Tag Archives: conscious discussion group

A Conversation on Uncertainty

We had a wonderful, deep and honest conversation on the topic of uncertainty on Wednesday night. The Conservatory is the perfect place with an intimate feel about it.
Our conversation ranged far and wide from talking to the moon and finding solace from the moon and from nature we realised that we need to accept uncertainty as part of life. We felt that religion may help some people deal with uncertainty by giving them something they could trust in and a feeling of something greater than themselves. Vicky said it is best to “go with the flow and accept that we are just a little wave on the ocean”. One group had looked back to a time many years ago when they faced uncertainty and dealt with it and looked at what they had learnt. Richard remembered that at a difficult time of uncertainty in his career keeping up a dialogue with everyone helped. Someone said that she had learnt that uncertainty “bears a gift”. Somebody else said “We can learn to thrive on uncertainty. Feel it, allow it and surrender. See what your gut feels”. We also realised that everyone is different in their reactions to uncertainty as for some it may trigger fear and stop them progressing whilst others feel the fear and uncertainty but don’t let it hold them back.

John Danias – Why am I writing about mindfulness?

John Danias

John Danias

Living in this day and age I’m finding myself increasingly interested in ways of becoming more self aware and of experiencing life in greater technicolour. In Conscious Cafe I have found a community with similar interests and get to reap the benefits of learning and growing with likeminded people from all walks of life. It’s quite insightful to learn how the qualities of a mindful approach can play out in publishing, luxury hotels, supermarkets, branding, coaching…The list is endless.

John Danias

May we thank John for permission to share his recent article, posted on LinkedIn here.

Over the last 7 years, through ups, down, fears and joys, through the rollercoaster called “Life”, I’ve been really drawn to mindfulness.

“Mindfulness”, “meditation”, “self-awareness”: these are relatively unusual terms and consequently can have different meanings and associations for each person.

For me mindfulness simply means intentionally bringing some curiosity to the experience in hand.  This can be a work meeting, family banter, a boxing fight or a walk in the park. By attending more clearly to what is happening, bringing some awareness to the thoughts, emotions and body sensations playing out moment by moment, it is possible to gain a better understanding of how this “John Danias” experiences life and consequently take wiser actions.

 So, it’s about improving my confidence at work, interaction with my kid, reflexes when sparring, in fact anything that I am working on.

At work

During meetings I notice the acute desire to get my point across generates some anxiety and clouds the mind.  And I have no doubt that my nervousness, however subtle, gets communicated to some degree.  Using some specific observation-based techniques I can notice the process playing about (‘metacognition’ in scientific terms): mild tension on my shoulders just by the neck, slight straining in the eyes, shallow breathing and a charged internal dialogue questioning if it’s the right time to interject.  Recognising these signs, I initiate a subtle breathing exercise whilst continuing to attend to the meeting.  And gradually the possibility opens up for the tension to dissipate, the meeting being experienced with greater clarity, the point being put across with greater refinement and when not speaking, to just sit back and watch the show.

Clear, assertive communication, free from overthinking and second-guessing, is something I need to cultivate.  The science of neuroplasticity adheres to the ability of training the mind through repetition. Consequently, every skilful communication, irrespective of the context, can improve my communication at work.  Then why not practice at the grocer’s too? Why not with my family?

With family

I’m going back home feeling a bit down. When I tell my wife how I feel my instinctive reaction will be to highlight that it’s not a problem and reassure her. This time I will try an experiment. I will put aside my overthinking and will simply state it clearly and with presence. I will not quantify the ‘low’, and I will not add the habitual “but it will be okay”. Let’s see.

“I’m feeling low”.

The response is amazing: acceptance and support.  So nice to feel supported, so reassuring.  We’ve empowered each other through vulnerability – I will remember this lesson.

Why am I writing this article?

There is an incredible wealth of interesting techniques to cultivate a more mindful state.  Whilst I have explored a multitude, I have only touched the surface. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can be tailored to our aims, lifestyle and personalities.  Surgically precise meditation exercises can improve our faculty of attention and response. A technique called ‘Wim Hof Method*’ can enable us to voluntarily activate the autonomic nervous system.

Each one of us will embrace ‘mind training**’ at some point.  Now, in a year, in ten? I wonder…

I love talking about mindfulness. I love communicating what I’m learning from this practice and exchanging ideas. Every communication is my nourishment.  When you’re interested, when you’re ready, please get in touch.  Let’s help each other to grow.

* Link to scientific article here.

** Mind is defined as ‘the faculty of consciousness and thought’.

 

Wherever You Go, There You Are – the meaning of Mindfulness.

On behalf of ConsciousCafe Judy facilitated a discussion group on the topic of Beyond Mindfulness at Editorial Intelligence’s NNN Festival in London in June.  Here is the story of how Judy became interested in mindfulness:

 

I have been re-visiting my ideas about mindfulness in the last few days in preparation for an event which I am facilitating.

 411i7tXNTbL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_I first came across the term ‘mindfulness’ many years ago when I was sent an early copy of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, Wherever You go, There You Are, with a view to my being the UK publisher for it.  Jon Kabat-Zinn had taken ideas from ancient Buddhist practices and explored how to make them accessible to the mainstream.  He believed that Western society had lost touch with the universal human qualities of paying attention and living with awareness.

This was 1994 and the thinking behind the book was all completely new to us at Piatkus. We had published books on meditation but this was so much more.

In the introduction the author explains that ‘wherever you go, there you are.  Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind.’  It looks at first like a simple observation but in fact it requires much practice and self-awareness to observe your thoughts in this way. The important question we must each ask ourselves is how best to respond to any given situation in which we find ourselves and the answer to that question lies in responding with your full awareness to whatever is going on for you right there in that moment.

Whatever has happened has already happened. The future is unknown.  When we can truly learn to live in the present, to ‘be in touch with where we already are’, then we are in a situation where we have the most to gain for we can understand more of ‘the truth’ of what we are really experiencing and ideally respond with wisdom and heartfelt understanding.

I took the book to the editorial meeting and we were all keen to go ahead. But the ideas were so new at the time, that we thought we would need to change the title of the book or we would have difficulty in selling it into the bookshops (this was long before the days of amazon).   Accordingly we retitled it Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life.  We printed an initial edition of 3000 copies. The Daily Mail wrote a piece about it which resonated so profoundly that the book sold out within a week.  It nevertheless took many years before it was taken up by psychotherapists as a tool to help their patients and subsequently the concept of mindfulness found its way into the NHS and after that became mainstream.

Now mindfulness has become an industry.   People know that practising mindfulness is good for them but they are not sure why.  It takes time to become mindful of who we are as individuals, how we respond to different situations in the way that we do, whether we are truly living our lives the way we want to, whether we are living from our hearts.

Mindfulness has been an extraordinary gift to the world. and the gifts it offers are available to each and every one one of us every day of our lives – as long as we are aware when we are truly ‘there’.

For those interested you can click here to purchase or review Jon Kabat – Zinn’s book: Wherever You Go, There You Are.

Leadership with Horses

The leadership whisperers

Jude and Emma (above)                                                               Everyone listening (right)

Revealing our leadership style through the horse (below)

Jude - girl leading horseObstacle exercise

Teamwork (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

How I overcame my mental health issues

When I was eight years old, my father received a phone call at home, “we’re coming to kill you, tonight”, said the voice on the other end. It was 1972 in Uganda, and my family and I were forced to flee for our lives from Idi Amin’s ruthless henchmen.

Kenny Mammarella-D-Cruz, The Man Whisperer and a ConsciousCafe Network Team member writes in the Huffington Post sharing how he overcame his mental health issues. Click here to read the full blog: 

Kenny’s ConsciousCafe event, Is Your Inner Critic Ruining Your Life is on July 14th.  Book now to meet this wonderful man and allow Kenny to help you get to know the different parts of your personality. If you want an experiential evening that offers you insights and the space to discuss, explore and change your inner workings, then this is the space for you!

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“I meet old friends, make new friends and feel positively challenged and uplifted.“

Nick Williams
Author of 10 books, including The Work We Were Born To Do
www.iamnickwilliams.com

Conscious Cafe is fabulous and large-hearted​. The events and group discussions are dynamic, thought-provoking and expertly facilitated, attracting a diverse network of people. ​Thank you, Judy, ​ I love the wonderful energy​, meaningful connections​ and wisdom that emerges from the group​. 
 
​Rachel Calder, Coach, Director of First Potential​

 

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