A Solstice Adventure in Northumberland

“a sweatlodge in Northumberland" - Powered by Dall-E 3. For this year's summer solstice, I found myself back in Northumberland, immersed in a familiar yet ever-evolving fire and ice celebration that culminated in a powerful sweatlodge ceremony under the full moon. This wasn't my first dance with the solstices here – I had held the same roles, fire keeper, stone carrier, and holder of the space, during the previous winter solstice. Returning in the summer sun, it felt like we, the participants and the land itself, had book-ended the time in between the solstices. The event was a beautiful tapestry of contrasting elements. There was fire, ice, glass and arrow-breaking and the juxtaposition of these elements felt symbolic, a reminder of the delicate balance in nature and within ourselves. As the full moon rose on the Saturday and the long summer day was beginning to turn to dusk, casting an ethereal glow on the land, the focus shifted. My role transformed into that of t

Halfway There: Why Not Conduct a Mid-Year Review?

“a pictogram of summer" - Powered by Dall-E 3. We are halfway through June! How on Earth did that happen? I can’t quite get my head around that one. It feels like the year has only just begun, and yet here we are halfway through… So, given this time warp, it's a perfect time to take stock of your progress, both personally and professionally. Here's how to conduct a meaningful mid-year review that sets you up for success in the remaining months. Taking Inventory Goals Revisited: Recall the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Did you achieve any? Are some in progress? Be honest about what needs to be adjusted or let go of. Highlight Achievements: It's easy to focus on what hasn't been accomplished. Celebrate your wins, big or small! Did you master a new skill? Take on a challenging project? Publicly acknowledge yourself or discuss it with a trusted friends or colleagues! Addressing Challenges Roadblocks and Obstacles: What

Unleash Your Inner Child and Learn Through Play

“international day of play in a work context" - Powered by Dall-E 3. Why Play Matters for Adults on International Day of Play (and Every Day). Today, Tuesday 11th June 2024, marks the first-ever International Day of Play, a celebration championed by the United Nations to recognise the fundamental right – and importance – of play in a child's life. But what about adults? Should we leave building blocks and creativity behind? Absolutely not! Play isn't just for kids. In fact, incorporating playful elements into coaching, mindfulness practices and techniques like LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® can unlock a treasure trove of benefits for adults as well. Here's why: The Power of Play in Coaching Think coaching is all about serious chats and structured exercises? Think again! Playful activities can create a safe space for exploration, fostering trust and open communication between coach and client. Imagine using role-playing games to practice difficult conversations or buildi

Embarking on a Quest: The Hero’s Journey in Life or in Business

“the business hero’s journey inspired by tarot" - Powered by Dall-E 3. This is an article that I have been cultivating for a while and finally today I feel is the day to post it. Joseph Campbell, a renowned professor of literature and mythologist, identified a universal cross-cultural story structure: the Hero's Journey. This narrative arc takes our hero from their ordinary world, through trials and triumphs, to a transformative return. This storytelling template can be a surprisingly insightful tool when applied to understanding whereabouts you may be in your own business or life process. Now without wanting to come across as overly “woo woo”, the Tarot also provides a rich tapestry of symbolism for this process, and woven together these two powerful tools can help you to guide you on your own quest. This article is not about fortune-telling - far from it - it is about using tools to help understand whereabouts you find yourself along the hero’s cyclical model. As

Rain, A Crow, and Falling Stars: Haiku Love Reborn

“Rain falls down kissing the crow on the bright green grass, yellow stars falling" - Powered by Dall-E 3. Haiku is the traditional Japanese poetic form which captivates readers with its brevity and evocative imagery. I first created a created a haiku in the 1990’s and I have been mystified by their conciseness and beauty ever since. Yesterday (26.05.2024), I attended a haiku workshop called “Nature’s Meditation”, facilitated by Nora D’Ecclesis and organised by Thane Lawrie , and it was a truly empowering experience of our own individual sensory journeys on a dreich Sunday lunchtime. Surrounded by other members of the Aberdeenshire Soto Zen group that I attend (albeit on Google Meet) who were also interested in this concise art form, I learned about the power of observation and how to condense vivid imagery into a mere 17 syllables. The workshop fuelled my creativity and left me with a newfound sense of poetic achievement. After a great dive into the history of haiku and

The Blank Page Stares Back: Coaching and Writer's Block

“A frustrated writer staring at a blank page" - Powered by Dall-E 3. The cursor blinks, a mocking metronome keeping time with the silence in my head. It's that unwelcome visitor again - writer's block. The blank page stretches before me, an impassable desert where inspiration used to flow like a vibrant oasis. I can practically hear the tumbleweeds of self-doubt whistling through my skull. This isn't the first rodeo with this frustrating situation. Every writer faces it, that nagging feeling of being utterly empty, the well of creativity running dry. I've tried the usual tricks: forcing myself to write anything, even nonsensical drivel, hoping a spark will ignite. I've paced the room, brow furrowed in concentration, "pootled about" doing other things willing words to appear. I've even resorted to asking AI (Google Gemini and Microsoft Copilot), desperately searching for a shred of an idea. But so far, nothing. This time, however, the frust

Celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Image In the UK this week, 13th – 19th May, it is Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme this year, chosen by the Mental Health Foundation, is " Movement: Moving More for Our Mental Health ". Physical activity is a powerful tool that can significantly boost our emotional wellbeing. Whether it's a brisk walk in nature, a dance session in your kitchen, or some tai-chi, getting our bodies moving can have a profound impact on our minds. Why Move for Mental Health? Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood elevators that combat feelings of stress and anxiety. It can also improve sleep quality, a crucial factor for mental wellbeing. Additionally, physical activity can be a form of mindfulness, helping us focus on the present moment and reduce negative thoughts. Finding Your #MomentsForMovement The beauty of this year's theme is that movement isn't a one-size-fits-all concept. There are countless ways to get active and improve your mental