Adapting to our own uniqueness

With the new year upon us I feel a surge of energy, as though many of us are at a similar point, this being the cross roads and wanting to step into the unknown land beyond.  To move out of our comfort and rise bravely into the upward flow, into our own unique power.  This collective feeling is powerful in itself – collective goals, visions and intentions really do set the energy flow for the planet.  Our ripple, our energy, is as important as anyone else’s, we are each responsible for lifting and ultimately loving each other.

So how will we adapt to this new feeling, these new changes?  What will prevent the retreat?

Having recently returned from a magical trip 250Km north of the arctic circle, I feel compelled to share some observations from being briefly immersed in raw nature which never fails to quickly reveal life force adaptations at their very core.

In conditions of -30 degrees celsius, four hours of subdued daylight Dec-Jan, permafrost and deep snow from Oct through to June, life gets stripped back to basic pretty quickly.  Observing how the natural environment adapts can give us insights and clues as to where we, as humans, can possibly apply the same learnings.

Flora:

Trees: The back bone and I feel also connected to the neuro pathway and heart of our planet, in these harsh conditions they conserve energy, they have enduring resilience and they unashameably rest.  They preserve themselves, take care of themselves, knowing that ultimately this is taking care of their species and beyond.

They are tall and slender, arrow like, allowing themselves to reach the little light there is, plus shedding the burden of heavy snow that collects.  They have short root systems allowing them to grow in the shallow layers of earth that defrosts quicker.  In the dry conditions they conserve water by having a waxy bark and needles.  They grow quick and adapt fast when conditions allow.

They grow along-side their neighbours, providing shelter for one another against the harsh winds and create collaborations of nutrient and water exchange, they absorb our unwanted gas (Co2) and provide us all unconditionally with fresh new oxygen.

Fauna:

Like the flora there are minimal species that can survive such harsh conditions but those that do are incredibly successful.  The two I want to mention are the Reindeer of which there are more of than people and the Alaskan Husky.

Reindeer: They are so well equipped with tools for survival, just to name a few:

  • their hide is thick and in layers, collectively protecting from wet and insulating from the extreme cold.

 

  • hooves, soft in summer, hard in winter, clicking ankle tendons enabling communication in the darkest of conditions.

 

  • special ultra violet vision, seeing predatory urine and silouhettes on the horizon

 

  • Huge herds, timely rutting and extremely fast birth (90 mins) all linked to seasons and conditions. They are a master class of adapatation.

 

Alaskan Husky: The only mammal on the planet that can run up to 200km a day for seven days on the trot. Their endurance is simply remarkable.

  • They work as a team; those most experienced conserve every ounce of energy. They don’t even sit till they are sure they are about to run, and only then do they stand, and then with every bit of energy, they run out of the gate and hate to be told to stop.

 

  • They huddle together for warmth at rest, as soon as the run is over they lie down.

 

  • They choose their position in the pack, they know and play to their strengths and the females are predominately the leaders.

Light: Take sunlight away and you are left in darkness.  Take darkness away and you are left only with light.  The challenges each environment brings are equal in measure.

In the physical sense, continuing to work and maintain motivation while living in darkness and other extreme conditions, takes extreme adaptation. Only the life-maintaining tasks are important, the rest is extra.  From just being in this environment for a few days, experiencing first-hand how quickly body heat and energy deplete, it has given me even more profound respect to all those organisms enduring these conditions for months on end.  The simplicity of the fire and all that it symbolises: warmth, light, food, hope, rest, security….it really is that simple at times.

We humans like to over complicate everything. We believe we must work to live whereas other species simply live.

 

What can we learn?

  • Looking after self is imperative to the success of the whole. The whole as ‘self’ and the whole as ‘us’, the planet and its occupants.  This is not a selfish act, it is key to ultimate survival.  It begins with SELF LOVE, only through loving ourselves enough to respect our own needs in our own environment can there begin to be any understanding and awareness of what our neighbours require.  Love and acceptance of self is where success begins.

 

  • We all have our own seasons, metaphorically speaking. These seasons bring periods of growth and abundance and those of perceived lack; in motivation, energy, creativity, resources. Here we can learn to reframe these perceptions and learn where it is important to conserve our energy.  To rest, recharge, and know when to begin to sow again.  The natural seasons come and go, as do our working/life seasons.  We can predict our yearly spring and we can predict our yearly winter, we can do this annually and throughout our lives.  These do not need to mirror nature’s seasons, but our actions do well to follow nature’s lead.  This is where looking sideways at others in their own season is unhelpful.  You, and only you, know where you are at and where you are aiming.  Keep that vision clear, keep it true. It’s important to maintain our own routines and rituals, making clear our own intentions.  Let those around us see how we do it, therefore inviting them to do the same.  Let’s lead through our actions.  The huskies learn well from their peers, the youngsters soon learn that the energy they expel in all the excited barking and jumping is better placed on the actual run, than before. They soon learn where their unique strengths lie and naturally excel in that pack position.

 

  • What have you got which makes you unique? Each of the species in these harsh environments not only have, and celebrate, their own unique adaptations, but they also each collectively supported each other. Whether in large herds, forests or packs, they feed off one another’s energy. Like them we need support, we need to be in environments where we depend on each other’s success and not be jealous or overly competitive of one another.  Surrounding ourselves with like-minded positivity will fuel momentum and encourage bravery. Knowing we have a tribe to support us in our moment is enough to get us over the fear. Knowing what we need and having that clear intention attracts that tribe. First step is to ask.

 

  • Balance is key. Whether 24 hours of light or darkness, both have the capacity to drives us mad. The ideal is balance, and when the balance is tipped temporarily in one direction, the key is planning, adaptation and simplicity.  This can be applied to everything.  Too much work leads to burn out, too much rest leads to boredom.  Knowing what grounds us, reconnects us and builds us vs what takes from us, depletes us and blocks us, is essential for creative adaptation and success.  I know that I can easily slip into ‘permanent on’, and I struggle to find the off switch. This can drive anxiety of overwhelm, panic and ultimately leaves an empty shell. At the same time trying to be ‘off’ at home feels false.  The only true place I can be off and truly 100% present is when surrounded by nature.  It is core to my very being.  I am so quickly absorbed,  inspired, and in awe, that I leave behind my monkey brain for a few moments.  Knowing this is key to my existence, to my success. I need to get outside every day.  There is no excuse of no time as the consequences are too profound on those I love, including myself, if I don’t. Know your needs and put them first. Make a daily date with self.

Like the fire, we all work better with a beacon of light guiding our way. This light keeps us focussed, determined and stepping forward.  When we work out what we need as our light, we can build it into our routine. Is it an image, a person, an experience, a vision/goal, a habit, a ritual? You, and only you, know your light – so use it.

With this new year I feel hopeful, and it is the first time in a long time. We have such power within each of us not only to achieve individually but collectively too.  I am excited to work with those who feel the same energy and who are vibrating on this wavelength.  It is my intention to partner those who are on the cusp of change, who are ready to look at a new horizon and choose who they want to be, what they want to represent and who they want to inspire.  Each of us has that choice every day, waking up to accepting our own uniqueness, recognising our own strengths and celebrating those in others.

Welcoming in 2018 with an open, grateful heart, and ready to help you adapt to your own uniqueness.

With love

Sam

Design Web Creation; Danish Delivery, A Real Time Positive Transition

The summer has arrived, the wind and earth is warm, the seeds have matured and are yielding fruit, so now it is my time to do the same. In dealing with a big transition of my own, nature is a constant inspiration as I strive to create the ideal environment in which my family will flourish. This is my time to sew hardy seeds, to nurture, love them, and protect them. Allow them the time, space and optimum conditions to dig deep, grow strong and generate sturdy, healthy and sustainable yields that carry us all through this next real time positive transition.

As introduced in my previous blogs in this Danish Delivery series.  I am using the Design Web Model, created by Looby Macmanara to help manifest our ideal scene for our real time positive transition; The Danish Delivery.

In this blog I wanted to look in more detail at the ‘how’. How do you proactively create and manifest your ideal scene when faced with such a seemingly overwhelming prospect?

Where to start – Reflection and Pause

When you begin, and you really can begin anywhere, then the design will flow naturally. The key is to start!

To begin my design using this model I took the Design Web diagram of the 12 anchor points.

[diagram taken from people and permaculture with permission from Looby Macnamara]

Twelve scraps of paper, and coloured pens, and I sat in my greenhouse.  I knew already that my design topic would be about our ongoing transition to Denmark and all that it entailed.

I had no title, just twelve blank bits of paper.  Without thought I began. I wrote each anchor title in the middle of the page, I read the open questions linked to each anchor out loud, and wrote down anything and everything that came to mind. I attached no judgement to the words, and used symbols, pictures, underlining, bold, capitals…however it appeared was simply how it happened naturally.

I took my time but did not dwell on each anchor, it was okay whatever came on that day, at that time.  I guess in total I spent about 30 minutes brain dumping my thoughts.  IT FELT SO GOOD!!

When do we ever do that? When do we ever take that 30 minutes to get rid of all that stuff that we are carrying around and put it down onto paper?  The freshness it gave me, the insights it generated, triggered more thoughts.  That one simple exercise gave me the space to begin thinking creatively.  It gave me momentum to continue, it gave me energy, drive and focus to move forward with the process.  It’s not to say that my way was wrong or right, I don’t enjoy language like good / bad – it doesn’t add value to the conversation.  If you want to, and it’s your style, then you could spend hours delving deeper into each anchor point.

You could do this up front and then again and again throughout the process.  The point is to do what fits you, what helps you, what allows you to grow in confidence in your thinking and your expression of action.

Often when designing we are not starting from scratch, often there are systems in place already or relationships that need to be incorporated into a new design.  This can be distracting and possibly even hinder creativity.  It is good practice to leave all assumptions, habits and processes aside, and design from the ground up.  See this as your white canvas, your empty flower bed, your new website, new team, new house.  However, you like to process ‘new’ then gift yourself a few moments and work systematically through the design web anchors and see what happens.  When we allow our thoughts to flow in a non-judgemental and compassionate way using a systematic thinking process, ideas simply float to the surface like water lilies smiling on a pond.

The beauty of the Design Web is that each anchor point is a whole system of thinking and creativity on its own, which reach out and connect with others.  This allows us to visualise clearly the connections.  Some may be previously known, too obvious not to, but others may be new, showing the subtlety of the design and connectivity of the whole.  This is where I often think of those circles of mushrooms that pop up in the damp months of late September/ October.  They appear over-night, all connections made underground, unseen by the eye yet so apparent in the creation of perfect fairy communities.

What is key in this design model is increasing the opportunity for self-awareness and self-observation.  Noticing your thoughts, your habits, the areas you find trickier than others to complete as these provide us with an insight into what is holding us back.  We can use these clues in de-layering a number of the 12 anchors but first we need to notice them.

Reflection and pause became a key component of my design from very early on.  Gifting myself the opportunity to pause, notice, reflect and adapt.  These pause moments came at my ‘sit-spots’ (future blog on its way).  Key areas for me around my house, garden and local walks where I feel most connected with nature and therefore most open hearted to experience.  I will examine this in more detail in a future blog but for now they are simply places for reflection.

Taking the next step – Vision

The next steps are to add textures and colours to the bare bones of the design.  In my brain dump exercise I noticed that the vision anchor point came very easily to me, it was the page with the most writing on.  It therefore, made sense and felt right for me to begin in more detail there. BUT REMEMBER, this is a web of connections, you can begin anywhere, and flow anywhere you like after that.

 ‘A time for unboundaried dreaming, to express what abundances we want to create and our ideals; our ideal self, livelihood, family, group and community’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.

I could visualise my ideal scene; how I want to feel; what success would look like; the conversations I would be having; the joy expressed in the hearts and minds of my children. HOWEVER, often it is very difficult to visualise your ideal scene and the open questions alone may not be enough. Here is it often helpful to partner up with a professional who can help with visualisation techniques, or get creative with a vision/mood board, or tell a story, or get painting. Once you begin to vocalise it, the connections begin to appear. You will begin to see what skills and resources you have internally and externally, and what you currently need. This then steps you gently into the next phase of the Design Web, your Helps and Limits anchor points.

Helps and Limits

‘We can overcome our modesty and value what we have’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.

To systematically push this forward it can be useful to conduct a skill audit (an internal resource audit) as well as identify and document the external resources to hand.

For this exercise, I began to think about my passions, my natural instinctive skill set, my current knowledge, abilities, strengths, joy, humour. I then repeated this for my direct family. In addition, I focussed on the external helps. I thought about our support networks, the community, friendship circles, professional bodies, both for myself and my family.  Before long I had an extensive and comprehensive list of Helps, where before I began I could have easily been of the assumption this was limited.

This is such a huge area to explore and one I personally find fascinating, I have already written a blog on this called ‘Self-Awareness and Limits are your answer’.  The limits we impose on ourselves are numerous, some we are conscious of but others not so.  The patterns we reinforce routinely, which may have been of benefit in the past, are so ingrained in our behaviours now that we don’t see how they are no longer relevant or helpful, particularly to the focused task in hand.

To take some time identifying these and building a bigger appreciation of their hold over us, can be the golden nugget of information needed to really make a huge positive shift. Building on limits or limiting patterns can help in providing nutrients to feed the integration anchor point.

Ideas and Principles

At this stage I could feel the ex-project manager in me biting to build a table and get started on exactly how and who and when and what. But before all that I took another breath, another pause and reflected on what I had learnt so far.  Another reason for the integration of the sit-spot practice or core routine, to create a naturally engaging habit which spores creative energy.  Here in this anchor point you can really play. Play with anything that comes to mind. You may want to use random objects to represent key areas of your design, you may be inspired by your natural environment and it may trigger an idea.  Any wild wacky crazy thought is valid.  Every time you are working on other anchor points and something clicks or triggers an idea, just jot it down here.  You may not have an idea how it connects together yet, but that’s okay, the key is not to lose it.  Don’t lose those inspirational nuggets of intuition, they are priceless.

Using the permaculture principles here does not need to be onerous. I simply chose one which best fitted the purpose, the overarching focus of my design and I used this sometimes on walks or at the sit-spot for inspiration. Sometimes just as a sort of grounding mantra…to create some space from the last attention focus to the now. I also attempted to use them in the integration anchor to enhance the efficiency and productivity of the design.  If I ever felt like I was wavering off point I would use them as a first stop to create momentum.  I also used other inspirational cards that a colleague had made, what ever is best fit to keep the momentum in the design flowing.

Integration and Action

‘Finding ways of how to reach our vision and designing the pathway there’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macmanara

Now we are talking to an ex-project manager! However, I felt the most blocked at this particular stage!  It took me much longer than I anticipated to put all the thoughts and learnings into a useful format to process.  I had to personally work through the egocentric ‘overwhelmed’ moments.  It is a big anchor point this one, it’s where we really start making the shit real!

Metaphorically I took a frying pan of limits and flipped them on their heads like a pancake. For example, transparency in communication is key to the success of our Danish Delivery.  This can be broken down into quite a few functions of communication and stemmed from identifying communication breakdowns as a possible visible, and in some cases invisible, limit.  From this we created a function ‘create a functioning positive, transparent communication flow’ then from this you can begin to add the filling to the pancake –  for example, create a zoom/skype family account, share dates, events proactively, agree a communication plan, avoid assumptions, set up routines for communicating including appreciation and gratitude etc. etc. The next step is to decide how often you want to eat pancakes and do you want them as savoury and sweet; bi-weekly, mini family chats, 1:1 etc.

Whilst this took a long time, it created the most useful information which is the bedrock for this design.

It was however in the form of a table and by now I was in desparate need of more colour and playing with pens, before creating another table of actions.  So here I made some mandalas [nowadays a more generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe] I took a blank page and started drawing patterns, grouping topics from all the raw data I had. Getting creative helped me identify 6 key functions to our design and 12 key systems.  With this I was able to create an action table of deliverables based around this concept.

Please remember no way is the wrong way, or the right way, it’s just your way.  A plan can be as simple or as complicate as you need. It can flex up and down as you flow through your design. The simple facts are to keep it achievable, realistic, fun, motivational, easy to use and positively double jointed, allowing it to move where it needs to go.

Momentum and Appreciation

‘Trees do not grow overnight, nor does our fitness or healthy relationships.  Being patient with the natural processes make the most of our efforts’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.

Procrastination… it’s a killer of all great ideas, avoidance, lack of patience, not seeing or appreciating the positive steps forward no matter how small.  At this anchor it could be an idea to reflect back on limits and patterns and see if you can identify any behaviours, thoughts, blocks that may get in your way here.  Is there anything, anyone you can identify to be your sounding board? To help you through the cloudy days? Are there any agreements you can proactively agree with yourself and document up front that will help you identify and celebrate progress made?

In fitness, this is where you may fall off the wagon with a diet schedule or fitness regime because an illness or event kicked you off your path.  What can you do to plan for this and re-engage?

The key is diligence, keep going, with that focus.  If you need a break take a break with that key focus in mind.

Momentum in the Danish delivery is primarily focussed on trying out new communication methods and practising them with more regularity so they become more or less innate.  Commitment to self to not over assume, I am practising becoming more conscious when I begin to hear negative voices and sharing that vulnerability.  I believe actions will always speak louder than any words so the intention is to daily keep my garden watered, nurtured and productive both literally and metaphorically.

Appreciate the process, the journey, the steps you make, the dance you weave, those who helped, that which inspired.  Give love inwardly to ourselves, it is very much part of the journey and not to be missed as an anchor.  Taking the time here will further embed those new positive pathways, the new connections made in thinking and are highly likely to generate even more perhaps even bigger picture connection.

Nothing is lost by giving thanks, only more to gain.

In summary

  • Thank you for being part of this journey and design.
  • If you would like more in-depth information on the design web check out People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.
  • If you have any questions please get in touch.
  • I will be keeping you updated on our journey using videos on my YouTube channel, feel free to browse.

With love

Sam

A brief Introduction to Permaculture and the Design Web; Danish Delivery

In my previous Danish Delivery blogs, I have touched on the Design Web framework, created by permaculture expert, Looby Macnamara, which has been invaluable in helping to guide us through our own transition as a family. Here, I’d like to explore the principles of Permaculture and the Design Web, so you get a feel for how it can be used in many different scenarios.

The word Permaculture was originally coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1970s in Australia, to describe an “integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.”[1] The word ‘permaculture’ comes from ‘permanent agriculture‘ and ‘permanent culture‘ – it is about living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature. https://www.permaculture.org.uk/knowledge-base/basics

Nowadays, there are a number of definitions but in general it is also understood to mean a design system based on ecological principles – a sustainable way of living, but not just in terms of plant and food but in all aspects of life.

Permaculture to me in essence is witnessing and appreciating the intelligence, grace and compassion of our natural environment. Using nature’s knowledge and examples to assist us in creating resilient, harmonious and sustainable ways of living working at ground level and within society.  Pretty profound hey!

To learn more about permaculture you can visit https://www.permaculture.org.uk

As with many topics which interest you, the more you dig the more you find experts on the subject, and experts of experts!  However, like anything in life, you take what makes sense to you and leave the rest.

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Buddha

The key points are well described by Looby Macnamara in her book People & Permaculture.

Permaculture:

  • Uses nature as our guide
  • Thinks holistically
  • Is solutions based
  • Is a design system
  • Is based on co-operation and connections
  • Creates abundance and harmony

There are three ethics at the core of permaculture, earth care, people care and fair shares.  Along with this there are 12 basic overarching principles, which are tools or aids that help us to creatively re-design our environment and our behaviour.

permacultureprinciples.com – Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 AU

Much of the work in permaculture is focused around land-based systems.  Permaculture designs have been implemented in lives, homes, gardens, businesses and importantly in peace initiatives in Palestine and earthquake relief in Haiti, to name a few.

While I have a personal interest in applying the permaculture principles and design knowledge I have learnt in my garden, my focus here is on applying the main principles to people, in relation to transition and coaching.

The design models applied in land-based systems are linear in their approach.  When Looby Macnamara began designing her people-based model, she realised that a linear based system would not work as effectively when applied to people. As humans’ we are simply not linear in our approach, or thinking.  Hence the Design Web was born.

Image with permission from Looby Macnamara and taken from People and Permaculture.

This model provides a framework which helps enable our ideas from conception to reality.  It can be used in a huge variety of ways, for example designs around our own wellbeing, family life, community groups, schools or international projects.  I am currently using this model to help my family plan and map out our ideal scene for an ongoing life transition. This model helps us take a holistic view and feels more relevant than a linear plan. My current design is titled, Danish Delivery, and I’ll be sharing some highlights, insights and experiential learnings on my own personal design in my next blog.

As you can see from the design web model diagram above, there are 12 anchor points.  Each of these anchors focus on a different area of a design topic.  They can subtly overlap at times, but that is where the unseen/previously unknown connections often appear.  Using these 12 anchor points you can build up a 3D holistic picture, it feels more than a 2D 360 view.

You get to see where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there.  MAGIC!

What is great is the flexibility of the model, you can begin where you want, there is no right or wrong way.  It can adapt to meet your or the team’s current needs.  Each anchor has a series of open ended questions which are a guide, a trigger for thought.  You don’t have to go around the model in a fixed sequence, you can jump or dance forward or backward, depending on what is manifesting at each anchor.  You may not have all the answers, or information at that moment, so this allows you to move on.   At no time do you need to feel stuck, you can revisit the anchor when the time is right.

The Design Web model has all of the permaculture principles embedded within it and it encourages co-operation and connections to be made amongst anchor points.  The symbols used to further explain and describe the stages of the model are important to acknowledge, as they in themselves aid the thought process.  It is through witnessing and appreciating the intelligence, grace and compassion that our natural systems teach us. Allowing time for pause, reflection and appreciation.

There are 4 phases of life and they are used in the model [adapted from People and Permaculture]

Growth phase – Vision, Limits, Helps. The child phase of the design, the seed showing its potential and what is going to help or limit its growth.

Exploratory phase – Patterns, Ideas, Principles. The apprentice, young adult. The seed is growing roots and shoots, reaching out and exploring.

Productive phase – Integration, Action, Momentum. The adult now doing and producing a yield. The fruit of the tree.

Reflective phase – Appreciation, Reflection, Pause. The elder, introspective and insightful. Represented by the mature oak tree.

Alongside the Design Web are tools or techniques which you can use to add details to your anchors. I will provide some more information on the tools I used for my own transition design; Danish Delivery, in my next blog.

This overview is to give you a brief insight into Permaculture and the Design Web.  It is just one of many methods you can use to assist in manifesting your visions into reality.  Some of us find it easy to visualise our ideal scene, but some of us don’t.  What is important to remember is that with any great vision there needs to be an action plan that is fit for purpose.  With a structure, some tools and good old-fashioned grafting you can manifest your dreams.  Using this model, you can trust that what you are creating is for the greater good.

Next time I will share some personal highlights and insights on how I am currently using the Design Web model.  If you are in a transition yourself and would benefit from a safe non-judgemental space to create the best outcome, then please reach out.  I am also documenting our ongoing transition in a series of vlogs, feel free to take a look at my YouTube Channel.

With love and gratitude

Sam xo

[1] Mollison, B. and Holmgren, D. Permaculture One published by Corgi 1978

 

Holistic Approach to Transition; Danish Delivery

 

There are many ways you can ‘deal’ with transition or change.  You can simply let it happen by letting it happen to you.  Or you can be your change by stepping up, increasing self-awareness and by being brave.

In our latest transition as a family, we are stepping up to find our way to positively navigate another company relocation, something which we have experienced before on a number of occasions.  Relocating with a company supporting you, offers many opportunities and potential benefits.  However, there are also some obvious compromises you must make.  This time we are approaching the situation in a slightly different way, by taking a very considered and holistic approach to the ongoing transition.

We are doing this using a number of tools to help ensure we create the most abundant environment possible as an output of this transition.  Abundance that continues to support our family’s positive growth at this current time. We have invested a great deal of energy mapping out the transition journey that we feel best meets our current needs.

We have done this using a number of tools. Central to this is the creation of a ‘Design Web’ project, a framework developed by permaculture expert, Looby Macnamara.  This includes investing in core routines such as sit-spots for pause, appreciation, mind mapping, success logging, reflection, ideal scene setting, delayering limits, action and momentum planning –  all of which I will explain in more detail in further blogs.

Our overall intention for this next chapter of our lives is to let it lead us into further growth as a family and connect us deeper than ever before.  The golden thread that holds this all together is strong communication with each other.  The practical and logistical bits are obvious but we are trying a different approach to relocation which takes into account the not-so-obvious factors.  If we need to change our path we will, but for now we are trying on a new model by being brave.

By sharing our journey we hope to empower others to be brave too.  By having a voice and really communicating your individual needs and those of your family, you do not need to simply deal with transition, instead you can take ownership and ensure you remain positive and energised, so you all get the best possible outcomes.

Next time I will introduce Permaculture and the main principals of the Design Web.

You can also watch an ongoing series of short vlogs on our live transition on my YouTube channel.

If you are looking for a safe non-judgemental space to create the best outcome from your next transition then please reach out and make contact.

With love

Sam

 

Introduction to Danish Delivery – a real time life transition.

@jonwarrenart

As a transition life coach, I partner people through positive change by creating a safe environment where they can increase their own personal awareness, explore, create and plan out their ideal scene.  I work with clients to help remove blocks and un-serving patterns of behaviour and look to equip my clients with a positive tool belt for life.

When faced with our next, very real and significant life transition of our own, I wanted to embrace the opportunity to explore and share experientially, in as real time as possible, how we are positively navigating our way through as a family.  It is an opportunity to explore a holistic approach, new tools and a love of permaculture and apply its philosophy to a personal setting.  Using real time experiences and gaining ongoing insights I want to share this journey, the highs and lows. Enabling anyone who is facing a transition to pull on the learnings, tools and ideas, or just feel motivated to try something new, or reassured to know that they are not alone.

This next life transition stems from a company relocation opportunity.  As a family, we have relocated internationally several times already and so this does not come as a huge surprise to us.  However, this time we are approaching the situation slightly differently.  The relocation is happening now, summer 2017, and my husband is moving to Denmark to begin a new position.  We are still very much working through its infancy and we are trying out a new model of working as a family unit.

Having the opportunity to relocate with a company supporting you, comes with many benefits and we have used every opportunity that has come our way in the past to its fullest.  However, there are obviously also some compromises you must make.  This time we are taking a very considered and holistic approach to our family situation. By taking the time to think through everyone’s needs and importantly everyone’s perceived limits. This will afford us the opportunity to be more aware of our own beliefs and those around us, providing us with an opportunity to create abundance and positive growth from this next chapter in our lives.

Using a framework called the Design Web, created by Looby Macnamara as detailed in her book People and Permaculture, I have written up a project on this transition. Through this process we have identified our ideal scene, our limits, and created an action plan to help guide us effectively through this next period of change.

Through a series of short blogs and some videos I will look to share some helpful tips and ideas which can be applied to assist with any transition.  Be that a new project, a change of job, change of life status, change of garden design, it really doesn’t matter what the topic is.  You can watch an ongoing series of short vlogs on my YouTube Channel.

I am excited to have you join us on this journey, I will be learning and sharing as much as I can.  I hope you find the information useful and feel free to reach out if you need a partner in change or want to learn more.

With love

Sam

Image with permission from: http://www.jonwarrenart.com

Self-Awareness and Limits Are Your Answer!

Do you get hooked in?

Picture the scene, you bump into a friend and they immediately begin off-loading on you about how very busy they are, with work, kids, family and how everything sucks in life because of it. You are standing there taking it all in and you get hooked, like Velcro. You get pulled in and attach onto the mood or one of the emotions yourself.  Then you start to say things that were not even near to featuring in your thoughts until a second ago…

How many times do you hear yourself saying out loud things like:

‘I can’t, it’s not the right time. I don’t have the money right now. I wish I could, I just don’t have the confidence. I will do it, just not right now, it’s too much along with everything else.’

or your internal voice saying;

‘I want to do it differently but no one will understand me. What will they think? I don’t want to make a mistake, look stupid. What if I am wrong? I know I want to do it but it scares me. I can’t change it so may as well just accept it and be quiet. It’s not worth the stress. My needs are less important than everyone else’s so just get on with it.’

These are just a few examples of the daily chatter we have with ourselves and others, and often we never stop to even acknowledge what we are saying. We get hooked in and attached and let the chatter grow uncontrolled.  Although we cannot avoid the ebb and flow of our moods or our emotions, we can begin to notice them and then delve a little deeper.  The more times we hear the same chatter, the more times we repeat the same stories, the more we believe it and then take it as fact. But is it fact?

To shake up this pattern we first need to see it and hear it and look to remove our unconscious attachment to it, or in other words become more insightful and compassionate with ourselves.  It is not just about noticing only the seemingly negative emotions, it’s also about learning to recognise what triggers our good moods too. To know what brings these mood swing changes will help us understand that they are not so solid and are each a reaction to what happens to us in this world around us.

There are many ways to become more conscious in our daily lives, for example through more formal meditation and mindfulness practices such as yoga. But there are also other less formal ways to practise in everyday encounters.

The key is to begin to notice yourself and listen to what you are saying to yourself and others, to develop some increased self-awareness.  This can be achieved by actively listening to the conversations you are engaging in.  Hearing how many times you repeat the same story daily. Who do you engage with often? How do you feel afterwards? Has your mood been impacted?

During the conversation, before you jump in and offer your story, your side of events, perhaps ask yourself a couple of quick questions:

‘What value am I adding here and how can I best serve them and myself?’

By simply asking yourself a quick question before you jump in will bring you back to the present moment.  We have all heard about being more present, well that basically comes down to being more conscious and that in itself is a gift as it offers you more choice.

Then you have options, do you want to add fuel to the drama?

If so,  jump in knowingly and notice the emotions that it creates in you, like rage, anger, tiredness, sadness or excitement.  We all need a rant now and again; we all need to get it out.  Take a moment to notice, to say ‘hang on I’m here again’ and ask yourself what triggered you to attach to the conversation in the first instance?

Once you begin to notice the underlying cause, you can let the emotion or mood dissolve and give yourself a break, be kinder to yourself, more compassionate and choose ‘how to be’.

Practising this often naturally leads to a more conscious or mindful way of living.

So how does all this relate to limits being your answer?

With this increased self-awareness, I believe there is great insight to be had by identifying and writing down all our limits around any particular project or vision.  To clearly identify our own limits gives us our gems, nuggets, and clues to help us move forward.  We can creatively develop ideas to move around, through, under or over the perceived obstacle. I believe once we know our limits, we can get creative with them and turn them into our needs, our functions and integrate them into our action plan.

This is really useful when you are beginning something new, or facing a problem or challenge.  Perhaps a new project, or new relationship, a relocation, or new job… it really doesn’t matter.  If you are ready to brave up and listen to yourself then this is worth a try.

I must first acknowledge Looby Macnamara, as she has developed a Design Web model taking permaculture philosophies and applying them to people based systems [http://loobymacnamara.com/people-and-permaculture/].  She takes the limits and delayers them into 4 groups:

  • Visible Limits – these could be physical barriers such as distance or time zones, or if something like a garden project, pathways, pond, fence line etc.
  • Invisible Limits – such as unseen communication flows between teams, partners, family or energy levels of a team/group; the unknown skill level of individual or group; or unseen/spoken expectations.
  • Internal Limits – this is where self-limiting beliefs enter, how we see the world and other people.  Some are inherited, cultural or arrive via main stream media.  We have been conditioned since birth, ask yourself how are they showing up in this instance?
  • External Limits – these can be more practical limits for instance policies, regulations, school holidays, office hours, school hours etc.

Sometimes limits are missing in our lives, for example you may identify a need to set a boundary around your work or your health for example.

Take a moment to consider your situation, what is your vision i.e. what is the ideal scene you are looking to achieve for this ‘project’ and then consider what is keeping you feeling small when your ideal scene may appear so big? Get creative, draw up a table, diagram, or drawing, and note them all.

Here is your opportunity to get honest with yourself, what are you holding on to which is holding you back.  What do those behaviours look like? What is your comfort blanket?

We often use time and money as a real limit, which is legitimate as they are both a top line limit, but what is underneath each of them? Is the time or money an excuse? What is the base layer limit, is it confidence? Is it a limiting self-belief? What is really blocking your connection with your ideal scene?

Once you have them identified, do you see them forming any patterns, do they naturally correlate into groups? What are your priorities? Do these link to your core values? If you were to flip each one upside down, 180 degrees, and make it into a need, what would that need look like now?

I have recently taken myself through this exercise as part of a change that I am embarking on. It is a transition involving myself and my family.  Being able to document all my perceived limits in a clear format and then flip them into clear needs in my action plan has already given me huge insight and benefits.

Here are a few personal observations:

  • With all my perceived limits documented clearly in one place, some of them, already no longer appear as a limit! Those remaining do not now feel unsurmountable.
  • It has left me feeling more focussed with room for creative solutions.
  • It has given me a vehicle or vessel to discuss quite sensitive areas non-emotively with my partner.
  • I feel empowered as I have approached this transition differently with a greater sense of control and positivity.
  • The limits listed out provided the structure for my action plan. They provided the stepping stones and were easier to prioritise than expected.
  • They have given me connections to other areas of my transition plan, such as my overall vision, ideas, patterns and integration.
  • I have learnt some key insights on where my ‘hooks’ were, with this knowledge I am more aware and therefore have more choice around my reactions.
  • They provide me with another anchor and they give me a sort of baseline to work from. It therefore provides me with momentum and energy to progress further when perceived obstacles are eventually overcome.

The benefits to taking a few minutes to identify your limits are quite staggering and I truly believe knowing them is one of your biggest assets to moving forward in growth.

If you would like any help with this, or need a brainstorm as to what is holding you back right now, then please get in touch.  I offer a free 30 min discovery session so there is nothing to lose.  It is easy to contact me through the website or via my Facebook page.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm wishes

Sam x