Saturday, 28 April 2012

May 2012 Newsletter

In this issue:

Reflections: Energy
News on Workshops
Inspiring Links

Reflections: Energy

The last month has been, well, difficult I suppose is a good word. All sorts of things have been going on, and at the same time I have felt so low in energy as to sometimes feel like hiding, crawling into bed and disappearing under the covers and not coming out. I haven't (not quite!) done this, and I have carried on, whilst reflecting on this experience with the help of good friends.

As a wonderful piece of synchronicity (or, should I say - there is no such thing as coincidence?) - last week's subject in the Year of Questions course I am doing with Fiona Robyn was about energy.

I remembered that I had written about this subject myself, nearly five years ago now, in my own book on coaching and creativity. I will include an extract for you below. It made me smile, reading words I had written, and thinking, "why have I forgotten this?!" The reference to a list of feelings is to an exercise in the previous chapter, about anticipation. If you would like to try the exercise mentioned, just reflect inwardly and see what word comes up when you ask yourself - "how am I feeling right now". And this works best if you don't censor yourself, the feeling may not be a 'polite' or a comfortable one.

From: Dare to Blossom: Coaching and Creativity 
Chapter 4: Energy and Evolution

 Now you have the list of feelings, can you use them to create more energy for yourself, a forward momentum? Every so often I think we all get a feeling of being stuck, not moving, even repeating the same patterns. I know I do.  A while ago I wrote the article below for my newsletter about waiting for the “flow”:

Mud flats – and the incoming tide
Reflections: written on a warm late summer day, sitting by the mud flats near the Camel Trail. (If you are not familiar with N Cornwall, this is a cycle track along the old railway line alongside the River Camel, though the vision of camel trekking is an attractive mental picture!)

I am looking up a creek away from the main river estuary. I can see an ancient landscape of fields, trees, hedges, and the salt marshes that are only occasionally covered by the highest tides. It is low tide now and the mud flats are exposed with streams cutting winding channels through them. The mud looks glutinous and smelly, but it is full of life, little worms and shellfish. The bigger pools have grey mullet swimming in them, splashing occasionally – though I can’t see them swimming beneath the surface as the water is murky. A breeze stirs the surface of the water; the tide has turned and is coming in steadily.

I feel sometimes that my plans and ideas are lost in a murky, muddy morass. I can’t see clearly what I should do next, or which way to go. Some of the steps I take feel like wading in the deep sticky mud.

Maybe I just need to wait for the tide to turn, in its own time – nothing I can do will speed it up. Once the tide covers the mud flats new life will sweep in, free to swim and feed and breed in a big expanse of open water.

The book I am working on has felt bogged down recently. I have been feeling that I have been working away at it but not getting anywhere. Some new ideas have just started emerging in my mind, maybe the tide is changing and I will soon find the right words.

Is there something you are trying to do that feels “stuck” or “bogged down”? Are you being too impatient? Would waiting for the “tide” – of ideas, of the seasons, of fashion or trends – to change make all the difference? If things you are trying to do seem difficult, a struggle, are you trying to “swim against the tide”? If you choose your time will the tide carry you along with it and take you where you need to go?

I thought about these questions and found the insights helpful: maybe I had been trying to swim against the tide, struggling against the current. If I relaxed and “went with the flow” my perspective would change and I would reach new understandings. I used this reflection to help me be patient in working on this book, and to give the process of writing the time it needs.

I have learned that my cycles of energy and progression (or evolution) mirror the cycles of nature. Sometimes literally with the seasons, sometimes to my own rhythm. I have times when I need to rest, reflect, recover my energy. This can be equivalent to the winter when nature lies dormant. The plants and trees may appear dead and infertile, but all the while their buds are developing, bulbs growing, seeds germinating, hidden from sight. Once conditions are right for each individual plant, perhaps in early spring or later in the early summer, the sap rises, the buds break, the flower shoots burst forth in new growth and blossom.

In my life I have observed that even when I seem to be repeating experiences, mistakes even, when I look closely there is a progression, an evolution. A spiral of experience as I grow and learn. I know now that I need to be conscious of these repetitions, and learn from them. If I want to avoid them coming round again, I can by fully observing (and learning and acting on) the lesson. There are lots of wise truisms about this, such as: “If you keep thinking the way you’ve always thought, you’ll keep doing what you’ve always done, and keep getting what you’ve always got.”

And Einstein said:"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Exercise: Generating energy from feelings
Over to you: using your list of feelings from the last exercise, choose one to start with and write for fifteen minutes about it with the intention of exploring how you can use the energy of that feeling to move you upwards in your individual spiral of evolution. Use the free flow method of writing. Time yourself and do not read or censor what you write, just let the words flow out onto the paper. It does not matter what you write, (it might be “I don’t know what to write.”), simply keep going. When you have finished read through what you have written and underline or highlight key phrases or lines. You may like to note these separately or simply leave them “be”, to see what else evolves from them.

When I did this myself again while writing this chapter I chose “freedom” as my feeling to write about. After writing for fifteen minutes and reading it back, the phrase I underlined was: “Freedom of thought – not to be afraid of my thoughts.” That definitely needed to be left to be and evolve.

Later I decided it would help to write about these questions. “Why freedom?”, “What for?”, and, “What will this do for me?” The answer that came up was, freedom to be me, the real me, all the different “me’s”, that are hidden away a lot of the time. I feel I have a lot more to work through on this for myself. On that occasion I didn’t even start to think about “not to be afraid of my thoughts” – which would generate a whole new series of questions to reflect on. Your work with this exercise may be similar in the way it changes and evolves each time you come back to it.

How does this tie in with creating energy for ourselves? In this context it is to do with knowing ourselves better. In my example above, the realisation was that most of the time it is only me stopping myself being “free to be me”. So the forward momentum I gain from this is: stop being afraid of my thoughts, take due consideration for others but not undue consideration. In other words: get on and do things once I am clear that it is right for me and what I really want.

Back to the dictionary once again:
Energy: noun(pl. energies)
1the strength and vitality required for sustained activity.
2(energies) a person’s physical and mental powers as applied to a particular activity.

Origin: Greek energeia, from ergon ‘work’.
It is interesting that the word “energy” derives from the word for “work”. We tend to think of work as “using” energy, not as “being" energy. Perhaps if we look at it this way it can change our perception of work as something difficult, hard, dull, and as using up energy. The most satisfying types of work are those that do energise us, help us feel full of life and enthusiasm and the joy of living. Those activities that help us grow and evolve and develop to our highest potential.

So, in my example, how can I use the energy of being clear that it is my choice to allow myself to experience freedom? In a very practical way, I can use it to motivate myself to put dates in my diary for myself that are as binding as a work appointment or a lunch date with a friend. It is up to me to choose to keep “dates” with myself, give myself permission to take time for rest, reading, or any other activity.

A final quote to end this chapter:  “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” (Seneca: Roman dramatist, philosopher and politician.)

Using the energy generated by clarity of thought and intention clears away the difficulties we put in our own way, and us to achieve the outcomes we have dared to dream.

© Mary Lunnen 2008

I hope you find this exercise interesting, if you try it and have any comments or questions it would be good to hear from you.

From my starting point of saying the last month has been 'difficult', I now feel that another way to describe it would be as a big step forward. I have come to some realisations and insights, taken some time to be tender and caring towards myself as well as others. 

News on Workshops:

The Daring to Blossom Workshop scheduled for 21 April did not take place - the date didn't seem to be a good one for many people, for others perhaps the subject was not attractive. My own feelings of exhaustion meant that it was almost a relief when I made the decision - which in itself is revealing. I always aim to speak honestly and authentically to you in these newsletters, and so I am happy to share that with you.

Thank you to those of you who responded to my recent survey, I could plan a "world tour" around some of the locations suggested by those of you whose reason for not being able to take part was the distance! Certainly in the future I hope to return to more locations in the UK. And also to look into online options too. 

The next workshop is on Saturday 21 July, the theme is 'A Time for Growth' - I am in the middle of writing a detailed description which will convey what you can expect - without being too prescriptive - always a challenge. Those of you who regularly take part in these sort of events, whoever runs them, will know that the magic for each person is in what happens around and between the structure planned by the facilitator.

I feel the description has to have a special something In order to attract more people who may not be familiar with this way of self-development (and those that are) as there are so many things going on that something has to stand out to gain your attention.

So - this workshop will help us to explore the concept in the Anais Nin quote that inspired the name for my business a number of years ago:

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

We will explore potential, how to 'feel the fear and do it anyway' in the title words of the book by Susan Jeffers, and how to give ourselves that push, the momentum to take that risk, to leap into the unknown. Have a look at the video link below which is relevant to this. Even eagles - those wonderful majestic, soaring birds - need a push!

Early Bird booking at a special price is already open for 21 July - and places are limited - so if you are already inspired to join us, please book early. Here is the
booking page, more details will be posted there soon.

I would love to hear from you with your thoughts and suggestions too. Just by reading this you are part of my wonderful support network - thank you for being there and witnessing my own developing and  'daring to blossom'.

Inspiring links:
A lovely short video: "Even Eagles need a Push".