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5-Minute Try It: Clean Up and Fill Up

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PURPOSE: Sometimes we benefit from a simple clean up and fill up. Clean up is a way of letting go – of whatever is ready to leave your experience (e.g. literal dirt, or a feeling, thought, or belief). Fill up is a way of receiving whatever nourishes you now and going forward (body oil, vibrant energy, warmth, positivity, love).

PREPARATION: This practice can be experienced anywhere, as long as you have imagination. For ease, try the shower for the benefit of direct water flow supporting the practice. So to prepare, get naked!

Minute one: Allow water to wash over your head and feel the sensation of water running all over your body. Appreciate the flow of water.

Minute two: Imagine an opening at the top of your head with a channel moving down all the way through your body into the floor. Allow water to cleanse you from the top of your head to the toes on your feet. Feel the flow of clearing and cleansing.

Minute three: When complete, rotate your head clockwise and counterclockwise to signal the cleaning is finished. Prepare for filling up.

Minute four:  Again, imagine that the water flow is directed to the opening and channel in your body. Feel and experience light, joy… patience… (whatever you want to receive) filling up your body beginning at your feet and completing at the top of your head.

Minute five: When you feel sufficient, again rotate your head clockwise and counterclockwise to signal the filling up is complete.

Complete your practice by luxuriating in your nourishment of cleaning up and filling up. Allow this practice to support you and recognize the support from water, a precious element from nature.

5-Minute Try It: Dynamic Dignity, may we all embody Dignity

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PURPOSE: Developing embodied dignity sustains a vital nutrient and enables us to be present in challenging situations, particularly money situations.

PREPARATION: Reflect upon your relationship with dignity. Is dignity something you seek from the outside or cultivate from the inside? Consider our desire for respect from others; note where respect arises. Practice Belly, Heart, and Spine 5 Minute Try It to be familiar with these three body centers.

Minute one: With familiarity with the three body centers, ground your seat on the chair and root your lower torso through the earth. Focus your attention on your spine. Gather interest in your spine.

Minute two:  Gently roll your sit bones forward and back to emphasize the interest on your spine. Interest will grow to appreciation. Notice the movement, openness and a pleasant welcome to your spine.

Minute three: Appreciation will grow to admiration. The spine elongates and expands from the top behind the head and rooting down through the tailbone.

Minute four:  Admiration builds into confidence. Self-confidence grows with deeper roots and a wider spine – nourishing dignity.

Minute five: Confidence embodied in the spine creates a reliable source of dignity. Notice what stage of dignity development you embody: interest, appreciation, admiration, confidence or embodied.

Complete your practice by giving attention to your spine and experiencing directly the benefits of dynamic dignity.



Straight Talk or Cloudy Conversations

Straight talk is a powerful and necessary skill. First, understanding the nuance of what straight talk really is and second, practicing, and eventually, mastering. I think that most conversations are cloudy. By cloudy I mean that the communication is filled with extraneous beliefs, feelings, messages, thoughts and “stuff” that obscures the pristine point trying to be communicated and the heart-felt intention holding the communication.

Straight talk cuts through the cloud, and delivers exactly what needs to be communicated, without reference to anything other than the message. Here are a few benign examples:

The light is on. Please turn it off.
I’m cold. I am turning the air conditioner temperature up.
My gas tank is empty.

These examples are not a problem, unless of course there is a hidden feeling about lights being left on and the delivery of “Please turn it off” carries resentment, anger and frustration. Maybe you see where I’m going.

It is a practice

Straight talk is my current practice. In some situations, my conversation is very clear and meets the moment with exquisite care, compassion and clarity. A client meeting with a surviving spouse, grieving and moving through the next steps of her life, was masterful. It was easy for me to hold her and be with her, ask beautiful questions, listen for her needs and expectations, and offer just enough. My intention was to be fully present with her, offer all of myself, allow the meeting to unfold with ease and generous space, and love her.

No clouds of needing to do, fixing a problem, being helpful, displaying my wisdom, or any number of ego-driven ideas had my grip. No fears, doubts, confusion were taking up space in my mind. My state of mind was clear. My body was open, vulnerable and receptive. These are the experiences that provide a continuum for growth and the delight in being simply human. This is the “hard-to-describe” space and experience that makes it possible to provide an exceptional authentic connection; and in this situation, an exceptional client experience.

Regretfully this experience is a fraction of my time communicating – which is why I am committed to practice.

With clients, my presence and straight talk is unwavering; with family, colleagues, my beloved, and even myself, I still struggle, a lot.

Straight talk with an adult child

My daughter graduated from college last December with a degree in Communications and a minor in film studies. She does not want a career in this field and knew so during her junior year. Her talents have always been in the graphic arts and she wants to be an animator. Her style, energy and pace are very different from mine when it comes to taking action and pursuing a goal. My expectations of her having a job and living independently have long exceeded their timeframe. I’ve had many clouded conversations with her. These conversations carried my frustration, expectations, parenting confusion, and a long line of family beliefs and behaviors too many to name. (And this is only half of the equation; my spouse, her dad, contributed his clouds, which then met my clouds and became a big cluster cloud!) Up until a straight talk day, every conversation I had with her was cloudy. What happened on this day? Glad you asked. 

I was clear with my spouse that I wanted us to be on the same page and communicate directly with our daughter. Our straight talk would create a clean line of communication and clarity about what we saw in her behavior, two roads depicting the next stages of her short-term life, and the expected outcome of each road. The joint clarity, aligned with our values and intentions, allowed us to cleanly deliver the message with love. Our intention is to be supportive but not enable her. Our values of being generative humans and consciously creative were infused in our message. Our message was accompanied by a drawing , for our visual expert. Our daughter got it. Her behavior, motivation and actions have shifted, somewhat. And, I continue to practice, get up and wipe my bruises, and practice some more.

Straight self-talk

I’m also practicing straight talk with myself – which may sound odd. Straight self-talk means that I commit to be honest with myself rather than delusional. Most of us have ingrained habits of delusion built by an ego protecting us from pain and suffering. So, as we grow and uncover the ego’s way of offering support, our ability to practice straight self-talk emerges with more ease. If you are a regular reader, you are well aware that Somatic Finance deeply moves me and is one of the primary focuses of my life energy, now. It is the bridging of my life’s work in financial planning, integral theory, integral coaching and body wisdom. Writing about it is my highest priority.

Yet, I have been deluding myself with distractions that take me away from this high priority. Underneath my distractions is a bedrock of terror. Yes, in a recent meditation retreat where I experienced enough space to access my inner sacred body wisdom, I unearthed this subtle shimmering veil of terror. The terror had no content; it just was. If I had ignored this gift, I would have stayed in delusion. But I did not. I welcomed the experience to feel the depth and subtle nuance – a deep river flow that lives in all of us.

Straight talk emerges from experiencing the terror, or any other held energy stuck in the body.

In many ways it is much easier for me to continue my work in my financial planning practice. I have an identity, a credible reputation, my spouse is my partner, and I’m really good at what I do. But financial planning does not move me like it used to; even the evolved integral wealth approach we have applied for over fifteen years. I used to love it. Now, I struggle. Straight talk is penetrating my knowing and telling me to be honest, get real, clear the space, create structure, and write. Communicate the truth with straight talk to myself and to my colleagues and partners.

What are the ingredients to straight talk?

Feel your feelings, move your body, and allow the energy of your emotions and sensations to flow toward an opening. This opening points to clarity. Allow this clarity of what you want to say emerge from the truth in your body – no confusion, no doubt, no waiting.

In my study with Kathlyn Hendricks she names this way of communicating as speaking the unarguable truth. The words spoken out of your mouth are unarguable which means that no one can argue with what you say, because it is the truth spoken from you. If someone does argue, you know that you have not practiced speaking unarguably or straight talk. The practice of speaking the unarguable truth supports straight talk.

Speaking straight has a bit more zip and power and direction in my experience. It doesn’t dance around and waver. It gets right to the point of what needs to be said.

Straight talk can be confused with mean talk. Instead of experiencing straight talk as clean, I might cloud it up. I might judge talk to be wrong or harmful. This is listening with a filter of complaint or listening for errors. It is not being present with the situation but outsourcing to the past or the future.

Straight talk goes both ways: how you speak and how you listen. Listening for clarity is equally important to speaking straight. It is in the listening and responding that you refine and master straight talk.

Straight talk can also be straight writing, as in a letter or written communication. Recently I wrote a four-page letter to my father in response to a request he made about a gift he gave me. Indian giver is not quite right but it offers a flavor of the request. Upon reading his letter, I felt angry then sad. These feelings moved through me toward my truth. Allowing myself to have my experience without judgment or constraint opened my mind and heart to the straight talk written in my letter back to him. His response to mine was nothing short of deep love and respect.

Straight talk in money situations

Straight talk in money situations is crucial. Clouding a conversation with “I don’t want to be mean, or scare, or confuse,” by sharing this “bad news.” First, it is only bad news if you view it that way. This news might actually be liberating and in fact, it will liberate. For example, a person is deficit spending (meaning expenses exceed income), a clouded statement might look like: I’m really sorry to tell you but there are some real problems with your cash flow. I’m really worried that you are not going to survive in your retirement years. This statement may seem harmless and is more often than not used by professionals. It seems innocent and truthful. And, it is filled with clouds of judgment, fear and future-oriented. What would straight talk be? Here: One of your goals is to live within your means. Currently you are spending more money than you bring in. There are two ways to live within your means: 1) increase income or decrease expenses.

The above straight talk is clean. It holds the listener with compassion and wisdom. From this space, potential ideas and strategies emerge aligned with the values and motivation of the client.

How to know if it is straight talk

How do you know you are talking straight? You gage your straight talk practice by the response of the person or people with whom you communicate. Straight talk is not about being pretty, poetic or nice. It holds truth, wisdom, compassion and no extras. Messages that are clean can be received and digested far easier than cloudy ones. When I receive straight talk, something pierces me in an unforgettable way. I learn. I grow. I am moved. I change. When I deliver straight talk, I have the same unforgettably clean experience. Something distinctly different happens and the connection with the other is an open Mobius strip of communion.

With stainless clarity,


P.S. One more crucial point, straight talk leaves no residue, zilch. So, if your mind continues to ruminate or worry or wonder about the exchange, after the experience, you did not practice and experience straight talk.

5-Minute Try It: Feel Truth in the Body

PURPOSE: To build a more intimate relationship with your body. Honesty is the highest form of intimacy, which leads to embodied sufficiency.

Minute one: Name three truths and three falsehoods. Do not fret for the “right statements” – spontaneously allow them to emerge. Write them down if it helps to remember.

Minute two: Stand, feel your feet on the ground, spine elongated, top of the head reaching to the sky. Select the three truths and state them out loud. Note, these do not need to be profound – eye color, favorite food and movie will do. Notice what truth feels like in your body.

Minute three: Remain standing. Speak your falsehoods out loud. State them clearly and loudly one at a time. Notice what a lie feels like in your body. Compare and contrast the feeling to your previous experience. (Hint: notice breath, tension and constriction).

Minute four: Return to your truth statements. State them out loud again. Pay close attention to the distinct and subtle body imprints that signal truth.

Minute five: Recognize and register at least one body feeling of truth and one body feeling of falsehood to build your body-truth relationship.

Complete your practice by abiding in body-truth. Commit to building your body-truth relationship in service of embodying Sufficiency.