In House: Dian Killian on Living in Full Authenticity

By Paige Reist
June 20, 2017

Living Authentically - Art of Living Retreat Center


Most people value authenticity in their lives—being honest, genuine and real—true to their values and their vision. If we want love and depth of connection in our lives—and most people want this too— we want that love and connection based on who we “really” are–our authentic selves.


Authenticity in the Workplace

We may see authenticity as important in intimate relationships at home but it also plays a key role in the workplace. Often, when coaching executives, I am coaching them on being more authentic—turning up more fully in their work lives and encouraging their reports to do the same. Why?


…”the more authentic you are, the more effective you are. …Authenticity is really nothing more than making sure that people are fully expressing what they think and feel. … if people are not expressing themselves fully in what they think and feel within the context of the work they are accountable to produce then the enterprise or organization is editing out data. This impairs good decision making and follow-through…and ultimately undermines success. … When you have a group that is authentic and rigorous in their dialogues, you will have a high performing team.” –from The Yoga of Leadership, Kripalu Magazine, 2009


Authenticity in Relationships

What is interesting to me is how that last line also applies to couples and families. When you have a couple that is authentic– or a family that is authentic-and rigorous in their dialogues–you will find the greatest trust, connection, and intimacy: a “high performing” relationship or family.


The practice of Nonviolent Communication is all about authenticity. What is my genuine experience-what I am seeing or hearing (rather than my story or interpretation about what’s happening)? What is my genuine response–my feelings and needs? This is our true aliveness.


And authenticity is key within ourselves. We all long for our essence— to know who we truly are, and to live true to that being. When we are triggered or acting habitually we have, in effect, in that moment, lost our authenticity.



In effect, NVC gives us practical tools to be authentic—and to live with rigor around our authenticity.

Bring Your Full Power into the World

I have three questions I’d love for you to consider:


How are you connecting authentically with yourself?


How are you connecting authentically with others?


And how are you bringing your full power and authenticity into the world?


In asking the last question, I think of that old Bible verse—about not putting your light under a bushel. Each of us is an authentic being. That authenticity can be shrouded or lost via fear. By being true to our authenticity, we can illuminate situations that otherwise can be clouded or disconnecting. By being our authentic ourselves—discovering– who am I really? What do I value? What brings me most alive? What matters to me? —we bring our full power into the world.


I hope you will sit with the questions above and if you value greater authenticity in your life see what do-able request you can make. What will support greater authenticity with yourself—and with others? What does greater authenticity look like for you, in the world? What is one step you can take this week, this month?


Join Dian for Nonviolent Communication for Better Living from August 11 – August 13.


Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , mindfulness , nonviolent communication , relationships , wisdom
Art of Living - Why Spirituality matters

Walking the Path: 10 Reasons Why Spirituality Matters

By Lucia Whalen
June 12, 2017

Art of Living - Why Spirituality matters


The word “spirituality” means different things for different people. For some, spirituality is associated with religion and is tied to concrete rites and rituals. For others, meaningful activities like swimming, making art, and walking through the woods brings on a spiritual experience. For the most part, though, the word spirituality has become as ambiguous and vague as the word “the,” and is often stigmatized by associations to “hippy-dippy” new-age philosophies, patchouli, dreadlocks, and yoga pants.


Spirituality seems to have become confused with religion, as it is common to now associate as “spiritual” or “not spiritual”. However, at its core, spirituality is a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and is not an ideology to believe or not believe in. Spirituality is, in fact, what gives life a sense of meaning and purpose.


TAGS: anxiety , art of living , art of living retreat center , creativity , forgiveness , mindfulness , relationships , silence , solitude , spirituality , stress , wellness

Building Successful Relationships with Wisdom

By Caroline & Wally Zeman
April 10, 2015

Silent retreat leaders Caroline and Wally share some of the insights they’ve discovered about building a happy, long lasting relationship.  Based on their years of experience teaching with the Art of Living, here are some ideas about the art of acceptance and living with one another.

Happily teaching together decades later

The Night of Acceptance


Wally: I’m not allowed to tell the whole story, but this was in 1995. We had just moved to Colorado from Fairfield and we were having a fight. I mean, we weren’t hitting each other or anything like that (Caroline laughs), but we were having a strong argument and our vocal chords got some exercise that night.


We agreed that the only way out of the fight was to look at the knowledge points from The Happiness Course:

• Accept people and situations as they are

• Live in the present moment

• Don’t see intention behind other people’s mistakes and all the others.


Then we sat down to see how we were doing. We just kept going down the list and said to ourselves, “Man, every single one we messed up on.”


That was the turning point right there.


Caroline: It really was the turning point. And we did call Guruji that night (it happened to be that we had set up a call earlier). And Wally shared with him what happened. And he said, “Yeah, it works.”


Wally: These points really work. It’s just a matter of applying them in all the situations that you come across.


How to Deal with Issues

Andrew: What advice would you give new couples?


Wally: Always look at yourself first. There are some issues or problems that come up as a couple. Always look at yourself. And if there’s some advice you want to give to your spouse, don’t give it immediately, wait at least for 24 hours if not 48 hours before you offer your advice. Then just offer it and whatever happens with it, just let that go. If your spouse takes it, fine; if he or she doesn’t, then drop it.


Caroline: Just respect and love. Put the points from the Happiness Program up on the refrigerator and use them everyday.


Wally: Yeah, definitely put them on the refrigerator because it’s easy to forget. In the heat of the moment you just forget, but it can be useful to go over to the fridge and say, “Oh let’s see did I get this one?”

Always look at yourself. And if there’s some advice you want to give to your spouse, don’t give it immediately, wait at least for 24 hours.

Finding Harmony

Andrew: When you teach a course together, did that harmony in teaching together come about naturally or was it something you worked on and developed?

Caroline: You have to communicate with each other but it’s pretty much a reflection of how we flow together in our life. We can complete each other’s sentences and we know what the other is thinking before he says it (laughs).

Wally: We don’t know who’s controlling who (Caroline laughs). It’s a fifty fifty guess on what’s happening. Either I’m cognizing what she’s saying or vice versa, or I’m doing exactly what she wants or vice versa.

Caroline: But it’s just a reflection of how your relationship is. When you’re teaching together it will show.

Wally: Of course it’s really easy with Caroline. She’s a special women.


Andrew: How do you complement each other?


Wally: Everyday I say, “Honey you’re wonderful!” (laughter)

Caroline: We feel like we’re two halves of one person. Whatever he’s lacking I’ve got and whatever I’m lacking he’s got. When we teach I’ve got the points down and then he brings the silence and the magic and humor.


Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


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TAGS: knowledge , marriage , relationships , wisdom

Forging a Successful Relationship with the Wisdom of Yoga

By Caroline & Wally Zeman
April 5, 2015

 Have you ever wondered…

about the keys to a happy, long lasting, successful relationship? Well, senior Art of Living teachers Wally and Caroline Zeman have been happy and growing together for over 40 years.   In this candid interview with Andrew Keaveney, Wally and Caroline share their secrets.

Happily teaching together decades later

Andrew:  What’s the key to a happy marriage?

Caroline:  You know the very first thing is accepting people as they are and accepting the situation as it is.  That doesn’t mean letting people abuse you, but you let a person be who they are.  That first step is huge because what you’re doing is you’re giving them freedom.  They don’t feel bound by the marriage.


Wally:  And they don’t feel too restricted by your judgement of them.  They feel at home with you.  Same thing with us.  We just feel at home with each other because I let her be who she is.  I don’t try to control her in any way and vice versa.


Caroline:  And there’s no division.  The Self is everywhere.  So what that person wants you also want for them because that also uplifts you, and brings you fulfillment because something that they want is happening.  You feel it in yourself.  So there’s that unity.  It’s like the baby of a marriage is Brahman being born between the two.  You know, it’s that wholeness that comes.

It’s a gift.  It’s not always easy.  Just like being on this earth isn’t always easy, but we’re here to move forward and learn something.

Wally:  (to Andrew) So are you asking all these points so that you can get some pointers for when we set you up with a life partner? (laughs)


Andrew:  (laughing) Okay, I’ll bite – What keys for a successful relationship do I need to know?

Wally:  All the ones we just mentioned.  If you can just do one of them you’re ahead of most people on the planet.  Way ahead of most people.

Caroline:  It’s a technique, you know?  People want to get married because they think, I want someone to love and be with and spend my life with.  Being single is a technique and being married you’re stepping into a new technique.  And that technique is presenting to you what you need to see about yourself, so you will ask yourself, Oh what is it I’m missing here?  What do I need to look at?  And so it’s a gift.  It’s not always easy.  Just like being on this earth isn’t always easy, but we’re here to move forward and learn something.  So it’s a blessing.


Andrew:  So being single is a technique and being married is another technique?

Wally:  Marriage is the advanced course (laughs).


Andrew:  And why choose one over the other?

Wally:  Because this gets you home much faster.  If you can overcome this one you’re home free.


Caroline:  I think it’s all a matter of preference.  It depends on your nature.  If your nature is to be single than nature itself presents you with your lessons through your environment. Everyone you interact with will push those buttons for you.  You can use that as your marriage technique also.  You’re not going to get away from anything just because you stay single, but people often think it’s the other way around.  They think, “Oh life would be so easy if I could have somebody.”  It’s not.  You’re going to get your lessons whether you’re single or married so that you can move forward.


Wally:  And you can remain free and totally happy by employing some of this beautiful knowledge from the Happiness Program,  whether in a relationship or not.


May 3, Caroline & Wally will facilitate a match-making event at the Art of Living Retreat Center. The event is hosted to provide singles looking for spiritual partners with an opportunity to get to know each other in a fun, informal setting.  Learn More


Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


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TAGS: knowledge , marriage , relationships , wisdom

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