Bloom where you’re planted

May 26, 2014 at 8:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What a great weekend. Amazing weather, beautiful location, great company and inspiring connections.

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The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, what a backdrop. My friend had asked me a while back if I wanted to head up to Katoomba this past weekend to listen to Greg Foyster, author of ‘Changing Gears: A Pedal-Powered Detour From The Rat Race’, as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Along with the talk there was to be a 2 hour ride that took in scenery like the picture I took above. I hadn’t read the book but it didn’t take me long to say yes!

The blurb from his book explains;

‘Greg Foyster quits his job in advertising and decides to live more simply. Looking for inspiration, he and his partner Sophie Chishkovsky cycle from Melbourne to Far North Queensland (via Tasmania, naturally) scouting out ideas.

Preposterously underprepared, they are propelled by the many inspiring and eccentric characters they meet – from a forest activist living up a tree to an 18th-century woodsman and a monk walking barefoot through Queensland.

Featuring eye-opening encounters with DIY downshifters and leading figures in sustainability, Changing Gears is a jaunty adventure that explores an important question for the future: can we be happier with less?’

The talk and ride proved to be entertaining, informative and inspiring. I just wanted to take this time to reflect on some of my initial take aways;

  • Voluntary simplicity: I love this phrase that Greg uses. To me it reminds us as individuals that each of us have choices each and every day. There are many powerful influences within our lives, Greg knows many of those intimately through his previous work in advertising, but ultimately we are here to connect and make a difference, not just overwork so we can accumulate things that can complicate our lives, taking time away from what we value most.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
– Hans Hofmann

  • The journey of living our principles: Greg’s journey mirrors our own, as well as being real and unique to him. We all have to own our unfolding stories that play out through our daily thoughts, words and actions. Reflecting on and processing where these thoughts, words and actions are aligned is of vital importance for each of us as individuals. Our task is then to live them, while not judging and projecting our values on to others choices as they strive to do the same. We positively influence through compassionately ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”
– Albert Einstein

  • Costs and value: Greg discussed various ways and examples that we as humans assess costs and value in our lives, in particular for modes of transport like bicycles and the car. As we as families, communities and a greater global village debate things like caring for our precious planet, our needs, wants and the role of luxury, and future planning, infrastructure and development, voices such Greg’s are so important to be heard.

“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.”
– Bill Nye

  • ‘Bloom where you’re planted’: This quote is the one Greg finished his talk with. It resonated so deeply with me and reminded me of what we aim to foster within our programs and ongoing communication. Life is a journey of courageously exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically, so that we can deepen connection to self, others and the world around us, while making a difference in our own and others lives. This happens right now, right here, right where we are!

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I am looking forward to now reading the book after hearing from, meeting and spending a small amount of time with Greg this past weekend. If you want to find out more about Greg’s story or ideas, visit his website Simple Lives. http://www.simplelives.com.au

Real is a big deal

May 19, 2014 at 7:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
– e.e. cummings

Messages come at us thick and fast throughout our lives. Some resonate or stick with us and guide our thoughts, words and actions, some inspire or awaken new possibilities, some offend or challenge what we deeply believe or value, while others fly around and subtly influence us as individuals and communities.

One that we hear often is ‘Fake it till you make it’. I’m thinking that fostering ‘Real is a big deal’ instead of ‘Fake it till you make it’ may provide us with connection filled opportunities as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically. Rather than feeling alone and isolated, putting on and wearing masks, or feeling like a fraud or we’re going to get caught out, we can remind ourselves and others that having the courage to be yourself within the complexity of our personal or professional interactions and experiences is when we make a big difference in our own and others lives. We matter, not when, if, should, but now and always.

“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.”
– André Berthiaume 

The picture at the beginning of this post reminded me of the way that many of us can feel within our 21st Century World. Pressures, work, aspirations, 24/7 technology, family responsibilities and the list goes on, can see our minds racing to keep up. Creating some time and space in our busy lives to be mindful of how ‘real is a big deal’ or ‘faking it till you make it’ are unfolding for ourselves and the communities in which we live and work brings greater awareness and opportunities. We can then realign daily thoughts, words and actions so that we deepen connection to self, others and the world around us while ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’.

“You have a unique gift to offer this world. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself, read and learn about everything that interests you and keep away from people who bring you down. When you treat yourself kindly and respect the uniqueness of those around you, you will be giving this world an amazing gift… YOU!”
– Steve Maraboli 

Journey of Potential

May 12, 2014 at 9:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams

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Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a two day workshop exploring The Daring Way™. American researcher Brené Brown’s work has continued to inspire me, both personally and professionally, over the past few years. So the chance to dig deeper into ‘a highly experiential methodology that was developed to help men, women, and adolescents learn how to show up, be seen, and live braver lives’ was too good an opportunity to pass up. The workshops have been designed for professionals in helping fields, which saw our small group being made up of a diverse mix of individuals who shared a desire to use their work to support, challenge and inspire those they come into contact with.

The two days reminded me of the core beliefs of our EDA ACTION SQUAD, the community of students, teachers and school communities who participate in our L.E.A.D. with Courage™ Program;

  • Believe in exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically.
  • Believe that our daily thoughts, words and actions matter.
  • Believe that our journey will involve both successes and challenges, remembering that, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill.
  • Believe we are all capable of making a difference in our own and others lives.
  • Believe we are all in this together!

These beliefs or values guide daily thoughts, words and actions. Each experience that we have provides opportunities to develop, practice and reflect on our skills, attitudes and behaviours, while deepening connection to self, others and the world around us. This process opens us up to experience genuine connection, opportunity, achievement, success, joy and love. It does not eliminate challenge or vulnerability from our lives, instead reminding us that we have choices in how we engage, grow and contribute through empowered daily thoughts, words and actions.

The graphic below comes from Brené Brown, describing the wholehearted living journey. Each of us are very human, with reminders like this one important as we strive to deepen connection and make a difference in our own and others lives. One comment that I have reflected on over the past week from the workshop was made by the facilitator during one of the sessions. She remarked that we are ‘Human Beings’ not ‘Human Doings’, with our sense of worthiness coming from who we are rather than what we do. 

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I loved this short scene from ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ about the Authentic Swing. ‘Showing up, being seen, and living braver lives’ may seem vulnerable and scary but it reminds me of the quote at the beginning of this post, “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams. 

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