Apologies to those of you reading this in the southern hemisphere's transition to Autumn, but I’ve settled into a seasonal rather than monthly cadence for this newsletter and Spring is the season associated with revitalisation, the theme for this newsletter. The Bamboo Blog for coaches continues monthly and the latest was about coaching supervision as a revitalisation space for coaches. We have a Bamboo Book Club session tomorrow, and the next cohort of Coaching for Development coach training is already forming for our first in-person module in August- see below for details.
burnout and beyond
Wherever you are in the world, as we traverse Easter, Passover and Ramadan - periods associated with reflection and spiritual renewal - you may be finding renewal and revitalisation elusive. Ongoing climate catastrophe, covid and now conflict in Ukraine have us trapped in perma-crisis mode. I've written before about agitated overwhelm when we feel we've "bitten off more than we can chew", but conversations with friends, colleagues and clients recently are about the sort of overwhelm that is so numbing and motivation-sapping that it's hard to drag ourselves to do even the things we usually enjoy. How then do we keep going in a world that feels like the title of Michelle Yeow’s new movie: “Everything, everywhere, all at once”?
I keep on my desk a framed copy of the serenity prayer, given me by my favourite aunt. I've found myself referring to it often lately:
"O Lord grant me
the Serenity to accept the things that I cannot change:
the Courage to change the things I can:
and the Wisdom to know the difference"
As a decidedly 'un-serene' child, I asked my aunt where I could get the serenity that I hadn't been granted. But now I realise that Serenity emerges when we know that we are doing what we can in service of what we care about without getting trapped in over-efforting, disappointment and fatigue. Too often, in the face of all the world's problems, we can feel despairing that there is nothing we can do - or we take on far too much and wear ourselves out. So maybe it is the "Wisdom to know the difference" that is key...and if so where do we get that?
In Integral coaching we aim to help clients cultivate wisdom and compassion. As high-minded as that may sound, it's not about aiming to become King Solomon or Mother Teresa, it's about intentionally creating conditions in our lives that support us to be appropriately response-able to Life, rather than being spun in a rinse and repeat stress cycle of trying to be overly respons-ible to everything and everyone.
shelter in a storm
I studied to teach traditional yoga for a few years with a lovely group of teachers who taught mainly outdoors in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. We practised in a storm shelter (see the photo above, credit to NParks, Singapore). These shelters are a great metaphor for the shelters we need to build in our lives to protect our wellbeing in these stormy times. They help us cultivate the wisdom to know what is ours to do and the compassion for others and also ourselves that energises rather than depletes us.
The Four Pillars of our shelter are Sleep, Diet, Exercise and Stress-regulating activities. Do we need more exercise? To cut back on stimulants like alcohol, caffeine or sugar? Is social media more damaging than calming at this time? Could our sleep routine need tweaking?
The Floor of the shelter is Meaning. With so much calling for our attention, we're at risk of compassion fatigue, in which we numb ourselves to suffering, but also to joy and motivation to act. Taking time to understand and ground ourselves in what is meaningful to us allows us to keep standing up for what matters rather than collapsing under the weight of all that is broken. (Hint: ask your nearest and dearest what has most meaning to you - it may be so obvious to you as to be overlook-able).
The Open Sides of our shelter allow light and air to enter and us to look out. They give us a choice of perspectives on all sides like the Active Hope recommended by environmentalist and Buddhist Scholar Joanna Macy, in which we face our concerns and deliberately look for perspectives on them that are meaningful and inspire possibility.
The Roof of the shelter is Wilful Focus, which, unlike wilful blindness, doesn't deny our many concerns but acknowledges them while wilfully setting our minds on possibilities that are meaningful and within our control whilst keeping out the raining thoughts that seek to distract us.
The Common Space of the shelter allows room for Supportive Gathering. I remember many a time arriving tired and not in the mood for my yoga practice but finding I could magically borrow from the energy of the group and on other occasions I lent my energy to others.
Finally, from the shelters are Paths back out into the park. These paths are made of Everyday Actions, simple enough to be done everyday but meaningful to us. Troubled by environmental degradation, maybe we pick up litter on our daily walk. Moved by the plight of refugees, maybe we forgo our daily coffee and donate the price to World Central Kitchen. Small everyday acts with specific meaning to us provide nourishment to ourselves and are an antidote to learned helplessness in a world that can feel beyond our ability to influence. They keep us turning towards Life and the future we are co-creating and build our energy to gradually step back into the fray with renewed hope, energy and focus. As escaped slave and abolitionist activist, Frederick Douglass once said:"I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer, until I prayed with my legs.”
Hoping you can build and maintain safe shelter for yourselves in these stormy times and enjoy a season of renewal and revitalisation,
Bamboo Book Club 2022
This year's topic-based Bamboo Book Club meets ONLINE from 6- 7.30 pm SGT on every third Wednesday of the month. The dates and topics are:
Topic 1- Weds April 20th: Indigenous philosophy, different ways of knowing
Topic 2- Weds May 18th: Society and Contribution
Topic 3- Weds June 15th: Power, Diversity and Inclusion
Break in July
Topic 4- Weds Aug 17th: Climate and Ecology
Topic 5 - Weds Sept 21st: Conscious capitalism and beyond
Topic 6- Weds Oct 19th: Tending to Ourselves
Topic 7- Weds Nov 16th: Fiction
Topic 8: Weds Dec 21st: Poetry and other soul food
Each month we read one (or all!) of a shortlist of books on the topic and discuss.
Coaching for Development 2022
This rich, Integral Coach training programme leads to an ACC credential with the International Coach Federation and is intended for leaders and practitioners wishing to develop themselves and others.
In Asia this is uniquely offered as a small circle group of 12 per cohort in order to facilitate deep and rich discussions and a close community of practice.
Next cohort starts in August and will be a hybrid course of in-person for first module, virtual for the following two modules.
For enquiries about support for individuals, teams or organisations during this time, (especially our NEW Integrated Leaders or Integrated Teams coaching programmes), click on the button below and arrange a discovery call for further details.
Thanks for being with us. Take good care of yourselves.