Allow [on KS Friday]

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“If we allow time for soul, we will sense its dark and luminous path. If we fail to acquaint ourselves with soul, we will remain strangers in our own lives.” ~ John O’Donohue, Beauty

These days are edge days. We began to feel strangers in our own lives. That is a sign to be heeded. It’s time for us to sit in silence.

“Beauty inhabits the cutting edge of creativity – mediating between the known and the unknown, light and darkness, masculine and feminine, visible and invisible, chaos and meaning, sound and silence, self and others.” ~ John O’Donohue, Beauty

Kerri doubts her beauty. And then she approaches the edge. She stands at her piano. When she plays all doubt leaves the room because the polarity finds its middle way, there is no this or that.

Sometimes it is enough – it is necessary – to stand at the piano with hands nowhere near the keys.


read Kerri’s blog post about UNDER CONSTRUCTION


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Leap Or Show Up

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

My inner sociologist shared his notes with me. He tugged on his sweater and pushed his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose before positing that personal edges only come in two varieties. Both varieties, he asserts, fall under the single category of “where the known meets the unknown.” Just as the sea meets the shore, the known meets the unknown in a convergence of elements. He told me that it makes no difference whether you are a sea or shore dweller, the other place, the unknown place, marks the line between comfort and discomfort. It also marks the line between stasis and growth. Stay in the known and stagnation is a certainty. Put your toes in the water or your fins on the shore and you will learn something new. I nodded my head. I agree with his assertion.

He tapped his pen on his yellow pad (my inner sociologist eschews technology) as he knit his brow and told me that stepping across the line into the unknown defines the first variety of edge. He labeled this first variety of edge, “The Leaping Point.” Apparently we visit the leaping point many times before actually leaping. We know what we need to do long before doing it – yet we pretend that we don’t know what we need to do. He explained that the most common mistake we make is to think that the discomfort comes from stepping across the edge; it doesn’t. The discomfort comes before the step. The discomfort is what drives us to finally do the thing we know we need to do. The discomfort comes from delaying the step. The step is liberating. The step transforms the discomfort.

He cleared his throat before telling me the second variety of edge comes from facing the thing we fear the most: being seen (note: fulfilling your potential is a subset of being seen). Being seen is a mirror-action to the first variety of edge. In this variety, the step is not from the known into the unknown; it is a step from the unknown into the known. He explained that the unknown in this case is the accumulated clutter of who we think we “should be;” we reject who we are. And then, one day, when we can no longer sustain the mask, we have to pull the mask off and reveal who we really are. We have to step into who we know ourselves to be. The transformation is from unknown to known.

He smiled, pulling his glasses from his face, and said, “It is really quite elegant if you think about it. Leap or Show Up. Those are our only two edges.”

Meet At The Edge

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

On the plane today I read a short piece on edges and it reminded me of the power of this simple reality. The place where two elements come together, the place where two currents meet, the place where two cultures intersect, the place where the clearing meets the forest, the place where the world drops off: these places either teem with life or fire the imagination. It is at the edges where we become uncomfortable. It is at the edges where we say, “I don’t know” and thus, learning becomes possible.

There are internal edges as well as external edges. I work with people all the time who tell me they’ve hit a wall, come upon a block, or run into a limit that feels like an abyss. Internal edges are just the same as external edges: they either teem with new life in the form of ideas and pursuit or they evoke discomfort and resistance. Edges are present when we say, “I’m lost,” or “I don’t know what to do,” or “I’m frozen and can’t move.” Edges are present when we shout, “That was incredible!” Edges are supposed to generate instability: movement.

You know you are at an edge when you judge: judge some one or something else and it’s a good bet that you aren’t comfortable. Judge yourself and it’s a good bet that you’ve found an edge. If, in the moment of judgment, you realize that you are at an edge and suspend your judgment, you are instantly capable of learning. If, at the moment of judging, that you invest in the judgment, you’ve shut down the learning. Judgment is merely a way of establishing a location, a false “known” so you can get away from the unknown: it is an oddity human development that it easier to call yourself or others an idiot (thus, locating yourself or them) than it is to say, “I don’t know….”

Edges are everywhere. Kichom Hayashi sends his students out in the world to find as many edges as they can. Try it. You’ll find there are edges everywhere: grass meets concrete, brick meets brick, glass meets steel, earth meets water, sky meets horizon, hand meets hand, idea meets idea: the possibilities are endless. See them and then imagine the edges define connectivity instead of separation. If you reinforce the connectivity, you will walk toward your edges every time; the discomfort will call you and fire your imagination. If you see separations, the edges will frighten you and drive you back into the comfort of judgment. It all depends on what you choose to see.

Stop Pushing

633. 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 love when lessons come in clusters. Sometimes it seems the week has a theme that will keep coming until I pay attention.

This morning, Saul-The-Chi-Lantern gave us an article from a magazine about yoga injuries. “It’s never good to push too far, to try and be a super person,” he said. He asked us to face the mirrors in the room and guided us though a series of minimal movement exercises. “Find the edge of your movement and learn that edge.” As we moved through the exercises he told stories of dancers and martial artists that left their center, that strained their bodies beyond what was natural and sustained career ending injuries. He told us of a doctor he once knew that treated joint and spinal injuries with the minimal movement exercises we were doing in class. “The edge moves. You gain flexibility by finding the edge, working with it, and not by forcing yourself past it.”

“Power comes from relaxation, not through resistance,” he said as he demonstrated a martial arts move. “If someone punches, I am most effective with the least amount of energy,” he said, showing a simple twist of his arm to deflect a blow. To meet the force with force will knock me off center. It will hurt!” he laughed. Power is not resistance. Power is relaxation.

Earlier this week I worked with a class of entrepreneur’s preparing for their investor pitches; they were working really hard to be memorable. They were tense, pushing. I told them that in a past life I used to audition actors, sometimes I’d see dozens of people in a single day. I told the class that I’d never remember the actors who worked hard, who tried to get me to remember them; the actors I remembered where simple, honest, centered, and clear. The actors I remembered were relaxed. Minimal effort. Easy. Powerful. The actors I remembered were honest.

Yesterday, Judy-Who-I-Revere, after listening to my tale of woe said, “You don’t need to work so hard. You already have everything you need. Relax; you can stop pushing.”

When Saul started his lesson this morning I smiled, thinking, “Alright already! I hear it! I’ll stop pushing. I will relax.” I am a slow study and sometimes it tickles me that I make the universe work so hard to teach me….