I speak therefore I am...

On New Year’s Eve I woke up with a tickly throat. It really wasn’t a big deal – I did another lateral flow test and was happy with my negative result. By New Year’s Day I had lost my voice completely! From 99% down to zero in a matter of hours. To be fair, all I felt like doing was watching crap tele on the sofa for the day, so I wasn’t too bothered. By day two I was less happy about having no voice. By day three I was doubling up on all the alternative remedies I could think of. I was desperate to regain my voice ready for my return to work.

Day four… my first day back to work with something of a voice. Enough to be able to coach, but with the professional embarrassment of needing to have a cough sweet in my mouth at all times. Then came our team meeting. The first of the year, I hoped to get everyone feeling motivated and geared up for what’s ahead. Instead I found things difficult. I value thinking out-loud, and it transpired that without a voice, I was struggling to think. It was really very curious. I mean it wasn’t as substantial a statement as DescartesI think therefore I am, but it definitely was really curious.

Whilst it felt disabling to me, it also gave me insight into other peoples’ lived experiences. I know not everyone thinks out loud, so it’s not a universal thing, but I still found it valuable to walk three days in the shoes of silent others. My mum for example, has Parkinson’s and amongst other things it weakens her voice. I was seeing that maybe a degenerative disease changes your agency on a physical level and that this could have a knock on effect cognitively. In the reading I’ve done about Parkinson’s there hasn’t been any reference to such a nuanced relationship between body and mind. It’s not so easy to describe is it?

Anyway, coming back to my life, not setting out the 2022 vision to the team properly, also got me to thinking about the way in which we purposefully use our bodies in our work. I know from my training in embodied practices, that learning to understand the wisdom of our bodies can enhance everyday things such as decision making, innovation, how we lead, and much more. If you sit at a desk all day – you might be surprised at the idea of embodied leadership. The more surprised you are, the more I’d like you to read on!

Some people will be more embodied than others. Some of us need to learn it, or really I should say re-learn it. It’s something we’ve all done and can all do, but we can (intentionally or unintentionally) learn to deny or block out this form of wisdom from within. I certainly used to walk around ignoring my body… a mere set of sticks for carrying my head about. These days are different and I now teach others to connect with their wisdom from within. It sounds rather grand doesn’t it? Well… why not?

So this feels like the perfect launch pad for our addition to the Zest Community Events that are run for free. I already run a free mindfulness drop-in session every Wednesday at 12.30 on Zoom (no experience required).

I am now adding a Focusing series of events. On the fourth Tuesday of each month at 12.30 for one hour. There’s no charge because I like to make events accessible for all. Whether you work in a large corporate organization, a small charity, by yourself, or not at all – this event is for you!

Focusing is about learning to connect with that wisdom from within. Have you ever had a nagging feeling upon leaving your house that you have forgotten something and then got to your destination and realized what you forgot? Have you ever had a dream so strong that it left you with a strong sense of that dream all the next day – even if you can’t remember the detail of the dream? Or maybe you have had an imposing sense about someone only to discover something about them that you knew wasn’t quite right! These are just a few examples of how our bodies have information that we can’t always readily access.

Focusing is a way of learning to listen to that information and making sense of it. I’ll start with an introductory session so you can try it for yourself!

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