Just Right

2016 The Year of Just Right

No more a little bit of this, or a little bit of that, or OK, that will do. Welcome to a season of aiming for the bullseye, for not quitting until it’s just right. If it takes all night, but I don’t think it will. Even if it’s hard, but I don’t think it will be. And if it is hard, so what? It’s hard to put up with mediocrity, less than, and good enough for government work.

Welcome to the ease of the way of just right. We have helpers, guides on this way. Mostly we have our true selves, found in the beauty of stillness. Just right is clear there, in the quiet place, the quiet places.

2016: Just Right.nimbusD'aspremont_web


Leading change: First in the subtle, then in the world.

It’s been some time since I’ve blogged. So many changes. This article explains a lot of what’s been going on, under the surface, just beyond words.


If you want to lead change – personal, organizational or societal – you have to know intimately how change works. This includes experiential clarity in knowing how to overcome – and help overcome – resistance towards change. It also includes knowing the ever so subtle, almost unnoticeable shifts in your own inner experience when facing a challenge to change a personal reality in the face of a conscious or unconscious resistance. This is especially true, if the change you want to induce is not just incremental change, i.e. getting better at something, but a real transformational shift, or even a paradigm shift, personal or otherwise.

This is what Bill O’Brien or Otto Scharmer talk about, when they tell us how much the `inner place of an intervener´ matters to the success of an intervention.

217868_454397854583456_2109798001_nLeading self comes before leading others. Let us illuminate that ‘blind spot of leadership’ and take…

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Bittersweet edges around joy

God is being good to me.  Lines are falling to me in beautiful places.  He has looked down on me and mercy, showering me with blessings.  He has let my eyes see His beauty in me and in others.  He has surrounded me with songs of thanksgiving.  I will say of the Lord, He is my portion, my Lord, in him will I trust.  He has covered me with his feathers and under His wings do I trust.  His truth is my strength and buckler.  A thousand shall fall at my right hand but no evil shall befall me, neither shall any plague come nigh my dwelling. He has set my foundations with stones of many colors. He has prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  My cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Being surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, I rejoice, though I be compassed about.  I know my Redeemer liveth.Hinds_Feet_on_High_Places_large

He has brought me onto His High Places, has truly had mercy on Much Afraid and transformed me into Grace and Glory.  And as I climb higher my enemies still pursue, looking to devour me.  In the rarefied air they see me more clearly, it is harder for them to hide.  I see them also, feel their hot breath, their ravenous hatred, the glee with which they would see me fall off any cliff and be dashed into pieces.  You hold me close, and yet sometimes I miss the carefree days in the flowered valley, when I was still afraid, but learning of you, and looked up at these high places, wondering how anyone tread here.  I am filled with the joy of your presence, and I see clearly that those who would see me fall are persistent and tenacious; the secureness of my youth, the naivete of ignorance, cannot comfort me.  I will sometimes turn to the music of my youth, to family and friends, in an attempt to recapture that carefree-ness; it does not work.  The music that used to feed my should now brings only bittersweet memories of times when I thought I was home, but I really was not.  You are my home, I have no desire to abandon the path of your Love and your death and your rebirth.  But my soul is not free of the desire for the familiar.  Hence bittersweet edges around joy.

Each one, inspire one


A LinkedIn contact wrote the following to me in a message:

Thank you for taking the time to endorse my life’s work. There is a shortage of effective leaders like you who are making a difference in the world. The world is better because you matter. Much love!

I’ve endorsed lots of people on LinkedIn. Occasionally someone will thank me, which is fine. I’m not endorsing because I want thanks, but because I believe the person really does exemplify those skills. So…this message was that much more rewarding and uplifting add it was unexpected! Thank you, LinkedIn contact-you know who you are-for seeing past the words, noticing the heart, and taking the time and trouble to write.

Reader, I challenge you now, go, and do likewise: make someone’s day. They will always remember you.

What the Women’s US Soccer Team taught me

Vancouver, B.C.  Sunday July 5, 2015.  Highlights of US Japan Women’s FIFA Final

It was great fun to watch the US Women’s Soccer Team decisively defeat Japan to become the 2015 FIFA World Champions.  I asked myself why? Why was it such great fun? To me, because:

The team was focused and playing as one.  There was very little drama or posturing, just good, clean, fast, aggressive soccer.  Actually, both teams exhibited this.  The American women were physically taller and appeared more powerful, but the Japanese were technicaly skillful and resilient.  It was a real competition.

Superb athleticism: I’ve always loved the sheer physicality of soccer, all that running back and forth for up to 2 hours, the skill of ball handling, the strategy to outwit defensive strategies, the split second timing.  In this our women excelled: this was not their first rodeo.  Amazingly many of the players have played together for over 10 years.  The know each other.  It was like ballet. Or synchronized swimming. 

They were having fun.  the sheer joy in the game was obvious in their expressions, in the grace of their movement, in their attitudes, in the sportsmanship.  From Carli Lloyd’s goals to Hope Solo’s masterful goaltending, they all acknowledged each other and laughed and smiled and hugged. A lot.  The defensive players, the captain Rampone, the younger players like Johnston, were all in it, all in even with their old timer who played less than 15 minutes, Wambach.

Their celebration was joyous and effusive but never mean or condescending.  And it was a team recognition: witness Rampone and Wambach take their time and count to three before lifting their trophy, in perfect timing with the rest of the team.  Lloyd and Solo and Wambach received their special recognitions but no one hogged the attention.  It just made one feel good to watch.

So….for our team at work, I would love it if we:

Were focused on our mission and acted as one.  Worked together and celebrated our strengths.  Practiced. Had fun.  And celebrated when we hit it out of the park, yet with grace and style.  Yeah.  That’s the kind of team that keeps me excited about going to work day after day.

What, if anything, did you glean from the game, and the win?

Each one, Teach one, 4.

In this series I share what I’ve learned in my own recovery. I am a physician, a patient, a person in recovery, a mother, a daughter. A fellow human.

Healing, for me, happens in the context of relationship. Mutual relationships where both parties perceive a benefit and there is no power discrepancy are satisfying on many levels, including promoting healing and recovery.

We don’t seek medical help to make friends, I’m not naive. [Sometimes it’s comforting to imagine an all-wise, brilliant, intuitive can wield near magical technology to dispatch our ills. Or that a procedure or a pill can make everything better. Fairy tales are comforting in this way!] I am more likely to engage with you, doctor, if I can relate to you, if I feel you hear me and if you don’t have a condescending attitude.

What do you think? Is it all about skill and knowledge, or do non-judgmental listening, the art of asking questions from deep attention, empathy, just being with, play a role? If you were sick, what kind of approach from your physician would draw you in and keep you?

To the teachers of doctors out there, are we teaching our charges to enter into and develop healing relationships, or are we creating technologists of medical science? Do those have to be mutually exclusive? I know there is a focus on the latter. Frankly, it’s easier. We owe it to each other as colleagues, to our co-workers in the field and to all our patients to develop our humanity and relationship building, especially the listening. The rewards are beyond measure.

Each one, Teach one, 3.

Physicians are intelligent and hard-working. And for the most part they want the best for their patients. So, why not share with them what we, as patients, have learned, about what works on our lives as we recover?

First, that is our goal: to recover. To get better. To (nothing personal) not have to come back to see you. To live our lives without sickness, distress, limitations and pain. So…we come to you asking you to work with us to help us not need you anymore. No worries, there’s plenty of disease going around, you’ll never lack for work!

When the distress is mental/emotional/behavioral or physical with significant emotional/behavioral components we find that a strong human connection with love, acceptance, empathy and support is essential to recovery.

Notice, I say essential. This is my personal observation as a person with a chronic illness, and it is supported by research. For example:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PCM/02219905 Farkas, 20007



Search terms such as recovery, resiliency, peer support and you will find a plethora of articles in respected peer reviewed scientific journals with evidence to support the power of healing in human connection. Or ask your patients.

Why is this (creating strong human connections) not a primary skill and topic taught during medical school, residency and continuing medical education? Lest we get lost in historical blaming, why don’t we just decide to incorporate it into current and future physician training?  It’s simple, really. Yours truly will be glad to deliver grand rounds or better yet, work with you to create a curriculum that starts with year one and has courses and rotations throughout training. “The human connection: how you and what you say impacts healing.”

Medical educators, attendings, CME content developers, I dare you to try it. What do you have to lose? Isn’t time spent enhancing the people skills of physicians time well spent? Isn’t teaching doctors to listen, really listen to their patients, worth it?