Weeknotes 10-Rituals & magic

Week commencing 5th April

A weekend ritual I have is using ‘weekend coffee cups’ with various animals on them. The animals remind me of going on safari with Annie which was so magical.

These weeknotes were drafted on Friday 9th — and then this morning, on Sunday 11th- I opened the This Might Resonate newsletter from Emily Bazalgette. Her opening topic grabbed me — it’s about transactional enchantment. These words particularly struck me:

it’s about all of us re-making the world to advance justice and equity. For this journey, we need more of us need to spend time in the Child dimension and there’s no shame in using magic and woo as portals to access it. (Quote from Emily in the latest This Might Resonate newsletter)

After the long weekend getting back in front of the desk on Tuesday was an effort. I had 3 days with ample time away from (computer) screens after deciding to work on the Bank Holiday Friday. I spent those 3 days between A&E & the sofa thanks to a voracious rash all over my toddler which, thankfully was not COVID or related to a serious illness, required treatment which kept us inside most of the weekend. Most of that time I spent cuddling my toddler and watching The Worst Witch, escaping to a TV adaptation of books I read as a child. To get ready for the week ahead I started Tuesday listening to a Just William audiobook. Why did I choose these fairly random audio/visual activities? Because they feel like magic to me, and sometimes a little bit of magic is what you need.

What I’ve been working on:

  • Switching up my rituals of starting and ending the work day to create a bit of magic (probably wouldn’t have shared this if I hadn’t read Emily’s newsletter). Here’s some recent changes:
  1. Lighting a scented candle for the first hour at my desk — for some reason blowing it out after an hour feels like a nice way to mark the start of the day.
  2. Consciously choosing the coffee cup — important choice as I’ll spend most of the day hugging it
  3. Re-imagining the to-do list — every morning I write a new to do list, even if it’s a copy from the day before. It’s a small but important activity for me to get into the work day. Recently I have asked myself the question ‘what can I achieve today that will make me feel proud’ — it’s a subtle shift from ‘what do I need to do today’ but interestingly it leads to a different way of prioritising activities. My hunch is that I’m drawn to being proud of the things that will lead to the biggest impact for the charities we support that day or the biggest impact for the team. I’m not really sure but at the moment I’m finding it a useful practice.
  4. Reading an article before switching off from the work day — I have spent most of the pandemic ending my work day by getting up, walking out of our spare room and literally straight into toddler dinner time or nursery pick up. I’m aware I need a moment to move from work mode into parent mode. I have a back-log of tabs open and for the past week I have click one at random at the end of everyday and spent a maximum of 5 minutes reading. It’s not really long enough but it’s a positive change for me.
  5. Long walks — 2 days week I take my dog out in the morning for an hour long walk before work. It feels like a mini adventure. I never plan where I’ll walk to I choose a direction and meander the streets of Madrid for around an hour in the early morning darkness. I like the French word and it’s meaning for it — flâneur.
  6. Taking time to understand how the day feels — I don’t really know how to explain this but I do know that my mood and motivation is affected by the weather and the natural world around me. So I take a small moment before starting the work day to take a reading of what the natural world is saying and how that feels in my body and soul. Sounds a bit woo and I’m ok with that.
  7. Ending the day with the high/lows — when we went to visit our dear friends Ralph and Chrissie in Jordan a few years ago we ended every day discussing our high and low moments. Now each with young families of our own I was reminded about this when catching up with Chrissie, who finishes the day talking through with her toddler their high and low moments. So I’ve started doing this at bedtime with my little one (she can’t talk yet by the way, well apart from words like ‘monkey’, ‘fisssh’ and ‘dinossaaauuurr’). Personally I find it therapeutic, and the lows are often funny in hindsight…it’s good to remember that.
  • Preparing for working with interns from Collaborative Future — have found the learning sessions very insightful so far and looking forward to meeting people who may potentially be supporting us on various activities soon!
  • Joining the CoTech Annual Gathering — when my husband asked why I needed to work late on Friday I found my answer both surprising and heartening…I said ‘I’m meeting up with fellow cooperatives, I’m looking forward to it…it feels like connecting with family’.

What’s going well:

  • Worked on some thoughts for Conflict of Interest for the Catalyst Stewardship model — hope to share more soon but have found the process a good way to think about why CoI is important to be aware of.
  • I had the opportunity re-engage with a project we’re working on with Lauren Coulman to catch up on some mapping work Annie has been working on intensely. It was an opportunity to be reminded of the power of community data and the journey our mapping approach takes people on.
  • Taking a few calls on my phone rather than Zoom allowing me to sit outside in our yard enjoying some sunshine.

What’s been challenging:

  • Not having enough time-or to flip that creating a situation where it feels like I don’t have enough time. I’m keen to work through this to create more helpful behaviours for future. It feels suffocating.
  • Juggling a poorly toddler with work when at home childcare is still not allowed due to COVID restrictions. Actually that’s what feels suffocating and is probably a big factor in the feeling of having no time.

What I’m thinking about:

  • During a call with a client last week I received some lovely feedback about my email signature. I followed up with the client to say thank you for their kind words (they caught me at a difficult time and I was fairly close to tears hearing their words!). Their response to my email was thought provoking, especially this:

(Context — during a talk a speaker said this): It was no longer gender that held women back but attitudes to motherhood. It makes you wonder what kind of world we live in if the most magical and fundamental role we play as women is not respected and valued as a career asset rather than a career stopper.

  • What to write in follow up to a few sessions I joined at CoTech on the subject of collaboration. Feels like there’s a lot that could be said so ordering my thoughts on that one!
  • Changing my LinkedIn due to conversations I’ve had with Tess Cooper recently — not sure how yet but when I’ve figured it out I’ll try and share why I’ve made certain changes. I have so much respect for how Tess speaks to power dynamics, I’m learning a lot from her.
  • Randomly thinking about other rituals I have — like the weekend coffee cups. China cups which were a gift from my mum and have different animals on them like rhinos and giraffes. They remind me of the magic safari Annie and I once went on. There’s something about waking up in the inbetween hours of 3–5am to meet animals, my early morning dog walks aren’t quite the same but all animals are magic one way or another.

How I feel: tired but magical.

Co-Founder, with @annielegge, of The Dot Project (@dotprojectcoop). Champion for tech for social impact & women in tech.