently are feeling be put into perspective.  Try to do this on a daily basis and watch what happens!

Happy flights!

Johnny K

Johnny K back in his office in Lander, WY.

Reflections from the Rainforest

December 4, 2009

[Post by Virginia Rhoads]

I recently co-lead a journey deep into the Amazonian rainforest.  We immersed ourselves into this living, breathing corner of the planet and had the rare opportunity to interact with an indigenous tribe.  Here is an excerpt from a journal entry I made after my first encounter with the jungle and the Achuar tribe……

Stillness… deep stillness… inner quiet allows me to hear so many sounds, chirps, burps, creaks, shrieks, bellows, whirrs, flutters, mutters, snaps, cracks…. Leaves falling down and these are leaves the size of the top of a coffee table… always falling and falling yet there is no deep layer of rotten things… only growing and growing… so much growing… the vines from above and draping down all around me… and the earth below my feet reaches up to itself above my head…

The depth and the darkness of the Achuars’ eyes, and the light therein… always just a split second away from great laughter and mirth… such a presence… only the present to be in, observing, being, and such laughter… all us sacred… the Directions are already called and have been in our service and we in theirs since time before time and will be so long after we have departed… regardless of what has been and what is to come…

Nature has timed her downfalls perfectly… for all of us… for our initial entrance into the forest and the first tippy canoe ride up river… for the long afternoon of resting and yoga to the sounds of rain unlike any of us have ever seen or heard or been cleansed by… the cacophony of sounds and sights, and the uncanny birds who flaunt their calls and their wings and their flight for our joyful witnessing… all we are to do is to keep the channel open and keep breathing… in and out and in and out… to keep paving, without pavements, the way to begin to hold it all and at the same time feeling so full in our eyes and ears that we also are aware of how thirsty we all are for all of this to integrate into our bodies our skins our lungs…

The pre-dawn rituals… such a sacred space that begins all of their days at a time when most of us would still have called night, is their morning… good morning begins at 3am and well, why wouldn’t it… a fire that is every day sacred … and they are we and we are they… what you see, is you… what I see, is me…

The heartache in listening to Achuar being spoken and the call and response and the beauty and strength and power in the exchange… a dance of beingness… a dance of power and deep connection to the sacred that is the everyday…

Listening to the Call… opening myself up to hearing this Call, to being this Call without blame or shame or embarrassment or wishing or begrudging or anything other than just allowing it to build and flow and then to receive it and to keep expanding to hold it all and at the same time to rejoice and share and marvel at the opportunity right here right now… all there is to do is to be Life, to engage and listen and then step in and step into and keep breathing and embracing and speaking …

Virginia in Amazon rainforest.