Inspiration

Hello everyone,
We haven’t connected in a while. How are you.
It would be great to hear an update from everyone.

I have been attending a very inspiring Zoom gathering led by LanceSecretan. Usually5 or 6 of us having an interesting discussion all related in some way to inspirational leadership. Actually Lance has a YouTube Channel. He selects a question posed by people who subscribe to the site. Each video response is less than two minutes. I suggest you have a look, and listen to at least two or three of them. If it interests you, please subscribe.

I think of leadership less as a role and more as a quality that inspires others. Anyone can be a leader: students, parents, volunteers, employees. You do not have to be a CEO to be a good leader. I woll write more on this another time.

I hope you will listen to what Lance shares.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Marie
Here is the link.

Just Listen To Me

“Listen to me!”, shout the inner voices of

the unhappy child, the indigenous woman, the lonely teenager,

the elderly person locked in a place that

was to be safe but now is in breakout mode.

“Listen to me!” shout the trees in the forest as the logger marks them red

Or the developer thrashes with determined effort to

Create a monster home for those who already have enough.

Listening with open heart creates a path

For compassion, understanding, love.

Listening, one of the main acts of loving,

Simply listen to a person you care about at home or at work. First sit calmly. Envision yourself in a place of peace, ready to open your heart to the other person who just wants to be heard. Notice the right time to begin with an open ended question. Perhaps you might say “How did school go today?”  or “What worried you at work today?” or maybe “What can I bring to you that will brighten your day?” or “You look tired. Is there anything I can do to help? What do you need most?” or make your own question that does not seek a yes or no response.

And then just listen. Any further questions are without judgement but also open ended? Perhaps “How did you feel about that?” or How did that affect things?” or even “Tell me more about that.” This kind of listening can help the person with workplace burnout, parenting, marriage conflicts, and more.

You do not have to fix anything when the person is not asking to be fixed. Refrain from giving an opinion. You can reflect their question back to them. If you have listened long and you feel the person is looking for an answer,  then you might say something like “Is there anything you would like me to do?” or “How can I help you?”

Imagine a world where people listen openly and non-judgmentally on a regular basis. The world would become a better place.  A more peaceful, productive, happier place.

Be brave. You can do this.  I welcome your response.

Marie

Courage

It was about twenty years ago when Lance Secretan asked me if I would write the poems for his latest project, Spirit@Work cards. I was honoured and to be honest it took courage on my part to make it happen. It was published in 2002!   Today I picked the word Courage.  So appropriate for the world we are facing.

I have been recently learning about the personal fears that hold me back from being my authentic self.  Concurrently I am reading the book The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. The fears are not big things but they are ego based and the effects within me are significant. The poem I wrote twenty years ago has new meaning for me.  I would like to share it with you because I have a feeling that others will find meaning in the words too.  Your comments are appreciated.

Let me speak truthfully and with integrity,

Modeling courage for those I serve.

Help me unpeel the layers of fear

That keep my courage hidden,

Sometimes disguised as strength in its coolness and distancing.

Help me gently replace fearful thoughts

With love – loving perceptions and caring interpretations.

Let me be lovingly vulnerable, connecting more deeply in truth,

Let me lead courageously

Let me serve courageously.

Let me be courageous.

by Marie Knapp

Another Year Begins

In the past I have written several articles related to the power of our thoughts and working with intentions. Given the circumstances we are all living with in this pandemic crisis, I would like to share some of those articles with you again. In this first week in January, perhaps a good topic to begin with is “Intentions”. The following article applies as well today as when I originally wrote it.

Intentions

Did you know that even the healthiest and highest functioning people sometimes feel less confident, and sometimes want to quit everything.  But they don’t linger there and let those thoughts fester. That’s why I want to share how to work with intentions.  I want to give you some means to build your stamina and wellbeing. 

You are more vulnerable given what you have been through recently. This means that you have to pay more attention to making new and constructive thoughts that represent what is achievable for you today.  I call these ideas intentions.  They are a bit like goals and a lot like affirmations.

Sometimes committing to intentions forever just seems impossible.  So step one is to say an intention just for today.  This makes it more achievable even though you will likely set the same intention for tomorrow.

It is important to word the intention in the present tense. It is strengthened by starting it with “I am”.  And of course they should only be positive in their meaning.  For example “I am not going to get angry” is a negative statement.  And so is “I am less stressed”.  Instead you might say “I am calm.”  “I notice when I start to feel angry”  “I see things from a variety of perspectives.”

You can create intentions about a healthy lifestyle.  For example “I am making healthy food choices today” And “I am walking outside for at least 15 minutes”.

Intentions may also be feelings and qualities.  You may wish to say something like “I am calm and confident” and “I am a capable person”.  Or “I am a good person.”

Sometimes our intentions need to be modified to make them believable.  For example you might say “I am feeling more confident today” or “I am learning about healthy eating today”

You may need some help forming your intentions especially at first.  Say them frequently; write them on a note and leave them where you can see them like the dashboard, or your wallet or purse or your bathroom mirror. 

Review your intentions every week as you may wish to strengthen them or modify them to suit your progress.  Say your intentions first thing in the morning and later in the day as needed.  Let them help you build your wellbeing.

I hope you find this meaningful. My experience with intentions has helped me recognize that it is in actually feeling the intention within your whole self that makes it much more effective. Embody the intention. feel it within you. Be it.  

Perhaps this serves as a reminder for you. Intentions are not new. But today is a new day. Take time and live you intention for today.

What is you experience with intentions today? How do you notice the change within you?

Marie Knapp

marieknapp@rogers.com

Simplify your life

Occasionally I “pick a card” from a deck of inspiring cards to give me something to consider or notice in my day. The other day I picked a card inviting me to simplify my life. How timely! I have been contemplating the significance of simplifying both in its action and the potential results. It seems I have more time than usual to work on this. What does it mean to simplify?

To unclutter? To reduce in volume or in tasks or in thoughts and mind chatter? or in decision making? or?? Maybe it means I could stop taking responsibility for others and let go of any need to fix other people’s lives. Maybe it means I could let go of old stuff, meaning regrets and angers and unsolved problems when the problem is now gone. Simplifying may not be easy. Must it be this complicated? Perhaps it means to just stop and take a quiet breath and just be.

How are you interpreting it? This could be an interesting project for this long quiet lonely winter. Your comments are welcome.

Till next time,

Marie

Thoughtful Perspectives

Perhaps everything that needs to be said has already been said. At least for now. Once again the urge to stay connected but to simplify life has crept into my desire to maintain a presence of some kind in the world.

I retired my business. This time I am not trying to sell anything, or urge you, the reader, to participate in anything in particular.  I simply wish to stay connected with people who are contemplating life. For me it has become a time of reflection — maybe due to the Covid restrictions we need to adhere to, or maybe it is my age, or it could be that there are so many grave issues in the world that reflection often feels like all I can do to live it through, to stay or get inspired.

I would love to get some dialogue going.  Perhaps people will comment and respond.   Let’s not force anything but just see what unfolds.  Let’s connect.

Love, Inclusiveness and Helping Others

“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

I decided to share this reflection I wrote a few year ago on Nov 11, 2016.  It just seems pertinent today.  I made a few revisions to make it more applicable. Revised Dec 16, 2020.

This year, 2020 is a year that may be looked back on as historical for whatever reason.  A year that reminds us of the divisiveness existing in the world, not just in the USA and other free nations like Britain.  But is it possible that what we have seen in these great nations is democracy’s version of what “Arab Spring” was about in Egypt and the middle East? Is this a time when we need reflect on our soulful values, our “purpose under heaven” and live those values more openly and fully.  Today let us reflect on the lives lost in their fight against the Corona virus.  May such a pandemic not be the answer to the diverse values that seem to exist.  May we find the commonality in those values and build on them for good health and world peace.

“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

The music of Leonard Cohen shares his sadness with us and brings me to a place of realizing how we need to acknowledge our sadness and our disappointment.  For me it gives me, in gradually growing stages, the inner strength to use the feelings of loss of something I had hoped for or someone I have loved.  I invite you to join me in resolving to identify our values for love, inclusiveness, and helping others.  I invite you in what ever way serves you best to courageously bring those values into your daily life at home and at work, in relationships and in parenting.

May you find peace and a constructive message to move forward with love and peaceful action.  May we all communicate our truth lovingly and honestly.  Peace be with us all.