Soul Nudges #18 Unity

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”   –   Kitty O’ Meara

At the beginning of 2020, I experienced the world as was more divided than ever.  Countries at war, Trump, Brexit, people struggling to work together, you name it – isn’t it ironic that now a few months later the world is busy uniting as one to fight Covid-19.  We have no choice – suddenly we agree on one thing and the only way to get through this is to stand together and work together.  It levels the playing field.  Suddenly background, wealth, ethnicity, culture, ideology doesn’t make any difference, no exceptions – we are all in this together whether we want it or not.

This is an opportunity for unity – let’s unite with Kitty O’Meara and pray for healing on all levels – and find new ways of being. I am already witnessing immense care and the goodness of people at work and play. This is a testing time globally it challenges us towards thinking and being aware of each other in different ways.  Suddenly space and touch mean different things than a few weeks ago.  Somebody shared with me yesterday how paradigms can quickly shift and gave the following example:  “be a good neighbour – stay at home!”

Maybe it is a time to turn in, read books, listen, pray, meditate and rest. In the Christian tradition, it is also the season of Lent where we are aware of time in the wilderness – and isn’t this a wilderness experience in some sort of way for most of us?

May you be safe wherever you are!

Soul Nudges #17 Ring the bell

Thich Nhat Hanh tells a beautiful story in his book “Silence” about the Coconut Monk. This monk did many things to teach peace.  In Vietnam, at the time of the war, he once collected bullet and bomb fragments from an area in the Mekong Delta. He then did an extraordinary thing – he took the bullet and bomb fragments and forged them into a big bell – he called it the bell of mindfulness. He then hung this bell in his practice centre in Mekong Delta  and wrote the following poem:

Dear bullets, dear bombs, I have helped you come together in order to practice. In your former life, you have killed and destroyed. But in this life, you are calling out to people to wake up, to wake up to humanity, to love, to understanding.
This bell’s very existence was a symbol of how transformation is possible and he rang it every morning and every night to invite soldiers into times of reflection.

At the beginning of this year, I really hope this story helps you to believe that you can make small changes in the way you live and work. That even difficult things and brokenness can be used as a reminder. And may the metaphor of the bell remind you to make small decisions about the way that you will (literally or metaphorically) ring a bell in your own life to remind you of the small changes and habits that you want to stick to this year. To wake up to humanity and love. Do keep it simple!

And let’s remember the words of Leonard Cohen in his song “Anthem”:

      Ring the bells that still can ring

      Forget the perfect offering

      There’s a crack in everything

      But that’s where the light gets in



Your response:

  Take 5 minutes to think reflectively about the following.

How can you create something that can be like a bell that rings in your life this year – something that reminds you to stop, to love and to be human? Think about something simple that you can use as a reminder, not to make you feel guilty, but to help you, your team or your family to believe that small changes and transformation is possible in 2020. It can be a reminder on your phone, a photo or a picture against a wall, a tree that you pass every morning or maybe a bell at your office?  Keep it simple and specific though…

My bell was a drop of water…watch the video of my story here. 


Events for 2020:

I am again conducting a few retreats and leadership retreats this year – more information can be found here.

And I still spend time with individuals and teams on request for reflective walks, experiential team development processes and team retreats – more information here.

I regularly spend time with teams in a labyrinth – ask me about this.

Also, keep letting me know if you have any soulful stories to share – it is wonderful to hear about the small moments that provide meaning and purpose.

Ring the bell!

André

Soul Nudges #16 Rest Well

Soul Nudges 16 // Rest well

As we come to the end of another year let us take a few minutes and reflect on the joys and the challenges of this year. If you are lucky enough to have a proper break don’t wait for the holidays to do this reflection, do it this week! If you do not have a proper break, remember to create small spaces for rest.

I am so grateful for the journey over the last year. My time with people in different walks of life brings so many awakenings and waterdrop-moments. It is such a privilege to be a witness of people’s journeys – be it organisational or personal. And the real challenge at the end of the year is to find ways to disengage from all the busy-ness.

I want to acknowledge the privilege of this journey by sharing a few hopeful stories of the past year and motivate you to rest well.

In a recent leadership retreat “Christmas in November”, I was again energised by the willingness of a group of leaders who didn’t know each other to share and be vulnerable. We again learned that when we intentionally create space the rest happens anyway.

And in a labyrinth walk with a team of soulful leaders, we shared our 6-word memoirs afterwards – this is where we summarize the leadership journey in 6 words in a creative way as a commitment. One person wrote the following 6 words:

From egoistic control towards soulful simplicity…

Isn’t this a challenge for each of us in any walk of life? To let go of the control and return towards God-given simplicity?

I was also very encouraged by a quarterly team session called Soulful Fridays where the organisation decided to elect 3 ambassadors to be the gatekeepers for their soulful organisation – they summoned them to be the organisation’s conscience and audit their ability to be a soulful organisation by looking at their daily practices.

Encouraging indeed! So let us celebrate our own soulful stories of 2019 and ask ourselves how we can respond to this in a simple practical way and pass it on. And on the way to the turn of another year do remember to rest well.

In his book ‘The 5 am Club’, Robin Sharma says:

Remember that growth happens in the resting phase, not in the performing phase.

You grow while you are sleeping not when you burn the candle on both sides. You grow when you turn in and reflect not when you are going at full speed!

So do make sure that you make time to rest and turn in because that will set up your growth for 2020.

I am excited about next year and will share events, dates and ideas early in the new year. I am quite excited by the possibility to host another soulful conference in September 2020 but more about this in the new year.

Rest well.