There are too many things going on. I’m stressed, RED with anger And getting over-emotional I can’t do everything! I’ve got burn-out! PLEASE HELP ME!
The future’s bright, The future’s ORANGE So they used to say! Time to get a grip! Recast my ambitions And create a new future
How best to do that? Listen to myself and others For a while. Don’t rush! GOLDEN friends who know me well And care about me: they know the answers It’s all going to be fine!
Step into the circle, the WHITE zone Take a break. Get some rest. Sleep in. Then – Move around. Walk outside. Eat more plants. Enjoy life! Life’s for living, not for stressing!
It’s time to get creative! Write out a list of all I want to do Like the colour PURPLE, What am I passionate about? Which small projects can I get underway NOW That will help me to achieve my dreams?
No point in feeling BLUE More complex things require the help of others Important things need to be negotiated So things end up as WIN-WIN Don’t rush it! There’s an underlying A collective intention that needs uncovering.
And then all becomes lined-up. All becomes clear! Time for action! GREEN light for go! Action with clarity and purpose No one can stop me now!
The older I become, the clearer I become about one thing. Life is all about flow. And the current modern madness that we see in society is mainly due to us being “out of the flow” and not “in the zone”.
What do I mean?
Last week, a friend asked me to act as a witness at a local planning enquiry. It was no normal planning enquiry. It lasted five days and had barristers for the prosecution (the district council) and the defence (my friend). It was more like the hearing of a legal case in a court of law.
I was asked to turn up as a witness on the final day last Friday. Having just come off a week’s training in presentation skills, I thought I would put them to the test. I knew I had a very short slot (10 minutes maximum). I decided to take up five. I wanted to create maximum impact. How should I go about it?
A bit more context. My friend and his wife allow me to put my eight hives on their land. Their land is an oasis of natural flora and fauna – itself nestled in an ancient woodland in area of outstanding natural beauty. It is so unique, it has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (or SSI).
My friend and his wife live onsite to manage the woodlands. They also allow me to keep eight hives on their land. They were merely seeking permission to extend their project for another three years. They live off-grid practicing the most sustainable living of any family I know. To be applauded and copied, you would think, – particularly in this modern era of climate change and sustainable living. But no. The establishment was not happy. My friends might set a precedent. We might have hundreds of woodland owners taking to living in the woods and becoming feral. And that is not a good thing, apparently.
The previous four days of inquiry and inquisition had been hell for all involved. An important stand against the erosion of some law written somewhere or a total waste of precious government money? Not for me to decide, but I tend to believe it was the latter. The final day was for supporters to give evidence. Throughout the whole week, no one turned up to oppose the proposal.
I arrived at 09.30 and got the first speaking slot for the day. I did not speak on behalf of myself. I petitioned on account of the bees that I keep! Everyone knows that bees are under threat. I described the project as a colony of bees might. Appreciating my friends generosity allowing them to have the bees on their land and at their gallant efforts to protect and conserve the nature in these ancient woodlands. At the end of the short talk, I stood up and offered everyone in the room a pot of this year’s honey. The courtroom melted. I was so in the flow or “in the zone”. It was a deeply moving experience. It was brilliant!
From Wikipedia: In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone It is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.
Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields (and has an especially extensive recognition in Occupational Therapy), though has existed for thousands of years under other guises, notably in some Eastern religions. Achieving flow is often colloquially referred to as “being in the zone”.
Jeanne Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow.
1. Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
2. Merging of action and awareness
3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness
4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience
Earlier this week I took on two new mentees. Folk who have been washed-out of the corporate system. “Over fifty and out”. Both trying to face the new uncertain world for post-corporate man. Again, faced with a challenge to know the right thing to do, I constructed a short course in realignment. Before plunging into the more standard questions that treat individuals like 20th century companies – like “what is your personal mission statement”, I reflected back on what had worked for me in the past when I was a mentored twenty years ago. The first step in the process was to write six to eight stories (or vignettes) where I felt good about something I had achieved. Each story took about a page to write-up. The common theme for me was that at some stage in all stories across I was “in the flow” or “in the zone”.
In the run-up to 2016, I am going to use the weekly Thursday Thoughts slot to build on the idea of filling our lives with events where we are truly “in the zone”.
If you are interested in exploring these ideas in the last few weeks of 2015 and launch yourself into 2016 with new energy and enthusiasm, then as an exercise, I suggest that you write down six to eight events in your life that you were “in the zone” and achieved something extraordinary for yourself or others.
What was the context?
How did you feel?
What were you experiencing when “in the zone”?
Who were you in service to at the time?
If you feel inclined, please pick the best story and share your experiences with us!
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.
I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
It was attributed to Meryl Streep. On a bit of further research, it appeared that the original quote was not by Meryl Streep at all – but by a Portuguese self-help author/life coach José Micard Teixeira.
The research (and subsequent discovery of a mis-attribution) reminded me of another quote, supposedly by Einstein:
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
No one has found evidence that Einstein was the source.
And so it is. There are great quotes and famous people. Many times, famous people say great things. But with the internet, great quotes can go viral – particularly when attributed to a famous person who is likely to have said it.
Makes you think. The power of great thoughts that go viral by being mis-attributed to famous people might actually be a good thing – particularly if they spread those great thoughts further than if they were attributed to a Portuguese self-help author that no one has heard of.
Famous people come and go. But great quotes and great thoughts live on forever. Even before the Internet, how many great quotes remain in current parlance having been written by the famous Anon E. Mouse!
Last Thursday, I had a meeting with a business colleague. We had only met once before – but somehow the energy felt really good between us. Conversation flowed. Ideas bubbled to the surface. Creative spirit abounded.
During the conversation, it became apparent that I had talked in our previous meeting about intuition. I had forgotten this – but it is something I have recently become very interested in. In summary, it’s the idea that the world is far too “mental” and that many have lost touch with their intuitive guidance system – based around the heart. I’m also a strong believer in the idea that everything is connected.
And so it was, just by chance (as happens when browsing the internet) I came across this video below:
I don’t know too much about the organisation behind the video – but just love the overall theme, messages and visuals. It somehow helps us to remember things we have forgotten or lost – so we can get back into the life-force and remember who we are.
It is over six months since my last post. Much has happened in my life – as I presume it has to those who are reading this. I had not intended to have such a long break. I had not intended to have a break at all. The end of the last break was, in fact, the start of the longest break in my writing this blog. However, this is the end of that particular break. I am renewed with energy after the long break.
During the break, I have been doing a lot of research on various projects. I have also gone back to studying. Studying some of the great thinkers that have created ideas and concepts that have helped shift consciousness. And so it was, I came across the concept of “The Three Principles” by Syd Banks.
Here are some thoughts from Syd Banks on Wisdom:
No one can give away wisdom.
A teacher can only lead you to it
via words, hoping you will have
the courage to look within yourself
and find it inside your own consciousness…
Beyond the word.
The wisdom humanity seeks lies within the consciousness of all
human beings, trapped and held
prisoner by their own person
Wisdom is not found in the world
of form, nor in remote corners of
the globe. Wisdom lies within our own consciousness.
Only you have the golden key to
your soul and the wisdom that
Syd was born in Edinburgh in 1931 where he grew up in a working class family in Edinburgh’s Old Town. He left school at 15 without formal qualification and in due course trained as a welder. In 1957, aged 26 he emigrated to the West coast of Canada and his association with Salt Spring Island, later to become his permanent home, began. He worked as a welder, married and had 2 children and experienced many of life’s normal challenges.
In 1973 he attended an encounter weekend with his wife. Unimpressed by the encouragement to experience and express anger he went for a walk with another delegate. Syd described to his companion the insecurity he often felt. The companion retorted, ‘You’re not insecure Syd, you just think you are.’
This throwaway remark sparked a remarkable insight in Syd, enabling him to grasp at a profound level that his emotional experience was always created by his own thinking, rather than by external circumstances. Over the next few days he experienced what has been described as an enlightenment experience which completely changed his personality.
Of course some people around him thought he had had a sort of breakdown. But his clarity and inner certainty prevailed, along with his awareness that he could help others. Some of the people he shared his insights with experienced very profound improvements in mental or physical health. Even those whose initial problems were less serious, experienced an exponential improvement in wellbeing. Just by listening to Syd talk in an apparently unstructured way they got in touch with their own innate health and wisdom.
In his thinly disguised novels that he wrote as a series called “The Enlightened Gardener”., an unlettered British groundskeeper named Andy serves as Banks’s fictional stand-in — teaching a group of amazed American psychologists about the true nature of the universe. For Banks, space, matter and time were an illusion, a dream. The only three things that are real are what he calls Mind (“the source of all intelligence”), Consciousness(“which allows us to be aware”) and Thought (“which guide us through the world as free-thinking agents”).
As word of Syd’s work spread people came to the island to experience for themselves the wellbeing he was able to point them to. In time these included psychologists and social workers who began working with their clients and achieving similar extraordinary results. Work began in communities such as Modello and Coliseum Gardens, both in the USA, where incomparable turnarounds were achieved. In the decades that followed what became know as the 3Principles, was utilised in schools, prisons, therapy, relationship counselling and business. In each arena the outcomes far exceeded any other approach.
[To read more of Syd’s life and work the books of his colleague, Elsie Spittle are recommended. Perfect Misfortune by Allan Flood is an account of how one man tapped into the power behind the principles in living with MS. Jack Pransky has written a number of books on the success of this approach with both communities and individuals. All authors can be found on Amazon.]
(Until 2 or 3 years ago there was almost nothing known of this approach in Syd’s native Scotland. Three Principles Scotland is committed to changing that and bringing the benefits of Syd’s work home to his home country.)
Initial quote from Syd reproduced in: Neill, Michael (2013-05-06). The Inside-Out Revolution: The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever (p. 23). Hay House UK Ltd. Kindle Edition.
As we hear the conflicting messages of the US and UK stock market reaching all-time highs, but the British Pound losing its creditworthiness and predictions of the currency on a long-term slide into goodness knows where, the uncertainties about the world trigger a search for a model that can understand what is going on – and what one should do about it. More importantly, it makes us think more about what is important in life so we can make the hard choices to navigate a fruitful future for ourselves and those who are important to us.
It was therefore a coincidence that yesterday, I turned to a set of cards of wise sayings that I was given a few years ago, The cards summarise the ideas of Abraham-Hicks (more details at the bottom of this post).
The text says:
Those who are
mostly observers thrive
in good times but suffer in bad
times because what they are observing
is already vibrating, and as they observe it,
they include it in their vibrational countenance;
and as they include it, the Universe accepts that as
their point of attraction – and gives them more
of the essence of it. So for an observer
the better it gets, the better it gets;
or the worse it gets, the worse
it gets. However, one who
is a visionary thrives
in all times.
For those new to Abraham-Hicks, words like “vibrational countenance” and “point of attraction” might seem a bit strange. But for me, having read deeper into their work for a few years, I have found the Abraham-Hicks way of looking at the world to be extraordinarily powerful, interesting and helpful.
A simple message, shines through the more esoteric phrases: have a vision and hold it through good times and bad and you will find it is easier to take the ups and downs in life than if you just sit back as an observer and let life happen around you.
Food for thought. I would love to hear from any readers who have thoughts on these ideas. Please post them below!
More information on the Abraham-Hicks publications at:
I pulled off a book from my bookshelf the other night with the title of this post. The book is a collection of writings, including nine chapters never before published in book form by Alan Watts. Watts was a British pilosopher, lecturer and author who interpreted Eastern thought for Westerners. He was born close to where I live in Chiselhurst, Kent in 1915 and died in California in 1973. Other more famous titles of his include “The Way of Zen” and “The Book”.
I have copied the article below – which has the same title as the book – which gives a good insight into Watts’ writing – as well as a piece to ponder on this Thursday:
Become What You Are
It has been said that the highest wisdom lies in detachment, or, in the words of Chuang-tzu: “The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror; it grasps nothing; it refuses nothing; it receives, but does not keep.” Detachment means to have neither regrets for the past nor fears for the future; to let life take its course without attempting to interfere with its movement and change, neither trying to prolong the stay of things pleasant nor hasten the departure of things unpleasant. To do this is to move in time with life, to be in perfect accord with its changing music, and this is called Enlightenment.
In short, it is to be detached from both past and future and to live in the eternal Now. For in truth neither past nor future have any existence apart from this Now; by themsleves they are illusions. Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it persists for ever. This movement and change has been called Tao by the Chinese, yet in fact there is no movement, for the moment is the only reality and there is nothing beside it in relation to which it can be said to move. Thus it can be called at once the eternally moving and eternally resting.
How can we bring ourselves into accord with this Tao? A sage has said that if we try to accord with it, we shall get away from it. But he was not altogether right. For the curious thing is that you cannot get out of accord with it even if you want to. Though your thoughts may run into the past or future, then cannot escape the present moment. However far back or forward they try to escape, they can never be separated from the moment. For those thoughts are themselves of the moment; just as much as anything else they partake of and indeed, are the movement of life which is Tao.
You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now – otherwise you would not be here. Hence the infinite Tao is something which you can neither escape by flight nor catch by pursuit; there is no coming toward it or going away from it; it is, and you are it. So become what you are.
Source: Become What You Are – pp10-11 from the book with the same title by Alan Watts – (c) Shambhala Press 2003
Susie, my wife, booked us to go and see a film on Sunday evening – “The best exotic Marigold Hotel”. A very funny film and well worth watching! You can’t leave the film and not remember the line that one of the leading characters, Sonny, keeps saying throughout the film:
“Everything will be all right in the end; if it’s not alright then it’s not the end.”
Apparently this is a quote of the Brazilian writer Fernando Sabino: “No fim tudo dá certo, e se não deu certo é porque ainda não chegou ao fim” – but I am not sure if he really was the originator or not. Doesn’t matter. It is a great quote. Actually, Susie has often quoted the first bit at me and it is strange, but somehow, everything always does work out in the end….
Anyway, it got me thinking back to the Thursday Thoughts theme two weeks ago about optimism – and the Optimist’s Creed.
And so it was that last night I got to Chapter 24 in Daniel Kahneman’s Book “Thinking, fast and slow” (which I started to review last week) only to find that this chapter – entitled “The Engine of Capitalism” is all about optimism too! Or perhaps, more accurately, over-optimism. Coincidence or what?
Kahneman summarises in a section entitled “COMPETITION NEGLECT“:
“It is tempting to explain entrepreneurial optimism by wishful thinking, but emotion is only part of the story. Cognitive biases play an important role, notably the System 1 WYSIATI (What you see is all there is):
We focus on our goal, anchor on our plan, and neglect relevant base rates, exposing ourselves to the planning fallacy.
We focus on what we want to do and can do, neglecting the plans and skills of others
Both in explaining the past and in predicting the future, we focus on the causal role of skill and neglect the role of luck. we are therefore prone to an illusion of control.
We focus on what we know and neglect what we do not know, which makes us overly confident in our beliefs.
What was more extraordinary is that as I was reading this, a good friend and follower of this stream, David Brunnen wrote to me and sent me this link: http://www.innovationpolicy.org/my-new-book-title-eh-the-future-will-be-okay with the comment: “Worth a read I think – partly because of his realistic assessment of US R&D funding and partly because Rob gets close to the tendency that has long-plagued the ICT world – eternal optimism and hype.”
Even more coincidence. Anyone else thinking about optimism, over-optimism and the way we think about the future? Please join in the flow by commenting below!