Christmas in Barbados
No words needed
Let’s imagine everyone in this carriage was single and looking to meet someone new….says the ad in my train compartment. An online dating agency.
So I look around and imagine. Two old guys with rumpled lived in faces discussing trains, a Japanese woman with her over indulged grandson I imagine, protesting to no avail as he annoyingly is flipping through the photos on his camera, a Ping sound accompanying each new image. And then there’s a very old man with flat cap and sad face sitting hunched over his right wing newspaper.
I have imagined as the ad invited me to and I’m afraid I don’t find the possibility a compelling one.
Not that I am looking for romance, happily entangled with a lovely man. But just saying. If I was, it’s not a good thought.
So perhaps just something missing in the ad. Perhaps it’s more – Imagine everyone in this carriage was the kind of person to make your heart leap and was single and looking to meet someone new and that you were too…
Today I was part of an action learning set, training to become a facilitator of a set mostly through real experience of techniques in action. We’ve been doing this through the Centre for Action Learning Facilitation- Centre for action learning
Was so curious before it all started. What would it be like? How powerful could learning be in that forum ? How would I feel about it?
It’s been great to see and feel it work, to really hear people’s challenges. Great too to think of questions that will genuinely help them move forwards by opening them up to different ways of looking at and thinking about the challenge, which in turn opens them up to find new solutions.
It’s helpful to reflect on how often our questions of others come from a very different place – questions that in fact are not so subtly leading people to our preferred solutions, questions that just satisfy our curiosity to know more. It’s great to have a day out of the hustle and bustle of everyday workplace work to sit back, reflect, listen, explore at a pace and depth and in ways that can lead to really powerful solutions. Solutions both for the individual and the organisation too – the possibility of taking from this exploration of one person’s described problem, learning that could be a game changer for the organisation too.
We’ve practiced different ways of helping people explore their problems today, their “wicked” problems (ones without an obvious answer) – using techniques like placing people in the room to explore the different perspectives of the issue in hand, telling the problem like a story in creative ways. All differently powerful and intriguing.
And when it came to my turn an initial reluctance to share something so personal. But wanted to push myself. And did. And pleased I did. Always an opportunity to grow if you take chances. Lots to think about still. It was a wicked problem after all!
I’m coming away from the group with new skills and experience that will allow me to develop into being a good action learning set facilitator. Perhaps more unexpectedly coming away with a whole new level of respect for and understanding of some work colleagues – a knowing them that’s come from the shared experience of this set. And that’s not that I wasn’t open to being impressed by them or to knowing them better – just didn’t quite expect how much.
It’s a been a Good Friday.
It’s my friend’s first visit to her father’s home since he died. A visit she is making on her own. A visit she was dreading. And her message just now was that she felt his presence. Understandable as she will find him in every corner of that home. A presence there for so many years. Memories must be coming thick and fast.
It’s a moment I dread. Not yet.
I try to make each visit matter. To leave nothing unsaid. To make sure they both hear that I love them. Regret is not what I want to feel. A harsh word that can’t be taken back. An irritation shown.
Even so it will be impossibly hard. That I know.
But for B it’s already happened and her world will never be the same. Moments come when she thinks of something he’d be interested to hear and then she has to remember all over that she’s not going to be able to share things with him Like yesterday. I saw the pain sweep across her face.
It always amazes me quite how focussed I am when working from home. Laptop open, head down and hours whizz by. Love to be able think, generate ideas, make connections, design and develop things without interruption. I end my day energised and satisfied with what I’ve managed to create.
Office days are full of people, meetings, chatter. All good. Great people. Motivated, interesting, committed, smart. I love making groups work, getting the best out of the people in the room. And yet as the day progresses I can feel my energy drop.
A typical introvert. My energy comes from inside. Love people, love spending time with them and at the same time know how they drain my energy. A day’s training delivery I need some quiet to recharge before the social evening event. I watch in awe of those who get livelier and livelier as the evening progresses, feeding off the energy of those around them. In awe but know that’s not who I am.
How about you?
Where would I be without them?
So many different ways to keep in touch these days. Words with Friends this morning with friends in Australia and make the most of the chat box at the side. Little exchanges that keep our closeness topped up despite the massive distance. I marvel at some of them and the words they find I’ve never heard before.
Facebook lead a friend I’d not seen for 25 years to make contact. We met. We laughed. We wondered why we had lost touch. Lucy had a vague memory of us falling out yet neither of us could remember what that might possibly have been about. We just lost touch. The days of letters and calls from phones attached to the wall or in phone boxes in the street. Seems so long ago. A different world. And now we tweet, Facebook, FaceTime/skype, email, phone from wherever we are, text, write and more. And yet like last night with 2 good friends round to eat, not much beats sitting and laughing and sharing round a table.
A birthday day treat for my foodie partner John and off we went to Atelier Joel de Robuchon in London. On a sunny (cold of course) day we stepped into a very dark venue, black and chrome and glass. Flawless service. Lots of French speakers. A table right by the open kitchen where young men in black created dishes of beauty, imagination and exquisite taste. All of this activity diirected by and under the watching eye of the striking young French executive chef who now and then would step in to correct. So not only did we get to enjoy our dishes we could watch others being created and then delivered to other eager diners. A special pleasure came with getting our own. Yum indeed. Course after course. Stunning.
I always enjoy skill and passion and there was plenty at this restaurant. A joy to have a couple of hours there.
Very waterlogged we are these days in the U.K. Homes flooded, images of people in boats in what was their garden or street. Fourth floor flat in London and think our chances of floods in the kitchen are slim. We’re lucky.
So in the context of rain and floods no surprise to wake to the sound of rain again. Thoughts of long walks about the streets of London put aside. An inside alternative sought instead.
Headed off to Tate Britain. An inspiring gallery on the Thames. Art interspersed with cappuccino breaks. A perfect wet Saturday morning activity.
Henry Moore sculptures. Lovely.
A curious piece made from car doors, Hoover pieces and maps of Africa. I really liked it.
Photos from Don McCullin. What an eye. Black and white paintings by Bridget Riley. Slightly hallucinogenic.
And lots more. So lucky to have all this on my doorstep.
On the tube home my iPhone took a photo by mistake. Decided to keep it. Who are all the people who belong to these feet? I feel a short story coming on.
Deliberate and accidental.All representations of the world around. Sculptures, photos, paintings. Great Saturday morning.
Never asked for it.
Tried to avoid anyone with it.
All to no avail.
Now here I am with the raw throat, unattractive red nose and almost empty box of tissues, aches from head to toe, head like mince, strange stomach thing, hardly able to stay awake past midday. I’ve got it all. Except for the hacking cough. Not that I’m complaining about that missing symptom. Far from it. Gratitude is what I feel.
So over it.
Thinking of maybe passing it on. It’s time. A week with me must be enough.