You may recall a couple of posts ago I mentioned that I registered for a workshop called Visualisation in Action.
The workshop was held last Sunday and what a great day!
It comprised of several discovery activities interspersed with a couple of kundalini kriyas and meditations, culminating in the creation of a vision board all led by our facilitator, Eilish.
One of my favourite activities was around identifying our values.
We’re all familiar with the concept of an organisation having a mission and/or vision statement and a defined set of core values. The Footpath Library has a good example. I was fortunate to be involved in the brainstorming and crafting of the vision, values and mission statement of the organisation I currently work for and thoroughly enjoyed the process.
Good organisations operate under the guidance of their defined values, staff motivation is galvanised by the mission statement and the vision sparks passion that inspires and unites the organisation as a team. The office culture and the values, mission, vision are aligned. The organisations are usually harmonious, productive and have a reputation for excellence.
Other organisations aren’t aligned at all. They see these statements as a marketing opportunity rather than a tool to foster a healthy culture and provide guidance. In these organisations, operating culture and vision/mission/values may actually be in complete opposition with each other and employees learn very quickly that despite the vision/mission/values appearing in motivational posters in corridors, on mugs and mouse mats, that working within the polarised operating culture actually reaps the benefits and promotions. These organisations are usually competitive, dysfunctional and have a poor reputation.
I’ve never stopped to think about my values to the point of actually identifying them. Yet subconsciously they drive every reaction, response, decision and flippant remark I make. I was very excited to do this activity and will re-evaluate them each year when doing my vision board.
The exercise was so simple it hurts that I’ve never thought of it before. Four A4 pages with rows and rows of words that you eventually whittle down to around 5-7 words that you feel best describe your values at this point in time.
Values change with our circumstances, life experiences and can be coloured by what’s appearing to be important right then and there. I’m interested to see if mine change by this time next year and the reasons that shaped the change.
I chose Adventure, Balance, Confidence, Empathy, Humility, Joy, Truth. Going for equal parts striving and reminding.
Values activity – BIG WIN.
There were two other activities I want to tell you about. One was around reflecting on 2013.
I really liked this activity because it gave the opportunity to take stock of all that happened in 2013, write it down and honour its contribution in my life, growth, journey. And once again it was just so simple, a one pager with 7 questions that required a good memory and contemplation.
My most favourite activity was another simple one but for me the most illuminating. It was called Discover Your Self. A two page form with 16 questions.
For this activity we were to partner up with someone, ask them the questions on the form and write down their answers. The questions are simple but specific, e.g: what are you naturally good at, what would you do if money were no issue, what are your dreams etc.
I told my partner that I would let her go first – meaning I’ll ask the questions. I was actually only thinking of myself believing I need to see the questions so I can start thinking of the answers!
I asked her questions and scribed her answers all the while my mind was racing with – holy crap! I’ve got nothing for any of these questions! I’m not going to be able to complete this one! But it was my damn monkey mind at it again.
When it did come time for me to answer, my lips could barely move fast enough to get the words out so they could be on the page. The answers shot out of me and with considerable conviction. With each answer I was in more and more disbelief.
Through this activity I discovered that writing is a bigger part of my life than I gave it credit. It was the answer to five out of 16 questions! Answering the questions was instinctive but as soon as I got home and re-read through my partners notes, I felt fraudulent. I’m not a writer!
It really has taken me days to get over that fraudulent feeling because I’ve had to really delve into my memory bank to discover why it would appear five times in the activity. This is what I’ve remembered:
When I was little my dad used to buy me notepads – the kind that flip at the top, policeman notepads – I used to write my own linear version of a pick-a-path or choose-your-own-adventure story. A quick sand pit always featured that required an Indiana Jones-esque, heroic escape.
When I moved out of my parents home, I went through a really long period of writing really dark poetry. Looking back a lot of it was around wearing a mask and not speaking or living my truth. It seems I was trying to get on my journey way back then.
I met a boy who was on holiday in Sydney who went back to Sweden and we spent two years writing long, indulgent snail mail letters to each other that were romantic, effusive and somewhat Victorian in their style. He loved the flexibility and possibility of the English language and I just loved writing those letters… and receiving the ones I got back 🙂
Classical music has a really special place in my heart because each song always unfolds a mini movie in my mind and for a long while I translated those movies into stories while listening to the piece. Except one that I’m still working on… it’s a bit special.
Once, when I was waiting (7 hours!) in the London office to get my visa for India, I started creating Haikus in my head essentially to keep from going postal and being gunned down for insolence. I still use that strategy whenever I’m waiting at ‘take a number’ places that could potentially take hours.
Before I moved to London I quit smoking using writing. Back then the times I really craved a cigarette was when I was waiting for public transport. It’s becoming clear I’m a terrible waiter… I filled notepad after notepad with whatever was in my head to keep my hands busy. It worked, the cravings stopped after a while and I didn’t need to write. And then I started smoking again.
While I feel strangely new to writing, I’m not. It’s always been a really natural part of my life. Hey I’m not proclaiming that I’m going to be the next Jackie Collins or J K Rowling but without this workshop I would never have said that writing was so important to me. And for that alone I’m grateful.
At the end of the day we put together our vision board. Gosh it’s fun. Yes, it looks entirely different to the one I did with Emma in December but the sentiment is no different.
I was still waiting for the ‘in Action’ part of the Visualisation in Action workshop and it came when we were working on our vision boards. Eilish wandered around and dropped planners on our yoga mats as we worked.
There was a 3 year, annual, monthly, weekly and daily planner. Once again really simple A4 sized pages with a clear format and useful prompts and fields. We didn’t have time in the workshop to complete the planners but it is something I will be dedicating an evening to work through. The universe loves action as Eilish said.
One of the most valuable things I took from the day was actually an almost throw away comment from Eilish at the very beginning of the day. I don’t remember the segue into it but this was the statement:
“Money isn’t the be all and end all but if you’re worried about making your rent, you aren’t operating at a level where you can help anyone else.”
I’ve never been motivated by money and therefore have always lived needing to manage it carefully but never managing it carefully enough. The last month or so I’ve come to realise that I don’t have a healthy relationship with it and I have a certain amount of guilt attached to accruing it.
Eilish’s comment really struck home for me. It’s the old ‘you can’t help others without first helping yourself’. And it’s the first time I’ve truly understood the sentiment of that saying.
I’m really pleased I attended the workshop. The KISS theory was alive and well all throughout. In the Part I of this post I mentioned that time would tell if the cost would be an investment and I can confidently say that for me it was.
As an aside… we’re all responsible for our own learning so no matter how good a workshop/conference/seminar/resource is you will only get out of it, the effort or energy you commit to in the moment. But in Eilish’s workshop it was a very easy commit. Recommended.