Laws and Speculations

November 25, 2008

Laws and Speculation

I recently wrote:  The way the Law of Attraction works is that you ask for something and the universe creates circumstances that allow you to have it.

This seems like arrant nonsense – magical thinking.  Besides, you object, I ask for things all the time and don’t get them. So this law doesn’t work.

Unlike the Law of Gravity, controlled experiments and measurements don’t apply here.  And it is a law; it always operates.  We do know that everything is energy and that this energy is matched by the universe.  But what we don’t fully understand is how to focus, how to concentrate – certainly how to measure that energy.  There are courses and practices that help – and this is still early on in our understanding.

We are complex beings and we’re always changing.  We are capable of having contradictory thoughts and feelings – and they change.  So if we think ‘A’ but we are not pure in that thought, we may well be calling in the underlying circumstance; we may get the opposite.

And we have only a glimmer of understanding of how this is for individuals – Its real value lies in discovering how communities and societies can focus these energies and sustain their focus…  Interesting to think of cultural implications, given that we just had this radical election.

Here’s the simplest rules:  Thank God/law/Universe when things work, expected or not.  Forgive yourself when they don’t.


Water – by Michael Lipp,

August 4, 2008

I used to live in Ashfield, Massachusetts.  This is a minute town in the Northwest end of the state.  I used to say it was so far out that you had to drive 25 miles to get to the boondocks.

We had an Artesian well.  Of course, there were no water lines out there.  Everyone had wells.  And I found out that all the wells for miles around were sourced by one or two people.  These were Dowsers.

You see, finding where to dig was essential:  no well – no water.  Wells dug in wrong places – very expensive.  But dowsers defy science.  And even scientists need water and, in Ashfield, Massachusetts (and plenty of other country homes), even scientists used dowsers.  Because they invariably find water. 

A dowser carries a Divining Rod, a forked stick (of his choice – though there isn’t anything special about the stick) – he holds the forked part in each hand and when the end of the stick points down of its own volition – that’s were you dig.  [note:  this can be done on a map or on the land… and can also be used for precious metals and other things]

What do you make of this?  Here is woo-woo used in many places in our lives.  I’ve looked it up in Wikipedia and elsewhere on the web.  But I tell you – everyone in Ashfield used dowsers to dig their wells. 

Woo-woo can never be measured or verified scientifically – It is never subject to scientific rules.  For obvious reasons – Heisenberg comes to mind.  It has always seemed to me that efforts to measure woo woo things are doomed to failure.

Is this The Lore of Attraction?  I think so

Useful Quotes

Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.
Marcus Aurelius

For most people, we often marvel at the beauty of a sunrise or the magnificence of a full moon, but it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the universe that surrounds us.
Richard H. Baker

I have learned to use the word “impossible” with the greatest caution.
Wernher von Braun

Magic lies in challenging what seems impossible.
Carol Moseley Braun

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
Arthur Conan Doyle


More About Requesting

June 25, 2008

We talked about not feeling good about making requests, mostly about realizing that people don’t say ‘no’ to you; they say ‘no’ to the request. It is amazing that most of us don’t get the distinction.

But let’s talk about what happens when people say ‘yes’? The part most of us don’t get is that our job isn’t over. You see, when someone says ‘yes’ we assume that our part is over; we asked; they answered with ‘yes’. Sounds good; what now?

Well, how do we know that because they said yes, the appropriate action will be taken? But they said ‘yes.’ I understand.  Aren’t they human, like you? So they are prone to not fulfilling the request and not telling you in time to respond. Not that they will; not that they don’t intend to comply. But sometimes…maybe… they might mess up.

So when someone accepts your request, you take on a commitment to be accountable for their compliance. This is where many of us, myself included, forget our part of the game. We have to follow up. And not nag.

You see, there is an entire game associated with requesting. When played well, it strengthens relationship between the two of you. When played poorly, it weakens, even destroys the relationship.  We’ll talk more about this game.

Making Actions Effective

June 20, 2008

Making Actions Effective by Michael Lipp

We live inside of paradigms; ways of thinking that define how we can think.  I know this very well, but knowing inside a paradigm is worthless. 

You can shift your paradigm, create a new way of thinking, but it requires reinforcement and practice.  Knowing is completely insufficient.  For instance, we live inside a paradigm that hunger is inevitable.  The bible tells us “the poor are always with us” and the evidence confirms this over and over.  What does it take to shift that paradigm to “the stuff of life is abundant?” 

If we don’t change the paradigm, everything we do to end hunger is a gesture, bound to be ineffective, because it happens against the backdrop of inevitability.  When we can shift the paradigm we automatically shift our effectiveness.

When we succeed in shifting our paradigms, we automatically shift the effectiveness of our actions – even without changing the actions! 

The difficulty is that there’s a huge pull back to the familiar, particularly when those around us live in the old paradigm.  It’s like trying to swim against the current; there’s an extremely strong force pulling the other way.  This leaves at least two options: 1.  Be strong enough to stand your ground (move against the current) or 2. Enroll a sufficient number of  others to shift their paradigm (change the current)

This changes the game, doesn’t it?  But shifting paradigms doesn’t change the effectiveness of one action, it can shift the effectiveness of all of them.

How to Make Requests

June 12, 2008

How to Request

There’s no doubt that there is a correlation between those who make requests and those who have power.  And an equal correlation (surprisingly) between those who are asked and those who have power.
But – not surprisingly – most people have a difficult time making requests.

It seems simple enough.  Get or create permission to ask a question or a favor and then go ahead and ask.  The answer is either yes, no, a counter offer (yes, except or no, but) or ‘come back later’.  And that’s the game. 

Well, there are all sorts of mind games that go into it:  getting permission, separating a refusal from personal rejection, dealing with yes (most of us don’t realize that when someone says yes, then the requestor has a commitment to follow up,

And there are many different forms of request – from insistent requests (called, in marriages, ‘nagging’) to very, very plaintive requests (pleading or begging.)  In fact, there is a full scale of request types.

I once had a boss who was incapable of requesting (because requests allow “no.”  But she was also inapable of making assignments.  I realized this was a dilemma for her when I received an email that completely described a project, but I had no idea why it was sent to me until I read the last sentence:  “If you have any questions about this, ask Michael Lipp; he’s in charge of this project.” 

So, given this, how should you be trained to make requests?

I have a few suggestions how you can ease into developing this habit.

First- Pick a request that is very easy to accept, for instance, “Can you lend me a dollar?  I’ll give it back after lunch.  Or something like that.  Make the request to someone who you know will say yes. 

Make a similar request every day.  You can up the level of difficulty.

Then introduce a request that someone can say no to.  Notice your response.

Second – This is the same, except backwards.  Pick a request that is totally unreasonable, one that no one is likely to accept.  Make it of someone who you don’t care whether or not he/she accepts, though you’ll be delighted if it is unexpectedly accepted.  “Will you take notes for me at this meeting?  I can’t go.”

Make a similarly unreasonable request every day.  Then make a difficult request, though not absurd. 

After a while you will be ready for real ones.


May 23, 2008

I’m a coach and an activist for environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment and social justice.  These activities often make me think politically, though I prefer not to.  As an example, I was pleased that this administration gives far more in food assistance than was ever done before.   Then I found out that the increase was mandatory.  The budget is pegged to the population that requires food aid.  This has skyrocketed so the budget has dramatically increased. Hunger is on the rise.

My political instincts are to rail and rant, to stomp my feet (verbally) and complain.  But I’m a coach. My commitment is that around me people experience love and contribution, wisdom and harmony,   So I remember that I have a choice and I perform one of the great secrets of relationships.  I forgave them.

<i>Forgiveness is most powerful when undeserved<i>.  How I can forgive is that I use what the Buddha said, “Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a different past.”

Let’s look at this further.  All of us have experienced pain from past or present relationships.  And the pain withstands bandages and medication; it persists.  It often lasts longer than the relationship, lasting into future relationships, affecting not only us, but people around us.  It binds us tighter than any bandage – It affects our senses – how we see, hear, speak.

How can we forgive?  Forgiveness is not logical.  It has nothing to do with the person we forgive.  It has everything to do with us, only us.  They cannot make us feel better and we cannot make them have compensating suffering.  Forgiveness grants freedom – not to them – to us.  So how do we do it?

Of course, all we have to do is think, “I forgive xyz.”  Unfortunately, that’s not enough for most of us.  The best way is to go through a dialogue with that person, but that’s hard for almost all of us.  Next best is to ask someone to be a stand-in for you and say, “Pretend you’re xyz.”  Then tell him or her, “xyz, I want you to know I forgive you.”  Finally, absent of that, just say it out loud or even just write it down.  We need to give it physical form.

But done is done.   Take yourself away from the past, away from morality, back into the present and always work towards new futures.

Teleseminar: Coaching 2.0

April 10, 2008

The subject is chosen
All we need is YOU.

If you picked Relationships on the survey of topics, you win and you will receive a copy of The Relationship Principles.  So will the first 75 attendees to the teleseminar.  Here’s a taste:

The Relationship Principles

Work relationships have special challenges.

There are different kinds of work relationships and they’re very fluid, from when you first start to when you’re a seasoned veteran.

• Peer to peer relationships
• Relationships with different levels of supervisors
• Relationship with recently promoted supervisors
• Relationships with people who leave
• Relationship with clients or customers
• Relationship with providers, with service personnel
• Relationships between supervisors and reporting personnel

The Coaching 2.0 teleseminar on Wednesday, April 30,(7:30 -830 EDT) will be about this, Relationships at Work.

Though this seminar will focus on work relationships, it is really about all relationships – friends, community, family, …  What makes work relationships unique is that  there’s no choice involved.

This is an ideal topic to discover what Coaching 2.0 provides.

The intended results of this particular seminar is to allow a measurable improvement in your work morale and a positive shift in all relationships.  The cost for participating in this is $23.00.  And the net cost for the first 75 participants is then $10+  Write me to register.


Coaching Two Point Oh Oh

March 27, 2008

Coaching 2 Point Oh Oh

You know, I’ve been writing about Coaching 2.0 for a while now.  As I’ve told you, the feedback from my clients has been unvaryingly great.  The problem is that talking about it isn’t it.

So I’ve been wondering how I can give you a taste of it, give you some way of discovering it so you can make use of it in your life, make use of it in your business or, if you’re a coach, make use of it in your practice.

Then I thought – Maybe I can do a teleseminar and really show people how exciting it can be.  Except that would have you hear me talking about it instead of reading about it.  Big deal.  But then I got this idea.

I’ve been on teleseminars where they sometimes let one person from the audience interact with the leader.  Or one person acts as moderator and others interact with the leader.  That’s better, but it’s still not what Coaching 2.0 is, because the flavor is still missing, the dynamism is not there.

Well, I’ve given myself a small research project and I’ll tell you about it on April 3rd, hoping I’m not a fool, because here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to schedule a teleseminar in a few weeks.  And I am committing to be able to demonstrate Coaching 2.0 in a way that you will absolutely get it.  Call it a bold experiment.

Thinking About Coaching 2.0

March 13, 2008

I’ve been practicing a form of coaching that I call Coaching 2.0.  What is it that makes it different from other forms of group coaching and why should people be interested?

Well, to start with, group coaching is more economical than one on one coaching, certainly a meaningful factor, particularly in today’s economy.  But every coach practices group coaching.  So?

Well, there are two mindsets that make this unique.  The first is the underlying premise of Coaching 2.0, which is that each client participates as well as I do, both as client and coach.  And the second premise is that I will lead the conversations in such a way that it stays on purpose and produces value for all.

There are three ways I lead a session.  The first is somewhat standard.  My coaching is fundamentally goal oriented, so we will look at people’s progress or stumbling blocks on fulfilling their goals.  Of course, no one is ever forced to participate, because in any group coaching session, you can ask for discretion, but you can’t guarantee it.  My experience in this matter is that people are extraordinarily generous.  So when one person ‘reports’ on progress or no progress, others join in.  My role is traditional.  I use all the technology of conversations – listening, repeating, interpreting and so on.

The second is that I may look at a general area, let’s say requests and lecture about it for a very few minutes and ask what participants see when they broach that topic; how are they about making requests; how are they about accepting, refusing or counter-offering.  These conversations are lively, pointed and invariably produce breakthroughs for more than one client, perhaps in many goals or goal areas.

And the third is that we dive in without any lecture.  For example, last night I simply read a quote from Frederick Brown, “A thing can look beautiful or romantic or inspiring only if the beauty or romance or inspiration is inside you.  What you see is inside your head.”  And then open the conversation.  Again, that can be very powerful and results in clients having breakthroughs.

This is a fast and fruitful way to coach.

Ain’t Personal

February 7, 2008

It’s Not Personal

Here’s the situation:  You’re working hard.  You think you’re doing good work.  All of a sudden, apparently out of the blue, your boss jumps all over you for some fault that you either didn’t do or you forgot about or that you consider picayune…or, at best, something silly.  Your day is ruined.  Your time in this job is ruined.  You don’t know how to respond.  You want to quit (but you don’t think you can).  More so when you then swallow it all and it happens again and yet again.

I write this because it has just happened to someone close to me, someone I’m not coaching.  But this is something I coach about, both the boss and the employee or the father and the son or the husband and the wife – individually

But how can you make it stop when you didn’t see it coming and don’t think you had anything to do with it at all?  Particularly when the other person apparently has the power and “the threat” (which seems to make it worse.)

Isn’t it easier to just quit?  Is it worth it to ‘try?’  Have you ever thought about how to communicate with bosses, fathers, husbands, brothers, partners?  Is it possible to communicate in such a way that the situation is diffused, that you are together in the situation?  What is it that prevents your apology – not because you did anything, but because the other person desperately needs to hear it? 

Here’s what I suggest (let’s assume it’s your boss): First, get this mindset:  It has nothing to do with you.  Nothing!  This is not personal.  Now this is very hard to get, but it’s crucial.  Request a few minutes.  Apologize – no matter how absurd that seems.  And say, “I just want you to know I’m committed to your success.” 

The boss may have a stomach ache, may have had a fight with his wife (or her husband), may have gotten chewed out by the next higher boss, or a million other things.  And you were at the bottom of that chain this time.  And bosses have as difficult time saying, “Joe, I’m sorry I mouthed off at you before” as you have responding.

The trick is knowing it’s not personal.  Once you know that, you can stay sane and deal with it.