“At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
At the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”
from “The Four Quartets”
Since I wrote my last blog in this series I am more aware than ever of the need to offer to ourselves - and our clients - a still quiet centre in a turbulent world so that we can dance. This is why I have chosen this poem to open my new book (out this Autumn)
This stillness needs to start with me. I believe clients come to us because we can work together to co-create new and fresh perspectives – in a place where they can also come home to themselves. I am not of service if I am just another boiling frog, repeating trite phases or if my own lights are out and I am not at home!
But for me to be still I have learnt that I have had to deepen older practices as well as developing new rituals in order to continue to feel nourished, supported and resourced.
My practices of regular journaling, mindfulness, supervision and reflective Nordic walking have been sacrosanct for many years. But what I now notice as social media screams for our attention and as our VUCA world has become even more VUA-ish that I am having to up my game. I notice that I am now having to journal even more regularly, meditate more frequently both in the moment and for longer ring fenced periods of time, prioritize my own supervision, as well as going on ever longer nature walks to clear my head, open my heart and connect to what is wanting to emerge in my, my life and my practice. I find that the natural rhythm of the changing seasons gives me a radar, a barometer, a pacer, a home, a lens and a language for locating myself – as well as my client work.
Also since I last wrote I have developed the “Being Fully Human – the 7 Human Capacities for Learning, Change and Transformation” which emerged from my own need to anchor my and my work - and which I have discovered are also proving helpful to others. The 7C’s are Care, Courage, Curiosity, Connection, Compassion, Creativity and Contemplation. If I feel my mind, heart or will closing I simply check in with each one to see what I am missing or need more of in any particular moment.
My new rituals are interesting. My Studio Office is no longer called my office but my sanctuary (from which I also work). Flowers were always on my desk but now I decorate my desk with crystals, cards, inspirational quotes, mementos, scents and candles to remind me of the beauty of life and to connect to is important in any moment. On Sunday I start a new calligraphy course!
Why? Because ….. I have taken the message of this lovely story to heart. A reporter once asked the Dalai Lama how he found the time to mediate. The Dalai Lama replied:
“you should meditate for at least 20 minutes a day…. Unless you are too busy and then you should meditate for an hour!”
Elaine Patterson is Creative Director at the Coaching Supervision Academy | International Centre for Reflective Practice. Elaine can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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