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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0013 | August 7, 2001
4,500 subscribers


Self-Mastery Skill

Be Here Now
The present moment contains all the resources you need.


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The Point?

Being fully present is essential to effective facilitation. When you're fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, and the intricacies of others' behavior, you will key into nuances and kernels of truth that you can use to help others shift their perspective--a prerequisite to personal transformation. Being present is a matter of constant practice. Simply notice where you are and when you're not here, choose to be "here" now. Now I know you've probably heard this a thousand times before and from your own experience, you know that being present is easier said than done. But it truly is a matter of practice and choice, and is particularly useful during times of stress. One approach you can try is to become aware of your body, or even a part of your body, like your hand for instance. Then your body will serve as your anchor into the present because that's the one thing about you that always is.


Example

Once when I was facilitating a group of students through an emotional process that involved recalling their past, one student became very defensive and began to demand to know what qualified me to ask people to explore these issues. A very intense dialogue unfolded that could have threatened the trust of the entire group. I was tempted to dive into the future and become entrenched in fear about what might go wrong. Or, I could have easily ran back into the past and identified with childhood guilt about always feeling like I was doing something wrong. But instead, I marshaled all the resources I had and chose to be present, and in the present, there is no space for judgment of myself, or another. I calmly responded to her with whatever truth I felt in the moment and simply chose not to accept her responsibility for her experience. In the aftermath, she ended up getting very angry, left the course and tried to take others with her. Several months later I learned from one of the students that the peaceful way that I responded to this situation actually spoke to many of the other students in the class and caused them to trust the process that we were presenting. It really wasn't so much what I said to her, but it was the quality of who I was-a direct result of just "being here now."


Action

The next time you are under pressure or in a tense situation, practice simply being in the moment without any expectations. Try feeling your hand and notice your breath. Breath deeply and slowly, and just let yourself be. Give up the need to feel pressured and just see what comes out. I'm interested in hearing what happened. Please email me your thoughts, stories, and experiences on this issue.


Skill Related Resource
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn 
In his follow-up to Full Catastrophe Living--a book in which he presented basic meditation techniques as a way of reducing stress and healing from illness-- here Jon Kabat-Zinn goes much more deeply into the practice of meditation for its own sake. To Kabat-Zinn, meditation is important because it brings about a state of "mindfulness," a condition of "being" rather than "doing" during which you pay attention to the moment rather than the past, the future, or the multitudinous distractions of modern life. In brief, rather poetic chapters, he describes different meditative practices and what they can do for the practitioner. The idea that meditation is "spiritual" is often confusing to people, Kabat-Zinn writes; he prefers to think of it as what you might call a workout for your consciousness. This book makes learning meditation remarkably easy (although practicing it is not). But it also makes it seem infinitely appealing. 


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Creating Dialogue With Our Readers

In an effort to stimulate discussion on facilitation tips, tools, and processes that are relevant to your interests, we'd like to hear from you. Please post your answers to the questions at on our interactive forum to stimulate discussion on these topics.


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About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to stretch beyond their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 


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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on Aug. 14, 2001. 

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