We also included people who were not able to come but had asked us to be included
Sequence of activities:
Focusing: to focus on the intention of the meeting we went around the circle and answered the questions:
What would you like to focus on during the ceremony?
What do you want to put into action in the future?
Think of the first step you will do towards what you want to put into action?
Are you aware of one or more metaphors that guide your thinking?
Guiding presupposition: mind/body and spirit are connected in a cybernetic loop, any change introduced in any part of the system, changes the whole system.
In the course of the focussing session, some interesting and insightful observations were contributed by various participants;
For examples see below
1. On Gratitude
The attitude of being grateful and giving thanks for our gifts and talents and all the providence and abundance we enjoy is by far the most important frame of mind in enhancing our achievements and our personal and spiritual development; and yet it was noted some people have great difficulty in finding within themselves this feeling, this thankful attitude seems to elude some of us.
The question was put: what would make it so difficult for some people?
A very important insight was given by N.L.: she offered the observation that when people are in victim consciousness they cannot find it within themselves to be grateful for anything, they are too absorbed in blaming others and being sorry for themselves to see they have anything to be grateful for. Thank you N.
2. Mind/Body Connection
An occasion for demonstrating the mind/body connection came when a discussion developed on “needing/wanting to cut connections with the past, in particular an ex-husband”
The body language of the speaker seemed to be less than congruent with the words; during the comments, the speaker had used her left hand to signal the direction of her visual image, so I asked the speaker to signal with the right hand the opposite direction and notice what would happen to her feelings. “Well, she said- actually it feels better when the connection is not cut off” Obviously, we were in front of a very important realization: that our connections with the past are very important resources, even when it is a matter of a separation or divorce- and what is most beneficial is to become aware of what we have learned, honour the past memories and move on, richer for the experience.
(This technique –known as Spin Release- v.Holborn) is very simple but very effective in giving immediate comparisons between states, and often in restoring balance, decreasing pain etc,)
2a. Still on Body/Mind Connection
Someone offered very valuable insights into the role played by fear, on the quality of our thinking, communicating participating etc:
We did an eye exercise to demonstrate how the feelings of fear may change by shifting gaze up and left, or up and right; also the direction and “place” of the feeling of fear and its intensity in the body changes; until finally with a deep breath the fear was released and the person showed to be more relaxed and more open, v. his full breathing with open chest, upright posture and squared shoulders.
3. Life Balance
To focus on balancing work, family and recreation; as always this is a very important area of discussion, which we were not able to give full attention in the evening. V. in attach Zen reflection on Mastering Work and Play
Taking stock of progress made in the last few months: for example no more fear of flying, increased ability to remain objective and not take comments and events personally in family situations; increased ability to speak affirmatively with compassion; learning from all experience, but focus on what brings satisfaction everyday in our life.
This exercise is very important especially when followed by the willingness to give oneself credit for the effort and gratitude to one self and others and the Universe for the occasions provided.
5. Residual Feelings
Letting go of residual “feelings” connected with a separation, for example an employee leaving, a friend or relative dying, a relationship finishing, the recognition that a particular friendship has come to an end, etc. and focus on the learning and being grateful for the lessons and the gifts received.
Acknowledge that everything has a beginning, a story and an end: we have the opportunity to reflect and chose how we interpret the experience and how we accept and mature through the changes we witness (N, A.,K. N.)
6. Celebrating Wellness
Celebrating wellness: feeling healthy and excited and grateful, and bringing out the joy in the metaphor: “ Resurrection” (D)
7. Celebrating Heritage
Celebrating heritage: acknowledging gifts, experiences and historical memory around family: accepting, learning and being inspired by it. After reflection the metaphor of the heirloom was created by E.; could there be a more “active” creative metaphor than the heirloom for inheritance?
8. Experiencing the Present
Making room for present experience by making real to ourselves the memories of the past, and incorporate the lessons into our present. Grounding oneself through metaphor of the tree.
Allow our roots to expand into the territory of the mind, past, present and future; allow the experience of the present to bring new substance, new nourishment into our heart and soul Notice all stages of growth and decay: dead leaves fall in their own time, enjoy the changes of colour, the rustle of the leaves on the ground allow, rather than sweeping them, let the leaves complete their cycle on the ground: they nourish the soil and enrich the new growth.
9. Rapid Change
Feeling events have brought about too many changes too fast: metaphor a pack of cards thrown up in the air. All “upset” and so different. Wanting to go back and have things as they used to be.
Questions: Who is throwing the cards? How do we chose to interpret what is happening? Do we recognise our part in this? What areas of the events can we control, but especially How do we choose to react, or act in the situation?
Refer to the metaphor of the juggler (watch video in Ted Talks) to frame space and time (distance, frequency) as an illustration of how the juggler keeps control on the ball, how they fall and where they fall. Also example of corrections.
10. Open & Receptive
Importance of being prepared to stay open and receptive in a new situation, even when we feel uncomfortable.
The preparation some of us had done during the workshop on January Sunday 8th proved to be crucial to my being able to take opportunity of what was happening during my stay in Brisbane.
For the people who were not present, the workshop was inspired by the Story of the Three Wise Men/Kings/Magicians: they were willing to follow the “star” even when they did not know where it would take them, and they were willing o go to unknown, strange lands. They were able to recognise when they came in the presence of “the king” even when all material signs spoke of “ordinary, poor travellers, with no friend or Country” They were bringing gifts: gold, incense and myrrh, the required gifts for a “King”, but they did not know what gifts they may receive.
That is to say, they were doing their part, and “had faith that all would unfold as it should”
Many parallels can be drawn between this story and my experience in Qld. on the occasion of J.’s death, but for me the very important lesson was: Stay open to new experiences; notice how the old patterns, when challenged or broken make us feel uncomfortable, accepting that we are uncomfortable, but decide to stay in the process, we will be there for the gifts to come beyond our expectations and imagination.
Metaphor: the spring well, the energy of underground water pushing through all obstacles and come into the open to give nourishment and life to all of Nature
Meditation and intention for the future: After the focussing session, K. conducted a guided meditation for us to focus on the future, call on our resources to nurture enthusiasm and vitality for what we want to bring into our life.
Debriefing on paper: Now came the moment of writing a few words, a short letter of insights we may have gained and what we are leaving behind.
Transforming feelings: then this letter was consigned to the flames with the intention that any regret, anger, disappointment or revenge and other, be transformed into feelings of acceptance, forgiveness and peace of mind.
After a minute of silence, we thanked each other and gave each other a branch of olive (with olives on it!) as an offering of peace and good wishes, according to what we felt we wanted to say.
And finally we gathered around the table for a beautiful meal of the scrumptious food everyone had brought.
So thank you all for coming and participating so generously and enriching each other, in more ways than one.
With all best wishes for a beautiful Autumn Season and love Antonina
Inspirational thought about work and play
Today I offer you an inspirational thought about work and play, with my fondest wish that the New Year 2012 will bring you the joy of doing what you love, and love what you do in your everyday activities.
The person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labour and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which. They simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace in whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them, they are always doing both.
“Attributed to a Zen Buddhist text “
What is your attitude towards work and play, or do you think, like some people I hear every day, that you work so many hours, you have no time for living?
Here is an example of someone who loves what he does, and does what he loves:
James A. Kitchener Writer says: “I love writing, I love the swift and swing of words as they tangle with human emotion”
Do you love what you do? Do you know someone who inspires you because they do what they love?
With some reflection and some planning, we can all achieve a closer fit between the jobs we do and what we find satisfaction and fulfilment in doing.