What Do We Have For Each Other?

Monday 19 May, 2014

For years I had a thought: that people who find themselves sitting next to each other on trains, park benches or pavement cafés, might share something of themselves, find a connection and discover the gift each has for the other. I attended an event on Saturday whose goal was the same: to bring people together in order that they may share, connect and discover. All day people did exactly that in pockets of conversation fostered easily by the workshops and the organisers who, once again, did an excellent job.

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Write Your Own Feedback

Sunday 27 April, 2014

It was the third day of his visit and the end of another productive day of silences, conversations, reading, writing and reflection. I had given the TA presentation in Amsterdam that evening and, as part of the process, I had asked the participants for their written feedback. I explained to them that although it obviously helps me, it is more important for them to take a couple of minutes to reflect for themselves. The exercise will bring more clarity to their experience and reinforce their learning. At home afterwards, as I knelt by the open, floor-level window of my apartment and Karaj sat in the armchair, we reflected on how well it had all gone. Outside, the country was celebrating. It was the first King’s Night here in the Netherlands for 122 years.

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Note To Self: Accept Invitations

Monday 24 March, 2014

As an introvert, my default position when I receive an invitation is almost always: No thanks. (Notable exceptions include weddings, some birthdays and close friends.) I am aware of my reluctance, which means it is less likely to influence me. I also understand that too much of anything can be harmful (in this case, isolation) and my experience tells me that social situations can actually be fun, so I tend to accept invites more easily these days. But not automatically.

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An Altered Landscape

Thursday 11 April, 2013

Whilst writing the previous post, ‘It Works. Beautifully.’, I realised that, not only was the experience described there the most positive I have ever had, it has also bestowed on me a feeling that my landscape has been altered. The beauty she and I created permeates my existence and, consequently, I now inhabit a more serene place. Because of her. Because of us.

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Progress Means Never Getting There

Tuesday 22 January, 2013

A disheartening title perhaps, but the point I’m making is that whenever we reach a goal in our development, it’s time to decide where to go next. If we don’t, we stagnate. Top athletes across all sports can be heard saying of their achievements: “There will be plenty of time to enjoy my successes (after I retire). Right now I have to train for my next match.” It’s important to reflect on our progress as we go, but it is equally important to keep going.

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The Contributions We Make

Tuesday 4 December, 2012

This post is about how much we contribute to each other even though we may not realise we do. With our presence we can inspire people, lift their moods, reassure them or provide the opportunity for them to laugh, cry or just be. Sometimes only a few words or a smile are enough. Even silence can suffice to contribute and make a difference to people’s lives and yet we may never fully appreciate the effect we have.

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Make A Connection

Monday 24 October, 2011

There are a few phrases I remember very well from my training because I heard them so often. One of them was a challenge that could be heard in the silences which sometimes followed people’s contributions to the group: ‘Make a connection, people. Make a connection.’ Each time he said it, Karaj was asking us to connect with each other. Nothing else. Just connect. He always urged us to look for the humanity in people and this was allied to that.

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I Will Be Beautiful

Monday 22 September, 2003

Yoga. Short programme. I’m very tired and could easily have avoided exercising, but I didn’t want to. This is the sixth day running, and the sheer discipline of it is doing me good. My body is hurting; not because I am overdoing it, but because I am doing it. My script wants me to be ill, disabled, and I know that. This pain does not surprise me and is not getting me down. I am tired but I am also hyper. Things are going well for me and I am motivated, but I need to slow down. Karaj is manic too.

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Learning How To Serve

Sunday 1 June, 2003

Michelle had invited her father to the house today to honour him. The morning began with preparations for the celebration. Karaj drew up a to-do list of over 40 items. Simran was put in charge and was responsible for ticking off the items as they were done. I received the guests. It was important for me to welcome people and be the first point of contact here. I kept my distance from the servers – Simran, Dev, Ishwar and Kuldip. Only Ishwar was in control of things and it was because of the ineptitude of the others that I stayed on the edge of the operation. I got sucked into their mêlée once for a brief period during the serving of the main course, but quickly got out again when I realised what was going on.

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At the end of the 3-day weekend, we sat together to summarise our time together: calmness, clarity, and appropriate contribution; a lack of emotion and good quality conversation. Our discussion continued, looking at how much of a hold our feelings have on us, especially when we don’t check the facts. The facts cannot be ignored under any circumstances. Other notable points from the last couple of days:

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Contributing To People

Friday 14 February, 2003

Karaj, Simran and I planned the tasks. We spent the day finishing the construction of the compost tower and, when Karaj went off, Simran and I hung the door, dressing it very well using hidden hinges. As we admired our work, I challenged Simran. He needs to talk. In the evening I had a short rest, but couldn’t sleep properly – too much body pain, especially my legs. When I awoke Karaj told met that Imogen cannot make Monday and I will have to pick up Simran’s kids on the train. It is going to be a long day and I will need all the support I can get (George & Calvin).

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Taking Charge More

Tuesday 17 December, 2002

In the evening I went to Simran’s, where the three of us worked on Ishwar’s work appraisal. I (and Simran to an extent) had to provide the motivation. I had suggested that Ishwar come over tonight and I had to keep prompting him. There is rarely any motivation from him except when he is challenged, and even then it is not genuine or sustained. Still, we worked well and moved onto the brainstorm of his media case article.

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Come From ‘I’m Right’ All The Time

Wednesday 6 November, 2002

Woke up feeling much the same as yesterday: anxious. I’ve had enough and I spent the morning consoling myself with fantasies of leaving. Told myself to just keep my head down for a few more months and then go.

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Becoming Visible

Saturday 28 September, 2002

Discussed with Dev his overall picture of his week ahead. He went off on his own twice; once at the beginning of the exercise and once when typing up the flipchart. I contributed to him with my feedback and my observations that he does not include his team. I also gained from the experience because I do the same. Another learning point for me is that people don’t need the detail. It is distracting and confusing. They need the overall picture. They will ask if they need more information.

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