Tag Archives: empathy

Become A Better Leader Through Self-Empathy

Published in Forbes Magazine in Jan 2017, by Fleet Maull. Fleet will be presenting Seven Keys to Mindful Leadership for Social Transformation at Hollyhock on June 28 – July 2, 2017.

There are many different leadership styles and qualities that make a good leader, but people tend to be most attracted to and influenced by leaders who are empathetic.

A study by BI Norwegian Business School found that employees were more committed and efficient on the job when their employers displayed increased self-awareness and insight. As leaders, listening is one of the key skills we use to give people the experience of our empathic presence and make them feel heard. But to give others our full attention and become an empathetic leader, we first need to be empathetic with ourselves.

Continue reading Become A Better Leader Through Self-Empathy

The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill

via Karlamclaren,com

The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill

Karla-McLaren-bookWhat if there were a single skill that could directly and radically improve your relationships and your emotional life? Empathy, teaches Karla McLaren, is that skill.

We all long to be seen and understood, to be valued and honored, and to be loved for exactly who we are. We also want to connect deeply with others, understand them clearly, and respond skillfully to their wants and needs. We want to navigate through difficulties and conflicts with grace, and we want our relationships to be a source of healing, strength, humor, and love. We want empathy – and we want to know how to offer our empathy to others. In The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill, you’ll learn how to develop and work with your empathy, and how to become a healthy and happy empathic presence in a world that needs you!

Informed by Karla McLaren’s four decades of extensive empathic experience, plus current insights from neuroscience, sociology, the arts, and healing traditions, The Art of Empathy explores:

  • Why empathy is not a mystical phenomenon, but a natural, innate ability that you can strengthen and develop
  • How to support healthy empathy in yourself and others
  • How to regulate your empathy if your empathic abilities are uncomfortably hyper-activated
  • How to identify and regulate your own emotions and boundaries
  • How to shift into the perspective of others with authenticity, ethics, and respect
  • How to support and communicate with others in sensitive and perceptive ways
  • How to help children (of any age) develop healthy empathic skills
  • Targeted chapters for improving your relationships at home, at work, and in your community
  • In-depth information about the empathic challenges of the workplace, and how gossip (!) can alleviate them
  • Insights into the dark side of empathy and how to avoid the trap of excessive in-group empathy

More than ever, reflects empathic pioneer Karla McLaren, the time for healthy empathy has come. The Art of Empathy brings you welcome, practical guidance for mastering this essential life skill.


The Art of Empathy is a book and audio learning program that will help you understand empathy clearly and tangibly, so that you can bring your unique empathic gifts to our waiting world. Learn more at KarlaMcLaren.com.

Join Karla McLaren for The Art of Empathy June 6-11, 2014 at Hollyhock on Cortes Island.

Tea & Empathy

StoryShards High Tea Reunion
Santa Fe, NM, 2013

“You can take all the tea in China,
Put it in a big brown bag for me.
Sail right around the seven oceans,
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea.”
VAN MORRISON – Tupelo Honey


So goes Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey, a song that inspired a video vignette for my recent STORYSHARDS: Archaeology for Your Life womens’ gathering in Santa Fe, NM. Participants over many years called for a reunion.
The get-together took the form of High Tea with brews from around the world – including Harvey’s Sherry – and yummy sweet and savory things to eat, especially my husband Landt’s over-the-moon lemon cake.


With twenty-five fun, way-bright and voluble women, we gathered around a fire on a chilly Sunday afternoon. The group was not given to gratuitous tea time chat, however. For the occasion, I produced Tea & Empathy, a video segment that inspired high-toned exchanges majorly around the nature of engaged creativity. Inspired by the states-and-stages of Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey – with timeless lyrics: poetic, personal and political – the conversation included the question of having an upfront social or political agenda: Does a preconceived agenda throttle one’s creative process?

“You can’t stop us on the road to freedom,
You can’t stop us cuz our eyes can see…”
VAN MORRISON – Tupelo Honey

Emerging from the cups and confections of High Tea, the importance of empathy, curiosity and open-sourcing unfolded as leading themes in clarifying purpose in our lives. For a taste of our STORYSHARDS High Tea Reunion, enjoy this Tea & Empathy video sampler:


At our STORYSHARDS High Tea Reunion, I emphasized that my process of engaged creativity is often sourced in a song that stokes my imagination, giving rise to imagery and story. Music from around the world is foundational to my multimedia STORYSHARDS: Archaeology for Your Life retreats.


My creative process in STORYSHARDS is grounded in intentionality transcending the taking of perfect little pictures in the image and likeness of myself. Not all about me, I do believe in having a creative modus vivendi: mine is about unfolding dynamic visual contexts and creative atmospheres for others. It’s about a new visual fusion for striking conducive tones for mutuality in conversation, for clarifying our intentions, and liberating our imaginations. Beyond our own egos and self-constructs, our engaged creativity in the world-at-large is desperately in demand these days.

“She’s as sweet as tupelo honey,
She’s an angel of the first degree.
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey,
Just like honey from the bee.”
VAN MORRISON – Tupelo Honey


Lisl Dennis
3101 Old Pecos Trail #698
Santa Fe, NM 87505