Valentine’s Day Special:  The Leadership of Love

Valentine’s Day Special: The Leadership of Love

In the last ezine, the feature article was called “What’s Love Got to do With It,” and, with this ezine coming out just before Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking again about the connection between love and leadership.

I think everyone would agree that relationships are fundamental to great leadership. Not just for the leader’s organization, but for the world at large. Good relationships are the key to cooperation between companies, states and nations. Cooperation at the local and global levels means being able to make our world a better place.

When people learn this single paradigm understanding of life, they gain psychological freedom in a way that often frees up roadblocks to relationships. You may remember how, in ezine #35 (“Your Consciousness Can Change the World”), Heidi Sparks Guber described how a conflict she’d been having with someone resolved when she realized that she was perceiving the situation through a mixed paradigm lens. She had been thinking the woman was causing her frustration, and that if she could get it right in her thinking, and in her communication with her, it would straighten out. But it wasn’t working. When she realized her frustration was coming from her thinking in the moment about this woman (the single paradigm) her mind cleared. The next e-mail that Heidi sent her was somewhat different in content, but very different in the quality of consciousness, or feeling that was behind it. To Heidi’s amazement, the email she got back was unlike anything she could have expected – it was kind, grateful and appreciative. Their relationship has gone from difficult to positive.

Stories like these keep pouring in – of the woman in our last Women’s Leadership seminar in NJ, who found after she returned from the seminar that her relationship with her 31 year old daughter – which had been strained and conflicted since her daughter was a teenager, was completely different. This time when she called her, her daughter was appreciative, loving, and grateful for her suggestions. ‘It’s like a miracle,” she said to me. “I don’t know what else to attribute it to besides the workshop.” And the woman from our November NYC Seminar who is now getting along with her husband after many years of conflict and strife.

There are also many stories of women gaining new relationships with themselves and therefore a new lease on life. Four women so far have landed new jobs and/or major contracts within a week of completing the seminar!

We don’t teach people how to get a job or have good relationships in these seminars – at least, not directly. These are stories of how the single paradigm does the work. Once you understand how your mind really works, you’re able to align yourself with the principles that govern your psychological functioning. Like getting a train back on its tracks, the mind is able to function as nature intended, dissolving old thought patterns that are in the way of fresh healthy thinking, and allowing you to be responsive, creative, and in the present moment.

May your Valentine’s Day be one of love and connection.

Presence – The basis for Intimacy

I’m doing an intensive with a client this week – a wonderful way to kick off life in Maine. I was concerned when I made the decision to move 4 hours north of Boston that work might slow down, but so far it seems to be increasing if anything.My client, whom I shall call Tom, struggles with his marriage, because he spends most of his time in his analytical brain. As I started working with him, I was describing what it’s like to live in the present, and use the analytical parts of our minds when appropriate, rather than trying to live there. I found myself saying: “We’re basically floating creatures,” meaning that when its not necessary to use the analytical part of the brain, we float. We allow the present moment to carry us.

For Tom, this is a completely foreign concept. He’s used to being in analysis almost all of his waking hours. His job calls for him to use his analytical skills constantly. He wonders why he gets bored at work, and has trouble listening to people. And he wonders why he has so much trouble with personal relationships and intimacy.

What’s it like to be a floating creature? It means when we don’t need to use our brains, we don’t. Our minds are designed that way – to relax when they’re not called upon to be in use. It’s what Linda Pransky described to me as ‘being stupid about life’ when I did my intensive with her some 20 years ago. That was her way of encouraging me to stop intellectualizing everything, to let go and relax. I tried it, and was amazed at the results. Rather than being lost and aimless, I found that the more stupid I got about life, the more intelligent my life became. Another way of saying that is that when I began to let thought drop on a regular basis, wisdom and common sense had much more room to find me.

The benefits of being a ‘floating creature’ – of living in the present – are endless. But in this article I want to focus on how it benefits relationships.

Relationships are much easier and simpler than we make them out to be. People enjoy each other when they’re present to each other. Shared experiences of any kind, when people are present together, create a sense of bonding, of closeness and intimacy. This is why war veterans love to reminisce about the war they fought, in spite of its horrors. War, like any crisis, brings us right into the present moment, and when we’re in the present, we experience life with more richness and depth.

This is also why connection and intimacy are so easy when you first fall in love. The other person has really got your attention, and when you’re around them, you let thought drop and open to the experience, to the present, to what may unfold between you. In fact you can’t wait to see what will happen next, so you are deeply present, curious, expectant, hopeful.

Whenever we let thought drop, we experiences varying degrees of presence. This is the basis for experiencing love and connection with another human being. We experience life through a wide angle lens.

Alternately, when we get into our personal world of thought, we experience life through a telescopic lens. You may be in the proximity of another person, half hear what they’re saying, and respond, but they won’t feel that you’re with them; there won’t be an experience of connection.

It’s been gratifying to watch Tom learn to stop analyzing and start living in the present. He’s becoming more light-hearted and youthful; he’s beginning to experience the deeper feelings that life has to offer. And he’s really looking forward to seeing what happens when he gets back with his wife. And so am I.

If you’re interested in learning more about what makes for successful relationships, consider attending the Loving Relationships Seminar, with Annika Hurwitt, on Martha’s Vineyard, September 28 & 29, 2013 Click for more details on how to sign up.

With Love,


Optimism Matters

Optimism matters. We want to feel optimistic, that all’s right with the world, that whatever challenges we face, there is hope. When we are in an optimistic state of mind, we have a sense of being carried by life, by something that we can’t quite name or put our finger on; something that not only feels great but that we intuitively know will give us the resources we need to meet life’s challenges.Those of us familiar with the principle-based understanding of life would call that something ‘Mind’ – a formless energy that has a deeper intelligence that informs everything there is.

When our minds are calm and quiet, we’re in touch with that intangible something, and we know it by the feeling – feelings of love, joy, well-being, gratitude – to name a few. That mental quiet is the empty space between thoughts. When we have a thought and a feeling and the thought clears itself, we visit that mental spaciousness regularly. This is true of children, before the onset of mental habits, and of adults who have gained an understanding of the three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, and how they reveal the inside-out nature of life.

One of my clients, a successful real estate developer named Gary, is learning about this understanding. It’s been helpful, but he still loses touch with it sometimes and gets caught up in the illusion of thought when the going gets tough (don’t we all). This happened recently when an issue came up in his marriage that he has a lot of difficulty with. After he discussed it with me, I asked Gary if he had remembered that the feelings he was having were coming from thoughts in that moment. “No,” he said, “I couldn’t. I was too caught up in trying to fix the problem. I felt like I had to do that before I could do anything else.”

This is a common mistake so many of us make. When we get caught in the illusion of our thinking we feel like we have to fix whatever the perceived problem is before we can attend to matters like our state of mind. But those are the times when we need our mental bearings most. This is why our heads clear when we’re in a really big crisis – a fire or an accident, for example. Many people report that in these situations they were surprised to find themselves in a flow of thoughts that showed them exactly what to do. I assume that nature designed it this way to ensure the survival of our species – if our minds were muddied with a lot thinking in a crisis our chances of surviving would greatly decrease.

The understanding of the inside-out nature of life gives us that lifeline on a moment-by-moment basis as we go through our day. As long as we know that there is only one place to look – our feelings – and their source – Thought- (and its source – Mind!) our awareness of our feeling states grows. As it does, and we remember its source, much of our unnecessary and unproductive thinking withers on the vine. Saying that you can’t remember about your state of mind until you’ve fixed your problem is like someone who cried out in their sleep and, when their friend tried to wake them, said, ‘I can’t wake up until I’ve killed the monster who is chasing me!’

Optimism is a natural state of mind that is really our default setting. It’s what our minds return to when thoughts clear themselves and settle on a regular basis, as they do when we are in our mental well being. From there, getting good ideas to meet life’s challenges is a no-brainer!

With love,


I began working with a new client, Sarah…

I began working with a new client, Sarah, a few weeks ago. She came in because she was unhappy, and has relationship issues. She hasn’t been able to get over a break up from several years ago, and she’s in a relationship now that lacks the the depth and intimacy she craves.

What struck me about Sarah was how difficult it was to connect with her. She talked fast, and was very wrapped up in own story, getting upset, angry, laughing over and over as she ran over her stories from her past and projected into the future. Occasionally I interjected with some of what I teach that helps people – how when our minds settle down we often connect with a state of mind that brings a sense of well-being, relief from mental turmoil, and a connection to your own wisdom. But Sarah was too wrapped up in her stories to really hear what I was saying. I was aware at the end of the session that we had made little or no connection, and wondered if she would return.

Sarah did come back, and she looked better. She reported having been a bit calmer and happier since she saw me last, but she had no idea why. Guessing, she attributed it to a few things that had gone better that week. She was eying me curiously. ‘I don’t know what you do,’ she said, making contact with me cautiously. ‘I couldn’t’ tell last week. I’m an aggressive person. Maybe you need to be more aggressive with me.’

I assured Sarah that I can be plenty aggressive, or at least assertive enough to get my point across. But I need to make sure my client is interested before I can really start teaching them anything. ‘I’m interested,’ she said. ‘I really need help.’ OK then, I said, and jumped in. I taught her how these principles show people how their experiences are all created through thought, and that we’re either retrieving data from memory (a useful and neutral type of experience), creating unpleasant experiences from being in our personal worlds of data and memory beyond the point where they are useful, or not. The not is when we let our minds settle down and come into the present – when we golf, go to the beach, exercise, etc – whatever place in life you designate as a place to let your mind settle down, is where it happens. Then people have different experiences – they get calm, have a sense of well being, often feel creative and inspired and get in touch with their wisdom, creativity and common sense.

‘I’m all about the personal,’ Sarah observed. That’s true, I agreed. And that was the beginning of the beginning. Sarah and I made contact for the first time, and I could begin teaching her some things that might help her.

Relationships don’t happen in our personal worlds. They happen when our minds dip free of all that noise and clutter. Then we get a sip of the now, the present, the deeper, richer, more real fabric of life. That’s where connection happens, and it happens naturally. As soon as we slip back into the personal, we’re in our own individual movies, which are mildly interesting to other people at times, but take us away from intimacy and connection. For the couples I work with, discovering this one simple truth often makes the difference between have intimacy and connection, or not.

When Sarah left after our second session, I knew that we had made contact. She had learned some things that had already helped her get less interested in the ‘all about me’ part of her mind and more interested in what brings people happiness. I’m looking forward to watching her journey unfold.

Re-discovering Optimism: A Couples’ Story

A Couples’ Story: Sally and Sarah have been learning the prinicples, and it has changed their marriage. A couple in their mid-30’s, they had been married for 7 years. Their relationship was up and down, due to lack of communication and fighting. Whenever they would get into a disagreement, they would talk and talk, trying to sort it through. The more they talked, the more their relationship would spiral down. They had tried couples’ counseling before, and it had only made things worse. The more the therapist pointed them in the direction of their problems, the worse they felt about themselves and the more they fought. It was to the point where they were losing optimism about being able to make it as a couple.

The first thing that hapened after learning about the 3 spiritual prinicples discovered by Sydney Banks, was that Sally got more lighthearted, and Sarah became more confident. “I never realized before how much I keep things on my mind that weigh me down,” Sally said. “I’m feeling so much happier! I was completely happy for 4 days in a row – that hasn’t happpened ever in my life that I can remember. Then I went back to work and started to get down again, until I noticed that I was thinking heavy, serious thoughts, and then it lifted and I l felt great again. This is amazing to me.” Sarah said: “It used to be whenever I was mad or upset with Sally I would pretend that I wasn’t, because I didn’t want to upset her. Now I have the confidence to feel the way I feel without worrying about Sally so much. I don’t take it out on her, but I’m not afraid to tell her how I feel.”

Affter this initial progress, the couple had a honeymoon period of enjoying their relationsip more than they could ever remember. And then they had their first big fight. “I had been saving money for over a year so that we could have another child, and I went into that account and discovered that Sally had taken out a good part of that money and used it for a bill, without telling me. I was so upset – she knows how hard I’ve worked to save that money, and how very much I want to have another child. I couldn’t even talk to her for the rest of the day. But things went so differently when we talked about it! Normally I would have approached her very upset. But I waited, because I now know that wouldn’t work. She asked me if I was upset before going to bed, and I said I was, but that I couldn’t talk about it at that time. I waited until the next day, when I was feeling more calm about it. When we found a good time to talk, I asked Sally about the money, and instead of getting all upset and angry about it, the way she normally would, she said ‘of course I can see why that would upset you.’ Then she explained why she needed to draw on that money for an immediate need, and how she had more money coming in to replace it. I couldn’t believe how easily we resolved this. Of course what she told me made sense, but if I hadn’t waited until I was feeling better, I wouldn’t have been able to hear that. Something that would normally have dragged on for days or weeks was over within a day or so. Its like a miracle! Sally: ‘It was hard for me when Sarah wouldn’t talk or be affectionate before we went to bed that night. But it was different from before. I could tell that she wasn’t being cold or mean, and that made it easier for me to wait. Then when we talked about it it went so easily! It wasn’t even an arugment. We were back on track with our relationshp in no time! This is like a miracle for us – we are so happy!” Sally and Sarah say that they now have a confidence in their relationship that they didn’t have before, and confidence in their future together.