Eastern approaches

Normally I go west for inspiration.

Whether it be home to Dorset, down to Cornwall or across the pond to the United States. Some of the best moments in my life have happened when I’ve gone away from the hustle and bustle of London and drifted to the western edges of the world. This also makes sense for me in some of the reading I’ve been doing around Shamanic practice. My totem comes out of the west and it is a place of careful thought and considered action, almost introspection. I recognise that in myself.

Interestingly much of my work in the last year has actually been in the East of England and that looks set to continue. As I investigate the eastern direction it is about awakening, new light and starting new projects.

This was very apparent last week as I journeyed to Norfolk for a day with Margaret Burnside and eras. On the train on the way over I rendezvoused with Sarah Wall and we talked about her work on mental toughness and the overlap with my work on resilience and mental health. It was an inspiring chat and the miles to Diss flew by.

In many ways that train journey was an excellent warm up for the day that followed. I had been worried that my two hours of sleep would leave me unable to focus and lead me to get little from the day. That wasn’t how it turned out.

Something about the people and the spirit in the room really lifted me. There was a raw energy of invention and creation as we sparked ideas off each other. I left the day enthused and excited about possibilities.

IMG_4553 - Version 2As I reflect now, a few days later, I pick up a book on the “medicine wheel”. It says that whilst the West represents the present, the East is about being right in the moment. Something I routinely struggle to do. It’s true to say that I was right in the moment with that group of people. I was mindful of them and of myself. I also read about how the animal totem for the east is the Eagle, and how eagles constantly adjust for flight, shedding feathers to remain balanced when on the wing.

I feel that there is a message here for me about engaging with the east, both geographically and mentally. I need mindfulness and balance in my life so I’ll be travelling east more often from now on.


About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
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2 Responses to Eastern approaches

  1. Margaret Burnside says:

    Good to hear, I felt similarly energised by the day, especially hearing and seeing people making great connections on the day and afterwards via LinkedIn. I also find the East of England inspirational – despite living here for 15 years, it’s only in the last 18 months that my work has been focused on this area. I had no idea there were so many amazing businesses and people and masses of potential to do even better. I will often be driving along a quiet road in the middle of nowhere and then see a sign for an intriguing business at the end of a track.

    I think many East Anglian people, particularly in Norfolk and Suffolk, have cracked the work life balance challenge, although maybe we shouldn’t shout about it too much!

    At eras we co-founded the Best Employers Eastern Region survey and awards (affectionately known as BEER! #theme) and we saw great employers first time round in 2012, our 2014 survey will be launched in March so it will be good to see how it’s looking this year …

    So, Jon I’m not sure who we need to talk to to make you an honororary Norfolkian ( not sure what the correct term is either) but I think we need to start a campaign, who’s in?

    • Hi Margaret

      Interesting what you say about work life balance, currently something I’m working on. Oddly enough, to increase work to a steady flow rather than fits and starts. So much of 2013 has been geographically eastern but now I feel a need to make my approach more so too. I’m excited about 2014 and look forward to working with you for some of it too.


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