A few days ago, I was going through some old notes on my phone and I came across something I had written about my son Alex when he was 9 years old.

Alex is now 17, and he recently asked me whether I would teach him to meditate so that he could better prepare both mentally and emotionally for his hockey matches. He said that he had heard that meditation can help for pre-match nerves and for focus, and I was of course happy to help!

Most mornings early, I sit quietly in silence and in meditation outside for at least 20 minutes. Some days, it's twice as long. And now and again, it's only 10 minutes. This has become a fixed part of my morning routine, before my children emerge from their beds, and is as unmissable as my first cappuccino… or since I’ve been ‘detoxing’, my morning cup of tea! It sets me up for the day.

A few weeks ago, my 78-year-old mother fell victim to a cleverly executed scam. She didn’t tell me or my sister for a while, as she wanted to sort it out all by herself and unfortunately, she also felt ashamed that she had been taken in by the fraudsters.

As the days become shorter, darker, colder and wetter, and autumn closes in around us, I (Jo) notice how the leaves on the trees are just starting to colour yellow and brown and I am reminded of how naturally trees let go of their ‘ballast’ at this time of the year.  

Today a slightly different article. In the form of a few words written early in the morning in my front garden, with a cup of coffee and the pale sun rising.A quiet reflection on the uniqueness that we all are and the value that we all have to bring. To others, and to this life. 

Life can be really quite turbulent and unpredictable. Let’s face it, at any time the unexpected can happen – swoop in and surprise you – may be even overwhelm you, leaving you reeling, and wondering what on earth happened. This applies to everything – to life’s situations, circumstances, to relationships, projects and to creative initiatives – both big and small.

A number of days ago, I returned from a lovely long summer break. Fully rested, recharged and ready to go! Inspired by some of the things I had read in the previous 4 weeks and enthusiastic about working on our Autumn training programmes and some new initiatives planned for the next few months. I was ready to focus on business again!  

 And then life decided otherwise…

This is the last ‘Thought for the Week’ until Sunday August 23rd. Sander and I are taking a summer break from our weekly writing for the next 5 weeks. For me, these weeks will be a time to slow down, rest, recharge, rejuvenate, get outside and get inspired so that I can continue to enjoy, write, work and serve others after the summer period.

“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it… this will miraculously transform your whole life.” – Eckhart Tolle 

These words from Eckhart Tolle have been on my mind quite a lot recently. They remind me that no matter how challenging a situation or relationship may be for me, there is always an invitation to first “accept it as if I had chosen it” and then to engage with it and work with it, instead of fighting against it. I don’t have to like the situation or be happy about it, nevertheless I still can accept it. 

This may sound like a contradiction but...the first step in any personal change and growth, is to accept yourself the way you are. To appreciate what it is that you don't like – those aspects of yourself and your behaviour that you would really like to change.

Jo:In his June 1st blog article responding to the tough events in the US during the previous week, Alan Seale wrote: The level of pain, grief, frustration, anger, rage, loss, and fearthat has been trembling just beneath the surface of public acknowledgment – some of it for generations – is now breaking open for all to see. 

Jo: My front garden faces southeast. On clear days it is bathed in the pale rays of a rising sun, and it is the place where I begin my day.

Every weekday morning at around 6:30, I step outside and go to the same place on my old station bench with my Sheepskin’s, my morning coffee and my two cats in tow. Quiet, start-up time.  

Many of the people I know and work with – including myself – often struggle with the idea and the action of asking for help. Last week’s ‘Thought for the Week’ blog written by my colleague Sander, with his own reflections on asking for help, prompted me to consider how effective I am at asking forand receiving help

During these recent times, I have become more acutely aware of how I am spending my timeThe words ‘time is your most precious gift’ have taken on a deeper meaning for me. I am more conscious about the choices I make with regards to where I focus my time and undivided attention, day to day, moment to moment.

The week before last, I celebrated my birthday. I was really touched by all the warm and personal birthday messages that I received throughout the day from friends and relations. They played an important role in making my day feel really special.

I also noticed that quite a few people wrote things along the lines of “despite these strange and difficult times, I hope you are still able to enjoy your day

These are troubling and anxious times. And yet during the last two weeks, despite all the challenges, my attention has so often been drawn towards the heart-warming connections and feeling of ‘togetherness’ that I have experienced in and around me. I guess you could say that the distance that we are called to keep from one another is actually more of a ‘physical distancing’ than a ‘social distancing’. All around me keep seeing so many signs of social connection; just not in the face to face way that we are used to.  

This week, prompted by the hugely challenging situation in which our country and our world finds itself, Sander van Eekelen and I put our heads and hearts together to write a joint blog.

With the spread of the coronavirus, the serious measures that have been put into place, and the constant news about it in the press and on social media; we are all experiencing what it feels like to be living in highly uncertain times that are moving and shifting at lightning speed. The current circumstances are very challenging, complex and largely unpredictable. And the question we have been asking ourselves is; how do you deal with all that is going on right now in the best possible way?

With all that is going on around me at the moment, I (Jo) was once again reminded last week that it is not my environment, my situation or my circumstance that causes my worry, frustration or stress. It is the thoughts that have about these circumstances and the stuff that is going on, that cause these feelings in me

As you are reading this, I invite you tocall to mind something that you may be finding tough at the moment or something that is stressing you out a bit. 

Too often, I (Jo) still catch myself listening in a conversation so that I can persuade. Not to understand, but to be understood. Waiting for the other to stop talking so I can give my opinion and view.In these moments, I dont even really hear whats being said. Especially when Im so certain of my own view or short on time.

Yet, when I catch myself and stop. Put my views and opinions to one side for a moment. Become present, quietly paying attention to the other. And truly listen from a place of openness and genuine curiosity. Open minded. And open hearted. Amazing things can happen. And quickly. 

Two weeks ago, I (Jo) was struck down by the flu. Three full days in bed - albeit with my laptop and mobile close at hand - I was pretty good for nothing! And then on day four, still weak and shaky, all dosed up to the gills on paracetamolthroat sweets and caffeine I got myself ready to leave for Brussels to speak at a conference for Agile professionals.

As I travelled down on the train, alternating between the sweats and the shivers, switching between looking forward to my session at the conference and wondering why on earth I hadn’t cancelled three days before, I asked myself and indeed my colleagueSander “Am I strong? Or stupid?”

To which he replied… “May be both?!”

 

Is this quote an ‘open door’? A cliché? Maybe! However....

I (Jo) have been ‘practicing’ gratitude for a while now and I am noticing a significant impact on my daily life.

What do I do? Every morning I take just a moment to focus on a few things that I am grateful for. When I’m making my morning coffee, as I wrap up my morning meditation and reflection, or on my way to the office.

Before you start reading this blog, call to mind a situation that is challenging you at the moment. A circumstance that life has 'thrown at you', that you don’t necessarily like, but that you are still having to deal with.

It could be a problem, an irritation, a conflict, a really difficult situation or relationship; something that’s not working for you right now.

And ask yourself: Am I ‘Pushing Against’ or ‘Flowing With’ whatever is going on?

In mijn coachingspraktijk merk ik steeds weer op hoe sterk we als mens zijn geconditioneerd om naar het verleden te kijken als er iets gebeurt in ons leven wat ons niet zint. Of het nu een externe gebeurtenis is die ons overkomt of een bewustwording van eigen ineffectieve gedragspatronen. De aller, allereerste reactie is steevast ‘hoe kon dat nu gebeuren?’ of ‘waarom doe ik dat eigenlijk?’ of ‘hoe is het zo gekomen?’ of uitingen van gelijke strekking.

Transformational Presence heeft alles te maken met het creëren van de beste omstandigheden om een impactvolle, blijvende verandering - transformatie – plaats te laten vinden.

Het helpt ons om het grootste potentieel in mensen, ideeën, projecten en omstandigheden te herkennen en om dat potentieel in de praktijk vorm te geven en te ontwikkelen.

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