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A Rose is Not Arose


Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

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The Integral Theory Conference hosted by JFK University and the Integral Institute was a Huge Success

If you'd like, you can still download the Brochure.


With a waiting list of over 300 people trying to join the 500 attendees, there was no question as to the popularity of the conference.  Some of the most amazing people in the field were doing presentations and leading panel discussions on everything from Integral Politics and Ecology to Leadership Agility and the Dilemma of Superior Collective Outcomes threatened by Opportunistic Individual Advantages.


Ken Wilber is still recovering from some medical issues from last year, and couldn’t join us, but I was honored to work and teach (if a little star-struck at times) alongside people like Mark Forman, Terry Patten, Theo Dawson, Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Allan Combs, Roger Walsh, David Zeitler, and Ray Greenleaf, and my workshop on the Integral Enneagram, Hermeneutics, and accessing multiple perspective consciousness was standing room only.  I can’t remember having so much fun: teaching an auditorium of brilliant, eager minds.  I was asked to write a dissertation, which excites and scares the heck out of me; that level of immersion in the work is dizzying – in a good way.


Coming home from the Academic Mt. Olympus feels wonderful too.  Bringing the rarified theoretical to Earth in useful, practical applications is so clearly my path, my raison d’être.  Once again, I feel blessed to have this shown to me so clearly.  So as the anniversary of the Integral Enneagram Institute arrives in September, thank you to everyone who has contributed to this amazing year.  We are all an absolute miracle.  Look at your hand.  Think about closing your fingers in a fist.  Make it happen.  Electro-chemical impulses did that based upon other electro-chemical components that you experience as your consciousness.  How cool is being alive?!





A Rose is Not Arose - podcast version


The Measure is Determined by the Unit

Although this may seem obvious, the ramifications of this simple fact flood far and wide in our use of language to communicate.  The measuring unit we choose defines the measurement more than what’s being measured, and those units change.  This drives a kind of Law of Relativity when it comes to communication.


We talk about communication in pretty concrete terms most of the time.  We construct a sentence or deconstruct a concept.  We build arguments, and defend the facades of our beliefs.  It’s only natural that we tend to think of our words as the building blocks of our constructions.  And standardization of these building blocks into same-sized bricks would be the natural next step.  Unfortunately, that natural next step only happens in wishful thinking.  The words we use, not to mention the contexts that relate to our own mind-pictures, are not standardized bricks at all.


Words can have many meanings to different people.  Actually words can have many meanings, period.  The word “set” has 464 definitions (yes, the most of any word in English).  You can set the set of a set of saw blades before you get set to listen to a set from the band, “Game Set Match.”  And that’s a simple, three letter word.  We just can’t ever assume that the meaning intended is the meaning received.  There are variables upon variables to confuse things further.  The context that one person understands a word within can be quite different from another person’s context, since each comes from our very different experiences of life.  Going back to our standardization concept, if a word is a unit of measurement, and that unit is relative, the measurement is going to be relative as well.


This takes away a lot of that absolutism we try to rely on in conversation and written communication.  Regardless of how sure we are that we are saying exactly what we mean, the other person is still likely to do a little interpretive dance, and connect your words to a very different set of meanings in their own mind.  Rather than drive us crazy, we can use this difference as a way to help us understand one another better.  It just requires a little extra patience and consciousness.



The Ink Blot is a Flying Elephant AND a Pregnant Moth

I’ve often said that our perspectives create the words, imagery, and metaphors we choose.  As our perspectives change, so does our language.  As our language reflects our perspectives, this becomes a two-way street.  If we can recognize parts of ourselves in others, or parts of others in ourselves, we’re much more likely to understand each other.  We don’t assume the other person is crazy or wrong quite so quickly.  After all, we can remember seeing things from that perspective, and we weren’t wrong at the time, we were just in a different state of mind.


So along with the words, which are symbols for images and concepts, the underlying perspectives will offer us even more meaning.  By being very conscious and listening very closely, we can use language to understand each others’ perspectives, along with the rest of the “data” being transmitted.  Cultivating this ability is an achievable skill-set that results in better understanding and connection, paradoxically streamlining and deepening communication at the same time.



Real Word Illuminations

Before this gets entirely too ethereal and theoretical, let’s look at how this plays out with a real word.  Take the word “outrageous.”  Depending upon your perspective (which includes your experience and natural outlook) this can be a negative or a positive word.  Does something “deserve” outrage, thus making it outrageous?  Does something “create” outrage, making it outrageous?  Does outrageous mean a positive, immoderate sense of humor?  Does it mean something offensive to you?  Is it merely a measure of how far out of bounds something is?  Is that measure subjective and relative, therefore meaning completely different things to different people?  Can you see how much of who you are came out when you looked at your own understanding of a simple word?  Can you see how much of someone else would come out as well?


As “integrity” can mean adherence to a moral code, and moral codes seem to be quite subjective and relative, when you speak of “integrity,” how many meanings or at least shades of meaning do you think others might have?  This is certainly not a standardized brick that we can take for granted.  We need to really look at every building block in our communication.  We need to establish where the differences in inferences are, and where we can create shared definitions.


This understanding breaks through the log-jams of polarized arguments, which go nowhere, get nothing accomplished, and create great stress.  The more we can understand another’s point of view, and to appreciate how they developed that point of view, the more we can actually use communication to work together, rather than as a way to fight and detach from one another. This is where communication can actually be a yoga practice, helping us evolve from a narcissistic I, me, mine worldview to a global we and us worldview.  All it takes is consciousness and practice.





Quick Communication Tip


A Moment of Pause, Revisited

Back in November 2007, I addressed taking a moment before responding as a powerful communication tip.  Well beyond precluding interrupting, that momentary pause gives us the opportunity to do something great.  Follow the simple rule: engage brain before opening mouth.  Nobody is without experience in the art of putting one’s foot in one’s mouth; and it’s easily solved with that moment of consciousness.  Although a bit blue for this column, comedian Chris Rock really summed it up when explaining how to not fight with your spouse or get beaten by the police.  You just have to know when to “shut the ____ up.”  


I am not advocating some form of censorship with regard to self expression.  There is an enormous difference between self expression and communication, or specifically dialogue.  Self expression is in the I/Me/Mine tier of consciousness, which doesn’t really need anyone else in that world, except as an audience.  Dialogue is in the Us/We tier, and is all about co-creation resulting from multiple people.  Different world, different rules for communication.


And just think, when you take that moment to check in with your motivations, perhaps not asserting “I’m right,” the worst case scenario is the other person getting the impression that you are thoughtful and deep.


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.





Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"

Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)

Communication Excellence (full interview)

Interview for Entrepreneur Magazine Radio w/ Romanus Wolter

Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ Jason McClain

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? come visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?



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Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious Communication results in success, and how you can achieve yours.   Enjoy!



Ian Blei,
Director of the
Integral Enneagram Institute and
President of
Optimized Results










Kind Ambition:
Practical Steps
to Achieve Success
 Without Losing Your Soul


also available at:

Browser Books
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Cover to Cover
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and of course the 800 lb.



Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.

Kind Ambition is written for you, as a practical guide you can use right now.  It is a collection of  insights and actions designed to help you move forward and get more out of your life at home and at work.  The chapters hold to a formula of first giving you a new way to look at things, then offering you tangible Action Steps to try them out, and finally some things to notice when you do.




Kind words for “Kind Ambition”



"If you are interested in success, whether it is in running a large organization, a small business, or leading a satisfying life, you will find a right blend of rules, wisdom and wit in a digestible fashion that will serve to accomplish your objectives. The notion that kindness can be blended with ambition and made to work and serve the "bottom line" is enlightening, uplifting and satisfying."

-Steven Kiefel – CEO, Red Pill Media






“An easy to use guide for anyone who wants to achieve real
 growth and success. His sensible and practical tactics
solve age-old challenges with real, how-to solutions. Best of all, Ian lives his work!”

-Romanus Wolter - Author: Kick Start Your Dream Business
Success Coach Columnist: Entrepreneur Magazine
Radio Host: Syndicated Kick Start Guy Segment






" We all face obstacles in our lives and careers. Some of these come from within, subverting our conscious intentions. The  good news is: they can be overcome.  The techniques and processes found in this book will help you on your way."

-Margaret Heffernan – Author: The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's

 Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

Syndicated Columnist: Fast Company Magazine






“A scientifically-based, spiritually-awake, (and smart and funny) guide to making the most of your life.  Ian Blei provides the know-how, the inspiration, the structure and all the tools you need in  this straightforward and inspirational book.”

                       -Lisa Betts-LaCroix, Past President of SF Coaches
Star of Unapix film, “Dance Me Outside”






" Ian Blei shares his deep insights in simple and straightforward ways.  His work continues to inspire me whenever I feel I'm getting stuck in some area of my life."

-Roy King, III, Director Pacific Development Partners




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