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February 2014: “Perceive Your Partner with ‘Fresh-Start Mind’”

This practice is borrowed from an article in November’s O (The Oprah) Magazine written by Lodro Rinzler, director of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership. In the article, Rinzler suggests that we can reclaim connection with our partners by perceiving them with ‘fresh-start mind.’ Most of us don’t realize the hard-wired stories we have about the various partners in our lives. When we live according to these stories, we stop listening, seeing, and imagining new possibilities together. We think we have our partners all figured out and the truth is that we both are constantly changing. Rinzler uses a dance analogy to communicate the effects of this lack of awareness: “If you’re dancing with someone and aren’t paying close attention to the way he’s moving, you step all over each other. And then you don’t want to dance anymore.” The same goes with communication. Let’s try to see and perceive our partners anew with ‘fresh-start mind.’

In the month ahead, become aware of your stories when interacting with the various partners in your life. Where you have drawn a conclusion, look again and ask yourself ‘what don’t I know?’ Commit yourself to deep listening, to dropping the stories at the door, and perceiving them with a ‘fresh-start mind.’ What a gift you will be giving them to show up newly. And what a gift you will give the relationship by opening new possibilities in being together. Notice how this practice changes your ability to be truly present and to connect with your partner.

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