Guiding our world

November 20, 2011

On my recent walk in a park close to my apartment in Prague, I have witnessed quite a remarkable scene. A dog jumped into a freezing water (November) and proceeded to swim around, initially to chase ducks but as the time went on, it felt it was just randomly swimming in panic, likely form the cold water. It was making squeaking noises and swimming for a few minutes. I stood along the side of the pond watching what is happening and a bit concerned for the dog. There was another group of pople standing close and having a good time observing the dog in the water. I assumed it was their dog and trusted their judgment about safety of what was happening, yet not completely sure whether the dog needs help or not…

Suddenly a man comes running from the nearby pub, shouting the name of the dog and capturing his attention. He picked up a piece of wood and threw it into the pond, half-way between him and the dog. He shouted fetch and the dog abandoned his panic and swam towards the floating branch. After it reached it, the man shouted to bring it to him; a move the dog had to perform thousand times before. The dog continued through the water with the branch in its mouth and got out of the water.

It was remarkable scene for me as I witnessed the man using his relationship with the dog, his ingenuity, creativity and the fact that he knew the dog would react to his command. His clear and thoughtful instructions got the dog out of his panic, helped him to focus and got him safely out of the water…

We humans are part of nature as any other species, any other expression of life. Throughout our history we have been gifted with self-awareness and an ability to learn which allowed us to develop our intelligence in remarkable ways. It helps us to creatively react in situations like these, it helps us to dream futures into being, it helps us to go beyond any limitation, it helps us to re-shape the world around us…

My wish is that similarly to this situation, as humanity, we display care, creativity and true leadership in terms of how we ‘guide’ each other, our society as well as life around us out of the panic towards safe, healthy and ever-evolving future…

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Wandering in nature

July 1, 2010

Bill Plotkin in his book Soulcraft refers to nature and soul as our inner and outer wilderness. It is by wandering in nature we can discover things about our soul and the other way around. Wandering in nature is one of the most intense, meaningful, enjoyable and calming practices I use.

When was the last time you were walking in nature without a purpose? When you were taking in its beauty and all the smells that remind you of childhood with every breath? When you were looking in awe on the monumental trees, listened to the sound of grass in the wind or to the buzzes, trills and other sounds around you? When was the last time you got so present in the moment that few hours have passed without you knowing what actually happened?

The instructions are simple. Get rid of all the things that might distract you (things to carry, mobile phones, etc.) and spend an hour wondering in nature. Choose a spot where this is possible (one where you can be alone and undisturbed by others, one where you can easily find yourself and get back after you are done) and start walking. Notice everything. Focus your attention on the sounds, colours, stillness and movement. Breathe in and out deeply and notice the scents. Touch the trees, the soil and the water. Be playful and allow yourself to do what feels right. No one tells you what is allowed or not, what is appropriate, normal or silly. Roll in the grass, connect with the trees, sing with the birds or run as fast as you can. Allow the lost child to come out and play, to discover as if seeing for the first time, to rejoice like it once used to, to live carefree for an hour.

Allow your thoughts to appear, acknowledge them and let them pass. After a while there will suddenly be much less of them, so little in fact that you can start seeing the world as it is again. Everything that will happen during that hour has a meaning. Or nothing does… You will know in any case…

Once the hour is gone, sit down on the grass or by a tree and write everything down. How you feel, what happened, what meaning did you add, what opened up for you. Write nothing if you want to honour the experience that way…

What are you waiting for?


To intuition, new teachers and ancestors

September 1, 2009

I have just came back from a life-changing experience that I had no clue would happen at the beginning of last week. I have booked a holiday and without knowing what will I do, I was thinking of a powerful experience in nature, something that will take me away from busy London and allow me to slow-down, relax and connect with the nature and the Earth. After couple of days of unknown and nothing really happening, all got decided within few hours and I was on an overnight bus to Scotland for a truly remarkable time.

Thank you 1 – Intuition : At times it is necessary to create a space for things to happen, for your intuition or random sets of events to take you towards a destination you can’t possibly plan. By creating the space (e.g. taking couple of days of work), holding the intention and following subtle guidance and listening to your intuition, very interesting experiences are waiting for you…

I spent few remarkable days in north of Scotland, in a truly raw yet beautiful land. It was so interesting what was happening with me and my body, it took me about 2 days just to slow down enough to start really enjoying myself, it was amazing how many things were rushing through my head at a blistering speed. “Wow, do I really think of so many things every day?” I was asking myself as I was watching birds play with the wind and trees bend from one side to another in a wonderful symphony.

While speaking with a friend that lives on the hill, it was also fascinating to realize how much our civilization is dependent on technology. We turn on the light in the morning, take a hot shower, travel to work using transport, work the whole day, stop by a supermarket and buy food, cook some using electricity or gas, store the rest in a fridge, watch TV or listen to music. Nearly every single moment of our day is connected to one or other technological invention of which some are entirely crucial to our existence (like electricity). I remember growing up in my country that my grandparents were completely self-sustainable just living off the land. That was 20 years ago. Today, I am not sure how many people still know how to grow crops, how to preserve food, how to treat the land properly. We show up at the supermarket and hope all will be there. Day by day. I am very grateful for the level of technology we have, I am also aware how fragile it is…

There are many more thoughts in my mind which there is no space in this post to describe. But none of this would happen without an invitation from an amazing person that I had a chance to meet, get to know and learn so much from over these few days. We rarely knew each other before, one inspiring conversation at a workshop, really. Yet so much wisdom, potential and learning was possible, just to ask…

Thank you 2 – New teachers: There is so much you can learn from anyone really. Sometimes, these teachers are people, sometimes they can be random moments of silence and stillness where we allow our busy minds to take a break and listen into the space in-between. Do explore these connections as there might be so much waiting for you. Thank you my dear friend…

The last evening before coming back to London I had an amazing privilege to participate in a sweat-lodge ceremony, which is a traditional tribal ceremony that was/is used in different places around the world. If you are interested to find more, please see a description at my friend’s webspace here.

What happens in a sweat-lodge is beyond words to describe. So was in mine. I can only say that it has been one of the most interesting experience of my life and a powerful reminder of my connection with nature, the Earth and the past, present and future generations.

Thank you 3 – Ancestors : We are living the life we live thanks to all the past generations that came before us. “Standing on the shoulders of giants”, appear on one of the british coins. It is so important to honor the traditions that were being practiced long, long time ago when none of our world existed. It is by honoring and learning about these from our ancestors we can find a key to our present and our future…


Reintegrating nature

August 23, 2009

Tree1

I have just spent an amazing day walking in Richmond Park; London’s largest green space.  Small lakes and ponds, little forests with impressive old trees, a deer that ran about 10 meters in front of me, as if to say hi. But mainly, incredible peace, stillness and harmony. At one point, I sat by an old tree, closed my eyes, took a deep breath to smell the freshness of the moment and let the wind gently blow as the setting sun was slowly saying goodbye. And I thought to myself, I haven’t felt this present, calm and happy for a long time…

When I think of a normal day at work for me and for many out there, I think of ongoing stream of incoming emails, requests, the hundreds of decisions that need to be made, the over air-conditioned slick boardrooms and offices, the rush, the traffic jams on our way to work, the seeming urgency of everything, the stress, fear and endless competitions, the sleepless nights, liters of coffee, stakeholders, shareholders, targets, priorities, strategies, rushed meetings… should I continue?

Those two worlds seem to be so far from each other. In fact they seem to occupy the very opposite end of a spectrum. It is as if in one we earn the right to enjoy the other. One is the world we are creating, the other we are slowly letting dissapear. In one we fight for success, for prestige, for fame, in  the other we realize we already have everything we need. In one we run, in the other we stop and enjoy the silence…

Yet we need both to go forward. We cannot chuck out the results of our evolution because we do not like the effects that we are now starting to see. At the same time, we do need to acknowledge that the Earth might not be able to regenerate fast enough to cope with the growing effects of our interventions without our help. We need to learn how to evolve and keep what’s healthy rather over-criticize our past that can not be changed. The way forward is not to go BACK to nature, it will be to go FORWARD WITH nature…

Tree2What if we could rebuild our organizations to reflect natural cycles and laws in everything from the way we work, set goals and make decisions to how we understand its purpose, vision and strategy? What if we could combine science and our technological achievements with the ever-present wisdom of nature? What if we could learn how to enhance our busy life-style with the moments of stillness, peace and harmony at the crucial times? What if we turn our attention to sustaining ourselves and our health alongside sustaining the organizations that we work in? What if we acknowledge that we hold only a part of the story and can’t do without the other going forward?

I believe it is time for us to merge these two worlds together to achieve a sustainable way forward… We are part of nature and nature is part of us… To think of humanity as separate from the rest of nature does not make sense anymore. The future is inviting us to re-think a fundamental story that has been told for far too long…

PS To see how modern science can learn from nature, see Janine Benyus talk on Biomimicry at TED available here.