Category Archives: Uncategorized

Co-Creation Asks us to Use Our Bodies to Bring Us Back

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After a presentation on a college campus, a student asked me to talk further about “listening to the intelligence of our bodies.” I explained how our bodies “speak” to us in physical sensations and provide powerful opportunities to notice when and how we move away from peace or Divine Presence. When we notice a sensation in our bodies, we can gently inquire within about the circumstance and thought that triggered the physical movement. And we find, most often, we are stressed about the future or we are bemoaning the past. At this point, we can let go of this thought that contracts the body and return to “the peace that passes understanding”—always available to us in the present moment. Being …

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Co-Creation Asks Us to Stay Open

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We were traveling on the hairpin turn back roads in Maine and at 2:30 in the afternoon decided to find a place for lunch. We turned off into a tiny town and saw a café with the door open but with a sign out front that read open from 11AM until 2PM. We peeked inside to hear a warm voice ask: “what is your name?” We told our names and that we were looking for something to eat but saw the sign that said they were closed. Betty, the owner of the café, said that they had been planting flowers all morning. Like a Mom, she asked: “what would you like to eat?” She made us a chicken salad sandwich …

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Co-Creation as Being Fully Expressed

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After a long meeting, I gathered up the pieces of newsprint which held an abundance of logistical details on upcoming programs. I noticed that a member of the team slowly packed up her belongings. I became aware of her lingering moves and sensed she wanted to say something. We walked down the long hall and as were about to split up, she turned to me and blurted out: “How did you decide to write a book?” Immediately I perceived that she had something she wanted to express to the world. I asked her if she ever thought about writing a book and she hesitantly communicated her idea. She talked with tenderness about the possibility and also talked about what stopped …

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Co-Creation and Presence

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I walked into a sandwich shop. I had been there twice before and each time I stood in a long line to place my order. But, on this third time, a young girl about eleven years old stood in line in front of me with her Dad. She slowly turned her head to each wall and then up to the ceiling and then to the floor. She elbowed her Father and, without words, he opened his backpack and handed her a camera. She walked up to the wall and took a picture of one of the signs. I had not noticed it before, but it was most interesting. She took a picture of the napkin holder and again I could …

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Co-Creation and Letting Go

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We had some out of town visitors to The Servant Leadership School and I invited them over to our house for a simple supper. I made a “fragrantly spiced” lentil soup and put it in the crock pot in the morning. By noon, the lentils were still crunchy. At 5PM they were still too chewy. I went to the internet and learned that this sometimes happens to lentils. I was tempted to rush out and get some take-out, but the soup smelled good. I let go of my anxiety about being a “great cook” and shifted to some creative action. I pureed the soup and threw in some carrots and lemon. Of course, as usual, the conversation at dinner counted …

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Co-Creation and Creativity

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When we were young, we possessed untold creativity and vitality. Yet sometimes teachers, friends and even family members convinced us of something else. In our servant leadership classes, we examine how our culture squeezes creativity right out of us. We unravel the many ways we have been brainwashed. Then we courageously, in the good company of one another, take a hairpin turn in the direction of the spontaneity and energy of our true identity. Three steps help us make this turn: 1) Notice all the outside pressures to be compliant (“Purchase the newest i-phone; Pursue that MBA; Get the rain barrel”). Simply pause and notice all the ways we are asked to submit to these external appeals. 2) Ask yourself: …

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Co-Creation and Grace

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I was walking on a trail along the Mississippi River in a park situated between Saint Paul and Minneapolis. In the far distance I saw a person fishing. As I got closer I could see that he was an older gentleman with many bags piled next to him. I wondered if he might be homeless. Just before I was going to pass him, he jumped up and started shouting “Thank you! Thank you!” He pulled a fat twelve-inch fish out of the water. He beamed at me—with a toothless smile—and announced: “Dinner!” His gratefulness and uncensored enthusiasm moved me. He fished and received a meal—I watched and received grace.

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Co-Creation and Compassion

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I set up the room to teach a class on Compassion. I was sorting through the handouts and a woman came into the building. I asked her if she was “looking for Compassion?” She said with enthusiasm: “Oh yes! Please!” I asked her name and noted she was not on the class roster. She said that she “had to talk to someone—a woman—and right now!” I realized she was not in the class. I told her I had 10 minutes before class began and then I had to go and teach a Compassion class. We went into another room and she began:  she was on a 30-day notice at work, she had blood in her urine, she was scared she was not going to have …

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Co-Creation and Community

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Yesterday a friend at lunch told me about a ritual used by an American Indian tribe. When a person offends someone in the community, they gather and put the person in the middle of the circle. Then for three days, if necessary, they take turns telling this person all of the ways she contributes to the life of the community. The tribe simply reminds the offending person of her highest or truest self. Usually, when someone upsets us, we do just the opposite of this ritual. We shun or perhaps confront the person with all their erroneous ways. What might happen if, instead of our usual punishing methods (which only further upsets us) we communicated all that we appreciate about …

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Co-Creation and Chaos

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We were trying to do the right thing, and yet each step got more and more complicated. The children, formerly homeless and all vulnerable, had the opportunity to go to overnight camp for one week. Communication with the camp officials had many twists and turns as our families could not afford 65% scholarships—they really needed 90%. And our families could not find their W-2s or past documentation to show their financial need. The required physicals took some coordination, and then we got the list of materials needed (sleeping bag, bathing suits, etc). Once again, we needed to figure out how to facilitate this for 13 children. Then finally, for a variety of reasons, some children “got to go” and others …

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