September was an intense month for me. Can’t believe it has gone by so quickly. I remember a yoga teacher once explained to me that around the time of equinox, when the dark hours are on the cusp of becoming longer than the days, our bodies need special care and attention and yet we tend to not give it to them because there is this urge to run about and do stuff as you realise that the year is nearing its final quarter and days are becoming shorter while there is so much still do to. In a way, I feel sheltered from this manic year-end rush because I don’t have figures to hit or a budget to spend this year and neither do I have a manager to please. That is so liberating. Yet, in others ways, I am taking part in the madness regardless, because my workload has picked up again and while it feels great to be useful, I also sense the need to build in breaks and time for recharging.
A party to be remembered
Earlier this month, I celebrated my birthday and hosted a joint party together with a friend. Special times require special precautions, so we had first postponed the event from June into September and then we came up with a concept for a cautious and sensible party for a group of people who are close to our hearts. We came together in my home town. We had the venue all to ourselves, we could sit outside all evening and that was lovely. It was a reunion with people I had not seen for a long time, even some friends from Switzerland had come to celebrate. As a special treat there was live music – what more could you ask for! We had an amazing time and people got along well with each other, and they are all still healthy as far as I am aware.
A stroll on the sea floor
As I had not had a summer holiday as such this year, the four days I spent with my mum by the north sea were a welcome change of scenery. We enjoyed all the typical pleasures of that region – walks by the shore, a guided tour of the tideland which is actually a national park of its own. We got acquainted with some of its creatures and understood how delicate the balance of this ecosystem is. We savoured hearty local food, spent lazy hours in a beach chair and got a proper beating by the wind on the biggest beach in the area. To think that all this took place just a 1.5 hour drive away from my home is difficult to believe; normally you need to spend hours getting to your holiday destination and this year it’s right in the vicinity!
A delayed graduation ceremony
Last weekend was special because for the first time in what feels like ages I was able to meet my buddies and classmates at LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES in Berlin again face to face. We gathered to officially conclude the education program that was supposed to end in March already but that was postponed due to the pandemic. Thanks to the perseverance of our amazing facilitators, we got treated to a couple of extra months during which we met virtually every four weeks until it was possibe to be in the same room again. The whole journey covered 16.5 months. In the fifth and final module, we reflected on our individual development, we exchanged personal highlights, we enjoyed a rythm lesson, we meditated, we wrote letters to each other and our future selves. There was joy and yes, there were tears, too. We agreed that the story shall not end here, so this weekend was just the end of one sequence. We are planning to continue with a self-organised module six in a couple of months and will add more modules on, until we feel we’ve had enough.
This “Zeitenreise” program has been a truly life-changing experience for me. I set out to become a “new work professional”. I had the intention to scale what I was already doing right and the expectation to learn new tools that “kick some ass” and help me change the system from within. What I got was quite different. Yes, I got the tools but more importantly, I understood that transformation starts from within myself. Now, my work has more impact than I ever thought possible. I scaled, but in a very different way. I left Berlin (for the first time with direction of travel northwest instead of southwest) with a heart that was overflowing and a head that was confident and calm. I am immensly grateful to all class mates, facilitators, and guests for the encouragement and inspiration. This feels in a way like a new, additional home.
A vortex tugging at me
Right now, I am part of a sprint with a client. This is actually the first time in a long time that I dive deep into coneceptual work and design work again after having spent the last couple of months facilitating workshops that were adaptable to a degree but generally based on a “ready to use” framework. Now I can get the creative juices flowing again and that feels awesome. The team is a pleasure to work with, too. I can sense how this sprint is gently but firmly “tugging at me”, pulling me in and I am glad that my time commitment is limited to a certain amount of hours otherwise this might take over more than it should. I chuckled when the team told me they are right now in “season four” – where am I here, Netflix? Binge-watching? 🙂
A circle coming to life
On the education side, now that the LET program is concluded, the next learning journey is already under way. I am participating in a course called “U.Lab – leading from the emerging future” hosted by the Theory U inventor Otto Scharmer who’s also a professor at the MIT in Cambridge, MA. As this course is fully remote and relies quite heavily on self-paced learning and a high level of discipline to study and practice, I felt that in order to be held accountable and get the most out of this, I should be part of a coaching circle. So I started a circle, hoping that someone would want to join. Before long, the circle was filled with six people from Denmark, Switzerland, India and Germany. We’re a diverse group and ready to practice and learn together until mid December.
I hope you’re doing well, wherever this finds you, and I send you warm greetings from my cosy office. Greatest place to work, as far as I am concerned. 🙂