Good Find Friday: Practice The Pause


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Am I the only one tensing up when I read the latest news headlines?

Probably not!

That’s why this beautiful quote from Lori Deschene is a perfect way to end the week as well as our series about communication and listening, Holy Conversations.

It’s time for everyone to practice the pause.

Before we get carried away with generalizations.

Before we vent on social media.

And certainly before we lose valued relationships with friends and family.

Tense elections? Just 10 days to go. Anxious holiday gatherings? No problem.

C’mon, Soul Bosses – take the lead and demonstrate how to be gentle to the people around you!



I Got It


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“I got it, suddenly and profoundly.”

That’s award-winning actress Jane Lynch, but she’s not talking about feeling validated as she won her first Emmy.

Profound connections can happen whether you’re having a fleeting exchange or a long heart-to-heart conversation, an idea we’ve looked at in the October series, Holy Conversations. However, in a desire to go deep, can we take personal responsibility too far?

Jane Lynch thought she had found the perfect AA sponsor. After a few minutes at the coffee table, the woman casually invited Lynch to join her well-established mentoring group. She thought their conversation couldn’t have gone better.

Imagine Jane’s reaction as she arrived to find the woman sobbing, surrounded by several group members. Jane was hardly a model AA member, but what could have gone so wrong so quickly?

“The meeting started, and I could barely listen for my self-mortification. I wanted the hour to end so I could ask her what it was I had done.

And then, all of a sudden, it hit me – boing! This had NOTHING to do with me. I felt a wave of relief, an internal shift like I had just had a chiropractic adjustment. I realized that I had made something that had nothing to do with me into something that was all about me.

I saw that I had been doing this all my life. When I was a kid, my mom was easily annoyed, and I always figured it was me bugging her. After growing up like that, I was forever making myself the cause of other people’s pain.

It was self-centered and rendered me incapable of compassion for others, because I’m no good to anybody else when it’s all about me. And frankly, most things have nothing to do with me. It was very adolescent, really.

I got it, suddenly and profoundly.”

In a flash, Jane’s subconscious habit of personalizing every situation ended. (And by the way, the woman was crying over her boyfriend’s infidelity.)


Like Jane, the people we’ve met in this series got it. Stepping back and taking a second look was often the key:

  • In “It’s Not About the Sail”, Kim’s turnaround came when she took the vulnerable step of acknowledging that she had to improve her emotional intelligence. She painfully admitted about her prior relationships, “I had no clue what the problem was.”
  • The couple in “A Million Ways To Say I Love You” traded having the last word in their constant arguments. Yet they realized that winning in the moment wasn’t much of a victory; it was starting to ruin their marriage.
  • It would have been understandable for Anu to talk over and shut down her teenage son in “I Hate You Is A Dialogue.” Trying to understand the fears and pain behind “I hate you” put an end to hard feelings.

We can shift hard conversations when we adjust what may have worked in the past to the present situation. It’s the ability to be flexible without losing your center – a Soul Boss cornerstone.

Tough exchanges come in all shapes and sizes, but here’s a go-to phrase that creates a holy conversation every time.

“I’m listening.”

Good Find Friday: Comfort Food, 4 Ways


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Last week’s non-stop rain and high winds in Seattle sealed the deal. It’s time for comfort food!

What comes to mind? Oozing plates of mac and cheese? Massive beef roasts?

Wait a minute. What if you could change traditional thinking and make healthy, whole food the centerpiece of your meals?

Whether you have a few hours to spare or need to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes, here are 4 ways to create satisfying comfort food:

  1. Get back to basics. The New York Times has “5 Easy Recipes You Should Know How To Make“. Who doesn’t love a roast chicken or rich marinara sauce?
  2. Master the Buddha Bowl. Fit Foodie Finds has some healthy Buddha Bowl recipes to get you started, but it’s just four items: whole grains, lean proteins (including nuts or seeds), vegetables and dressing. With brown rice in your pantry and a couple of root vegetables on hand, you’re already halfway there. And don’t forget a gratitude practice to go along with your meal!
  3. Soup’s on! Joanne Weir makes a habit of keeping several kinds of stock in her freezer. In a pinch, dinner can be ready in 15 minutes using chicken stock with some produce or a little pasta thrown in, topped with Parmesan cheese. You get extra points if you have 30 minutes to roast some vegetables for even deeper flavor. And make sure to put greens like spinach and kale in your rotation.
  4. Make it low and slow. Try braising your favorite meats, like braised chicken thighs with carrots. Huffington Post also has 40 slow cooker recipes, including vegetarian ideas for your Meatless Monday like Slow Cooker Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Peppers.


Don’t forget to make a little extra and throw it in the freezer. Weekend lunch? Done!

Whether you go big or keep it simple, meals made with love feed the soul. Now that’s comfort food.


Epicurious Best Chili Recipes

Epicurious 11 Vegetarian Dinners To Try This Fall

Food & Wine Braising Recipes

Cooking Light Quick & Easy Comfort Food Recipes

Good Find Friday: Winter Soup Recipes

I Hate You Is A Dialogue


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“And then he screamed, “I hate you!” I was in shock.”

The October series, Holy Conversations, is focusing on ways to handle stressful discussions. Hearing your child, or anyone else, say they hate you makes the top of the list.

Anu didn’t know what to say to her son, but she was talking a mile a minute by the time she got to her sister’s house.

“Of course we’ve disagreed before, but he’s never gone this far.”

Divya tried to downplay the situation. “Look, all teenagers do this. He just lost his temper. It will probably all blow over in no time.”

“That’s part of the problem,” Anu said, looking away.

Divya did a double-take. “How can getting back to normal be a problem?”

“He actually said to me later that night, “C’mon, Mom – I just hated you then, not all the time.” I think he was trying to make me feel better, but it didn’t give me any comfort.”

“I want Raj to feel like he can come to us about everything, but I don’t want him to think that “normal” is saying every awful thing that comes into his mind. To me or anyone else! It’s like he doesn’t understand the impact of what he’s saying.”

She stopped for a moment. “I’m not sure he cares.”

Anu teared up. “I want our home to be filled with love. I never imagined my child would hate me, even for a moment.”

It’s natural for Anu to be triggered by Raj’s outburst. But what if she could turn “I hate you” from the last sentence to the first?


Replacing old behaviors is challenging. A nasty reply to a vicious insult feels good in the moment. But in the long run, it only keeps the hurt going. For both sides.

When you show compassion for someone’s fears, you’re not accepting or condoning bad behavior. However, you’re choosing a different outcome, and that’s how a hard conversation changes into a holy conversation.

Let’s replay Anu’s exchange with Raj. This time, imagine yourself in her shoes, and change the character from a 14 year old boy to someone personal – a colleague, family member or someone in your social circle who’s currently acting out.

When you step back from the tantrum, what are the feelings behind “I hate you”? How about:

  • I’m frustrated.
  • Listen to me.
  • Respect my viewpoint or my way of doing things.
  • Don’t rush me.
  • I can’t admit I don’t know what to do.
  • I’m overwhelmed by all the pain I feel.

In an instant, you understand how much can be behind just a few words. Permanent change happens when we can quiet our mind enough to listen for what’s being said…and what’s not.

So what do you do the next time someone says, “I hate you” or anything close to it? Don’t shut down your mind or heart. Ask them to have a seat. You have so much to talk about.

Good Find Friday: The Fall Fix-Up


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What is one of the biggest revelations about selling a home?

“Why didn’t I take care of all that little stuff sooner? My place looks so great!”

You can still Pinterest your day away with a million and one ideas for the extreme home makeover. But you can also take the mindfulness and clarity skills you’ve been honing this year and put them to work. Better yet, imagine changes you could make in 30 minutes or less.


Here are 8 ideas to kickstart your Fall fix-up:

  1. Add an over-door organizer to your hall closet. Your bag and coat have an instant home (that isn’t the dining room table!).
  2. Corral those random books and DVDs into a single, sleek media center.
  3. Change your kitchen junk drawer to a utensil drawer. You’re more likely to do some Fall baking if you know where all the measuring spoons are…
  4. Update your lamps with energy efficient bulbs.
  5. Place flameless candles around the house. Several brands feature a timer – no more walking into a dark home at the end of the day.
  6. Fix or update old or broken hardware. Anything that doesn’t close properly, wiggles or is missing makes the list.
  7. Donate your worn or torn towels and linens to the local animal shelter.
  8. Replace the Welcome mat at your front door.

Once you’re caught up, check out the 56 Fall decorating projects and centerpieces from Midwest Living. They’ll keep your table looking beautiful all the way through Thanksgiving.

Don’t wait until you plan to move or sell, or until company arrives. Make your home a sanctuary today.


A Million Ways To Say I Love You


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Marianne Williamson has plenty to say about politics. But she wasn’t giving her perspective about policy; she was commenting about tone. She tweeted, “The biggest problem today isn’t just that hate is speaking so loudly; it’s that love is speaking too softly.”

The October series, Holy Conversations, is looking at how to navigate all kinds of conversations. And let’s be honest – politics, especially right now in the US, is about as difficult as it gets.

The guy behind me at Starbucks was in a bad mood. When his friend quizzed him about his weekend, he grumbled. After some good natured back and forth, he finally admitted that he had been at odds with his wife. For two days straight.

He thought it would be fun to take the kids to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. Only his wife wasn’t laughing by the time they got home. Was it the second donut he downed? The carload of jumpy kids on a sugar high on the way home? Or the fact that he never got to the gym as promised?

And then there was her family’s barbecue on Saturday night. After a tough week, he wanted to get home early and flop in his favorite easy chair. She felt like they had plenty of time to spare on a weekend. Rush home? No way! They could stay for hours… And they did.


They got into it again on Sunday. When she got back from yoga, he was glued to the Seahawks football game as the kids played outside. She was the only one who saw the piles of dishes and laundry that needed attention.

He shook his head. “Once things started to be harsh, everything was harsh. The words we said making our point. Our response to the other person. Even the way we listened.” He laughed, “I’m glad to be on my way to work. At least I’ll catch a break for a few hours!”

He’ll probably work things out at home, but is their predicament a snapshot of everyone’s current mood? Think about your Facebook feed. If it’s anything like mine, the ratio of harsh to happy is probably pretty high.

When we’re thinking of a snarky “gotcha” response, we’re in the shadow side of our ego. We’ve cut the connection to Spirit, edging the better angels of our nature completely out of the picture.

It’s time to bring back courtesy and civility to all our communications. Instead of the deliciously cruel social media post, challenge yourself to come up with a million ways to say “I love you”. Here’s how you make kindness personal, whether you’re at work or home:

  • I’ll email the report before I leave tonight.
  • That was a great idea during the staff meeting.
  • We seem to have a different perspective. Why don’t we give it some thought, and then reconvene tomorrow?
  • I’ll clean up the kitchen.
  • I can swing by the grocery store.
  • Before I leave, where’s my kiss?

This week, where can you make the voice of love louder than hate? If you’re going to have the last word, make it a word of joy, kindness or love.

Good Find Friday: 3 Ways To Be A Better Listener


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Listen up!

The October series, Holy Conversations, is focused on how we communicate, but great conversations are about much more than eloquent speaking.

The Harvard Business Review has some news that may surprise you. All the techniques for good listening you’ve been taught to do over the last few years – staying quiet, saying “yes” or “mmm-hmm”, and repeating back what someone has said – are only partially helpful.


Their research uncovered several key findings. Think of these 3 habits as new versions of the Golden Rule.

Good listeners:

Engage with the person speaking. Listening is more than letting the other person speak; it’s about knowing when and how to ask questions.

Allow the other person to speak openly. Hold back on your impulse to jump in and solve the problem or interrupt while you point out errors in logic. The research stated, “Good listeners may challenge assumptions and disagree, but the person being listened to feels the listener is trying to help, not wanting to win an argument.”

Affirm the other person. Keep the atmosphere positive. People will feel understood and supported, even when opinions differ.

Imagine someone leaving a conversation and saying, “What a great discussion.” You can be the person they’re talking about.

Get to it!



It’s Not About The Sail


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Remember that quarrel with your spouse this morning?

Or the sarcastic, almost nasty disagreement you witnessed during the staff meeting?

Or your kind chit-chat with the barista?

You just had a holy conversation.

During October, we’ll talk about how to navigate all kinds of critical communications – whether you’re having a brief exchange or deep, “now that we’re really talking” moment in the series, Holy Conversations.

When you think of the phrase “holy conversations”, what pops into your mind? Maybe you immediately think of prayer. At the very least, you probably see yourself in a church setting. Or you could envision a beautiful moment out in nature. That’s a good start – they’re all opportunities for holy conversations.

However, a holy conversation isn’t limited to the moments when we’re calm or have the perfect thing to say. They also happen when we have the courage to get to the heart of the matter, awkwardly admit a truth we’ve known for a long time, or make a genuine connection.

Summer camp seemed to be going well for 12 year-old Kim until she tried to help two girls fix their sailboat. Within minutes, the girls were at odds as she interceded. The conversation quickly escalated and the girls began screaming at her to go away.

She recalls, “I’m always really good at doing that kind of stuff, and I looked at them and I could see what their problem was. I thought, “Well, these people are crazy.” What I do makes a whole lot more sense, so I must be better than them in some ways. I’m smarter. I can figure things out. They don’t know how to put up a sail on a sailboat; I can do that.”

She was shaken by the event for years. She said, “We believe our senses, so I didn’t know I was missing anything. If I’m seeing people talking, and it simply looks like people are talking, why should I think that they might be feeling angry or sad or anything, if I’m not sensing that?”

She sighs, “I had no clue what the problem was.”


Kim shared her childhood episode during treatment for Asperger’s syndrome. But don’t dismiss her story just because of her diagnosis. We’ve all had moments where we look back, shake our heads at our ignorance, lack of humility, or self-awareness and acknowledge, “I had no clue what the problem was.”

This week, build discernment by going beyond what is obvious to the senses. Take your sensitivity to the next level by checking in with your intuition.

You don’t have to go up on a mountain top or wait until Sunday. It’s a simple technique: Mid-conversation, ask yourself a straightforward question like, “What could make this better?”, “What does <name> need?” or “What’s really going on?” and then follow your impression.

Soon you’ll begin to quickly see and appreciate the true issue at hand. Chances are, it’s not about the sail.

The moment you connect with Divine Guidance is the moment of transformation. In an instant, you’ve created a holy conversation.

Good Find Friday: 4 Ways To Finish


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Parents everywhere are thrilled to have their kids back in the swing of a regular routine.

Except for…homework!

The themes keep repeating: “We didn’t realize it would be so complicated,” “By the time we got started, the kids should have been going to bed,” “They couldn’t finish because we didn’t have the right supplies,” and the list goes on and on.

And what about grown-up homework? Do the beautiful Fall days have you planning your weekend instead of clearing that stack of papers off the dining room table or organizing your quarterly taxes?


The end of the month is the perfect time to wrap up all those half-baked projects and piles of clutter weighing you down. Here are 4 ways to finish:

The End Is Near… I have a friend who jokes, “Some things expand with the time you give them.” Block out beginning and end times for projects, and program a phone alarm 15-30 minutes before it’s time to wrap up. Playing “Beat The Clock” is fun for a while, but trying to be creative when you’re fried is never fun. Know when to quit.

Your kitchen is the new office. Don’t move your office to the kitchen counter – just apply your kitchen techniques to paperwork. Help your kids cultivate the good habit of breaking big projects down into bite-size tasks, just like meal prep. “History paper” is many steps, not a single activity.

Be expressive. Organizer Julie Morganstern suggests taking a few extra seconds to make your entries descriptive and action oriented. In an instant, you’ll know whether you have a 6 minute or 60 minute job ahead of you. For example, “Furnace” changes to “Call for annual furnace maintenance.” (Which reminds me that I have a 5 minute call to make!)

Finishing Feels Great! Are you in the home stretch of your day? Morgenstern also recommends asking yourself, “What can I finish?” rather than “What can I start?” Do a few easy things during the last half hour before you leave the office or wind down for the night. Encourage your kids to get their backpack loaded up, set a goal or two for the next day, or simply clean up your work area together so everyone starts the morning with a clean slate. End your day with a feeling of accomplishment!



Surrender To The Process


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For award-winning scientist Adam Steltzner, finding a passion was a happy accident. He jokes, “I was sort of studying sex, drugs and rock and roll in high school.”

In the September series, “A Lot to Learn”, we’ve released old ideas about self-help. We’ve replaced a fix-it, “one and done” mentality with the idea that constant course corrections are natural and even rewarding. As our wisdom grows, our choices and responses progress.

Adam Steltzner’s passion started small. He began noticing stars after late night gigs with his high school garage band. However, before he could study astronomy at his local community college, he had to back-track to complete physics. After astronomy, he kept going, eventually earning a mechanical engineering degree. He became part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory team that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars.

Is he resentful that he didn’t have a straight road to one of the most elite divisions in NASA? No. He says, “Surrender to the process, rather than the goal.”

Steltzner isn’t alone. In his New York Times article, “Four Steps to Choosing a College Major,” Nathan Gebhard explained that for many people he profiled, “Their major – whether they stuck with it or applied it in new ways – was the start of channeling their interests, values and skills into work that made the struggle and hard work it took to get there worth it.”

This month, we’ve met a lot of people who surrendered to the process of learning:

  • In “We All Learn,” we saw how Lori Goldstein changed an innocent mistake to a lighthearted moment of discovery. Gaining knowledge isn’t limited to a classroom. It can, and should be, ongoing.
  • Skip or Skim At Your Peril” explored the current “10,000 hours” idea. We shifted to the deep understanding that becoming an expert happens when we do something well, not simply with repetition.
  • Shifting the No” showed how hearing “no” is a natural part of stretching. Rather than getting derailed, we can transform disappointment by reframing “no” into “not quite”, “not yet” or “not now.”


A key Soul Boss principle is that great bosses are present. They’re never afraid to do the work. But doing the work doesn’t mean you sit alone, endlessly acquiring facts. It’s about taking your hard-earned knowledge, especially the “a ha!” insights, into the world. At that moment, sharing your transformation can influence and inspire others. As theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

It’s time to surrender to the process and help others do the same. Maybe you know how to show grace when someone is struggling. Or perhaps people at odds found common ground as you helped them see the heart of the matter. Those simple actions may seem basic to you. Yet for someone else, understanding how these behaviors fit into the process will be essential. It may even be the beginning of an exceptional future.

This week, take the pressure off a passion. Find something that intrigues you, and then take a single step toward it.