Neurodiversity as biodiversity

Hello Friends,

I had a startling experience at work recently, one that shook me a bit. I’m still processing that event, which had to do with being unfairly accused of something I could not have done. But I’m not ready to tell that story. It’s still too raw.

Instead, I want to reflect on what I see as an issue that is becoming more important to me as I see people with hidden “disabilities” in the workplace. In fact, these qualities are not always “disabling.” In some cases, these issues, which I will group into the term “neurodiversity” for the sake of this reflection, can often be used as assets.

biodiversity wikipedia
From Wikipedia’s biodiversity entry

In my case, I have come to see my variable focus as an asset that has served me well in many situations. I hyper-focus on projects I find to be fascinating. I’m like a dog with a bone when I’m on the trail of something where I might find a solution. I don’t give up on it. I may even lose sleep thinking about it, though I’m trying to train my brain to wind down earlier in the evenings.

On the other hand, routine and monotonous tasks are kind of like my Kryptonite. If I cannot automate those tasks, I end up getting in trouble sometimes. Ordinary tasks like making my bed or cleaning my room were never easy for me.

Ask my poor mother, who would come to check my work, only to realize I had my nose stuck in a book, cheerfully oblivious to what she had asked me to do. I was not deliberately disobeying her. I simply uncovered a missing book during my cleaning session and had difficulty not picking it up…

When it comes down to it, those of us with hidden disabilities are so often defined by what we cannot do. What if we were defined by all of our other qualities? What if our kindness and concern for others were recognized as strengths? What if our ability to ask for help were rewarded?

If you have staff, how do you acknowledge people’s strengths? Do you help them select projects that can showcase their talents? Do you allow them room for growth instead of shutting them down when they make unconventional suggestions?

Neuro-diversity is just another form of biodiversity. And our earth thrives when both are honored and preserved.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Learning circles and connection

**The following is a post shared first on my LinkedIn page on Sunday, January 20th.**

As I write this, I am taking a break from some preparation for an upcoming workshop on “Embodying the Leader Within You” on January 27th. This has involved reviewing some of the beautiful and rich wisdom of my favorite authors, as well as reflecting on my journey in the past 2-3 years.

I realize that I have been trying to boil it all down, to distill the essence and meaning of what I have learned, so that I can share it in a way that is accessible. The “researcher” within me wants to create an annotated bibliography of all sorts of wonderful resources that have helped me see the world in new ways. But the intuitive wisdom that has become embodied in my years of practice and experience tell me to back off from that approach.

My 4-week learning circle to be offered at Tula in February is a more full attempt to capture the energy and connections I want to build between women. With more time, and with sessions that will be spread out, there will be opportunities for practice and contemplation in between. Respecting the “learning rhythm” of all participants, and recognizing that it is not just knowledge but PRACTICE that allow us to fully embody our gifts, we have more time to explore. We have time to connect with each other, to allow our energy to flow and to catalyze action for ourselves and others.

When we ask ourselves what we know, and allow ourselves to know what we know, the relevant points come to the surface. It is a little different from the logical and scholarly route I was taught throughout my academic training. Embodied knowledge is a felt sense of truth, that resonates throughout our body, with a vibration that can feel like electric current. Pretty wild, actually.

At the core of this is understanding that we are all connected, that we are all in this together. This is why connecting with others who are on a similar journey is relevant. It helps us feel and know that we are supported. It provides a safe container where we can ask powerful questions, and allow ourselves to grow in new ways.

If I can facilitate that kind of environment and create and hold space for others’ journeys, it will be a great privilege. If you want to be part of the inaugural group, please use the link below to sign up:

Nurturing Your Feminine Leadership Journey – 4 week learning circle

Many thanks for reading.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

pic-of-feminine-leadership-journey-flyer-cropped.jpg
A photo capture of the printed brochures, which exist in physical form because: why not?

Favorite books about writing?

On Thursday I finished a book that I got for Christmas. Though I had read it before (in college, I think), I no longer had a copy of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.

Goldberg-Writing.jpg

Awesome book and a lovely gift for someone like me. I realize that I have adopted some of the techniques Goldberg suggests, and I had forgotten how much I loved reading it the first time. With its short, meditative chapters, she truly captures the spirit of the act we love so well.

What are your favorite books about writing? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

A few of my favorite things

Spending Saturday night at the vet and Sunday day on activities around the house, I opted to take a day off writing. But then I caught up on a few of my favorite blogs and their beautiful messages were such a joy to me.

blog love

So I will share a few links from recent favorites. My blog does not need to be about MY voice all the time. I am grateful to be part of a great WordPress community of thoughtful people who write pieces that make me think and look at the world (and my life) in new ways.

If you are not on the short list below, I will get to you eventually if I am a regular reader… it is just that these particular posts really made me smile this week. 😉

Haiku out of Africa is always beautiful:

https://wandererhaiku.wordpress.com/2018/12/09/places/

 

Julie de Rohan of eatonomy has some wonderful advice on the holiday season:

How Can You Make Sure You Have Fun at Christmas?

 

Lorraine of Minimal Lol has some great insights on minimalism and consumerism:

5 tips for Christmas conversations!

 

Happy reading! I hope these blogs bring you joy as well. Have a great week!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com