The Art of Mourning

I still think about my second boyfriend.

I had just moved to Texas. I met him at a country dancing bar one of my first nights out in town. I was 17; I snuck in on a fake ID, fingers crossed for the chance to experience “adulting”.

He was a cowboy from the hill country. I had never fallen so hard for anybody. I would bike multiple times a week across town, 45 minutes up a huge hill to land sweaty and delighted at his Christian university and spend a couple hours talking, playing ping-pong, and listening to him play guitar.

He called me one day as I was preparing to go to class. “It’s over,” he said. “Do you want to talk about it?”

I was in shock. “No,” I said, and hung up the phone. Then I knelt down, my head in my hands, there on the sidewalk. It took me many months to feel okay again.

The cowboy still comes to my mind sometimes. Not because I miss him or want to be back together — I don’t feel like we ever really...

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Context, Content, & Concern: A Conflict Resolution Framework with Sara Ness

conflict connection Sep 16, 2021

Unless you just don't talk to anyone, ever (or you only talk about the weather), conflict is an inevitable part of life. We've all developed ways and tools to deal, avoid, navigate, or perhaps instigate over the course of our lives -- some helpful, some not so much. 

But what about when the conflict threatens our connection?

Authentic Relating can be applied to just about every context in our lives, and conflict might be one of the more potent places to bring the practice. AuthRev's Chief Catalyst Sara Ness has been sharing this new framework in her Sensemaking 101 work with RebelWisdom, and it's a really potent way to approach conversations that might be ripe for conflict. Have a look.


You'll learn...

  • How creating shared context can help prevent conflict in the first place
  • Why "Steel Manning" someone's perspective is the new (and way more helpful) "Straw Manning" 
  • Why bombarding someone with content and facts might be completely missing the point
  • How to better...
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Life Hack #3: “I Can’t Say That!”

connection May 20, 2014

by Sara Ness

A few weeks ago, my roommate and I threw a party at our apartment.  We hosted two local food-artisans – a maker of raw chocolates, and a master of imported Chinese tea.  At some point somebody picked up a drum, and then there was music going; ecstatic dancers started to dance; the Integral group started talking philosophy in a corner; and people were massaging and cuddling each other all over the carpet.  The party was a resounding success.

Towards the end of the evening, a friend of mine texted to ask if things were still going, and if he and some buddies could come join in.  I said sure.  When he showed up, he brought with him two of the most attractive men I’d ever seen.  One of the two I knew vaguely from Authentic Relating Games, and other events around town – a tall, muscular, highly successful guy who did nonprofit work, and was involved in mens’ groups, and cooperatives, and probably gave to charity . . ....

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Life Hack #2: Living Without Hate

connection May 05, 2014

By Sara Ness

Last week, I attended an event called the “InPresence Experience”, guided by the prodigiously talented facilitator Micah Sutton.  InPresence is similar to our own practices of Authentic Relating and Circling.  It focuses on what happens in the now – with myself, between you and me, and in the “moments between experience and reaction”, as Micah puts it.  I’ll cover the idea of presence more in a future post.  Today, however, I want to share one of the greatest life hacks that I’ve learned from my work in Authentic Relating:

How to live without hate.

In one of the exercises at InPresence, we were asked to stand, one by one, in front of the group (which was seated), and given 3 minutes to express whatever came up for us.  The group applauded at the beginning and end of each person’s share.  I am used to standing in front of rooms.  But, I am usually in the role of teacher, not receiving this...

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Life Hack #1: The Elephant in the Room

connection Apr 25, 2014

By Sara Ness

A facilitator with Authentic World recently asked me to post about any tips, tricks, or stories I have around bringing Authentic Relating into life.  I thought this could be a cool series to include on Connection Corps!  So, here’s one of my favorite tips on bringing a conversation deeper.

One thing that’s worked for me is to speak what’s happening in the connection between myself and somebody else, or ask for what I’m wanting in that connection.

For example – I was meeting a few weeks ago with a guy who wanted to collaborate on an event around coaching women. It was an informal meeting, happening at a co-working space in central Austin, and I vaguely knew the guy through mutual friends and mutual interest in each others’ activities (he runs improv classes and is a life coach; I lead Authentic Relating and circling events). Given our connections, I would have expected the meeting to feel intimate and exciting. Yet . . ....

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