Are you feeling what’s going on in the world too?

To some it feels at present as if the storm clouds are gathering. In the distance, the thunder rumbles. Just as the month of June can be stormy, so too world and national affairs seem to be rumbling, seemingly in conflict. In parts of the world there are volcanic eruptions. The environment seems at times to be nearing meltdown. Personally too, people’s lives seem uncertain and anxious. If it’s like that “out there”, what’s it like “in here”, in yourself? Are you feeling calm and serene or are you like the swan, calm on top but paddling like mad beneath … Read more

Do you not relate well to others?

Do you find that in some area of your life you lack the ability to relate well to others? You’d not be alone, since our ability or inability to connect with others is something that is the cause of much heartache and conflict in our society and in organisations. For some it is about avoiding making effective connections and for others it is where they overdo it and cause harm. Some people are for example reserved or non-assertive while others can be aggressive. A key underlying issue can be due to a lack of emotional intelligence, our self-awareness, how we … Read more

Honesty and openness not secrecy and distrust heals us and brings peace

Under pressure, a knee-jerk response is to close down and defend oneself. One classic stress response after all is to prepare the bodily system to engage the enemy, or to take flight, or to freeze to the spot. Traditional cultural conditioning is arguably to be careful what you reveal. It might be a natural “free child” response in Transactional Analysis terms to be open, spontaneous and expressive, to show honesty and openness, and yet that’s not how people have traditionally tended to react in social situations. Social conditioning closed down the “free child” response. To be honest, open and direct … Read more

Being challenged by openness privacy and secrecy

Recent events have been nicely highlighting an old dilemma we humans face, how much we reveal of ourselves to others. In the public domain, phone hacking and surveillance touches a raw nerve. Yet in the personal domain we may wish to express ourselves openly and without fear, or by contrast to hold closely to ourselves what we feel unsafe to reveal to others. We may feel under pressure to be more open than we wish to be. Yet a whole trend in social affairs is towards being more open in self-disclosure, even to the extent for some of “to let … Read more

There is a field I’ll meet you there

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, There is a field. I’ll meet you there” (Rumi) As the world contemplates yet more conflict in the supposed cause of wrongdoing and rightdoing, the poem by the Islamic mystic Sufi Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī serves as a useful reminder across the centuries and cultures of what is universal to us all – if we pause and reflect. There is indeed a field, which we each find in our own way. In the ruler and warrior traditions as usually conceived perceptions of wrongdoing are usually followed by knee-jerk responses of counter-action. These counter-actions, … Read more

In questioning our values we are calling time on what’s not working

Interesting that Stephen Hestor has spoken today of the “selfish and self-serving” culture in banking that needs to be eradicated not just from his bank, RBS who have just been fined £390m for manipulating the LIBOR rate, but also right across the industry. This time right now is one of those defining moments when we as a society take a hard look at what has been going on within it over the last few decades, not just to the time just before the crash of 2008, but over an era stretching back arguably to the political and economic philosophy represented … Read more

Be yourself: How easy is it?

A guest post by Akasha Lonsdale Everyone seems to be talking about how important it is to be yourself.  When someone expresses nerves about something, maybe an interview, a presentation, a speech, the general advice seems to be “just be yourself”. Authenticity There is a huge emphasis at the moment on Authenticity and the “know, like, trust” factor that comes from “being real”.  But just how easy is it to be yourself?  Do you even know who yourself is? What amazes me is how often I come across people who are trying to be authentic, which of course totally misses … Read more

Where our values don’t translate into action

As this recession (really a depression) in the UK grinds on, the tolerances that were initially retained post-2008 seem to be breaking down and I wonder if we’re moving to a period where we need, where we really need, to take a good look at our values and what we want as a society. I’ve been noticing how people have been struggling individually in the face of what for the vast majority of us is an unprecedented contraction in the economy. I say contracting, although on the face of it we seem to be “flat-lining”, in other words bumping along … Read more

How to look irrelevant in the face of economic changes

There was more than just a tiny whiff of irrelevance in the face of economic changes that emitted last week from elements of our UK political class. Recent claims from some on the UK’s political right that British workers are amongst the idlest will bemuse many people at work. The common comment has rather been that the UK has a “long-hours culture”, with people regularly working longer hours than almost anywhere else in Europe. The danger of course with this kind of debate is to deflect attention away from more pressing problems, for example insufficient stimulus to job creation and to demand … Read more

A moment of joy

Sometimes there’s plenty to say – and sometimes there’s not much. And sometimes there’s nothing to say. Silence can say it all. And in the silence one can just be very present in that “all”. This is probably going the rounds, but it came to me today. One of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, which you can look all around, simply holding down the mouse (“click and drag”) as you twirl the arrow around. You can zoom in and out with the buttons on the bottom left. It takes practice! I found myself drawn to the central point of the ceiling itself, probably … Read more