In The Zone

Monday 31 August, 2020

In this post I take another look at my life according to three main areas of well-being: physical, mental and emotional. I last did this exercise nine years ago, and for the first time 11 years before that. The three posts, therefore, give the briefest snapshot-summary of the last 20 years. As well as a clear indication of my development, they offer proof of the benefit of writing things down because without my earlier notes it would be easy for me to dismiss, overlook, or twist any notion of progress.

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Help Yourself

Thursday 20 August, 2020

We say it when offering our food and hospitality, but we rarely extend it to the treasure available in each interaction we have with each other: ‘Help yourself.’ Continuing this series of posts examining the apparent contradiction of contributing to oneself in order to contribute to the world, this piece looks more closely at my belief that I can help others, and the intriguing truth of how life actually works.

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Contribution – A Paradox

Thursday 20 August, 2020

This post is the first of three which seek to present the paradox of contribution. They invite us to explore the notion that we can make a difference to each other and to see that, ultimately, all we can do is use our interactions to make a difference to ourselves and to our own lives.

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Exactly Who I Am

Thursday 12 March, 2020

It was a day of masks, fairy stories, and a contemplative walk in nature. A day of significant conversations and deepening connections; of listening and sharing, reflection and insight; and of daring to cross the line. It began, almost inevitably, with dancing. This was Mind Work Productions (MWP), after all. Twice before* I have taken part in one of their days, and each one has been a demonstration of how valuable it is to leave our comfort zone behind.

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Courage In Every Story

Wednesday 11 September, 2019

We came together to tell our stories – every one a hero’s journey of adventure, adversity, and transformation. Enveloped by the picturesque, attention-to-detail landscape of de Baak’s trademark hospitality, we connected easily. A group of international trainers with a diverse range of skills and abilities, our goal was a simple one: to share our uniqueness in ways which would help each other to help the people we serve – those individuals, groups, and companies seeking to grow in ways they may not even be aware of.

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What The Body Has To Say

Tuesday 30 July, 2019

Before I come to the event which tipped this whole sequence over the edge, there are a number of loose ends to tie up. They relate to points 3, 7 and 9 from the first post in this series. There’s a Qi Gong workshop, the briefest of conversations, and an acupuncture session. Although decidedly different experiences, they all contribute by confirming and deepening the focus on the body.

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Shut Up & Listen

Thursday 18 October, 2018

A friend read my book and decided to try something out. Whilst reading, he had come across repeated encouragements to be quiet and just listen or observe what happens. He decided to give it a go. In a familiar environment, among friends with whom he would normally engage comfortably and confidently, he decided to shut up and listen. Resisting the pull to get involved, and without the distraction of interaction, he saw others’ behaviour more clearly. They were so wrapped up in their own stories, for example, that no-one even noticed he was quieter than usual.

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The Team & The Individual

Monday 15 October, 2018

The best thing you can do for your team is to work on yourself. If everyone does that, and people support each other in their respective development, the team will grow and mature. So, too, will the individual. PRACTICE and DISCIPLINE are the foundations of the work. They are qualities you will need to return to again and again as you seek to change certain habits. It can be difficult at first, but if you pay close attention you will be able to SEE YOUR PROGRESS, no matter how small. And it’s important that you see the small steps, because if you wait for the big leaps you will easily become downhearted.

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What Exactly Do I Do?

Thursday 2 August, 2018

Following a training I gave recently, someone asked me to teach them to do what I do. He explained that other trainers he’d observed relied heavily on content or particular techniques (or both), whereas I seemed to do neither. His conclusion was that what makes me so effective is that I rely on myself. I have a belief in my work and I know my stuff intimately, but that was not what he was after because in the job he does, he has those things too.

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The List

Wednesday 16 August, 2017

What follows is a list of the most important and most helpful pieces from this blog. The list makes it easy for you to understand at a glance what is necessary in this work. It takes you through the process of self-development and self-realisation – from awareness, observation and reflection… and back to awareness – offering you guidance on what to expect along the way and what you can do to help yourself.

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Yesterday I Was Clever

Wednesday 22 February, 2017

A common desire which people express about their interactions with others, is their wish to see the other person change, or grow, or at least move away from what seem to be unhelpful ways of doing things. We all recognise it. We have all felt the same about someone close to us – a friend, a colleague, or a loved one. The thing is, we cannot change anyone, and the sooner we learn this, the better it is for everyone. The title of this post is taken from a poet’s words about the desire to change others and the wisdom it eventually brings:

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Be Quiet, Be Still, & Listen

Saturday 24 December, 2016

If there is one thing which this year has demonstrated more than anything else, it is that we find it infuriatingly difficult to listen to opinions which are contrary to our own. The postmortem discussions following the UK referendum and the US election were at times hysterical and exaggerated, but eventually also insightful. It turns out we have a problem performing the simplest of tasks; one which could fast track our evolution: listening. As someone close to me always says: ‘People just want to be heard.’ Unfortunately, we can barely hear each other over the sound of our own voices. There are too many people making too much noise.

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TS 17 – Listen To Yourself

Friday 4 November, 2016

The fact that this was one of the best seminars so far was due partly to the variety of subjects we covered: the importance of listening (to the self and others), of writing, and of focusing on our breathing, as well as the role which suffering plays in our happiness. The main reason, however, was the clear demonstration by one participant of the entire point of the seminar. Namely, that we easily dismiss things if they do not fit into our narrow band of relevance, and that when we listen more closely we make life easier for ourselves. (That demonstration appears at 26:34 in the video below.)

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TS 10 – Calibrate The Machine

Thursday 16 June, 2016

Whereas last week we focused on those aspects of ourselves which are also visible to other people, this week’s seminar looked at the more subtle aspects of our existence  – those signals which only we can be aware of because they come from within. They are the thoughts, feelings and intuitive sensations which are often so subtle that we don’t even notice them; or if we do, we ignore them, or we explain them away as being ridiculous or irrelevant. Life gets easier, however, when we listen to those subtleties.

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