In just one week I start my new adventure on the Island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.  I am equal measures of excited and anxious.  I look forward to being there, being part of something larger than myself and I am anxious about leaving my very comfortable home and the way of life I have developed over the past few years.  I will be staying on campus at UVI and I anticipate a very steep learning curve over this first month of offering classes and moving the intellectual property of PULSE to its new owners.

Am I ready? My suitcases are packed.  I have my airline bookings and my accommodations are booked.  I have made arrangements to have my apartment looked after.  I have paid my bills and notified everyone who needs to know including my cell phone company.  I have sent the proofs for the manuals for the courses I will teach. I have American money in my wallet.  And I still have a week to say my goodbyes to family and friends and put the finishing touches on the packing and planning for a month in the beautiful Caribbean.

Am I really ready? On the SHIFT scales of well being that I ask others to use I would say that I am still getting ready for this adventure.  SHIFT deals with five scales of well being for a well rounded look at how a person is experiencing the world.  This seemed like a good time for me to take inventory. How Sharp, Happy, Independent, Fit and Trusting am I right now?

The S in SHIFT stands for a Sharp Mind. It measures intellectual well being.  Intellectually I still have work to do to get the clear purposes, protocols and processes in place for me to serve the participants I will face in the next few weeks.  I want to be totally prepared to further their understanding of PULSE and the Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge that PULSE, the Frame, represents.  I have acquired so much information and experience over the years that my mind literally races as I search, sort and select, wondering about what to share during each of the programs and when.  Timing is important for understanding and I know that there will be nine perspectives on the world watching me deliver the programs.  Doing a good job of meeting all of those needs is important to me and my intellectual prowess will be tested as I juggle what I know with what they need to know and when. Even though I know that most of that I will learn in the moment by listening and adjusting as needed, I still feel some panic in this regard.  I think I will need this week to think it all through again a couple of times.

The H in SHIFT is for a Happy Heart. It measures emotional well being.  Emotionally I am not quite ready to go.  I am leaving behind my father who is pretty mobile right now for an 85 year old but who I worry about all of the time. I am leaving my children and grandchildren who will all be very busy with September’s glorious beginnings of school and after school programs, new adventures of their own.  I am leaving behind my friends from curling ( and occasional golf) who may need to replace me more often this year as the adventure unfolds. I am leaving my dear friends that I spend time with in St Albert and at the Lake.  I have created a wonderful network of support here and I know they will be here when I get back but I have never been away for a month before … except when I was in Calgary for 15 years.  I’m sure I will miss them all.  I am also sure I can keep in touch and catch up with things upon my return.

I am also sure that I will meet new friends and be reacquainted with old ones on St Thomas.  The sun and the sea always improve my mood.  There will be lots of reasons to smile and to feel happy as I meet new students and work with them so that they become conflict competent.  I hope to visit my favourite place on earth … the Baths on Virgin Gorda … while I am away and that will feed my smile bank for a long time afterwards.  I will not be less happy while I am away.  I will be happy in a different way and for different reasons.  Nonetheless my happiness scale will fluctuate as it always does.

The I in SHIFT is for Independent Spirit. It measures relational well being and today for me is very closely related to the H – Happiness measure.  I am independent.  I am Oprah in my Talk Show life.  I take charge and make decisions with careful consideration and deliberate thought.  I can also be completely clueless, not willing to ask for or accept the help I need to move to the next step.  I have more alone time than I need right now.  Spending time with “coworkers” and workshop participants is something I have been craving for awhile.  I am really looking forward to working with others and spending time with people again, especially like-minded people with similar goals and aspirations.  At the same time I am cautious because I will be in a new environment where there is a different social contract already established.  I will need to have my wits about me.  I hope to create lasting friendships and collegial (double entendue intended) working relationships in the most mutually agreeable way while maintaining my sense of Independence and self control.

The F in SHIFT stands for Fit Body.  It is a measure of physical well being.  I am never really satisfied with my levels of physical fitness.  Maybe that is because it is something that requires daily attention and takes time away from my intellectual pursuits which I much prefer.  Am I ready physically for this adventure?  I think so.  I have packed the necessities … tooth brush and other  tools for physical hygiene.  Although I will miss my first few tap dancing classes, I did put in a pair of runners just in case a university campus has a fitness facility.  I say that facetiously hoping they don’t and knowing they do.  Any excuse for missing a work out that isn’t tap dancing or curling is worth hoping for in my world.  I am armed with Yoga videos to maintain my flexibility and will TRY to walk everyday and because I will have kitchen facilities I am PLANNING on eating well … not out every night.

The T in SHIFT is for Trusting Soul.  It is a measure of spiritual well being.  Am I ready for this adventure spiritually?  Yes.  Firmly yes.  All roads have lead to this adventure.  At times it does feel beyond my control, that the universe is unfolding and that this will be my legacy.  I am ready for that and willing to work as hard as I can to see that through.  This opportunity is a gift to me that I will not squander.  I am grateful for it.  I intend to work hard to revive the PULSE dream of a world full of people who know how to be gentle and honest with each other, people who can use the tools of mediation to create wonderful relationships, people who recognize each other as whole and complete, where people take the time to honour each other with deep listening and careful consideration of other peoples thoughts, words and deeds in context, where people care about what they say, how they say it and the impact of their words on others. That is my personal vision and mission and this is another vehicle for me to accomplish these things on a larger scale.

 

The adventure begins next week.  Stay tuned for updates.

I have always thought of myself as independent.  Even when I was totally financial dependent on others, I imagined that I still had decision making power and control over how things would turn out.  I acted as if my voice still counted and I took responsibility for those decision that I helped to make.

An independent spirit requires that you maintain a certain level of competence and distance from others.  It is not that you loose any sense of compassion or caring.  It is just that you take the observe role and see the situation from a perspective that allows you to observe the good and the bad in any and all possible outcomes.  You do not become lost in the needs of others nor do you ignore their needs to gain your own advantage.  It is this level of autonomy that keeps us sane and healthy in difficult situations and it is that level of autonomy that we lose when we slip into dependence – emotional, financial, physical, spiritual, intellectual or relational.

How do we guard ourselves against that kind of dependence?  First we must recognize the signs of waning self confidence and waxing loss of identity. Knowing your own mind, heart and body is the first step and being tuned into changes or SHIFTS is key.  When you begin to set aside your own needs on a regular basis is it is time to take stock.  When you are blaming others for your situation it is time to take stock and when you are making decisions for others it is also time to take stock.  It is a balancing act and you will know when you are in the GROOVE

Take good care this week. Keep in touch with yourself and your relational well-being.  Maintain a healthy distance from those you are not ready to trust.  Rely on yourself and on those with whom you have developed a healthy INTERdependence.

How can you change your PULSE?  Pulse rates are usually pretty stable and predictable but once in a while your pulse rate changes. What are the triggers for that?  Could be physical exertion or it could be emotional response or it could be your brain creating threats for you … real or imagined.  What can you do to lower the impact of perceived threat and normalize your physiological response?

One of the most important outcomes of using PULSE to structure your conversations is that you rarely get so excited by words that your PULSE changes.  Because you have a clearer understanding about what to do or say and how and why to do it you are less likely to trigger the physiological responses of fight, flight or freeze.  You might be curious about what is being said and why.  You might find the courage to ask the question in your head and test that assumption you  might be making.  You might feel confident enough to feel compassion and a real connection with the other party which moves your body to relax, release and relate, thus lowering your pulse rate.

Learning PULSE definitely keeps your blood pressure and your heart rate healthy.

How can I say that?  That is a pretty wild claim.  How can a Frame for Social Exchanges change your life?

I know that getting excited  rather than curious can change your physical state.  I also know that remaining calm and in control is a lot easier if you have a plan and a structure for the difficult conversation you are in.  When you have confidence in a peaceful sustainable outcome because you know what to do you are less likely to feel threatened by any situation.  You are more likely to use your training to de-escalate and resolve thus lowering everyone’s heart rate.

Like the CPR training you took to help people having heart failure, your PULSE training takes you into situations to calm emotional responses so that people can get the blood back into their brains.  CPR gets the heart going again.   PULSE slows it down.

I have been working on combining the two PULSE books today.  They both include some of the history of PULSE and some clear distinctions that make PULSE unique. I love the five stages and how easily they occur in regular conversation.  I love how you can watch the patterns emerge and people move through orientations to the past, the present and the future all the while shifting directions from away from the other,  to with the other and toward the other in a kind of dance that fills the space between them.  Each social exchange helps them define their own social being.

I write about the patterns as a structure to use when the exchange is difficult, when there is conflict or miscommunication.  It is also so helpful in everyday life.  Whether it is a face to face or a voice to voice or a text to text encounter really doesn’t matter.  Social interaction guided by good communication that furthers the social capital of the sender and receiver always contains the five stages, anyway.  They occur naturally.   Prepare, Uncover, Learn, Search and Explain.

Prepare for the social interaction by defining purpose, process, protocol, people.  Some times these are tacitly understood but if there is no clear understanding or assumptions are made that are not shared then things can go very wrong.

Uncover the circumstance that lead to the encounter … the past.

Learn what’s important about the circumstance  in the present and identify BEACHs to use as criteria for change.

Search possibilities for a future that will meet the criteria.

Explain a plan of action with enough detail to make it sustain able.

The guiding questions move us through past to present and future orientations when you need them .  The encounter map works to ensure that we use all of the directions.  People have an opportunity to move away, to move with and toward when the structure is followed.

Each stage has critical elements.  Mastering the elements takes time.  Learning to use the frame is a little easier.

In Prepare for example it is important to use GHOST – Gentle Honest Open Specific Talk.  It is important to be thorough and deliberate as you explain or have the other explain the rules of the game as you understand them.  This is where you take an Appreciative Stance and ACT AS IF the encounter will result in a mutually beneficial outcome.  The more you know about AI and how it works the better you get at Prepare. It is here that relational well being comes into play.

In Uncover it is important to listen deeply – with HEART – Hush, Empathize (feel their pain or joy), Attend, Reflect and Trust. Passive listening without judgement or bias, allowing the past to surface and sometimes change in the telling of the story with a different audience and allowing the shared title of the story to emerge. Emotional well being is important here.

In Learn it is important to prove that you are listening with POWER – Paraphrase, Open questions, WAIT, Empathize (name their pain or joy) and Reframe.  Social selves emerge as do rules for future encounters and redefining of past encounters as Beliefs, Expectations, Assumptions, Concerns and Hopes are shared, acknowledged and understood. Relational well being is again at play here.

In Search it is important to focus on creativity and possibilities and the future.  Patience is key as ideas are generated later to be vetted against the criteria of the BEACHs. Intellectual well being can make a difference here.

In Explain the other side of the brain, the analytical side is asked to perform as the details of the plan emerge and are tested to determine their sustainability. Again intellectual well being makes a difference.

Each stage requires levels of  intellectual, emotional, relational, physical and spiritual well-being.  More about that later.

Today was about remembering PULSE and the power of social exchanges.  It was about expanding that thinking to include not just conversation but any human social interaction that contributes to us knowing who we really are, or re-membering ourselves as part of a greater whole.

Remembering PULSE and RE-membering PULSE.

We are working on getting you back into the habit of PULSE.  Watch for a Newsletter next week and notice the changes on the website and join again if you can.  Making it membership based has been the plan for a year or two now and we are closer today.

Adding value for our members and adding to the list of those of you who read and learn is the PULSE 2.0 Purpose, to give you the courage to make a change and the confidence to make a difference.  The Process is to generate Products and Opportunities that help you gain the courage and the confidence you need to have successful social exchanges, when and where you need it.  The Protocol remains a gentle, honest, open, specific, talk approach, using PULSE to teach PULSE.  The People are PULSE professionals past, present and future with a shared desire to create the best social exchanges and build social capital for brighter futures.

Thanks for the member – ies. (smile)

Tuesday February 4th, 2014 I will be broadcasting the first in a series of SHIFT webinars. It will be a 40 minute discussion of how the SHIFT model can be used to improve life experiences.
http://pulseinstitute.adobe.connect.com/shift is the URL

It will be a live broadcast that will be recorded and made available to you if you cannot attend.  We will be broadcasting each month on the 4th at 10:00 AM MDT.  Here is the list of topics we have created.

February 4th – SHIFT Happens
March 4th – PULSE in review
April 4th – Checklists for every PULSE conversation
May 4th – GHOST a way to speak and listen
June 4th – The POWER of deep listening
July 4th –  The PULSE Enneagram grid
August 4th – Intelligences – Ways of Knowing
September 4th – a Sharp Mind
October 4th – a Happy Heart
November 4th – an Independent Spirit
December 4th – a Fit Body
January 4th, 2015 – a Trusting Soul
The webinars are free to attend just enter the URL or go to the PULSE website events page and click on the calendar of events.  The link will take you to the webinar.

“Sit up straight” How many times have you heard that from parents and teachers? Today it sounds like good advice. It is not just about how you sit which is the physical wellbeing aspect of posture. It can also apply to all the other scales of wellbeing.
“Sit up straight” on the sharpness scale asks you to pay attention and be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes when I am reading my mind wanders. If I were to say to myself “Sit up straight” I know that the physical act of doing that would bring my focus back to the words on the page.
“Sit up straight” on the Happiness scale could be a reminder to choose happiness and not allow yourself to move into that slouchy, depressed state that is often easy to be in and difficult to get out of. When we “sit up straight” from the heart we can feel the lift that we get and it can make you smile.
“Sit up straight” on the relational wellbeing scale of independence is an invitation to take charge of the situation and make the most of the relationship you are working on. Don’t allow others to make decisions for you. Use your back bone to straighten the situation in your favour.
“Sit up straight” on the Fitness scale allows your organs the room they need to work properly and lets your back do the work it was built to do. Using the muscles in your back this way strengthens them and you in many ways.
“Sit up straight” on the Trusting scale is another invitation to pay attention to the “coincidences in your life, the unexplained, the miraculous. Trust that your intentions when shared are powerful and that we are all in the right place, doing the right thing.
The significance of good posture, of sitting up straight is enormous. So it for a day or two and see how much better you feel.
SHIFT will happen.

Here is the last digit in the five digit approach to maintaining your well-being on a daily basis.  The thumb in this daily ritual represents your soul, your connection to the collective consciousness to a deity or a faith that you share with others. It is very important to have a connection with something bigger than yourself.  These are the things that give your life meaning and these are the things that separate you from other animals, much the way your opposable thumb does.

On a scale from close to your palm to closer to your thumb tip where are you in your spiritual well-being?  How connected are you to the universe, to the almighty, to whatever you believe in?  It is a tough question and for me it has always been very, very personal.  I don’t talk much about my spiritual well-being.  I am often careful when I am teaching not to say things like “the Universe is unfolding as it should” or the universe will provide”.  Instead I say “Trust that everyone is doing the best they can with what they know”.

I do believe in a power greater than you and me.  I have been reading “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch for years… again and again.  It is a series of books that resonates with me.  Walsch writes his grievances to God and God answers.  It’s cool and real in a way that other things I have read are not.  I like the idea of a God that doesn’t judge, one that loves everything about human beings and who reminds us that we cannot fail, that we create our own lives through thought, word, and deed and that no one does anything they do not want to do at some level.

Thought, word and deed … powerful ways to define your life.  First you define what you want.  Then you talk about it and then you act as if it is already true.  Sound familiar.  It is a common message from many sources and that is the cool thing about spirituality.  Where ever you start you end up in the same place … connected to others and the universe.

Ways to maintain that connection include prayer and meditation, charitable acts and giving back.  All are good for the soul.  Connecting with nature and our fellow-man in a way that lets us see the worthiness, the blessedness and the holiness in others because we can see it in ourselves.  If you have ever watched “Secret Millionaire” on Slice TV you will know how Charitable acts effect the person giving as much if not more than they impact those receiving.  Watching that show is good for the soul.

I am confident that you have your own list of “things that are good for the soul”.  Mine includes music, babies, family and friends, sunsets and sunrises, a walk in a park or on the beach or just time to consider what I am grateful for.  Gratitude is key and very individual as well. The main element of a Trusting Soul is choice.  Choose to be grateful and gracious and watch what happens.

RENEW for Souls.  Release any anger or resentment.  It is poison.  Energize with meditation or reading. Nurture with nature.  Exercise by acts of kindness. WAIT.  Be patient … the universe is not finished with you yet.