Welcome to this month’s musings, inspirations and ideas and what a month ahead we have. The nights are drawing in, year end beckons at work and kids are counting down to Christmas…..it’s going to be a month to dig in, draw upon our strength together and seek out the pockets of joy.

Joy through inspiration and connection, and by heeding our attention towards positive, nurturing people, situations and actions that make us feel safe and cared for.

Whatever the month brings you, I hope my musings on attention help.

INSIGHT

“Where attention goes, energy flows”

Have you heard this quote? It is often used to summarise the impact of our Reticular Activating System (RAS). This part of our brain filters the billions of inputs our senses take in. It looks for what’s not important so the important stuff gets through.

With lockdown looming and lots of information coming at us from our governments, health bodies, employers, and more, we need to be conscious of what we’re asking out RAS to focus on and filter out.

Where we put our attention sets our RAS into action looking for people, information, support, connections and whatever else it can find to confirm our thinking and assumptions – aka confirmation bias.

My invite to you this month is to use your journalling, mediation or your runs and walks to consider:

  • where is my attention focused?
  • What meaning am I attaching to what my RAS is filtering in?
  • is that helping my mental health right now?
  • where am I willing to focus my attention next?

Often, with my coaching clients, we use a tool called trigger tracking – a kinda diary to it helps identify what our RAS is filtering in and then explore what our attention is being drawn to. Several have used these (or similar) questions to help their partners, kids, friends and colleagues process where their attention is and help shift the feelings that aren’t enabling them.

Pebble saying "stay safe + be kind"

After this weekend’s celebration of vampires, ghosts and monsters, November may well require us to continue to face our fears in challenging times at home and at work.

What does courage look like when we’re afraid?

  1. We act despite feeling afraid – our Queen Powertype reconfirms our vision for the people we serve in our Realms, taking advice and counsel from experts, and building confidence in our teams.
  2. We trust in our hearts – this relates to the Sorceress Powertype and our belief that we hold inner wisdom supported by Source’s powerful connection (God, Mother Nature, The Universe, whichever you call Source).
  3. We persevere in the face of adversity – our Warrioress boldly moves towards the accomplishment of our goals and causes.
  4. We care for ourselves – recognising that holding fear depletes our ability to give to others, we invest in replenishment through sleep, self-care, exercises, mediation, sex and nutrition. We meet our basic needs to allow us to support others with our Lover Powertype.
  5. We nurture others so they feel heard and safe – Mother provides unconditional care and nurture, easing the fears and anxieties of those at our Hearth to enable them to be courageous in difficult times.

I doubt I’m alone in admitting being concerned, sad and at times, anxious about the spread of COVID, the impacts of another lockdown and whether I’ll get to be with my nearest and dearest for Christmas. Perhaps you feel a bit the same?

I’ll be leaning into my Powerytypes and deliberately bringing my attention to each of them to ensure they support me each day, whether in leading my team, leading with my clients’ progress and in leading myself, my physical and mental wellbeing.

(I even go so far as to colour code my diary with the Powertyype I need to bring to make it even more intentional and my actions more consistent.)

COURAGE

LIBERTY

I’m making a bigger commitment to end 2020 by “going local” – November is the month that Black Friday occurs and our inboxes gets stuffed up with deals to entice us to buy. Usually, it is the “big” retailers with offers that probably aren’t even that good or genuine.

But what about the little guys?  

With one eye on Christmas and the other on COVID restrictions, I’m putting my attention into exploring interesting small businesses, artists and creatives based in the UK.

My favourites include: 

  • Wear the Stars – I love a good hoodie and Nicola does the best style advice on her Instagram for those of us who could live in our hoodies.
  • Peace with the Wild – perfect for your eco-friendly gifting and also for your own bathroom and kitchen too.
  • Rosie Hay Ceramics – I’m drooling over her speckle collection for soothing cosy hot drinks over the winter months.
  • Face Theory – vegan, ecologically made and packaged goodies for your face and body. I swear by the under eye cream and Vitamin C facewash…….hmmmmm smells amazing.
  • The Bristol Artisan – I miss living in Bristol but love the home decor shop. I always think, when I grow up I want a house full of things from here.

I’m also using the two local grocery and veg shops, rather than the busy supermarkets and making the most of my local bulk store for healthy dishes from the Green Roasting Tin book or Mildred’s Vegan book – both by British teams. I’m choosing brightly coloured, nutritious, plant based foods this month plus the odd treat.

One of my life values is nourishment, stemming from what I consume, as food, as inspiration and as community. I’m using that value to bring attention to my choices this month.

Where are you putting your attention this month for your shopping and eating choices?

Stack of books

With a month or more of lockdown ahead of many of in the UK and Europe, I wanted to share this poem with you.

In the Company of Women by January Gill O’Neil

Make me laugh over coffee,
make it a double, make it frothy
so it seethes in our delight.
Make my cup overflow
with your small happiness.
I want to hoot and snort and cackle and chuckle.
Let your laughter fill me like a bell.
Let me listen to your ringing and singing
as Billie Holiday croons above our heads.
Sorry, the blues are nowhere to be found.
Not tonight. Not here.
No makeup. No tears.
Only contours. Only curves.
Each sip takes back a pound,
each dry-roasted swirl takes our soul.
Can I have a refill, just one more?
Let the bitterness sink to the bottom of our lives.
Let us take this joy to go.

Who can you reach out to and share a coffee with this month? Someone who lifts your spirits? Someone, you’ve not spoken to recently like a former colleague? Or an elderly relative or neighbour who’d appreciate a catch-up? Who needs to be centre of your attention?

We’re apart now so when we get together later, we’re all there.

If you’d like a zoom brew, I’d love to connect and have a chat x

CONNECTION

JOY

Imbuing something with love, affection and care can serve as a source for joy – especially when you gift it to another. This month, I’m bringing my attention to what I’m calling “doorstep acts of kindness” and I’d love to invite you to join me in delivering these small wonders to people you love, people who are ill or alone, people who you don’t even know – just pop a note on them with a wish for happiness, recovery, calm, whatever you feel appropriate.

So what am I delivering? Small plants or flowers to fit a jam jar. Baked goods – who doesn’t like scones or brownies? Some extra video content for those looking for career changes, by choice or due to redundancies. Inbox delights such as a poem, photo of a memory or fabulous quote. Voice messages instead of text messages – including the odd burst into song (I sing soooo badly, I’m hoping it’s so bad, it’s good!)

And lastly, I’m brewing up the best possible Haven Retreat and masterclasses to share with you all in early December. My post-it notes, of ideas, thoughts, content, exercises, are getting a bit crazy but I’m so excited and inspired by the ideas you shared in last week’s blog.

I’m also filling my 2021 planner with dates for the next round of group coaching and, hopefully, face to face Haven Retreats back in our gorgeous Georgian Coach House.

Please do keep sharing with me what you’d like me to cover in December’s Retreat or here in a blog – its all joy making for me as I playfully bring attention to this new way of working with you to say “YES” to joy.

How can you bring your attention to joyful acts of kindness this month?

And that’s my shares for this month. I hope they spark a thought or help create new personal insights, or inspire you to do something different in your leadership – whether that is for half term with your kids and family or at work with your team and clients or for yourself to meet your needs and thrive by saying “YES” to joy in your leadership.

Have a safe but fun month!