300 Days

Thursday 24 July, 2014

Every day for the last 300 days I have followed a 25-minute exercise routine. It has been a goal of mine for some time to establish such a habit. There have been numerous attempts over the years with plenty of tinkering along the way to get it right. Early routines were dotted with painful episodes because I overdid things. I pushed myself too hard, in too much of a hurry to make progress. Back problems have littered all previous attempts, enticing me each time to throw in the towel. And I did give up. But I came back to it again and again. This current run is my most successful ever.

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Are You Still Breathing?

Friday 13 June, 2014

There were two occasions during the presentation, when the word breathe appeared on the screen. I had put it there for my own benefit, as a reminder for me to take a moment, breathe and calm down. I tend to get excited about my work and any reminder to calm myself is always welcome. After the presentation, my teacher offered me his feedback. He suggested I use more of the breathe slides, adding that they should be the focus of my presentation and the focus of my life.

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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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I Created My Environment

Monday 12 May, 2014

Following on from the previous post, Be Careful What You Wish For, this one uses the example of my training group to further the idea that we are capable of wishing situations into existence. We create the environments we desire, whatever the desire. Within the context of my story and the lives of the people who played their part during that time, the reason our respective paths converged was twofold:

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The Ivy Of Conditioning

Thursday 1 May, 2014

On my walk this morning I noticed a tree within a tree. When I looked closer I saw there was only one. One tree and a highly successful ivy plant. The darker, more abundant leaves belonged to the ivy, which had made its way up the tree trunk and spread branches of its own in order to secure the resources it needed to prolong and promote its existence. And straining to poke through the healthy-looking foliage was the skeleton of the original tree; its thin branches sparsely populated with the only leaves it could manage, given that its sources of nourishment had been so effectively plundered.

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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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No Past, No Future, Just Today

Tuesday 15 April, 2014

I was woken last Saturday at 06:30 by a phone call from a good friend on the other side of the world. We caught up on the recent events of our respective lives, re-connecting with a familiar ease and appreciation. As our conversation drew to a close he told me to have a great day, adding the simplest of instructions: ‘No past, no future, just today.‘ His words reminded me of the book I am reading; a book I was prompted to pick up again after another recent contact with a different friend.

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Surrender Can Be A Strength

Saturday 25 January, 2014

In the end he ran away. Literally. I stood at the door and watched him hurry down the pathway and beyond the hedge, as if he were late for his next appointment. A few days later he left a message to say he would not be returning. Robert was an engaging character: erudite, highly educated and a master of language. Unfortunately, as far as his development process was concerned, his intellect (or rather his cleverness) was his downfall. Karaj highlighted it many times to him, but it wasn’t enough.

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The Exponential Curve

Thursday 9 January, 2014

It’s tough to begin with. It always is. But without a beginning there can be no progress, no achievement, no change. We procrastinate, hoping for motivation or inspiration to get us going, but are more often prompted by desperation, in the form of a deadline or a personal crisis. So what makes it so difficult to start something? And why is it that, well after we have begun, it still feels as though we’re getting nowhere? It’s partly a lack of awareness of the process itself. But mostly it has to do with one aspect in particular: the exponential curve.

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4 Hours, 4 Weeks, 4 Months

Tuesday 10 December, 2013

Regardless of the time period or indeed the specifics of a situation, there is a process at work. A process which represents the fundamental elements of any development journey or project we undertake. When we see it clearly we are able to make our lives easier by harnessing the insights we gain and applying them resolutely to future projects. This post takes examples from one group and two individual clients to demonstrate how much of this underlying information is available and how easily accessible it is.

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See Your Progress

Tuesday 26 November, 2013

In the previous post I wrote about how the excitement of progress can lead to a loss of focus, undermining our achievement. This post examines the other side of that coin: that we overlook our progress altogether, failing to recognise the small steps we take because we are too busy looking for the fireworks of transformation. Major change only occurs when you work hard to lay the foundations and build momentum (see: Punctuated Equilibrium), so it’s important to acknowledge the work you are doing and see the progress you are making.

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Stay Grounded

Thursday 21 November, 2013

Two things are likely to happen as we progress with our personal development (actually, as we progress with anything). First we get excited, then we stop doing what worked for us in the first place. This post is about the excitement of progress, how important it is to enjoy it and celebrate as much as we can, but also keep our feet on the ground. It is written primarily for a friend, so I don’t have to keep reminding him to do what he knows he needs to do. But it’s also for the rest of us because when our excitement gives rise to complacency we begin to undo all our good work.

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It All Comes Down To This

Monday 14 October, 2013

When we forget the simplicity of it all, or we’re convinced there must be another way; when we are stuck, or frustrated by the lack of novelty, this is the post to read. It’s a reminder of the value of repetition and practise. Every day, every minute, every breath. In the end, it all comes down to this:

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I’ll Make It

Sunday 6 October, 2013

Disembarking from a rush-hour train and racing to catch my connection, my haste dissolved in an instant – first mentally, then physically – as the thought expressed itself that, ‘I’ll make it.‘ In and of itself, this is unspectacular, but for someone whose default position is more concerned with what might go wrong specifically, or just that, generally, something will go wrong, it represents a departure from the norm. My cautionary, nay negative, attitude is such an automatic position that I barely notice it, but on this particular morning it was replaced with ease. The thought came naturally, I relaxed, and then another thought came: ‘Even if I don’t, I’ll be fine‘. And I relaxed even further.

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