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The Two Wings of a Bird – Silence and Alertness

silence

Awakening the Day

I have been told that the Maasai Mara would change my life. I can say that I am beginning to feel something inside and I am not sure what it is, I just know that something is happening inside of me. It is the deeper sense of the Nomadic Mindset.

I awoke this wonderful morning to the sweets scintillating sounds of the birds serenading me. I could sense all over me the marvelous rhythm of the day ahead. The sun was beginning to raise its beautiful warm bright circular orange head and I felt a great sense of calm inside of me as that sun began to rise inside of me. With that, I decided to sit and meditate.

In my meditation, it came to me that calm might be a combination of silence and alertness all at the same time. This is what meditation is about.

The Sense of the Maasai Mara

There is a tremendous silence here in the environment of the Maasai Mara as you will find in many natural environments around the world. You truly only see, hear and fully peak your senses to the magic of nature unfolding in front of you, around you and within you. This is part of the nomadic mindset. It is the roaming inside of the mind as well as your whole being. Here you can discover that alert silence is breathtaking and revealing at the same time. Meditation helps!

Two Wings of the Bird

It seems all the different sounds of the birds come together like an organic symphony of natures true multiple instruments. Within those sounds there is silence and stillness. Within those sounds, there is activity and alertness. The two – silence and alertness – are like the two wings of a bird. It gives you flight, freedom and much more. Ah, the sweet sense of just taking a deep breath and breath it all in – silence and alertness at the same time. How do you feel?

I am beginning to find my silence and alertness at the same time as I discover from the Maasai and nature what is this nomadic mindset and how it is so rewarding to life.

 

The forest has ears’
Maasai Proverb

 

Qualities of the Nomadic Mindset

I question myself, is this Nomadic Mindset something we have lost over the centuries past and something we can get back as well. I believe definitely yes we can as it sits inside all of us, we maybe just don’t see or sense it or see it as something else. We all were nomads at the beginning of creation and the Nomadic Mindset still lives vibrantly inside each one of you.

The qualities of the Nomadic Mindset can also help you, your teams and organizations, to truly find the true essence of how to be successful as you move forward in this very fast-paced world. The Nomadic Mindset also slows you down a bit and this can heighten your alertness and speed. Two of the qualities of a Nomadic Mindset are silence and alertness, are like the two wings of the bird.

Is this a new discovery?

This probably is not something new to me. Is this something new to you, perhaps not. Yet sometimes we need to discover the roaming or nomadicness in our mind which translates to the rest of your body. It is then revealed through your behaviours, actions, decisions, communications, no matter where you are or what organization you are within.

 

Silence and alertness are something to respect and wake up to. These nomadic qualities are within you and you just need to listen to your true sense of the nomad.

 

You may ask, how do I find this while living in a big city with so many irritating sounds of cars, horns, people’s voices, the buzz of life and the speed of existence today. Here another nomadic quality comes into play and that is the adaptation. More on that in another blog post!

 

For now, begin to open to your nomadic mindset qualities and discovery the Two Wings of the BirdSilence and Alertness. Perhaps for you, meditation is that path to this, for others it may be prayer, or sitting/walking/running in nature, listening to music, reflecting or simply listening. The Maasai in the Maasai Mara live this nomadic mindset and it also lives within you and your organizations.

Awaken the Nomad in you!!! Start Roaming!

 

Kevin Cottam, a global nomad who helps others Shine brightly and perform at their creative best.


“Aha” Moments are Messages of Wisdom

 

By Kevin Cottam

Definition of Aha moment by Merriam Webster: a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension

Have you ever had an Aha Moment? Of course you have, and I would hazard a guess that they are appearing at a rapid rate throughout your day. However, you may not consciously recognize them. Maybe you do? How do we learn from the Aha moments that come to us throughout our lives?

Oprah: the ‘Aha Lady’

Oprah, the ‘Aha Lady’ speaks highly about the term “Aha Moment”. It has become a huge part of her trademark. So much so, that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2012 announced they would add the definition to their dictionary; ‘Aha Moment = a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.’

Oprah has said, ‘That when interviewing others and the information makes her see life in a completely different way, she says ‘Aha! I get it!’ Light bulb … and the little hairs on your arm stand up. That is an “Aha” Moment.’ When was your last ‘light bulb moment’?

Creative Insights From the “Aha” Moments

Daniel Goleman (Mr. Emotional Intelligence) scientifically says, ‘Just before a creative insight, the brain goes into a relaxed Alpha Rhythm, which is then followed rapidly by a Gamma Spike, which brings about a congruence that something new is going to happen like it has never happened before – that’s the Aha Moment’. This is the flash of light or the moment of Wow.

Your Aha Moments are moments in your life when wisdom appears in a flash. What is key is that you must consciously realize that these are “Aha” Moments. They are flashes of light, moments of realization, the ‘hang on, what just happened there’ moment. Being aware of having an “Aha” Moment can shift or change your life forever – if you are open to learning from it!

Aha Moments in Business

Picture found at Funders and Founders; Illustrated by Evelina Yatselenko 

Positive or Negative Stories

Back in 1995, I was the producer for a very large show and three weeks into the rehearsal I was fired. I had been working as a director and choreographer for many, many years and this had never happened to me before. As you can imagine, I was devastated, torn apart and thought I would never work again. So many negative stories constantly ran through my head. About eight months later, after all the grief, the real “Aha” learning moment happened. I learned to listen to my heart and not my ego. I can say I was amazed. I was so grateful for being fired as the learning I was able to eventually take changed the way I work and live my life.

Your “Aha” Moments come out of the organic stories in your life. You are constantly filled with stories and therefore have a bottomless treasure chest to be able to discover new ways forward. “Aha” Moments can be presented as both positive and negative stories and it depends as to whether you have the skill and awareness to turn a negative into a positive and become your own alchemist.

There is a saying: Behind every cloud is a silver lining. This is true of every “Aha” Moment. I find the greatest reward in life is when a truly negative situation happens and this amazing “Aha” Moment appears to change my life and mindset. It is like rising from 0 -10 in a flash. The positive situations that lead to “Aha” Moments are also brilliant; I am grateful for them as well, but my mindset is not as altered. This may be different for you, of course.

My Last “Aha” Moment

My last “Aha” Moment was when I arrived in Canada from Singapore on December 28th and it was freezing cold. I thought, “What am I doing here? I don’t need to be here!” The backstory to this is that I had been arriving in Canada on the same date or over the same period for the past 10 years. I was living the same routine over and over again. This was because of my dear, elderly, mother. Sadly, my mother passed away 2 years ago, but I have continued to travel to Canada. My “Aha” Moment collided with the shock of the cold weather. It made me realize that I was I acting on autopilot. Recognizing this default action, if you will, I was able to change my behavior. I am grateful for this light bulb moment; thank you cold weather!

Listen

To hear an “Aha” Moment you need to listen deeply for the signals and be open to receiving them. In our busy lives we tend to be immune to our inner selves, our surroundings or what is happening in our environment.

Often “Aha” Moments happen very quietly over and over again in our bodies, mind and spirit, and we don’t listen. Then all of a sudden the ‘Divine Smack’ happens and we have to listen. It is like the universe saying, ‘when the hell will this person get it, I guess I have to really show them. Here you go! SMACK!’ This tends to throw you sideways a bit and you wonder what has happened.

Some of us still don’t listen. It has been my experience if the divine smack happens once or twice and we continue not to listen, then it will reappear until we do. Has this ever happened to you?

Learning about the Stop Light

How do you use the learning from the “Aha” Moment? Do you say, ‘Oh wow that was powerful, I must remember that,’ and then you rapidly forget the learning and proceed on the treadmill of life? Or do you stop and take the time to integrate it into your life?

I suggest that you might want to think of a traffic light – red, yellow, green. The “Aha” Moment is the Red Light (which makes you stop in your tracks), the Yellow Light is the learning (you discover) and the Green Light is putting this learning into action and integrating it into your life.

If you don’t integrate that learning you have thrown away the innate wisdom of the universe that is giving you important, conscious information. These “Aha” Moments are gifts, presents and blessings of your Wisdom appearing in the conscious form.

What have you done with your “Aha” Moments?

It is worth reflecting upon as you are worth all the Wisdom that exists within you, and more!

Please share with me, if you wish, your “Aha” Moments and what you have learned from them at info@kevincottam.com


Habits – The Good, The Bad, the New

By Kevin Cottam, PCC, BSc

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” ― Mark Twain

Crossroad sign for good and bad habits

How to consciously create new habits that lead to high Performance

Have you ever stepped back for a moment to look at the habits you have created in your life?  How are they serving you? Habits are the result of the conscious or unconscious choices you have made manifesting in your day-to-day behaviour.

My Nasty Old Habit

I recently realized that I have this bad habit of putting my iPhone beside my bed.  I bet this is typical of many modern day human beings!  When I wake up I look at it and get totally wrapped up in the noise of this device – the text messages, the emails, Facebook and other social media platforms, the negative news – the list goes one. This doesn’t generally start my day in an effervescent or positive way.

What I have realized is that my mind, body and spirit gets wrapped up in the cacophony of messages and that these messages are generally not serving my energetic state of being or my desired goals.  So what happens is that I begin to feel like crap, more negative and less focused on what is actually important and what I am in control of.  Plus, I am way less productive.  And the day has just started.  Dumb huh?! This is only one of the habits I wish to change.

Because I recognised that this is a habit that I want to change, I am currently dissecting my habits. I am preserving the good, removing or transforming the bad and creating new habits that lead me to my desired state of being in my life.  I can say this is very rewarding.  I invite you to come along with me on this journey. 

How Habits Appear

Repeating the same thing over and over again until it becomes automatic is how a habit is formed. Like teaching your dog to sit, or learning a new exercise program, or learning a new software program.  Therefore, to create a new habit, the new choices you want or desire must be repeated over and over again in the same order that benefits your desired state of being or goal.  Research has shown that this must be done religiously every day for at least 21 days before a new habit sinks in.

Books on Habits

There are many personal development books and talks on creating habits and getting rid of unwanted habits. I have certainly read many books on this subject of Habits; the good, the bad and the new. The two books that stand out for me are The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and The Full Power of Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwarz.

The Full Power of Engagement speaks about making choices that create habits that boost your energy. A habit should complement your different energetic capacities; mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.  In other words, your engagement or performance in life is dictated by how you spend your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy.  This all leads to making choices in your life that lead to creating habits that are energetically driving you to high performance or the way you want to live in your optimal state of being.

The Compound Effect has driven me to re-evaluate the different habits I have in my life.  As I have said before, habits are the results of the conscious and sometimes unconscious choices we make depending on where we are in our life and the goals we wish to achieve.

Get off the Treadmill

Some of your habits were created years ago and now they do not serve your new situation, desires or state in life, i.e. relationships, daily processes, communications or goals.  However, you still do them because you are on automatic pilot; you never get off the treadmill of life to question your choices and the habits that follow.  It is time to get off the treadmill before it throws you off and you really get injured.

Of course some of your habits may be very beneficial and work well. You may then want to preserve them or give them a bit of a tweak.  The bad habits probably limit your excellence in life, the way you behave and how you determine what choices you make.  These are the ones you need to really get rid of or transform.  The next step is to create new choices that lead to new habits that really benefit your desired state of being, where you want to go professionally or personally in life.  You get to choose, remember.

My New Productive Habit

Going back to the bad habit with my iPhone that I want to change; here is what I now do: I wake up; look at the time on my iPhone; I rest and think about my 3 goals for the day; I give gratitude to the day & then meditate for 30 minutes or more; get my breakfast; do a few wake up exercises; sit down and do my creative work for about 1.5 -2 hours; then this work/creative cycle repeats itself in the rest of the day; oh almost forgot – I also turn off the Mail so that I don’t get interrupted. Once I have started my day in a positive and productive way only then do I look at my messages and emails.  I now only look at the news twice a day; emails three times a day; I am interacting in a limited way on Social Media.  I am reading inspirational material before sleeping and I can say I feel way more productive, energized and more positive.

Of course this is my new habit. You create your own new habit depending on what your goals are and how you want to feel.  Recreate the state of being you want and unchain yourself from your old habits that are no longer serving you.

 

How to Create New Habits

Change your habits

There are a number of steps you can take to throw out the old & bring in the new.

  1. Make a list of the old habits you want to throw out and the new ones you want to create
  2. Decide on the new sustainable choices you want depending on the goal you wish to achieve. e. happier life, better relationships, more efficient or productive life
  3. Decide on a start date & stick to it
  4. Perhaps choose a buddy to report to you and share how you are doing
  5. Take very small steps towards creating the habit or one large leap if that works for you as a person
  6. If you fall off the wagon, step back and consciously look at what is happening, tweak the choices if necessary, then get back to the habit.
  7. Actively change one habit at a time for maximum success

Remember, this is a very conscious process of changing your habit until it becomes so settled into your system that it will be repeated unconsciously. The point of this exercise is to live a conscious-aware life by improving yourself, your processes, your choices, your goals or your desired joyful state of being.

Happy New Habits.  

Kevin Cottam, a global nomad who helps others Shine brightly and perform at their creative best.