Monday, August 28, 2017

Empty Space: The Gateway to Creativity and Presence

Written by Janet Shlaes, PhD

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” ~ Edward de Bono

What do you do when faced with the reality of empty space, dedicated time without external distractions? If you’re like most people, truly empty space might leave you feeling a bit edgy, wondering what you might be missing. What you might not fully realize is that this selfsame empty space is essential to the creative process. The most powerful insights and inspired musings take place in the empty spaces where we are not faced with a myriad of external diversions.

Please be assured that I am not suggesting that we give up any of the gifts of technology, beauty, nature and relationships. What I am suggesting is that when you intentionally incorporate empty space into your day, you will ultimately be more fully present to every aspect of your life. Commit to incorporating a bit of empty space into each day and just notice what it feels like. Start small, a mere five minutes to begin with and expand your empty space over time. Some possibilities include:

1.     Walking to your next destination without looking at or using your smartphone,

2.     Setting aside dedicated time each day to just think about whatever comes to mind,

3.     Journaling about whatever comes to mind in the moment,

4.     Formally scheduling empty space time in your calendar.

What are some gifts that might wait for you via incorporating some empty space into your life?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts:

If You're Asking the Question
Joy of Single Tasking

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Beginner's Mind Benefits

Written by Janet Shlaes, PhD

Have you ever had the experience of arriving at your destination oblivious to what transpired between the time you left and the time you arrived? Perhaps you were focused on some unsolved problem, a prior interpersonal exchange or maybe you were just too tired to focus your attention on your surroundings. If this is your usual experience, you’re not alone. It’s common to move through your daily routine unmindful of the potential gifts in your seemingly ordinary surroundings.

I offer you an alternative to this unaware state of mind – embodying a Beginner’s Mind way of moving through the world. Beginner's Mind embodies the qualities of openness, enthusiasm, creativity, optimism and awe. Young children exemplify the Beginner’s Mindset, seeing and experiencing their world through freshness and wonder. Through Beginner's Mind, one is able to take in what is present in the moment. Things that adults characteristically ignore or take for granted become opportunities for curiosity, engagement and wonder. Beginner’s Mind empowers you to co-exist in the familiar from multiple perspectives - seeing beyond the surface to experience the formerly ordinary as extraordinary. 

Where in your life could you benefit from embodying a Beginner’s Mindset? I invite you to try this out for a week or two or three and notice the shift in the quality of your experience in the world.


For addition insights and observations, I invite you to check out the following posts:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Forgiveness and Emotional Intelligence

by Janet Shlaes, PhD
Choosing forgiveness embodies the essence of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). It requires self-, other- and social-awareness, as well as the capacity to move beyond one’s present emotions to a more expansive state. Forgiveness, although often quite challenging, is a gift that you give to yourself - a gift that momentarily releases you from the past. The act of forgiveness requires letting go of something – a sense of injustice, disappointment, rage, perspective, desire, expectation, vision and/or hope. Forgiveness requires moving beyond what should have been to a place of coexisting with what occurred. This does not in any way suggest that you should agree with, condone or appreciate the action or situation that calls for your forgiveness, especially when faced with objectively dreadful situations that are out of your control and understanding.
Forgiveness is about taking back your power. The biggest misconception regarding forgiveness is that it’s a one-time endeavor – you simply forgive and the offending injustice is over. Quite the contrary. Forgiveness is an ongoing endeavor. You choose to engage in the act of forgiveness when the emotional charge from a past wrong invades your current reality. Unless you intentionally choose to forgive and momentarily let go of the past, your precious life force will be utilized in keeping the past alive.  Forgiveness is about freedom, focusing on what truly matters and stepping into the energy of courage and strength. According the Gandhi, “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Would you rather be right or happy? Forgiveness is about choosing to be happy. What will you choose?

For additional commentaries to ponder, I invite you to browse the following links:
Optimal Performance Fundamentals