Postcard from May 2020

take what you need give what you can by Nikki Crawford, Your Peaceful SpaceWelcome.

Welcome to friends, prospective clients, colleagues, and strangers.

Welcome to fellow human beings of all shapes, colors, sizes, gender expressions, and ability.

Welcome to engagement with the art of living, where messiness is a given, love is a verb, and humility nourishes us and prunes us by turns.

As you’ll see if you poke around this site and my social media accounts, reality is my playground but not my limit. Some days I muck about in the smellier and messier spaces of human experience; other days I soar with the divine. My commitment is to remembering both to the best of my ability.

For most of my life I’ve been devoted to growth and insight for myself and others. I have come to understand that this cannot be an individual pursuit. As my friend and teacher, Desiree Lynn Adaway frequently reminds me, “We get free together.”

As a human being I am committed to the liberation of all beings. The more progress I make, , the more clearly I see what a beginner I am. That’s good news: there is so much more possible for us all than we can imagine–so much more generosity, generativity, and freedom. Let us never accept that our momentary failure of vision or understanding accurately defines our limits.

As a coach I remain committed to training and developing truly masterful coaches. I want to better understand and articulate both the universal principles that undergird coaching mastery and the skills that express it. I am also clearer than ever that coaching as a means of advancing human potential has a profound and unrealized responsibility to address inequities at the individual and collective levels.

I have come to see that every misstep can break ground for radical connection, insight, and freedom. Sometimes we feel we ourselves are being broken in that process. It’s important to respect that, to exercise care with ourselves and each other.

I’m here for everyone who refuses to accept that our freedom and joy must be secured at the cost of anyone else’s.

Now, to work. ♥

Note: I wrote this as a new welcome message for my Facebook page as cities around the United States are burning in response to the ongoing oppression, torture, and murder of people of color in our country. It is a time of rising fascism and white supremacy worldwide. It is also the time of COVID19, and people of color, disabled people, and millions of “essential workers” laboring for less than a living wage (including many health care providers) are bearing the brunt of the virus. 

Are you playing “What’s wrong with this picture?” with your life?

Are you playing “What’s wrong with this picture?” with your life?

Too often we try to change things by tweaking a problem that we don’t realize we created. We play “What’s wrong with this picture?” when we could simply paint a new picture.

Here’s the deal: Every problem we face is constructed of our preconceptions, assumptions, memories, and expectations. We simply cannot see beyond the limitations of our current thinking. However, when we insightfully understand how those limitations work, the mind spontaneously opens to new possibilities. It’s not a trick or technique or practice; it’s the natural and inevitable by-product of insight into how the mind works.

If you’d like to experience for yourself the possibility of shifting from tweaking the picture you see to creating a whole new picture, join me for The Art of Living. It’s a 12-week encounter with magic, meaning, and your creative capacity. Together we will explore the deeper intelligence available to every human being, an intelligence that can guide you in the creation of what you want in life, whether you think it is possible at the outset or not.

Almost everyone who has done this work for me comes back for more–not because they need more in order to be whole, but because they finally realize that they don’t need a thing. Participants report greater ease, optimism, and resilience. They feel better about themselves and their lives. They experience massive reductions in anxiety, second-guessing, and analysis-paralysis. And when they do get caught up in those things, they know how to find their way back home to peace of mind and clarity.​​​​​​​

The next session begins November 9. Click here for details. Gift pricing.

Trying to change your state of mind is like remodeling the basement and expecting a penthouse

Trying to change your state of mind is like remodeling the basement and expecting a penthouse

When we are in a low state of mind, it’s tempting to try to change things. But if we try to work on the “self” that we perceive when we are low, we are essentially remodeling the basement in hopes of getting a penthouse. What we are experiencing is always and only a projection of thought, and if we leave it alone, thought will invariably change all by itself. But please, don’t take my word for it. Play with this. Wonder about it. And let me know what shows up for you. ♥

Who knows what beauty is being created in the dark?

Update, May 31, 2018

This Spring I’ve felt unusually challenged by stress and low moods. Since much of my work is about finding freedom from both of those, there have been times when feeling stressed out, anxious, or blue has caused me to question my expertise and the value I provide. While I was often at peace with simply not feeling the way I might prefer to feel, I sometimes wondered what I was missing such that I would be having such a dark time.

It’s easy to fall for the illusion that how we are feeling is telling us about how we are being and doing. As I wrote the first time I shared this video, “Insight often leaves us with a good feeling, so it’s understandable that we may conflate feeling good with being wise or insightful. But our underlying wellbeing and access to wisdom don’t go away when we are in low moods or experiencing emotional pain. They may (or may not be) obscured, but they are certainly not absent.”

I went on to observe: “It seems to me that nothing can be truly wasted in the universe. That all of life is interconnected and of immense, if sometimes unknown, value. Perhaps when we experience dark nights of the soul our hearts are being educated in ways that language cannot capture. Just as the beauty of flowers is nourished in the darkness below ground, the beauty of our hearts may be nourished by sadness and other challenges.

“This is not a call to figure out what your heart is being taught during tough times. Far from it! If analysis and figuring things out were adequate to the task, there would be no call for this silent, deep education. Rather, simply know that nothing, including your pain, is ever wasted. Trust that your heart and soul are unfolding just as perfectly as the crocus or the flowering tree. Give yourself over to your experience and know that it is not the measure of your value or your possibilities.”

If you are having a difficult time for whatever reason, I hope these reflections remind you that beauty is often created in the dark.

Approximate transcript of the video

It’s spring in the Pacific Northwest and crocuses have been bursting through the ground for a few weeks. Some of the flowering trees have begun to blossom, and I’m reminded of the beauty that is created in the dark.

This morning I was reflecting with a client on how freeing and healing it is to realize that our well-being is not defined by our experience.  There is an essence that’s independent of the fluctuations of our moment to moment and day to day experience, and that that essence is always whole, always resilient, always creative. At one point it occurred to me that sometimes when we realize this we may get hung up on the good feeling that realization gives us or seems to give us. It may seem like feeling good and being happy is the payoff for insight.

It’s certainly often been my experience that insight has left me with a really good feeling. But then it occurred to me as well to that nothing is wasted in the universe. When I remembered that, I saw that feeling good is not actually the point. As lovely as it may be to feel the joy of realization, sometimes we experience what John of the Cross called dark nights of the soul. While I don’t pretend to understand what the heck is going on in those dark nights, it truly seems to me that something beautiful might be being created in the dark just as the beauty of the crocus or the tulip or the daffodil is created in the dark underground.

So, while I would wish for everyone watching this to experience oodles of good feeling, a multiplicity of insights, and a lovely elevated state of mind, it also feels really important to equally wonderful things are happening even when you feel low and in the dark. In fact, I think it must be that, on some level, your heart is being educated in those dark times, and that you don’t need to figure out what the lesson is any more than the tulip has to figure out how to bloom.

I would wish for you to know when your low times that you are always okay, and that you don’t have to feel okay for that to be true. And that your not feeling good is not an indictment of anything about you. That beauty is often created in the dark.

Let me know how that lands. Take care.



Activism without reactivity–the key to staying the course

There’s a huge difference between being activated/reactive and being awake and effective. You don’t need to fan the flames of righteous indignation or fear in order to stay awake. Becoming over reactive, winging yourself up, may create a temporary feeling of power, but it reduces your effectiveness. This is as true in civil discourse and political action as it is across the breakfast table.

You can use your awareness of the difference between being activated and being grounded to help you stay the course over the long term rather than riling yourself up, spinning out, and burning out.

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