Turning Toward Next With Grace and Grit

The year is turning now. As promised, I added the second part of a two part reflection practice to assist you with fully embracing all that this darkening-before-the-light has to offer.

The idea here is to take some time to close up what for many of us has been a crazy year, and begin to turn towards next year with grace and grit. The practice of closing up — your day, week, month, year — gives rise to good beginnings. The practice of turning towards what is next by listening for your emerging future gives a very different flavor to our usual New Year's Resolutions. I’m confident that you will love this practice as much as I do. My wing women describe it as both gentle and powerful — there is both grace and grit here.

May the year ahead astonish us all with its beauty, truth, and goodness.

This practice will acquaint you with your inner Wisdom Council, which is a most wonderful and effective way to experience and get access to the fundamental capacities of grace and grit. The Wisdom Council is an archetypal ever-present inner "committee" that is always with you, and as you will discover when you engage these practices I’m sharing with you today, we all have one! (I can feel myself squirm a bit as I write these words for fear of sounding too woo woo, but please bear with me. What I’m offering here is a kick ass form of woo woo, and I don’t want you to miss out on account of that little niggledy voice of judgement in me.)

So, do you already have a practice or ritual way to close up the year and open to what is next? If not, I highly recommend it. If so, you already know how wonderful and beneficial it is, and you might want to try this.

Part One - Closing Up the Year

Download the Wisdom Council inquiry questions and then carve out a little uninterrupted time (+/- 30 minutes) to cozy up with a cup of tea to really take stock with the first part of this practice. Give it your full attention to facilitate closure to the year in a very remarkable way. Have your journal handy, or just some paper and a pencil will do. Free write into these questions by putting your pencil to the page and just write whatever comes up for a few minutes without lifting the pencil. Remind yourself that your responses are for your eyes only, unless you want to share with a trusted friend, companion, or spouse.

Part Two - Turning Towards the Next

Give yourself as much as a week, or as little as an hour, before picking up Part Two, wherein the Wisdom Council questions will have you look ahead with the clarity and compassion of the closure afforded you by of Part One.

Click here to download the questions in pdf format

Please feel free to be guided through the practice with the audio recordings below if you’d like.

(Be sure to Bookmark this page so that you can refer back to it easily later . . .)

Note: Wisdom Council inquiries are powerful stuff. Please let these questions, and your responses to them, penetrate your heart, mind, and will-to-act. Let them begin to do their work as the year turns and unfolds in the coming months.

No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen. - Epictetus

May the year ahead astonish us with all its beauty, truth and goodness!

Warmly, Lyedie
Putney, Vermont

Starting your day with a potent pause . . .

It's up!! The Fulfillment Journal is now freely available to you as you start your day!

These are crazy times we are living in. Normalcy has been pitched out of our political system. People are describing to me how they are reeling from the effects of disruptive uncertainty and paralyzed by the hungry ghosts in the relentless news feed. Daring greatly is called for now, and our deepest longings and callings can seem audacious. With the Fulfillment Journal I offer you a practice that is simple and sustainable. Working with it for 10 minutes each morning will help you keep replenishing your resolve to fulfill your longing, to make your contribution, and to enjoy the gift of living on this beautiful planet.

Click here to download this basic version of my Fulfillment Journal to help you start your day with what deeply matters to you. I'm a big believer in starting with a pause to connect, reflect, replenish, and then set a trajectory for your day. Begin to develop the habit of dropping in with this page on a daily basis . . . but if you find yourself struggling to forge that discipline, don't worry—many have reported that it provides a significant uplift when they are feeling un-tethered or discouraged, however often they remember to make use of it.

This is a potent practice:

3/1/2017 Dear Lyedie, I have been using your 10 minute practice for several weeks now,
and have found it immensely, wonderfully inspiring :)

3/27/2018 - Dear Lyedie, Now looking back over the year I can see that your 10 minute practice is what got me started with finding this dream job overseas and getting started on this new project.

Yes! This is the small stuff that reverberates . . . builds on itself  . . . and generates transformation.

Please be brave enough to tune in to your deepest longings . . . And always remember to make breakfast. Make love. Make some trouble on behalf of beauty, truth, and goodness.

Thank you for everything you do to keep putting power in the hands of love.

Warmly, Lyedie

I hope you have found this helpful in some way. If you are looking to make a shift in your approach to life — to developing your resilience and to getting on to fulfilling  those longings, click here to learn more about working with me. Or click here to schedule a free 20 minute discovery session with me.

Getting behind the younger generation this week

Lyedie here, From my blue chair.

Are you getting behind the younger generation this week?

They are speaking up. They are rising up. They are transforming their grief into activism. They need and deserve our steadfast support.

I thought I was going to take the Daily Activist’s Log down today, but I can’t bring myself to do it. The timing is all wrong. Strengthening our activism is more important than ever and the voices of students in Parkland, Florida have sparked my activism this week.

Reading the news, my resolve has kindled up once again inflamed by the oxygen in the voices of:

In the last 10 days each of these people took up a role in repairing and strengthening the cloth of our democracy, the democracy that we grew lazy about protecting.

Whose voices kindled your resolve this week? What is your thread in the cloth of being a citizen in our democracy? However small or grand your thread might be, make it stronger, more effective, more beautiful.

My thread is delicate and strong and expresses itself in this blog and in the way I get behind my clients in my coaching work every day. This spring I will put the Fulfillment Journal up alongside the Daily Activists Log. My guiding star for this week is activism on behalf of fulfillment.

Please keep strengthening the muscle of your activism. And always remember to make breakfast. Make love. Make some trouble on behalf of beauty, truth, and goodness.

Thank you for everything you do to keep putting power in the hands of love.

Blessings, Lyedie

Why I've been quiet about MeToo and Time's Up

Truth is, I've been quiet about the MeToo and Time’s Up movements only because they strike so deeply into the heart of my life's path.

For many years now I have been traveling from survivor to thriver — My Guiding Star has been to be strong so that I can be soft. I would even whisper those words to myself on occasion, ‘I have to be strong so that I can be soft’ as I endeavored to be brave on behalf of tenderness. What is your Guiding Star?  I hope that you have one . . .

Last winter, I published the Daily Activist’s Log as a way to contribute to the activism that was stirring in all of us. It is a “morning page” created to strengthen our individual and collective resolve. After all, great rivers are made up of tiny drops of water as they make their way to the ocean. And with that in mind, I had the idea that if many of us start our day this way, we will make progress for ourselves and for humanity. It continues to surprise me, and strengthens my heart, to know that thousands of women (and men) downloaded the Daily Activist’s Log from my website and now begin their day with this powerful pause. Many of you are among them. Thank you.

These days I’m turning my attention towards thriving. And so, in honor of the activism that has risen up in all of us, I'm offering up the Daily Activist's Log for just one more week. I'll be archiving it on February 22 to make room for a new morning page I’m calling the Fulfillment Journal.

Please keep strengthening the muscle of your activism.

And always remember to make breakfast. Make love. Make some trouble on behalf of beauty, truth, and goodness.

Thank you for everything you do to keep putting power in the hands of love.

Blessings, Lyedie

To whomever deserves credit for the photo in this blog . . . This image enchanted me and I have no idea where I got it from, so if you are the artist, please contact me so I can give you credit. Thanks!

Your Greatest Resource is . . .Your Attention

Your attention itself is essentially your greatest resource. As I see it, managing your attention well is a key to fulfillment and to developing the resilience we all need in these times. Lyedie
It is mid-January. The frenzy of resolution-making is settling down, and I find this to be a good time to hunker down into the basics so as to set a solid trajectory for the year. So please bear with me, and consider your attention itself as a resource — I'm defining attention here as being the flow of the most essential energy particles that you direct (consciously and/or unconsciously) as you move through life. Within this definition, thoughts and feelings are forms of attention.
Here are a few questions to help you explore and assess how resourcefully you are working with the essential currency of your own attention. 
1. Locating your attention: Where has your attention been in the last hour? Has it been out the window, on your best friend in high school or, deep in the project you've been working on? Has it been in the past (remembering), the present (now), or in the future (planning)? Have you been directing it, or has it been commandeered somehow?
Here is a surprisingly beneficial little practice: Stop yourself a few times a day and just notice where your attention is located. Setting a timer on your smartphone to prompt yourself to take note of this will gently help you awaken to your attention. After all, where your attention is is where you are. Choosing to notice, in and of itself, is an act of taking control and directing your attention.
2. Then there is the quality of your attention: What is the quality of attention you are giving to this moment?  Is it focused and penetrating, or is it diffuse and receptive? As you consider these words is your brow slightly furrowed as you engage your focused attention in an effort to understand, or is your brow soft indicating that your quality of attention may be more receptive? What kind of attention you give to what, and when, can make a big difference in the quality of your experience and the quality of what you produce.
3. And how do you decide?  How aware are you of your default priorities? Do you tend to put attention on making progress or tending to things?  Do you approach challenges by springing in to action, seeking perspective, fostering others, or nourishing yourself? Which of these areas do you privilege in your approach to life?
Getting back to the basics of working with our attention and energy provides foundational support to working effectively with the balance of work - rest - play - collapse that is critical to developing resilience. This can allow for making good contact with the ache of our longings, and then to getting around to fulfilling them. As the prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief, so aptly revealed to to me many years ago, “My favorite class is still Ballet I.”
I hope you have found this helpful in some way. If you are looking to make a shift in your approach to life — to developing your resilience and to getting on to fulfilling  those longings, click here to learn more about working with me. Or go ahead and just schedule a discovery session with me.
Warmly, Lyedie


Finding the Star at the Center of the Apple - In Support of Science and Facts

Good morning,

My longing for the truth often finds fulfillment in the territory where art is incontrovertible, and where astronomy delivers an astonishing explanation for vast connectivity. As a student of the great mystery, I often cut my apples the "wrong way" just so that I can see the star that is revealed there in the core. Science and facts are most compelling and necessary It is just so hard to believe that we have reached a point where we have to march in support of them! So, here are two offerings in solidarity with all those who are marching for science today.

1. As I sit writing here in my blue chair, the poet Jane Hirshfield is reading from the stage at the March for Science in Washington DC. Her poem is about Day 5 of Donald Trump's presidency and it is called On the Fifth Day. (Her most recent collection is entitled The Beauty)

On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.

The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.

Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.

The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.

Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.

The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.

Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.

Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.

They spoke, the fifth day,
of silence.

2. Click here to be inspired by Neil DeGrasse Tyson delivering an astonishing explanation for the vast connectivity we experience when we gaze heavenward.  (The Most Astounding Fact from Neil DeGrasse Tyson)





Why Poetry is a Necessary Luxury

Good morning,

Lyedie here again from my blue chair.

The crocuses are bursting forth here in New England, and it has been about a year now since I launched The Longings Project. The irony of having chosen this year to dedicate myself to fulfillment of the personal and professional longings of women is not lost on me — I have to admit, there have been times when I heard a booming voice saying, "How dare you put the longings of women at the forefront!" 

Here is the thing I have to say to that booming voice. We can't have true fulfillment without longings. Longings are Point One on the trek to fulfillment. Point One is where we set our direction. When we skip over Point One, we easily set off on rudderless adventures, driven by the winds of necessity and other people's worn itineraries. That is why I dare.

Longings give us access to living life with the heart of the Lover. (One of four members of the archetypal Wisdom Council that I offered you a few weeks back in the Daily Activist's Log) Lover is the one who feels and who loves life. She gives us access to our emotional intelligence and to our playful nature. When the Lover isn't firmly in her seat at your council, life starts to lose color and texture.  Your feeling life recedes and the dry winds of 'shoulds' and 'what ifs' begin to pervade.  Some people report feeling as if they are just going through the motions, or that they feel lifeless, even dead inside — dreams remain untapped.

Longings are the sparks and tugs of the Lover.  Glimpses of the future breaking through into the present, calling us into the next chapter of our lives. Longings speak through our felt sense, the little details of life, the exquisite swelling of our heart, the tears welling up in our eyes. There are times that we can barely feel the spark and the tug of longing, and other times that unrequited longing is burning holes through our lives . . .

One of the languages of longing is poetry. We are living in a moment in time when our very language defends against matters of the heart. Poetry, as David Whyte suggests, is language that melts through this defense and gives us access to the territory of the heart. Often we are quick to jump to instruction manual language that tells how to do it faster, more efficiently, more effectively and we skip right past the poetry that makes it all worth while.

Poets re-acquaint us with the language of longing, inviting us to live closer to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to the mystery that gives rise to a meaningful life. Nayyirah Waheed whispers about the courage it takes to put longing first in a tiny poem that resounds in my heart.

flower work
not easy.
soft in fire

The poet Brooke MacNamara offers us an intimate glimpse into her response to the jug breaking political event of 2016 in her poem Upon Learning Donald Trump Has Been Elected POTUS, I Clean the House

Mold in the toilets must be scrubbed,
and my toddler’s spills demand my supplication.
I always hate the beginning of cleaning,
and the mess gets bigger
before what’s under begins to shine.
Some things must be discarded
but the little gifted sailboat mug
will be glued back together for my boy.
Now, head bowed
and crowned with earned beads of sweat,
I’m humming along and my husband
joins my effort. The bad news is:
unearthing, we don’t know what we’ll find.
The good news is: we don’t know what we’ll find.
My love, help me lift the weight
of the bed we’ve been sleeping in
so we can face what’s been collecting
under it in the dark. In the corner back there,
I see my lost heirloom ring - ring of my lineage -
has been resting against a dead fly

Mary Oliver slyly invites us to kneel down in the grass, even invites us to be idle and blessed, before she flings a heart-of-the-matter question right at us in her poem The Summer Day.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

One thing my life has taught me is that the greatest acts of courage are the small ones.  Like remaining soft in fire — Like saying 'no' to the news on occasion, and then saying 'yes' to poetry. Carving out time to spend with poetry has become a necessary luxury for me. Reading poetry invites the Lover to take her seat more firmly at the table of my Wisdom Council. It helps me to stay connected to not just what I care about, but to the full bodied felt sense of caring itself. 

Lately, I've been keeping a pile of poetry books beside my blue chair. Yesterday, in the quiet of the morning, I read an old favorite over again out loud to myself. Hearing Rilke's words become my own, and then reverberate in my kitchen gave strength to my resolve to hold fast to dreams, my own and yours.

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.

But what you love to see are faces
that so work and feel thirst....

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

 Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Robert Bly


I urge you to make a place for Lover on your Wisdom Council, and to keep your favorite poets by your side.  Feel free to contact me if you'd like learn more about how I can assist you on your trek to fulfillment. 

Thank you for taking a little of your precious time to read this today. May we all have the courage to be open to the mystery in our every day, to put our strength in service of the good, and to celebrate the joys of fulfillment.

Dare to have your longings, and thanks again!









Daily Activism - More on that Morning Page

Good morning,
Lyedie here again from my blue chair.
I just want to thank you all for your enthusiasm about the Daily Activist's Log!  The response has been far beyond what I expected.  Many have shared my original post and 1000s of activists have downloaded the morning page. If you are among those who are taking 10 minutes in the morning to reflect and align your energy and attention with this page, it may be heartening to know that you are not alone in this potent pause. If you are curious and you missed it click here.

In the last few weeks, someone pulls me aside almost daily to tell me about it how it has strengthened their resolve and given their day a lift and a focus. Many have expressed curiosity about the design of the page itself. Questions about the The Wisdom Council abound. Next week I plan to address some of those questions. For now, I'm sharing a copy of my morning page from January 25th (the day that I first created it) as an example, to give you a sense of how I responded to the prompts on that first morning. (See below)

Your enthusiasm has helped me transform the concern that was keeping me up nights into a rumbling optimism. This project has given me an intimate glimpse into the power that is coalescing in each of us as we set out on this marathon of a renewed citizenship.

Make breakfast. Make love. Make some trouble on behalf of beauty, truth, and goodness.
Thank you for everything you do to keep putting power in the hands of love.

Onward we go!  Lyedie

Please go ahead and do share this post. And by the way, The Daily Activist's Log is available free of charge, Click here to download. 

My morning page on January 25th 2017

My morning page on January 25th 2017




Daily Activism - How do you start your day?

How do you start your day? My day generally begins with a cup of coffee in my blue chair, and 10 minutes spent reflecting and planning with a morning page. In the last few weeks, my sense of being a citizen (a citizen of our nation and the world) has deepened and expanded. So much so that it caused me to update my morning page. I've started calling it my Daily Activist's Log, and for the next few weeks, I'm making it widely available here.

Perhaps you share in this expanding sense of citizenship? If so, you might want to give 10 minutes of your morning to trying this out, especially if these sorts of things are coming up for you:
- the need to keep up your good work in the uncertainty of our times
- the desire to expand your sphere of influence — and make it felt
- a longing to put power in the hands of skillful love
- an awareness that this is not just a sprint, it is a marathon
Click here if you'd like to download the morning page.

As Jean Houston recently pointed out to me, uncertainty seems to have reached truly mythic proportions. We are cracking away from the expected, into times that require an upgrade of the pioneering spirit. "To succeed we can no longer go it alone, but must partner with one another to share innovative and creative ways in which to rethink and restructure our individual existence within the context of our expanding global communities." We are not going to succeed with just the usual activist tactics. I see a need to call in the feminine and upgrade our activism. Some are calling it the Politics of Love.  What ever words you are using, there is a need to marshal all the love, wisdom and energy that we can. Pacing and elegant use of energy is called for in this marathon

Keeping fit for the long haul starts with each one of us, every morning, when we set the trajectory for our day. One of the secrets to creatively living through tumultuous times is to develop the art of the potent pause. There are a number of ways to pause mindfully; meditation, martial arts, even walking being among them. One way to develop the art of pausing potently is to maintain the practice of starting the day with well orchestrated time to reflect, and to align your attention and energy. 10 minutes can wield a truly alchemical shift in your day, when it is well orchestrated.

If you are in for the duration, spend 10 morning minutes with My Daily Activist's Log for a few days or a week. Then please let me know how well this potent pause rocks you into your day. It is a work in progress, so I welcome your response. My hope is that your success with it contributes to our collective rise to the great task before us. Feel free to tinker with it and make it yours. If you find you want help with implementing it, click here to learn more about my work or just contact me directly.

I know, I do get lofty when I'm in my blue chair. Then I put away the dishes and I rock into my day. I feel very lucky to be able to carve out 10 minutes of quiet in the morning, and one thing that really motivates me is my longing for all beings on the planet to someday to be able to enjoy this same privilege.

Please go ahead and share this post.

Onward we go!

Soulcraft -Nearing the Winter Solstice

Today I started my day in meditation with a group I recently joined in Putney. I was up late last night and, to be honest, I had to will myself there. It would have been so easy to linger under the covers a little longer and to miss the crisp air and the new snow of the morning.  We always begin our meditation with a poem or a quote. Had I pushed the snooze button, I would have missed this one.

Reading from a note in his own hand, written on an old library catalogue card, Bob shared a piece of Wendell Berry's wisdom.  On the wings of Bob's voice, a beautiful and precise suggestion for the definition of soul landed in my morning. Fulfilling a longing I didn't know I had.

Soul is fundamentally a biological concept, defined as the primary organizing, sustaining and guiding principle of a living being. Soulcraft is the skill needed in shaping the human soul towards its fulfillment in its unity with the entire universe. The universe and human soul find their fulfillment in each other. Soul gives to the multitude of living forms wondrous powers of sensation and motion. Soul in all its diversity of expression, enables the flowers to bloom in the meadows. It enables all manner of living forms, the birds, the fish, and other living beings to find their way through thousands of miles on their migration journeys back and forth across continents and in the dark depths of the sea. The entire universe is sustained in all its vast interwoven patterns by the mysterious power of soul.                 

And Bob, the way you are making brilliant use of discarded library catalogue cards just about slays me. Thank you!

Gratitude 3.1 - Disarmingly Simple

Click on this photo  to hear Lyedie read a story about chasing this rainbow, and catching it!

Click on this photo to hear Lyedie read a story about chasing this rainbow, and catching it!

Daily Gratitude 3.1 - Can be played solo or as a duet on Facebook

This disarmingly simple practice will build your gratitude muscle. The Daily Gratitude 3.1 Practice is designed to build your pre-frontal cortex and to wire up the neural pathways between your brain and your heart.  The truth is we can accomplish goal after goal and never experience the joy of fulfillment if we haven't developed the ability to pause and experience gratitude.  Gratitude is one of the capacities on the grace side of the grace and grit continuum. It takes dancing the whole continuum to fulfill our longings. 

Follow these instructions carefully, and to ensure your success, be sure to KISS (keep it simple stupid).
What it takes:

  • Three minutes a day and the willingness to respond in writing to your 3.1 prompt (Solo)
  • Showing up on Facebook for your partner-in-gratitude on a daily basis. (+Three minutes to Duet)
  • Your willingness to see the good and to take a few moments to savor it. + 1 minute

Making Gratitude 3.1 a daily practice (solo or as a duet) will calm your nervous system by developing the integrative functions of your brain.  It is one way to evolve beyond the negativity bias that keeps you safe, but that often generates ill serving responses to the complexities of modern life. Gratitude 3.1 invites you to fire the appreciative capacity of your heart together with thoughts, events, people in your every day life. Sharing it with another over the course of a month or more, is an opportunity to develop discipline, trust and attuned communication.  This practice feels good because it rewires your brain to take in the good. As the Interpersonal Neuro-biologist, Daniel Siegel aptly observes about the process of retraining the brain, “What fires together, wires together.”

Let me know how it goes, and please do share this practice with your friends. The more buoyant spirits we have in the world the better!

Step 1. Start Solo by practicing with this simple writing prompt on a daily basis. This is a melody you can always find, even in the midst of uncertainty, chaos and complexity.

List three things you feel grateful* for: (Brief answers are best)


Describe one thing that went well in the last 24 hours. (Briefly)


Take a few minutes to breathe in and savor each entry.

*Important Note: Gratitude is not positive thinking. No need to get smarmy and try to sugar coat your life with this practice. Look for 3 things you feel genuinely grateful for or glad about (however small or grand) and list them.  Some days it will be something big and fabulous, other days it may be that the sun came up this morning, your neighbors dog didn't bark all night, or you found ripe avocados at the grocery store. You can always find something, even in the midst of a challenging day, or if you are going through a rough patch.

Duet Option - Step 2: Invite someone to play with you as a duet on Facebook (Highly recommended).

Find a friend who longs to experience more gratitude; who you trust enough to share your answers to these questions with on a daily basis, who is willing to share their answers to these questions with you on a daily basis, and who doesn’t mind being on Facebook for 6-7 minutes a day for the next 30 days. This should be someone who you deem both reliable and trustworthy. Share this link with them in your invitation.

Step 3: Designate a space

Create a Secret Facebook Group and invite them to be your only friend in that group.

Step 4: Agree to post every day at a specified time (morning, mid-day, evening) using the 3.1 writing prompt in Step 1.

Step 5. Read and Like each others posts every day. Comment sparingly and, if at all, supportively. The key is to not get caught up in the content of each others melody but to maintain the duet by keeping it simple and staying connected. KISS

Step 6. Take a few moments to breathe in and savor your entries as well as appreciate your partner’s entries. Metabolize that gratitude and feel how it optimizes, shifts and shapes, your state of being.

Keys to Optimizing a Gratitude 3.1 Duet on Facebook:

Finding a reliable and trustworthy gratitude duet partner.

Being a reliable and trustworthy gratitude duet partner. Show up for yourself, your partner, and for the gratitude. Just by making your daily post you will encourage each other. On the contrary, not showing up with your daily post and Like can turn this from being an uplifting experience into a downer . . . Be the cause of gratitude, yours and theirs.

Keeping it to just the two of you.  If you invite others into the group you will have more posts to read and the process will complexify and get bogged down. A duo is fundamental and potent, you’ll see. More KISSing.

Sharing: If your enthusiasm for gratitude gets infectious and someone else expresses interest in being part of a Daily Gratitude Duet, share these instructions with them and encourage them to get a partner.

Sticking to the Structure: Structure is what makes marvelous improvisation. Use the Secret Face book group you created only for playing the Daily Gratitude Duet – Refrain from muddying the tune with other melodies . .

Working with 30-day increments: Agree to play for 30 days and then evaluate. You can always decide to re-up for another 30 days. My friend, Gregor, and I kept it up for 8 months before we recognized that it was time to complete.

Complete and Celebrate: Recognize when your Daily Gratitude Duet is coming to a close. Some signs that could indicate that it is time to “consciously uncouple” are boredom with the process, decreased frequency, along with a marked increase in the buoyancy of your spirit and capacity for gratitude.  (No this is not a marriage, it is just a duet.) Clear endings are enormously satisfying. Trickle outs reduce potency and give rise to disappointment. You will get more benefit if you complete and celebrate.

Here is one way to structure your final posts with a great endnote:

Three things about playing this duet that I’m grateful for:


Three things about you (your partner) that I’m grateful for:

  2. .
  3. .

What went well in the last 30 days?

Let me know how it goes, and please do share this practice with your friends. The more buoyant spirits we have in the world the better!

May your everyday life be filled with gratitude.

Blessings, Lyedie


Chasing Rainbows - The Story

Last week I had occasion to be out chasing rainbows.

It was a steamy Saturday afternoon and William and I had just been driven off of Crane’s Beach by a hauntingly beautiful thunderstorm. While making our way back to the city a double rainbow began flirting with us from behind the power lines on the east side of Route 1.  At one point, we pulled over to take some pictures, and lo and behold so did everyone else! There we all were by the side of the road, enthralled, a bit giddy even , and laughing while trying to capture the moment without those damn power lines. One woman leaped out of her car, turned to me (a perfect stranger), “Wow. How lucky are we? There just must be a God. Who else could it be?”

Even when you know the science of it, a rainbow is a miracle. I was all caught up in trying to get a good shot. I stopped peering at the miracle through the tiny screen of my I Phone. And I looked up, softened my scrunched up brow and just stood there for a moment to soak in what was happening in the sky. I felt a familiar melt in my heart. I stood as witness to that phenomenon that appears only when sunlight strike rain droplets and conspires to create a spectrum of light hovering in the sky. Rainbow.

I'd caught myself in the middle of missing a rainbow, while I was trying to catch it.  For a coach who is all about presence and cultivating gratitude and all that razzmatazz, it was a humbling moment to put it mildly.  I know that appreciative moments aren't just caused by the dramatic generosities and occurrences like rainbows. They are generated in specific neural pathways that connect our brain to our heart.  When those pathways are hijacked, we miss stuff, even flirtatious double rainbows. I took in that side-of-the-road infusion of awe and gratitude and then I turned toward my friend William, "Let's find a side road down that way, where we can lose these power lines."  That was when we found this sweet spot and, I found the presence of mind to compose this photo.

A few years ago a good friend and colleague and I were in the winter doldrums. It was January and we noticed in our conversations that we had a strong tendency to share our challenges and struggles. We were both studying the relatively new field of neurobiology and we knew that the lower regions of our brain gives challenge and struggle priority. We got intrigued by the idea of retraining our brains to look for was what was working and to generate the unique constellation of neural connections that create the feeling of gratitude. That is the science of it. We also knew that it takes repetition over time to retrain the brain. (There is considerable debate among experts about how much time and how much repetition, so I'm not going to get all sci-ency with you about it here.) We make our livelihood designing practices to develop resourceful capacities in our clients and we are always experimenting onourselves.

We cooked up a daily gratitude practice and we played it together as a duet on Facebook over the course of what turned out to be 8 months.  The practice was simple. We shared three things that we were grateful for and one thing that went well in the private container of a secret group on Facebook. Posting every day created a sweet intimacy between us, gave us both greater capacity to notice the good stuff that was right there in our lives. I treasure the memories of those mornings that I would wake up, go down to my kitchen and settle down with a cup of coffee to make my daily post only to find that my dear friend in Toronto was out ahead of me with his 3.1. This wasn’t a rainbow occurrence, it was a wow-the-sun-rises-every-day practice.

In the spirit of chance encounters with rainbows, and seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, here are some instructions for the gratitude practice that my friend Gregor and I cooked up on a cold day in January and managed to keep up well into September. Don't just wait for rainbows. Find a trustworthy and reliable partner, and practice gratitude with as much devotion and gentle, but firm self discipline as you can muster. Showing up for this will bring you the sweetness of connection and train your brain to connect with your heart so that gratitude becomes an every day occurrence. My wish is that it will unleash as quietly powerful a shift in your life as it did in mine. The buoyancy of your spirit will sneak up on you. You might find yourself skipping down the sidewalk, singing in the shower, or unabashedly telling someone what you love about them . . . And if you happen to catch yourself missing a rainbow, you'll be more likely recover yourself in time to savor the moment. Make it work for you. And let me know how it goes.


Saying, 'Yes'

God Says Yes to Me

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
what if I cavort with squawking saints
forage with a crowd of long legged water angels
sail with a regatta of white pelicans
sing glory hallelujah with the cormorants
drying their wings over the water
and she said Baby I made you for this
cavort as you wish
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes


Poem by Kaylin Haught

Praise Song for the New Year

Click on this image to hear a recording of Praise Song for the Day

Click on this image to hear a recording of Praise Song for the Day

Praise Song for the Day                                                             

Each day we go about our business,

walking past each other, catching each other’s

eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is

noise and bramble, thorn and din, each

one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning

a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,

repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,

with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,

with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky.

A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words

spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,

words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark

the will of some one and then others, who said

I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.

We need to find a place where we are safe.

We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.

Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,

who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built

brick by brick the glittering edifices

they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.

Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,

the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,

others by first do no harm or take no more

than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,

love that casts a widening pool of light,

love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,

any thing can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

 praise song for walking forward in that light.

                                                     by Elizabeth Alexander

Exploring Habits

I’ve noticed that when people think about habits they are usually focusing on what they perceive as bad habits and looking to break them.

Good habits / Bad habits, either way they structure our lives.

Habits are activities that have connected to our autonomic nervous system and have quietly transformed what we do into routine. Habits are structural in the way that they impact our lives. And the beauty of that is that we don’t have to expend energy deciding over and over again. I don’t have to decide whether to have my first cup of coffee in the morning, or whether to give my daughter a hug and a quick kiss before she gets on the school bus, or whether to review and update my list of tasks for tomorrow at the end of my work day.

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing Gretchen Rubin speak about her new book on making and breaking habits.  One thing she said really stuck with me, “What we do everyday matters more than what we do once in a while.” I got a subtle and significant perspective shift when I went from thinking about habits to thinking about what we do everyday, and my practice design “elf” awakened.

So, if daily habits are the architecture that structure our lives then the practice of tracking and appreciating what we do on a daily basis for a week could be very illuminating. Tracking something puts your attention on it and attention is a form of currency. (This is what I call a Noticing Practice.)

Start a list of your daily habits. Add to it every day for a week. Then at the end of a week give yourself 15 or 20 minutes to reflect on your list.  A few key questions might then be:

What abilities am I maintaining and even building with my habits of doing?

What neural pathways am I maintaining and building with my habits of thinking?

What are the things that I’m doing every day that presence* what matters most to me?

Then pick a few new habits to invite into the daily-ness of life.

And if, during your noticing practice you trip upon a few habits that you want to break, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Framework is a great resource.

If you’d like support with venturing further into inviting new habits into your daily life, or breaking a few, you can contact me by clicking here.

*Note: I’m using presence as a verb here, meaning to be able to sense and bring into the present. See Otto Scharmer’s Presencing Institute

Those dilemmas that keep us up at night

I'm wondering if something other than thermal fluctuations is keeping you up at night? Perhaps you, like many others I've encountered recently, have a burning question or a dilemma that is churning? While I’m a big believer in giving things time to coalesce, sometimes we just get stuck in an indecisive loop that commandeers our attention during the day, and robs us of sleep at night. If you, or someone you know is up nights with a dilemma, perhaps I can be of help.

Dilemmas are actually very cool things. When you dive into one, with proper guidance, you discover that they have an anatomy.  They tell you what you hold dear and what you fear.  Within their structure they hold a lot of truth, along with some false or outmoded assumptions.  Without fail they hold the key to how to get unstuck along with wisdom about how to pace yourself as they lose their hold on you.

  • Often we can solve dilemmas very simply with perspective and new action steps
  • Sometimes we find we can to learn to hold them differently
  • At times we can change our relationship to them
  • On occasion, once we have fully explored them, they just loosen their grip and resolve themselves

Please don’t let the summer, and your precious life currency, get consumed unnecessarily by staying stuck in a dilemma. There are times when action is required — transformational action, that doesn’t just try to push the river, but dives deeply into it and converts the energy that is trapped below the surface. I offer Afternoon Clarity Sessions that support while you dive youin to the churn and unlock the gifts of a dilemma.

Results: What are some sure signs that you have succeeded at unsticking a dilemma?

  • More sleep at night
  • A path forward is apparent and you have more courage to get on it and go
  • Your attention is freer to dream, create, enjoy people, and get things done
  • Buoyant energy is available once again
  • A sense of ease returns to your body, mind, and spirit
  • Your sense of humor returns

If you are churning on a dilemma and you'd like some help, Click here or give me a call (802-881-3124) to schedule your session.



Your waning energy can be a marvelous invitation . . .

Are you heading into mid-life and noticing that your energy levels seem to be waning?  Noticing that you can’t just reach into that deep reserve of physical energy that used to be so readily available? This is a reality that most of us fight against. I certainly did!

But what I've found is that this ebb in energy is actually an invitation to step into a radically different efficiency. Once the reality becomes inescapable and we finally begin to turn our efforts away from recapturing lost youth and towards the future, a new vitality comes online. Many of us injure ourselves repeatedly, or get sick, before we recognize and accept this invitation. We humans have a tendency to move into grace kicking and screaming.

What does accepting this invitation mean in practical terms? First, it means admitting that there has been a dip in your energy levels. Once you get real with yourself, you can start caring for your physical body differently: adjusting diet and exercise, focusing on the body's brilliant design, its virtuosity. Start relying less on brawn. Then it means softening those youthful ambitions enough to listen for what is important to you now.   It involves actively downshifting and finding engagement in a deeper, wider sense of meaning that then provides you with an unassailable updraft. It’s not easy, especially at first. It is essential to your well being. It is after all an invitation into one of life's gnarly, necessary and marvelous transformations.

Making the most of the updraft involves developing the ability to attune to your body, reckoning with a natural sense of loss, and recalibrating to the needs of your spirit. It may lead you to courageously planning and implementing graceful exits and well-considered entrances. This is the work of transformation. It is not magic, though the results can seem magical. It requires being realistic, developing new strategies and garnering significant support.  Contact me, I'm not offering you any quick fixes here (No 3 Keys or 10 Secrets) but I can help you accept the invitation of this natural ebb in energy and, using some of the latest intel, move into grace.

Your waning energy is an invitation to soften into a new productivity, to activate a radiant eldership. Turn towards your future and join the party. You will be in good company.

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments

But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst . . .

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

Rainer Maria Rilke, From The Book of Hours

Great Questions

Great questions spring from the mouths of babes. . .

One afternoon, way back when I was a young mother, I was busy putting groceries away and thinking about making dinner when my 7 year old daughter, Sara, burst into the kitchen with a burning question, “Hey Mom! What I want to know is, how come God doesn’t talk to me the way he talked to Noah?”  I knew it was a burning question because of her wide stance and the way she had her hands on her hips. I found out later that her teacher had just read Noah's Ark to the class in school that day.

My first response was internal, ‘Damn, he never talks to me the way he talked to Noah, either!’ Then I managed to slow down and stop bustling around in the kitchen. We had a talk about the Bible's booming voice of God and I started to articulate for her, and for myself, the many ways that God "speaks" to us.  Sara’s question has reverberated in my life for years. I’m so grateful that she asked it and that I stopped long enough to listen. For the life of me I can’t remember what I cooked for dinner that night.

Initially, Sara’s question roused me to examine the masculine voice of God that so often prevails my western Judeo-Christian lineage. Her question was what prodded me into discovering the feminine face of God. It led me to wondering, ‘How is it that we just Know? What senses inform me? How accurate is my interpretation of what I intuit? How can I tell? How could I have missed that? From where do I feel enough certainty to act?’ Since that day you could say I’ve been on a quest to “listen” (active mode) and to “hear” (receptive mode) more, better.

Eventually it led me to my interest in leadership.  In graduate school and subsequent trainings I specialized in the nature of creativity, innovation and emergence and the multifaceted aspects of what constitutes authority. Now the focus has evolved into seeing how Noah’s brilliant response to massive flooding is a story about a leader who innovated because he had a glimpse of the highest future and he managed to act on it. All of this lofty business translates directly into practical application in my daily coaching and facilitation practice. Yes! Now almost thirty years later, I can trace all that back to my little girl’s great question. And I'm still, always, honing my listening skills.

Great questions. They show up in our lives in the darnedest places, when we least expect them. The trick is to recognize them and to open to letting them reverberate and inform us.Tracing the reverberation can reveal the narrative of your life and give you a strong glimpse of what is calling you forward.

What is calling you forward?

What might you need to let go of to move toward that calling?

What action will it require?

What joy will it bring?

When questions like these start to burn in you, contact me.  I can help you cross into the next chapter of your adventure.

Getting More Productive: Tip #2 - Taking pleasure in the doing . . .

Before I close up my week and slip into the long weekend, I want to keep my promise to offer a tip  on productivity. For this one I’m sharing a childhood memory and a poem with you. May these two offerings enhance your celebrations of Labor Day.  I'd like to focus on the beauty of summer and the power of being present in a productive moment.

One of my treasured childhood memories is of working alongside my grandmother at her clothesline on a summer day. Here is a snippet of memoir written back in 1995.

My Nana kept clothespins in a ruffled apron made of blue-green chintz in her laundry room. She’d tie that apron around my waist and then we’d go out together. She’d carry the big basket filled with wet laundry and I’d trundle along behind her, apron pockets loaded with clothespins bumping against my knees.  I followed her out, out through the shade of the Linden trees and down a little hill.

There, behind the barn, was an expanse of yard where she and my Papa had strung multiple cotton lines across a wide span. My job was to hand her clothespins from the deep pockets of the apron.  The sheets would take on the scent of grass and sun as she shook them out in the air.  One by one I’d hand her a clothespin and watch how expertly she worked.

I reveled in standing next to her between layers of wide white sheets.  We stood there together amidst a flutter of white, laughing and talking. I’d watch her every move as she stretched each huge cotton rectangle taut along the line and set the pin carefully in the corner. The order was important: sheets, then pillowcases, then the kitchen towels. 

I loved everything about Nana and her clotheslines, and summer. Working alongside my Nana was like being inside of a hug.

And a poem . . . .


These shriveled seeds we plant,

corn kernel, dried bean,

poke into loosened soil,

cover over with measured fingertips

These T-shirts we fold into

perfect white squares

These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips

This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl

This bed whose covers I straighten

smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket

and nothing hangs out

This envelope I address

so the name balances like a cloud

in the center of sky

This page I type and retype

This table I dust till the scarred wood shines

This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again

like flags we share, a country so close

no one needs to name it

The days are nouns: touch them

The hands are churches that worship the world

Naomi Shihab Nye