A Circle of Women.

A Circle of Women.

Women’s circles perfectly illustrate the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Women’s circles are formal or informal gatherings in the interest of bonding, sharing energy, and creating ritual. The origins of women’s circles are ancient, but their applications are as modern as the women who participate in them.

There are no hard and fast rules as to how to form a women’s circle or how to run one. Some circles invent their own agendas, rituals, goals, and ceremonies, while others borrow ideas from sources as far-ranging as Buddhist or Native American cultures. Some circles are open to new members at all times, while others prefer to practice with a set number of members, closing the circle once that number is reached.

In a typical gathering, the women who are present sit in a circle. Generally, for the sake of cohesiveness, one woman is chosen to lead the circle each time. Allowing a different woman to lead each meeting allows for a multi-perspective approach to the process. One circle leader may choose to create and teach a ritual involving using the voice to release negative energy, while at the next meeting another leader may feel inspired to lead a silent meditation.

On the other hand, a circle may choose to be more focused over the long term and gather around a particular intention, such as working together to determine a course for healing Mother Earth. When the healing feels complete, the women may choose to stay together with a new focus for their work, or the circle may disband.

At their best, women’s circles perfectly illustrate the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The work that can be accomplished within the loving embrace of our sisters is far more powerful than what we could achieve on our own.

If you are not already part of a circle, you may want to start one. Follow your intuition as to the women with whom you’d like to work, reach out to them, and set a date to begin. After that, you can simply allow the circle to create itself.

Men need not be forgotten when it comes to circles and they, too, can come together to form their own circles and create strong bonds and healing in a way that is specific to all men.

By Madisyn Taylor
Learning from Children.

Learning from Children.

By Madisyn Taylor

When we approach children with the awareness that they can teach us, we become more present ourselves.

As grown-ups, we often approach children with ideas about what we can teach them about this life to which they have so recently arrived. It’s true that we have important information to convey, but children are here to teach us just as much as we are here to teach them. They are so new to the world and far less burdened with preconceived notions about the people, situations, and objects they encounter. They do not avoid people on the basis of appearance, nor do they regard shoes as having only one function. They can be fascinated for half an hour with a pot and a lid, and they are utterly unself-conscious in their emotional expressions. They live their lives fully immersed in the present moment, seeing everything with the open-mindedness born of unknowing.

This enables them to inhabit a state of spontaneity, curiosity, and pure excitement about the world that we, as adults, have a hard time accessing. Yet almost every spiritual path calls us to rediscover this way of seeing. In this sense, children are truly our gurus.

When we approach children with the awareness that they are our teachers, we automatically become more present ourselves. We have to be more present when we follow, looking and listening, responding to their lead. We don’t lapse so easily into the role of the director of activities, surrendering instead to having no agenda at all. As we allow our children to determine the flow of play, they pull us deeper into the mystery of the present moment. In this magical place, we become innocent again, not knowing what will happen next and remembering how to let go and flow.

Since we must also embody the role of loving guide to our children, they teach us how to transition gracefully from following to leading and back again. In doing so, we learn to dance with our children in the present moment, shifting and adjusting as we direct the flow from pretending to be kittens wearing shoes on our heads to making sure everyone is fed and bathed.
Making Time

Making Time

It’s a common dilemma. There never seems to be enough time. In my twenties and well into my thirties this was a frequent complaint of mine. “I just don’t have enough time”! Or “I will when I find the time.” As if time was playing hide and seek with me and I just needed to keep looking for it.

I was obsessed with time. Always wearing a watch, always checking to see where those precious hands were pointing. And scared to waste a mere minute on something trivial or, God forbid, fun. Scheduled to the minute with no breathing room, time was my nemesis.

My relationship with time began to change when I had my first child. Time began to change right in front of my eyes. It became more treasured and precious. But it also changed consistency and become more malleable.

It appeared I could change my perception of time, stretching it out. I couldn’t do the impossible, and add more minutes into my day, but I could slow down the time I had been given.

Unconsciously at first, I began to make small changes that seemed to give me the time I thought was missing. I felt like a child in a candy-shop at first, like I’d uncovered special sci-fi secrets that bent time against its will.

These three changes have stuck with me over the years and are tools I always lean on if I find myself out of time.

1. Single-tasking

Having children meant more to do. More laundry, more mess, more everything. And at first pass, it’s tempting to buy into the illusion that multitasking will help save time. Washing the dishes, while baking the cookies. Hang the washing and pull those weeds that have popped up.

But what I found (aside from burnt cookies), was that rather than helping, multitasking just made me feel chaotic and even more pressed for time.

Instead, what I found was that by doing just one thing at once, and finishing it before starting the next thing, I felt calmer and more relaxed. And it made me feel like I had been gifted a few more minutes!

2. Overestimating

I have been a chronic over-scheduler my whole life. And when I thought about why I was doing this (and consequently running late, or feeling robbed of time), I realized it was often because I was underestimating how long tasks or appointments would take.

So I started to overestimate. Hair appointment? Three hours. I have very thick hair! Grocery shopping? At least an hour in a small town where I know every third person.

And this overestimating did two things. It automatically reduced the length of my daily to-do’s. With each task taking an average of 30 minutes more, I simply didn’t have space for so many.

And second, it made me feel as though I had the luxury of more time. Sometimes we forget that it’s only ever ourselves in charge of how we spend our time.

3. Noticing

I also found myself noticing more. Rather than rushing through each task on autopilot, I found that if I paid closer attention to what I was doing, time seemed to go a little slower.

From little tasks, like watering a plant, to bigger ones like making a meal, I paid deeper attention to the mini-tasks inside each job. I took closer notice of what the plant looked like, and I paid attention to the texture and smell of each vegetable I cut.

This deep noticing, a mindful activity, gave time a sluggish feel. I began to feel a sense of happy meandering instead of thoughtless rushing.

And I began to feel as though I had found more time.

Change your perception. Change your life.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman has called time a ‘rubbery thing’, stating; “It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, ‘Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,’ it shrinks up.”

Research by Eagleman and others in this field has shown that mindfulness meditation increases the perceived duration of a task. Essentially slowing down the feeling of time.

When we focus our attention on the here and now we can change the way our brain stores information via attentional processes.

For me, this change in perception is life-changing. The freedom that comes with no longer feeling so rushed, busy and out of time is priceless.

Of course, there are still times when I slip back into autopilot, but now that I know the secret to slowing my time, it doesn’t take long to pull out my tools again.

And it’s no longer a secret. Extra time is available to anyone willing to turn off autopilot and try something a little different.

You don’t need to hunt for lost time anymore. Just pay deeper attention to the time you have. It works. I promise.

By Emma Scheib

When is enough?

When is enough?

Where do you derive your sense of enough?

Is it from feeling full after a delicious meal or from reaching a certain distance during an afternoon run? Perhaps you measure enough by how many tasks you accomplish at the office, how many likes your new post gets, or how many smiles you give and receive over the course of a day.

Enough is defined as “as much as is necessary; in the amount or to the degree needed.”

But for many, enough falls short. To put it simply, enough is not enough. What’s necessary or needed is ignored in favor of what will bring us fleeting highs, external validation, or temporary admiration.

As we continually push the bounds of enough, we might lose sight of what matters: the roof over our head, the shoes on our feet, the car, bus, or bicycle we rely on for transportation, the long-term relationships we cherish, the clean bill of health we easily take for granted, the water in our faucets, the food on our table.

Instead, we focus on how we’ll achieve our next milestone, mistakenly believing that each new accomplishment will solidify our standing, or better yet, improve it. We seek bigger spaces to fill with bigger and better things, hoping that more square footage will lead to lasting contentment. We chase novelty in fleeting trends and passing crazes, forgetting that these too are designed to leave us in a constant state of yearning.

When enough is no longer enough, we’re destined for disappointment.

Hedonic adaptation refers to our tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major recent positive or negative events or life changes. When we graduate college, get a promotion, or buy a new television, our expectations and desires rise accordingly. In other words, we’re no longer satisfied with the way things were because we grow accustomed to the way things are now, and the degree of freedom, choice, and privilege they afford.

Rather than seeking long-term happiness, fulfillment, success, and recognition through short-term pleasures, we can reimagine our understanding of enough.

We can stop confusing essentials with excess and start celebrating being able to meet our basic needs. We can ask ourselves:

  • What do I need to do to keep my body healthy?
  • What do I need to eat to ensure I don’t go hungry?
  • Where do I need to cut back so I can pay my bills/ reduce my debt/ save for something enjoyable?
  • What relationships are most important to me and how can I help them flourish?
  • Where in my home do I feel most joyful/ energized/ relaxed/ inspired? How can I tap into this feeling with what I already have?
  • How does my present job enable me to find a greater sense of meaning or purpose?
  • Which of my belongings/ hobbies/ relationships detracts from my recognizing that what I have is enough?

Most importantly, we can acknowledge that our deepest source of enough must come from within ourselves. Before we can expect any person, place, or possession to contribute meaningfully to our lives, we must know and believe that we alone will always be enough; that nothing external will make us whole or our lives complete; that our value is not determined by what we do or what we own; that seeking to feel like we’re enough through any other means will not replace our need to be enough for ourselves.

Knowing that you are enough is not an invitation to stop growing or striving, but an opening to honor these qualities within yourself. It allows you to find enrichment in the midst of difficulty and encourages you to make the most of what you’re given.

When we are enough for ourselves, we gravitate toward creating lives that prioritize our values over our possessions; that foster healthy, supportive relationships; that enable us to recognize what we have control over and what we don’t; that continually allow us to connect with and share our strengths; and that provide a model for others to do the same.

Today, instead of seeking more, I invite you to seek enough. When you fill your plate, let one helping be enough. When you spend time with loved ones, let their mere presence be enough. When you exercise, let your efforts be enough. When you work, let what you get finished be enough. When you check social media, let one time be enough. When you walk in the door, let your surroundings be enough. When you go to bed, remember that you alone are enough.

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About the Author

Emily Rose Barr, of A Soul Awake, is a lighthearted creative who pauses to take note… of laughter, color, conversation, open doors, and finer details.

3 ways to improve innovation at your company, now!

3 ways to improve innovation at your company, now!

CEOs are struggling to embed innovation as a grass-root movement in their companies.

As a people strategist in the quest of human-centered workplaces that boost innovation as a company differentiator, I found the value of highlighting the linchpin between a confluence of generations in the workplace and organizations’ success in a digital disrupted world.

The following article, by Joan Michelson (@joanmichelson) for Forbes, states that putting aside assumptions about age permits CEOs to embrace the richness of different perspectives of the workforce. Across generations, workers are looking for purpose, challenge and autonomy. Creating a workplace culture where people feel they are accepted, can do meaningful work and can thrive is a must.

http://bit.ly/3agrI48

@gapinvoid

In the next article, Diane Fanelli (@Diane_Fanelli) writes for HR Technologist that creating an environment of trust, where employees do not feel negatively stereotyped because of their age, can be the first step to building a conducive environment for a productive multigenerational workforce -a great competitive advantage for companies that embrace innovation.

http://bit.ly/3adL6yw

These 2 articles highlight 3 next action item that every CEO may take in the next 3 days:

  • Understand the demographics
  • Listen and acknowledge
  • Promote age-diversity

You already count with an innovation lab in your organization, it is only a matter of unleashing the power of collaboration and crowdsourcing, to tackle your most difficult problems that are precluding to deliver the customer experience you promised.

@gapinvoid @randyhlavac #NUMarketing

#innovation #multigenerations #collaboration #crowdsourcing #leadership #CEOs