Monday, 29 September 2014

Q32: Want to change the world? (What are you doing this Thursday?)

This Thursday, October 2nd, marks the world's seventh International Day of Non-Violence. So here's an idea:
Perhaps you've already taken the Ice Bucket Challenge

- but if not, don't worry! You don't need to get wet to change the world. (See my MINDFUL ice-bucket tips here:The Mindful Ice Bucket!)

When one conscious person does just one significant action, the world changes. So let's ALL do one significant thing on Thursday 2nd October to support a non-violent world.

This month's tip is also here on video. Please share it with as many people as possible to promote International Non-Violence Day.

One Person - One Action!
One Person - One Action!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Tip 13: How to carry on the holiday at work!

September 2014

My clever chiropractor brother says interesting things about relaxing your back when it's tight or tired - and I thought, "Well, what about tight or tired conversations?" So although your holidays may be over, here's a way to carry on relaxing - even in the middle of a stressful conversation ....

Friday, 1 August 2014

Tip 12: Useless communication – and why it’s a good thing!

This week, a journalist writing in The Guardian newspaper questioned the Labour leader's 'politics of empathy', saying that it means nothing without effective policies. "I don't want a dentist who can feel my pain", says the journalist, "I want one who can remove it". In one way, I agree with him: empathy is always 'useless' - but THAT is the whole point!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Q31: What can Marie Antoinette teach us about communication?

According to the popular story of Marie Antoinette, the Parisian mob was thronging at the palace gates demanding bread when the French queen appeared in the royal balcony and, with a wave of her delicately gloved hand, declared, 'Let them eat cake!' 
The starving peasants, intent upon survival not pleasure, did not take kindly to the charming comment - and promptly cut off her head.[1]

Making suggestions which don't match other people's needs can be so risky that I've given it a name: the Marie Antoinette Syndrome ...

[1] The story is apocryphal. The popular myth apparently conflates one of several bread-shortages prior to the French Revolution with the revolution itself; and the comment was almost certainly invented (or recycled) by revolutionary polemicists and others using a phrase earlier coined (or invented) by Rousseau. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Q30: Can politicians speak mindfully?

This May, I had the privilege of attending the launch of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on mindfulness.[1] Here I was, invited into the Houses of Parliament simply because I meditate! For many of us long-term meditators, this was an unexpected turn. When we started out (for me, in 1983) we were 'weird' or 'way out', we then graduated to being 'cool', and what are we now? Trend-setters! Even a force for change in the establishment!

I was surprised to learn that over 80 MPs and peers have learned mindfulness on courses at Westminster.
Having calm and resourceful politicians can only be a good thing, of course. So how soon will we hear the benefits in their communication?

[1] The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness was launched on 7th May 2014 in the Houses of Parliament to enquire into the role of mindfulness in public policy. The group is supported by The Mindfulness Initiative, a collaboration of three UK universities which are centres of research and training on mindfulness, Exeter, Bangor and Oxford. The Mindfulness Initiative, founded by Madeleine Bunting and Chris Cullen in 2013, is supporting the MAPPG. It is dedicated to advocacy of and research into the role of mindfulness in public policy. 
[2] Professor Mark Williams and Chris Cullen from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre have been running mindfulness courses in the Houses of Parliament since January 2013. To date, about 80 parliamentarians from both Houses have attended. 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Q29: What can great art teach us about listening?

I spent my Easter bank holiday gazing at the sea paintings of Turner, at Greenwich Maritime Museum. Apart from my love of Turner's seas and skies, I wanted to learn more about listening ....

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Q28: Why do I go blank – just when something matters?

Pausing is what our systems do because they're alive to a complicated set of circumstances that we call 'now'. It's what happens when we find our normally intelligible words and sentences turn into unexpected umm's and er's; or even grind to a halt completely as we go blank. But this is neither daft nor decorative ....