(image from flickr)
I attended my first session of a Cafe Psychologique last night in Leeds.
Cafe Psychologique? I hear you ask.
HISTORY LESSON TIME!!!!!
Back in the day when philosophers were still king, a certain arts movement started to create discussion groups in the Cafe's of Montparnasse in Paris. (A hug and a good luck wish for the person who guesses the correct art movement). They would gather in Cafe's and discuss life, love, art, journey's, destinations, passion, beauty, etc. However, it was the well known philosopher, Sartre, who put the Cafe Philosophique on the map. After WWII, Sartre held the discussions, which became known as "Cafe Philos," in the Cafe de Flore, opening up philosophical ideas to the general public ... or in this case, the taxi drivers and "ladies of the night" who inhabited the Cafe during the hours Sartre was there.
This was the inspiration for people in more recent times to take interesting ideas out of academia and into the general masses, to open up the wonder of knowledge and the power of storytelling to those who may not have ever had a chance to experience such delights. Cafe Psychologique is one of many groups that have started and flourished since the 1990's, engaging with people on a grass-roots level, encouraging discussion, encouraging openness.
I attended my first one last night.
the topic? SELF CARE AND MINDFULNESS.
What was interesting about this topic was the way that the people in the discussion interpreted the meaning of self care and mindfulness. Some felt that self care could lead to self indulgence, where you literally do 'nothing' as to do anything takes effort, emotion, thought, etc; others, like myself, felt that self care was more wrapped up in the mindfulness aspect, where you focus on the present moment, lose yourself in the moment, no matter what you are doing - but in being aware of yourself in the moment you can identify anything bad, not good, or disastrous that may arise in that process - i.e., running too much that you pull a muscle, eye strain from working at the computer too much, or even falling asleep during meditation and falling off your cushion (?).
I heard many differing opinions, and as Chris - the organiser of the evening stated, "all opinions are valid," and so they were. But this is my blog so I want to give you a little insight into how I think self care/mindfulness can help you on your goal journey.
When you set a goal it is expected that you will continue to drive yourself forward until you achieve that goal. In that process, however, it is highly likely that you will lose sight of the number one priority in achieving goals .... YOU! Self care and being mindful reminds us that we cannot achieve our goal if we are burnt out, injured, or dead! So what are some steps you can take on your goal journey to ensure that YOU are the main priority in the journey?
1. Live your goal journey day by day. Keep the end goal in mind, but recognise that you can only do so much each day towards reaching that goal.
2. Embrace some daily meditation, in whatever form that takes. Since I have started my yoga practice I have noticed that I am more likely to make space for a form of meditation during my day, even if it is just a few stretches and deep focused breaths for two minutes whilst I wait for the jug to boil. It is taking that time to make sure that I am stepping out of my mind, my thoughts, and am remembering that I only ever have this moment. I can then take this focus to my work, as can you!
3. Create a solid (yet fluid) structure for your day. Know what you have to achieve, but recognise that you may not get it all done, but that that is okay. Give yourself a cutoff point for work ... I always try to finish up work by 5pm (unless I'm speaking in the evening of course). Once that 5pm arrives I switch off the computer and RELAX!!!
What do you think about self care and mindfulness? What self care rituals do you follow? Comment below!
Over the past few weeks there has been this little sports competition that has captured everyones attention ... the 2014 Word Cup!!
Held in Brazil (only the second time it's been held in South America), it has proven to be a spectacle of epic proportions, with many favourites not doing as well as expected and other, not so well known football countries doing surprisingly well (like my own home country Australia!). However, it was the Germany v Brazil match that I want to draw your attention too. This semi-final was geared to be a top game, with Brazil likely to win due to the home ground advantage ... but no, it was a whitewash of German players outclassing the Brazilians ... i watched in amused horror as Germany first got one, two, then three goals, within the space of minutes, the Brazilians body language said it all - disbelief, horror, dare I say it, fear?!?
But this is where the problem lay for Brazil, the pressure obviously became too much and the much needed team dynamic and discipline unraveled in the face of the impossible - defeat.
And there was Germany, an obviously tight team, almost seemingly able to read each others minds, so in-tune with each other they were. With an efficiency the Germans are renowned for, they took control of the game, as a team, and kicked butt like no one has ever seen.
That is the clue, the step to their success, efficient team work.
(image from here)
On friday night I was invited to watch the Leeds Rhinos play Hull in Rugby League at Leeds Carnegie Stadium. It has been years (if not decades) since I watched a Rugby League match live. I was going for Leeds, of course, and as I watched the first half I could not believe it as no-one seemed to be scoring. In fact, both teams seemed slightly disconnected, missing obvious plays, and lacking in communication. When they went off at half time I though if they keep on playing like this then this could be the first time I ever see a Rugby League match end nil all.
As they came out to play the second half I noticed a perceptible change in the Leeds side. They seemed more relaxed, more in touch with each other as they made their way out to line up - this change was evident in the first ten minutes when they communicated themselves to an eighteen/nil lead over Hull. What a change to first half! They were talking to each other, directing each other, intuitively passing the ball to each other, suddenly they were in the flow, the stream of success and things were going their way. Sound familiar? Like a particular German football team that blitzed Brazil?
(image from here)
So, what is Germany and the Leeds Rhinos trick to awesome teamwork leading to amazing success?
1. They all know what they want to achieve ... as a whole. The goal they have is clear in everyones mind and because of this there is no deviation from the game plan, no ego's involved, just plain understanding of what each cog in the wheel has to do to get the required results. Simple really!
2. They bond like no-ones business. They communicate clearly with each other and will listen to all opinions, knowing that this is best for the team dynamic - no-one feels left out or disregarded, everyones opinion is valid and this fosters a relationship of trust and triumph.
3. Because they trust each other they can get a little creative in their plays, take a few risks, knowing that their team members will be there to back them up. AND whether the risk is a success or not, the team does not blame them, in fact they forgive, learn, and move on.
4. They give a hundred percent of effort, because the game isn't just for them, it is also for everyone else on that team, and therefore the responsibility is greater and something they take seriously. They do, however, understand that people can have bad days, but in recognising this they support and take up the slack without complaining if a team member is out of sorts.
5. They have a fantastic leader (or team captain) who doesn't let their ego get in the way of the team dynamic, in fact, they will often sacrifice themselves for the good of the team, knowing that the shared goal is more important than the individual.
Can you think of anything else that makes a great team? Let me know in the comments.