Art (or at least my visual) illustrates (my) life!

As I pondered the subject of today’s post, I was struck by several ideas simultaneously. I want to

  • create a visual of what I am living/experiencing right now in my life
  • use a new technique in Procreate to illustrate my vision
  • share a shift in my thinking about living my life/our lives right now.

So, of course, this idea for creating the visual came to me last night, as I was reflecting on a conversation I’d had just the day before with a potential client about how/in what ways visuals can be used in the workplace. I had waxed on about the work of the group in the most recent Bikablo Basic one day training… We came together on Friday the 13th/the deadline for nonessential workplaces and gatherings to shut down in NYC. Each individual created a poster that they would be taking back to work. It was fantastic!

  • Diversity—Inclusion—Belonging
  • Curving Covid-19
  • A process map illustrating Engagement to Delivery

The visual that sprang into my head was of my current family situation and how we are working with it every day. Here’s the rough sketch of my thinking…

In thinking through and envisioning this piece, I realized that for the two weeks that we have been together—Steve, Jaclyn (who lives in Brooklyn yet is here with us for the outbreak), Gus and me—I have been thinking tactically about our lives together: handling the details, responding in-the-moment, working to establish some normalcy and routines.

What occurred to me this morning—as I reflected on my vision and remembered how exhausted I was yesterday from the drama of living under these circumstances—was that I need to make the shift to strategic thinking. My crisis management skills and my daily plans for self-care, work, connection with family, friends, and colleagues, and my ability to put out fires‚ were really getting in the way of looking at the big picture and developing the vision of who I wanted to be and what I hope and want, for our family during this crisis.

I was excited to get up this morning and get to work… thinking that I could learn how to make stamp brushes on Procreate and incorporate them into my final design before the deadline for posting today… Alas, life intervened, as it has every day for two weeks, with further news of import and distress. So I have learned the new technique and will use it later when I have more time to really play with what I have learned and use it as I imagined. I also need to learn to draw Gus… I’ll post the final, digital version of my vision here before next week!

Now that I have a little distance and perspective on what I want to achieve, I have to chuckle. I do love it when the patterns of who I am—creativity, zest, curiosity, and energy show up and teach me the same lesson again… I always want to create—right up until my deadline!

3 Ways to Gather During this Time of Social Disconnection

Every breath you take… affects your heart rate

Did you know that voluntary changes in your breath pattern affect our emotions? Breathing in particular ways can restore balance to our stress response system, calm an agitated mind, and relieve anxiety.

In this free session, we will

  • review briefly some of the scientific basis for the effects of Breath~Body~Mind methods
  • practice techniques to quickly balance our stress response system and  improve emotional regulation
  • learn core breathing techniques , understand how they work, and discuss how we can use them to meet the many challenges we face

Here’s the link for Tuesdays at 4 pm ET

Drop-in Hours—The Dr. is in!

While in India, my colleagues there took to calling me Dr. Jill—which I found quite charming. I reprise it here, with a nod to one of my favorite cartoonists, Charles M. Schulz.

In this freeform “Hour of Opportunity” you are welcome to show up with a question about your work with the bikablo method, ask for feedback on a piece you are developing or have completed, or explore different ways in which to use your skills. You’re welcome to drop in and depart as you wish, or stay for the hour, listening to and learning from your colleagues!

Here is the Zoom link for Fridays, 12:30 – 1:30 ET

Cultivate Calm through Zentangle

Join me in drawing simple, structured patterns to create beautiful images, in a fun and supportive environment. Zentangle is a meditative art form that is created without planning, and yet follows a series of steps that allows people to experience the benefits of relaxed focus while creating delightful artwork. While I usually teach in person, I am now offering sessions online to communities of which I am a part.

I believe that our current circumstances call for opportunities for nurturing calm, engaging in simple pleasures, creating beauty, and enjoying communal experiences. 

Everyone is welcome to become a part of this captivating journey—no artistic experience is necessary. This is the right place to begin—or enhance—your skills. When you sign up, I will share information about the tools that I use—though they are not necessary to your success—and if you really want them, I can send the materials to you for future classes or your own enjoyment.

Here is the sign-up link for Saturdays, 2:00 – 3:15 ET


Juicy Insights from Coaching with a Colleague!

You know how you do something for so long… that you don’t even think about how you do it—it’s second nature? Then someone changes the way you think about it or approach it and well… then it’s really different?

A colleague, whom I know through bringing Bikablo to her neck of the woods almost a year and a half ago, is working on her coach certification. In our wide-ranging conversation about what’s new since we last spoke and planning future Bikablo sessions, she asked if I would be one of her practice clients. Who doesn’t love a free coaching session (with someone you know and trust), so I said “Yes!”

We met over Zoom last week—just as the change in our world in the US was becoming starkly clear. Early in our session together, she asked me to not only envision but to draw what I was imagining about what I was telling her. I was struck by my responses to the request:

  • Mmmm, I am not sure I can do that very well… I use templates for my sessions with all my clients that support me in capturing critical information—this was different.
  • I didn’t have my symbolary at the ready to make the pictorial representation easy — I was imagining bits and pieces, and constructing parts to make up a whole that was coming from my head.
  • This was more stream of consciousness rather than a prepared canvas or recording—it felt like I was creating my own universe with galaxies and constellations
  • I didn’t love some of my drawings
  • I did like explaining a loud/to another person what I had created, which is something I don’t often do… It gave me another avenue for reflecting on my thinking. And, it reinforced my love of doing it during Bikablo trainings.

I committed to re-drawing my thinking in a week and sending it to her… I am about to do that now…

What have you done recently that’s been a twist on an established way of doing things? What was it like for you? Did you feel the same disequilibrium as me? Please let me know!

I wasn’t sure we could do it….

Our Setting—Agile Coach Camp at the South Patio Club in Gurugram, India

Imagine a lovely, warm, setting in a venue created for small events… people are milling about, drinking coffee, getting to know one another or reconnecting with colleagues, and there’s a sense of anticipation in the air.

Our Task

Agile Coach Camp, (an initiative of Agile Alliance), uses Open Space Technology to enable participants to easily share questions, experiences, discoveries, learnings, and offers opportunities to generate ideas for solutions to the challenges put forward.

Honestly, I find OST to be a gamble… I have had both excellent and less than stellar experiences as a participant in the process… So I decided to influence the outcome by suggesting a topic, 100 Ways to Use Visuals @ Work.



Our Actions & Results!

Happily, we had an initial group of eight to ten people interested in the topic. With two pieces of flip chart paper taped to the wall and a marker, I enthusiastically wrote the title of the challenge at the top of the page and asked for ideas.

We started strong, ideas bubbled up, and we soared to 17 answers… we paused. People started to look doubtful. With a little prompting, we leaped ahead to 37 answers and then there was a palpable lull in energy… the Law of Mobility started to enter into the mix and we lost a member or two—and we gained a member or two. We were off and running again!

When we reached the high 50’s and the pause lasted a little uncomfortably long, I thought we were done—and I was close to sharing my appreciation for everyone’s good efforts.

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at waiting for people to settle into whatever unfolds, and my patience paid off! We roared ahead to 87 ideas and we all started to believe that we could make it to 100—and we did! We reached our goal! It was amazing!

Upon Reflection

As I transferred the ideas from chart paper to computer file and teased out some of the answers—I discovered that we generated 105 ways to use visuals at work! Okay, MAYBE one or two might be deleted from the list upon closer examination… What do you think?

What’s on your PD calendar?

I hope you will join me in one of these fabulous places!

Here’s the link for the March 13th, NYC session…
 or, if you fancy the adventure of a three-day creativity conference in Santa Barbara, CA, join me, at the Epic International Summit for the Thoughtsketching, on March 26-28…
or perhaps you’re ready for a deep dive into Bikablo! Come to the March 30-31 Bikablo Basic 2 day training in Santa Barbara

Late spring into summer planning!

Then again, if you are a part of Agile New England, I’ll see you at the May 7th meeting. On May 8th, I’m offering the Bikablo Basic 1 day training in the Boston area*, and I’m planning for bikablo basics—both one and two day, plus the two-day advanced program in Austin, Tx*!

And, I’m looking at July 10th or 11th, in NYC*, for the bikablo one day basic—if you have a preference let me know!

*I’ll post links in late March!