During our last holiday I read The Alchemist from Paolo Coelho again. It is brilliant how this book, this story, reaches you differently every time. I remember the first time I read it I didn’t really understand it all. Now the opposite was true. Everything resonated and it was one huge field of encounter. Not that I have ever been in the desert, or have been a shepherd, but this story about the recognition from the heart and the walls of illusion is just a great metaphor for life. Well, that’s probably the reason why he sold 30 million copies of it worldwide.
The boy, a shepherd, is learning how to tap into the universal language. A language unspoken, but always present. And there is only one way to tap into this language, through the heart. It is the gateway to intuition, love and awareness. Shutting off your heart means staying inside the walls of illusion, an imprisoned world that is fabricated by our minds, our thoughts.
Now lately we cannot close our eyes anymore for the terrible things happening in our world. There are big shifts going on on a macro-level. But these are actually quite the same as the challenges we face in our daily lives, or even within ourselves. That is called the principle of correspondence, one of the Hermetic principles. It says that everything that happens on one level, also occurs on all other levels. So how can we change this? Let’s start with ourselves. Again there is a beautiful Zintenz story about this subject, the one of the two wolves:
An old indian told his grandson about life. “Within me there is a fight going on”, he said to the boy. “It is a horrible fight between two wolves. The one wolf is bad. He exists from rage, jealousy, greed, conceit, lies, false pride and ego. The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, calmness, humility, kindness, generosity and compassion. Within you the same fight rages. And that goes for each and every other living person.” The grandson was thinking for a moment and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”. The old indian smiled and answered: “The one you feed.”
If we feed ourselves with love, or, if you like to put it more down to earth, happy thoughts, you’ll be much more likely to create positive things than by thinking negative. This is a choice. And it starts with you. And because every single particle is energetically connected, you can create a movement. Don’t believe me? Watch this video. A movement of happy thoughts. Because if you put yourself in a positive state, you create a positive wave. Brains will start serving hearts instead of the other way around, keeping up the walls of illusion. So why not start today? Feed yourself with good things, let love rule and think happy thoughts!
Some time ago during a ladies dinner with former colleagues we had a discussion about leadership. As a lot of the ladies around me had been or are working for leaders of multinational companies, we were discussing what made a leader a good one. What is true leadership? Someone noticed most of them have had quite some difficulties in their lives, or experienced a crisis which they overcame and because of that got true insights. And someone mentioned they all had overcome their big ego’s in order to become a true leader.
During my professional life, I’ve encountered many companies. They each have a different story to tell about a product they deliver. As a consultant in communications and PR, it is all about delivering the right message to the right target group. Now at the core of a company or organization, lies the essential energy from which it once arose. During the years companies transform, find structures, patterns. For a lot of those companies it is hard these days to follow the stream of energy that was once at its essence. The same energy from which now al those great start-ups are coming into bloom. This is the challenge organizations face in these volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times.
Since I changed my professional title into Transformation Consultant and published my latest blog about organizing the WATT, my life seems to have come into rapids. Somehow everything I have been working on the last month is coming to this enormous burst of ideas, inspiring conversations and wonderful encounters. Wherever I go, somehow everyone I meet or speak to, is connecting on a different level. No superficial talks anymore. And the funny thing, is I notice that all those people are looking for one and the same thing: their reason of being and how to work with that in their daily lives.
Last week I read a newspaper article of a company called Zintenz. The owner, Leo Kaniok, gave up his job because he found an old bag filled with pages and pages full of stories from different mystical traditions while moving his father to another home. His father collected the stories, but never used them. Leo, working as HR manager at COA, (the Dutch organisation responsible for the reception, supervision and departure of asylum seekers) tried to focus on the positive instead of the negative in meetings, but mostly his colleagues couldn’t get away from the drama and chose to stay in the negative. He used one of the stories in a meeting, which was a wonderful metaphor. Now they understood what he meant and they started to focus on the positive instead (big chance I’ll use it once in another blog!). Struck by the power of the metaphor, he decided to do something with the stories, followed his heart and started Zintenz.
Just before New Years, the news got out that three big retail chains in The Netherlands went bankrupt. The largest one had 10.000 employees, who all went into 2016 without a job. This is something that is not just happening to them, but also to their husbands and wives, children, parents, friends, suppliers, you name it. The funny thing is, that this is an example of companies where things went wrong, while the last century we’ve been quite well capable of managing our businesses, departments and processes. It depends on how executives are capable of flowing with all that happens and their capacity for awareness of what wants to happen when times get harder. Lately though, it seems like more and more companies, organizations and even people are slipping away, which is to my feeling just the outer layer of the problems. So how do you master a wave like this?
2016. A new year has begun. And new years often begin with resolutions. Do you have new year resolutions? I’ve been asked quite some times now, what my new year resolutions are. And people expect you to answer ‘doing more sports’, ‘eating healthy’, ‘finding this incredible job’. My new year resolution is to do more of what I do best.
It is funny, because I’ve been trying to find myself a new title. As I was trying to find out what I do best and do more of that this last year, I felt like I had to change my title on LinkedIn. In order to be found better by organizations. Because I’d like to find a new assignment. Because I love working, it inspires me and gives me a sense of meaning. Being able to put my energy in something worthwhile makes me flourish as a person. And I know that where I put my energy in, flourishes as well, as that is just a simple universal rule.
On birthdays I never had any problems with it. Christmas gifts from my former employer? No problem. Actually receiving anything tangible was never a problem. But when it came to something intangible, I had difficulties. With compliments? Yes, problem (omg, no, look at you, you are so much more this and that). Taking a stage? Yes, difficult (someone else can do that a lot better than I can). Other kinds of offerings handed to me? DIFFICULT!! And what if I receive something negative from someone? It went under my skin, straight away. No problem at all with receiving that. ‘Somehow,’ one of my friends said ‘it seems even easier to receive something negative, than truly receive a compliment.’
Last week I participated in a training in storytelling. Not a ‘this is where you start, and this is how you end’ technique, no, a training in storytelling from the heart. Because, since I’m handing over more and more control, there seems to come more space in my life and yes…surprises. I never planned to go to this training, it was offered to me the day before it started as a friend couldn’t make it. I went, loving the subject…of course. So, you are my first audience ever to read a story I’ve never written, read or told before. Just for the sake of inspiration, diversity, change…there we go.
So…I used to be a person who was pretty well organized. Always everything planned, at work as well as private. Children’s clothes ready for the next day by the time they went to bed, breakfast on the table for the next morning, keeping a clean house, keeping up with the laundry (except for the ironing, I hate ironing), a household in which to my perception everything was quite well organized. Organizing stuff at the primary school of the kids, working for my clients and delivering at the right deadlines, always everything under control. Or…was that just an illusion?