Today, I learned the Dance of Directions with a group of amazing women from Sunray Meditation Society who have been practicing the teachings of Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo (Eastern Cherokee) and her ancestors more than 20+ years. We gathered on a beautiful garden surrounded by giant redwoods, over marveling the Bay from East hills, accompanied by deer, blue jades and the scent of magic.
Each direction has heavenly teachings that are available to us right now. The question is can we make the space and time to be in communion with these energies?
NORTH is Ideal
What qualities I would like to bring forward at work?
What is my unborn potential?
EAST is Inspiration
How can I open myself to inspiration at work?
SOUTH is Abundance
What are my inner conflicts and confusions?
What possibilities would open up if I did not feel conflicted?
WEST is Transformation
How can I keep my ego out of work place?
Realize that we are all connected and part of something bigger than us. So why suffer?
I have my fear patterns pointed at me by amazing Paula Colletto in her clown mask workshop last year in San Francisco. We were working on a trust fall exercise as a group. As actors, our task was to fall back behind, fully committed, trusting that our exercise partner got our backs for life. Most importantly, we were to make sure to keep an eye contact with the audience while falling back like a graceful swan. Let me tell you, it was not a piece of freshly baked artisan loaf of bread. (I don't like cake.) Each time my partner increased the distance, thus raising the stakes, I either barked like chihuahua, annoyingly loud or completely went silent, closing my eyes and disappearing from my own body. Months later, I am realizing that getting loud and angry or disengaging and ghosting from the scene are two ways how I protect myself when a stressful event happens. This is very true for work or my improv scenes. Ten thousand light bulbs fusing through my brain with this amazing discovery!!! Thank you Paula for seeing my inner child through the veils of fear.
Realization is the first step to healing. I believe actualization will come by sharing this insight with my coworkers, family and friends, so that they can be compassionate and loving to my scared little child and not take it personally. Understanding my own patterns are helping me be more understanding with others. I inadvertantly am now noticing other people's fear/stress patterns and I say with my inside voice "Oh poor little one is just scared. It is going to be ok little one. I am here with you and we will figure things out. We have [few more days] before we hit that [deadline] and together we will make magic happen."
Professionalism does not mean to act like a numb robot at work and suffer through a career and make others drawn down to Pacific Ocean with you. We are in this together. My healing is your healing. Your healing is my healing.
What are your patterns when compost hits the fan? If you find them, will you reveal them to everyone for the sake of global healing?
Improv For Agile Retrospective Meetings
Improv for Agile all got started when Ana T. our Product Owner asked me "Would you like to facilitate our agile retrospective meetings with improv?" I said "Oh my yes, and I would love to!" Have I led groups through agile retros before? Nope. Have I played many many many many hours of improv games with my troupes? Well, yes!
I have been facilitating our group retrospectives utilizing improv games, design thinking and energy medicine to identify very specific things in 2 week Sprints:
This experience made me realize that I need to offer more of what I do "best" or what comes to me as natural: Improv, Design Thinking and Energy Medicine. I am no longer dwelling on what is lacking in my company "defined" role as a user experience designer at the very moment. No more playing the victim of gazillion constraints that does not allow me to follow a "proper" user experience practice. I am excited about facilitating and solving problems to improve my coworkers work experience. If people are happy at work, they will be happy at home, if they are happy at home, their kids, partners, pets will be happy, too. Butterfly effect!
Over and over what came up in our agile improv retros was the challenge of cross team communication. Team members were struggling to get the answers they needed from other teams on a timely manner. As a result, some of their tasks were blocked and they were stressed.
PRODUCT OWNER'S PROPOSAL
Ana T. asked "Asli, do you want to help us come up with a solution to solve our cross collaboration problem?", I jumped up and down with joy uttering "Yes, and let's do a Design Thinking Hackathon!"
Design Thinking Hackathon
Yesterday, we commenced in San Francisco office to hack the team cross communication challenge. I walked the team through each step of design thinking activities: