This month I have spent some time considering how often I am “living the Principles”, and how often I forget. I haven’t done this in an effort to judge myself, but in an effort to feel compassion for just how easily it is to be hoodwinked, and forget that we are the thinker and creator of our experience. I’ve also been curious if I’ve missed out on some of the benefits of the Principles by paying more attention to what they are and how they can be shared then actually seeing it in a deeply profound way for myself. I’ve noticed over and over again, how real our thinking can look, until it doesn’t anymore. I’ve also noticed a few other things.
Past Present and Future.
You’ve all heard the saying:
What I first noticed was that each time I caught myself caught up in my thinking/feelings, I was either in the past – thinking about something that happened before this moment, or in the future worrying about something that hadn’t happened yet. I have noticed a new thought popping into my head more often – it says “What is going on Right Now?” When I am upset over something someone said yesterday, I realize that it is not happening now, and so it looks less useful to continue thinking about it. When I am worrying about finances, I realize that no matter what happens, I am ok right now. I also have noticed how much I miss on a day to day basis. I took a walk with my husband this week and got interrupted by a phone call. When the call ended, there was a clear sense of not having seen anything around me during the block that we had just walked. When I was worrying about something while sitting outside on our patio swing, I suddenly realized a chipmunk had been sitting in front of me for quite some time feasting on corn and I had not “seen” it there. I have been acutely aware of all that I am missing out on when I am not in the here and now and how often that happens. So I am “time traveling” less often.
I have always loved going to a store with my husband. He is one of the rare people I see that actually takes the time to connect with the cashier at every place he makes a purchase. I don’t mean saying – “How are you?” while looking at his phone. I mean he takes it all in – he notices the speed of their speech, their worry lines, their distractedness, their presence to him, and then he engages with them being fully present. He makes each one feel as if they are the most important thing in the room to him, even if only for a minute. When they respond to the almost obligatory (for many of us) question “How are you?” with an “I’m good” – his standard response is “wonderful”, and he means it. It makes them stop a minute and consider that someone in this world thinks it is wonderful that they are ok. It is what the coaching profession would call presence. He holds a space for them. He loves them. I endeavor to be more than merely present in my conversations, but to show presence. To be in a space with someone together. There is a difference that people can feel.
Questions and Problems
I am a professional problem solver – or at least my brain thinks I am. Not feeling well? What are the symptoms? When did it start? My first instinct is to solve puzzles. It’s amusing to my intellect – entertaining even, so that’s my default. When donations aren’t covering expenses it seems “urgent” to find a solution. What I notice is that when I am wound up, there are lots of “problems” to solve, but when I am in a better space – suddenly they turn into circumstances. Circumstances like an account being out of balance, or someone interrupting, or rain. There might still be things to do, have a fundraiser, show compassion, put on a coat, but none of it carries the weight of a problem or solution. In fact, in the midst of the largest “real” problems in my life, I did not view them as things to be fixed in a “must fix ” kind of way, I knew what was necessary and did it. The urgency of the feeling and the defining of a problem are clues that I am “time traveling”.
What comes with presence and circumstances and being in the present, is a sense of being IN your life. It is a sense of time slowing down, a sense of stillness and curiosity and wonder- a sense of playfulness. Next week we are playing around with how to craft an “Elevator Pitch” for the Three Principles. Although we will play with metaphors and language, to solve a perceived “problem”, there is something about the space we will be doing it in together which opens it up to so many more possibilities. I am very much looking forward to being “present”!
PS. Earlier this week, Michael Neill made the following announcement on the Inside Out Community Facebook group:
Wow. If you’re not already a member of the Inside Out Community, please consider joining the nearly 4500 others on there that are interested in the Principles! I helped Michael start this group years ago when I was working for him, and it has been a favorite haunt of mine for several reasons.
We Need Your Help
June 30th closed out another fiscal year for Center for Sustainable Change. We are so very grateful to all of you that have supported us over the years through donations and for those of you who have participated in our programming!
We are now starting our 14th year as an Nonprofit Organization sharing the Three Principles understanding with communities! We want to continue and expand upon the programs that you love, as well as make a bigger concentrated effort to reach people who are doing great community work – and show them how the Principles can make that work more effective.
More than ever, we need your help to keep our momentum going and make this possible!
I Want to Help!
Of all the things that people have asked us for, by far the one that has come up most is – I want a 3P Elevator Speech!
People who have seen the power of the Principles in their own lives and others naturally want to share it and they want to know how to go about doing so.
It is enticing to think there is a formula, certain words, one metaphor etc that make this understanding understandable to the people we most want to share it with!
So what’s wrong with that? Well, As Syd says:
“Techniques are to therapists as rituals are to the church – they lead you away from the truth that you seek.” – Syd Banks, The Missing Link
I think the same could be said about “formulas for sharing the Principles”
So if that is true then why would we as an organization even hold a workshop on 3P elevator speeches?
Well there are a few things our staff and advisors have learned along the way that we think add to the discussion and point in the right direction:
- the power is in the feeling, not the words.
- words can both clarify and get in the way of expressing this understanding
- the “come from” is important
- the more we share, the better we get at sharing
- the more settled our own thinking is, the more the truth seems to come through us
- we can only share from what we see
- sometimes getting people to settle down includes giving them what they think they want
- sometimes playing in the form can make us remember that it is all made up and take things a little more lightly
- brainstorming and creative thinking exercises can get us out of our normal thinking patterns and open up more possibility
- people have fresh thinking in relaxed environments when they are having fun
So with those things in mind we decided to give this elevator pitch thing a whirl and see what we all discover in the process!
On July 29th we are holding a two hour workshop facilitated by Oscar Wolters Duran to play with this idea.
And we do mean PLAY.
- we will share our favorite metaphors that have helped us see something new and we will make up our own – after all the truth is all around us!
- we will share personal stories of things we have seen for ourselves to be true
- we will play with language and audience
- we will play with the place we are coming from and see the difference it makes
- we will play with outrageousness and how to back up bold claims
- and we will laugh at our shared humanity, and the times that things didn’t work so well
We hope at the end of the two hours, participants are relaxed and having fun, are open to new ideas about how to share this understanding and see something new for themselves.
If that sounds like something you’d enjoy – please consider joining us.
To keep it intimate and allow for everyone to participate we are limiting the workshop to 12 people and spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis
We are very much looking forward to what surfaces and no worries if you are not among the 12, we will share how it goes!
** UPDATE – A second workshop date has been added on August 19th as the July 29th workshop sold out within the first hour! Thank you to all of you who support our programs!
Our launch party is over. 12 hours straight of sharing insights, basking in the quiet love and common humanity of us, giving away prizes, laughing, dancing and even wearing silly hats and noses!
Was it worth it?!
To me – you bet! I learned a lot.
- I learned that a crazy idea that comes from my enthusiasm to share what Center for Sustainable Change is up to in the world, can bring people together in a profound way. Profound? Yep, I said profound. Love is profound and that was the theme that we all kept coming back to all day long.
- I learned that people have patience for things that go wrong when in that place of love, they are kind and forgiving. When the mood did drop at all, people held the space until it rose again.12 hours is a long time and I was wonderfully tired at the end of the day but I learned that love can outlast us. I went to bed with a full heart and I hope you did too.
- I learned that there are many people still in this community that I have not had the pleasure of meeting and I want to meet all of you!
- I learned that when you are inspired – the team behind you feels inspired. No grumbles from the gallery on this 12 hour ride – just lots of “wheee!” Even when Buffer didn’t post all the things we scheduled the entire day before and they had to be manually posted across all social media channels. It was met with laughter and rolled up sleeves.
To you – was it worth it?
If you attended, I can’t imagine that you could not feel the love “in the room”, so to speak. Many of you learned about our new programs for the first time, and saw how many people just like you have been touched by the Principles.
The love and support were clearly there on the call, and it is my hope that this also translates to monetary support for those that can do so.
As a nonprofit, it is my sincerest hope that we can continue to share the Principles with anyone who is interested, regardless of circumstances, and that we can continue to build this website into an online community of love. My hope is that the stories we share of what people can see when their thinking settles down will inspire the world and be shared widely, that people will take this inspiration and bring it into their lives, work and communities and this will lead to global change. Is that a big hope? You bet! Maybe it sounds crazy, but a month ago the idea of a 12 hour Zoom launch party seemed crazy, too!
If you want to help keep us going in this direction, please consider making a donation.
If you want to keep participating – join us on our In the Moment calls on Thursdays.
If you want to connect with others, join our new Changemaker directory and start conversations on the groups.
If you want to get involved but are not sure how, send us a note – let us know you are interested in volunteering, sharing, helping, recording a video, or joining in.
If you wish you had been more of a part – it is not too late – jump in!
- Thank you to those who attended – it made the party better for your presence.
- Thank you to those who registered – it let us know you were on board.
- Thank you to those who donated prizes – all of them are listed on this page – feel free to connect with them and thank them as well. Their gifts encouraged people to come and share their gifts.
- Thank you to all of those who shared and participated on social media – we have a greater reach because of you.
- Thank you to the tech team behind the scenes that worked their magic nonstop throughout the day.
- Thank you to those of you that made donations. In the greater ways love fuels us, but in the form, your donations make it all possible.
Thank you Thank you Thank you!!
It was most definitely worth it!
Center for Sustainable Change
PS. How do you like the new website?!
Center for Sustainable Change is proud to announce Helen Neal-Ali joining the team as our new Social Proof Project Coordinator! She will be collecting social evidence and real life stories of where the Three Principles are being shared, and the experiential results. More info on this exciting project in the coming weeks!
The announcement was made during our 12-hour Virtual Launch Party on Sunday May 20th, where she also recorded a What I Know for Sure video for us. Watch for that clip soon!
From Helen’s Changemaker Profile:
I was introduced to the 3 Principles 22 years ago by Elsie Spittle. My life was changed the very first day of the 4 day workshop. I was so moved when she said our thoughts create our reality and that I did not have to take every thought so serious. I had so many negative thoughts going on at that time it was a relief to know that they were just thoughts and I could take them or leave them. It was life changing. 6 months later I started Life Changing Consulting & Associates to help others in my community learn these 3 Principles. Over the years I have done work in low income communities, jails, businesses, drug rehabilitation, HIV clients, domestic violence, schools, and one on one sessions with clients. My goal in life is to help as many people as I can find their wisdom within by sharing the 3 Principles with them.
Focus Areas: Addiction, Caregivers, Community, Domestic Violence, Education, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships, Stress, Training, Violence, Youth
So many of you have heard it is ALL ABOUT THE FEELING – well let me tell you we are on top of that! As a recent webinar attendee said ” The feeling was off the charts, the depth of love in this community never ceases to amaze me”. May is all about that LOVE!
Each month the CSC Board of Directors get together, and each board meeting is started with sharing from each person present and then a “grounding” which ranges from a personal story, a passage from The Missing Link, a Dr Seuss rhyme, a song lyric or a poem. Often times you hear about all that people are appreciating in their lives. Sometimes someone has a challenging month and they share that- quite frequently we hear – well I wasn’t feeling all that great but I knew when I saw all of you I would forget about that. The reason for that is there is love in every meeting. The board genuinely cares for each other. It is palpable. I can’t imagine this is typical of Board meetings in general but I must say it is typical for this one!
One of our Board members, Gretchen Blais has been a shining example of the love and blessings that seem to flow into our lives after we begin to understand how life works. Gretchen has spent many months of board meetings relating to us how she was doing handling the role of caretaker for the love of her life, George Chan as he finished the remaining days of his life. Each month she would come on and express how grateful she was that she had more days to love him. She found joy in the care-taking tasks whether it was folding laundry or making meals. She inspired us all to look at the things we do in our everyday lives differently. Little things done with great love started seeping into our lives. Gretchen’s love, George Chen transitioned April 2nd. You can read what she wrote about it in her blog post.
Gretchen loved George and she shared that love with us and now we share it with you. Life with the Three Principles still includes sickness and death, but it allows us to see the beauty in those things as well.
On Tuesdays, Our Collaborative Associate Patty Tanji has been hosting calls for community members in recovery. As we have sat in, we have seen that human beings who love and accept each other can support each other through anything.
On Thursdays, Judy Sedgeman has been hosting In the Moment calls. Many times the calls have dropped into a beautiful feeling that people take with them the rest of the day. We joke about the “makeover” that some of us feel we’ve had after these calls. If you haven’t had the pleasure of taking part yet – please join us!
On May 15th, Amir Karkouti hosting a webinar entitled People Before Principles, The feeling on this call was absolutely gorgeous! People were shedding tears at the beauty in it! The quote I used at the beginning of this letter is describing this call. If you’d like to listen – the recording is now available here.
On May 20th we will be sharing more love with you in the form of a celebration. The last few months I have shared that we were launching our new website and would be sharing peoples videos about What They Know for Sure. This coming Sunday we will be releasing more of these videos and recording some live on a 12 hour Zoom celebration. We have been so touched by the generosity of the community in joining in our celebration – we have had over a dozen coaches offer coaching sessions as give-aways, many people recording videos ahead of time and people signing up to share their insights with us live at the party! We will spend that day as a community, much like our board does, in a feeling of appreciation for what we have seen, what others have seen and how it impacts our lives and the world around us. Though we are live from 8am – 8 pm ET on Zoom – feel free to pop in and out throughout the day to listen to insights, see old photos, share love, win prizes and celebrate the Principles that Syd shared with us all. Remember to RSVP to get the zoom link.
I look forward to seeing you!