Hi folks! Here I’m sharing some interesting things I discovered in workshops in 2020 ( in no particular order).

“Open wings” to start a workshop: “Close eyes and breath…let stress fall away… wiggle toes, drop shoulders… open mind, open heart, open wings…” (Thank you Lina Mbirkou via Sydney Facilitators Network)

Funky organisational names
These imaginative names grabbed my attention (which is the whole point of course). Barb Busters : Little Dreamers : Gotcha4Life : Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation : Teaspoons of change.

Fourishing into 2021: Hey Jessamy Gee, you did a brilliant job of graphically recording the Knox bushland volunteers workshop. Here’s how we flourish (expand):

The Sisters of Mercy impressed me with the prophetic language of Catholic eco-spirituality. “Hearing the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” “All creation is sacred”. They use in a language that appeals to both the heart and the mind. (As I’ve mentioned before, Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical, is a superb strategic document that makes it clear that environmental action and social justice must be hand-in-hand for either to prosper).

Words for a blue sky session: “Close your eyes, Imagine a better future. Now describe something you see in that future.” (thanks SES)

Words for a “parallel worlds” session:
“Choose a ‘world of meaning’ you’re familiar with [for example martial arts, pie-making, gardening, choir, motor racing, whatever…].”
“Now, what could we learn from that world
about the challenge we’re working on now?”
This mental barrier buster is similar to asking “What would Costa [or another famous personality] do?”

Words for facilitating reflective moments: “What’s your proudest moment in the last 6 months?”, “Where did you find joy recently?”, “What are you grateful for today?”

The Sisters of Mercy also taught me about their “contemplative dialogue” method. Sit in pairs. One person inquires “What’s arising for you?” then just silently listens, letting the other have as much time as they need to find their words.

“What if Covid was created FOR us?” Tweeking Paul Hawken’s “What if climate change was happening FOR us?”, as a way to reframe the COVID crisis:

“[it’s tempting to] believe that [climate/COVID] is something that is happening to us – that we are victims of a fate that was determined by actions that precede us. If we change the preposition, and consider that [climate/COVID] is happening for us …We [see it as] an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion and genius.” – Paul Hawken

Selfies in the sunflowers
“We had 700 car-loads of people stopping for a sunflower selfie…starting conversations that go way beyond soil health.” Simon Mattsson reminded me about the power of a visual hook. He’s part of a group promoting sunflowers as a soil recovery crop in cane fields. See Sunset Symphony in the Sunflowers.

My happiness indicators
The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation made me think hard about wellbeing indicators. So I made my own personal list (to go with my change diary!).
# instances of volunteering
# instances of fun with family
% full nights’ sleep
# checking on others
# minutes of quite personal reflection
# cardio workouts
# meals shared

What could be yours?

A couple of nice mental models

There is always a bigger “community of interest” surrounding those who are busy doing the changing:

A reminder that “it’s always the system”:

What am I doing right now?
Preparing for the next round of training:

All the best,
– Les.