From Annelies & Conduit for Change, LLC
Annelies M. Gentile, MA, PCC
Integrative Life & Leadership Coach . Author . Speaker . Facilitator . Process Artist . Spiritual Counselor
Hello Dear Ones,
To those who are struggling this time of year… you are not alone. There's a lot to feel. On top of what we are already collectively facing, this time can be a marker of what’s changed, what’s changing before our eyes, who or what we’ve lost and accomplishments gained or not reached.
This year in particular has been its own cacophony of hard for many of us. 2021 felt like suspended animation of suffering. It's hard to know what to feel, let alone say, so I just go deeper and listen.
LISTEN is my word for 2022. What is yours?
No need to faux smile y’all. If it’s been hard… you are not alone. If it's been easy, you too are not alone. There's always light in the dark.
December alone, I’ve been to two funerals, led one, cared for three dear friends having surgery, wrestled fear and formalities of several close loved ones with covid and faced relentless anxiety in both myself and others. I know many of you have yet to hug your grandkids, attend a holiday party or feel safe for a number of complex reasons. I hug you now, kindly take it in...
Still— I trust we’ve all had wonderful blessings sandwiched betwixt it all. Gifts in opposites. Gratitude helps.
- I’m grateful to be able to hold space and help loved ones and those in need. A tremendous blessing. I know my calling and I answer.
- I'm grateful for loyal clients who've helped us stay afloat.
- I'm grateful for loving friends who listen with loving ears.
- I'm grateful for cooking and eating, and sharing of what I create.
- I'm grateful for daily journaling, walking, mushroom foraging and my creative zeal.
- I'm grateful for this day and unforeseen opportunities.
What are you GRATEFUL for?
The sunrises and sunsets are still glorious and my mushroom pot pies are delicious. Along the way, I’ve made rosemary seasalt bread, chocolate bacon and gave it all away, snuggled family and friends, sat by the fire, hung in the hammock, coached leaders leaning into change, presented to hundreds on micro-entrepreneurship, was featured on a creativity podcast, launched a creativity retreat (yes join us!), biked with my beloved, walked greenways with great appreciation in my heart and occasionally tears upon cheeks.
I'm a tenacious spirit whose firm belief is to always lean towards good. If hard is what is... I invite you to lean in and listen. If easy is what is... lean in and listen. Care for those in need. Help where you can. Please self-care. Step back when needed. Be kind even when kindness is missing.
How can you show up as what's missing?
Compassion fatigue is real. I know many of you intimately. We've worked together, coached together and played together. I know how you care and how you worry. Worry can guide but it doesn't move you forward. It's okay to be messy. It's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to change course. It's okay to ask for support.
We all want the same three things: to feel safe, to be heard and to have a sense of belonging. Remember your needs in the equation too as you lead others and charge through change.
I trust '22 is what you need most. May it be lush with learning, be sprinkled with magic, and land upon your heart and those you love with peace and generosity.
Love and light, Annelies
PS: How is CHANGE showing up for you? I'm here to serve. Reach out if you need a kind ear or guidance to what's next. Keep reading for more thoughtful reflections on change from an ontological perspective.
I'd love to help you, find your center again. Let's journey together, shall we?
Five times a year, 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 ontological ways to understand the processes of change.
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!
WINTER :: The Vulnerability Teacher
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, essentially... to embrace vulnerability.
Most cultures discourage showing weakness. It may be risky to self and others to be soft or emotional. Vulnerability is not traditionally acceptable as a strength, and yet... vulnerability can be quite strength-building. The resources developed under duress are key to evolution and survival. We're learning so much right now. Are you listening?
The great many changes we are facing today are opportunities to learn about our own vulnerability AND our strengths! It's our metaphorical season of winter, teaching us to sit with the unknown, to have courage and stillness, to be with the dark.
When we face uncertainty head-on, we look directly into the face of fear itself. This is not a bad thing! Feeling Excited And Ready
Get comfortable with ambiguity. It can be freeing-- once we get past the initial anxiety. Doing so changes our relationship to fear making us more available to access creative ideas, innovation and resilience. I encourage noticing at this time. Do you?
"Mika" spent most of her life fearing vulnerability. She kept a tight lid on feelings. Very few even in her close circle of friends or co-workers knew how sensitive she was inside. Upfront she was cool and collected. People came to her for leadership and problem solving.
Behind the scenes though, she was really hurting. She drank her feelings, exercised incessantly and restricted eating as a means of control. While her personal life was void of true closeness, she was also deeply isolated and lonely. [WINTER/Hidden Potential]
As we worked together, slowly over time coaching changed something for her. Mika found her power and her voice to be strong for herself within being vulnerable. She learned she was stronger than she allowed herself to be and said it "could have been a very different story without coaching". With eyes opened she was able to be present, thoughtful and kind for herself and others. [SPRING/Creativity + AUTUMN/Acknowledgement]
On micro and macro scales, covid and the level of change we are facing as a whole human race will continue to be teachers of "light in the dark" for generations to come. Honestly, I have more questions than answers. They're the same questions I ask myself.
What's your role in all this? What part do you want to play?
How do you want to participate in this Great Transformation?
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. Sometimes it's saying YES to your particular needs. Sometimes its saying YES to something bigger than you.
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's my next right step, just for today?
- What makes me feel courageous?
- Where and how do I give my power away?
Love a little end of year exploration?