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saskia shakin

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Saskia Shakin

Saskia is one of these luminous beings that you can’t help noticing in a crowd because she exudes so much joy.  I met her in August of 2009 at a Radiance Sutras retreat with Lorin Roche.   On the last day, she and I sat outdoors for lunch in a stunning part of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, overlooking lake Mahkeenac and miles of forest.  And we dove into a soulful conversation which has been unfolding ever since.  Saskia is a public speaking coach who has helped many leaders and academics find their authentic speaking voice, and she has also spent many years of her life teaching economic experts how to testify in court in a way that members of a jury can actually understand!  She has inspiring things to say about the essential role that silence and connection play in authentic communication.  She even wrote a book about it called More Than Words Can Say: The Making of Inspired Speakers.  It is a collection of inspiring short stories about what she has learned through her work.

Saskia is also one of the angels who has kept encouraging me to go ahead and make this blog public when I kept delaying launch date because of “one more thing” I felt I needed to tweak!   In one of her emails, she wrote:

“I encourage you to put your words out now. Don’t wait for perfection. You are writing for connection. And what I know for sure is that you can never be clear enough, never be precise enough, never be exact enough to assure that your readers’ reactions will be what you wish. We never can control how others receive our offerings. We can only control the spirit in which they are offered.”

Sparks of Life is now live, and I am deeply grateful for Saskia’s steady support and encouragement along the way.  I always treasure my conversations with her, whether in person or by  email, and I usually try to pay a visit to her in her home upstate New York whenever I come to the United States.   One of my favorite kitchen table chat with her is published in the interviews section of this blog under the title “moments of grace.”