Connecting The Dots

Discussing the threads of my own passions which have culminated in my work as coach, mentor, presenter in my own business.

On the road to healing

Mary Johnson - Thursday, June 28, 2018

Last evening I had a most interesting conversation with my neighbour's nephew. He is facing a chronic progressive illness. Like most of us should this happen, we search for the 'right' answer to fix this. There is the thinking that I was doing something wrong, now I just need to do something right. 'I brought this on so I should be able to make better.' 

I've been here.  Become more spiritual, eat better or change your diet completely, give up bad habits, exercise more, banish negative thoughts. There are a myriad of teachers, programs, books that are prepared to give you the right answer. Oh if it were only that simple. This man is discovering this. He's taken on several practices, jettisoned much crap or is working to morph it. While his head space is better, his disease isn't. Yet. As we talked he spoke about his difficult relationship with his mother, his life of fears, of wanting to be famous and successful and not measuring up. This is the crackerjack stuff. The deeper work of a lifetime. Acknowledging it cognitively is a start but it doesn't 'cure' what ails you. It's a process. A delightful (if we let it) process of coming to love ourselves and how we ended up in this place. That is so counter to finding the fix!

When I asked if he loved himself, his energy became very quiet. Eyes looking inward, tremor increasing. "I'm working on that." Yes he is. And that is the deep, deep layer of this journey. Truly knowing you are enough. Accepting your past without recriminations. Letting go. Forgiving those who have wronged us. Forgiving ourselves. And to laugh - certainly at ourselves. 

A we spoke, I realized I had been traveling this road a good while longer than D. My journey has entailed been many side roads and wrong off ramps. But always I found my way back to the road home, .... until the next detour! Ha! This too is part and parcel of the journey.  In the end I could only offer 'Stay the course. Look at where it's taking you. If you don't like it change. If you do, carry on!' There is no right answer. Only the best answer for you.              

Do not assume Ask

Mary Johnson - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It's Spring. Projects around the house and cabin at the lake are in the air. And they are best served when my husband and I are on the same page. That's a no-brainer, right?! Well not for a 'knower'. Or a recovering one. A knower is someone who thinks and feels s/he already has the answer, the way is clear, no real need to check in. Ha! 

In our situation there is also a wee bit of tuff war stuff happening. We are both oldests. Two in-charge kinda folks. I like to organize what needs doing; figure out the steps,  and (from where I sit), Neil likes to just jump in. (He's an introvert and has it all worked out in his head). I see things one way and he sees things another. So I don't tend too ask because it begins a negotiating process that comes with lots of insistence, stubbornness and some ruffled feathers. It can be exhausting! 

In service of being more intentional and transparent, I have been deliberately parking my 'knower' and asking Neil his thoughts and opinions - ahead of the game vs questioning what he's doing as it's happening. I wish I could say it's made things all sunshine and roses. It's a work in progress. The tensions are less. Gaps are surfaced in each others thinking about the work that needs to be done. We hammer out our roles better before crossing swords. Our collective thinking is darn good. When something is complete we are pretty happy with the result and each other. 

Many of you have long since figured this out I am sure. I thought we had too. Being around each other wayyy more at this stage of the game has meant this process of who's in-charge of what (yes we both like to be the boss on occasion) is renegotiated one more time. If this sounds like something you are grappling with, my advice is swallow your pride, don't assume. Ask. Ask where the other person is at; what are they thinking. It is a far less bumpy ride!  


The Third Way

Mary Johnson - Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The world feels a lot like a roller coaster right now. Or it might be more accurate to say I feel like a roller coaster, .... As the news of Trump, pipelines, protests, populism, interest rates, #MeToo etc. unfolds, I feel like a yoyo alternating between an anger and frustration at wanting to lash out and hit something to wanting to hide off in the wilderness somewhere waiting til this all settles out and life returns to something I recognize. Yet in my heart of hearts I know it won't just 'blow over'. Been needing a better strategy for my day-to-day. 

Ah the Universe is wonderful. The other day a dear colleague of mine posted a beautiful meditation entitled Third Way by Richard Rohr**. It speaks of a stance that is neither flight or fight. As I read it I could understand it with my mind. More importantly there was a physical sense of what this Third Way feels like in my body. It offers a position of positive contribution to the energy of the world rather than a perpetuation of what's swirling so densely. 

I offer it here for your consideration and contemplation. More of the same isn't working. 

"The contemplative stance is the Third Way. We stand in the middle, neither taking the world on from another power position nor denying it for fear of the pain it will bring. We hold the hardness of reality and the suffering of the world until it transforms us, knowing that we are both complicit in evil and can participate in wholeness and holiness. Once we can stand in that third spacious way, neither directly fighting or fleeing, we are in the place of grace out of which genuine newness can come. This is where creativity and new forms of life and healing emerge."
Richard Rohr Daily Meditations. (  

** Richard Rohr OFM (born 1943) is an American author, spiritual writer, and Franciscan friar based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church in 1970.