Transition and EMDR: No such thing as a wrong turn.


By Khunkay (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Spring brings rebirth and color and joy. It also brings pollen, tornadoes, and allergies. My life transitions like the seasons, and even though it scares the crap out of me, I know it’s a good thing.

Something gets stale, stuck, or sour and I know it’s time to think differently. I get an urge to do something – an urge I ignore at my own peril. If I ignore my urge, the message of my higher self, I tend to get sick or depressed. EMDR helps me clear the cognitive clutter and make a change.

Maybe I need to:

Cut my hair

Nurture a child (fur baby or human)

Say yes to a trip

Leave a job

Leave a relationship

Lose my religion

Seek the company of a certain friend

Start a new venture

Get rid of things I’m not using

Change my behavior in relation to someone

Change my behavior in relation to myself

Get into therapy

Complete something I’ve postponed

Abandon a task I thought was essential

Trade couches with someone

Grieve and let go of an old belief that blocks me from growing

There’s always a reason for the urge. It comes from a place I can trust.

Over the years, I’ve learned these transitions always pay off in joy and growth and prosperity, even when it feels like I’m being shoved through a revolving door and lose my shoe. In fact, even when others disapprove of my change, I grow and my life gets better. I have no regrets for any of the detours or U-turns or shocking, hair-spiking, neon-sign-wearing changes I’ve made. Through EMDR, I’ve learned to pay closer attention to how my higher self talks to me, how transition shows up, and how I can allow it.

There’s no mistake, only my path. I welcome the change.

Read Wife Material

Maturity and Leadership to Change the World

Maturity Changes the World

We Need Grownups to Help Change the World

Maturity = Self Awareness + Self Knowledge + the Courage to Engage.

Watching recent TV news of the presidential race, I started thinking about maturity and how desperately we need leaders (governors, teachers, therapists, ministers, parents) who help us evolve toward enlightenment and peace. The late Edwin Friedman wrote about mature leadership and how important it was for a leader to be differentiated, grounded, able to use both reason and emotion – and to separate them when necessary.

I have a couple of mentors, who embody this maturity. They know who they are (and who they’re not). They make me calmer and offer reasons to hope. They say, All is in Divine Order. When I concentrate on their character, here’s what I get.

  1. Behavioral Intelligence: They take responsibility for the impact of their behavior. Even if they meant no harm. Even if they have to make amends.
  2. Emotional Intelligence: They own and acknowledge their feelings. They perceive the feelings and motives of others. They identify it when they observe mean, divisive, or manipulative behavior – and they don’t tolerate being abused.
  3. Relational Value: They value connection over compliance. They treat children, animals, employees, and students (and others with less power) as if they are worthy of knowing.
  4. Integrated Thinking: They think in full spectrum color (more than black and white, good and bad, winner and loser, saved and damned). They embrace unexpectedness, ambiguity, and mystery. They listen to new information and blend it with their inner wisdom.
  5. Equanimity: They stay calm when others are freaking out. They know it’s going to be okay. They avoid rhetoric aimed to scare.

Self-awareness lets us perceive what we’re doing and how and why. Self-knowledge means learning from our experiences, becoming adept at navigating the human systems in which we live. And having the courage to engage means meeting people (and animals) at a point of honest connection, sharing power with them, noticing our ego in the mix.

So, what does maturity have to do with leadership?

These traits of maturity don’t necessarily come with age. Maturity belongs on a spectrum. We move along this spectrum in our own time. But once we become aware of the process, it seems to accelerate, because of our active, conscious participation. Our relationships deepen. We see a more complicated world and understand it in a new way, which means a better life for us and the people around us.

Mature leadership encourages, guides, and sets boundaries. Mature leadership states firm positions but respects the dignity of those who hold different ones. Mature leadership listens carefully, reflects, takes time to answer questions with genuine thought.

Mature leadership gets how complicated human systems are. A mature leader has the courage to be transparent and known in those systems. A mature leader sets a collaborative tone, yet clearly calls out bad behavior when a stand must be taken.

A mature leader promotes shared power and the common good, yet faces the likelihood that someone will always be displeased with the direction of the group. A mature leader holds firm to a direction when she/he believes it to be right.

Mature leadership discourages violence and even micro-aggression. It inspires us to use our imaginations and yet behave civilly toward each other.

In the presence of a mature leader, we become more grown up.