Thursday, October 9, 2008

Satisfaction Saturday

My friend and colleague Iris Arenson-Fuller has invited me to be a part of what she has named "Satisfaction Saturday"... a day to integrate appreciation of the present and its gifts. This is my acceptance to her fine invitation:

I am fortunate to be blessed with what I call the happy gene. This does not mean I have no struggles or deep and dark passages, but that my urge seems always to surmount these, or go through them, and to appreciate them. I honestly cannot think of a time in the past that I prefer to be in... I like the idea of the future and though I have the normal levels of reverie about my past, my memories and my experiences, I am intrigued and interested in the future and work to be present in what the present offers me. Not always easy, but ultimately do-able.

I think, if I learn anything from my rough passages, and I have been blessed/cursed with some horrific ones since earliest childhood, it is that survival itself is a given, that change is unavoidable, and that I will learn to cope, adjust and find meaning... real meaning with real spirit and light, real appreciation.

I anticipate, on an individual and collective level, that this dark night of the human soul we are inevitably recruited to pass through together, will offer me the same gifts. This does not mean I will not feel despair at times, or loneliness, grief and even hopelessness, but that those times too shall pass and give way to other times until I no longer inhabit this bag of tissues and great spirit that is my home. Perhaps I shall take these thoughts too into my "Satisfaction Saturday"!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Viktor Frankl as a Basis for Coaching Practice

I am exploring resources for a paper I am writing as a final requirement in my work with International Coach Academy and I thought I'd like to share this one. The following is from the website of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy (link below). While I recognize there is a boundary between coaching and therapy, I think each can learn from the other. At any rate, I think many of Viktor Frankl's primary premises, or assumptions, are at the core of good coaching practice.

Assumptions of Logotherapy

The assumptions of Franklian Psychotherapy can neither be proved nor disproved with any certainty. This is also true with all psychotherapies. To see if these assumptions make sense in our lives we must assume that they are true. According to experiences of Logotherapist, these assumptions make sense. These assumptions include:

1. The human being is an entity consisting of body, mind, and spirit.

2. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable.

3. People have a will to meaning.

4. People have freedom under all circumstances to activate the will to find meaning.

5. Life has a demand quality to which people must respond if decisions are to be meaningful.

6. The individual is unique.

The first assumption deals with the body (soma), mind (psyche), and spirit (noos). According to Frankl, the body and mind are what we have and the spirit is what we are.

Assumption two is “ultimate meaning”. This is difficult to grasp but it is something everyone experiences and it represents an order in a world with laws that go beyond human laws.

The third assumption is seen as our main motivation for living and acting. When we see meaning we are ready for any type of suffering. This is considered to be different than our will to achieve power and pleasure.

Assumption four is that we are free to activate our will to find meaning and this can be done under any circumstances. This deals with change of attitudes about unavoidable fate. Frankl was able to test the first four assumptions when he was confined in the concentration camps.

The fifth assumption, the meaning of the moment, is more practical in daily living than ultimate meaning. Unlike ultimate meaning this meaning can be found and fulfilled. This can be done by following the values of society or by following the voice of our conscience.

The sixth assumption deals with one’s sense of meaning. This is enhanced by the realization that we are irreplaceable. In essence, all humans are unique with an entity of body, mind and spirit. We all go through unique situations and are constantly looking to find meaning. We are free to do this at all times in response to certain demands.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Poem About the Cycle of Life

What the Ravens Want

What is it the ravens want squawking
this early as the sun struggles
to come through the iron clouds?

Some predictions of winter would have them
hover near the road waiting for another
accident involving porcupine or raccoon

or, for their whole clan, a doe.
It seems too early for such frozen dead delights
but still they remind us, when they flap up

away from our blind speed, as it gets colder
the more we kill with our fast passes or failed swerves,
the more they can clean away.

It is the sordid forgotten version of the story
of our emptying highways. Even now, as the cars
are sparser this far into the forests, the first flocks

of red orange leaves reflect in the glassy lakes.
Until a stiff arctic wind, that is. Up here
the waterfalls and last yellow wildflowers

down close to the floor of the woods
are accustomed to a final cover (big blueblack birds
out of a grip of white) of laconic early snows.