Boat on the Douro River, Portugal by Vicki Flaherty
Boat on the Douro River, Portugal by Vicki Flaherty

“Relationships are everything.” I said, holding back the tears that had snuck up on me as I spoke my truth across the lunch table to my friend. I’ve learned that emotion is a sign that my heart is speaking to me so I didn’t fight the tears, instead I took a few deep breaths and really let this insight sink in. It was so powerful saying it out loud, and with conviction.

I had been sharing a story with Blair about how I felt conflicted as a result of an experience the previous day. I had responded to a situation in an uncharacteristic way – a way that did not feel right to me. I had responded from a place of fear, a place where I felt pressure to act. The result was that I was terse and curt with some extended team members that I barely knew.

By pausing and sharing with my friend, I gained greater clarity about what had been nagging at me and about what really matters to me. To me it matters not just that I get things done at the office – it matters to me how I get things done and why I am doing them. I reconnected with something I’ve said dozens of times to myself and others: “Every interaction is an opportunity” – and I want to seize those opportunities for something else that is fundamentally important to me, connection. I want to be present with each individual I engage with, to see the world from their perspective, and to learn from them. Running around with a crisis-mode mentality doesn’t honor that…being calm, focused, and caring does.

Try This!

Notice when something does not feel right, and ask:

  • Did someone do something that bothered me?
  • Did I do something I didn’t really want to do?
  • Did I fail to do something that I really wanted to do?

Then ask:

  • Is there a disconnect between what I want and what I am creating?
  • How can I move toward greater alignment with my values and what’s important to me?

And explore:

  • What do I value?
  • Why is it important to me?
  • What actions are consistent with my values?
  • Who do I need to be to live my values?


 Quotes to Contemplate

  • Learning to be aware of feelings, how they arise and how to use them creatively so they guide us to happiness, is an essential lifetime skill. ~Joan Borysenko
  • Powerful people decide where, how and what they are going to use their precious energy for. Whatever you’re giving your attention becomes your intention.  ~Therese Kienast, Radical Leadership
  • Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon. ~Booker T. Washington
  • To be authentic is literally to be your own author…, to discover your own nature energies and desires, and then to find your own way of acting on them. ~Warren G. Bennis
  • The body has its own way of knowing, a knowing that has little to do with logic, and much to do with truth, little to do with control, and much to do with acceptance, little to do with division and analysis, and much to do with union. ~Marilyn Sewell
  • Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.  ~Buddha
  • In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships.  The pattern of relationships and the capabilities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles and positions. Margaret Wheatley


Author: Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through writing, photography, gardening, cooking, crafting, sewing, yoga. I enjoy traveling because it opens me to greater awareness and new possibilities. I find a special joy when I’ve helped someone see their brilliance and express their full potential. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

18 thoughts on “Alignment”

  1. Awesome article, I’ve been facing this of late with my friends and loved ones too, gives me something to introspect, thank you Vicki, much appreciated as always. God bless.

    1. Philipose, I am so delighted that you found something in this month’s post that invites you into introspection in a way that will serve your relationships with friends and loved ones. All the best in finding alignment. Vicki

  2. Dear Vicki,
    as always enjoying your blogs.
    This entry reminds me of the fact that ‘Happiness is when what you say, do and think all are in alignment’ – a statement riffed by a quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, I think (but he may have read it elsewhere too) 🙂
    At times this alignment can happens only when you are ready to pay any immediate price
    – that in the longer run most likely may prove well worth it, but could sort of hurt instantly…
    Yours truly

    1. Thorben, isn’t it interesting how moving toward alignment can be challenging, maybe even hurt. I am seeing the pain as a sign – a sign to tune in, to listen to what my reactions and body are trying to tell me. Am I disappointed, angry, afraid, resisting? What does that mean? How do I want to respond to it…and, depending on my awareness and choices, that’s when things move into alignment…and, boy, THAT feels good! Best to you in finding alignment and joy. Vicki

  3. Dear Vicki,
    Reading what you wrote:
    ” I’ve learned that emotion is a sign that my heart is speaking to me”
    That is just what I needed to read today! Yesterday I had a talk with my best friend. She always knows just what to say or ask to get me in connection with my heart. This morning, driving to work, I thought about something that Brené Brown wrote in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” about Wholehearted Living. That it is a journey and it requires head work and heart work. The head work I was doing already. The heart work started for me during the Be the Change workshop, which is lead by Yvonne and Rich Dutra St. John (founders of Challenge Day).
    So I am now ready for the second part that you wrote:
    ” I didn’t fight the tears, instead I took a few deep breaths and really let this insight sink in”.
    Thank you for letting us see what is in your heart and for being my friend!

  4. Vicki, thank you for sharing your thoughts on relationships. I can relate to them as I try to build relationships in my new retirement lifestyle. I am finding it hard because I no longer have a common business bond with people, based on expertise or years of doing business together. There is no immediate “we can help each other be successful” drive. Instead, relationships are purely voluntary and subjective! The softer issues are more important – the way I laugh at funny things, the interest I show or not show in group discussions, the personal information I choose to share with others. I find myself being more selective in building relationships, and more tuned to what other peoples’ values are, as well as how my own values can be applied to the new lifestyle I am creating.

    1. Ginny, that is so beautiful, how you are creating relationships in an entirely new way. It sounds like this kind of building really invites you to understand yourself, your wants and desires – and to be present in the moment, choosing what aligns with that insight. I hope you are totally enjoying your retirement and the friends you are making. Thanks for sharing! Vicki

  5. Dear Vicky. I always get a good feeling in my head and my heart after reading your wise-full articles. You are very good finding useful and not always visible things from our every day life – where it is useful to stop up – and think about what, why and how to understand. Again in this article you set spot on an important thing from our every day life. – Thanks

    1. Niels, thanks for sharing how my posts make you feel. It feels so right to me to pause, reflect on what’s going on for me, and to shape it into words, that I can share. I am so glad that what you find here has every day application for you. Here’s to a rich, consciously created life, built on the choices in every moment! Vicki

  6. Love the positive messages in your blog. Though I am no longer in the work place, I can apply your insight in my interactions with my child, who at 5 1/2 gives me plenty of opportunities to react before thinking. Today I will attempt to view each interaction as an opportunity to understand, to teach, and to mold.

    By the way, love the picture of the Duoro River. Beautiful wine country. I hope to get there some day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: