21 days

Ready to give life to your daily conversations? Instead of draining them? Determine to do just this from Friday Oct 25 through Thursday Nov 14, 2019. Yes, it is a concert! 🎫

“When one does not complain, one pays for outward calm with an almost unbearable inner struggle.”  (Charlotte Brontë). Here goes: ... 21 days without complaining.

Do you recognize the struggle, though? Life is not perfect. Never has been, never will be. And yet, we love to complain. We obligingly commiserate. There is a lot of research out there to show that this is not helpful. Not for your work. Nor for others. Nor for you. Click on the image to enroll and make a difference instead.

The definitive why of the endeavor: When we intentionally reduce our complaining or commiseration, gratitude takes root. Call it the other side of gratitude practice. In time for Thanksgiving, November 28.

We'll show up together, in a private Slack space, even live. You can participate entirely at your own pace. As much or as little as you want. I am, of course, a big proponent of these 21 days. Because I will benefit as much as you will. By saying yes we can live into so much more us! A key: Let's embrace the idea of experimentation.

How to join:

Enrollment suggested fee: $21. This comes to one dollar a day. A symbol of Endeavor commitment: Part of it will cover a little of my admin, most will go to the Polaris Project, which seeks to prevent and disrupt human trafficking. In the registration window, the amount will show up as $21.94: By adding just $0.94 you are eliminating payment processing overhead and enabling 100% of your intended commitment to be for the 21-day Endeavor. To keep this simple, no refunds. This is not about money and I love for you to participate. It is about joy, and an experiment.

The endeavor promises you:

  • daily quotes or prompts for discussion or reflection

  • insight to increase understanding: what is a complaint, why our attraction?

  • insight into the wonderful science + benefits of complaint-free conversation

  • practical ideas on how to complain less and cease to be complicit

  • a safe private online space to share with one another + my coaching support

  • two 45-minute group sessions by video (recorded for those who can't make it)

  • the magic of greater happiness and effectiveness

  • a going-forward gift

The endeavor asks you to:

  • commit to your intention for the 3 weeks (I'll help you set it, if desired)

  • show up for yourself, online or in your journal, even if only for a few minutes a day.

  • celebrate your failure and success

  • lean into new ways of being

  • get out of your comfort zone.

Image credit: Maria Popova: (Yes, even monks complain, as witnessed by the imaged collection, scribbled in the pages of medieval illuminated manuscripts.)

And please email me if you have any questions. Perhaps we'll play later this month! Sophia

Thanks for choosing to read this blog.  Intended to serve as a compass for all of us to wake up, wisen up, show up. A mix of resources, links to articles, and quotes from others, a question to lean into or an invitation. Your thoughts are welcome. Together we soar wider, and grow our impact for good 10x.  With gratitude, sophia

Space Beyond Words: Changing the ways we think and act for change. Curious about working together? Schedule a call!

unlearn everything

Love all of it. Unlearn everything.

The heart is a verb. Contracting and expanding on the brink of everything. Leaning into letting go, vast goodness, purpose. Plunging into the fear of what-about-me, a smaller tremble, scarcity. Unlearning then. Unlearning what I think I know, the noun of life. To let my heart be. 

Love all of it. A vocabulary of sign posts may help: 

Ambition: A contraction into separation. Striving. Climbing the fragile ladder of a story. Status. Ambition is human. Tribal. And lonely. Yet the me in the story feels safer. Because in chasing external recognition, I avoid the scarier task of accepting myself as I am, as things are, a more open heart that can get hurt.

Aspiration feels larger. Edges soften. A yearning into connection. An entering into contribution. Engaged. Yet, still a loneliness. Because I aspire toward something that is not here yet. Our work for a better world flows from this. As does art, great poetry. Leaning into purpose, goodness. So human as well. A necessary pull. 

Unlearning: No small task. The thing is, as long as I think I can make things right, want to fix, heal, help anything at all, on my own or together, I risk feeding this fickle world the noun of a desired outcome, a control. Nothing wrong with this either, and it can also hurt. 

"Pay close attention and listen without judgement for once. Have no answers," Derek Sivers writes.* Unlearning. Letting go. Humility.

Kindness. Another view. Just being here. What might it be like to see the world as a dance of verbs only? To be for what is, ever changing, fully in love?

(Wait! Stop! We do need a better world!)

Thing is, reality is what is. Nothing to be realized later on. Active, actual. But for our thoughts tricking us. It is only from this acceptance that I can make things better. The amazing thing: With this landing, this rock-bottom nowhere to go but here, I can pick myself up and be effective for a better world. Fully in love also with what is possible and yet perhaps beyond aspiration. Because I am here, unfolding verbs. A relief.

What led to this post:
Tenderness. A drinking from light. My actions my legacy. I wrote this because my heart really did plunge a week or so ago. Stuck. I felt I had nowhere to go, fought it hard at first. But being here.

*Then Derek Sivers' post came in. Read Cross the world four times, here.
Rumi as well: “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.”

A question: How do you read the signposts of ambition, aspiration, and beyond? What is it that you want to unlearn? Write to me, or ask me questions? It helps all of us.


Thank you for reading this! When you become part of my email group, you’ll receive additional thoughts and prompts, alongside invitations to fun, rebellious challenges that always lean into happiness and effectiveness.

the most beautiful form of courage

the most beautiful form of courage

A few days after the autumnal equinox. Settling in with work now that summer is really over. And, yes, research indicates, this is our most productive time of year. In our yard, high up in a mango tree, two baby owls screech with small and lovely voices invariably at dusk and dawn. And each time, I fall in love. This beauty. This happiness, a choice. 

And so, this week, just an autumnal poem to share. See if it resonates. Let me know what delights, or not. What  puzzles you? I will absolutely respond. A next blog post, more about this choice of happiness.

Because you are enough have always been enough, spilling over, and you really do want to give and live so much. Choosing happiness is freeing space to make things better. This truth. This falling in love. This courage. 

leaves through seasons Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash.jpg

 “What the Day Gives," by Jeanne Lohmann.

Suddenly, sun. 
Over my shoulder  
in the middle of gray November  
what I hoped to do comes back,  asking.

Across the street 
the fiery trees hold onto their leaves, 
red and gold in the final months of this unfinished year,  
they offer blazing riddles.

In the frozen fields of my life  
there are no shortcuts to spring,  
but stories of great birds in migration  
carrying small ones on their backs,  
predators flying next to warblers they would, 
in a different season, eat.

Stunned by the astonishing mix in this uneasy world 
that plunges in a single day from despair to hope and back again, 
I commend my life to Ruskin’s difficult duty of delight,  
and to that most beautiful form of courage,  to be happy.

From The Light of Invisible Bodies: Poems. © Daniel and Daniel Publishing, 2003.

Thanks as always for reading. I really mean this. We all have to be so careful in choosing where we spend our energy and time. Yet, together we grow our impact for good 10x. With gratitude, sophia

storied landscapes

I don't have to upset myself. Worlds rolling at my feet. 

A story: We were driving, spinning thoughts, silent ranting gone aflame, arguing. A politico-cultural issue way bigger than us. You got to choose sides. Right or wrong. 

No right or wrong. Only an opportunity to find our common humanity, peel off a few layers, healing (which we almost missed). “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there,” writes Rumi.  

But we forgot the field. 

A stubbornness settled in. Separation. Right or wrong. Tell me I am right. Tell me I understand this thing beyond ideas that is about roots, belonging, love - being seen, seeing. Way deeper than any story.  

The road wound down. A sign on its shoulder: “Critical Habitat Ending.” 

Around us native plants, endangered, seeking roots, belonging, being seen. We looked at each other. We laughed. Critical habitat ending.

The reality underneath story is to ask: What’s real in this moment? Ground under my feet. To say, I am built for this. In the brevity of space, “the world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” (Franz Kafka)

But also to accept: Thoughts happen. Thoughts spin into ideas, beliefs, words, conversations, emotions, love affairs, arguments. We take it all as real. Of course. We rely on the stories we adhere to. We can't help it. 

We are built for reality. Stories are part of millennia of such building. 

And something else: We are built for insight. Radical and sudden shifts in perspective. A bold flash in the empty space between story. A sign in the field catching us breathless. Magic. 

Flash of insight. I do not have to upset myself. Humor for all that has happened and cannot unhappen. Critical habitat ending. End of story. 

we forgot the filed | unsplash | bryan-minear

we forgot the filed | unsplash | bryan-minear

And for the research around emotions, choices, stories - the responsibility that is ours:

This Ted Talk by Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University.

And that thing about critical habitat ending: Metaphors are powerful tools. They can change the way we think of a concept on an unconscious level. What’s more, we can craft them to better manage emotions. Stop and listen, they are in fact everywhere, rolling at our feet.

How will you welcome your world rolling at your feet today? It’s real. Send me your story or ask a question. Forward this blog to someone. I promise I will respond. 

Thanks as always for reading. Together we grow our impact for good 10x.  With gratitude, sophia

Tracking our impact.

Tom’s of Maine. Patagonia. Smaller brands. The thousands who work alone, a team of five or fifty. Us. Social or environmental impact embeds itself into the reason of our work.

Tracking how we show up: Such as this: CauseGear, August 18, 2019: 21,867 days of freedom provided to date to women at risk of slavery. Or this: UnitedByBlue, 1,756,888 pounds of trash removed from oceans to date. 

The things we make or purchase, vehicles for a better future.

The word effective is important. Effectiveness is systemic. Addressing roots, not applying band-aids. Being in it for the long run. Consistence over time. Leadership such that we can remain in business while knowing results. 

Are we doing enough for this? Are we enough? Do we have enough time? Can we be more effective? How do we assess without the measurement of days or pounds?

One connection that transforms. One new hire that changes a life. Recognizing the moment of feeling seen, rediscovering beauty, the courage to go forward. The ripple effect of your fierce clear presence. Effectiveness happens in the moment.  The things we make and purchase, vehicles for who we are today. 

Take note. Write it down. These are measurements. Begin.

We are enough. Plenty. Full stop. Even when we are capable of more.  Loving what is then. The simplicity of landing where we are. Who are we becoming in our fierce love? Giving it our best. Showing up. Learning to build. The greatest joy, to share and grow this. This is living our humanity. More than enough, of course.

Will you take note today? One beautiful moment?

credit: nasa | unsplash

credit: nasa | unsplash

And for the research:
This Stanford Social Impact study shows that 66 percent of us are more willing to try products made by a purpose-driven company than ones made by a traditional company. And 57 percent of us say we’ll pay more for a product made by a purpose-driven company.

Thanks as always for reading. Please do share with others: Together we grow our impact for good 10x.  With gratitude, sophia