Next of Now

June 27, 2016 at 8:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Having spent the better part of my life trying either to relive the past or experience the future before it arrives, I have come to believe that in between these two extremes is peace.” – Author Unknown

Our propensity for the next of now can be seen right throughout our days. We’re great at pre judgement, assuming, predicting, worrying, anticipating and the like. As Dr. Dan Siegel spoke about the other week at his Optimal Leadership Masterclass, we can become imprisoned by our top down thinking (already internalised beliefs, thoughts, words and actions through a combination of our brain + culture). I loved the phrase ‘next of now’ he used during the day. It acted as a reminder for me on so many levels.

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” – James Thurber

Last weekend I found myself in one of my favourite locations. Whilst bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, surrounded by close friends and their small children, we stopped to take in the beauty and tranquility of a waterfall that snaked its way beside the trail. Time seemed to stand still in the moments we had there. The sights, the sounds, and the feelings filled us all with a deep sense of presence, wonder and joy.

“When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.” – Osho

That feeling is invigorating, and it is one of the reasons why I am so grateful for any opportunity to spend time in nature. But also thinking of the moments in life when the opposite occurs, when next of now runs roughshod, reminds me why awareness is so important as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically. Where in your journey of potential does next of now rear its head? Where are you, and what are you doing, when you experience deep senses of presence, wonder and joy? What daily practices open up pathways to awareness for you and/or those within your spheres of influence?

“The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

MWe Time

June 13, 2016 at 7:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“The human mind is a relational and embodied process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” – Dr. Dan Siegel

Last Tuesday I had the privilege of being at Dr. Dan Siegel’s Optimal Leadership full day Masterclass. The Wake Up Project here in Sydney were hosting the event that had been marketed as, ‘Integrating brain science, mindfulness and experiential exercises, Dr. Siegel will introduce you to the ‘next generation skills’ for improving your well­being, resilience and relationships’. When I first read about the event that description above resonated with me both personally and professionally. I was very excited for the opportunity to be in attendance and the day most definitely lived up to the high hopes I had for what I’d get out of an experience like this.

“One of the key practical lessons of modern neuroscience is that the power to direct our attention has within it the power to shape our brain’s firing patterns, as well as the power to shape the architecture of the brain itself.” – Dr. Dan Siegel

We’d all agree that it can be all too easy to slip into distraction, fear and overwhelm within our journeys of potential. We all navigate daily successes and challenges, amidst a variety of complex interactions with self, others and the world around us. But as leaders we know we are capable of using our empowered daily thoughts, words and actions to make a difference. This is why the integration of effective practices is so important, so we can keep coming back to exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically, even amidst the uncertainty that we inevitably encounter.

“Integration is not the same as blending. Integration requires that we maintain elements of our differentiated selves while also promoting our linkage. Becoming a part of a ‘we’ does not mean losing a ‘me’.” – Dr. Dan Siegel

Mindsight, created by Dr. Dan Siegel, involves the development of insight, empathy and integration for us as individuals and groups. As Dr. Siegel spoke about on Tuesday, ‘instead of being a prisoner of the past, we can become pioneers of the future’. He used 3 points to discuss our connection to and service of the Next Generation. Those being supporting the future, in the present, by building on the past. Here is where we are able to move ‘SELF’ from a singular noun to a plural verb. This ‘MWe’ sees us tapping into the true human narrative, one of connection and collaboration. 

“Studies are very clear:  When we help others, we all win.  Compassion and Empathic joy are the outcomes of integration.  And these are the realisation of the fact that our “self” is both embodied and relational—we are more than the boundaries of our skin.

And with this integrated way of being, we all can reap the benefits of living authentically and cultivating connection with a deeper and wider sense of self as a MWe. MWe can do this, and together we can!” – Dr. Dan Siegel

There were so many take away messages, ideas and practices that I picked up from the day. One that I found to be of high importance and wanted to share to close this post was when Dr. Siegel spoke about how ‘intention sets the stage for attention’. It is truly remarkable but ‘where attention goes, neural firing flows, that’s where neural connection grows’. Starting here, with the capacity to choose intention, we can do the work around and honour the wisdom in self through further developing and fostering insight – know self, empathy – open to and concerned for others, and reawaken through integration – see interconnectedness. Want to make a difference, it starts with MWe!

“The brain is a social organ, and our relationships with one another are not a luxury but an essential nutrient for our survival.” – Dr. Dan Siegel

Reflection

June 6, 2016 at 4:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey

Facilitating for a new client the other week reminded me of such a vital element within our program experiences. The Assistant Principal commented half way through the day how much he and the students were loving the activities and games they were participating in. But more importantly he commented how much he was loving the reflection opportunities that accompanied each of the activities and games. This is something that we are very purposeful about.

“What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?” -Frederick II

The fullness and richness of experiential learning means there can’t just be doing. Experiential learning is a combination of ‘learning through reflection on doing’. Like the old saying goes, it takes two to tango! Absolutely we want to offer activities and games within our programs that are engaging, challenging and fun. But without the opportunity and time to reflect on and connect to the individual and/or group teachable moments, then we aren’t living up to and embodying a commitment we make to ourselves and our client schools. That is connection to meaningful action beyond each program experience.

“Our power lies in our small daily choices, one after another, to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.” -Mollie Marti

At the end of the program day we received back from the Assistant Principal mentioned at the start of this post our feedback form. The comment at the bottom read, ‘Thank you for a wonderful day. Both the students and staff enjoyed your enthusiasm and knowledge. We look forward to working with you more, in the near future’. What a privilege it is to engage, support and inspire Stage 3 students within their learning and leadership journeys. Also, what a privilege it is to be able to engage, support and inspire the teachers who will have daily contact with the leaders we encounter through our program days.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

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