Speak Up or Shut Down

by | Feb 7, 2016 | Adventures in Awareness

Adventures in Awareness  Issue #3 - 2016

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” - Dr. Dwayne Dyer, American self-help author & motivational speaker (10 May 1940-29 Aug 2015)

Speak Up or Shut Down

Becoming More Mindful in Challenging Conversations and Situations

In many of my conversations over the last several weeks I’ve noticed what seems to be a trend that has piqued my curiosity and reminded me of those times when I’ve chosen to either shut down or speak up during an awkward conversation with someone. Since February’s theme is “Committed Choice” [please see ‘Energy Soup’ below], it seems to offer an opportunity for engaging in conversations more mindfully than ever before. And Wayne Dyer’s quote in the sidebar hints at the soul-level opportunity of engaging with others from a different and more mindful perspective, recognizing that how we react is a ‘choice,’ made either consciously or unconsciously.

A couple of my coaching clients are currently navigating the waters toward their next ‘committed choice’ regarding fundamental relationships that they’ve recently recognized as being emotionally challenging to the point of being untenable. They’re seeking a balance between their values of trust, integrity and self-care; they’re examining their fears about how others will perceive them if they make different choices; and, most importantly, they’re calling forth their courage in speaking their truth in ways that are respectful and yet set clear boundaries. Their first step has been to name the situation as it is rather than making excuses for the other person’s behaviors, and to face their fears about the possible outcome of speaking their truth within these relationships. In other words, they’re making a ‘committed choice’ to change their reactive behaviors and break habits that are not effective, in service to their own and the other person’s well-being.

For the second time in two months, my beloved husband HK popped his artificial hip joint out of its socket, and as you might imagine, this is excruciatingly painful! As we waited for the doctor in the Emergency Room, there were tears in HK’s eyes and his chin was trembling. I squeezed his hand and asked what was going on, and when he had gained control of his voice, said he felt ‘guilty’ that he had re-injured himself and feared that I and others would see him as ‘weak’ or ‘not manly’ because of it. My heart broke for this incredible man who is consistently a ‘rock’ for me and others, and couldn’t help but feel profoundly sad about the accepted societal expectation of ‘manhood’ he was expressing. I recognized that he was having a challenging conversation with himself because he felt he had to live up to that expectation.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we humans can purposely and mindfully communicate the impact that another person’s behaviors or even an outmoded societal expectation is having on us. I’ve wondered how we support the possibility of re-creating a conversation, relationship or a societal expectation that’s proven itself less than respectful to self or others or both. If we can’t effectively communicate to another person how their behavior is impacting us, choosing to shut down instead of speak up, we’ll continue down our current path of disconnection. We’ll continue creating more distance between us when our hearts and souls long more than ever to accept and feel accepted in our families, workplaces, communities, and the world.

I know for me, it’s an ongoing exploration and practice cycle of trying various approaches to speaking up in those situations where typically I’d shut down instead. Sometimes it occurs fairly elegantly, and goes well; at other times, it is messy and uncomfortable. No matter how it plays out, I always learn from it upon reflection and find it is easier and more natural to speak up at the moment with confidence that it ultimately serves the relationship.

How do we each ‘speak up’ without feeling we’ve diminished or disrespected ourselves or the other person in our conversations?

I invite you to consider this question along with me and, as you do, notice what new awareness emerges from within you. And please remember to have FUN on that awareness adventure into the question, okay?

Happy exploring!




Since we’re all inextricably interconnected to each other, our planet, and our universe, here are some of the energies we’re all swimming in together right now:

New Moon – Feb 8th 6:40 AM [Pacific Time] ~ remember that New Moons are times to determine what intentions you want to set in motion next for yourself.

The Power Path ~ The time around this New Moon can be testy, especially around unexpected events and changes you did not plan on. This is also the beginning of the Chinese New Year and we are entering the year of the fire monkey. The monkey is one of the allies for the year and can be helpful if used well. Make sure to honor this New Moon with a commitment to your intentions by making an action plan of disciplines that will support your choices.

Madeline Gerwick, Business Astrologer, Polaris Business Guides ~As we start February, we’re in the midst of the big financial challenges (Venus conjunct Pluto and square Uranus). Just wait until after the New Moon, either February 9th or 10th, for your major new starts. By then we’ll be in a great cycle for bringing in a LOT of money! On Monday, February 8th, a cycle comes in range that’s associated with taking fortunate actions (Mars sextile Jupiter). Typically opportunities will present themselves and you have the option to take action on them or not. No one will force you to take action. You just have the opportunity to take fortunate actions that can assist you. This cycle peaks on February 13th and stays in range through February 18th. There are LOTS of good energies synched up on February 10th. Plan to make good use of it!

Cosmic*Intelligence*Agency ~ Life feels faster than a speeding bullet these days. Thousands of thoughts pass through you on a daily basis, most of which are scattered, undifferentiated and noisy. Distraction and the concentration of a goldfish could be blamed on technology or the stars, after all we are living through a Tempest of Transition, but perhaps it has more to do with having too much on or too many things to prioritise? As you stack, living within this phenomenally paced, multi-tasking world, your mind remains active all day long, exposing your heart to images of a world lost and struggling to remember its humanity. Without time to breath in, all the unattended stress draws out your vital force and weariness invades your spirit, and gravity drags down every bone. Use the energy of this New Moon in Aquarius to slow down, reflect, and then move more purposely.

Dec 13-Jan 9 is the “Rhythmic Moon [Month] of Equality” according to the Galactic Calendar -  its energies are Organize-Balance-Equality; its Totem Animal is Lizard. “This is the time of the purifying. Let’s not forget why we are here. This is the moment of realignment. For all who look this is very clear…” ~ Narayan

Feb 7-Mar 6 is the “Galactic Moon [Month] of Integrity”

according to the Galactic Calendar - its energies are harmonize-model-integrity; its Totem Animal is Hawk. “We manifest together the Universal Soul. Yet each on is a Universe, a holographic whole…The world comes to meet you when you’re living in your heart. Together with our planet, let’s create a work of art.” ~ Galactic Sun


The Power Path -Lena & Jose Stevens:  January’s theme of RESET brought with it numerous opportunities for change and change often brings choices and decisions. Some choices and decisions are generated by your own chosen resets and some are a result of a reset you may have experienced from the outside.
As we enter February we encounter good influences that will take your choices and decisions and feed them with some momentum allowing for action, manifestation and flow. There are two elements that are necessary for this to happen: Commitment and discipline. Commitment to the choices and decisions you have made will ensure that you get the most out of them. It is a message to spirit that you are truly serious about what you have chosen and intended, what you desire and wish for…[Read more…]


Mercury Retrograde - Jan 5- 25 2016 with continuing effects through Feb 8th- Mercury rules all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and so forth…When a planet retrogrades, astrologically it is in a resting or sleeping state. Therefore, while Mercury naps, the activities that it governs don’t have the benefit of a well-functioning, wide-awake planet to supervise them. Expect a certain degree of pandemonium to ensue! This is a time to check and double-check anything related to communications.

Saturn-Neptune Squares –  Jun 17 2016; and Sep 10 2016 - Stephanie Austin, EcoAstrology - This Saturn–Neptune square is part of a larger synodic cycle of 36 years. Squares mark important turning points; these are waning squares, considered by Dane Rudhyar ‘a crisis in consciousness,’ where we must re-orient ourselves and release forms which no longer support our growth…Saturn–Neptune squares challenge us to manifest from our essence rather than our ego, and to follow our intuition and inner guidance rather than external authority and convention. We are summoned to spiritual maturity, which entails letting go of martyrdom and victim mentality, blame and guilt, addictions and illusions. By making more time and space in our lives to connect with our higher self, we are able to see where we have been in denial, where we have abdicated our power, and how we can instead live with both integrity and vision, pragmatism and faith. As we engage more with nature, meditation, and the wisdom of our heart, we see through the fears and beliefs that block us from embodying our truth…

Some ways to work with this ongoing Saturn-Neptune square:

  • Simplify. Less can be more—more time, less hassle.
  • Prioritize. A powerful mantra: What is most important in this moment?
  • Set realistic goals. Make reminders of what is most important to you.
  • Listen to your body. Aches, pains, illness are are messages that we need to make a change.
  • Pay attention to your dreams. Both day and night dreams provide valuable pointers.
  • Give yourself daily soul time. Meditate, do art, play music, dance, journal, walk, etc.
  • Be completely honest. Tell the truth always, with compassion for all concerned.
  • “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” (Anne Herbert)
  • Be in gratitude. Thankfulness opens the heart and the way for more blessings to come.
  • And most importantly: “Practice responding to every emotion or thought of fear, anger, resistance, shame, judgement, excitement, or whatever with one word–“interesting”, asking yourselves; “What am I believing that is making me feel this way, is it true?

Upcoming Events:

ICF Competency Brush-Up Program - 16.0 ICF CCEs [in core competencies] - I designed and love leading this program - next offering begins September 14, 2016

2016 ICF Midwest Conference - Theme: “The Crossroads of Coaching” June 23-25, 2016 in Indianapolis IN - COME JOIN ME!

Are you a coach yearning to hearing experienced coaches coach & ask them questions about their approach? Check out Gail Moore’s “Inside the World of Master Coaching” Monthly Tele-classes

Interested in becoming a Mentor Coach? There are 2 programs I can suggest with confidence: [1] the inviteCHANGE Mentor Coach Training Program beginning Feb 23 2016 15th and, [2] the International Mentor Coach Training Program: Going Beyond Models, starting Jan 12th.

AMAZING OPPORTUNITY! I’m privileged to support my esteemed friend and talented colleague, Joss Rowlands, in launching a FREE webinar to introduce her new Human Trinity process ‘to live your real life.’ Join her on Wednesday, Nov. 18th - click here to learn more or to register.


Copyright © 2016 Positive Life Works, All rights reserved.

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. I value your privacy and will not share this information with anyone!

You have Successfully Subscribed!