Tag Archives: conscious discussion group

Reflections on Love in Singapore

Hanna Krasnodebska with some of the members of the recently launched Conscious Cafe Singapore group

On Tuesday 26th February 2019, Conscious Cafe’s Singapore Group met at the cosy Reading Room to discuss the theme of “Love and Loving practices”, fitting with February’s holiday sentiments.

Hanna Krasnodebska, the group’s leader, started with the notion that love is an energy, and the highest frequency which connects us with the deepest part of ourselves; how love influences human biology, creating an internal environment for nourishment, connection and well-being.

The group discussed aspects of love in the context of forgiveness and gratitude, the giving and receiving. We talked about unconditional love, parental love as experienced from both familiar perspectives, that of a child in a family, and that of a mother who created and raised a family. One of our participants offered an insight: “a woman who experiences a rhythm of cycles has unique path marked with milestones of puberty, potential motherhood, life creating and nurturing family, menopause and becoming of a wise woman, a guiding elder.”

We explored self-love and how we find it challenging to accept ourselves as we are; how the family, community and wider environment influences us in our “quest for love and its expression”. 

The gathering comprised of women and we observed that it would be very interesting and complementing to have a male perspective.

All Good Vibes for Conscious Cafe Geneva

Since it’s humble beginnings, Conscious Cafe Geneva’s meetings have taken place at the MLC Café-Littéraire, a charming coffee-cum-bookshop in the heart of Carouge, run by the lovely Francis. Due to ongoing renovations, the café is set to close for while, which set group leader Debbie King the task of finding a new space.

“I thought it would be REALLY difficult,” says Debbie. “So I set aside a day to go hunting for one in Geneva, thinking it would be the first of several expeditions. And guess what – I found three! Not a single person refused me. At the venue I liked the most, the patron simply opened his arms and said ‘of course! Walk this way and look at this little room beside the bar which you can have all to yourselves FREE, whenever you want.’ AMAZING.”

Debbie left town feeling on top of the world, with the most powerful thought: the universe truly provides for a well-intentioned deed.

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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“I always get so much out of the ConsciousCafe events” 

Simon Buckland 
Counsellor

I attended my first ConsciousCafé in July and loved the evening.
 
We were put into groups for an exercise and the 4 of us got on so well and had so much to share, that we decided to meet up again. Which we did.  And it was lovely.  And we will meet again.
 
Thank you Judy for creating a space for conscious connection and meeting people on a deeper level.’
 
Marianne Hartley

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