Change in the Shadow of Terror

Surviving 9/11 and Finding Meaning

Kushal Choksi survived 9/11 and found his purpose.Sometimes, success comes from being at the right place at the right time.  Sometimes, tragedy comes from being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  But what happens when you are at the right place at the wrong time?

For Kushal  Choksi, it saved his life.  It was September 11, 2001.  Kushal was running late, and rushing to get to a meeting in the World Trade Towers.  He was racing through the mezzanine when a horrific impact jarred him and threw the world into chaos.  What had happened?  What should they do?

Some people were frozen in place.  Others were fleeing the building.  Still others were simply trying to get back to their day, oblivious to the danger that was mounting.  Choksi headed for the door, but was met by a security guard who was imploring people to return to the building.  Given the debris raining down, that made some sense.

But before he could turn, another voice and a strong hand on his shoulder said, “No, get out!”  Kushal did.  That decision saved his life.

And that day completely reordered Choksi’s life.  He was lost for some time after.  What seemed like the recipe for success was floundering.  It was not just about being wealthy and powerful.  Somehow, the “American Dream” no longer seemed the goal.

What then?

After much seeking, Kushal found his way forward with new tools for dealing with his anxiety and fears.  And that led him to another path of success.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, as we approach the 20th anniversary of that horrific attack, I had a chance to sit down with Kushal and talk about meaning, purpose, breath, and mindfulness.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Kushal Choksi’s Website
Amazon Link to Kushal’s book, On A Wing And A Prayer
Free of Fear Series
Breathe
Order, Disorder, Reorder

Departure Conversations

So far, life has a 100% mortality rate.  We are not getting out of this alive!  You and I, and everyone we know, will face the inevitable moment of losing loved ones, and facing our own death.

And yet, we live in a culture that would rather NOT look at this reality.  Would rather NOT pay attention to this fact.  Would rather NOT think about those end-of-life issues… at least until we are forced to.

Over more than the past year, there has been a daily toll of death and loss.  It has been in our face in an inescapable way for many long months.

But I wonder if this has changed the conversations in any important ways about our own (and our loved one’s) death and dying.

Willy Donaldson, Author of Estimated Time of Departure.Willy Donaldson realized that he had to have some tough conversations with his parents.  In spite of his own resistance, and that of his parents, Willy had those conversations, to find out what wishes his parents had about that inescapable time.  It was not just a conversation about the details, but the reasons behind their wishes.  What Willy wanted was to make sure his parents’ wishes were known and understood, not just by the family, but by his parents.

It turned out that those uncomfortable conversations were a gift.  They were moments of understanding and connection.

Those conversations were also a comfort for everyone.  So that that last human moment was understood and out in the open.

This topic became so important that Willy, a business professor, started sharing his story.  That led to a book about those important conversations.  And it led to our interview about those important conversations.  Listen in on this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, as Willy and I discuss those end-of-life conversations and why they are so important.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Estimated Time of Departure Website
Moving Through Grief
Does Everything Happen For A Reason?
Order, Disorder, Reorder

 

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

Does everything happen for a reason?In recent days, I have been with people in the middle of horrific losses.  Inevitably, someone steps up  and in an attempt to comfort, says, “Everything happens for a reason.”

That comment is rarely comforting in the painful moments.

But deeper than that, is it even true?

Many people default to this as a reaction to something that happens and is outside of our capacity to understand.

Sometimes, we want to think that there is something behind it — not just some random event.  But what does that phrase mean?  Does it mean that some force is trying to teach some lesson?

For many people, the answer is yes.

But does that make it so?

Does everything happen for a reason? Given all that is going on these days, this question seems particularly important.

Let’s chat. . .

RELATED RESOURCES:
Moving Through Grief
Living The Big Stuff with Kristine Carlson

Your Heaven on Earth

It is so easy to get pulled into threats and dangers, mishaps and mistakes.  It is wired into our brain to have a focus on the negative.  Which is too bad.  That means we are more likely to miss the good moments, the highlights of life, in favor of the down moments.  We clearly see the negative, but can miss the positive.

Unless, of course, we nurture a focus on the positive.  Unless we look for those moments of “heaven on earth.”

What are your moments of heaven?

Martin Rutte, Project Heaven On EarthMartin Rutte spent his career helping companies enter into dialogue for transformation.  He led difficult discussions so that company cultures could transform.  Dialogue is a powerful tool of exploration.  Which, unfortunately, is often replaced by debate in our culture.  That is what happens when we stop listening, demanding our own viewpoint.  Martin has worked to shift from the hell of debate to the heaven of dialogue.

And that led him to wonder what we might be able to do to shift our world in a better direction.  So, he started wondering about those moments of heaven people have.  What were the moments?  What was common to those moments?  How might those moments become a more intentional part of life?  What if that process starts expanding those moments for more people?  Might culture and society transform?

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, Martin gets me to discuss my moment of heaven on earth… and how I might bring that moment more into my own life.  We discuss the power of three simple questions, the power of dialogue, and the need for cultural transformation right now.  In this moment.  Perhaps a shift to a moment of heaven on earth?

Listen to the episode below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Project Heaven On Earth Website
Finding Hope or Building Hope
Hope in Difficult Times
Doing Your Part
Your Purpose

You Are Built for Impact
MPI Triad

Merry Stressness and Happy Blue Year!

Merry Stress-ness and Happy Holi-daze! Dealing with holiday stress this Christmas season.And just like that, the Holiday season is upon us! All the hustle and bustle. All the events. All the demands… in the midst of a time that you want to be enjoyable, meaningful, and manageable!

Why the stress?

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I discuss the causes of holiday stress. But more importantly, I cover the ways to cope with holiday stress.

Don’t let stress rob you of the deeper meanings and connections of this holiday season.

RELATED RESOURCES
Why We Stress
5 Ways to Shift from Stressful to Restful
Deepening the  Holidays
Book:  Thrive Principles

Giving Thanks: Gratitude and the Season

Thanksgiving, the holiday, is often lost in food and family.  What is lost?  Our opportunity to experience gratitude.  The chance to really give thanks.

Many times, it can feel like an obligation.  Instead, I suggest we see it as an opportunity.  Even in tough moments (actually, especially in tough moments), we can make a shift from fear to thanks, from lack to sufficiency.

Over the years of my podcast, I have repeated this theme, both on Thanksgiving episodes and elsewhere.  Below is a list of the various episodes around thanksgiving and gratitude.  Just click each one to listen to the episodes.

Why Thankful?


Why Being Thankful Matters


Giving Thanks: Thriving Through Gratitude


What Thriving People Know About Gratitude And Appreciation


Living Your Engagement



And if you want to find my books on thriving, CLICK HERE.

The Fear/Anxiety Contagion

Coping with COVID Series

How to avoid being infected by the emotional contagion of fear and anxiety, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.  Special coronavirus podcast episode.It’s highly contagious.  You can catch it from a single interaction with one person.  You can catch it much faster in a crowd.  You can pass it on to someone else in an instant.

You can also catch it from just reading, watching, or listening to something.

In 39 milliseconds, you have it… and you didn’t even see it coming!

Coronavirus?  Nope.  That is certainly serious, and you absolutely want to do everything you can to avoid catching or spreading it.  I do not want to minimize the risks of this pandemic.

But that is not the contagion I am focusing on here.

This contagion is fear and anxiety.  Yes, you can catch fear.  Yes, you can catch anxiety.  And you can also spread them.

Humans have a natural wiring (we share it with the animals at the watering hole… and all the others) to pick up on fear and anxiety.

Many times, people have said, “Should I panic over this?”  The “this” has been lots of different things.  And my answer is always, “Panic is never a better option.  Should you respond?  Should you choose an action? Yes.  Panic?  No.”

That is easier said than done. But on this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I share why fear/anxiety is contagious, along with how to limit the infection.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing with Fear
Attacking Anxiety
Self-Care
Order, Disorder, Reorder

Lee’s Thrive Books

How to Hope in Tough Times

Coping with COVID Series

How to have hope in tough times — coronavirus and other times.Let me just say, I am a bit weary.  How about you?

This has been a wearying time for so many of us.  Nobody is unaffected by this pandemic.  And we can’t even point to an end to the crisis.  Take a guess, and your guess is probably as good as any other.

What do we do?  Everything seems to be upside-down, inside-out, and topsy-turvy.  It’s hard to figure out what happens next and what to do next.

Which means that some people are beginning to feel hopeless.

Early in my career, as a hospital chaplain, I saw what happens when people have hope… and when they lose hope.  But I didn’t really have any way to help people who were hitting hopelessness.  I just saw the damage.

Thanks to other researchers, I am more clear about how we can build and hold hope, even in tough times.  If you can’t hold it in tough times, it just needs some boosting, and some knowledge.

Let’s talk about hope, tough times, and the Hope Formula.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing with Stress
Dealing with Loss and Grief
Dealing with Depression
Dealing with Fear and Anxiety
Lee Baucom’s Books

 

Paths to Mindfulness

Mindfulness is such a buzzword these days that you may find yourself “tuning out” when you hear the term.  Ironic, since that is quite the opposite of being mindful!

Simply put, mindfulness is the state of being present with your body in the present moment.  In other words, you are aware of your bodily experience of this immediate moment.

The nice thing about mindfulness is that it is easy to practice, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.  It is simply a matter of calling yourself back to this moment, in your own body.

And then… it slips away again, through distractions and thoughts.  Thoughts about the past and future pull us from the present.  We distract ourselves right out of the experience of living in this moment.

Joanne King, Pathways to Mindfulness.  Mindful eating and ending dieting.My guest on this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, Joanne King, offers a number of pathways to mindfulness.

Of particular interest is Joanne’s approach to mindful eating.  How often do you find yourself scarfing down a meal, not even noticing the taste, texture, spices, smells, and ingredients… the experience of eating?  I have.

According to Joanne, this means that we often eat beyond what we need… and not necessarily even what we need to eat.  When people shift to mindful eating, Joanne reports, they eat better and naturally lose weight.

And… it is an opportunity to enter into mindfulness.

Join me as I discuss pathways to mindfulness with Joanne King.

RELATED RESOURCES
Joanne’s website
Using Mindfulness to Thrive
The Importance of Being Present
Confidence… in the Moment

Comfort and Joy: Deepening the Holidays

Finding your comfort and joy in the holidays!In the hustle and bustle, people lose sight of the Holidays.  Sure, we go through the motions, show up to the events, and try to put on our holiday joy.  But many times, internally, its a flat-line.  Nothing.  Nada.

Or worse… stressful.

Over the years, I have given a number of presentations about this, with title, “Merry Stress-ness and Happy Blue Year.”  Stressed out and depressed.

That’s not a great way to spend the Holidays!

It misses something… deeper.  More significant.  Something that nurtures the soul and feeds the heart.

How do you deepen the Holidays for yourself (and for those close to you)?  We discuss it in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.

RELATED RESOURCES
Holiday Stress
Finding Calm
Give yourself the present of thriving – Book:  Thrive Principles