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Monday, 21 September 2015

The Dark Hedges


The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland have made it through to the short list for #treeoftheyear. I hope since they've become part of the Game of Thrones history that they're better signposted than when we visited a number of years ago. 

I wondered as I looked at the pictures on Twitter how the hedges could be used for Landscaping your life (LYL). 

LYL is a process that uses landscapes and nature as a metaphor for our lives. Along the lines of being as grounded as a tree, going with the flow like a river, as deep as the ocean, as changeable as the weather and so on. 

There are a number of different ways LYL can be used to help you get out of a rut and back on track, or help you to see the wood for the trees etc.

Let's see what how the Dark Hedges might be of assistance.

First think of a situation you'd like more clarity on - you may be stuck or simply want to get on track quicker or more easily, or you may not quite know which direction you want to go. What ever the situation bring it to mind and get a sense of what level of clarity and satisfaction you currently have for it.

Now put the situation to the back of your mind and join me as we explore the landscape. We'll come back to the real life situation later once we've allowed nature to provide us with some insight. 

As you look at the picture of the Dark Hedges what come to mind? For example you may notice:
  • The straight road up the middle
  • The crooked branches
  • The connected branches 
  • The green leaves
  • The grey bark
If you imagine this image representing the current situation what do you notice? Has it improved your ability to understand the solution that's needed? Does the image feel more or less satisfactory or clear?  

If it's feeling more satisfactory already you may want to see if any of the following suggestions increase your level of satisfaction, or simply return now to the original situation and notice what you notice. 

If nothing has changed, or perhaps satisfaction has reduced, consider what changes you might want to make to the image. These might include (and feel free to try each of the suggestions as you read through the list)
  • Adding more or less colour or even making back and white
  • Changing the size of the image
  • Changing the location of the image 
  • Zooming in or out 
  • Making it more or less focused
  • Making it into a movie so you can explore the landscape more fully
  • Adding sounds
  • Changing the weather
  • Changing the time of day
  • Changing the type of tree
  • Adding or taking away trees
  • Making the road longer or shorter
  • Making the road more bendy
In other words keep changing the image until satisfaction with the image has increased, and stop once satisfaction has peaked. 

Don't worry if this feel strange - especially if you can't make sense of why making these changes can change your level of satisfaction. Basically your mind is able to make the connection and is doing all the hard work for you. 

Relax and continue to explore the image knowing that as you do so different connections in your brain are being made that will enable you to view the original situation differently.

How satisfied with the image do you now feel? 

If you're still not feeling any more satisfied you may want to imagine moving around the landscape - either by walking or even flying (as a bird or bee) or even using a mini camera drone. 

Or perhaps you need to imagine travelling into a completely different landscape? 

Just keep making changes until clarity and satisfaction have improved.

Now return to thinking about the original situation - notice what you notice? What is clearer now, and perhaps more importantly what actions can you now take to move forward?

I'd love to hear how you get on with this - it's always harder to explain how to do it remotely like this - much easier in person as we walk through a landscape. 

Perhaps that's my next task to do a video blog demonstrating it in practice. (I will add a link here once I've done that). 

Although there's plenty of other LYL video blogs using nature to get insight about life on my LYL YouTube channel. There's more on Facebook and Pinterest too.

Do get in touch if you're interested in knowing more about individual or group coaching and facilitation using this process, or other innovative tools that enable you or your team to be more inspired and get back on track alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 (0)7770 538159 

Postscript: a Landscaping Your Life website was launched in November 2015 - so for more on this effective process do please go and visit.

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