JMviews Empowerment and Meditation

Time for Time by Jeanie Marshall

Time and Perception of Time. I became intrigued with the concept of time as a child. At a young age, the intrigue was more precisely with the “perception of time.” That is, my view of history class was that it lasted much longer than my arithmetic class, even though they were allotted the same amount of time by the clock. (You guessed it, I was bored with history and loved math.) I didn’t know how or who to ask for information about what I was perceiving, so I observed quietly. I found that in my “bored” moments, I made very good use of my time. I let ideas flow, solved problems in math, created plots for short stories.

Time and Not Enough Time. Over the last few years the concept of “not enough time” has intensified for most active people. The old “time management” response to complaints of not having enough time was “you have all the time there is.” Now I’ve come to realize this is more than a cute reminder to be responsible for effective use of time. It now means to me that we have all the time there is right now, a constant now. Now is the only time.

Now is the Only Time we Experience. Only right now can we feel feelings or have experiences of any sort. We can remember the past (that is, in the present, we can remember the past ) and we can imagine the future (that is, in the present, we can imagine the future). The past was once the present; the future will some day be the present. For now, there is only the present.

Time and Timelessness. When I became a regular meditator more than twenty years ago, I was intrigued with time or the perception of time from another facet. My meditation sensitized me still further to awareness of time by the clock while paradoxically tapping me into the consciousness of timelessness. I experience this time/timelessness phenomenon in a powerful way when facilitating guided visualizations and energy work with clients or groups. In timelessness consciousness, healing happens. It is deeply transformative because the beliefs about the limitations of clock-time are not operating.

Being Present in Time. My life style these days is filled with a wide variety of demands on my time. I thrive on the variety. Often, I work for several hours at a stretch with a client, rarely losing the awareness of clock-time while also being aware of stopping or expanding time to serve the client’s needs. I work for long periods of time at my computer, also rarely losing awareness of clock time, while dipping into creativity that is unlimited by time.

I welcome your thoughts on time, perception of time, timelessness, not enough time, being present in time, and anything else this stimulates for you. Time is a fascinating topic to me. Today — in the only time that is — I have only touched the surface on several of many facets of time.

Copyright © 2005 Marshall House All rights reserved.
Posted on: 2005-12-17 13:22:30. Comments

Rest the Mind in the Breath by Jeanie Marshall

I consider that the purpose of meditation is to achieve a state of consciousness, to realize our oneness with Spirit. One of the best ways I know to get to that realization is to rest the mind, to slow down the chatter. I like to use the breath as a resting place.

While it’s possible to experience a meditative state while speaking and interacting with others, usually the practice of meditation involves quietness, even stillness. The minds of many people in their ordinary consciousness are filled with chatter, conflicting thoughts, and limiting beliefs.

It’s popular for meditators and meditation teachers to say that the goal of meditation is to have “no thought.” In my opinion, this is not the goal of meditation, nor is it a desirable state. My experience is that those who achieve “no thought” are in a state of unconsciousness. But that’s just my view.

Since the purpose of the mind is to process thoughts, I consider it’s more appropriate to select a focus for the mind than to shut it off. The breath has movement, rhythm, sound, texture, and many attributes that can engage the mind with little or no stress or resistance. Such gentle engagement rests the mind and promotes balance and alignment.

For some people, it does take practice to be deliberate about focusing on the breath in this way. But, if you choose to practice, there’s no nifty excuse not to, because it’s free, easy to carry around, and possible to practice unobserved even if someone is watching. Your breath is always with you.

How do you rest your mind — either instead of meditation or to help you to achieve a meditative state?

Copyright © 2005 Marshall House. All rights reserved.
Posted on: 2005-12-14 13:04:49. Comments

The Power of Intention by Jeanie Marshall

It was early in my career, for which I am very grateful.

I was leading the last three days of a five-day training program for US Federal government employees who were mid-level managers newly assigned to overseas posts. In the group of 30, there were a few seasoned managers, but most had under three years’ experience managing others.

I had designed the training, which included the development of some case studies for them to explore in small groups and then present to the total group. As they discussed performance issues, I noticed attitudes that seemed different from the empowering practices I was advocating. Keeping my judgment in check, I asked “What is/was your intention?”

The first time I asked that question to a man who was talking about a specific situation he was remembering from his past that was similar to the case study. With curiosity in my voice and demeanor, I asked “What was your intention?” He answered, rather vehemently, “to get rid of this person as soon as possible.” I listened and — and this is very important — I made no reprimand, judgment, or correction. I let his answer stand for itself, heard and accepted.

We continued. I asked whenever inspired, “What is your intention” or “What was your intention?” and sometimes even “What do you think was their intention?” The most amazing dynamic occurred! The answers kept reflecting greater and greater empowering practices by the speaker. It was as if once voiced, the less empowering intentions lost their power and people were able to articulate more empowering intentions. As the trainer, I offered no resistance, only acceptance of their expressions, so they did not have to resist my resistance or defend themselves.

If I had been writing a screenplay to show the power of asking about intention, I could not have orchestrated it better. The whole group changed. In three days, this somewhat disgruntled group of individuals became a mostly upbeat, empowered group, eager for their new assignments.

As much as they learned, I learned more. Over time, I have come to describe my role as “holding a space” for others to expand or grow. Instead of trying to get them to learn something on my agenda or to accept my point of view, I joined with them to learn what they most needed to learn. Of course, there were many other principles and techniques that I was hired to impart to them, but this was the most important, in my opinion, and it was unplanned.

This single incident has been the foundation for exploring my own intention and helping clients to identify their own intention. Intention is an integral part of my work.

Today, as you think about your day or an important portion of your day, what is your intention?

Copyright © 2005 Marshall House, All rights reserved.
Posted on: 2005-12-08 14:23:51. Comments

Breathe, Remember to Breathe by Jeanie Marshall

It was the middle of the night. A client had located my home number and called me, extremely upset about an incident that had just happened with her boyfriend. Out of a deep sleep, I found words to remind her to breathe. She talked between sobs and I said, “remember to breathe.” I placed the pieces I heard into a somewhat congruent scenario and I said, “breathe.”

Viewing this today, nearly 20 years later, I still remember only snippets of her story, but I clearly remember my own advice: breathe. In my work now, this is still among the most relevant pieces of advice I give! It’s also a suggestion I provide liberally through my guided meditations. I’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks.

To this day, I still don’t know who that client was. I have an inkling, but I don’t know. In fact, perhaps it was not a client at all. Perhaps it was a wrong number. But, still, I gave my best advice.

How and when are you aware of your breath?

Copyright © 2005 Marshall House, All rights reserved.
Posted on: 2005-12-07 14:14:40. Comments

Getting Started in the Starting Spot

Often people ask me, “Jeanie, how did you get started?” My mind surveys my memory bank to land on the best place to start the story on the subject, in the way that I think the person is asking.

I know that responding to the question with another question is not a good strategy, which immediately eliminates responses like, “at what?” or “started doing what?” or “what do you mean?” I also avoid responding with stories of my conception, birth, or the beginning of time.

Instead, I land my attention on a story or idea that the person asking will find meaningful in relating to each other in the present moment. It’s a starting spot to respond to the question about starting (in whatever is the subject at hand).

It’s difficult to determine where a thought began, but usually I can find a way to respond to the question so that the questioner is pleased to have asked and I am pleased to have answered. I do not feel compelled to provide the definitive answer, but rather to respond with the purpose of creating dialogue.

No matter how I respond to the initial question of “how did you get started?” I want my response to evoke engagement. If there is no engagement — whether the person’s eyes are glazed over or I’ve fully answered the question — the conversation is ended.

As I’ve been considering where to start on the very wide range of topics I expect to cover in this blog, I keep reflecting on vignettes that are foundational to my current views and practices. From time to time, I expect to share experiences from the past that illustrate an important change in me or in my practice as an empowerment consultant.

To me, my view in the present moment is primary; how I got there is secondary. The reflection on the past is to provide a context that I hope is helpful to you or to me.

Are there any questions you want to ask?

How did you get started in your life’s work?

Copyright © 2005 Marshall House, All rights reserved.
Posted on: 2005-12-06 19:00:37. Comments