Each month we feature a short editorial from one or more of our strategic partners containing useful information related to work and life
This month Divya Marie Kato provides a recap of her workshop at our recent Career Strategies Seminar, Furla Yoga shares some tips on to refresh your feet during a yoga break at work, and Sarah Furuya offers some tips for increasing curiosity and reducing judgement.
1.) Divya Marie Kato: Lose the Labels, Lose the Weight & Rise
Women Rising. A truly incredible day with incredible people. A big thank you for joining us and entering into all activities in the spirit of exploration. With curiosity and an open mind.
Thrilled to hear that many of you wanted more time to draw! I hope your “When in doubt, draw,” pencils and canvases are with you at home (gently calling your name!). Not gifts. An invitation.
Given with all my heart. The two, simple things that have served me so well. Because when you know about something SO good, you want to shout it from the rooftops!
So here’s to that very first line of yours. May it be the start of a great adventure.
I thought for this month’s offering, I’d run through the main takeaways from my presentation for you.
Our theme for CSS 2016 was “Women Rising” and I opened with the question: “What prevents us from rising?”
Where does this weight come from? We all have experiences that happen to us — the day-to-day ups and downs of being a human. These experiences get stored in our bodies as information. We often take it for granted that our bodies magically process our food — extracting required nutrients and expelling the rest. So, how do we go about processing the information too?
Here’s an invitation to try a way that will surprise you — and notice I said “will” and not “may!” Because of the very nature of the process putting you in a place, a space of not knowing. Putting you in the playground again. The Playground of Possibility.
Peel Off the Labels
“Who or what are you without your label, your name, your title, your qualification? And are you happy being that?” I invite you to peel off the name of the activity I’m talking about. To peel off the labels of good and bad. Of buzz words like “creativity.” Of big words like “art” (this is a BIG one, you may need to tug a little).
Let’s dive into the space of not knowing and leave the weight behind.
In the same way Ai Futaki, diver and Guinness World Record holder, took you back and invited you to reconnect with the ocean and water, so will I. I will take you back to our beginnings — to painting in caves, to carving into rock and to our essential nature, as creative beings — back to the roots of our development, to when your chubby, child fingers first clutched a crayon.
“What do you need to let go of to rise?” We’re under the surface — imagine what you need to let go of so you can reach the surface — now let go of that weight! On your paper: Take 2 minutes to write down all the things that are weighing you down — get the weight down and out of mind — e. g “I’m not creative . . . I can’t . . . I’m too . . . I’ve always been . . . I’m this . . . I’m that . . .”
Things to Notice When Drawing
Think: Not how to draw, but why draw — focus on the process, of engaging mind to hand connection. As you begin to make marks on the paper: Reflect on the organic lines you’re drawing — I always encourage people to begin drawing things from nature like flowers, leaves, trees, shells — notice how you can find similar lines in your own hand and contemplate your intrinsic connection with nature. Meditate on how you’re actively fostering connection to yourself and consider how often you make time to sit and see.
My offer to you: Enter the space of not knowing more often. To play and discover. Make it a practice. My invitation to you: One back to yourself. To be with and better understand yourself, your experiences and your stories.
My 3-Step Process
Through a lifetime of sharing and practicing drawing, I’ve unearthed many discoveries and distilled them into a 3 step formula. This is how drawing can help us process our experiences:
Observation. Reflection. Expression.
- Observation: Taking in the world around us.
- Reflection: The inner work — taking time to transfer what we see onto paper and check in with ourselves. How do I feel?
- Expression: The outer work — we have a way of translating our inner work out onto paper, to connect with others and show them. This is how I feel.
Rise Up, Women
I hope you’ll catch a glimpse of the more in you that is yet to come out. Once weight has been lifted and you’re allowed to play. Without the burden of expectation. The rest of you resting inside. Ready to help you rise.
FEW CSS 2016 Cornerstones
- Knowledge: Stretching ourselves — thank you Jay Ponazecki! — aiming high and reaching to learn. How to process the weight of information that comes from our daily experiences.
- Inspiration: Allowing ourselves time to play and explore. To be inspired by nature and by discoveries made in the space of not knowing.
- Connection: To nature, to the bigger picture, to our place in that bigger picture, to ourselves and to others. Making time to be with ourselves, for inner reflection.
To see how this affects our connection with others so we don’t bring our weight to them. So we can help them rise, too.
2.) Furla Yoga: June Yoga Tip — Happy Feet!
Take a “yoga break” at work. On a break or under your desk, slip off your shoes and s-p-r-e-a-d your toes from side to side. Then, try spreading the sole of your foot w-i-d-e. After that, wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles to finish this 1-minute foot refresher. You’ll be surprised how good you feel all over!
3.) Sarah Furuya: Tips for Increasing Curiosity and Reducing Judgement
“Curiosity can’t lie, justification can.”
I was having lunch with a friend. A smart friend, currently in recruitment with three companies. She had decided to follow her gut, Her intuition. Her curiosity when making her decision. Because her instinct had previously been to use logic, weigh up the pros and cons, justify, judge and follow her should. The large, stable company. That would provide security and stability. That didn’t work out. Or the NPO that seemed like exactly the thing she’d been looking for but didn’t seem quite right somewhere in her gut. That didn’t work out. So this time round, she followed her intuition more. Listened to her gut. Followed her curiosity. I could hear it in her voice.
She lit up talking about the start-up and the job with no name yet. The risky choice perhaps. Her body language opened. Her voice rose. Her face smiled. There was the safer choice. The big stable company with a good name and an equally good package. But she talked about it like she was reading ingredients.
“Curiosity can’t lie. Justification can.”
Here are my tips for following curiosity:
- Listen. Really listen. Listen to your body, your heartbeat and your intuition, your gut. Listen to others. Get quiet. Stop talking. Stop formulating your responses or agreeing and disagreeing in your head. And just let the information and offers land on you. Imagine them just entering you and landing. That’s all. It’s kind of uncomfortable, not having a whip-smart come back or a ready internal or external debate. But it’s interesting. Just noticing. Just learning . . .
- Learn, don’t prove when listening. Try not to let your internal voice start judging as right or wrong. When we evaluate everything as right or wrong (unless you are in mortal danger) we look for evidence to prove that. We seek it out. Recently I was on the other side of facilitation on a three-day program in Dubai and I had to do everything in my power to switch off the facilitator and switch on the learner. I actually had to say to myself “learn” repeatedly when I felt myself judging or proving. “Learn, learn, learn. Let it land. Just let it land and let your intuition do the rest.” See it’s just information. Just opinion. Just offers. Just proposals. No danger (it may feel like danger if you’re not the best one, the right one). Just learning. Just staying curious . . .
- Notice what gets you curious. Follow that. Move toward that. Be as curious as possible about everything. Any input. Not to prove or to respond or to justify but just to see what happens when you follow what turns you on. Without having to judge or prove or justify.
“Curiosity cannot lie. Justification can.”
Q&A with Jackie F. Steele and Megumi Ishimoto
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Celebrating Women as Change Agents in Post-Disaster Tohoku,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Jackie F. Steele, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, and Megumi Ishimoto, Executive Director of NPO Women’s Eye. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Join us […]Published on 14th March 2018
March Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]Published on 1st March 2018
February Meeting Recap: Survivor – How to Overcome Adversity
You never know where life is going to take you. That was the message from our February guest speaker, Maxine Van-Cliffe Arakawa, who has had a decades-long career as a fashion stylist, make-up artist, and fashion show director in New York and Japan. She shared her personal experiences dealing with bi-polar disorder and gave her candid advice to […]Published on 1st March 2018
March Community Services Feature: Five Tokyo-Based Organizations That Fight For or Empower Women
In honor of March’s International Women’s Day, we’d like to present to our FEW community a list of five organizations that have established themselves as organizations who fight for or empower women as well as a list of five events that you can attend to show your support for this year’s theme of #PressFor Progress. […]Published on 28th February 2018
How I Got Here: Johanna Nousiainen
I first came to Japan as a study abroad exchange student. That year changed my life, even though at first I didn’t know it would. I was supposed to become a journalist in Finland, since that was what I loved to do – looking for information, interviewing people, writing articles about unique encounters you have. […]Published on 28th February 2018
FEW Spring Hanami Picnic & Party
Join FEW on Sunday, April 1, at Shinjuku Gyoen for a special family-friendly spring picnic celebration under the cherry blossom trees and enjoy connecting with friends, old and new!