The Center for Transformational Presence http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog Alan Seale's Personal Blog Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:30:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Spreading Our Wings and Setting the Stage for Transformational Presence In 2018 and Beyond http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/setting-stage-transformational-presence-2018-beyond/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:00:03 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2054 It’s been a remarkable year at the Center for Transformational Presence in so many ways. Thanks to our graduates, we presented workshops for the first time in Costa Rica and Spain, and Transformational Presence is now gaining a strong foothold in Poland. Our work continues to expand in the Netherlands through our vibrant community there. […]

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It’s been a remarkable year at the Center for Transformational Presence in so many ways. Thanks to our graduates, we presented workshops for the first time in Costa Rica and Spain, and Transformational Presence is now gaining a strong foothold in Poland. Our work continues to expand in the Netherlands through our vibrant community there. It was also good to be back in Sweden after a two-year absence in Scandinavia. We look forward to our first Transformational Presence for Leaders and Coaches (TPLC) five-day program in the U.K. in January 2018 and also our first TPLC in the French-speaking part of Belgium in December 2018. 

More than 40 graduates from eight countries joined us in the U.S. in June for our fifth Transformational Presence Global Leadership Gathering (formerly known as our Global Summit). We also hosted the Transformational Presence Leadership in Action (TPLA) three-day workshop in Connecticut in November in celebration of the release of my new book, Transformational Presence: How To Make a Difference In a Rapidly Changing World. We look forward to taking the TPLA to the Netherlands in May 2018 and to Poland in September.

All of this was made possible by the commitment and dedication of our community members. Throughout this year, more and more people have stepped forward to ask, “How can I help? How can I become more involved? How can I play a larger role in Transformational Presence?” And increasingly, people are asking, “How can we take Transformational Presence further into the business world and into education and healthcare and government?”

Something is shifting. Through the Great Breaking Open and the many challenges we are facing on every level of society in our VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous), something is opening in the mass consciousness. Here at the Center, we sense that more breaking open is coming. And it feels like the need and, in fact, the longing for what we bring to the world through Transformational Presence will continue to expand exponentially.

Though people sometimes refer to Transformational Presence as a movement, we actually see ourselves as a part of the much larger conscious leadership movement. Furthermore, we are very clear about what we have to contribute to that movement. We provide a powerful set of practical yet transformative skills, tools, and capacities that, together, are actually the foundation for conscious leadership.

Through Transformational Presence, leaders, coaches, and anyone committed to making a difference can strengthen and expand their personal presence for greater impact, effectiveness, and transformative action. In essence, we help leaders be who they need to be so that they can do what they are here to do.

This year it became clear to us that we must now expand and strengthen our own foundation in order to support the conscious leadership movement in this way. As happens when you listen to potential instead of focus on problem-solving, a new opportunity emerged for collaborative structures within our community.

This idea was actually born out of a challenge. In July 2016, Trace Hobson joined us as our Chief OAM: Organizational Alchemist and Mystic. Trace and I both had a strong sense from the beginning that we were to work together in taking Transformational Presence further into business, organizations, and societal systems at all levels. However, the challenge for creating a business partnership was that Trace lives in western Canada and the Center is based in the northeastern part of the U.S.

Listening to our Transformational Presence tenet, “A problem is not something to be solved; it is a message to be listened to,” we trusted that this stumbling block in the form of a country border must hold an important invitation. After several months of listening and sensing the invitation, what emerged was a Strategic Alliance model for collaboration.

We soon recognized that this was not just for our collaboration – it could also serve as a model for strategic alliances with members of our global community who have chosen to make Transformational Presence the foundation of their work, and who are committed to carrying this work further out into the world through their own companies. With the assistance of an attorney who specializes in international business arrangements, we drafted a Strategic Alliance Agreement.

As our first official Strategic Alliance partner, Trace has now created a new company in Canada: iConnectExpansion.

iConnectExpansion’s role is to hold space and intention for connection, expansion, and realization of the emerging potential of Transformational Presence on a global scale. This new company is positioned to serve and support the Center, the Seale Foundation, and Transformational Presence graduates and their companies in service of our global mission: We help create a world that works.

More specifically, Trace’s role is to be a point of connection and expansion, and, where appropriate, to be a co-contributor, co-creator, or collaborator in specific projects. He is already following the potential for other Strategic Alliance partnerships as they reveal themselves.

In essence, through iConnectExpansion, Trace is serving as an organizational steward for the further evolution and development of Transformational Presence throughout the Americas and Europe. He is also laying the foundation for us to be ready as doors open and invitations come from executives, teams, industries, organizations, and leaders in other parts of the world as well.

Trace has also been instrumental in helping us create a plan for how Transformational Presence can continue to evolve and thrive in the coming years as I begin to slow down my travel and teaching schedule and work more from my home base.

As part of that plan, I am now mentoring the first leader team of six people from four countries to share the teaching and facilitating of this work with me starting in 2018. The first leader team members are Kim Adams (USA), Jo Boniszewski (Netherlands), Sander van Eekelen (Netherlands), Trace Hobson (Canada), Rebecca Johns (USA), and Joanna Zawada-Kubik (Poland). My plan is to begin mentoring a second team in the coming year.

As we step into 2018, our intention at the Center for Transformational Presence is to continue expanding our coaching services, webinar and virtual learning opportunities, as well as our in-person programs in support of leaders, coaches, organizations, businesses, and anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.

The Center, the Seale Foundation, and iConnectExpansion are working closely together in service of a greater good. We are listening for what wants to happen next, sensing how we are being asked to show up, and saying yes to the service we are being asked to provide. Joining together with you, we can indeed help create a world that works.

~ ~ ~

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Be the Love That You Are http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/be-the-love-that-you-are/ Mon, 04 Dec 2017 13:39:50 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2049 My favorite philosopher artist Brian Andreas dropped into my inbox this week with a poster that made my heart smile. It also felt like the perfect follow-up to last week’s article about how to be present with whatever is happening without becoming overwhelmed by it. What I love about Brian’s work is that it is […]

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My favorite philosopher artist Brian Andreas dropped into my inbox this week with a poster that made my heart smile. It also felt like the perfect follow-up to last week’s article about how to be present with whatever is happening without becoming overwhelmed by it. What I love about Brian’s work is that it is whimsical yet direct, simple yet profound, and straight to the point.

Absolutely
everything you do
is a chance
to give
love.

Start
any time
you’d like.

It’s so simple. Yet it can be so easy to forget when we get wrapped up in all the “stuff” of life. Seeing Brian’s poem and drawing, I was reminded once again how easy it is to get caught in struggle. Everything changes when you simply focus on giving love.

I know this is true because there is one part of my life where giving love has, in fact, long been my intentional practice. For years, my mantra in the hours before walking into the workshop room or just before walking out onto the stage for a keynote presentation has been, “Just love them.”

At that point, I’m as prepared as I’m going to be. The presentation will be what it will be. However, I’ve been speaking and teaching long enough now to know that what people remember is the experience they have with you. They don’t remember what you did or what you said nearly as much as they remember how you showed up and what they felt when they were with you.

And so in that moment, what better mantra than, “Just love them.” It’s simple and profound at the same time. What better gift can I or anyone else give than love?

Years ago, my dear friend Able was facing immense daily challenges as the sole caregiver for her aging, seriously ill parents. While she had a quite close and tender relationship with her father, she had always described her relationship with her mother as “prickly.” The prickliness seemed to be exacerbated while she was caring for both of them at the same time. Then shortly after her father died, her mother’s condition deteriorated quickly to the point where she had to depend on Able for even her most basic needs. The caregiving became even more difficult.

Able recognized that if she was ever going heal the relationship with her mother, this was the time. She also hoped that if the relationship improved, then perhaps the caregiving would also be less of a struggle. However, she knew from past experience that talking about it with her mother would probably only lead to more frustration.

And so she chose another approach. Able recognized that if the relationship was going to change, she was going to have to change how she was showing up with her mother. She made the conscious choice to, in her words, “Be the love that I am.” These words became her constant mantra, from before she got out of bed in the early morning until she dropped off to sleep late at night.  

Be the love that I am. Powerful words and a powerful choice. In some ways, it would have been easier to disengage emotionally and just push through until the situation was finally over. Yet Able wasn’t looking for the easy path – she was looking for the healing path.

Able had always been the person you wanted with you in a crisis. She always seemed to know exactly what to do. She took charge and did what needed to be done, no matter what it was. Nothing seemed too daunting for her.

Yet now, as her mother’s sole caregiver, she’d had to take charge for months and make increasingly difficult choices and decisions every day. She wondered if it would ever end. At the same time, she was so clear that this situation offered an opportunity to open her heart and to stretch and grow in new ways.

So Able stuck with her mantra: Be the love that I am. Before long, something started to shift. Each time we spoke, she talked about a new kind of gentleness, grace, and ease that was somehow taking over. Something was shifting within her as well as within her mother. For the first time, they were finding peace together – an enormous gift for both of them. Able and her mother were becoming tender with each other. The caregiving was softening – no more struggle. They found a sweetness together that Able had never imagined possible.  

Life can be difficult and challenging; it can also be amazing and extraordinary. Sometimes it’s both at the same time.

Whatever is happening, in Brian Andreas’ words: Absolutely everything you do is a chance to give love. Start any time you’d like.

In Able’s words, Be the love that you are.

That’s it. Simple. Not always easy – especially at the beginning. Yet it can make all the difference.

~ ~ ~

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How To Be Fully Present with What Is Happening, Yet Not Take It On As Yours Alone To Solve http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/fully-present-happening-yet-not-take-alone-solve/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 14:59:37 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2045 On Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. (4th Thursday of November), Father Richard Rohr wrote in his daily meditation, “Presence is the one thing necesssary to attain wisdom, and in many ways, it is the hardest thing of all.” Through our recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how to be […]

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On Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. (4th Thursday of November), Father Richard Rohr wrote in his daily meditation, “Presence is the one thing necesssary to attain wisdom, and in many ways, it is the hardest thing of all.” Through our recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how to be fully present with all that is happening in my work, in my country, and in the world, yet at the same time, not take it on as if it were mine alone to solve, to carry, or to care for. Perhaps you can relate. How to “be with” what is happening without becoming overwhelmed by it.

In Transformational Presence, we speak a lot about “holding space,” both for ourselves and for those we serve. We practice ways of being fully engaged in what is happening without getting entangled in the feelings and emotions of the people involved, including our own. It’s been said that we teach what it is that we need to learn. And so here is where I find my current challenge.

As I read the news each day and learn that yet another government program that was designed to protect the common good of all is now being dismantled or challenged – as I learn about yet another atrocity being committed against human beings or the natural world – as I experience institutions that have been such a vital part of my life now breaking apart – so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions come to the surface. What do I do with that information? Where do I put my feelings so that I can go on with my day? How can I be present with what is happening without letting it overwhelm me?

Even when some part of me can see a bigger picture and understand that all of these things are a part of the “Great Breaking Open” that I write about in my new book, what do I do with the parts of me that are afraid or worried or grieving the loss of something that I thought would always be there?

We humans are complex beings – we have the capacity to grasp a bigger reality, yet feel the pain or fear of loss at the same time. That capacity can create its own inner struggle. Part of us can grasp the big picture while other parts are struggling to catch up to that more expanded awareness and understanding. What do we do with this struggle? How do we reconcile this?

Back to Richard Rohr: “Presence is the one thing necesssary to attain wisdom…Wisdom is not the gathering of more facts and information. Wisdom is a way of seeing and knowing in a new way.” Cynthia Bourgeault, Father Rohr’s colleague at the Center for Action and Contemplation says that it’s not about knowing more, but knowing with more of you.

Father Rohr continues, “Just try to keep your heart open and soft, your mind receptive without division or resistance, and your body aware of where it is and its deepest level of feeling. Presence is when all three centers are awake at the same time!”

In Transformational Presence, working with these three aspects of our awareness is one of our core practices. We call them the Three Intelligences: head or intellect, belly or emotion, and heart or truth. Our practice is to listen to all three and bring them into dialogue with one another.

My initial introduction to these Three Intelligences came through studying ancient wisdom practices. Now, neuroscience confirms their role in our awareness, experience, and understanding of all that is happening around us and within us.

Checking in with all Three Intelligences usually puts me in touch with the whole of my experience – multiple layers – not just the feeling inside that is grabbing my attention in that moment. For example, I can feel and sense the part of me that is caught up in what is happening; I can sense another part of me that may be afraid, grieving, overwhelmed, or anxious; and I become aware of yet another part of me that senses a bigger picture, has clarity, and is truly OK in that moment.

In my experience, my mind or intellect is often telling a big story based on something from my past and/or an assumption or anticipation about the future. My body, on the other hand, may be caught up in the emotional, and often visceral, feeling of the moment. At the same time, my heart may be connecting me to a greater wisdom that transcends the momentary experience of my intellect and body.

At other times, I may be surprised that it is the mind or the body that has the greatest clarity. Our inner wisdom technology can work in unexpected ways. So it’s important to be aware of all three and open for discovery.

While I usually expect the greatest clarity to come from my heart, sometimes my heart wisdom is hidden behind personal attachments. And this is perhaps the most challenging awareness to recognize because we can be blind to our own hidden agendas, desires, or perceived needs.

Those attachments are neither right or wrong, good or bad. They are just information. They have stories to tell, and within those stories lie hidden perceptions, desires, or fears.

When I’m willing to acknowledge those hidden feelings – to bring them out into the light – they begin to soften. And then the wisdom that they have been hiding starts to shine through. It may not happen right away, yet the more I practice simply being present with what is happening as well as with everything I am thinking and feeling about it, the faster the attachments fall way, and the wisdom comes shining through.

So back to those questions: What do I do with all of the feelings that come up in response to what is happening around me? Where do I put them? How do I carry on? What do I do with the parts of me that are afraid or worried or angry or grieving?

First, as best I can in the moment, I let them all be there. I fully admit that this is easier said than done! As best I can, I listen to all three intelligences and help them start talking with each other. If I am patient and keep the inner dialogue going, they usually start working it out. Somehow, I find my way forward. I don’t always know how – it just happens. And in a way, those questions soon become irrelevant. I don’t have answers, yet somehow finding answers is no longer important. As my relationship to the situation softens, a greater wisdom shines through.

It’s a practice. I don’t claim to have mastered this. At the moment, I feel very much like “a work in progress.” I’m not finished yet. But then neither is my life. And therefore, neither is my learning. Understanding and accepting that I’m still learning helps me a lot.

~ ~ ~

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Gratitude for What Sustains Me http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/gratitude-for-what-sustains-me/ Mon, 20 Nov 2017 06:00:50 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2041 It’s Thanksgiving week in the United States. Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday of the year because it is a holiday for everyone, regardless of religious or spiritual affiliation, nationality or heritage, gender or race. It’s a time to pause and reflect on what we are grateful for. At this Thanksgiving season, I’m feeling […]

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It’s Thanksgiving week in the United States. Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday of the year because it is a holiday for everyone, regardless of religious or spiritual affiliation, nationality or heritage, gender or race. It’s a time to pause and reflect on what we are grateful for. At this Thanksgiving season, I’m feeling great gratitude for what sustains me.

It’s been a very full year. As I write, I’m in Poland on my last of seven international working trips this year. During the last few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on what it is that sustains me. What is it about my life and work that fills me up rather than drains me – that gives me sustenance even when challenges or an overbooked schedule seem overwhelming?

As I sat down to write, the first word to come to me was creativity, followed right away by beauty, familiarity, nature, contemplative practice, freedom, empty space in my schedule, and unconditional deep heart relationships. I wouldn’t say that those words appeared in a particular priority order, yet it was interesting to me to observe the flow.

Creativity and creative expression are at the heart of my being. I see how they have been a thread through my life, first as a professional singer, and now as a writer, teacher, speaker, and coach. Opening to be a conduit through which a greater wisdom can flow has always been one of my primary ways of learning. Whether I am writing, teaching, speaking, or coaching, there are moments of incredible connection when words and concepts that I didn’t know before come flowing out of me. Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences. To me, it feels like tapping into the greater Consciousness or the quantum field and partnering with the ideas and potential waiting to be expressed. This is one of the greatest blessings of my work.

Creative expression is like oxygen for me. It is life-blood. It energizes and enlivens my being. Without it, I quickly lose a sense of meaning and purpose. And without meaning and purpose, life is not sustainable.

Beauty also sustains me. More specifically, it is simple yet elegant beauty that feeds my spirit. There is something life giving about the beauty of a flower or an elegantly simple design. Whether in a physical space or in a work of art, simple and soothing lines, shapes, colors, and flow bring rest and rejuvenation to my soul.

Being in nature, feeling the warmth of the sun, absorbing the green color of grass and trees, and sensing the caress of a gentle breeze on my skin also nurtures my spirit. The beauty and wonder of nature ignites my creative spark, often bringing deeper insight and understanding about a concept I am writing about or preparing to teach.

In the last few years, I’ve increasingly come to appreciate familiarity as well. I love travel and discovering new cultures and natural wonders in different parts of the world. Yet I’ve also come to appreciate the restful and reassuring feeling I get from being in familiar places where I know the people, and where I feel held and embraced in a space that I know. Because I travel so much, I am constantly meeting new people and experiencing new places, cultures, and practices. That’s wonderful, yet at the same time, it costs energy to take it all in and learn how to navigate those new places and cultures. So for balance, I also need time in familiar spaces where I know how things and relationships work. For sustenance, I need the challenge and excitement of new learning and discovery as well as periods of time where I can rest in the familiar.  

If creativity and creative expression are at the heart of my being, contemplative practice is a major source for that creative expression. For me, contemplative practice includes daily morning meditation, for sure. Yet there is so much more. It also includes daily walks with my dogs, sitting in the sunroom with coffee in the mornings and watching the birds and squirrels in the old hickory tree just outside the windows. Or sitting on the deck of our house in the late afternoon with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and enjoying the lush nature of our gardens. It’s time spent on airplanes gazing out the window at the cloudscapes, or playing the piano at the end of the day. It’s making sure that there is empty space in my schedule. Contemplative practice can take many forms. Sustenance comes from the inner stillness that is nurtured and supported through these contemplative activities.

The sense of freedom that comes from being my own man also sustains me – standing in integrity and making my own choices for how I move in the world. Knowing who I am and who I am called to be and living into that calling gives me life.

Finally, there are the unconditional deep heart relationships in my life – with my partner Johnathon and with our two dachshunds, Toby and Matty, as well as with many special people around the world. In those deep heart relationships, we can rest in one another. We feel held and supported by one another unconditionally. We are there for each other, no matter what is happening. We serve as witnesses for one another’s growth and evolution and embrace one another in times of celebration as well as in challenge. We are held and nurtured in the love we share.  

Gratitude is an extraordinary thing. Just sitting down to write this article has been a great gift – to actually name that which sustains me in my life and work, and to say thank you to those things from deep in my heart. In this Thanksgiving week, may you find some time to reflect on what brings sustenance to your life. May you take time to say thank you for the gifts and blessings of your days.

~ ~ ~

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The lighter side of email scams – something to brighten your day! http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/lighter-side-email-spam-scams-something-brighten-day/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 06:00:05 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2015 Sometimes I just need to laugh. Like many people around me, I’ve been “burning the candle at both ends,” as they say. Perhaps you can relate. Since August, my life has been consumed with finishing two books, launching the first one and now shepherding the second through production, preparing to launch the Transformational Presence Leadership […]

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Sometimes I just need to laugh. Like many people around me, I’ve been “burning the candle at both ends,” as they say. Perhaps you can relate. Since August, my life has been consumed with finishing two books, launching the first one and now shepherding the second through production, preparing to launch the Transformational Presence Leadership Center (stay tuned!), keeping up with weekly newsletter articles, leading webinars, and teaching and speaking in three countries. And then, of course, there’s always the care and nurture of home and family.

Chances are, your plate is similarly full – perhaps with different stuff, yet still overflowing. Sometimes we just need a breather. And laughter is great medicine for the soul!

So consider this. What could Winnie Mandela, gold bouillon, your best friend having all of their money stolen while in an exotic country, Solomon, business proposals, misspelled words, real estate, secret codes, KitKat, gummy bears, jelly beans, and Western Union all have to do with each other?

Email scams, of course! And in his TED Geneva video below, British writer and comedian James Veitch spins quite a tale – a true story – that is quite likely to make you laugh out loud more than once!

Over the last few years, Veitch has built a comedy career out of his mischievous adventures with email scammers. His charmingly intelligent humor and playfully serious engagement with the people behind the scams clearly delights his audience. He certainly gave a boost to my day.

So this week, I take an unapologetic step away from any attempts at inspiration, inquiry, or life exploration, and directly into the brilliantly creative comedic world of James Veitch! Enjoy.

 

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Listening with Your Whole Self http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/listening-whole-self/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 06:00:55 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2009 One morning during the recent Transformational Presence Leadership and Coach Training in the Netherlands, this poem from Nick Penna appeared in my inbox. Nick’s words were perfect for our theme for the day: Intuitive Thinking. Actually, his words are perfect for any day! And by the way, Nick was in the fifth grade of elementary […]

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One morning during the recent Transformational Presence Leadership and Coach Training in the Netherlands, this poem from Nick Penna appeared in my inbox. Nick’s words were perfect for our theme for the day: Intuitive Thinking. Actually, his words are perfect for any day! And by the way, Nick was in the fifth grade of elementary school in the U.S. when he wrote these words.

Waiting in Line

 When you listen you reach
into dark corners and
pull out your wonders.
When you listen your
ideas come in and out
like they were waiting in line.
Your ears don’t always listen.
It can be your brain, your
fingers, your toes.
You can listen anywhere.
Your mind might not want to go.
If you can listen you can find
answers to questions you didn’t know.
If you have listened, truly
listened, you don’t find your
self alone.

Nick Penna, fifth grade
(As published in Poetic Medicine by John Fox)

So much simple and clear wisdom packed into just a few lines written by a young boy. As I read the poem for the first time, and right away again, and then even a third time, the smile on my face kept getting bigger. Let’s walk through the poem again.

When you listen you reach
into dark corners and
pull out your wonders.

For us adults, this may not come so easily. For Nick, it sounds so natural. For me, it starts with a regular practice of emptying my thinking mind – my “output” mind – so that my “receptive” mind can come alive. We are so conditioned to “talk to” life and “tell” our situations and relationships what we want them to be. Yet so much more becomes available when we stop trying so hard to manage our lives and start to listen instead. When I move into “receptive” mode, I experience what Nick describes:

Your ideas come in and out
like they were waiting in line.

So often when I’m standing in the shower, or gazing out the window from my airplane seat, or driving down the road in silence, a picture, a thought, a word, or a phrase drifts into my awareness. And without fanfare, something that had been occupying my attention becomes crystal clear. In that moment, I had not been thinking about it. In fact, I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was just present to the stillness and being with the moment. Yet quietly, with no effort, I have clarity. I know what to do. I know my next step. I don’t know how I know. I just know. Without intending it, to use Nick’s words, I reached into dark corners and pulled out my wonders. I bet this has happened to you, too.

Nick’s next lines share a secret about how “receptive mode” actually works:

Your ears don’t always listen.
It can be your brain, your
fingers, your toes.
You can listen anywhere.

Your mind might not want to go.Listening in the way Nick is talking about is listening with all of your senses. In Transformational Presence, we call it Whole-Mind Thinking and Whole-Being Awareness. Nick explains it much more simply – your brain, your fingers, your toes. You can listen anywhere.

And yet then Nick mentions a critical understanding: Your mind might not want to go. The intellect can put up a lot of resistance to following our intuitive senses. It wants proof. It wants guarantees. Yet somewhere deep in the belly or in the heart, we know that what our intuition is telling us is right. Or at least that it’s something we need to pay attention to.

If you can listen you can find
answers to questions you didn’t know.

Part of the development process in Transformational Presence leadership is building your capacity to be in the “unknowing” – to not know the answers, and sometimes not even know the questions!

This is why it’s important to be in “receptive mode” at least as much, if not more, than in “output mode.” I’ve learned that when I can empty my intellectual mind and allow my awareness to become a blank canvas, Consciousness paints pictures, displays words, or plays a song on that canvas. Answers come to questions that I didn’t even know I needed to ask. When I listen with my body and all of my senses, it’s as if Consciousness bypasses the question and cuts straight to what I need to know. The more I trust that information and act on it, the easier it gets to stay in receptive mode. It rarely fails me.

Nick’s final lines pack a powerful punch:

If you have listened, truly
listened, you don’t find your
self alone.

When big things happen to us, sometimes it can feel like it’s up to us alone to find our way, to solve the problem, or to create something new. Yet when we can acknowledge that there are messages everywhere – that life is talking to us all the time if we will just pay attention – we start to realize that we are not so alone. We’re part of a much larger matrix of relationships and connections.

In that moment, we may not have connected with another person, yet we connect with something that is bigger than us – with Consciousness or Source or God or whatever you want to call that Creative and Sustaining Force of All. It’s hardly ever up to us alone to solve anything. It may not be another person who can help us in the moment, yet insight, help, or understanding can come in many ways and many forms if we will listen and pay attention.

Back to Nick’s first words:

When you listen you reach
into dark corners and
pull out your wonders.

Life is full of wonders, often when you least expect them. So listen. Listen with more than your ears. Pay attention with brain, your fingers, your toes. There are messages – there are wonders – everywhere.

~ ~ ~

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Seale Foundation Takes New Role in Transformational Presence Organizing and Hosting in the Netherlands http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/seale-foundation-takes-new-role-transformational-presence-program-organizing-hosting-netherlands/ Tue, 31 Oct 2017 18:59:02 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2003 At the Center for Transformational Presence, we are blessed with an incredible community and wonderful people in various countries who have stepped forward to organize and host our work. Yet there is one person that stands out because she supports all of the organizers and hosts in every country – Gabriella van Rooij from the […]

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At the Center for Transformational Presence, we are blessed with an incredible community and wonderful people in various countries who have stepped forward to organize and host our work. Yet there is one person that stands out because she supports all of the organizers and hosts in every country – Gabriella van Rooij from the Netherlands.

Gabriella van Rooij of the Seale FoundationGabriella first invited me to teach in the Netherlands in 2006. Soon we will begin our 12th year of working together. Several years ago, Gabriella created the Seale Foundation to support the Transformational Presence work more fully in the Netherlands and Belgium. Soon, however, her support spread around the world. She has supported or assisted in workshops in the Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Spain, Costa Rica, the U.S., and coming up in January, the U.K.

For the last eight years, the hosting and organizing of our work in the Netherlands has been shared between the Seale Foundation and Het Eerste Huis, a consulting, training, and presenting organization in the Netherlands. Through their collaboration and support, Transformational Presence has touched the lives of hundreds of people. For that, we are very grateful.

Through a natural process, however, even the best things in life eventually shift, change, and evolve. We are witnessing this on every level of society in many countries around the world, including many countries where Transformational Presence is the most active. At the same time, the Center for Transformational Presence is also experiencing big shifts. Many wonderful things are unfolding, and with that unfolding, there are also transitions.

Just as the Center for Transformational Presence is evolving and in transition, so is Het Eerste Huis. In recent weeks, it has become clear that new horizons are waiting for both Het Eerste Huis and the Center for Transformational Presence as we follow our own paths. It’s now time for us to each find our way on our own as we continue to live into the work that we feel called to do and the gifts that we feel called to share. We thank Thom Schouten and Jos Rovers of Het Eerste Huis for what we have accomplished together, and we wish them the very best as they follow their own endeavors and service.

In the meantime, Gabriella and the Seale Foundation have been taking an increasingly active leadership role in supporting our work. They are now poised to step into an even greater partnership with the Center for Transformational Presence for bringing our work to the world.

Therefore, going forward, all Transformational Presence workshops, trainings, masterclasses, and coaching circles in the Dutch-speaking parts of Europe will be stewarded, organized, and/or hosted by the Seale Foundation.

In addition, the Foundation will continue to support the hosts and organizers of our work around the world. This new level of partnership with Gabriella and the Seale Foundation brings our work in the Netherlands full circle. We are very excited about stepping into this new level of partnership with Gabriella and the Seale Foundation.

For further information on our programs in the Netherlands going forward, please visit the websites of the Center for Transformational Presence and/or the Seale Foundation. You may also contact us via email at transform@transformationalpresence.org or mail@alanseale.nl.

Though this is a significant transition, to be sure, we look forward to discovering the new possibilities that await us in the months and years ahead. To all of the members of the Transformational Presence community, thank you for being with us and for all you bring to the world. We look forward to our continued journey together.

~ ~ ~

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Seeking Solid Ground Amidst Disruption http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/seeking-solid-ground-amidst-disruption/ Tue, 31 Oct 2017 18:38:00 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=2001 On clear, crisp autumn nights, I love gazing at the stars when I walk my dogs before bed. I find comfort in identifying particular constellations that I’ve recognized since childhood and knowing that they are always there. With all that is shifting and changing in the world, I’ve begun to notice that some part of […]

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On clear, crisp autumn nights, I love gazing at the stars when I walk my dogs before bed. I find comfort in identifying particular constellations that I’ve recognized since childhood and knowing that they are always there. With all that is shifting and changing in the world, I’ve begun to notice that some part of me is looking for constancy – for solid ground in an ever-shifting landscape – for things that I can count on to be the same every day. I’m realizing that, as aware and “together” as I might like to think that I am, fear for our future – fear for my own future – can still creep in.      

With nearly everyone I speak to here in the U.S., I hear and sense a growing unease. Our government as we have known it is being quickly and systematically dismantled. Many people express a deep fear for who and what we are becoming as a nation.

Similar fears are present in varying degrees for citizens of other countries as well. Disruption and breaking open is happening in societal and governmental systems and structures in many countries. Fundamental expectations, freedoms, regulations, and protections that help ensure that our society functions in relatively safe, efficient, and secure ways – things that I never imagined we could ever lose in the U.S. – are suddenly in doubt. I also recognize that in some countries, people have never known the kinds of freedom and security that we in the United States have taken for granted.

I’ve been writing about the current disruptions as the “Great Breaking Open.” This is a central topic in my new book, Transformational Presence: How To Make a Difference In a Rapidly Changing World. It was also the topic of a rich interactive webinar with participants from around the world a couple of weeks ago. (Scroll down on the book webpage to view a video recording of the webinar.)

It’s easy to put our focus on the disruption and breaking open of systems and structures. However, there is a deeper shift going on that we aren’t talking about so much: the breaking open of the human spirit. This deeper shift is where the power for transformation lies.

As the human spirit breaks open, so do our views of ethics and values, our attitudes about what is possible and what isn’t, and our perspectives and beliefs about how life works. We are living in a time that is filled with uncertainty and potential. While the lack of stability is unnerving, it is a natural part of a breaking open process. And things have to break open in order for there to be transformative change. The only way to the other side is to go through.

So what do we do with all of this? Where does Transformational Presence fit in? What steps can the Center for Transformational Presence take to be supportive of the people in our community as they navigate uncertain times? We may not be able to provide solid ground, yet what steps can we take to create a place of safety, a place to be heard, a place of connection, and a place of rest?

These are questions we are sitting in at the Center every day, even as we are also in our own shifts and transitions. The energy of Transformational Presence is expanding rapidly and asking more of us. Like you, we are also navigating the shifting tides of the Great Breaking Open.

As I write, several more simple yet powerful questions come to my awareness:

In the end, what do I/we really have?
What is really mine/ours?
What can I/we count on?

As I sit with those questions, I’m left with feeling that perhaps all that any of us has, in the end, is ourselves.

That might sound like a hopeless or despairing realization. Yet what if, instead, we choose for that awareness to be empowering?

What if one invitation of the Great Breaking Open is to claim and stand for our own high sets of values, to choose and live into our own high standards for ethics, and to engage in all of our interactions and relationships from a place of integrity with those values and ethics?

What if we’re being invited to keep expanding our awareness, our horizons, and our worldviews in order to comprehend the many layers of complexity and interconnection in the world around us?

What if the invitation is to keep stretching ourselves to be the best that we can possibly be so that we might offer our greatest service and gifts to our families, our communities, our countries, and our world?

Besides ourselves, we also have each other. We have our own communities around us. And we have the Transformational Presence community. It’s important to stay connected – to reach out to support and be supported. The Center alone cannot create safety, connection, rest, and a space to be heard. However, many of us together can.

It’s up to each of us to cultivate and nurture our relationships. And that means taking good care of the space in between us. We begin by tending the garden of our own hearts so that then we have the strength, clarity, and compassion needed to tend the garden in the space in between us. As we do this, we continue to co-create a community that can hold us, catch us when we start to fall, and walk beside us as we navigate uncertainty and shifting tides.

In the face of the current disruptions and breaking open, this is no small task. We’re all navigating different situations and circumstances. Yet they are all in some way connected to the energy of breaking open. We’re all in this together – you, me, all of us at the Center for Transformational Presence, and, in fact, all of us in this big wide breaking open world.

In the book of Proverbs from the Bible, Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) One vision that I have for our future is that we live in a world where every day more people say “Yes” to these invitations. That awareness expands exponentially and our sense of response-ability in taking care of the space between us grows every day.

At the Center for Transformational Presence, we’re riding these waves of disruption, change, transformation, and expansion just as you are. We’re doing our best to listen, sense, feel, and intuit what we’re being asked for every day, and to respond in the best ways we can. We don’t always get it right, yet we learn from every step we take. We’re here for you – not necessarily with answers or solutions, but with presence and support – a friendly hand to steady you as we all continue navigating the Great Breaking Open together.

We have ourselves, and we have each other. May we take good care of the space in between us.

~ ~ ~

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What Do We Choose To Make Important? http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/choose-make-important/ Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:00:13 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=1997 There were about twenty-five of us altogether. It was the monthly community call of Transformational Presence graduates from around the world. We were talking about what we choose to make important in our lives and work in light of all that is happening in the world. It just happened that Gord Downie, frontman for the […]

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There were about twenty-five of us altogether. It was the monthly community call of Transformational Presence graduates from around the world. We were talking about what we choose to make important in our lives and work in light of all that is happening in the world.

It just happened that Gord Downie, frontman for the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip had passed away the day before from brain cancer. I admit that I’m not very up-to-date on rock music and bands, so I didn’t know who Gord Downie was. Yet I had seen footage of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak of the loss of “one of the very best of us” as tears streamed down his face. That in itself was a beautiful display of “the real stuff” of life by a world leader. Clearly Gord Downie was beloved by a nation.

As we talked on our call about what we choose to make important, Canadian Trace Hobson shared these words from Michael Barclay’s tribute to Gord Downie:

He was on a fishing trip. In the remote north, in a land where the many not born there dare not go. Where some get lost. Where some go to get lost.

Days earlier, this quiet man had held much of the entire nation rapt, millions watching as he summoned all his strength to tackle his terminal condition, to fend back—however briefly—the inevitability of death. To testify one more time. It would turn out to be the last show of his band’s 30-year, multi-million-selling, award-winning career, a fate many suspected at the time.

But things were much quieter now. Just a few close friends on a starry night in front of a campfire.

There were a few others there, though, most of whom knew enough to respect the privacy of the cancer-stricken man who had travelled hundreds of kilometres to disappear. Nonetheless, someone piped up.

“Gord, I always wanted to ask you: how do you get the energy to make it so real every day? I think if I put myself out there like that, on the line, and make people emotionally connect with me, I feel like I couldn’t ever do it again, because I’d get bored or I just couldn’t summon the same amount of emotion. And it seems like you get up there every single time and give it!”

The man slumped a bit. Paused. Then he got up, silently, walked over to a pile of wood, picked up two logs, and returned to put them on the fire. Not a word. He stoked the fire until sparks came out. The poet whose metaphors had inspired generations of rock’n’roll fans had nothing more to say—with words, anyway.

Do the work. Create the spark. Then sit back and see what happens, because it’s not like you can control it. Sit down. Shut up until it’s time to do it again. See where those sparks land.

There it is. What is important in how we live and work – what is important in how we share our gifts with the world. Just do it. Then step back and see how it lands. Listen, sense, and feel when it’s time to get out of the way, and when it’s time to take the next step. It’s not about being pro-active and trying to make things happen. It’s about being fully engaged and riding the wave of what wants to happen next. And then saying Yes when it’s time for the next step in service to Life with a capital L.

What Life asks us for and what we want from Life – those two things don’t always line up. That’s just how it is. The only thing we can “control” is how we show up – how we choose to meet the opportunities and challenges and celebrations and losses of our lives. We can fight what is, or we can partner with it to make a difference.

Do the work. Create the spark. See where those sparks land.

What am I here for? What are you here for? Just do it. That’s what’s important.

~ ~ ~

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As everything around us breaks open, how do we respond? http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/everything-around-us-breaks-open-respond/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:51:16 +0000 http://transformationalpresence.org/alan-seale-blog/?p=1991 An old Chinese curse says, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, we are certainly living in “interesting” times – challenging, messy, and unsettling. Yet it’s also been said that one should never waste a good crisis, because within every crisis are hidden opportunities just waiting for us to notice and follow them in a […]

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An old Chinese curse says, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, we are certainly living in “interesting” times – challenging, messy, and unsettling. Yet it’s also been said that one should never waste a good crisis, because within every crisis are hidden opportunities just waiting for us to notice and follow them in a new direction.

Transformational Presence book coverSo I invite you to make the most of these “interesting” times. In my new book, Transformational Presence: How To Make a Difference in a Rapidly Changing World, I refer to what is happening now as the “Great Breaking Open.” While many people would say that everything is breaking down or falling apart, I find it more helpful to view this as a time of “breaking open.” Every day, more of what has been hidden or simmering under the surface is being revealed. It’s up to us to pay attention, to sense the messages that are trying to get our attention, and to respond.

The “Great Breaking Open” is the theme of the second free webinar introducing my new book on Wednesday, October 18th (2 pm EDT / 20h CET). In this week’s session, Trace Hobson and I will open with a brief dialogue about the energies that are driving the Great Breaking Open on all levels of our society. We will also talk about the breaking open of the human spirit and the great divide that now exists between heart and intellect in the mass consciousness. We will then shift to a more interactive and experiential exploration of how the Great Breaking Open is showing up in our own experience – in our personal lives and our families, in communities and societies, in businesses and organizations, in politics and government, and in international relations and global environmental issues.

Together, we will listen to the Great Breaking Open from deep within the heart of being and be present with whatever comes up. Within that context, we will sense what feels most important to pay attention to right now, both from an individual and collective perspective. I trust that we will each gain further insights and awareness that will help us continue to navigate these uncertain times and bring our particular gifts to the world.

Join us on the next two Wednesdays for the remaining webinars in this Transformational Presence book introduction series. The webinars will be recorded, so even if you are not able to join us for the live sessions, you will be able to watch them later at your convenience. You will find both the webinar registration and the video recordings at www.TransformationalPresenceBook.org.

~ ~ ~

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