Looking back at my time with the NL Healthcare initiative I believed then that I had gradually managed to create an environment in which the people I worked with could feel free to express alternative, far-out or contradicting views. Although this was probably relatively true when compared to most other institutions, it doesn’t mean it was also true in absolute terms…
Leaving your comfort zone…?
Although creating a safe environment is very important to me, my focus was mainly on aspects that confirmed this belief and not enough on to the signals that there was still much room for improvement! In doing so I based myself on false assumptions: main one being that if people (based on their experience, knowledge or intuition) knew of a better way they would speak up. As a consequence (even as early practitioners of distributed leadership principles) we did not live to the potential of the organisation.
Eikando Zenrin-Ji temple Kyoto, August 2017
Valuable little booklet that summarises the essence of self-organisation. When tangled up in the day to day complexities of the transformation of a large organisation to self-organisation (which is partly still unchartered territory) it is nice to go back to the basic reasons and principles behind this valuable movement. Gives fresh inspiration and energy for the next stretch ;o).
I think I hit the bottom of my latest U (around how I will focus my energy in the coming period) somewhere this summer. What emerged were various expressions of ‘connectedness’ as a key component of my quality of life. Over the past few years I have come te realise at the experential level that my degree of connectedness is probably the single most determining contributor to my sense of well-being.
So it seems QOL will, for the time being, focus on the following four expressions of connectedness:
- Social (focus on connectedness between others): conflict resolution, QOL lunch restaurant, promotion of distributed leadership, QOL 154 practice center
- Nature (focus on connectedness with what is close-by): 2 year ‘rewild your senses‘ programme, next fase ‘samen gezond’, experimenting with permaculture
- Heart (focus on connectedness with oneself): help to remove ‘roadblocks’, observing without judgment, attending to extended family and friends, (at)tensions, vipassana
- Personal (focus on connectedness with myself): daily mini-retreats, attending to personal needs, next levels of acceptance, yoga
Or how to feed ourself with minimum effort and footprint: Permaculture (or natural farming). The logic and benefits of permaculture are so obvious that it is hard to understand why not everybody who is involved in agriculture has yet switched to this efficient and sustainable practice.
Three main components are: to go with the flow of your direct environment (use plants, bushes, trees etc. that need little help to flourish), focus on the quality of your earth (limit activities that degrade the earth such as ploughing) and use species that you do not need to plant again every year (at high labour and energy costs).
Mark Shepard has written an attractive book on this topic. See below for the dutch translation by Maranka Spoor en Lucas Brouns (two frontrunners of permaculture in the Netherlands).
My ego has served me well for many years. I grew it mainly whilst attending a primary school in France called ‘Les Chataigniers’ or (sweet) ‘Chestnut’ to protect me from all (perceived) threats in my live.
In the past few years I have however (as others before me) experienced that I feel much better when I manage to leave it aside. It has clear positive effect on the quality of my connectedness to my environment. My ego is not happy with this development and is struggling to remain a prominent component in my behaviour.
Sweet Chestnut, Mandali 2017
It is no secret that I’m a big fan of Non Violent Communication as it greatly improves the quality of my connections to others. Basis of NVC is quite simple: focus on hearing (or sharing) at the level of feeling and needs. For me this is easier said than done… at least consistently. This is partly because I still tend to hear (or share) judgments, praise criticisms etc. which blocks me from really listening. But also because my active vocabulary to describe the many feeling (‘negative’ and ‘positive’) and needs one can experience is relatively shallow.
Overview cards by Ai-Opener
It sometime feels like everything around us is moving faster and faster. Old methods of coping seem no longer as effective as before. That makes it difficult to bring the clarity we need and leaves us with a feeling of discomfort. In my search for a better way I have come to value the combination of two neglected practices.
1. Rewilding your senses: For some time now our senses (such as taste, smell, balance and many others) have been less needed for survival and therefore less sharp. As a consequence they have also become less effective as source of information about of what is happening around us. Cleansing and strengthening my senses restores this vital flow and provides me with the relevant, deep, pure information needed at any moment. In practical terms this means becoming again more able to discern various tastes, smells etc.
Acceptance of constant impermanence 2017
Jus a random list of potential intentions for the (work in progress!). Picking 1, 2 or 3 in the morning helps me to focus my energy where most needed. And to gradually integrate all of them into every day life…
- To just observe
- To be curious
- To let others own their own feeling
- To be still
- To sense for flow
- To be grounded
- To hear feelings and needs of others
- To seek fringes
- To embrace little things
- To be creative