To Play or Not to Play: Is it Even a Question

April 25, 2016 at 4:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.” – Ron Olson

Over the weekend I was fortunate to find myself in one of my favourite spots with some of my favourite people. The photo above is part of the river that sits below the old school house that we were staying in. Each time I’ve been there I’ve experienced spaciousness, peacefulness and great opportunities to connect with those around me. This past weekend was certainly no different. Then yesterday afternoon happened, I was introduced to the rope swing!

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” – Charles Schaefer

I’m lucky to have large doses of play mixed into my personal and professional life. Our program days are experiential, meaning they are filled with opportunities to learn by doing (a lot of that through play) with reflection. I believe play is so important, especially if we are to foster and embody exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically. To play or not to play? I know what I chose yesterday; and will continue to choose when that question comes up.

“Play is the exultation of the possible.” -Martin Buber

My friend, having been on the swing before, showed me the way. Then the rope was handed over to me. Any doubts, worries and fears I had, quickly dissolved as I swung out over the water and back in, high up onto the bank where I began. What followed next was multiple go’s. Chances to experiment and grow in confidence. Plenty of laughs. Increased levels of energy. And most importantly for me, a reminder of why this post’s title finishes with, ‘Is it even a question’. Play can look, sound and feel slightly differently for us all. But it’s benefits are there for all to see.

“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein

What’s Coming Up?

April 18, 2016 at 6:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz

As you may have read earlier in the year, remembering to rumble is our mantra for 2016. A big part of making this real is tuning into what needs to be rumbled with. As we navigate busyness, vulnerability and what’s next, what’s coming up can go unnoticed or be pushed into a ‘deal with that later’ pile. This is why this quote below from Jon Kabat Zinn has been an important one for us this year, acting as an anchor within our individual and shared journey of potential.

 “What is arising becomes the curriculum.” – Jon Kabat Zinn

I first heard these words during The Mindfulness Summit last October. Melli O’Brien, the driving force behind this online event, was interviewing Jon Kabat Zinn as part of her interview a day schedule with inspiring men and women from around the world. I loved the simplicity (and complexity) of the statement he made as he spoke about meditation. So often we can believe that meditation or mindfulness practices must result in a perfectly clear and peaceful mind. Really these practices provide us with moments (of varying lengths) of paying attention, focusing in without judgement, acceptance of what is, expressions of gratitude and getting curious about what is coming up.

“Having the courage to reckon with our emotions and to rumble with our stories is the path to writing our brave new ending and the path that leads to wholeheartedness.” – Brené Brown

All of this relates to why; we integrate practices into our days that serve particular purposes. If we don’t ‘have the courage to reckon with our emotions and to rumble with our stories’, then the ripples created by fear, inaction and potentially misplaced energies continue to prove and justify judgements (often critical) of ourselves, others and/or the world around us. But as we practice coming back to paying attention and embracing what comes up with curiosity, compassion and values guided purpose, we open up those paths ‘to write brave new endings’ and opportunities for ‘wholeheartedness’.

“What you resist persists. And only what you look at, and own, can disappear. You make it disappear by simply changing your mind about it.” – Neale Donald Walsch

We will keep remembering (and forgetting) to rumble this year. Each moment provides us with a new chance to practice!

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” – Sharon Salzberg

Innovation

April 4, 2016 at 5:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” – Theodore Levitt

Buzz words come and go, but daily practices are available to us always. What is focussed on, prioritised or made an emphasis in our individual or shared, personal or professional journeys creates ripples in our own and others lives. If you’ve seen the news lately here in Australia then ‘innovation’ would be one emphasis that politicians seem to be talking about at a macro level. In our 21st century evolving global village, with all its complexity, challenges and opportunities, innovation is being pitched as a key component to growth, competitiveness and adaptability. But what’s happening at the micro level to journey us there?

“Innovation is change that unlocks new value.” – Jamie Notter

Recently I’ve been in a school that has made innovation one of their school plan priorities. They’re trialling a few things that I’ve loved viewing and talking to students and teachers about. Like any change there seemed to be some initial resistance from those at the coal face to the idea of adding what could be extra work onto already bulging ‘to do’ lists. But after getting through this initial resistance most of the teaching staff who I encountered seemed to be energised and proud of how their ‘innovation corners’ in their classrooms had come together.

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing , you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

There were limited budgets. There was a timeframe that still included fulfilling all their other duties as teachers. There were classrooms full of students working in these spaces as the corners were evolving. Initial ideas expanded and developed as they came into reality. What I loved most though, as I spent time in various classrooms, was not two ‘innovation corners’ were the same. Each teacher owned this opportunity in their way.

“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell

Within this process the teachers put in a lot of thought about what would engage, support, challenge and/or inspire their particular cohort of students. For many the initial task took them out of their ‘at the coal face’ comfort zone. Issues of busyness, access to resources and comparison/judgement came rising to the surface. Once the task was started though a lot of these issues seemed to decrease. Now, most importantly, the students are enthusiastically using, experimenting with, taking ownership for and integrating these corners (and other innovations that this process has given birth to) into their daily practices. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

“The best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own. ” – N. Bushnell

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