Is this really personal development: crystals, treasure hunts, origami and a goody bag?
By Therese Reinheimer-Jones
‘Oh yes’, even though I embarked on my first ‘8 in the Universe’ event with more than a smattering of cynicism!
As a manager in various businesses and organizations over the years, I have attended many professional development events both internally and externally, that sought to develop me and I in turn actively encouraged staff to do the same. Highly pressurised environments always meant that I strived for resilience, maximum output and high performance at all times from both myself and others. Starting my working life in recruitment I began climbing the ladder, bumping my head on the glass ceiling and still trying to do ‘it’ all – go to the gym, try to lose weight, look good, be a great manager and of course work hard in every moment of every day.
Time moved on and I started to wonder whether this was really sustainable…I don’t really like the gym and I want to look great but feel good inside too! Naughty little questions arose that kept nagging at me and my newly purchased trainers and racerback spandex and I started to wonder if there was another way to achieve well-being, increased productivity and resilience for myself and my team.
8 in the Universe pose these questions in a friendly and non-confrontational way that simply asked me to query certain personal practices. Their events allowed me to explore my senses and what made me tick, challenged my knowledge about the workings of my body, getting older and gently unearthed the roots of where my happiness potentially stems from. Their wonderful talks combining science, mythology, the arts and biology soothed my cynicism, I was able to see where suggestions around how to change life practices were grounded and then experience them practically in the sessions, through albeit some very different but enjoyable activities. Refreshingly, I didn’t need to take one note, record anything on an iPhone or watch a PowerPoint… hurrah!
The facilitators skilfully deliver learning without you realising you are learning, introducing concepts that you can either take or leave without a hint of pressure, judgement or expectation. I naturally began to reflect on my own practices … pondering whether every minute of every day needed to be filled with volunteering, governor work, the gym, weight watchers …you see where I am going with this! Doing just one thing slightly differently or implementing a couple of new activities in my everyday life increased my motivation, allowed me to eat better, be calmer at work and at home. Most importantly to ensure that I try to live in the present without always looking back to past, what I considered to be failings, and not, as the amazing facilitator said in one session, ‘wishing my life away’ by not living in the now. This allowed me to make choices for my life that have increased my creativity, productivity, resilience and health. I now recognise when I need to find a different approach.
As I rifled through the goody bag (given at every session so when you come straight from work your stomach doesn’t rumble!) I discovered a variety of nutritional treats and information around eating the contents more often and my cynicism truly drifted away, taking with it my gym kit! Instead I will power walk along the river I thought to myself, I love the energy that the water gives me and this will make me much happier, as will those nuts and seeds!
I think the times we now live in mean that we need to dip our toe into things we may not have considered before and this for me is one of those things. So with my ambitions still intact yet a crystal under my pillow rather than my alarm clock I am more open to realising that there are different ways of achieving the same result.
So I am glad that I took the time from my busy schedule to attend these events. They have played a significant part in my life changing and seeing it from a better place. I think this is important and so I wanted to share what ‘8 in the Universe’ has to offer with everyone and the benefits of its unusual but effective way of realigning the work, life balance.
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