Truly Powerful People (20)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.


Karola swam out of the mists of time. At least that is how I think of the moment I met her. I was swimming laps  in the outdoor pool at the YMCA early one winter morning in Santa Maria. Steam billowed off the heated water into the cold morning air; I could hear the quiet strokes of other swimmers but I could not see beyond my lane.


I had a kink in my neck and stopped to work it out. “Can I help you?” she said in her thick German accent as she emerged from the fog. She looked like a jolly She-Yoda and laughed heartily at my gaping stare.


Her hands went right to the spot – as if they knew where the pain was and I gave myself over completely to her careful massage. In just a few moments the knot released, I sighed, and Karola introduced herself.


We stood in the pool and talked about the kinds of things that old friends talk about; I was so taken by her that I completely forgot about swimming my laps. When I realized I was late for work  I jumped out of the pool and only then did she say in her She-Yoda German accent, “You know this expression, ‘a glass half full or half empty? You are exhausted with trying to keep the glass half full – that is why you have this knot. Relax. Stop pretending to be things that you are not. You will never experience a full glass until you first let yourself go completely empty and discover who you really are.”

Truly Powerful People (19)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.


Language is an amazing and tricky business!


If you are one year old or older, you will most likely be in the process of acquiring language – a miracle of complexity that no one really understands.


Along with language you will also acquire the habit of talking to yourself, stringing words together to describe and interpret your experiences. You will become an expert teller of stories and because they are your stories you will assume that they are true.


And, finally, along with acquiring language, becoming an expert storyteller, assuming your version of every experience is truth, you will fall into your stories, you will become them! You will tell some of them so fast and so repetitively that you will spend most of your life wrapped in a monologue about your past or your future or of how you assume other people think or might or might not see you. You will miss your present moment altogether.


How can you possibly see anything through so much analyzing, interpreting, investing, attaching, fearing, and resisting? What might you see if you remembered that language is a tricky, sticky business and that what you narrate might not be truth but just narration? What might you see if for a moment you stopped talking to yourself?



Truly Powerful People (18)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Empowered people empower others because they are not trying to control things that they cannot control. In fact, they have a different relationship with the word, “control.”

It is like this: are you invested in the idea that you can control what others think, see, or feel? You can’t. You can never determine what others think, see, or feel – that is theirs to control, not yours. Neither can they control what you think see or feel; even if you want others to be responsible for what you feel, they can’t. That is yours.

What you think is yours to think (it is a choice – a subject for another day). What you feel is yours to feel. What you see is yours to interpret. Empowered people empower others because they own what is theirs and are clear about what is not theirs to own. They have no need to seek their value in other people’s responses so they have no need to control other people’s perceptions. They know their worth so they have no need to prove it or defend it. Their worth cannot be taken.

Imagine what might happen in your life and relationships when you no longer invest in the idea that others are responsible for your feelings. What will you do with all of your thoughts and time when you give up the notion that you can control what others see or think or feel!

Truly Powerful People (17)


Truly powerful people inspire power in others.


In simple terms it is a matter of directionality: are you moving toward something or are you moving away from something. Are you defining yourself through what you imagine, through what you desire to create or do you know yourself through what you resist?


Imagine the impact of either direction on your life and relationships. Are you engaging with the people in your life as a creator of what you want or through resistance?


Resistance is not a bad thing, it is sometimes a necessary step in order to see what you want to create. It is a step. However, placing your focus too long on what you don’t want blinds you to the possibilities. It binds you to the impossibilities: too much resistance evokes the victim within you.


What are your possibilities? What are you yearning to create?


What if no one else had your answers? What if your happiness was already in your pocket and not in the thoughts or actions of others? What if there was nothing to control, nothing to resist, only choices to be made? Which direction would you choose?

Truly Powerful People (16)


His white postal service truck is parked beneath a tree across from the tide pools. He parks in this spot every day to have his lunch; I imagine it is the midway point in Dado’s daily mail delivery route. Today is the first day in weeks that it is not raining and many of the neighborhood’s residents are out walking.


Dado is like the ice-cream truck for adults. People can’t wait to see him, they rush his truck, waving with both arms and smiling. It is not the mail that they are excited about; it is Dado. He is a cherub with a full-body grin. He is as excited to see you, as you are to see him. He knows your name, he knows your story, and he is never in a hurry (paradox alert! Dado delivers the mail like clockwork – everyday – yet every time I see him he is having a pleasant conversation with someone in the neighborhood! I am guilty of having regular 20-minute conversations with him…).


From a distance I watch people take turns talking to him. They laugh. Their faces soften. Their stories and gestures are enthusiastic. I watch their posture change as they see him and cross the street to say, ‘hello.’ It is as if, for just a moment, they stop hiding; they come out from behind their dull screen and shine.


Dado sees people and people like being seen. It is not complicated; when you talk with Dado there is nothing more important to do, there is no place he would rather be than talking with you.


Presence feels good. That’s what Dado knows and that is what Dado brings.


Truly Powerful People (15)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.


Truly powerful people inspire power in other people. It is like that great Beatles lyric: the love you take will be equal to the love you make.


You get what you give. Write it off as cliché or consider this: significant change always appears complex and is never achieved through a path of complexity. Great change happens in small steps. It is through simplicities that we transform and simplicities are not always apparent.


Here is a simplicity: We are mirrors for each other. If what I bring is truly powerful, what might you see in yourself? If what you allow me to see is your great power and presence, what might I discover within myself?


Verify it for yourself. Try it for a day.

Truly Powerful People (14)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.


Empowered people empower others. It is a simple notion and like most simple notions it is easy to discount.


Consider: if you insist upon seeing a dog-eat-dog world then you can only be a dog that eats or a dog that is eaten. Everyone will look like a hungry dog and, of course, no one wants to be eaten. One day when you are sufficiently tired of biting or of being bitten it might occur to you that the world is not filled with dogs eating dogs; you are merely seeing what you are dedicated to seeing.


You’ve heard the old saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” This adage is backwards, it is truer when flipped to read, “I see it because I believe it.”


Seeing is not passive, it is a creative act.


What happens if, instead of seeing dogs, you decide to see powerful people? What might they see in you?

Truly Powerful People (13)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.


Truly powerful people inspire power in others because they engage with what is in front of them not what they think is there.


It sounds easy until you try it. Consider this: how much of your day will you give to replaying the past? How much of your day will you give to fearing the future? If you do, by chance, happen to find yourself aware in your present moment, what story will you impose on it (thereby taking yourself out of the present moment)? What happens if you don’t interpret it? What happens if you put down your label-maker?


Imagine suspending your story – just for a little while each day – and engaging with what or who is in front of you and not what or whom you think is there?

Truly Powerful People (12)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.


I hold my breath. I don’t want Dava to know that I am watching her work. She is mixing something in a bowl – magic. She is singing. I’m not the only one peering through the window into the kitchen; there are five peepers poised to duck when she returns to the stove. Eleven more retreat-participants are hissing from across the room, “What’s she doing?” We wave them off!


We watch Dava in the kitchen because she loves what she does. She is doing more than making food for us; she is infusing love into the meal that she is preparing. That is not an exaggeration. It is a statement of fact. Ask anyone who has tasted her cooking! In our minds interrupting her would be a sacrilege, akin to bothering Michelangelo while he was sculpting.


We’ve come to this retreat to rejuvenate and renew. We are here to practice presence. As one of the facilitators of the retreat I’ve recognized that watching Dava is more useful than anything I can say or do. I bring abstract notions. Dava brings her Self – she is steady and even. She is presence. There is a spark in her heart and it makes us all want to be…. To Be.


What could be more powerful?


Truly Powerful Poeple (11)


Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.


Truly powerful people are dedicated to inspiring true power in others.


It is helpful to think of it as a simple question of focus placement: where do you choose to place your focus: on the outcome or on the process.


Truly powerful people know that there is no place of arrival called “happiness” or “success;” they know an outcome-focus is an illusion, it requires trading this moment of life for an idea of life in the future. It is a trap.


A focus placed on process opens the door to the present moment. It is a choice to engage with the person, the idea, and the experience that you are having now. It is a choice to invest your self in the quality of the immediate engagement. It allows for subtlety, for vulnerability, it opens hearts to receive and to give. It affords you the opportunity to see what is there, not what you think is there.


Artistry is not an outcome it is a process. Mastery is not an outcome it is a relationship.


Where do you choose to place your focus? What might you see if being present in this moment was more important than “getting there” someday?