the Presence Point

The Presence Point Blog

Staying Power

Monday, August 6, 2018

We have “good” days and we have “bad” days, and we judge ourselves too harshly in both directions. But staying power is one of the secrets of leadership.No matter your leadership role, it’s too easy to get caught up in judging yourself for what’s going on. You may find you are overwhelmed - too much to do, not enough support, confused about your direction, unclear about your vision. You may be angry, in pain, fearful or too ambitious. You may be exhausted, under pressure, or just plain stressed out. It might be making you sick or unable to take ...

Transforming Obstacles

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spring has finally sprung here in Northern Vermont. The grass is vivid and the leaves are beginning to unfurl.We’ve just come through an intense period of time, at least myself and most people I know have felt that way. I found that for me, the whole process could be summed up by the metaphor of a bulb in frozen ground working hard to push through the frozen soil up into the light and begin the journey towards blooming. The thaw of winter’s icy grip, the realization that the irritating process of growing means transforming obstacles into nutrients.Transforming obstacle into ...

Self-Aware Leadership?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

As a leader, are you experiencing fogginess and clumsiness in your interactions? Perhaps it is time to turn inwards and develop deeper self-awareness. But why would you do that?We at The Presence Point are celebrating. Why? Because the Harvard Business Review just published an article by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Marissa Afton entitled:Self-Awareness Can Help Leaders More Than an MBA Can"Approximately 40% of CEOs are MBAs," shares the article. "Many large-scale studies have found that leadership based solely on MBA-trained logic is not always enough for delivering long-term financial and cultural results, and that it is often detrimental ...

Doing Good Work

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Doing good work is something most of us aspire to. But how do we do that when we are not being paid and therefore motivated by a paycheck? How can we show up as leaders even if we’re “only a volunteer”?Article requested and inspired by Claudia Pringles, Estate Attorney www.estateplanningvermont.comThe first snow of late autumn has descended upon this small valley in Northern Vermont and already I see evidence of neighbors doing good work for each other. Someone comes out with a broom to sweep the slippery steps and someone else is busy raking up the leaves off the ...

Thriving Disaster

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The news is overwhelming these days. How can we thrive in the face of so many disasters?As autumn leaves take precedence on Vermont hillsides, my heart collides with each disaster occurring around the world because I know at least one person affected in every location. It seems that this is what it means to live an interconnected, global life these days.When we pay attention, the news is overwhelming. In this age of instant information, it is easy to shut down. It is understandable to want to shut out the suffering and turn away, because really, who can feel so ...

Autumn Begins: Updates from Sarah

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The sunlight filters through not-quite-green leaves. The cycles of the year have done their dance and it is again that rich season of early autumn.The turkeys are, as I write, pecking away at the empty potato patch and the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen. It is a time again for new beginnings, and I am writing to share with you where I am at and what’s new with The Presence Point.Some of you may know that I stopped working for the summer to have my second daughter. Indigo Poppy was born on July 2nd at 3:30 in the ...

The Secret Golden Key of Leadership

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

So much of leadership requires that we be "on."But how can we do that in a way that is genuine?The sun is shining today, but it is still cold out. I have an aching rib from four weeks of bronchitis. My to-do list is way too long, and my toddler is needing my attention. But I am supposed to be preparing for a presentation I have to do later this week.How can I show up and present in front of people when I am not feeling so great? How can I let go of my various distractions and relate ...

The Myth of Disconnection

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Have we bought into the destructive myth of disconnection? Look inside yourself and be honest.Listening to the news lately makes me think that our society believes in a rampant myth of disconnection. We believe so strongly that the “other” is bad, scary, no good, even evil. We believe this so strongly that we want to build walls, keep our neighbors out, send them “back” to where they came from.I am the daughter of a family of immigrants. I am third generation American on my father’s side. My ancestors fled their homeland, the Pale of Russia. As Jews they were ...

The Soft Edge...of Parenting

Thursday, February 2, 2017

My daughter is turning two in 3 days. We have had quite a journey these last two years, three if you count the time she was in my belly.Recently, she threw a small dish, which I happened to be fairly attached to. It shattered all over the ceramic floor tiles. I was worried that she would step down and hurt her bare feet on the shards. But more than just the dish broke - I broke. I had been struggling with her throwing and breaking things for a number of months, and I had tried to reason with her, ...

Savoring Simplicity

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I dare you to pause and thoroughly enjoy this very moment. There’s something thrilling about a new snowfall. Where there was brown and gray, old slippery ice and crunchy dead snow, there is fresh, untracked powder. Where there was a slight numbing to the season of winter, there is again a sense of newness and wonder. The delight is very simple, there is no particular storyline. The simplicity of just looking, tasting, feeling, enjoying. Too often we are caught in the busy rumble and tumble of daily life, the laundry lists are long, the to-do lists longer. The responsibilities ...

Embodying Conversation

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Can society engage in kind communication? Landing in the present moment by embodying our experience allows us to communicate with genuine expression.A new year has dawned. Crystal sunlight sparkles off of freshly fallen snow here on my Vermont hillside. My mind turns to a vision of a society that is in tune with itself, that does not operate on the basis of fear and distrust, but rather takes the time to listen and feel. The best way I know of to encourage this is to engage in a practice of embodying conversation.In my experience, the most important element of ...

Irritation and Contentment

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Riding the sensation of irritation, not the object of irritation, leads to the possibility of irritation melting and blossoming into contentment.There’s a squirrel perched on the top of the birdfeeder, munching down the chickadee’s seed. The snow lies deep and white across the fields. For the moment, the sun is shining and tree’s shadows are stark and blue against the sparkling white.I am feeling deep waves of irritation. I notice that underneath, there are glimmers of contentment, if only I could breathe just a little deeper. Nothing is ever going to be exactly as I wish it to be. ...

Sadness, the Key

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sadness: a guiding barometer of our life’s intention. It’s one of those unsettlingly warm late autumn mornings in Vermont. Last night when we went to bed, there was snow on the ground. This morning after a long, hard rainstorm, the snow has melted and the fields again look green. Mud squishes underfoot where frozen ground ought to be. It feels to me that there is both a tinge of sadness as well as expectation in the air.In this darkening time it is almost natural to lose direction and give in to chaos. I know from experience what that chaos ...

The Taste of Uncertainty

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Uncertainty is like a virus that can unseat us. Gone is clarity and decisions become like torture. I had an experience of this recently. I was signed up to co-teach a workshop at a conference with someone who I didn’t know very well. At first, I was excited and looking forward to the experience because I love teaching. Workshops provide such a wonderful amalgam of people and energy and exchanges of insight.And then it hit me that we don’t know each other: we don’t know what our relationship is, we don’t know if we are friends, colleagues, and if ...

On Grumpiness

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Article orginally published on The Shambhala Times, and reposted a year ago. Somehow, it was the right thing to publish this week as well...I am experiencing a deep sense of heartbreak. The rampant fear pervading our society in the wake of the elections does not represent what I long for. It doesn't matter who you voted for, we can all agree that fear has won out. This makes me exceedingly grumpy. It also inspires deep conviction in me that NOW IS THE TIME. It is the time to feel, to be present, to be kind. So let's investigate how ...

Stability in Chaos

Thursday, November 3, 2016

There is incredible value to finding stability in the midst of chaos. The leaves have almost entirely fallen from the trees here in Northern Vermont. They lie brown and shriveled on the still-green grass. Just now a light breeze erupted across the hillside, tinkling the leaves together ever so gently. It sounded like a miniature symphony.In the next moment, to the background music of the recently rejuvenated brook, one lone leaf caught the wind and slowly, almost as if choreographed, drifted, turning stately through the air. As soon as the leaf found the earth and the pile of ...

A Snapshot of My Week

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The autumn leaves are a riot of color here in northern Vermont. Leaf peepers “from away,” as we say, are already littering the roadsides with their abandoned cars while they tromp across fields in search of the best camera angle on those deeply reddened maples across the hill.Meanwhile, I have been hard at work. Just for something different, I’d like to offer you a snapshot of my week.A few mornings this week I watched some other babies so I could have time to work in the afternoons. I found a new strategy - just be outside with them. No ...

The Mama Dance

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Have I told you that I have a daughter? A wonderful, magical, creative, engaged and goofy daughter. She’s almost 20 months old and entering the toddler zone that I was told to be afraid of.I find myself frequently in search of balance between my time with her and time for work. The fact that I have this moment to sit and write right now is amazing. I worked all morning watching three babies so that I could have this afternoon free to write and share with you. My days are never dull, my time is always full, and it’s ...

The Winding Path

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Road? Is it alwaysA road?Males take roads I will do a pathWhy?DecidedTo ponderA huge, monumental roadDecimatedDestroyed A path...Intimate, warm, friendly, softerWithout guile or grasping griefPain.... yes...pathOf softness, hopeMy path, simple, swampy Signifying loneliness and loss We will meet on that pathNot loveless or lowly We...will. ~ Rifka Krummel3rd cousin of Sarah's grandmotherI sit and ponder, out under the sun, the breeze billowing dry and browning leaves through the air. It’s too early for Vermont’s spectacular autumn colors to wave their flags just yet. I am pondering how different it is to choose a path instead of ...

Harvesting the Wisdom of the Seasons

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Unlikely as it is, it is again September. Amidst our busy days, we again have the luxury to face our own personal harvest. Manifest from dreaming earlier in the winter, tilling in the spring and sowing in the summer, we now reap the bountiful harvest of our efforts and dreams in these cooler days of autumn.The summer’s sun no longer slants with unnerving heat. September’s sunrays are a warming reprieve from the cooling night air. We harvest the tall sunflowers that have been growing all season, bedecking our counters with rich yellow pollen. And then we watch as ...

The Thumbs of Jealousy

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

“I could be totally happy if it were not for these feelings of comparison, judgement and jealousy towards so-and-so!” It’s sunny out, but cold still. Spring, by the calendar, may have arrived but winter is still clinging with rigid fingers to the air, the frozen ground, the bitter wind. It is the same with the stringent, unyielding thumbs of jealousy that clutch at my aching heart.I could be totally happy, I just know it, if I didn’t have to compete with so-and-so. I mean, why does so-and-so get to be a president, a bestseller, a TV star, with two ...

Simple Morning

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A friend asked me to write about how to have a simple morning.Sunshine peeks in the window earlier now. Spring is not yet here in Vermont, but it is coming soon, I can feel it in the tender increase of the sun’s warmth. There are more songbirds calling early in the morning to greet the day and buds are just starting to appear at the tops of trees, a sign of vulnerable hope.Our tendency is to arise with a sense of urgency - alarm screaming, coffee pot buzzing, twitter tweeting, texts and emails piling up. We have to get ...

Dear Departed One

Friday, March 4, 2016

Does our society know how to relate with sadness, loss and heartbreak? Heartbreak is scary. We don’t like to feel loss and we don’t like to proclaim sadness, in part because we know nobody else knows how to deal either.Today I am making a big decision: to be brave and come out to you. I have paused many times before hitting the “publish” button, but I want to share this with you: I had a miscarriage last week.Most of you didn’t even know I was pregnant.How do we relate with a miscarriage? It is not comfortable, it’s terribly sad ...

The Power of Lineage

Friday, February 19, 2016

In order to move forward towards our vision, we must look back and embrace the resources at our disposal. This is like the earth accepting the power of the sun, which keeps us warm and allows plants and animals to grow and flourish. The sun is our resource, and also provides our vision.The very fact that we come from somewhere means we are part of a lineage. The power in connecting with that lineage is that it gives us roots. When our roots go deep, just like the towering oak, we are able to reach further into the sky ...

Unlocking Creativity

Friday, February 12, 2016

Creativity can be an elusive creature for writers and artists, and finding the best way to unbridle the imagination to craft creative works can sometimes feel impossibly hard. In this audio interview, I answer questions about how I arrived at being a leadership mentor. Lee Purcell of ePublish Yourself! was able to deftly bring me to a place where I could describe my journey. As he says:As an author and mentor in leadership skills, Sarah Lipton draws inspiration from nature and the beauty of Vermont, as well as her extensive travel experiences, work with Shambhala International, and journalistic ...

Trial by Fire = No Mistake

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Last week my husband and I stumbled on a house we wanted to buy. I mean, we wanted this house. Not in a passing daydreamy sort of way. It seemed pretty near perfect for our little family.We went to the bank a couple of days after seeing the house. It was disappointing. Then we started to work on some family assistance, and that was painful. Meanwhile, I was losing sleep what with moving into this house every night in my mind. The cost was my physical and emotional health and well being. But that didn’t stop me, night after ...

Feeling the Itch

Monday, January 25, 2016

At the top of the year, we have done some of the work required to reflect and connect with our vision going forward. We have a sense of where we are and where we are going. Just as the trees rest and trust that sap will rise again in the spring, we too must hold, waiting for the right time to unfurl.Holding our vision means staying in tune with our heart. This is important because often when we act prematurely, we do so out of fear. Our actions therefore are not grounded, not connected to reality, they have not ...

The Beginning of Freedom

Friday, December 18, 2015

We can learn to see the shimmering quality of mind through reflection. Tasting the nuggets of insight and wisdom from our experience is the beginning of freedom.The breeze is blowing, too soft for winter, more reminiscent of spring - wet and earthy, sweet with the fragrance of rotting leaves. The sun has that silvery tint, the clouds refracting most of winter’s daylight, so everything feels soft and blanketed.I pause a moment, tasting this fleeting moment of sunshine, letting the wind caress my cheek, the moist earth below me sinking into the treads of my boots. Sounds carry across the ...

The Raspberry Jam of Irritation

Friday, December 11, 2015

We long to fight irritation when it arises, fleeing the scene. But what if we stayed with it? Could irritation be a vanguard of clarity?It’s December and it’s been raining. It should be snowy, and I should be making more money than I am. I should say yes to this opportunity, but everything in me says no, don’t do it. And there are other shoulds starting to pile up. Instead of snowdrifts against the side of my house, there are should-drifts. I am starting to get rather irritated.It grates, this irritation. It feels like sandpaper against my heart. In ...

Flipping the Switch

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The energy of depression can be endemic. But we have the power to flip the switch.The dishes aren’t done, the laundry needs folding, dinner needs to be cooked and the baby won’t go down for a nap. Oh, and that long list of things I needed to get done three days ago for my business, well, forget about that, at this rate, I don’t think I’ll ever get it done.The laundry list continues: husband is too busy with his own work and play, I feel ignored, undervalued, and am so overworked taking care of everyone else, that I’m fraying ...

Genuine Leadership

Friday, November 20, 2015

I believe we’re on the edge of a revolution. I believe leadership can be based on genuine presence, which has the good of society as its guiding mission.1: Cultivate Genuine PresenceThe truth is, whether we remember it or not, we live in our whole body. We inhabit this viscera, this sack of bones and blood and muscle, flesh and air and emotions. This is where we reside, yet we often think that we live only in our heads, in a tiny tunnel of sometimes focused, sometimes blurry vision.Connecting to genuine presence through awareness of the body allows us to ...

Entering the Field of Courage

Monday, November 16, 2015

Life is challenging. We are attached to certain outcomes, painful circumstances occur, changes are thrust upon us. We do not always know how to navigate the terrain before us.Life requires us to have courage and bravery, to face the situation at hand and to make difficult choices.On a recent walk in the November woods, I learned a good friend was going through the emotional upheaval of a divorce. Voice tight with pain, my friend described the situation and the challenges she was up against. Listening to her, it occurred to me that there is an important distinction between bravery ...

Harvest Your Wisdom

Friday, October 30, 2015

Deepening our ReflectionFull moon arising, showering distant hills with milky moonshine. The harvest season is nearly over, the fullness of activity slowing down as the sap retreats into the ground. It is time to taste our innate wisdom.First, we must learn to taste. This is about reflection, about allowing the mind time to settle in this very moment. Even if most of the leaves have fallen, there may still be apples on the tree, so it is important to take some time to see them there.Stepping out of the stream of activity for a moment, introducing a pause, we ...

The Shocking Reveal

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Note to my readers: I have made a commitment to myself and to you to write a blog article a week. As such, you are receiving my digestion of the changing of the seasons around me. I sit looking out over a meadow bordered by forest. In the distance, a view of far mountains. It is this view that I gaze upon as I write. I invite you to visit, my land and my mind...After a lush summer of green, autumn rolls around, slowly at first and then picking up pace, racing down the roller coaster of color. As ...

How to Live a Day

Thursday, October 8, 2015

What does integration mean to you? Pause a moment and see what arises.Historically, integration has meant many different things to many different groups of people. But right now, it is not about mathematics or the merging of cultures or the necessary unification of disparate elements. It is about “work life balance,” though I feel that phrase is too cliche, too over-used.I want to get right down to the nitty gritty of integration: how do we live a day? Do we jump out of bed, not even taking a moment to feel our body, already spinning the multiple plates of ...

There Be Dragons

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Value of Mind MappingAt the edge of old maps they drew dragons to represent the unknown wilderness, the dangerous edges beyond.In my work with clients, I have found extreme value in the practice of mind mapping. Through so much of our lives we spin and spin, not knowing our own minds, grasping at straws and trying to bring these threads of ideas down to earth.What if we took a few moments to pause, feel our breath, taste our heart, expand our awareness to our whole body and the space around us, and then allowed deep inquiry to penetrate ...

Allowing Simplicity

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Article originally published on The Shambhala TimesIt’s a tender time of transition. Children are back at school and probably beginning to stew in the thick of new learning. In the northern hemisphere, it’s getting colder, and in the southern hemisphere, it’s heating back up again. The seasonal changes register in our bodies and there are all sorts of responses. We are energized and challenged from the practice we were able to reconnect with in the summer and slightly daunted by the projects lining up from here to the horizon. We are exposed, vulnerable in this transitory time, but there ...

Wild Yearning

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Face to Face with a MooseArticle orginally published on The Shambhala Times It’s the season for mask wearing and unveiling. Today is Halloween. The gates between the worlds are said to be thin at this time. Our truths are known to emerge: messy, visceral, real, gritty and beautiful. It’s the same with the slow unpeeling of leaves from the trees who are revealed in their naked forms again. In this season, the mask of leaves fall and the flesh of the woods is revealed beneathe.We might put masks on for the day, trying to hide our true nature, attempting ...

An Ode to Pink Laundry

Monday, May 25, 2015

Article originally published on The Shambhala Times I have a big surprise for you: I’m about to hatch a baby!Embarking on this new journey towards motherhood, I sigh and cry when babies’ first laundry comes out of the wash… pink.We’ve been so deliberate in not knowing the gender of our unborn child, of encouraging gender-neutral gifts, inviting rainbows into our home (not just blues or pinks). And then all the white clothes we’ve been given, they turn to pink.But then I remember my own journey into adulthood – my first load of laundry on my own in my first ...

Stepping Onto the Path of Motherhood

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Article originally published on The Shambhala TimesIn honor of Mother’s Day today, Sarah Lipton, Shambhala Times Editor-in-Chief and new mother, decided to share some thoughts about her new journey as well as some wisdom from a recent conversation with Lama Tsultrim Allione on the topic of motherhood. The conversation took place as part of the Radical Compassion project shared between the Shambhala Times, Retreat.Guru and Naropa University. Read more about Radical Compassion here.Odessa Rose just completed her third month of life. Doesn’t sound like much, but we’ve already come a long way together. Besides the unadulterated bliss…there’s the laundry, ...

Living Seasonally

Monday, November 10, 2014

We live in a day and age where it is very easy to be disconnected from the seasons. The natural environment around us is calling out to us, inviting our recognition of the natural cycles and flow of energies.It is up to us to listen.Our society trains us away from feeling the wind on our cheek or noticing the power of seeds burgeoning forth from the soil. We have our smart phones with their thousand million apps and we can see where in the world it is sunny right now as if the rain falling on us were a ...