The Art of Living Attuned

How to Become a Conflict Resolution Ninja

You know the feeling that comes over you when you’re out of connection with someone you love? 

It’s that place where everything feels a bit off in your world. It spills into every area of your life and in general just messes with your peace.

Then the inner dance begins.

You go back and forth in your mind debating how to approach the other person, asking yourself what the right words are, how to start, how to speak your truth, and how to hear their’s without becoming defensive.

You’re afraid that you might hear, or say, something you’d rather not.

You run through endless conversations in your mind – creating responses to (defenses for) everything they might say. Or maybe you don’t even get that far, because what you really want is to avoid dealing with this altogether. (Can we just move past all this and get straight back to harmony, thanks?)

Relationships naturally lead us into these places, and the desire to cut and run is strong. So how do we stay and find our way back into authentic, loving connection?

With the right approach, you can leapfrog over what you thought you were afraid of (not being loved), and land firmly in the truth that you are love, that you matter, and that everyone is swimming in the same turbulent water.  We all want to move out of conflict and back into connection.

Play with these 3 steps – and watch your relationships transform:

Stay, Trust and Listen With an Open Heart

There is a sense of safety that comes when you lean into your relationships and trust that you are loved unconditionally, and worthy of being heard. Once you decide this for yourself – it becomes a given.

From here you are empowered to draw on your courage, and stay with the discomfort of difficult conversation. If you keep your heart open in this place, your healthy relationships will deepen, and you will naturally move away from the ones that don’t serve you.

Connect with Your Inherent Goodness

Okay, so what about when we don’t like what we hear? When we feel judged, or begin judging ourselves?

Try this: “I am inherently good. Even when I’m getting it wrong, I am fucking amazing.” Because you are.

The goal is not perfection, it is love. For self, and for other. If you decide to love all of yourself – including your shortcomings, others will trust you to hold them that way as well, and your connection with them will become sacred, safe and sure.

Creating intimacy from this place becomes a natural creative process that allows you to sense and respond together as the conversation unfolds, rather than trying to predict and control it before it begins.

Stay Focused on What You Want to Create

It is so tempting to get sidetracked in conflict when buttons get pushed. So easy to get pulled into past hurts, blame, judgment, anger, fear, defensiveness. And the oh-so-seductive need to be right.

Like moths to a flame, we’re drawn to the shields we use to protect ourselves.

This is where it becomes critical to keep your eye on the ball. What is the ultimate intention? What’s wanting to happen? What if this is an opportunity to:

  • deepen your understanding of yourself
  • deepen your understanding of the other
  • build your capacity to be in powerful conversation
  • choose something richer than self-protection – the liberating kind of connection that happens when you bring no bullshit authenticity and vulnerability to the table
  • restore harmony – on a new level that is only possible when you are committed to growing in the conflict
The more you practice meeting conflict in this way, the more you will become a love wielding, demon slaying conflict resolution Ninja!

Come and Get Your Relationship Superpowertools

Let us know if you want to be notified when we’ve set the dates for our next Art of Connection workshop. The focus of this amazing workshop is to help you expand your range in the realm of connection, and equip you with a rock solid relationship superpower toolkit!


Get Rid of Your “To Do” List and Get Things Done

What’s your relationship like with your to do list?

Up until recently mine has been a ‘kinda like/mostly hate’ thing, born of necessity and obligation, an entity that is always growing and never done. And then I had a shift in perspective – one that has really changed the energy around it, made it infinitely more manageable, and dialed the motivation factor way up.

The Problem With ‘To Do’s’

‘To do’ is a head thing. You decide what ‘needs’ to be done, and then you strategize when and how you will approach the task. For example if cleaning your closet is a ‘to do’ thing – you think of how the task looks, how much time it will take, and what needs to happen to get it done. There is very little (if any) heart in this approach – it just feels like one more thing on your list you have to get to.

How to Turn it Into LOVE/LOVE

I was talking with my coach last week about wanting to get into more action in my world, and mentioned I was feeling stalled and unmotivated. As we explored the areas I was looking to get creating in, it occurred to me that a much more compelling perspective than ‘what do I need to do?’ is ‘what’s wanting to happen?’ As I played with this idea I noticed that my whole attitude shifted. I started to light up at the prospect of honouring all the things that were really wanting to happen in my world – they felt like a magnet pulling me forward.

‘What’s wanting to happen’ is visceral – you feel it in your body, and it’s captivating because it is focused on the juicy, awesome ‘why’ of the thing instead of the ‘need to/have to/should’ aspect of it.

When writing a blog post becomes ‘what’s wanting to happen’, I am focused on the feeling of satisfaction that doing the task will bring. What’s wanting to happen is connection with my audience, bringing value, having a beneficial impact, dancing in the creative process of writing, and the fun of sharing my learning!

Because my focus is on the compelling ‘for the sake of’ reason for diving in, I am pulled forward into the task by my heart, instead of pushing forward against the resistance of ‘have to’.

It becomes a  joyful process, because I feel a huge desire to engage in creating what I want.

Clearly Connecting the Want to the Task

It’s important to really connect with the want, and then tie it to the task. When you think of the thing that needs doing, take a moment to settle into your heart and get clear on the why – and then be sure to write that down beside the item on the list. For example – on today’s list is organizing a kitchen cupboard. The why is that I want to honour the space that holds the food that nourishes me, and I want to honour myself by living in order rather than chaos.

This is the wind in my sails that keeps me moving forward when the doing starts to feel uninspired, or I am tempted to put it off for another day.

I started playing with this perspective 3 days ago, and so far have cleaned and organized 4 different areas of my home that have been on my ‘to do’ list – undone – for over a year. It was easy and efficient – and my heart is happily scanning for the next thing on the list.

Applying it to the Bigger Picture

This perspective also weeds out anything on the list that is not truly aligned with what you want in your life.

When you start your day with a “What’s wanting to happen today?” list – and then look at it again and ask,”What’s MOST wanting to happen?” – it quickly becomes evident where you want to prioritize your time.

When you apply this approach to the bigger goals in your life – you get clear on a deep level if the thing you’re pursuing is actually a fit for your heart and soul.

If it’s not, then is that really where you want to spend the precious moments of your life?

Good to ponder:

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” – Milan Kundera


What if it was this simple?

Good to ponder:

“Obstacles cannot crush me, every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci


What Do We Want More Than Money?

Have you ever asked yourself if money belongs where you have it on the priority list?

Money has an enormous cultural influence in our lives. It is a rare day that goes by without it passing through our minds, usually in terms of how we’d like to have more than we do.

It’s also true that much of what we believe about money – and who we are in relation to it, is so deeply ingrained that we rarely question it.

For example, most of us assume making more money will lead to greater happiness. Period.


Money Can Distract Us from the Treasure

In my alternate career as a fine artist, I found myself becoming less and less satisfied with doing the work in exchange for money. Since it has been my primary source of income for several years – this realization felt like somewhat of a problem. Like any good problem, the solution lies first in fully understanding what’s at the heart of it.

It is a commonly held perception that money is a key incentive that motivates high levels of performance. But there are other factors that compel us more strongly, and are mandatory for us to feel truly fulfilled and successful in our work. More importantly, the quest for money can greatly inhibit our performance – and mess with our happiness.

This talk given at the RSA by Daniel Pink gives some great insight into why money is not the incentive we might imagine:

Forget the Money and Bring More You

Turns out what really turns us on is being on purpose, expressing who we are, honing our skills, expanding what is possible for us to create in the world. Making a difference. If our primary focus is on getting the money, it is easy to lose our connection with this important truth and take a detour down the wrong road.

Even more interesting is the current trend in business to give value, lots of it, for free. Why? Because giving, of ourselves, of the value that we uniquely have to bring, is the best kind of getting there is. When we focus our energy there, on what amazing things we personally have to add to the mix, and get busy sharing that, it naturally leads to greater success, well being and abundance in our lives. There’s no way it can’t.

Good to ponder:

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” – Bernard Meltzer


How to Have Fun With Your Problems

Bottom line: some of us are better at dealing with “problems” than others, and attitude is what makes the difference.

It is intriguing how we have this idea that one day we are actually going to be problem free, as if that’s the goal. Get everything dialed: more money, right partner, great health, everyone showing up exactly how we’d like them to – all the time – and then we can just coast on through without a care.

Built into this illusion is the notion that problems are wrong, should not be in our lives, and are the reason for our anxiety, anger, frustration, depression – whatever. But the truth is, life is an ongoing series of predicaments. It’s kind of the point.


Step Fully Into Your Life

We aren’t here to lie on the beach drinking margaritas 24-7. We’re here to seek, to stretch, to grow, to become more – and to share our acquired wisdom so that we all benefit. And problems are the number one way to achieve this end. Problems ask us to be creative, to look deeply, to ask meaningful questions that might not otherwise occur to us. to find our center, to get clear about what’s truly important. They push us toward our very best selves if we embrace and utilize them instead of freaking out and insisting they should not be happening.

So Why Not Have Fun With Them?

Having fun with your problems might seem illogical,  but is it really when you consider the alternative? However upset I might be, however hard I may be resisting ‘what is” (which, for the record, is futile) – when I imagine Jack Sparrow’s lilting voice offering up these words of wisdom, it is impossible not to smile. And that’s a great way in. As soon as I bring in humour, everything opens up, my resistance loosens its grip, and I feel spacious enough to consider more empowering perspectives.

Get Clear On Who’s in Charge

Here’s a way to play with your problems. For the next week, whenever you notice yourself caught up in resistance (you can tell by the fact that negative thoughts are running the show) – make a choice to shift your attitude. Repeat Jack’s words (out loud is most awesome), and notice how your thoughts and feelings are influenced when you stop resisting and just observe your resistance. Then ask yourself, “Hmmm, what’s another perspective?”

Start with the small stuff, you should find several things to work with in no time at all. The big, life changing, overwhelming problems require an even higher level of presence, but if you’re feeling bold, dive on in. Once you become skillful at this game, problems transform into opportunities to align with your most wise and authentic self.

Good to ponder:

“Life is full of ups and downs. Character is measured by the grace with which we handle the downs.” – Unknown