Inspiring Nuggets

From Annelies & Conduit for Change, LLC

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Annelies M. Gentile, MA, PCC

Integrative Life & Leadership Coach | Author | Speaker | Consultant | Facilitator | Process Artist

Since last we connected, I've coached executives and leaders from corporate to non-profits to entrepreneurs and professionals facing change. I've also officiated a wedding, planned a funeral, sang in public, hosted a house concert, helped a friend purge her home, facilitated discussions and classes aimed to inspire and transform, led art walk tours, had a film crew interview me on being a microentreprenuer, hosted friends and family for dinner and guests from near and far, saw 20 flying stars from the Geminid meteor shower, walked the beach on a foggy warm winter day, gained 4 pounds, lost 2, celebrated winter solstice through music-making with my sweetness, planned a trip to Florida to paddle with the manatees, celebrated one year since publishing my book and am entering my 12th year in business. Life is change! How is CHANGE showing up for you? I want to know! Email or call me. Let me know what's changing in your world.

WINTER is Rich with Hidden Potential

Each season I provide inspiring nuggets of wisdom through my newsletter which includes invitations to upcoming events. My goal is to help YOU better cope and create through change. Seasonal teachings come through both my personal and professional experiences and the Chinese Five Elements philosophy of Wu Xing (wŭ ching) and Tao, among other philosophies and sciences which highlight and explore unique nature-based ways to understand the processes of change. In addition, each newsletter aims to help you create a mindful mindset and provide resources to build resiliency in the face of personal, professional and cultural change. Find this newsletter useful? Be the gift that keeps giving, share it with a friend! Want to hear more? Invite me to speak at your next conference, place of business, networking or civic groups. Enjoy!

One of the ways I help professionals become better leaders in life and at work is to help them cope, navigate and manage change. We cannot separate the human condition from our work life. They're inseparable. When we try to separate our humanity from the tasks, lists and linear roles of the work-world we harden ourselves and become hard towards others. What's more useful is understanding how to integrate our humanity into all expressions of life, even at work. As life gives us a variety of challenges to cope with, exploring problem-solving through nature is not only interesting and inspiring, it's also a unique way to better understand our own nature.

Navigating Fear

From Dec 21 till March 20th, we'll experience winter here in the United States and on the opposite side of the globe, in Australia they're experiencing summer and a radical heatwave! Seasons may be what they are yet how seasons are expressed can be so different based on location and perspective. Here's some thoughts on how a nature-based approach can open your eyes.

Nature provides a unique lens in which to see ourselves and the situation around us. Here we can discover inspiring perspectives, useful solutions, and new patterns that may reveal our next step. According to Eastern traditions of Tao, there are 5 seasons, each represented by an element, color and emotional characteristics. Here's a simplified explanation.

  • Winter : Water : Blue : Stillness : Fear : Hidden Potential
  • Spring : Wood : Green : Creativity : Anger : Growth
  • Summer : Fire : Red : Connectivity : Joy : Authenticity
  • Late Summer : Earth : Yellow : Integrity : Sympathy : Transformation
  • Autumn : Metal : White : Acknowledgement : Grief : Letting Go

Winter is related to the WATER element which represents our emotion of fear and informs a sense of power, hidden potential, courage, stillness or mindful movement and wisdom. Through the season of winter and element of water we are reminded to be with the unknown.

When we face the unknown head-on, we're looking directly into the face of fear itself. This is not a bad thing! Getting comfortable with ambiguity can be freeing-- once we get past the anxiety of unknown. Doing so changes our relationship to fear making us more available to access creative ideas. We need to be present to what is first-- then act if/when action is needed.

Let's be honest, facing our fear is not something we tend to readily explore. Who wants to do that?! It can be a terribly upsetting and downright scary. Ironically, you may discover that the resistance to explore the unknown is actually stronger than facing fear itself.

We may all agree, to varying degrees, that today we're all facing change on an unprecedented level. Everything from fear of the future, to environmental challenges to polarized politics. How do you gain a foothold when all sides are pushing in, especially when you're a leader who others are looking to for guidance?

Behind the scenes, what I hear most from my clients is the fear of showing vulnerability to those who count on them most. It's taxing to always be on, always be or act upon the safe choice. In reality, sometimes the real world for leaders is that they are barely holding on. The real truth is a "front" of self-preservation hiding exhaustion.

Janelle is sucessful at her job in finance. She's the key CFO who flies internationally to meet face to face with clients, who carries the weight of her family and friends with a stellar smile. She's sharp, educated, accomplished, beautiful inside and out. She's also overextended and bone tired. "If only they knew", she said. "Knew what?" I asked. "Knew how stretched I was. They have no idea...How close I am to collapse."

Janelle is not alone. Some of my clients come to me after the collapse. Their breakdown was a dance with death, cancer, surgery, or loss of something very important to them like their health or sense of self, place or identity. For others it's a desire to break through an old identity, to retire from an "old life" to re-fire into something new.

Back in Jan 2014, I traversed the jungles of the Sian Ka'an biosphere near Tuluum Mexico where the brackish Atlantic Ocean met freshwater rivers but did not mix. It was here where I met a stout tanned leathery man with a long dark braid and a white egret feather woven through the crown of his hair. He felt deeply familiar, as if he were a part of me. Before he took us on a journey by boat in bare feet, I asked him, "Are you a shaman?" He shot me a piercing look. "No." he said. "No person who is actually a shaman says so. He or she does not claim this. The community comes to them requesting help to bridge worlds. They help them navigate the space between what was and what will be but they do not advertise as "shaman". The community comes to them. The community determines who is a shaman just by asking for help. It is an honor to be a shaman. And it's the people who say so."

From the coaching desk to boardrooms, classrooms, conferences coast to coast from art galleries to gardens— people come to me. People come to me then together we stir the soul and poke the mind, bridging what was to what's next. I am deeply honored to hold sacred space for transformation to occur.

I encourage you to reflect through the nature of winter/water/fear as resources for courage to emerge. It's okay if what you experience isn't what you expect or intend. If effort does not match outcome. Welcome the aspect of shape-shifting as something pointing to what's next. Be brave to bridge worlds.

To navigate fear, I invite you to draw a larger circle to encompass the importance of chaos and change as a basic fundamental of life. Breath in, breath out. Sun up, sun down. Tides in, tides out. From stardust to human stuff, we are made from momentous shifts of constant change. Nothing is stagnant. Ever. Take a moment to slow down and ask... "What is my next RIGHT STEP?" You don't have to do everything, just the next right one. Sometimes that's really small, like stepping away from the computer or getting a glass of water. Sometimes it's saying NO to one more thing that will push you over your edge. Sometimes it's saying YES to your particular needs. Sometimes its saying YES to something bigger than you.

So- let's bring some awareness here and as we move through winter (or summer if you're reading this from Australia) and remember you're an intricate part of nature- in all ways. We cannot remove ourselves from the chaos of change. We can only choose how we respond to being moved.

Time to Reflect

Remember you're a human being, not a human doing. Step back from the doing to just BE. Pause to notice the small shifts in and around you. Explore the season of winter, its element of water and emotion of fear through these inquiries.

  • What am I deeply committed to?
  • What's my next right step, just for today?
  • What are my sources of power and courage?

  • Where and how do I give my power away?
  • How much empty, quiet time do I have in my life to reflect and regenerate?
  • What might your current fears be pointing to? Take a look, then-- can you show up as what's missing?

Humans function like seasons of the natural world. We often easily respond to the expressions and changes of the natural world. Nowadays, many of us are inside, working year-round, many are isolated with no windows to tell our bodies where we are in our natural cycles. So, if this describes you- I encourage you to give extra attention to exploring your inner nature this season by exploring in nature. Go outside, get off your devices, sign up for a class or a get-a-way to tempt, tease, teach and release your genius. Engage in exploration for the sake of savoring what's good. Invite others along to follow your lead.

Local to Raleigh? Join us for Writing a Letter to Your Future Self!

Bring in your new year with imagination and intent as I share with you a tradition I've practiced for over two decades!

Stir the Soul and Poke the Mind

Coach with Annelies because it's time for something different.

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Inspiring, informative and transformational experiences for you, your company and community. Conduit for Change, LLC
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