The Howells Group Blog

What State Are You Cultivating?


“I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eyes of God.” 
― Anne Morrow LindberghGift from the Sea

It’s spring in Oregon; at least pretending to be. During the PNW winter; I always wish for spring. (You would too after it’s rained since October – at least most of the time!) But spring is on its way and it WILL arrive when it’s time. But what I’m really wishing for, hoping for, longing for is this “inner spiritual grace” that Anne Morrow mentions in her quote. That inner grace that emanates and adds peace to an interaction instead of anxiety. That inner grace that brings the presence of love to the room instead of envy or striving. Those gifts of a presence and a quality of being that can shift a conversation, another’s worried heart and even a conflict.

I’m far from my ideal. So far. But, this week, as I observe Holy Week (the week before Easter practiced by Christians) I’m noticing that I’m more mindful of this desire for spiritual grace. I sat and held a newborn baby girl last Friday and refused to let my mind race ahead to what I needed to do that evening. I was fully in that moment and let the tears come.  I started our date night on Saturday with my husband with more questions about him first, before “downloading” my own thoughts. What a different conversation as a result! I had a hard and honest conversation with my son that led to some forgiving that was needed on both sides. I laughed at my own foolishness with a client during a coaching conversation – fostering a deeper human connection. During one workday I sat in a meeting  praying for a senior leader as she shared with her whole staff that a celebrated new hire didn’t work out.  She remarked later that she noticed “ the quiet but strong presence of support” from me in the center of the crowd. I didn’t (says the extrovert) speak and yet there was something that the inward state communicated loudly – without any words.

As you move through your week, whatever spiritual practice you observe (or don’t observe) I’d invite you to consider; “What IS my inner state and how is it flowing out into my outer being to others”? We  focus so much on knowledge, tasks and externals, especially in our workday worlds. What could  happen if we shifted even 10% of our attention to our internal state?   I can guarantee you’ll see some shifts, just like I have. A very wise leader l know  once said” Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”.   That kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?


  1. Brian
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Karen for making me stop and think about my behavior! I have been challenged lately both at work and in my personal life and after reading this, i can see that my ‘troubled inner state’ was manifesting itself externally. Time for a change.

    • Posted April 8, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Brian, thanks for reading and for your feedback! I’m so glad you can step outside of yourself and see that change is needed, I can certainly relate to that ‘inner state’ issue. Best of luck to you as you work towards change!

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