June 1, 2018
I put a stone Buddha on my porch Sunday afternoon. It sits within my plants. It makes me smile every time I look out onto the balcony. I bought it on my trip to Esalen for my weekend retreat. The place is part of my “Mihi,” which I share when I give my introduction. In New Zealand my colleagues ask those who present to share their “Mihi.” Before a presenter speaks, he or she is asked to share where their river is, where their mountain is and who their family is. My river is the Pacific and the picture I use is one I took at Esalen. The place just grounds me. I strongly recommend you check it out.
This month’s retreat included a workshop sponsored by the Institute for Noetic Sciences and I had the idea it would help me with my next book. The workshop was entitled “How We Change and Why We Don’t.”
I had every intention to take the course and learn about ideas I could use while writing the 2nd section of my next book, Swimming in the Deep End: Leadership Skills for Aspiring and Emerging Leaders. The second section is about managing resistance. I was ready to take notes. And, as Esalen does to one who goes there, it surprises you in terms of what you get. I finally just left my notebook in the room and experienced.
Given that I cannot bring you to the hot tubs (yes, we go naked and it is wonderful), and into the knee to knee conversations with participants, or have you listen in as guitars were strummed or dancing was experienced, or any of the dining hall moments that dotted and shaped the 36 hours, what I can share with you is that it sure reminded me to have moments. (Yes, it is Esalen and I live the cliché. See the pics of my balcony and out in front of the dining hall.) I was reminded, as the surf rushed up against the cliff below the hot tub to make time for moments.
Today, I came across this video about ‘noticing what we are missing.’ It is a great reminder to actually be in our lives. Here’s to living. L’Chaim!
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
This is the book that the Esalen workshop was derived from. Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life. Amazon says, “Weaving together cutting-edge science with wisdom from teachers of the world’s transformative traditions this book explores how people experience deep shifts in their consciousness, and how those shifts can lead to healing and wholeness.”
And from Parker Palmer, one of the best. His newest book: On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old. Amazon writes, “From beloved and bestselling author Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, Healing the Heart of Democracy), comes a beautiful book of reflections on what we can learn as we move closer to “the brink of everything.” Drawing on eight decades of life — and his career as a writer, teacher, and activist — Palmer explores the questions age raises and the promises it holds. “Old,” he writes, “is just another word for nothing left to lose, a time to dive deep into life, not withdraw to the shallows.”
And finally, in the spirit of Gen Savvy, something that is against targeting people based on their age. A blog called Meet the Perennials. “This content is appropriate for people of all ages. And that’s the point. The days of targeting media and products at people based on their age is over.” The author can also be found on Twitter @TheWhatHQ.
About Jennifer Abrams
Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.
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“Our school’s work with Jennifer Abrams has sown the seeds of stronger communication skills among the adults in the building. This has only served to strengthen the integrity of communication between staff and students as well. We’ve added her language to our expectations: honest, humane, and growth-producing conversations occur regularly.”