Posts

Envisioning the future through reflecting on my past … which is not to say that past is prologue!

Imagine me running full tilt toward the finish line… that’s how I felt on Tuesday—it’s a vision, right?

I was meeting with the students from the Baruch College Industrial and Organizational Psychology program (MSIO). My mission was to share information about talent development as a field, ATDNYC in particular (as the VP of membership), and address their questions about what the future might hold… i.e., “What if I want to switch fields now that I’ve just graduated?” “How do I narrow my focus, as I love all areas of I/O?”

I had taken on the task of creating a visual of my influences on my path as a visual practitioner. Then, I realized that I had to recognize my foundation—how I even started to think of becoming a visual practitioner—and believed that this information was even more important to the MSIO students. I created a visual of my academic background and training experiences and the key influences in each program.

Of course, I had all kinds of thoughts about the background—literal, metaphorical—and with the clock ticking (my strength of creativity getting in the way again!), I went with a simple yellow/golden pathway… reminiscent of the yellow brick road.

I have plans for the second path or stream, which will intertwine with what I have created already. It will be my journey as a visual practitioner. A third path is brewing in my mind, thanks to my buddy Julia Curtis. I am going to share an abridged list of places of work and my consulting clients to highlight the impact of my education and training. This is more complexity of design than I usually work with… and I both am enjoying it and feel challenged by it.

Over the next few weeks, I will share the ongoing process of creating this multi-path vision, which is beginning to feel like a 3-D drawing…

I hope that you will see this as an opportunity not so much to learn about me but rather an opportunity to ask the same questions of yourself and create your own answers… visually or in writing, perhaps collage. It’s the content that matters—choose a medium that calls to you. I hope you will share your creation with me!

PS: Since the event, several students have been in touch and spoken with me about the power of sharing the visual and my story to help them see possibilities for their futures. Understanding the variety of resources at their fingertips (ATD NYC and other organizations) also made them feel more relaxed and hopeful about receiving the support they want and need.

How do you feel about relaxing, focusing more easily, and having fun?

What is this thing called Zentangle?

Just last week I was sharing my love of Zentangle—a meditative art—with members of the IAF Visual Facilitation SIG. Toward the end of the session, we were talking about how relaxing and fun it was to create such beautiful designs  and I was asked, “So how would you use this in a work setting?” I live for such questions—as applicability is my jam!

So we chatted about it—and I shared a laundry list of ways. Here are a few:

* Enhancing team cohesion—focusing on how, when learning new tangles together, we use the same tools, “string” (spaces within which we work), and tangles (patterns) and our work is both similar and different. It’s a perfect place to begin conversations about how we work together as a team, to recognize areas of commonality and diversity, i.e., we have common goals, similar and different skills, approaches, communication styles, personalities, etc.

 

* making the time to explore how this method engages our minds and bodies simultaneously – creating whole body/embodied experiences.

*diving into new tangles, new combinations of patterns, and re-visiting old/well-known patterns in new ways provides us with fresh, stimulating experiences, challenging us to remain focused, in the moment, experimental.

* wrestling with our inner critic—because sometimes we can’t easily leave that little devil at the door! Learning to breathe through the mistakes we make—because we’re human and we will make mistakes—and continuing to move forward. (Notice that there’s no eraser on a Zentangle pencil!)

* living the philosophy which permeates the Zentangle method. Here are just a few of the ideas I share with folks

* learning to step away and return to our work refreshed. I tangle at night and there are times I don’t love my work as I put it away… when I see it the next morning I am always happier… perhaps it’s because my inner critic got a good night’s sleep!

* slowing down and taking multiple perspectives—feeling the beauty and surprises in seeing our work from different angles—just by rotating the tiles… and carrying the skills of pausing, becoming open to possibilities, and shifting perspectives into our work and personal lives.

* actively supporting people’s taking care of themselves—making time, from five minutes to a lunch hour —for stepping away from work and the ever-present screen, to become absorbed in the delight and the challenge of using simple tools to create beautiful patterns… emerging from the experience refreshed.

* encouraging thinking in new and different ways—not only when we approach a new tile, but also in the media that can be used… look here to see many of my “off the tile” creations—on sneakers, mugs, jewelry, pencil cases… and in instances where I engage in ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) most often for fundraisers/causes I support and gifts for family and friends. How can we look beyond the ways we have previously engaged in processes and developed products to literally change the foundation from which we work. (I feel a parallel here to Ben Zander’s ideas in The Art of Possibility, about changing the table on which the game is played. (If you don’t know the book, check it out, it’s one of my favorites!)

While it’s clear that I am passionate about the Zentangle method and tangling, I haven’t shared the most important element to me. When I teach folks to tangle they see themselves in new ways—in an hour’s time! My heart sings when people say at the end of our session, “I am an artist!”

Are you ready to tangle? Join me for Relax, focus, and have fun with Zentangle on Thursday, May 13th for my Creative Mornings Field Trip, learn more and register here!

Who are the people that have influenced you?

As I pondered the question of who has influenced me over the years, I kept the scope of my thinking rather small, focusing only on people who influenced my work as visual practitioner. And so, I drafted a chronology of influencers and then started to think of a metaphor and some way to indicate time. I left the question of impact at bay… (Perhaps the only reason to walk down that path is to get really clear about what I learned from each of them, gained from the experience(s), and write a note of thanks. That is a task for another time.)

As I stepped back from the page I drafted, I realized that I would never have gotten to the point of even looking for these people if I hadn’t had another foundation to spring from. And so I created another timeline.

I started to think of where I went to college and the two grad schools I attended… and I could track my growth in knowledge and skills. From there, it was a small step to realizing that all the training that I’ve done outside of a traditional academic environment also contributes to who I am today. With that in mind,  and I added my training with Points of You, EFT/Emotional Freedom Techniques, Breathwork, Nonviolent Communication, and Appreciative Inquiry—creating a  second layer of my map. I was playing with paper and pencil, so it became another sheet of paper though I will shift to my iPad and Procreate to be able to make the layers… this is starting to feel like stratigraphy—the science of strata or layers of rock. While I feel the layering aspect is an accurate reflection of my learning and doing over the years, the vision of sedimentary rock is not one that resonates with me… I envision more of the creation of a planet with a core or a journey over hill and dale or even an underwater world… the essence of each of these ideas is quite different for me.

As I was walking Gus this morning, (always a good time for reflection), I realized that it would be interesting to add a layer about my work experiences, as of course, they have changed me too. So perhaps I will add another layer in the coming weeks and, most importantly, think deeply about these varied influences because they are far more subtle and are often not consciously realized without such reflection.

So, I’m thinking that if you know me, even just a wee bit, you know that my strength of creativity has gotten in the way and I have not finished my map—because I have added more layers and complexity! How lucky that I won’t be speaking with the I/O Psych grad students from Baruch University until next week!

Discovery, Learning & Fun—Mapmaking!

What’s your thinking about maps? Do you love them (the paper, how they fold up, the colors), hate them (they’re paper, they fold up, the print is tiny), maybe make them yourself?

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a map lover from a very young age. I’ve always relished playing with the folding maps and pored over them when traveling in Europe as a teenager. I still love paper maps even though these days they feel unwieldy and inefficient at times. Perhaps I feel so at home with them because I’m a big picture thinker and when I can see everything at once I can understand how all the pieces fit together… where things are in relation to each other. Just this past weekend we went to upper state NY. (And, no, Dutchess and Columbia counties are not “upstate” NY, no matter what folks from the five boroughs tell you!) We wanted to visit small towns, walk in forests—and essentially have an understanding of what was where… Hence the need for a paper map—I was in heaven!

Yesterday, I attended a Creative Mornings Field Trip—Anne Ditmeyer’s, Make a Map re-entry Edition. Oh my gosh, it was such fun! I don’t often take time out for Field Trips, as they’re during the workweek but since I delivered one last year, and will be delivering another one on May 13th, I wanted to support the work of others who are volunteering their time to share their expertise.

The prompt was, “Your morning commute.”

I went a little “off script”…

and chose a trip

I had hoped to make last year.

In 60 minutes, we made three different maps. Each one of them was completely different — in subject matter and materials used! I have to say that I have NEVER drawn a map on a piece of fruit—though I have taught folks how to tangle (draw Zentangle patterns) on gourds. It was challenging — and a delight!

 

My map of a recent fun adventure—drawn on a paper towel—was a super cool experience! The texture of the towel and the freedom to just play and experiment was joyful.

Our last map was about imagining a future world we want to live in… with some additional prompts, I started to create a “map” of my place to be… (which is a work in progress).

Plorking Becomes New Inspiration

The experience left me ready to dig into maps all over again.  As I pondered how to get back into my practice of mapmaking, I thought not only of the books lingering in my bookcase but also of my creations tucked into nooks and crannies in the house. Here are a few examples from the past few years…

A map of my heart

From a journal swap about maps!

ZIA/Zentangle Inspired Art of the island of Tasmania!

These were prompted by examples from, Map Art Lab by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNelly.

Anne Ditmeyer mentioned, www.handmaps.org and From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association by Kris Harzinski And I poked around a bit online too and am interested in You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon.

My Next Map

I started to think about the I/O (Industrial/Organization) Psych grad students from Baruch College that I would be speaking to within a couple of weeks. Since our focus will be life after grad school I am thinking that a map of my influences—how I got to where I am—might be interesting for them.  I started drafting my ideas map and I have to say it’s not ready yet! I’ve identified my influences but I haven’t picked a plan or a format for sharing my journey. I can’t wait to share with you and with them next week!

What are you noticing in your life right now?

What are you noticing these days about yourself, your colleagues, and your clients?

I’ve noticed in my coaching practice, that some of my clients are working differently than before.

In my practice, I’ve always been the gal that begins working with folks starting with their history and foundation, their strengths, and past successes. We explore and dream about what they want and then design possibilities for experimentation and growth. My process is to help clients move toward creative, solution-based outcomes, in which they are the agents of their own change.

What I’m seeing is that some of my clients are taking smaller steps on their journey.

I wonder about that. Perhaps it’s coming from mental fatigue, competing priorities, concerns about achieving their goals, or … I’m sure the answer is different for different folks. I don’t think that I even need to learn the answers as my role is to listen to their experiences and ask the questions to explore the possibilities they imagine for their futures. And, of course, there are so many paths to achieving one’s goals… enjoying the journey—with its achievements, challenges, failures, and learning—is one of my criteria of success.

What about you—how are you feeling?

As you make time to reflect on your thoughts and actions, what do you notice? I know that we don’t exist in a vacuum. I definitely feel the ebb and flow of connection with the world outside me: work and communication (both professional and personal). I also feel the effects on how I choose to spend my precious time… I crave more art/creativity and silence.

Last week, I wrote about feelings also… Here’s a visual, by Abby Vanmuijen, that’s so appealing to me, . You may want to check out her site too.

What are your thoughts about how you’re doing—and that question comes from a place of curiosity  (not judgment)—looking at the subject like it’s a gem, exploring its facets.

I want to hear how you’re doing… Drop me a line or make a comment, I’d love to hear from you.