What We're Reading
Monkey is the Messenger: Meditation & What Your Busy Mind is Trying to Tell You
by Ralph de le Rosa
I got this one as a Christmas present because my husband heard me talking so much about monkey-mind/sage-mind. Author de la Rosa takes the awareness of the monkey mind and provides tools that allow investigation on one’s monkey’s particular purpose. I appreciate the structure of the book as well as the content: there’s a real sense of grounding in the first part before moving into the head in the second, where we interpret the monkey's nattering. The final part brings us to the heart, integration, resonate wisdom—a familiar path for transformation.
Though this book encourages meditation as the main venue for exploration, the strategies can apply to just about any mindfulness practice. I find myself turning to it again and again to enhance my yoga practice as well as teaching.
Dare to Lead
by Brené Brown
This book was my Christmas present to myself after I tried and failed to get a spot in Brené Brown’s brand new Dare to Lead facilitators training this year (all spots sold out in under 20 minutes!). Brené’s work gets right to the heart of the matter and I believe this book, and the facilitator training, arose out of her desire to positively and powerfully shift the current leadership direction and dialogue taking place in her country and beyond (I could be wrong, but…).
In this book, Brené discusses the culture of scarcity, cynicism and fear that can have workplaces and societies feel disconnected and even destructive and she draws on her two decades of excellent and exhaustive research plus her experiences working with organizations to “cut through the BS” and provide leaders (and anyone, really) with practical actions they can take to co-create cultures of empathy, connection and courage.
The heart of Dare to Lead:
Rumbling with vulnerability
Living into our values
Learning to rise
We’ll be doing a bit of rumbling at our Revitalize Retreat and Brené takes it to the next level in this book with advice on how to side-step ego and fear to rumble effectively and bravely with those you work with - how to stay curious, how to foster learning, how to use these tools to engage in tough conversations.
Here is a starter approach Brené outlines for you to try out when you feel discord with a colleague: begin the conversation with, “The story I make up….(about the situation, the issue…)” and then, “I’m curious about….” and then, “Tell me more.” and then, “That’s not my experience….” (instead of getting defensive or making the other person wrong.). There’s more to this outlined in the book, but this is a good starting place if you currently need to shift the energy with a colleague over something.
She goes deeper, though, and offers strategies for creating clarity and safe spaces, such as in meetings, to foster the trust needed for true productivity and innovative thinking. She includes many case studies and anecdotes from organizations and leaders on how they put this work into action to shift their culture.
From my own work with facilitating change with dysfunctional teams, my experience is that a team becomes dysfunctional when there is a lack of clarity and people are communicating from their reactivity to the story they are making up about a situation. Always, communication mush is at the heart of the dysfunction and if it is not cleaned up, the system responds in ways that are not conducive to productivity and workplace joy. But, you can’t clean it up if you are not willing to be vulnerable and heart-centred.