Weaving New Solutions With Ancient Technologies

Aymara woman weaving

The best story I heard in 2016 was about how the ancient weaving practices of Bolivian women are providing a solution to babies dying from holes in their hearts.

A special device similar to a little parachute is woven from a flexible metal and then feed up an artery to the heart where it fans out to seal the hole.

Researchers found that the accuracy and the dexterity of the indigenous weavers offered a more precise and lasting solution than using a modern technology to make the device.

Weaving is humanity’s most ancient technology, pre-dating agriculture and the development of ceramics. It is a practice that in essence is exceptional simple, but once the simple technique is mastered, can lead to greater levels of complexity.

However, it requires a balanced concentration of body, mind and spirit.

If we go back to the origins of every culture in the world, from the Americas, to Europe, to Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, weaving has been critical to our survival. It is no accident that for so many cultures, the physical weaving of materials and the metaphysical weaving of stories about the tapestry of life are entwined. The simple practice of weaving grounds our understanding of the complexity of a woven universe.

There is no doubt as we move into 2017 that we will experience the world speeding up. Computer speeds, new devices, new apps, greater access to technology, more big data, is all going to chew up space in our brains.

It was over 20 years ago that Information Fatigue Syndrome was identified in a study called Dying For Information.
In 1996, people were already suffering indecision, anxiety, and ill health from information overload, mostly via the Internet. Discernment to peacefully navigate information and reflect to seek simple insights is where we must grow.

Solutions for our evolution and wellbeing in the future across economic, social and environmental measures lie in simple solutions from the past, in ancient cultures that are in the DNA of all of us.

My book The Weave, the Surprising Unity in Difference explores the opportunity we have to use the models and the metaphors of weaving to create teams, communities and families that embrace diversity and innovation to build a greater future.

email info@theweave.co.nz for more (simple) information on The Weave workshops and mentoring in 2017.

 

The Weave: The Surprising Unity in Difference – New Book Available Now

We’re delighted to announce the launch of my new book – The Weave: Surprising Unity in Difference.

The Weave offers insights and pathways for leaders to build authentic cultures by using stories to unite groups in their vision and to give people a sense of belonging, of motivation and inspiration.

This book is for managers and leaders of teams looking for better ways to engage diverse groups and individuals. It offers tips and tools for:
• anyone seeking to run a project where the diversity of the group can become a source of strength
• ways for government, health, education and infrastructure providers to remove silos and get everyone on the same page
• anyone looking to improve their ability to communicate, influence and bring out the best in people who think differently to them

To order a copy of the book click the link below!

$27.50 NZD + $5 Shipping



Sourcing the Sauce

culinary set isolated on white

Great cooking is always about a great sauce.

Some chefs spend days rendering down a stock made from bones, meat, fish or vegetables, spices and herbs. Often they will claim some secret ingredients that bring it all together as a taste sensation.

But the principle is always the same. It is about taking the time to cook something down to its essence and bringing together just the right ingredients. Where an alchemy has occurred in the chemistry of the mingling ingredients.

Mayonnaise is one sauce where a magical chemistry occurs where two ingredients that never usually mix; oil and water, are blended to create something delicious.

If you mix oil and water without any other ingredients no matter how hard you beat them, they will always stay separate.

The trick is using another ingredient, an ‘emulsifier.’ Egg yolk does the trick. It has molecules that can attach to both the oil and the water, bringing them together as one.

Once you have the oil, the water and the emulsifier in just the right quantities, you can blend a smooth glossy mayonnaise.

People are just the same. Some can have very differing beliefs, attititudes, behaviours and views of life that are like oil and water, chalk and cheese. They just won’t mix.

If you want to create a great sauce or mayonnaise with a group of diverse people, what is the emulsifier?

What can weave people together so they can create something delicioius, something that people will desire, something that will inspire?

What ingredient can connect disparate people?

Where can we find a unity in difference?

I once worked with a group of Māori wood carvers. Their work tells the crucial stories and history of their culture and was at risk of dying out. They came from different tribes that had over the centuries often been at war with one another. Politically, there was conflict over which tribes stories and history took precedence over others.

When the carvers got together, they realised that the further back in time that they went, the more unified their stories were. The stories from the beginning of time were the same. The big stories of the universe, and how the earth and people had evolved were the same. They were about humanity, above and beyond tribal differences.

The same can be said for tribes, cultures, societies and communities all over the world.

What is our emulsifier that can join us all? And at the same time allow us to remain unique and distinct, as individuals and as different cultures?

We still want to taste the different ingredients in a great sauce, but we want to enjoy how it all comes together.

Source the sauce.

Know Your Place

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Navigation is about triangulating where you are.

You identify three points, and you have located where you are.

Knowing your Place is also about understanding a trinity of who you are and where you are from.

1. Your place- geographically
2. Your place – where you welcome others
3. Your place- the legacy you create

Knowing your Place also requires another mighty threesome to be in balance; heart, mind and body.

Knowing your place will ground you in every environment and every interaction.

Why is this important?

Knowing who you are and where you are now, where you have come from, and where you are going are critical to effective engagement with others.

Today people want to know your back story, your current story, and the story of the future you are creating.

Knowing your Place is more than identifying with one geographic spot, that of your birth or your upbringing.

A nomad (both digital and physical) can Know Their Place as much as someone who has lived and worked in one place for many years.

It is about a knowing, a belonging, an identification with place, self and others than will ground you.

Most indigenous cultures start from a place of seeking to know your lineage and where you are from. Many consider our lineage to connect right back to the beginning of time and the creation of the planet and universe. And if you are into metaphysics, you can follow your DNA back to when were were an idea for an atom in the primordial soup.

But that gets very deep.

And that is great, because Knowing Your Place is about taking a deeper look at where you fit.

In English Victorian and Edwardian times the phrase ‘know your place’ was to ‘put you in your place’ in a hierarchy or stratified class system. Today we don’t have to do that. We can connect with our natural world, and the nature of our worlds of family, teams, groups, society and people. And take a journey to identify our place.

Our Place.
Your Place.
This Place

Sense of Place.

Place is a many layered concept.

I think of a metaphor for fly fishing. To be a great fly fisher, you work to cast your line to place it gently on the surface of the water. Your aim is to replicate an insect alighting on the surface of the water. The more attuned you are to your environment, the place you stand, the grace with which you move, your attention to the micro world of insects, and movement of current, and wind, the more you will find the sweetspot of place, to replicate the delicate movement of an insect.

A sense of knowing your place is akin to being ‘comfortable in your own skin’ and the world around you. Knowing your place allows you to embrace uncertainty, diversity and change.

Success is About Telling More Love Stories

Fire heart

Most people would say love stories are about romance, falling in love, boy meets girl, boy meets boy, girl meets girl etc.

Most people also might say that it is mostly women who like love stories.

Chick flicks, romcom, romance novels.

But all the best stories are always about love.

It depends on how we define love, and too often today we narrow it down to romance, sex, food, dogs and children.

The thing is we all love love, even people we might describe as hard, cold or, impersonal love love.

It’s just that too often we judge what love should look like.

Love is about focus and alignment that creates wellbeing and happiness.

When we share stories about what we care about we are telling love stories.

And what we care about might manifest as everything from a nice house and a nice car, to our child, our lover, or humanity as a whole.

It is all about love.

So let your love of what ever your focus is infuse all your communication.

Love stories are always stories of both loss and gain, sadness and happiness, and that is the story of our lives.

Find the heart of what you care about, share that as a love story and you will connect and resonate powerfully with others.

Love Your Neighbour But Don’t Hang Out Together Every Day.

Neighbors Loud Music Noise

How do we balance out what we want with what others want ?

Doesn’t this just have to be the biggest question we all face as human beings?

Getting what we want, living the life we want, but getting on with others when they might want something quite diifferent from us.

It happens in families, at work, in politics, in religion, in race, everywhere we interact with others. We are social animals, wanting to belong, and then at the same time we get really annoyed with people and don’t want them around. How contrary!

So how do we work it all out and find the perfect answer?

The first answer is that we don’t. Our lives are perpetually evolving. We have to find beauty in the flaws, the challenges the imperfections and the journey both rocky and smooth. Absolute perfection, absolute order, 24/7 happiness is an illusion.

I’ve got neighbours who are very different from me, but we have got on really well for the best part of 20 years.

We don’t live in each other’s pockets like good friends, but we don’t ignore one another either. There have been times we have hung out a lot, and times where we have not said much to each other for days or weeks.

We have not always agreed on things, and in fact sometimes we have some very different and opposing views on things. But we get on. Some where along the line, we have built a deep mutual respect, a respect of difference, and a respect for what we share in common.

There is a love, and you can say in a certain way, it is an unconditional love, the kind you have in families where you might not get on, might not have everything in common, but you are family, and you love one another.

Seems to me to Love Your Neighbour should come from a place of love, of respect that does not mean going out of your own way to the point you are not doing or living the way you want to.

Loving Your Neighbour is being free to disagree with them, to be annoyed by them, to live a totally different life from them, and not tolerate them out of obligation or avoidance because you feel you SHOULD. It will never work.

So the answer to achieving world peace with a better community of diversity in thinking, lifestyle, beliefs, ethnicity and ability is accepting that we always all be different from one another. And in fact we would probably hate it if we were all exactly the same, surely we would be like robots!

As the great community builder, Peter Block puts it:

” Dissent is the cousin of diversity; the respect for wide range of beliefs.

This begins by allowing people the space to say “no”.

If we cannot say “no” then “yes” has no meaning.

Each needs the chance to express their doubts and reservations without having to justify them, or move quickly into problem solving.

“No” is the beginning of the conversation for commitment.

Doubt and “no” is a symbolic expression of people finding their space and role in the strategy.

It is when we fully understand what people do not want that choice becomes possible.

The leadership task is to surface doubts and dissent without having an answer to every question.”

www.abundantcommunity.com

Getting Real About the Real World

Wood Bookshelf in the Shape of Human Head and books near break wall, Knowledge Concept

What is the ‘real’ world?

I’ve found myself often saying this cliché about people. ‘So and so needs to get into the real world.”

So I’ve wondered why do I, and others keep using this expression?

It is most usually a criticism. Someone is being ‘unrealistic’. They are out of touch, lost in their own world, or not in touch with others.

So here’s what I really think.

Our modern world has made us increasingly separate from one another. And so we think our worlds’ look quite different from each other. We justify our own point of view through judgement and comparison to others.

We spent more and more time, in the western world anyway, doing abstract stuff staying remote in front of screens, not people, using our hands on key boards, a mouse, a remote. We spend more time in the virtual world than the ‘real time’ world.

We are educated to think and act through narrow educational lenses; to regurgitate and not to make things and experience things.
We value how people appear on paper with qualifications and abstract achievements, more than we value people’s experience good and bad.

But actually, our every living moment is the real world. The instant we embrace difference in others, diverse actions and thought, everything becomes one ‘real’ world.

If we are judging others, or even ourselves for not living in the real world, we are not honouring our experience of it, good and bad, happy and sad, failure and success. It’s all pretty goddamn real!!

In an interview David Bowie once answered the question: What is your greatest achievement? His answer was: “Discovering morning.”

Honour every experience.

Get real.

No More Time Out

iStock_000045645158_XXXLargeI’m thinking about the coming year. It’s the 9th day of 2016. It can’t be helped, whichever way you look at it – it is a new year. And just over one week in, it is a transition time from a holiday into this ‘brand new’ year. I feel like I am emerging from the twilight of a whole lot of ‘time off’, or ‘time out’, over the Christmas and New Year break.

People are trickling back to work. Each day there are a few more cars on the road. Some people look like stunned mullets, adjusting their brains to a different pace, different clothes, different environment. Back to work!  Moving from the glowing twilight post-holiday into the full sunlight! In the glaze of the sun a few things happen. It nurtures and brings life, it warms mind and body, and sustains us. But too much and it will burn and destroy.

Getting the balance right with the powerful elements of nature is the same as getting the balance right with our professional and personal lives. The seasons and the weather are in constant change. And changing too are all the man-made structures that impact our lives. Our time and our days can fill up very, very quickly. We run out of time more than ever, with instant media and communication at our fingertips. There are a myriad of things to pay attention to. Technology has definitely NOT been a time-saving innovation for most of us.

As 2016 starts to settle in, and I get into a work mode, I’m asking:  What do I want more of than I had last year? What do I want less of than I had last year?

Then I get to thinking about the whole measurement of time – be it a year, a month, a day, a moment. And about how much time can expand and contract. How it seems like time can run out, or can go on endlessly. Somewhere I know it is all relative – my relationship to time is all completely made up, by me!

So I have arrived at an idea about Time Off and Time Out. I am eradicating them.

I am having a year of Time On and Time In.

I am going to a place where I will seek more natural rhythms in my energy flows, and seek to not judge when I have more or less energy, to not compare or judge one place or another.

I will move away from segmenting my life into Down Time, Time Off, Time Out, and integrate more balance and flow.

I will get more interested in the cycles of the seasons, of the sun of the moon, and become attuned with them.

I will seek a greater understanding of ebb and flow, in myself and the planet around me.

I will seek balance.

It is my heartfelt belief that when I am in tune with my vision and purpose, when I have it showing up in all my waking and even sleeping moments, I do not need Time Out and Time Off. Time will flow with greater ease. I will rise to the occasions of deadlines and commitments,  because they will be built on the foundation of my vision and my purpose.

Do you know what your vision is? Does it sustain you?

 

Stop Thinking; Connect

I’m hard wired for connection.
All human beings are.
There are invisible threads that link us all.
You can call it energy, in either the scientific or spiritual sense if you choose.
It is elusive sometimes, because it is not always visible to our immediate senses.

But human connection is an energy, and it is a key to our survival.
The crazy thing is we have set up many structures in our world that break that connection.
I blame our big brains. We think too much. We think in the wrong way too much.
We think too much about disconnections;  what ifs, pros and cons, pluses and minuses, right and wrong, etc etc.
We have adversarial debate, politics, legal systems, and hierarchies; a whole raft of structures dedicated to disconnection.
Wrong thinking.
I’ve just started a large new contract and my role is engagement.  Interesting that such a role even needs to exist. How come we all don’t do that naturally in our course of work?
Once upon a time work was all about connection and engagement.
But our big brains got in the way. And we separated ourselves out from others, and got very busy with our thinking, and our modern ways of industry and commerce.
It is just not that hard to find common ground. The trick is to stay there, before wandering off into our disconnected world.
The key to maintaining common ground is vision, a shared vision that is greater than oneself. A living vision is embedded, it resonates without intellectual separation, division or analysis.
It simply is. It is based on the energy of connection, of humanity as a collective whole, inter-dependent, and focused solely on survival as a connection organism, living interconnected to the living organism that is this planet.
Every culture in the world has a story about this planet and our connection to it as one giant whole.
We have the science, we have the spirit, and we have the evidence on every level of our being.
Our problem is our harnessing our big brains for connection, not separation.
This is the challenge of the human condition.

Commit random acts of connection!

Learning to Sip

My biggest and my only New Year’s resolution is to Learn to Sip.
Yep, to sip every thing. Less gulping. Less gulping of food, drinks, life.
To Learn to Sip will put me living in the moment.
I miss a lot of moments because I am gulping through life.
That concept of ‘being present’ will happen when I Learn to Sip.
I will savour. I will relish. I will breathe into sipping.
I will taste more, food, drink and life.
I will observe more when I sip.
It’s going to be bloody hard.
I love to gulp.  Gulp, gulp gulp, and its all gone and I am not satisfied. Food, drinks, and maybe life.
I don’t want to gulp through 2014. 
Ok, I think I am being a bit hard on myself. Gulping is fun when I am really hungry, really thirsty, and in a hurry to devour life.
It’s ok really. But a bit more sipping would be really great.
Rolling the taste of things around my mouth. And even engaging all my senses in sipping.
Looking and sniffing and touching before I sip. Tasting through the sip, listening to the sound of the sip, and there I’ve done the full sensory experience.
Sipping more and gulping less also means chilling out more. Less is more, yep, yep, yep.
Learning to Sip will get me reflecting and pausing more. Sipping is a meditation.
Maybe it is about a ratio of sipping to gulping, it feels a bit hard to give up gulping completely.
And that is what is wrong with resolutions. They demand you to be resolute. And sometimes we just plain don’t want to be resolute about every damn thing. It’s too hard.
Life is too short. But it will feel not so short if I sip and gulp. In balance. Sipping and gulping.
ore chewing would be good.
Sipping is to pause more. To drink in the world around me. To stop. To siesta.
And to be more productive as a result of sipping.