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Visual Explorer™: May 2010

May 19, 2010

Visually exploring burn out

Cathy M. writes about her experience of Visual Explorer cards as introduced to her by her CCL feedback coach.This is a great illustration of using VE for one on one coaching, and also suggests a self-coaching process, in this case on the topic of burn out.
During my attendance at CCL for the Leadership Development Program, I was blessed to have TZiPi Radonsky as my feedback coach. Prior to attending CCL, I was going through a bit of professional and personal “burn out”. During my feedback session, TZiPi offered me a deck of cards that had a photograph on each card. My assignment was to file through the deck and pull out any cards with pictures that spoke to me in some way. I flipped through the deck and pulled out 7 cards that contained scenes that evoked peace, tranquility and joy in me and 1 card that represented destruction and burn out.
Two interesting things came from the experience:

1) My initial reaction to the burn out card revealed a picture of a bridge embankment that had been destroyed by a tornado or bomb. This demonstrated how I was feeling at that moment. After the empowering, feedback session with TZiPi that followed, I looked at the cards one more time and I couldn’t find the card with the destroyed embankment. I realized that the picture I originally saw as destruction was actually a beautiful bridge crossing a canal leading to a forested area. I was stunned at how being in a more peaceful, clear thinking place completely transformed the picture into something of beauty. Additionally, I never could get the picture back to the original view.

2) The second awareness I had from the card experience came about 4 weeks later. I had been working hard on my CCL goals which included getting back to a state of peace. I began noticing a sense of calm and tranquility in the following weeks and enjoyed recognizing things around me that previously gave me joy. These included:

a. Snow skiing - so I began planning a ski trip with friends this winter.
b. Music - so I purchased tickets for a Christmas concert with the symphony.
c. Nature - so I made a point to notice the sky through the Fall leaves above me on a lunchtime walk through the woods.
d. The beach – so I gathered several girlfriends and went to the beach for the weekend.

A few weeks later, I revisited the cards that I had chosen at CCL (TZiPi sent e-files of them to me) and I was amazed to discover that all of the activities I had planned and accomplished were depicted on the cards I had chosen with TZiPi.

This was quite remarkable. I was pleased to see that the things that evoke peace and joy for me are true even in times when I am in a non-positive place. And, I was impressed that visualizing things I enjoy motivated me to make them happen.
This was an exciting activity!

Cathy M.
CCL attendee, September 2008

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May 10, 2010

Metaphor My Life

Global Citizen Year Fellow Ananda Day talks about imagery, metaphor, and life:
"Some people live their lives in technicolor. Others live life in misery. And still others live in ignorance, bliss, knowledge, etc. While there may not be one way to live life, it has become blatantly obvious to me that almost everyone lives their life in metaphor."

Metaphor My Life

 Ananda Day Ananda Day
Two days ago, while struggling to fall asleep (due to the hilarious wolof jokes being told outside my window by ten Senegalese men), I pulled out a stack of Visual Explorer cards, from the Center for Creative Leadership, that I had gotten during training. Visual Explorer is basically a stack of really nice photographs that are card sized. I then asked myself questions, and tried to find out which picture perfectly explained my emotions or ideas about that question. It is surprising how much more you find out about yourself when you make yourself realize why one image or phrase resonates, and another doesn’t. This led me to think about how much of my life is explained like Visual Explorer – in metaphor.
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