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It has been more than a year since I have visited this place.  I am sorry.  I can’t make excuses because there are none.  there are probably reasons why blogging has moved down on my list of things to do.  I have turned inward and although not many people actually read these blog posts I just needed some time to mourn the loss of one of my biggest fans … my dad.  My stats will be down for sure.

It’s difficult becoming an orphan.  I don’t think it matters how old you are or where you are in your own life cycle, losing the pole who have known you for your entire life is like losing a piece of yourself.  There is no one left who knows my whole story.  Know one who can correct my thinking or tell me to sit up straight or just get on with it. And so I wallow.

I notice myself driving through Calgary and bursting into tears not because I miss it but because mum and dad and my dear friend Fay are so much apart of the life I lived there and they are all gone now.  Who will I reminisce with.  That happened in Vancouver earlier this year as I sat in the restaurant at the base of the building I lived in there and wondered about the renters and I cried because I missed my dishes.  It wasn’t really the dishes I missed but the days of walking back and forth to the bay to select just the right pieces for the apartment and hauling everything back in my little grocery bag on wheels and the pride I took in making it perfect.  Now it is perfectly set up for strangers to enjoy.  Not me.

I am at the lake house again this summer.  It represents a fresh start in some ways and yet memories of Dad are still here.  I am working from home for Parks Canada again in this 150th anniversary year and my fierce canadian pride is satisfied by this contribution.  I bought a boat with friends who live near by this week.  I am looking forward to spending time on the water.  That is bittersweet as well.  Dad so wanted to be on the lake last year but we just couldn’t make it happen.

Anyway I am sorry I have been away and I can’t even promise that I will be back tomorrow but if I am I will work on something extra special… excerpts from the new book perhaps.  I am editing it.  the order was all wrong and changing the order means a serious edit that could even be classified as a rewrite.  Maybe we can share that journey together and I will release each chapter to you as I finish the next draft of it.  I will ask you not to share it too widely.  At some point I do want to publish it and make a little money … compensation for 7 or 8 years of having it occupy a good sized section of my brain.

I have been away from the writing for a while.  Writing keeps me grounded and so I have missed the company and the clear thinking that it provides.  I always intend to write while I am on “the road” which really means “in the air” but it is becoming increasingly difficult to write while travelling for me.

I was in Hawaii and then I was home overnight before I left again for St Croix.  A six hour time difference is not easy to adjust to quickly and routines can get lost.  The work in St Croix was familiar but the surroundings and the people were not. I think that added a couple of layers of complexity to the situation and dealing with complexity takes energy. Something had to give.  Getting up early to write morning pages fell by the wayside.

I always enjoy the work in the classroom.  I had 15 members of the VIPD with me for two days.  Brave people dealing with high conflict on a regular basis.  My hat is off to them.  Then I had the privilege of working with folks who want to become mediators in the five day training program.  It is always rewarding to watch the shift that occurs when people begin to understand the role of the mediator.

St Croix also offers beauty to be explored. A half day sail was all that I could squeeze in but it was glorious.  We went from the harbour at Christiansted to Buck Island which is a national park reserve.  The beaches were beautiful and the snorkeling was out of this world.  Big, footstool type coral and a stunning array of fish was like nothing I had seen before.  The trip back under full sail was my favourite part.  I love the power of the wind.

Today here in St Albert, the wind is howling.  Mild temperatures for the next few days in the middle of winter is unusual but welcome.  It gives me a chance to get out on the water again … on the frozen water of Lac St Anne for a nice skate.  Maybe the wind will provide the power to move me there too.

Although I may complain about the disruption in my routine that traveling causes I don’t believe I will ever give it up. I enjoy being home.  I enjoy the routine of writing daily and I know if that routine is interrupted by travel and responsibility that I can reestablish it when I return. I want to be like the wind.  Go with the flow.  Travel where life takes me.  Fly the friendly skies.  Sail the seas and always enjoy the journey AND the return to port.

Where ever you are may the wind be at your back, helping you find the direction and the power to complete your travels safely.

I do love being in Hawaii.  This morning I am on the lanai looking across the golf course to the ocean.  Birds are singing.  The sun is shining.  The world is a wonderful place to be.

The contrast between that and the morning I have had on line is amazing.  A cancelled appointment, a webinar with poor sound even though there was a sound test on the new computer, a book coach who has found a new and wonderful job, a slight scrape on the rental car in a parking lot yesterday, another breach of security on one of my twitter sites, not being able to access my word press account from this computer … the trickster at work.

Although I had planned to just relax on this trip I have had some business crop up everyday.  That could be a challenge except for the wonderful weather and perfect scenery.  Breath.  Everything will be fine.  I do tell myself that a lot and I truly believe it but there are days were persistence is a constant thing.  I keep laughing at the trickster and he comes back to test me again with another “fly in the ointment” or another piece to add to the overwhelm.

Not today.  I am in Hawaii.  Negative ions in the air.  I will be fine … as soon as I figure out how to post this…. sigh.

Tomorrow UVI-PULSE presents another Webinar in the monthly series.  This one is about listening … actively.  It is about the state of being we need to have as human beings to involve ourselves in listening to others.  It is not about just showing up and being within earshot.  Listening with HEART is much, much more. It is about deliberately setting yourself the task of truly understanding the other persons position.  It asks you to understand their physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual well being.

HEART stands for Hush, Empathise, Attend, Reflect and Trust.  It is a neural address for a set of skills that demonstrate and strengthen Compassion.  HEART is about caring about the other person, about honouring them as a following human being with their own unique perspective on the world.  There is no judgement in this kind of listening.  Its purpose is to get over to the other person’s side and have a look at the world from there,  It is about creating understanding but not necessarily agreement.

Hush. Stop doing what ever you are doing.  Stop the chatter in your brain. Stop moving.  Stop talking.  Stop judging.  Stop editing the story.  Just stop.  Listen to what is being said NOW.  Watch what is happening NOW.  Turn off your own stuff.  Suspend what ever is going on for you so that you can feel and experience the other person’s world. Hush.

Empathise.  Imagine how it is to be in that person’s world.  Step in.  It is pretty much impossible for you to really completely understand how it is for them but if you can begin to see how or why they are thinking, talking and behaving the way they are that is a good first step.  Feel what they are feeling if you can. Sense the state they are in and emulate it as much as you can. Empathise.

Attend.  Listen with both ears.  Sit up straight.  Watch with both eyes.  Attend to the facial expressions, the body language, the tone and pace, the changes in intensity, the pauses and the words.  Put all of your attention with that person. Learn how it is for them.  Attend.

Reflect.  Let the emotional state that you see and experience reflect in your own face and body without saying anything.  This allows the speaker to continue to speak.  It also encourages expression of the emotional reality they are experiencing.  If your reflection is not true for them, they will adjust their communication to explain more clearly what is true for them until they get the right reflection back. Reflect.

Trust.  Everyone is doing the best they can with what they know.  We are social beings searching for connection with each other.  We want to believe in something bigger than ourselves.  We believe what we believe because of our own experiences.  We act the way we do because of our beliefs, expectations, assumptions, concerns and hopes.  All of this is informed by what we know to be true.  AND we can change what we know.  Trust.

Listening with HEART looks like any other kind of listening.  It is the deliberateness and purposefulness of it that makes the difference.  Put your HEART into it and listening will improve, conversations will improve and relationships will improve.

Today I worked with a very brave group of people who do very important work here in the Virgin islands.  I am always impressed by who shows up to learn about conflict management.  I have met the most interesting and wonderful people in my classes and I learn so much from each of them.  Today was like that.  I haven’t really taught this large a group in about five years and I had forgotten how demanding it can be to harness all that energy into learning.

I am tired but happy tonight.  After work I had a coaching call with a client and then did the same five minute walk to the beach that I had done yesterday .  The water is so warm and inviting here and there were two or three groups of people enjoying it the way I was.  I spent about 15 minutes in the water and then dried off and walked back up the hill to sit on the deck for the sunset.  There were a few clouds in the sky with the weight of rain in them but they didn’t drop it on St Thomas.

There have already been so many adventures and stories to tell.  I have met wonderful people in class and out and I am happy to be here.  I have been thinking about renting a car for the weekend to do some errands and see some of the sights or joining a charter and doing a yacht adventure one day or … so many possibilities.  Many of you know that I didn’t think I could ever rent a car.  I was traumatized justs riding as a passanger the first time I came here.  Left hand drive cars on the left side of the road.  Who does that? 

I think I am ready to give it a go.  Wish me luck.

Another day with my brave people tomorrow.  Friday I am redoing the Webinar on POWER Listening form Tuesday.  I fogot to record the one on Tuesday.  Its a do over I am happy to have the chance to do.  Next week … St Croix and some colleagues of the people I am working with this week on St Thomas.  I love my new job…..

 

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Continue on your path to UVI-PULSE mediation certification and build valuable skills with these courses coming to the University of the Virgin Islands:

Understanding and Experience PULSE Techniques (Free online events)
Sep. 8 / Webinar: The POWER of Deep Listening
Oct. 14 / Webinar: Listening with HEART
Nov. 12 / Webinar: The PULSE Grid
Dec. 9 / Webinar: PULSE Ways of Knowing

Introduction to Conflict Mediation
Sep. 9-10 I St. Thomas Campus (St. Thomas)
Sep. 15-16 I Albert A. Sheen Campus (St. Croix)

SHIFT
Sep. 11 I St. Thomas Campus (St. Thomas)
Sep. 17 I Albert A. Sheen Campus (St. Croix)

PULSE Conversations for Change
Sep. 21-25 I St. Thomas Campus (St. Thomas)
Nov. 16-20 I Albert A. Sheen Campus (St. Croix)

Advanced Mediation
Nov. 4-10 I St. Thomas Campus (St. Thomas)

UVI-PULSE Professional Train-the-Trainer
Sep. 28-30 I St. Thomas Campus (St. Thomas)

I know that I have written about the relationship between time and space before but tonight, as I sit back in my apartment after a week away in Edinburgh and  an extended (30 hour) journey home, I am once again struck by the feeling of never having left.  Traveling is weird… and wonderful.  There is so much I enjoy about it and so much I tend to endure rather than savour.

It seems like yesterday that I was at the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo, at the spectacular Edinburgh Castle enjoying the precision of pipes and rums and dancers from around the world with thousands of other souls braving the wind and rain and the bitter chill of a Scottish evening.  When EVERYONE stood up, joined hands and sang Auld Lang Syne it was a sight to see and to etch into the memory banks.

It seems like yesterday that our tour van turned a corner and my eyes welled with tears at my first glimpse of the Old Course at St Andrews.  The medieval town with its impressive university seems a fitting backdrop to the birth place of golf.  St Andrews has always been there and I can only imagine how many duffers like me have been moved by the site of the place.

AND Doune Castle where Monty Python filmed The Holy Grail. So interesting and LOL funny. The visit took us back to the medieval times but also to 1975 when the silly, preposterous film was produced there.  The visit was just days ago, close in time yet so far away in kilometres from where I am right now.  And don’t even get me started on time zones and jet lag after 30 hours of travel through seven time zones. 

Now I am sitting at my dining room table remembering.  There are new images and sensations in my brain forever to be associated with Scotland. And I have a new appreciation for where I come from and why I am the way I am.  Scotland, like Nova Scotia, gives me the sensation of home, of fitting in, of feeling welcomed and appreciated for my sarcastic humour and my firm believe in democracy, the rights and responsibility of each individual in a well ordered and unique society of wonderful, fun loving human beings.

We didn’t get to Skye where Clan MacKinnon last held land but I always feel as if I have already been there.  The etheral beauty and the warm welcome in a cold climate are part of who I am as a Love, a Highlander, always willing to fight for a cause, never satisfied until the enemy is defeated.  The enemy for me has always been ignorance and the Scots were the first to wage that battle and fight that fight with introduction of mandatory schooling for young children and free university for its citizens and lending libraries before it was done anywhere else.  Education at an early age produced many unlikely scholars in Scotland.

Tomorrow I am back in the education saddle here in western Canada as I prepare for Wednesday’s free webinar sponsered by UVI PULSE at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Institute for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness.  Here’s the link to register. 8 am Mountain and 10 am Eastern time on Wednesday the 12th.

http://www.uvi.edu/administration/president/initiatives/ILOE/pulse/events.aspx

Many of you will have already recieved an invitation to attend.  I am excited to be sharing the GHOST protocol “wi’ ye” and look forward to the opportunity. Now to bed … to dream of the banks of Loch Lomond.

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