Category Archives: Nature

Quix Tip: Grow What’s Essential

1. Notice how nature around you is orienting toward what is most essential. 2. Let the mind come up with a laundry list of To Do items that are important for your life success. 3. Tuck those cares and worries away for another day and re-orient toward your true essence. 4. Look for the seed in you that is most you, waiting in darkness. 5. Gently tend this essential seed of you at your best for 40 days. 6. Patiently watch what grows and will spread its branches against a future sky.

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Two Minutes of Nature (guest post by Laura Herbert)

Two Minutes of Nature by Laura Herbert The work day is over, and I just looked up from my computer and found myself strangely startled by how beautiful it is out. It’s amazing how detached I can feel from nature while I’m “plugged in”, clicking away at my computer keyboard. But all it takes is two minutes of observation to bring me back to feeling more centered and connected with reality. Here’s what I just noticed: The magical, golden evening sunlight streaming through the trees A Daddy Long Legs striding confidently across the patio An inch worm slowly making its way across a stone wall A bumble bee hovering over the miniature forest of creeping thyme The first red tinges of autumn on the maples, glowing fiercely in the sun The warm golds and auburns of the garden mums The soft greens of the ferns The sweet song of evening crickets and one very vocal chipmunk I especially love observing the small, the overlooked, and what some would consider to be the “commonplace.” They are all miracles of nature, after all. What can you observe in two minutes? The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature. – Albert Schweitzer

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Persist Like a Phoebe In Her Nest

Every year a phoebe builds a nest somewhere on our house. This year she built it on the crook of a gutter drainpipe above the walkway to the house, a highly trafficked area. If I’m out on the patio or on the back deck, I can look over and see her sitting on the eggs in her nest. She built it herself – that’s what phoebes do. The male accompanied her, but it took her close to two weeks to build it out of mud, leaves, moss and hair. Now she’s sitting on the eggs. They incubate for about two weeks. Then the hatchlings will be born – helpless and eyes closed – and she’ll care for them for another 2-3 weeks. I’ve been appreciating her consistency of commitment. There have been some severe temperature fluctuations the last few weeks. And some intense weather – driving rain, high winds, abnormally hot days, followed by 40-degree nights. Through all of it she continues her commitment to her eggs, never acting upset or concerned. If I can’t sleep at night, it helps knowing that she is out there, continuing her faithfulness. As I type these words, I can see her. We all have passions we commit ourselves to. It could be work related, or it might be your family, or gardening, or writing, or playing music, or being in nature. And we all can use inspiration to continue that commitment. If this phoebe is helpful, use it. Or look for another inspiration – a reason why you’re committing again and again to something that you care about where the outcome is unknown. Inspiration helps. And so does appreciation. Appreciation is the antidote to worry. Perhaps you can pause right now and appreciate yourself for continuing to persist, to do the difficult work of being alive and awake on the earth. Here’s to your commitment to your passion you’re incubating this lovely month!

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Quix Tip: Giving – The River That Flows Both Ways

1. Pick one act of giving you can do for someone today, something that you can freely give. Not an object, but an action – the gift of your time, compassion, connection, empathy. 2. What can you give with your whole heart, without caring about how it’s received? What can you give without needing to monitor whether it will be reciprocated by that specific person? In fact, an even more useful challenge might be to give in a situation where you are certain the giving won’t be reciprocated. 3. Then, see how that giving might be flowing back to you in a small way that you may not have noticed. Perhaps the act of giving has softened your breath for a moment, or relaxed you enough to see something poignant in the way a stranger looks as you get your morning coffee. These small gifts, strung together comprise a well-lived life.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s charity team building and team development activities:  Teddy Bears to the Rescue – Teams build bears for children in need. Charity Roller Coaster –Design and build the world’s most exciting roller coaster and help kids learn about science. Military Salute – Teams build care packages to be given to soldiers stationed overseas.

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Leading Change: A New World Baked Fresh Every Day

On my early evening walk I came across the mountain laurel, pink-budded and ready to bloom. Beauty! And in the warm late sunlight I heard crickets for the first time this year. Noticing is like that – it’s easier when something’s new and fresh to your awareness. And every day brings something new. I once started – yet to be finished – a song called New World Baked Fresh Every Day. And it’s true! Every day we’re alive is baked fresh, whether we notice it or not. And change is like that. It’s always happening. We, myself included, can regard looming change with a mix of suspicion, reluctance, anxiety, and whatever other emotion the word ‘looming’ inspires. The unknown by definition can be pretty scary. But, the unknown by definition is also an adventure, a daily hero’s journey. This is the quest – a journey for something larger and better to benefit ourselves and everyone we touch and the greater world. To do that kind of work requires a great deal of change – both internal and external. This is the kind of work I explore in our change training sessions like Change Quest, 40 Days to Change For Good, and How to Lead Change. Spring into summer is a perfect time in nature and in life to encourage us to see how beautiful and welcoming change can be. Here’s to you connecting with all deep, benevolent forces all around you and them fueling your quest for fresh changes to bring what your heart truly desires.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Change Quest – Time for you and your team to evolve quickly, whether you’re driving the change or the rest of the world is. 40 Days to Change For Good – Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts. How to Lead Change – Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

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On the Road At Home

I recently returned from a lovely camping trip in the Guadalupe National Mountains National Park in west Texas. This little-used park is simply stunning. It’s the northernmost tip of the Chihuahuan Desert, where the desert ends and skies up into mountain peaks. The hiking was fabulous, and nature worked its wonderful magic tricks on me as usual. I’m sure I’ll be writing about it in my blog. But in this moment I’d like to draw your attention to the other people I met also camping. All came from different walks of life, different locations in North America and were in different stages of their life journey. However everyone shared something refreshing qualities. They had very little with them. They were on fairly open-ended journeys. They had a plan but weren’t tied to it. They met my gaze. They had easy smiles. They were curious…about me, about life. They were happy to talk about their life on the road and share stories. And they were in no way oppressed by time. None were itching to stop talking with me in order to do something pressing. I had the feeling – usually confirmed – that I would need to be the one to end the conversation. I came away from the conversation energized, a little happier and a little more excited about life. This is a strange and wonderful breed of humanity, right? Actually, that’s you. And that’s me…at our best, whether on the road or at home. If your experience of the people around you today is nothing like the above paragraph, you have an opportunity to be the change you’d love to see. You can be “on the road at home”. If today’s life feels a little too tight, take a purpose pause. And feel that lovely spring energy traveling through you, easing and opening anything constricted for you. Happy travels…on the road and at home!   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:  Emotional Intelligence Works – EQ is twice as important in contributing to excellence as IQ and expertise combined. Learn how to effectively manage your emotions and those around you for sustained success.

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What Is Melting?

April warmth melts snow and frozen ground. This is a powerful force of nature and it’s one we can align with. There are always things that got stuck and frozen in us. Ideas of how life should be, misconceptions, old hurts, all the ways of doing things that may feel a little stale but there doesn’t seem to be any alternative. And when old frozen things melt, it may not feel all that great. Fear may grab hold of that and say you’re doing something wrong. Nope, all is well. It’s just the spring melt. May the April warmth melt something and you and me that is ready for a fresh spring start. It is especially helpful to pay attention to your answer to the question, “what’s melting? “

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April Sledding

There is a wonderful sledding hill next to the house. A few weeks ago in March I told Laura, “Well, this looks like the last time we’ll be sledding this year.” Then over the weekend we got a snowstorm blow through, lasting all the way through April Fools’ Day. April 1 and April 2 this year found me climbing up the sledding hill and zooming down. By mid afternoon the sun had melted all of the snow away from the hill. It was as if it hadn’t ever been there. It contributed to the dreamlike quality of the day. Life is like that, you just never know what you’re going to get next. If you feel stuck in something you don’t love whether it is a way of working or a way of looking at your life or a way of being in relationship with someone, stay open to what life is going to bring. Because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. What an adventure!   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Play the Blues – As featured on NPR and in The Meeting Professional  Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together! The Networking Dinner – Get to know new people and have a great meal while competing in team challenges with every course.

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The Tree Where Spirit and Technique Meet

A tree there is that from its topmost bough Is half all glittering flame and half all green Abounding foliage moistened with the dew; And half is half and yet is all the scene… – William Butler Yeats Like turning maple trees, like the fall itself, you too are poised halfway between something. What is it? In my music I’ve been exploring the place where spirit and technique meet. I wonder, how can I give equal importance to each? By spirit I mean passion, I mean play. The deep fire that burns through the best art, through the finest works that you admire. And by technique I mean persistence, daily application to the craft of what you value. These opposites have historically clashed for me musically. I tend to focus more on technique, perceiving a lack born of starting playing music relatively late in life. What if instead these ‘opposites’ are simply half and half? What if Yeats is right when he says, “half is half and yet is all the scene”? Whoever you are, wherever you are, you too can take this month of natural transition from summer to winter, of half and half, to explore where your passion, your play and your persistence meet. You too are poised halfway between something. What is it?   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Charity Bike Build – As featured on NPR! Teams build bicycles for underserved children in their area. Give the Kids Music – Learn to play the and build musical instruments and then give the gift of music to underserved children. Pack to School – Fill backpacks for kids in this fun charity team building activity. Teddy Bears to the Rescue – Teams build bears for children in need.

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A Purpose Pause, “half all glittering flame and half all green”

In his poem Vacillation, the Irish poet William Butler Yeats sets a primal October vision: “A tree there is that from its topmost bough is half all glittering flame and half all green.” This month thousands of leaf-peepers will quest for that peculiarly New England phrase – peak foliage. This moment of equilibrium, of fiery maple leaves framed in green still vibrant on the tree, can cut through our daily fog of worries and hopes with a singular beam of beauty. This ‘purpose pause’ can awaken something deeply alive in each of us, whether we’re anywhere near New England or not. It’s happening right now on this earth we mutually inhabit. And there’s fragile beauty, however grand or humble, everywhere on the earth, waiting for you to pause and open to appreciation.

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