Cancer, Earthquakes, and Other Misfortunes
as Sandbox for Awakening
Ok. This is not a conventional virtual course. But it will be rich, different, and perfect enough.
When we are present, we meet anything that arises with an open curiosity and equanimity. “Oh, that’s so interesting! What’s next?” This Practice Lab is what’s next.
I have stage 4 cancer (a unexpected and clarifying disruption.) And, I know many others who have been intimately and dramatically affected by illness, floods, deaths, earthquakes, wildfires, and violence, just in the last couple of months.
We are all being rattled by something!
The same week I received the cancer diagnosis I completed four years of very challenging work on my next book. I may well not have the energy or lifespan to give this important new work the roots I wish I could. And, I am very eager to play with it; cancer has provided me with my own practice lab around embodiment, resilience, and meeting complexity and uncertainty.
The work of Presence-Based Leadership is much bigger than my cancer. This work has never been more imperative. Adversity can overwhelm us; it can also serve as a catalyst for experimentation and the unfolding of our humanity. In choosing the latter, we re-enter life as an experiment over and over again. We discover, every time we say YES to life, what generates and what drains our energy.
This is the first in what I hope will evolve into a series of virtual “practice labs” focused on leading in complexity with clarity and resilience. This first iteration will be a simple and informal experiment; my life circumstances preclude making big promises.
Here’s a brief audio clip of me sharing the idea with our alumni community.
A (roughly) bi-weekly series of video conversations. No slick handouts. No guaranteed number of meetings (most likely between 4 and 12 or so.) An emergent process that self-organizes in relation to what is arising for me and for others. When it’s over it’s over: declining health might bring this to an early close, or it might simply become clear that it is complete, or that a different experiment is needed. Whoever comes are the right people… we might have 25; we might have 500. Calls will be recorded, and audio downloads and transcripts provided via a password protected Practice Lab web page.
- Brief teachings from the new book, integrating realizations from my journey with cancer.
- Questions, requests, lively discussion, and real-time coaching of people using new frameworks from the book.
- This will be suitable for broad audiences. Many participants will be coaches, prior coach training is not assumed.
- There may be specific suggestions for “fieldwork” with a partner. We recommend joining with a partner, but the fieldwork is also optional.
- My treatments and health may occasionally mean that a call will need to be cancelled, rescheduled or led by someone else even at the last minute.
- Join for as many calls as you can; make up the ones you can’t on your own time.
- Bring your life experience, your questions, your intractable challenges. Bring curiosity, presence, and your own immediacy to the conferences. This is intended to be an emergent conversation: you’re part of it!
- Give dana. Dana is a Sanskrit word for generosity, for giving. On the course page, I will put out a “virtual alms bowl.” You are invited to discern, and to give back the value of what you have received. You may either share your generosity to me, or pay it forward to an organization or worthy cause of your own choosing.
- Apply what we work with on the calls to your own challenges; this is pragmatic, rich, and meant to be applied. Experiment, and see what works for you.
- The first three calls were held at 12:00 EST on 11/20, 12/11, and 12/18. We will take a break over the holidays, and resume on January 9. I hope to have calls roughly every two weeks, timed for my off-weeks from chemotherapy, when I am feeling somewhat better.
- No upfront cost. The dana bowl will be available on the course page, and on completion, I will request dana commensurate with the value you have received, payable to me or to a cause of your choosing.
- On registration, you’ll receive a Zoom link and a password for the Practice Lab page; please do not share this. Audio links and transcripts will be provided after each call.