Living Seasonally: Spring Session

Living Seasonally Spring 2016 poster

 

It is really only now that I feel like my year is beginning. As the season starts to shift into longer and brighter days, I feel ready to get going. Ideas which were planted months ago are starting to take shape, and more seeds are being sown. Emerging from the winter, there is an energy of growth around; an energy that needs support, fostering and nurture.

I am soon to launch the Spring cycle of Living Seasonally, and I must say I’m excited- because it is exactly about that- nurturing ideas, fostering community and supporting people to find what is really  bringing them alive right now.

This will be the third time I have run this course, and by now I am getting a sense of what people really gain from it. They gain new perspective I see, and it provides a structure for thinking through ideas, reframing challenges and plotting a map for making their visions tangible. But what it also offers is a tight time frame- we look at the next season ahead, and ask what vision we have of ourselves for this chunk of time.

So often I find when we dream, we dream of a distant future. I am all for dreaming but sometimes we also get addicted to the dreaming, and there is a blockage from drawing the dream down into daily reality- right here, right how. Plus it can be hard to do it alone, so gathering with like minded people, and sharing perspectives and insights can not only accelerate the process but make it clearer, and more fun too.

The course is online, over 8 days. Shared through video, audio and written medium will be a host of visioning and planning tools on a private online learning platform. There is a ‘Living Seasonally’ Spring planner to go with the process and participants are given access to a private facebook group following the course, where we continue the connection and conversation.

 Interested?  You can read more and register for the course over here. 

We start of Feb 10th and it will run until Feb 17th.

Would love to have you on board!

Clare xx

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Being led through a major transition through Clare’s Seasonal Planer was a joy – artistic, beautiful, simple yet highly effective in its approach. It helped me to kick-start working on my new projects. I was looking forward to the vidoes every day, also for the community of likeminded women through the FB group, the sharing, the safe exploring of openness. For weeks the files were a great help to keep me on track and still are.

Clare in her wonderfully down-to-earth way is a coach you can trust to guide you with focused, gentle kindness. I am looking forward to the next segment.

Esther Moser, Autumn 2015

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Living Seasonally Winter Session

Living Seasonally Winter 2015 poster

The months swing around. The seasons come, and go again. As the days here in Dublin get shorter and the nights longer, I am preparing for the winter.

There are practical things, like buying a new blanket for my bed and stocking up on woolies; and then there is the mental shift, understanding that the darkness has something to serve, for in the dark the light is born.

It is only really in latter years that I have started to understand the darkness more; an understanding which has been augmented by appreciation of the ancient rhythm of the celtic calendar, itself underscored with the truth of constant change. Tuning into this seasonal pull and pace is a way, I find, to steady myself and connect me deeper to the natural cycles of life. I find it a beautiful thing, for nature knows when it is time to bud, then bloom, and it knows so instinctually when it is time to rest.

We resist so much of that, with our electric cities and the constant murmur to ‘do’ and push at pace.

I have come to think of the seasons as powerful metaphors, offering us questions from which to explore our own currents, visions and purpose. The turning inwards of nature offers the questions of, ‘what is wintering in your own life?’, and then, ‘what wants to be seeded?’.

But winter is a time too for a slower germination.

I remember the first bulb I planted. I was about 6 or 7 years old and was given a hyacinth in school. But in order for it to germinate I had to keep it in the dark, for what seemed like an eternity. I hid the pot under a bookshelf in my classroom but every so often would peak a glance, staring into the darkness for signs of life. I was doubtful, very doubtful. ‘How could something grow in there?’, I wondered.

But the conditions for growth have a mystery to them, and little did I know back there that darkness was growth’s aid.

Then one day, kneeling down of the cold classroom floor, and scooting further under the bookshelf to get a glimpse of the plant pot, I spotted it. A green tuft popping out of the clay, edging towards the light. I’ll never forget that hyacinth. It turned out to be purple and had the most magnificent evocative fragrance. All born in darkness.

The winter is a time to turn inwards, to let our own hyacinths come to their gradually life. It is time for us to honour our own wintering, as we honour our own growth. It is time too to warm our hearts.

All of this; this wintering, this honouring, has led me to develop  this coming session of ‘Living Seasonally’. Over the course of 8 days, there will be a chance to gather online, prepare for the season ahead, turn inwards and trust our own rhythms. There will be time too to warm the heart- with poems and the sharing of stories. And time to find a sense of rest and renewal through meditations, journal practices and creative prompts. I’ll be sharing some seasonal recipes as we all learn to nurture ourselves, and others, from a place of connection and wisdom.

This is living seasonally for me.

We will be live from 4th- 11th November. I would love for you to join me.

Registration is now open. Head on here to find out more and if you have any questions please get in touch.

Until soon…


Press Play

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It is mid-summer here in the northern hemisphere. Dublin has been a delight with lingering summer evenings and awash with blooming roses and fresh colour. It is one of my favourite times of the year, as the light invites us out to play.

The Power of Play

Play, I have come to remember, is an integral part of learning and leadership, yet is all to often dismissed as ‘silly’, ‘a waste of time’, ‘unfocused’, ‘misguided’ or ‘unprofessional’. But play is where we make connections, get our brains and bodies moving in new ways, engage our imaginations, nurture the senses, allow our inner child to be given an airing, and invite in fun and laughter. Play is a rich field, ripe for learning.

When times are busy, play is often the thing which we push back on first (or at least I do!). ‘I’m too busy now’, ‘Just a few more hours at the computer…’ But have you ever noticed how much more enriched your thinking and learning is after you take a break, and even more so, after you play?

I say ‘I have come to remember‘ intentionally. No child needs to be convinced about the power of play. I wonder now instead, how did we forget? To ‘re-member’ is to recall the experience back into our bones- to literally reconnect it to our members. Our bodies never really forget. 

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Living with an 11 month old dog has taught me a lot about play. Little Finn insists on it. When I have been sitting for too long and ignoring her, she literally drops toys at my feet. Play is a non-negotiable for how she engages with the world and is an integral part of how she expresses her being. I am not sure what is happening in her doggie brain when she is at play, but I have a sense of what is happening in mine- an enlivening and an enrichment of the intimacy in which I engage with the present moment, which in turn shifts my neurology. When I return to my work after some time playing, I am more focused, re-invigorated and generally more productive.

But play is not just important for the fun or the productivity, but also because of its ability to connect disparate things. 

Over the years I have been fortunate to work with and interview hundreds of creative and social entrepreneurs- people who are stepping up to make a difference in the world- from social activists, to artists, to medics, to designers, to writers, to sustainable farmers – all people who have a vision and are working to actualise their leadership in their own unique ways.

I asked myself, ‘What behaviours do all these people have in common and can these be learned over time?’

In examining their traits I started to see a pattern emerging- a set of learned skills and practices that can be reinforced and augmented. These are what I call the 12 Paradigms of Creative Leadership and together they not only help people launch new ventures and develop creative processes, but vitally help to sustain them. These paradigms include presence, purpose, perameters, pattern recognition, power, perspective and centrally, play**

Play is like the weave through it all; a way to deeply connect us to our imagination, intuition and inner insights. Importantly, it also acts like our very own personal labororatory, giving us permission to experiment, fail, try again, test new ground and alter our moves. Common to all the creative and social entrepreneurs I have met, it is through play that some of their best innovations and ideas happened, often unplanned or previously unassociated. It was when playing that their ‘a-ha moments’ landed.  Play was the prism for insight.

Play as a Gateway…

As a photographer, many of my favourite images have been taken because of play. When I travel I carry a  colourful hand puppet with me. Often when waiting in queues or travelling on buses, and when there are children around, the hand puppet will pop out and together with the kids, we start to play. That hand puppet has led to the most amazing encounters with children, their parents, and their communities- crossing cultural and language barriers and immediately breaking down any tension or fear. Through it I learned to count to ten in Hindi, Bengali, Swahili, Xhosa and Malayalam and taught many children how to count to ten in English, Irish and Mandarin!  I have been invited into people’s homes as a result of that puppet, which in turn led to conversations and many opportunties as a photographer which I would not have had otherwise. Play has been a gateway and a saviour.

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Having play as one of our central paradigms can re-orientate our priorities , quickly shift perspective and lighten the load when we need it the most. Play can revitalise and re-energise, sparking new connections and generating insights. Play can open doorways and opportunities. Play can be just for the fun of it too. But maybe we need to remember to do it more often, insistent dog or no dog at our side.

So, as the summer lingers and the light cheers us on, let these words be that familiar knock on the  front door when you were a child, uttering some welcome words: Are you coming out to play?

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** Come October 5th I will be launching a new online course, See Deeper, Act Bolder, in which I will be faciliating learning through the 12 Paradigms of Creative Leadership. Each week we will cover one or more of the paradigms, engaging creatively with each theme. Our cameras, journals, paint brushes, and blank pages will be used as learning tools, taking us on a journey into our own inner vision and possibilities, so that we can each see deeper and act bolder.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

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