Conversations Open New Possibility (let's talk...)

"We think we live in the world.  We think we live in a set of circumstances, but we don't.  We live in our conversation about the world and our conversation about the circumstances.  When we're in a conversation about fear and terror, about revenge and anger and retribution, jealousy and envy and comparison, then that is the world we inhabit.  If we're in a conversation about possibility, a conversation about gratitude and appreciation for the things in front of us, then that's the world we inhabit."

In the above excerpt from the powerful book, The Soul of Money, by Lynn Twist, she speaks directly to the essential purpose of our Resonant Leadership Circles. 

Through weekly core practices of Centering with Sound & Intention, Gratitude, Vision, Goals & Action, Inspiration; monthly practice of registering the impact that you're having in the world; and seasonal practices of Medicine Walks in Nature & Possibility Mapping, we discipline ourselves to actually live in a conversation of possibility.

In my research, writing and reflections, I am seeing that this kind of circle work is the frontier of business, organizational and human systems development.  The frontier is learning to create conversations of possibility in a desolate "conversation landscape" that is habituated towards fear, predictability and control.

In short, the "solutions" to our most pressing issues are "known."  But, to mobilize, manifest, implement and realize, in our complex world, we need to practice collective leadership - which is what I call leading like the forest - to work together, collaborate, on more than just a surface-level.   

We need to develop deep roots of connection - an intimate and vulnerable trust in one another, so that we can engage in a creative process together, which allows us to build spaces for emergent solutions to come forth, that we could never have found on our own. 

A Word about "Resonant" Leadership Circles: 

You may have noticed that I have added the word "Resonant" to our Leadership Circles name.  In doing some writing over the the last couple of weeks, I kept coming back to that word - resonance. 

Previously, we were using the word "Sound" to describe our leadership circles.  "Resonance" feels like it captures the essence of what we are doing with even more precision.  

A simple definition of resonance is: the tendency of a system to vibrate with increasing amplitudes at some frequencies of excitation. These are known as the system's resonant frequencies. The resonator may have a fundamental frequency and any number of harmonics.

This accurately describes what we are doing in our circles:  supporting each other to resonate with our true essential tone of leadership through the social field that we create as a circle.

An Invitation to a New Season of Resonant Leadership Circle Work:

There are many times in the year where we have the opportunity to begin anew.  The month of September gives us that chance. In the Jewish calendar, it is the month of the New Year.  

In the school year, it is the time to go back, to re-engage learning.

In the business calendar, it is a time to re-engage projects, start new initiatives, and, most importantly, to take a stand for the deeper calling in life that drives you to do what you do and be who you are.

"...when we take a stand, we can move the world - the world of ideas and people who act on them.  Taking a stand is a way of living and being that draws on a place within yourself that is at the very heart of who you are.  When you take a stand, it gives you authenticity, power, and clarity." - The Soul of Money

If you sense that being part of a weekly circle might support you to take a stand in this new season, the stand that is uniquely yours to take, I would love to speak with you about joining a circle in this fall season.

Click here to schedule a 30-minute conversation with me on zoom video chat, and we can explore whether the timing is aligned.

Lastly, thank you for taking this moment to read this email.  Thank you for your dedication to the work that you are doing and for your curiosity in circle work.  Lastly, thank you for your unique gifts and the specific tone that you bring to everything you do.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Lev Natan
Leadership for Social Change

845-389-3622 | www.themedicinetree.com 

Appointment Scheduler Link | Zoom Video Link | Skype: levnatan

Coaching Leaders, Facilitating Circles, Building Alliances & Healing w/Sound

Responding to Harsh Feedback with Integrity: Article & Exercise

As a social change leader, how do you deal with the emotional pain that goes along with immensely hard feedback?

With all that is happening in 2018 - unending racial profiling, the me too movement, children being ripped from their parents at the border, the denial of climate change and the plowing over of the rights of nature, it’s hard not to be on edge and ready to snap.  

In this climate, leaders who have the best of intentions, are being taken out, criticized, and blamed.

Let’s also not forget being called out at home to - by your spouses.  In my experience as a coach, this is actually far more common, and far more intense, heart-wrenching and painful than feedback at work.

How do you muster the strength to not take it personally, stand in your integrity, and do what’s right, when your whole nervous system is firing with the fight-fright-freeze instinct?

The following is a process that I developed through my own trials with leadership - receiving deeply hurtful feedback from those who were closest to me - my wife, a spiritual mentor - as well as listening to countless stories from clients speak about similar issues - at home, with spouses and children, and in the workplace, with employees, volunteers and clients.

Step One:  In the heat of the storm…

When it’s happening, when you are in the middle of “getting told,” do your best to remember

  1. To be conscious of your breathing

  2. That the other person is speaking from their own place of pain and suffering

  3. To say, “I hear you, and I need time to reflect on what you are saying before I respond.”

 

Step Two:  Put on your own oxygen mask first, before...anything else!

 

Don’t go back to work with a wounded heart.  Don’t try to ignore the emotional pain, pretend like it’s just part of life, and keep moving through the rest of your day, as if nothing happened.  If you have other important meetings the rest of the day, do your best to be present or, if you can, cancel them, so you can do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

You will simply not do your best work when you are feeling this level of deep emotional pain.  The work will still be there in an hour or two, or the next day.

In short, step away and take care of yourself.

 

Step Three: Get into your body

 

If you are anything like me, your head will be racing with what to do, how to respond, and what will “fix” the situation.  This is your panicked, defensive mind trying to protect itself. It’s not the time to try to fix anything. It’s time to get into your body - ground, center, presence yourself - and move the energy.  Here are some ideas:

 

  1. Go for a vigorous walk in nature

  2. Take a hot/cold shower

  3. Exercise - run, bike, swim, lift weights

  4. Dance or do yoga - move your body in a healthy way.

  5. Sing, yell, shake - if you feel safe to let go in this way.

 

Step Four:  Tell your story to someone you trust to listen with care

 

As soon as possible - preferably that same day - call your coach, therapist or a really good friend or colleague, who is skilled at holding compassionate space.  Give voice to the emotional pain that you feel, and allow yourself to place blame. Give yourself permission NOT to censor yourself, in this particular step. It’s best if you sense that the person who is listening has been in your shoes before and understands from personal experience.


Step Five:  Let the dust settle...

 

Commit to an appropriate time-frame for self-reflection before responding to the person; at least one full day, but it could be a week or even more, depending on the situation.  Create a rough timeline of when you will re-establish communication, but then continue to listen to your intuition for what your right timing is. You may or may not want to communicate this to the other person, ahead of time.  When you are ready to speak with the person, after completing this process, schedule an intentional time to speak with them.


Step Six: Track down the learning through conversations & journaling

 

  • Seek wise counsel, guidance and perspective through safe conversations:

    • Find 1-3 other people you trust with whom to share what happened and invite their guidance and perspective.  Now that you’ve “cooled down” and had time to find your center again, it’s useful to discuss the situation again, so you open yourself to different perspectives.  It’s best if you choose someone who can relate to your experience directly because s/he has gone through a similar experience.

    • Be aware of thoughts of self-judgement or being judged by others.  This is where we go when we feel “accused of a crime” and react by protecting ourselves from the danger of being punished.

Reflect on the following questions in the presence of a coach, therapist, friend or colleague or as a journaling exercise:

  1. What can I learn from this experience so that I can be more effective as a leader, in the workplace, in my family and in the community?
  2. Having reflected on all of this, what can I do now to restore trust, accountability, teamwork and integrity to this relationship?  How can I meet my unmet needs and be aware of the needs of the other person, moving forwad?
  3. What else could I have done?  What other response might have been possible?  
  4. Visualize yourself doing it differently until it feels natural and you feel confident you could handle the situation differently in the future.
  5. If I was acting like a victim, and the feedback was harsh criticism that was verging on abuse, how can I take responsibility for playing the victim role, and in doing so, empower myself to shift out of that role moving forward.  If I was acting out of unawareness, how can I become more self-aware and aware of others needs? If I was acting with power over others, what was I trying to get from acting that way - and what’s another way to behave that has more integrity?  
  6. How can I take responsibility for my part in the feedback?  
  7. What healthy boundaries might I need to clarify within myself?  
  8. You may determine that the person who gave you the feedback was projecting, crossing boundaries, overreacting, or dumping their own unresolved issues onto you, in a way that was simply inappropriate, unexceptable, unfair and toxic.  If so, you may decide that you need to create a firm boundary until further notice. This means reevaluating your relationship with this person.  Clarify what is yours and what’s theirs.
  9. What might be some of the needs of the person who gave me thee feedback?
    1. Use this list to identify the needs.
  10. What are my own unmet needs in this situation?

Step Seven: Plan Your Communication Beforehand

 

Schedule a time to meet or speak on the phone.  Or, if you have decided not to speak with the person, write him/her an email or a handwritten letter.  Use whatever mode of communication honors the integrity of the relationship and feels the most empowering for you.  If you decide to meet, be sure to create a structure for the conversation, be as clear about what you need to say beforehand, and have a clear sense of how you want the conversation to end.

 

Step Eight: Establish new agreements that fortify your core commitments

  • Moving forward, how am I going to proceed?  

  • What have I learned from this process?  

  • How has my perspective shifted and changed?  

  • What am I going to do differently?  

  • How have I restored and healed the fabric of relationship, as best I can, with truthfulness, honesty and authenticity?  

  • What new agreements will I establish - with myself and with the other person?  

  • How might I share this story with the larger community in a way that actually furthers the quality of trust and relationship?  

  • How do these new agreements align with my core commitments in life and work?  

  • How have I become stronger, more resilient, and at the same time, more sensitive to my own needs and the needs of others?


 

Responding with harsh feedback with integrity is hard work.  It becomes a much more doable when we have an already existing circle of support to process with. 

If you are interested in reading more about our Leadership Circles, click here

If you would like to attend one of our monthly free introductions, called Leadership Conversations, click here

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at lev@themedicinetree.com.

 






 

Listening to a Different Kind of News: Once Upon This Time...

Once upon a time, there was a man who couldn't hear so well.  Whenever anyone asked him if he had heard about the latest news he said:

"No, I've never heard of that before."

And, everyone kept going on there way, too busy to hear the next words that he would say...

"It's actually not that I can't hear.  Yes, my ears do work!  It's just that I don't listen to what everyone else is listening to.  I listen to something completely different.  And, because I listen differently, I actual have the best hearing out of anyone in the world..."


In our world today, The News becomes Our News by default, and it makes our ears oversensitive and overwhelmed.  We become tired, hopeless and dejected about the state of affairs.

That's why we need to turn in a different direction and generate our own news.  This doesn't mean ignoring what's going on "out there" - it means Sourcing Yourself from a different place that allows you to respond with greater poise and courage.

This is what is created in the intentional field of leadership circles - a magical space and place of new possibility.

To learn more, join a monthly Leadership Conversation to learn The Medicine Tree's point of view on why circles are so essential to effectiveness and preventing burnout.

This is a rendition of an excerpt from the story of The Seven Beggers by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.


--
Lev Natan

TheMedicineTree.com
 

Leading Like The Forest Monthly Conversation Series

Are you Passionate About Social Change, but sometimes feel disheartened & burned-out, and you're ready for a perspective that integrates a deeply-rooted spirituality into your work for social justice and environmental sanity?

In this monthly conversation series, Leading Like The Forest, we explore why its so essential to respond directly to your unique calling and to come together with other change makers who are listening deeply to the "collective call" that we are all hearing.

In these times of complexity, turbulence and convergent crises, trees are important role models in our movements for social change. They stand tall in their “leadership” because their roots are interconnected.

Trees are literally holding onto each other - and at this time, we need to do the same - by intentionally coming together through community practices like leadership councils.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER.
 

In these Open Conversations, you will have the opportunity to:

  1. Hear a point-of-view that focuses on the need for leadership capacity, subtle activism and collective impact, as the primary vehicles for social change that resonates with truth.
  2. Deepen your connection to your personal calling as a unique thread within the web-of-life
  3. Acknowledge & appreciate how you are already showing up for what you care about
  4. Locate your growing edge and be invited to gently stretch into it
  5. Learn simple sound practices to heal, renew and awaken new capacities in yourself

----
 

I am especially excited to share this point of view in the upcoming Open Conversations because of the in-depth research that I have been engaged in, through my graduate program in Organizational Leadership.  
 

In the last 3 months, I have interviewed twelve socially conscious organizational leaders, had informal conversations with ten others, and attended inspiring events on local economy, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and climate change.
 

All of that to say that there is new clarity and refinement in this upcoming Open Conversation.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER.

see you next week,
 

Lev

 

--
Lev Natan

TheMedicineTree.com

Sound Leadership In Our Times: 1st Podcast with Catherine Van Wetter

Click HERE to download and listen to the podcast.

I am initiating Sound Leadership For Our Times, a new conversation platform / podcast interview series where I will be dialoguing with colleagues to explore the intersection of the fields of healing and leadership in service to the empowerment of people and eco-social organizations who are working towards a positive future.

The focus will be having conversations with sound therapists, holistic healers, coaches and thought leaders who are engaged in eco-social organizations, businesses and/or initiatives.  We will be uncovering

In my first interview, with holistic healer & best-selling author, Catherine Van Wetter, I ask:

  • Why have you chosen to do the work that you do?  Why do you believe in it?

  • What positive impact do you believe you are having in the world?

  • How do you stay hopeful, engaged and inspired in these challenging times?

  • What is effective leadership in our times?  What does it mean to be a sound leader?

  • What is your vision for a better world?  How do we get there?  And, how are you creating that vision through the work that you’re doing?

    To listen to the interview, click HERE.  Enjoy and please leave comments and let me know your questions, comments and reflections.

Prioritizing What Is Most Important This Summer

"Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple." 
-Bill Mollison, One of the Founding Leaders in the Permaculture Movement


As we approach the summer solstice next week, the zenith of the LIGHT, its essential to take time to focus on what is MOST IMPORTANT in your life, work and relationships.  

In this Newsletter:
1. Food for thought: Prioritizing what's most important
2. Acupuncture Sound Bath on June 30th
3. PermaJam Festival on July 4th Weekend

Food for Thought:
Yesterday, a client was sharing with me how much he loves to cook!  But, for some reason, he has fallen into a routine of letting his wife cook for him and the kids for weeks on end.  So, we focused on the DISCIPLINE of PRIORITIZING cooking at least once a week - as if his life depended on it...because, well it actually really does...

His sense of confidence, as a husband and father, depends on taking action that resonates with his integrity - and he feels an innate need to contribute to the cooking, which is also so enjoyable for him.  So, what ONE THING do you feel a deep need to prioritize in your life this week?

Upcoming Live Event & Festival Weekend:

Acupuncture Sound Bath @ LifeWorks Studio in Great Barrington - Friday, June 30th at 7:30pm: 

My wife, Sarah and I have been offering this unique acupuncture sound bath since we first met in 2014, and recently moved to the Berkshires from New York where Sarah founded Brooklyn Acupuncture Project in 2008 and Lev founded The Medicine Tree in 2010.  Acupuncture Sound Baths are a community experience that help us to tap into the embodied virtues of our human potential.  Sessions attune your internal natural rhythm and awaken your capacity to respond creatively to the increasing complexity and intensity of life’s challenges.

 More and more, we are offering these sound events for private groups, including business teams (i.e. restaurant staff), eco-social organizations and even bachelorette parties.  Click here learn more and register.

PERMAJAM FESTIVAL JULY 1ST - 4TH


I will be offering 2 workshops at the second annual PermaJam Festival is coming together of people who "hear the calling for a cultural revival, a return to our roots, breaking out of the mainstream that is influencing our children today. As conscious and aware humans unite, we have the power to build a harmonious foundation  we can flourish on, which starts with planting seeds for our youth. If we can’t provide the valuable wisdom, tools and skill sets our children need to grow, then how will future generations prosper?" (From the website)

The workshops that I will be offering are...

#1: Return of the Medicine Trees: A Vision of Sound Leadership for Global Coherence on Sunday, July 2nd at 2:15pm

#2:Visionary Sound Journey for Global Coherence at 10am on Monday, July 3rd.


Tickets are available at www.permajam.com for the whole festival or per day - with many workshops, musical events and wonderful people to meet.  

Use the Promo Code: medicinetree - and pay just $85 for the whole 4 day festival or just $33 per day.  I look forward to seeing you there!


in grateful service,
Lev

 

Have you ever looked up at the sky in awe at a flock of geese flying in a "V" all heading in the same direction?

The principle that brings these amazing birds into one-mind of coherence operates in a Mastermind Group as well.  Morphic Resonance, a term coined by pioneering scientist, Rupert Sheldrake, "is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance. Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, which are more like TV receivers than video recorders..."

In other words, when we come together, consistently in a group, with a focused intention on bringing forth our most important work, we move like birds flying together as one, and thus we are able to soar!
 

I created the Small Group Mastermind Circlebecause coaching support and accountability is most effective when you have it every week.  The process of articulating priorities, setting goals, taking action, following through, reflecting, gaining insight and learning from the feedback received from the action - this iterative process - is the most important aspect of a transformational journey that leads to effective results in our life, health, relationships, career and work.

The best part is that the Mastermind Circle is very affordable (with a sliding scale payment model) and you receive motivation and support from the community experience of being in a group...on Tuesday, I will share from a more energetic perspective about the power of being in a group - developing a field of morphic resonance...

Lastly, we had an energizing Intro Call last week, with Daniel Duron, a participant in this past spring cycle, sharing his transformative experience, which you can listen to by clicking the link below.


There are only 2 spots (out of 10) left for the summer cycle which begins on June 14th (registration ends June 8th), and one of them is for you so jump in, the water is really warm :)

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER

Why do Mastermind Groups work so well?

The simple, practical, answer is - when you hear the other participants in the group setting goals, taking action and following through, you feel inspired to keep going and doing the same. Here are some thoughts from Stephanie Burns, the founder and CEO of Chic CEO, in an article she published for Forbes online

"Mastermind groups are relatively new to most people, even though Napoleon Hill created the concept around 75 years ago with his book, Think and Grow Rich. A mastermind group is designed to help you navigate through challenges using the collective intelligence of others...Here are 7 reasons why a mastermind might be right for you:

1. You'll be part of an exclusive community. 
2. Advisement. Once you are involved in a mastermind, that feeling of "being alone" while running your business is gone. 
3. Collaboration is the name of the game. You may find someone in the group that is a perfect fit to work on a project with you. 
4. Extend your network. Joining a mastermind expands your network exponentially and rapidly. 
5. New learning. Everyone in the mastermind is unique in skill, experience and connections. 
6. Cross-promotion. When you join a mastermind, you will most likely find ways to help each other by utilizing cross promotion. 
7. Think bigger. Being in a mastermind will truly give you a Master Mind! You can't help but think bigger and stretch beyond your boundaries when surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things."

I created the Small Group Mastermind Circlebecause coaching support and accountability is most effective when you have it every week.  The process of articulating priorities, setting goals, taking action, following through, reflecting, gaining insight and learning from the feedback received from the action - this iterative process - is the most important aspect of a transformational journey that leads to effective results in our life, health, relationships, career and work.

The best part is that the Mastermind Circle is very affordable (with a sliding scale payment model) and you receive motivation and support from the community experience of being in a group...on Tuesday, I will share from a more energetic perspective about the power of being in a group - developing a field of morphic resonance...

Lastly, we had an energizing Intro Call last week, with Daniel Duron, a participant in this past spring cycle, sharing his transformative experience, which you can listen to by clicking the link below.


There are only 3 spots (out of 10) left for the summer cycle which begins on June 14th (registration ends June 8th),  so if you feel your heart chords pulling on you to jump in, don't think about it to much, just jump!  Its a beautiful journey...

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER