Wild Mind Writing & Doing What I Do

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Of course when Nick talks about “Wild Mind Writing” I become very alert. Everyone in the group seems to have heard of it – a practice, attributed to Natalie Goldberg, by which you write, free-form, without edit, censure or pause for a period of time.
Don’t stop.
Keep writing.
Keep writing.
Even if there is nothing to say – write blah blah blah until the words come.
Don’t worry about spelling or syntax.
Don’t stop.
Keep Writing.
And, Nick invites wryly, go for the jugular with it. Don’t mess about. Write wild.
(I hear this translated into Scots: “gie it some laldy, girl”)

I haven’t heard of Wild Mind Writing before – or maybe I have and haven’t been paying attention – but the practice, this practice, is as familiar to me as drinking tea… it is precious, beloved and necessary.

I write. I write pretty much every day when there is time and if I don’t, after a few days I know about it. I write to make sense of what is. Of what has been.
I write to organise my thoughts.
I write to my future self – capturing the here-and-now – knowing one day, I may want or need to look back and understand how it was for me then.
I write to learn and to show myself that I have learned.
It is, in many ways, an utterly selfish act – for me, for my sanity, for a sense of myself… and sometimes it becomes less-so, when I share it or blog it….
I write as I think. Short sharp sentences. Or longer, more fluid more complex ones. I delight in words. In vocabulary and expression and rhythm.

I’m darkly chuckling at the topic we are asked to Write Wild on.
I have a history of being inarticulate around the business, my practice, my Why.
So when Nick turns the flip over & the words: WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO? pop up, I sort of groan/smile. Of course it would be this.

Before I share what I wrote (and it is personal..and it feels risky to share it…and that’s what happens when you write-and-share yourself.. when you put bits of yourself out into the world for scrutiny, because Lord-only KNOWS what folk will make of it…and I’m still not always OK with that…and I think it’s important to do it anyway) I’m making the invitation to try this out.
Set a clock – 5 mins or 10… we did 7 mins.
Find paper & a nice pen with flowing ink… or fire up your laptop.
And write. To yourself. To anyone. To No-one. And see what comes.
And when the first layer of words are gone?
Go deeper. What next? What more? What else?
See where it takes you.

Feel free to send it to me (julie@fuchsiablue.com or post it below in the comments) …. I’d rather read 5 minutes of someone’s rough and ready genuine inner thoughts than 50 pages of crafted, polished blurb.

So as one who works with folks in transition, as one who wants folk to learn and develop, to grow and be just kind of amazing….. Why do I do what I do?
These are my words:

I do what I do because I get something from it. Personally, Professionally – what is the something? Dunno. Satisfaction, personal progression – a sense of learning and newness – a sense of getting better and wiser and more able.
I do it to push myself. To encourage others by sharing what I learned – and I love it and it scares me and it costs me. I have to show myself everyday. That’s actually hard for me.
This is my practice, my 10,000 hours, the thing I seek as my mastery, my vocation – because there is privilege in passing stuff on. In showing and sharing because through this I am alive – I am in relation to others – connected to different worlds.
I get to travel. To explore. It is anthropological and satisfying. It is terrifying and frustrating. I’m wrong. A lot.
I hear stuff that makes me want to spit. Cockwomblery and W*nkpuffinage… so much BS about organisations and future and disrupt-hack-fecking-VUCA….
For me it’s quieter. It’s about self. It starts and ends with you. With me.
The more I know myself? The more I understand my context and reactions and can articulate these? The more I face into my fears? The bigger I become – more expansive. More generous. Kinder. Wiser. More robust.

 

image: Bartek Zyczynski/ Shutterstock

After the Ecstasy… The Laundry

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Greetings from a field in East Sussex. This morning I flew south, knowing that Scotland would remain within the UK, knowing that the people of Scotland had voted No.

I feel far from home.

After the frenzy and the emotion of the past weeks and months, after everything I have heard, the hours talking and thinking about it all……. What now? I’m guessing the Sunday Papers & blog columns are filling up with these words already… I’m on terrible signal and no wifi… So I’m digitally as well as physically disconnect…

It HAS to go somewhere. This energy. This fervour. This passion.
It could wreck or derail if it goes somewhere negative.
It could light up a future if the opposite. Continue reading

Thrive

Thrive

Sometimes in life you get a wee boost of something that inspires. When a copy of Arianna Huffington’s book – Thrive, dropped on to my mat a couple of Saturdays ago, courtesy of Random House Group (humble thanks to Neil Morrison (@neilmorrison on Twitter) – I suspect you know what you were doing… damn you!) – I was making a cuppa and had about half an hour to spare…. I started flicking through the book and ended up tucked up reading for over an hour (apologies to my mate Liz – I was late for good reason, honest!)

The basic premise is this: we are mostly operating in a world where success is defined through money and status. This brings about emptiness, stress and burnout. It means we are encouraged to spend our lives striving for money or getting one over on others. We end up divided and filled with compromise as work & life are seen as binary and non-inclusive…..In this particular reality – we battle ourselves and each other. Not. Too. Smart. Continue reading

Vive La Resolution

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I don’t make New Years Resolutions any more

Maybe it’s an age thing – I feel I have had more than my fair share of New-Year new-Start-buy-the-fitness-video; sign up to thiswillmakeyouskinnier.com, lock the wine up, research healthy eating, business-boosting, agree to be emailed “say yes-to-You” confidence boosting tips that are guaranteed to make my life better..

Been there. Done that.  Found no actual joy there. Continue reading

There is No One Answer

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For 3 weeks I’ve been working up close and personal with an essay which asked me to articulate my assumptions about organisations and change. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the writing as I have dived into bits of my thinking and my working practice that I’ve previously kind of glossed over….. and in the end one of my conclusions was:

“…there is no one answer. For me, this allows me to be flexible because anything I try might work or equally not work. It’s hugely freeing.”

Freeing being the very opposite of how it felt to have “sudden” inspiration to write at 3 am on mornings when I needed to sleep… a lot…. My shoulders are creaking & cracking, my desk is smothered in papers & notes ( started the clear up operation this morning whilst listening to Zoe Rahman, Groove Armada and a smattering of old-school Prince) and my body feels under-exercises and over-caffeinated. Yet, somewhere deep within me, I’m kind of smiling.

There is no One Answer….

I’m not sure if that would be a satisfactory conclusion for everyone after 3 weeks & 5,000 words, but it’s the conclusion I came to and I’m kind of hanging out with it.

So far?… it’s good enough company to stay with me.

The answer about how I work with organisations and change can’t lie in wholly my brain – how I think and what I know is potentially interesting, but not necessarily significant. The answer won’t be wholly in my heart, either – though see previous blog post, I’m happy to speculate that change might well start there. Intuition serves me well and allows me to work from a non-verbal, energetic place that keeps me mostly out of trouble and allows me to ask deeper questions when I’m coaching or consulting – articulating a “felt sense” or an impression. Yes, my hunches offer me answers, but it’s pretty personal

Oh and then there’s the use-of-all sensory data to see, hear, smell, taste, touch what’s happening in the organisation…. And then of course senses are to be mistrusted, so that data needs to be questioned a bit…

And then…well the relationship part is essential. Building relationships. Listening well. Laughing. Delivering what has been promised. Being open.

Complex, messy, diverse, motion-filled life….. you gotta love it.

I’ve yet to find the School of No One Answer…. Let me know if it exists?

If not, I’m tempted to become the founder member. In the meantime, I’m intending to hang out with curiosity and confusion…

Meditation on Writing

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.Isaac Asimov

I’m finding something joyeous in writing. The physical act of sitting at peace, pen in hand, scrawling away. For me, there is something wonderfully meditative about taking time to write – no predictive text, no tappy keys. Just my mind, connecting with my body, connecting to a pen, moving on paper to fill up blank pages.

No-dimensional thoughts suddenly have a physical place to hang out…. How cool is that?

My mind clatters along. Ticker-taping thoughts on at least 5 things at once. When I write, the busyness has to slow – I can only write at the pace I can write…

In February, I began an MSc in Organisational Change (expect more blogs on this anon). Part of the learning process is to keep a reflective journal. For 2 months straight I was quietly looking out for “my” journal – the book that was going to hold my weird thoughts and buzzy insights. This felt important. I looked at posh, expensive, leather bound sumptuous journals (too proper for my crazy?) I looked at A4 practical pads (too much handbag space & too much like a work pad).  Eventually, I settled on a small owl-covered A5 hardback book with a strap to keep the pages closed. It’s colourful, covered in bug-eyed stylised owls and has a playful / magic edge to it, which obviously appeals to me!

I love this book, now. I am thankful for the times I have been able to seek out peace, to slow my bubbling, whirring mind and lay things out across its pages. Sometimes I write in different colours (staedtler  triplus fineliners) sometimes it’s my trusty black uniball.

I used to try to be neat – precise – but who am I kidding? My mind is messy &  unstructured – I figure if I’m going to let my eyes see what my thoughts look like,  it’s got to be a fair representation. So now the pages are packed with colour, doodles, diagrams and musings. Short, sharp noticings sit alongside long, reflective ponderings. It is my journal. Part of me now and part of my quest to keep speaking out with authenticity – if I’m kidding myself in my journal – my own space- what does that say?

My playful magical owl book is nearly full already. I’ve already purchased my next Journal. It is bigger and the cover is uncompromising. It says : “this is your world. shape it or someone else will” – I’ve discovered shaping my world through words works very very well for me… I find I wonder how this would work for others?

So here’s a kind of an invitation – how would it be for you to take a pen & paper and start to write? To say what you think, in handwriting that is uniquely yours?  How would it be for you to start your very own meditation in writing?