Shift [on Merely A Thought Monday]

shift key framed copy

Shift is not an insignificant key. In a nanosecond it can take you from lower case to upper. It can throw your backslash into question. The simple finality of a period can be pitched into a statement of worth: greater or lesser.

Doesn’t it feel like a malevolent pinky just hit the universal shift key in our world? Of this we can be sure: it’s a new sentence and there’s no going back to what we once knew as “normal.”

In spiritual circles, shift is what happens when our otherwise cloudy consciousness becomes crystal clear. In circles of learning and growth, shift is what happens to our perspective when what was previously unknown becomes readily apparent. The penny drops and we can never again not-know what we now comprehend.

Perhaps the omnipotent pinky pushing our shift key is not malevolent. Perhaps it was long past time that we took stock of the gap between our rhetoric and our actions, our professed history and the full accounting? Perhaps we needed a boost from our lower case value-set to actually approach our upper case potentials.

In the great stories, as in life, there is a paradox associated with profound shifts. They come, not through pursuit or seeking, they come when the protagonist stops looking, surrenders and stands still. The shift always comes with the realization that what is sought has been readily available all along. The belief in separation creates the necessity to seek. The commitment to division creates the necessity to fight for dominance.

Shift words like “unity” or “common” or “harmony” or “accord” or “wholeness” or “integrity” arise when the seeking and fighting and pursuing cease. They show up when we stand still, when we stop looking for them. They become options when we realize that they have been available all along.


read Kerri’s blog post about SHIFT

Kerri is still in the Facebook penalty box so if you enjoy reading her thoughts please consider subscribing to her blog. I do – even though I get to read what she writes before she publishes. As her greatest fan it is always a pleasure to read the before-publish AND after-publish versions.



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color & contemplation copy

an oldie but goodie: contemplation


contemplation ©️ 2004 david robinson

Help Yourself See [on Two Artists Tuesday]

gratitude blanks copy

In a particularly dismal period of time in my Seattle years, I decided I needed to focus on the good stuff. I made a game of writing on small bits of paper things in my life for which  I was grateful. And then I left my small gratitude notes around the city as I moved about my day. I left them at bus stops. I rolled some and tucked them in crosswalk signs. A few were tucked into menus or left on coffeehouse tables.

My gratitude notes had an interesting blow-back. They inspired me to seek things that I was grateful for so I might write a note about it. Not only that, but they made me pay attention to the infinite acts of kindness that I saw everyday. People were helping people everywhere! I was blind to it until I started paying attention; until I got out of my misery-head and opened my eyes.

I was struck by the vast difference between the story I was being told about humanity and the story I was witnessing on my daily walks across the city. I could count the acts of aggression. I lost track of the acts of kindness and generosity because there were too many to capture.

When you stop and think about it, isn’t it always the case that the the good stuff, the potential-pool-of-gratitude-possibilities is vast yet the gunk gets all the focus. What is it in us that hyper-focuses on the flaw, sorts to the wound, while the river of beauty roars by unnoticed?

Kerri designed these cards for another project and they made me remember my notes. Encouragement of gratitude. Give it a try. Download the blanks. Scribble a note or two of thanks-giving and leave them behind somewhere. Be prepared for some eye opening blow-back.


gratitude blanks PDF copy


read Kerri’s blog post about GRATITUDE



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Possess It

An untitled  watercolor I did years ago

An untitled watercolor I did years ago

Last night P-Tom said, “This is the time of year that everyone is telling us what we need and where we can go to buy it.”

Yesterday I worked on website language. After a year-long hiatus I’m re-visioning what was once a coaching practice. All day I was aware that words like “potential” and “purpose” are abstractions; they are marketing terms. Many years ago, when I was first establishing a coaching practice, I read articles and listened to recordings full of advice about “how to start a coaching business;” the recommendation was unanimous: host free calls, help people see their problem, and end the call. Leave them standing in the mud so they will need you. Create lack (isn’t that a great definition for marketing?).

What does it really mean to fulfill your potential? What does it mean to “find your purpose?” Look to the layer beneath. To fulfill, to find…, these are terms from the canon of outcome and result. No one willingly seeks his or her endpoint. If there is a universal problem it is that we see our existence as something with a bottom line and hire coaches and therapists to help us do the accounting.

(Insert mantra: nothing is broken. You do not need to be fixed).

Good coaches, teachers, mentors, and therapists get you out of the spreadsheet and into the moment. Looking for the fullness of life is usually a process that requires the cessation of looking so we might see what is right in front of us. Stop the search and you will be found. As the old saying goes, life is the thing that is happening while you are running around looking for it.

I’m a world-class note taker and always take notes when I work with people. For me it’s like mapping verbal terrain, capturing inner geography. Lately I’ve been reviewing the maps before I destroy them and I find not seekers of potential and purpose, but people overwhelmed by the experience of 1) feeling lost, 2) feeling that something is missing or they are missing something, 3) feeling that they are pushing on a door that won’t open, or 4) a yearning for a different way of being. These are questions of feeling. These are questions of orientation to life (experiences of life). “Potential” and “purpose” are words of doing. These are questions of being.

What if meaning, value, purpose,… in life was not something found or bought but something that is already possessed?

Go here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.


Be The Fool

The Fool card from The Radiant Rider Waite deck

The Fool card from The Radiant Rider Waite deck

Each day I open The Bible of Mankind (sadly, now out of print) and read a phrase. It’s a form of daily meditation for me akin to throwing the I Ching; I pick from the reading what seems relevant. Some days the phrase is confusing, some days it is curious, some days it is profound. Every day it is significant. Today, the phrase was from the Buddhist tradition and under the subtitle, Foolishness & Wisdom:

“The man who has learned little grows old like an ox. His flesh grows but his knowledge does not.”

I delighted in the pairing of foolishness with wisdom. I suspect there is only one path to wisdom and it requires a good deal of foolishness. I googled the meaning of the Fool card in the tarot because, as I recollect, when upright, the Fool is about beginnings and bold steps into the unknown. From my search I found other words and phrases like unlimited potential, purity, and innocence. The Fool is ever present and has in his (her) bag all the tools and resources necessary for the journey through life. The Fool came to this earth to learn.

Another phrase that caught my attention was this: the Fool is always whole, healthy, and without fear. He is the spirit of who we are, the spirit expressed and experienced as wonder, awe, curiosity, and anticipation.

Recently, Bruce and I had a great talk about how life looks different at 50 than it did at 30. The main difference is that you know without doubt that it is limited. And, because the big death is visible, all the little death passages, the steps into the unknown, take on more import. Yearning is more electric when mortality is undeniable. All of the belief and investment in outcomes and achievements dissipate. This life is an experience, nothing more. It passes. And, it is dealer’s choice whether the experience is expressed and experienced as fear or expressed and experienced as The Fool: wonder, awe, and curiosity.

The wisdom path is the Fool’s path. The ox, to become a fool filled with knowledge, need only step out of its pen, into the unknown, and be filled with new experiences.

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

Eve, by David Robinson

Eve, by David Robinson

Go here for Fine Art prints of my paintings.

Ask “What If?”

691. 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 was reminded today that “If” is a very powerful word. It is a magic word that is shorthand for “imagine the possibilities.” When you think that you can’t do something, when you’ve convinced yourself that you will never be able to do…(fill in the blank); ask yourself this magic question: “What if…?” It’s alright, continue to accept that you can’t or will never be able to…; you need not change your disbelief or assault your defenses. In the midst of your wasteland, ask “what if…?” Imagine what you would do if you could? What steps would you take? What is the first step you would take if…?

Take the step. Hold onto your disbelief, invest in your limitation, and take the step anyway. No need to fulfill your dream, accomplish your impossible mission, move your mountain, or realize your potential – those phrases are misleading anyway, new age rhetoric, self-help marketing mantras that imply that your dream, your impossible mission, your mountain and your potential are some other place, things you might achieve, arrival platforms. Hint: they are really verbs, actions, and choices; you are infinitely un-full-fill-able because you are not a container with a limited capacity. You are your dream, your mission, your mountain, and your potential – you are uncontainable. Use upon yourself any ruler you choose, any metrics you think valid and at the end of the day your measurement will be false. Like a photograph you might capture a moment, an aspect, but you will never capture the all of you.

“What if” you started taking small steps without belief? What if you acted “as if” you could? Where might you someday find yourself? Magic and miracles are not dependent upon your belief; they are dependent upon your action. They are dependent on your capacity to realize that you, yourself, are fluid, moving, changing, dynamic,…, a living vital being. “What if” you started stepping in the direction of your “I can’t?”

Drop The Story

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

Skip came home from a weekend workshop with poet David Whyte carrying a few good questions. He told me about the workshop and shared the questions and this one made me catch my breath; I’ve been thinking about it for weeks: What is the old story that you need to let go? Flip the question and ask it another way: What do you get from hanging on to an old story that no longer serves you (this is the question I think educators need to ask – a post for another time)?

Often in my coaching practice I hear clients argue for their limitations. Do you remember the line from Richard Bach’s book, Jonathon Livingston Seagull: “Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they are yours.” Old stories are arguments for limitations. Old stories are like a too small cocoon; the struggle to push through to the new story is precisely what makes our wings strong.

We hang on to things that no longer serve us because they are known. They are comfortable. At least that is the easy answer. The deeper truth is that letting go of old stories invites new stories and along with new stories come new identities. Along with new stories come new powers, responsibility and ownership. Power, responsibility, and ownership are things that people say that they want but generally avoid until pushed; life in the cocoon is sweet – lot’s of naps and no culpability – although the price is withered potential and frustration.

What is the old story that you need to let go? What if no one else was responsible for your happiness or your success? What if your circumstances were just that, circumstances? This will sound as if it is a new topic but consider this experiment: turn off your television for a few months and check your personal email only once a day. Detox from the electronic time-fillers. What questions come up when you are no longer anesthetized? What patterns change? What limitations will you need to transcend when you can no longer ignore them or drown out their call?