Author: Ali Wooding

Think Differently

Creative inner shifts


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As we prepare to host our first Community space next week, Sarah and I have been appreciating the time we ourselves have been taking for introspection over the dark of winter. We’ve been drinking deeply from sources that nourish and inspire us.

We have reflected together on the nature of our work. That is, helping to support the natural transformations occurring within human consciousness. We have been acknowledging the importance of creating and allowing empty spaces of ‘unknowing’, which bring forth new seeds and new ways of perceiving life. We’ve been finding ways to describe how subtle, yet profound shifts in consciousness generate new awareness. They carry us forwards, often effortlessly, towards new understanding and energised action.

One such beloved source of insight for us is the ‘Wilding Women’ project that we are a part of, together with other women and the founder Alison Williams, a career artist and friend. Alison is profoundly connected to these unfolding creative movements that happen in art, in our inner lives, and in the evolution of life itself. She describes the ‘wilding process’ as being: 

About that moment when something shifts in your life, something pivots, and you see something about your life in a completely new way. And once it’s been seen, it can never be unseen.” 

Here is a beautiful little 5-minute video conversation with Alison in which you can hear her words and see pieces of exquisite artwork.

Think Differently

Pivoting our reality


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I find myself, like so many others, challenged by the apparent scale of the task to help transform business practice and bring a healthy, caring and inclusive value system into being. My mind takes up the task of course. It calculates probabilities and strategies, seeks evidence for its arguments, begins to form imagined alliances, and then sometimes it can’t see enough and it grinds to a halt… and stares up at the implacable mountain face of ‘BUSINESS’ as it is, governed by rationales of self-interest, endless growth and profit at any cost. I know this place. I also know that change doesn’t happen by knowledge and by will alone.

In fact, if I am approaching change from a place of personal will, I know that I am still part of the problem. I’ve become identified with a role (again) as hero, or rescuer, or fixer. Naturally, the role helps me to feel useful and valuable, and it helps keep creeping doubt at bay. After all, it’s not easy or comfortable to feel powerless and admit the limits of my individual knowledge, or the true degree of my mind and heart’s conditioning.

Yet the recognition of my limits can, and does, act as a wake up. It acts as a doorway, from unknowing to fuller awareness. So I stop, take a breath, gather myself and reconnect to the sources of life and our deeper creativity.  I remember to pivot right there in that moment. Not as a one-time action, but as a choice made over and over again. My task is to keep pivoting and practice moving out of ‘conditioned me’ into an expanded ‘connected me’ who is able to use all the intelligences and tools of consciousness.

I pivot as soon as I recognise that I’m operating in far too limited an awareness. (It’s beautiful hubris to think I have the ‘right answer’ but it’s simply not the truth). When I let go of an opinion, a desired outcome, or a belief, then I’m open again to the largest field of potential and I’m receptive to new possibilities, as yet uncreated.

Pivoting the self is an immediate, here-and-now practice. It allows me to return to states of generative flow and to stop struggling, willing or forcing things. Growth is not a driven act of will, or a destination. It’s a continual movement back and forth across a dynamic threshold, as we learn to inhabit new dimensions of reality and increase our capacity to move between the concrete everyday and the boundless.

I practice pivoting by challenging everything that blocks the full creative potential of every moment and by allowing blindspots and beliefs to be illuminated. In this way, there are countless small shifts of awareness that re-pattern my inner and outer perception. Like stepping-stones, each one creates and expands potential, leading to a more unified and coherent reality.

Some discoveries are ground shaking in nature, and they collapse large pieces of my self-image (normally unconscious). Together, all of these shifts in perception and understanding, large and small, create a deeper pivot in identity. Inner transformation leads to outer change. Our world is reshaped as we turn insights into reality through choices and embodied actions.

Knowing through direct experience that I live in an interconnected universe that is endlessly intelligent makes all the difference. I don’t have to operate in a narrow band of conditioned awareness. I can actively and consciously participate, helping to surface hidden and unexpected data. Helping to shape life by generating solutions that are based on this understanding. I am, and you are deeply a part of this evolutionary movement and our conscious agency is a purposeful gift.

I don’t need to challenge the current paradigm of business and leadership. It has already revealed its own limits. There is no mountain face to tackle, because business leadership and culture is pivoting too, and ultimately we all stand on the same ground.

There is nothing here to force or to will. I’m not limited to the lenses of personal reality. Instead, there is the joy and blessing of being here at this threshold moment in human history – with a vibrant values framework for intentional and conscious positive impact, and lived experience offered in service of others choosing to pivot too.

Think Differently

A big leap


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I experienced a moment of wonder on Friday morning when working with a regular mindfulness & meditation group. They were in a lively mood and when we checked in with what they wanted from the online space, they expressed a need for lightness and fun. 

So we began by connecting to playful moments of silliness that they’d enjoyed in their lives. Unsurprisingly, we noted that it didn’t quite work to try and fish a memory out of their heads. Instead when they used their body to remember sensations of delight and feelings of playfulness, the memories just sprung to life spontaneously and copiously!

We enhanced and amplified the felt embodied experience of fun, noticing the flood of warmth, lightness and joy – which was especially present in the stomach and chest areas. The energy filled not only the individuals, but the whole group space. So it felt right to keep the energy growing and we set off on a guided inner visualisation.

Journeying into the inner landscape, the group members were invited to participate in an activity they love – perhaps to paint, dance, go walking, swim – or whatever brings a cascade of joy and wellbeing.

Then, a little further on, they were invited to do something that they would never ordinarily do in the everyday world – perhaps because it requires bodily ability, psychological freedom, or other skills they don’t currently possess, or haven’t put to the test. Afterwards, they shared in the circle their various experiences with great hilarity, disbelief and even jubilation at what they had accomplished in their inner imagination.

I too received a gift, as can happen when accompanying others on a journey. I had a flash of inner seeing. I was standing upon the pebbly sand of a wide beach right by a huge cliff. With a cheeky grin, I followed a strong impulse and did one giant leap up onto the very top of the cliff. Instantly, I was struck by the ‘super hero’ nature of the feat.

But then something else deepened in awareness as I noticed two things…

Appreciation again for the endless power of creative imagination – as a wondrous source for overcoming so-called impossibility. It opens up our capacity to imagine things differently than they are and gives a sense of emotional freedom to ‘just have a go’, dissolving the ego’s objections and judgments. Having visualised our desired future, we can then deeply anchor it into sensate awareness – i.e. inhabit and amplify the feeling of new capacity and this future sense of self in cellular memory. Indeed, much systemic coaching happens actually on our feet, moving between states of being, and experiencing the full intelligence of the body.

The massive presence of superhuman in the collective culture – in the sheer number of films and TV series in circulation. We saw a post-war birthing of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Futuristic universes (Marvel, DC, Asimov et al) in the 1950s & 60s, then developing through the 80s & 90s, and which in the last 20 years has brought us a wave of superhuman characters, including Iron Man, Supergirl, Thor, Neo (The Matrix), Kahn (Star Trek), new Jedi warriors (Star Wars) and many others.

Beyond just a desire for superpowers to make the world safe and controllable, I sensed the human collective unconscious also expressing a deeper longing – to overcome the limits and boundaries of current reality. We see so many film and TV productions critiquing a broken or militarised governmental system, placing us firmly on the side of freedom fighting heroes who protect citizens, cities, nations and the planet itself. 

We know that potential dystopian future trajectory. We know that the old systems are cracked and breaking. Even in the presence of cynicism or despair, we intuitively know that we’re capable of so much more. Hope defies the impossible! Indeed, our recent responses to systemic injustice, and significant global rallying to the #blacklivesmatter call, indicates a growing readiness for change in the collective consciousness of humanity.

We’re each doing our inner work to overcome self-imposed limits and cultural boundaries. And that ‘inner leap’ up onto the cliff top today left me energised and inspired. It reminded me that leaps of consciousness are an innate human capacity and they enable purposeful action.