This was a laugh out loud birthday card from my lovely friends Jo and Paul and certainly reflects what I enjoy! However, for my birthday I finally bought a fitbit. I am yet to decide if this was a good idea or a bad idea! I have become better at making looking after myself a priority and while it will not be helpful to add another set of oughts or shoulds to my daily life, helping me to be more mindful of the way I look after my body I am hoping will be helpful. I am trying to be realistic about goals as psychologically for me it is better to achieve a realistic goal than not hit an unrealistic one so I am looking at starting off with 5k steps a day not the much quoted 10. I am doing pretty well with my water intake and will be interested to see the statistics on my sleep. I don’t yet understand the heart rate information and I have only done the breathing exercises once. I am hoping I can make my fitness and physical wellbeing a priority but will not stop enjoying a visit to a good cafe on a day out!
I blog twice a week, not a lot of words but it keeps the discipline of writing alive for me. Last Friday we ran our annual writing day for the Grove Youth Series encouraging people to write a booklet or anything else they wanted. It is always an encouragement to have conversations with people about how they can share some of their thoughts and insights with the wider world. On Friday this ranged from explicitly missional under fives work to school and church relationships, and doing detached work. And those were just the conversations I had.
Several of the Editorial Group gave some input around different aspects of writing and participants got a pack of notes. Next year’s is on February 1st!
I also read about writing and am enjoying pondering on these reflections:
Active writing at least, where we sometimes write through what we think we know in order to discover that we actually think something else entirely. Thus writing changes the writer as much perhaps or even more than the reader.
Objectivity does not necessarily get lost in this mix but it does disguise itself sometimes in subjective language, just as subjectivity often hides behind the refusal to use the personal pronoun.
From John Freeman Remaking Memory Faringdon: Libri Publishing 2105 p27
I am a morning person, this means I never get to watch the Superbowl live as there is no way I can stay up that late. I am not a Seahawks fan (I am a Dolphins fan for anyone interested!) but found this wonderful quote from Pete Carroll the 2014 Superbowl winning Seahawks coach (in Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness p108)and am posting this as we approach Superbowl Sunday:
There’s no question that it’s easier to manage a ‘fitting-in’ culture. You set standards and rules. You lead by ‘put up or shut up’. But you miss real opportunities – especially helping your team members find their purpose. When you push a fitting-in culture’ you miss the opportunity to help people find their personal drive – what’s coming from their hearts. Leading for true belonging is about creating a culture that celebrates uniqueness. What serves leaders best is understanding your players’ best efforts. My job as a leader is to identify their unique gift or contribution. A strong leader pulls players toward a deep belief in themselves.
An approach to aspire to…
On Monday I facilitated the first day of our workbased learning module. I always enjoy this module as it is a day of mutual learning as I get to learn too from people with a different set of experiences to me as we together talk about how to support people learning in a work context rather than the classroom.
One of my more recent pieces of learning is around doing visuals like this one to capture the essence of a day on one sheet. The wonderful Jo Whitehead who worked with me for many years introduced us to this practice. Once I got over my ‘I can’t draw’ barrier I have found it a useful way to capture concepts. Thus on here you have some of my ideas that I had planned to share, some insights from students and some from Jimi Ball who came and did a session with us on personal development after one of those random meetings in a coffee shop. It is one of those three day modules where people come once a month and in between get the opportunity to put into practice some of the ideas from the module. I like learning like this and the day reminds me of some of the things it would be good to get back to doing!
Thus I am going away from the day wanting to think more about using the word honour when I might otherwise use love (I am familiar with honour from my shame studies but hadn’t thought of it in this way), thinking more about whose story I am hearing and what the power dynamics might be around that, a reminder of the importance of learning from failure and to be as aware as I can about my prejudices and blindspots. Each of the students got to facilitate a little bit of workbased learning and we were encouraged by what could be accomplished in not much more than 10 minutes. Pausing to reflect – something I do but could benefit from doing more of!
One of the lovely things about working in a theological college is getting to pray together and on Wednesday we have Faculty Prayers. On Tuesdays my team has prayer and toast! Two different opportunities but both give the opportunity to experience different perspectives and approaches to prayer. Today it is my turn to lead and I am using the Northumbria Community Daily Prayer. The reading (from the Aidan collection) is this:
Jesus stands on the shore and whistles
for his people to respond, wave upon
wave. He calls them to bind the
broken-hearted, and to build up waste places. Bryan Pollard.
We remember too Antony of Egypt today and the entry in Celtic Daily Prayer reminds us that he is seen as the founder of monasticism. Perhaps today we could find a little piece of solitude to remember some of those who have gone before us and shaped where we are now. Today my Facebook memory was of others who helped to form CYM into what it is and I am grateful for them and aware I am the only one still involved in the same way – God has not yet moved me on which reflects my commitment to stability as a vow drawing from Benedictine spirituality. I appreciate the grounding of these different opportunities.
A colleague was saying to me yesterday that they came across an old picture of me and the difference was amazing. I still have a little seed of fear that the weight will creep back on but I have strategies and approaches to help. One of the things I fine helpful is identifying tools that help me think through areas of my life which I want to address. I haven’t made resolutions as such but have identified some areas I want to work on. This is one tool I am planning to use in some teaching soon and based on some of the things I have been thinking about I need to use it to explore day to day recreation… I am beginning to think of some of the changes I can make so once this is finished the laptop will go away and I will take up my knitting!
Draw a circle on a piece of paper, divide it into six wedges. Label the wedges as follows: work, recreation, spirituality, friendship, adventure, physicality (or terms that resonate with you). Draw a dot in the wedge that represents your satisfaction in that area, the nearer the dot is to the outside of the circle the more satisfied you are. Join the dots together. What sort of hexagon do you have? Choose one of the areas where you don’t have optimum satisfaction and list some small changes you could make in that area. This exercise can be adapted to a range of contexts such as six aspects of your work, perspectives of stakeholders etc.
(adapted from Cameron 2004:23)
Cameron, Julia (2004). The Sound of Paper. London: Michael Joseph.
I felt a compulsion to commit to dry January this year. Not fully sure why as I have not done it before and don’t drink a lot of alcohol anyway – my extra calories tend to be reserved for cake and chocolate! I might save around £20 over the month which I will give to charity. In God language I would say that I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me. In reflecting a bit more on why I am doing this what came to mind was some people I know who have cancer and who will be making adjustments to their lifestyles at the moment and I want to take this small step to make an adjustment to mine so I am more mindful of others who may be struggling a little at the moment. I hesitate to share things like this sometime because I sometimes wonder if what I write may be misinterpreted. I don’t like being accused of showing off or whatever. But I am being obedient to something I think God is asking of me and I think it is important to share some of my spiritual journey as well in the interests of accountability and also encouraging people that if you feel a prompting sometimes it is God!