31. December 2013 · Comments Off on DIY New Year Ritual for a Fresh Start · Categories: Self Help, Uncategorized

This New Year series offers ways to make sure 2014 is a positive, empowered ride for youfbSunrise 1a.

DIY New Year Ritual for a Fresh Start (just for yourself)

A ritual can be powerful. It declares an important decision within yourself, beginning now.

It is a way of communicating to all parts of yourself that you are ready for a change to take place and are also willing to embrace the ramifications of that. You get clear on what you intend to leave behind, and what you intend to invite and activate.This raises your awareness like a red alert to notice old habits when they arise, and new opportunities when they do.

You will need a private space and two objects that represent the old and the new. If you like candles, you can make a small ritual fire in a fireproof dish AWAY FROM THE FIRE ALARM! and use it to burn relevant pieces of paper, torn up small. But only if there is no bush fire danger, I hasten to say. Or use a rubbish bin. Surround yourself with anything that has meaning for you, that empowers you and supports you in believing in your potential for change.

You can just create your own private New Year ritual or use these key steps as guidelines:

PHASE 1. Completing and releasing the past. (If we are hanging onto the past with anxiety, resentment or shame, it is very hard to move forward).  fbsunrise1b images

1. First make a time to sit quietly where you won’t be interrupted. Turn off the phones and declare a time just for you (for some people this is the hardest part!)

2. Think about what worked for you last year and what didn’t. Begin with what didn’t, and make a decision about what you wish to leave behind. This could be a way of behaving, an attitude, a situation. Write it or them down on small pieces of paper.

3. Now take each piece one by one and really feel inside yourself to what it represents. These questions can help:

What is the story/memory/feelings that go with it?

What has been the cost to you of holding onto it?

What will be the gain if you let it go?

Are you really ready to let go? If you do let go, what are possible consequences and are you willing to handle them in a responsible way?

When you feel ready to let it go and leave it in the past, you release it, by tearing it up, burning it, discarding or destroying it in some way. Then take a moment to feel into the space that’s now there in its absence.

Do this with each one. You don’t have to let go of anything of course. Rather, use this moment to get clear as to how ready you are. It may not be the right time. There are no rules. It’s up to you.

When we decide to release the past it doesn’t mean all the feelings and behaviours (or people! ) disappear of course. But it does mean that when they arise, as they are likely to, we can see them from a new place in ourselves, and choose in that moment to act differently, according to the change we are wanting. Phase 2, to be posted soon, focuses on the new.

This is the time to remember to be patient with ourselves – change sometimes happens slowly.

PHASE 2: Welcoming the New, will be posted soon, but you can go from here and begin to focus on what you want to welcome, activate and embrace.



A story: I had a boss once who liked to put people down and make fun of them. He really pushed my buttons. One day I decided to pretend he was my Zen master and his job was to demolish my ego. An hour later at work, off he goes with his first put down. I looked up at him - and found myself bursting out laughing! He really was very funny! Immediately the power shifted between us - we were more like equals and it wasn't personal - it was just his way. And I had learned I didn't have to take myself so seriously.

A story about choosing your battles and trying something different:  I had a boss once who liked to put people down and make fun of them. He really pushed my buttons. One day I decided to pretend he was my Zen master and his job was to demolish my ego. An hour later at work, off he goes with his first put down. I looked up at him – and found myself bursting out laughing! He really was very funny! Immediately the power shifted between us – we were more like equals and it wasn’t personal – it was just his way. And I had learned I didn’t have to take myself so seriously. We got on well from that day on, along with much humour from both sides.

Some tools for dealing with challenging people and conflicts

  • The most important tool of all is your own awareness of what’s going on in yourself and in the other person. Instinct says “Me vs. you“.  Awareness says “I’ll explore this situation openly“.
  • Understanding what is driving your own reactions (feelings, thoughts and behaviours) will give you real and valuable information so you can act with clarity, confidence, appropriateness and helpfulness for the situation. This also frees you to step beyond the ‘stuckness’ of the situation.
  • Understanding what is driving the other person’s reactions will give you the power to transform the whole dynamic. Empathic listening is the quickest way to calm things down – my number one fall-back tool when someone is upset: listen first, speak later. (And on a good day, I can do it! It takes practice).

This link for the Conflict Resolution Network will give you excellent training sheets on how to do the skills marked * below. (Go to the 12 Skills to see which ones you want to work on, then to the Trainers Manual for further input.)

Some tools to try:

1. Be as aware as you can

Use your Observer to separate from what is running you and neutrally witness your reactions, including the self who’s uncomfortable so wants to fix the problem asap.

2. Understand and manage your own feelings*

Get to the bottom line, the real reason why you are upset; what’s your vulnerability that gets triggered? Attend to your needs with compassion. If you are respecting and taking care of your own needs, even if they are different from other peoples’, then others just won’t upset you as much. You’ll know you’re ok, just as you are.

3. Strong emotions often mean our unresolved past is being triggered.

Relaxation, emotional support, counselling, will help you deal with past wounds. If you get in there and sort out the cause of your intense reactions, you will then feel stronger in yourself, see more clearly and know what you need to do.

4. Listen empathically*

How they see it and feel it? if you can take a deep breath and listen, they can then feel really heard and understood by you and also you will get all the relevant information. Feeling heard will help them feel calmer and enable you to respond more fully and accurately. You are both fallible humans, doing your best, but someone has to listen first. It might be their turn to listen (!!) but they may need you to start things off as the listener.

5. Appropriate assertiiveness*

This is about stating your side of things without blame or attack. First get clear about your real needs. The 3 part “I” Statement* is a good guideline as to how to say it:
“When ____ happens I feel _____ (because I need/feel/ _____ ) and what I’d prefer is _______ .”
Avoid using the words you, always, never. By speaking for yourself with power but without anger controlling you, it’s easier for them to hear without getting defensive. Then listen to their response.

6. Learn to say no and establish boundaries

Make boundaries that you stick to and that support your needs. E.g ‘I have decided not to go – it’s  just not my thing‘. “I want this time for myself ‘. Notice where guilt, valuing others’ needs more than yours or fear of rejection stop you. Only you can teach others where your boundaries are.  You need your own self respect before others will give it. (If stuck, channel the Super Nanny!). For how to practice setting boundaries, see: http://krishines.com/wp/articles/relationships/#two2


7. Try something different around them

Don’t keep doing what you know doesn’t work. Try new things, e.g. ask them about their work or life, acknowledge something they have done that was helpful, admire a skill they have that you haven’t. Ask them for help with something they do well. Relax a little around them. (see my story above)

8. Ask yourself honestly what you really want to experience with this person

If it’s a constructive relationship you want, how can you begin to generate that? Get creative, open to what may be possible, but without setting yourself up for rejection. Remember, if you are O.K about who you are, then what they do will be about them, not you – you won’t get hooked in.You’re you, they’re them – and after all, they came here to be themselves! Not to be what you want. So, how can you work with that constructively?

If you just want to stay mad and resent them – well, that’s easy! But painful. Is the cost worth it?

23. August 2013 · Comments Off on Who sinks your boat? Handling difficult conflict · Categories: resolving conflict, Self Help

Welcome to my blog. I add blogs and articles regularly on tips and ideas I have found useful, life-changing and inspiring for this thing we call life. I strive to make them creative and respectful approaches, based on my own work, training and experience and drawing on a range of other sources.

See below for Youtube links of Kris’s talks.

Who Sinks Your Boat?sinking boat 2101854921

Opposites attract and repel. Here’s a powerful key when someone just presses your buttons.

Let’s hope you are spending plenty of time with people who really float your boat. Way to go!

Then there are those others – perhaps close to you, maybe at work, or those frustrating situations that keep recurring – the ‘not this again!’ experience. Well, here’s the trick – opposites do attract; and they also repel, but for a very good reason: (I explain this more fully in my article Who Sinks Your Boat? Resolving conflict from a voice dialogue perspective)

The bottom line is that we have developed certain ways of being, called primary selves, that have worked for us often from a young age and throughout our lives. These ways have now become largely automatic, e.g. being very organised, as a general way of operating in life. Our primary selves help us to feel safe or in charge of our lives, acceptable and accepted. However, many, many conflicts occur with that crazy-making person who just happens to have the opposite energy e.g. laid back or spontaneous. Kinda obvious, right?

However, within this annoying or painful battle of opposites lies the key to transforming our relationship with them and all others like them: we just have to connect with and accept the existence of a part of ourselves which is exactly like them – which is easier said than done of course. But it really does begin there. The person with an organiser primary self has a laid back spontaneous part that may be just longing to get out, breathe, really relax and smell the roses. While the laidback spontaneous dude might gain much satisfaction and personal pride from learning to plan and follow through – and also get those finicky, pushy organisers off his back a bit.

Handling difficult conflict

We don’t have to give up our preferred way of being and become that opposite. We just need to be honest enough to first admit it is also part of us, and then become aware of its needs and the benefits it could bring to us. This unhooks us from seeing our way as RIGHT and the other as WRONG, which is the core conflict. Then we no longer have to judge the other person. And nor are we driven to change them to be like us. There is room to move and explore the advantages – and limits – of both ways of being.

This kind of awareness allows us a more detached place in ourselves from which to deal with the situation and sort out and set our own boundaries. It frees us to see both the other person and ourself as an ordinary human with different strengths and vulnerabilities. Remember, they too will have developed their way of being in order to manage their life experience and feel safe, belonging and accepted. These are simply core human needs, and the ways which we each innocently develop to get these met will depend on our family dynamics, personality and life events. Once we become aware, we can choose to respond in constructive and creative ways, rather than being driven by our reactions and their downward spiral.

It can be powerful, and ultimately freeing, to ask:

What is this current conflict costing you?

What would be gained by developing a different kind of relationship with this person?

And, to quote Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth, another question worth asking at this point is

How much time do you need before you will be ready to let go of it?


My presentation on this topic in 2012 at the Woodford Folk Festival can be viewed here via these links: 

Who Sinks Your Boat? 1: Conflict and Evolution  11:40

Who Sinks Your Boat? 2: Primary selves – who are you in a conflict?  4:49

Who Sinks Your Boat? 3: Primary selves in conflict: the joy of being right  5:14

Who Sinks Your Boat? 4: How to use a conflict to change things forever  8:18

Who Sinks Your Boat? 5: Relationships: opposites attract?  7:12

Who Sinks Your Boat? 6: The Consciouness Process  2:56