Embrace

June 19, 2017 at 7:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last Friday night I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of an art show for ASPECT (Autism Spectrum Australia) here in the Illawarra. It was a night filled with great people, great art and great opportunities to support the amazing work being done in ASPECT’s educational settings. There were so many conversations, ideas and goings-on that had me inspired. But it was the speech by one of the featured artists that moved me most.

“Embrace what you were born with because it’s beautiful.” – Shay Mitchell

Cassandra Kavanagh is an incredibly passionate speaker. She’s also an incredibly talented artist. Her presence filled the room as she spoke from the heart about her own personal journey navigating life on the spectrum. It’s such a privilege when people let you in in this way. As we courageously and appropriately share parts of our lightness and darkness with others we can positively impact our own and others lives.

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” – Iyanla Vanzant

What I loved most during Cassandra’s speech was when she spoke about one of her wishes for our world. It involved that we don’t choose tolerate when it comes to difference. Instead we as individuals and groups choose embrace. I wholeheartedly agreed with Cassandra’s observations. The magic definitely happens within our homes, schools, workplaces and communities when our thoughts, words and action are wrapped up in genuine, caring and supportive embraces.

“We must not only tolerate others, but positively embrace them…” – Swami Vivekananda

The Difference

June 12, 2017 at 6:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There’s a big difference between knowing and doing. We’d all have experienced that I’m sure. If you’re anything like me it’s when those feelings of discontent begin rippling and start draining energy, momentum or ability to contribute. For me, it’s where I find myself asking, am I leading here?

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

I know soft plastics represent a massive challenge to our environment, clogging up land fill or our oceans, taking decades to break down and having a devastating impact on marine life. But until this past week I wasn’t fully aware of all the options available in the something I can do. I was filled with energy as I implemented a new purposeful practice of recycling soft plastic through the REDcycle program. It reminded me that leadership is in embodiment, aligned with our values, understanding and potential. Making a difference through our daily thoughts, words and actions.

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc

So this is where I’m at, will I now continue to implement this new purposeful practice? It will involve one small choice at a time. Plus, of course, forgetting from time to time. We’re all human, and that’s alright. But if we’re interested in leading (leadership is action, not position – Donald H. McGannon) then the difference between knowing and doing is important to us.

“Earn your leadership every day.” – Michael Jordan

It Really Does Take A Village

June 5, 2017 at 6:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sometimes you get subtle reminders. Sometimes you get sledgehammer reminders. While other times they’re anywhere in between. A certain series of events recently provided me with such a powerful reminder of how it really does take a village. Not just to raise a child as the quote goes, but also to support us as individuals and groups as we navigate the ups and downs that life inevitably presents.

“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.” – Mahatma Gandhi

A teaching friend’s face was definitely different when I saw her recently. Teachers, especially at this time of the year are balancing a very full plate, but there seemed to be something else going on for her as well. She indicated that she had something to ask me, and I could sense it was something outside of the work environment for her. I just didn’t know what it might be.

“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” – Erik Erikson

‘Does Explore Discover Act offer programs to support young adults who ….’ was the first question asked. She went on to explain the challenges currently being faced within a friend of hers family. We chatted for a while about the various ways Explore Discover Act are currently supporting client schools and community groups, some back story on her friend and friend’s family, and the support they have used in the past. That conversation was such a reminder of the role we play in each others lives and also the privilege it is when we are let in for the light and the darkness that makes up the full spectrum of connection we experience as humans.

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” – John Donne

As we spoke I thought of another friend who has experience and expertise in this area. That night I contacted her and she happily asked me to pass on her details if they needed support. I also then thought of another service that I’ve seen before who do a great job supporting individuals and groups in this space. These resources could be used as part of the puzzle of support that this family might require at this present moment or in the future. None of us can be everything to everybody. But each of us can play our part as it really does take a village of support to navigate the ups and downs that life inevitably presents.

“Before you’ve finished your breakfast this morning, you’ll have relied on half the world.” – Martin Luther King

Something really inspiring I found during this process was when I checked back in to see how it was all going a few weeks after the initial conversation. My teacher friend told me a story of how she had been visiting a family member in hospital when she encountered a lady who she didn’t know but was obviously going through something similar. Armed with new information my teacher friend was able to compassionately pass on information about the service I’d steered her towards a few weeks earlier. She obviously didn’t have to reach out in this way but she could tell it might really make a difference if she did. Because it really does take a village!

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