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June 2010: "Powerful Communication: First, We Have a Body"
by Patricia Hirsch

I heard something fabulous the other day on which I've been pondering as to where to pay attention in how our communication with each other may become more powerful.

Marty Raphael, one of my colleagues through Newfield Network, said the following in one of our shared ontological explorations:

"First, we have a body.
Then, we have emotions.
Finally, we have linguistics."

Let's explore this as an inquiry and how it relates to communicating powerfully.

Sometimes we pay attention to what we say. More accurately however, we pay attention to:

"self talk" or
"the little voice in our head" or
"I have to" or
"I need to" or
"I tried.." or
"my feelings" ...

... or just generally, how we "should on" ourselves via language.

In other words, we automatically fall into talking to ourselves or others from which we find... shall I say "collusion" ... to keep our automatic ways of speaking in place. But that is fodder for another conversation. Let's get back to Marty sharing the obvious.

"First, we have a body.
Then, we have emotions. (I'll add "and moods")
Finally, we have linguistics." (briefly defined as "what we say and what we listen")

Are you noticing that what you are saying resides inside of a mood or an emotion? In addition, have you noticed those two reside within how you are 'holding' your physical body? There is a congruence with these three domains where 'we' as human beings don't often put our attention.

An obvious example of an "automatic" way of speaking that does not work for you is when you are "fighting" with someone.

There are:

  1. the spoken words that come out of your mouth <"you did this" and "you did that!">
  2. from an emotion and
  3. I promise, how you are holding your body

The congruence of these three domains lead to a lack of powerful communication in an automatic way-of-being called "how I fight with someone." This way-of-being does nothing for you other than keep you "fighting."

You might ask, how do I "get out of" this dis-empowering way of communicating?

Look at Marty's statement...
"First we have a body."

We learned FIRST how to communicate via our bodies. How might you shift the conversation or the mood or the emotion from 'anger' or 'frustration' to 'acceptance' or 'compassion' or 'humility'?

If you think of how you physically hold your body in 'anger' or 'frustration,' you will begin to see a pattern. I will place a wager on it - that body disposition is where you automatically reside whenever you are in anger or frustration.

Now to first, go with the body, shift it. Consciously move it to another body disposition, someplace that is unfamiliar to you when you are in anger. Notice what happens. Notice how the mood or the language is altered. Notice now you have the ability to "step out" of the anger or frustration and "observe" from another view. One from which you are now able to communicate powerfully.

Exercise: when you recognize that the Way-of-Being that you are in is not working and you "want out of it," stop yourself and notice how you are holding your body. Then shift it.. if your shoulders are forward, move them back. If your legs are crossed, open them up. If your eyes are squinting, open them wide. If your sitting, stand up. Then notice what happens. What new emotion shows up? What new words of possibility show up? How does your communication shift? As with any new practice this takes practice, practice, practice and guess what? More practice.

As always, let me know how it goes.


Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach and Chief Empowerment Officer with Design Your Life Coaching


June 2010: "Building Community through Relationships"
by Becky Woodbridge

"It is not enough to conquer, one must know how to seduce" -- Voltaire

This is one of my favorite quotes because it has so much meaning to me in my personal and professional life. To me, it's the fundamental approach to building long lasting relationships for a happy and healthy life. We, as human beings, are hard wired to live and thrive in a community setting, living as a social group sharing an environment with similar shared interests.

Do you build community? Do you work hard to build strong relationships? Whether it's family, friends, co-workers, or someone you just met, it's a relationship. Our relationship with ourselves is the most important relationship we ever create and it contributes to how effective we are at creating bonds with other people. Are you getting what you want out of your relationships?

Take a moment and reflect on how effective you are in your relationships. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do you under-appreciate, invalidate, or often misunderstand others?
  2. Are you active in the domain of social and play and coordinate action with others?
  3. How do you participate in relationships (conscious or unconscious)?

Awareness is the first step to making changes in your life and recognizing how others see you in the relationship is vital. When you start to observe yourself in relationships you can take new action which will produce different results. Now that your awareness level is increasing what are you noticing? Let's continue to explore your level of awareness with the following practice.

Write down 5 people that you are in a relationship with personally or professionally. Rate the relationship on how effective the relationship is from 0-10 (0 being the least effective and 10 being most effective). Write one paragraph for each person recognizing the actions you can take to improve the relationship and raise it to a ten. If it's already a ten, write a paragraph on what actions you can take to maintain a ten in this relationship. Here are some distinctions to help you with this:

I can …

  • Keep Agreements
  • Listen
  • Forgive
  • Acceptance
  • Play
  • Social
  • Authentic
  • Patience
  • Joy
  • Peaceful Mood
  • Loving
  • Inclusive
  • Care
  • Attention
  • Ambition
  • Trust
  • Giver
  • Compassion
  • Genuine Presence

In closing, I hope I've given you inspiration to build your community through being in a Community. One last thought for you to consider. Make the effort to enhance your life. Be seductive in your enrollment of community and watch your network of people grow personally and/or professionally.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

To learn more about Becky Woodbridge: