London Dreamcatchers Day
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. (Harriet Tubman)
Nurturing dreamers is key to create a flourishing society. This past Sunday, 9 March 2014, a group of around 100 young people gathered at UCL to be inspired by the diverse stories of several young professionals across all sectors. The London Dreamcatchers Day helped participants redefine themselves; discover what their real dreams are; learn to seize opportunities; and find ways to further develop themselves. I was invited to represent Ākāśa Innovation and deliver a short talk on the theme “Redefine Yourself”. I shared five tips that draw upon the power of the natural elements.
We are often asked to look inward to find the solution to many of our problems; but the reality is that we are part of a complex ecosystem and focusing too much on the ‘self’ leads us to forget about the rest. Nature teaches us that to maintain balance it is necessary to respond actively to the feedback offered by interconnected networks around us. So earth represents the principle of becoming responsive to the full dimensions of our dependence and impact on the world around us. Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help us observe things as they happen and becoming aware of ourselves in relation to the world around us.
We live in a fast-changing world with an uncertain future – a future that presents incredible opportunities and many more obstacles too. How can we be empowered in the face of uncertainty? Nature shows us that all life learns to survive by building resilience to the spontaneous and unpredictable flows of resources. So water symbolises the principle of anticipating and adapting to changes in our surrounding environment. Courage and hopefulness help us cope with unpredictable landscapes and plan strategically for the future.
The world we live in is complex, uncertain and deeply interconnected. This means that if we wish to achieve our dreams, we ought to look at how nature flourishes with the activity and movement of synergetic relationships. Air then represents the principle for building valuable relationships and supporting an ecosystem that can help each individual within it to thrive. The mindset shift from competition to collaboration is possible by practicing empathy, a value capable of leading a revolution in human relationships.
Mindfulness, courage and empathy are powerful values, but they might be limited in solving one of the greatest challenges for all dreamers: lack of time! Working 24/7 is not the solution to achieve our dreams, but only a short cut to burning out. By observing nature we realise that it finds optimal levels of energy to avoid both underexposure and overexposure of resources. So fire represents the principle of optimising opportunities to create value. Authenticity then becomes key to maintain balance in our levels of energy and helps us lead the way whilst remaining true to ourselves.
Lastly, all of the elements work successfully only if practiced in a harmonious balance, like nature does when it brings together all of the elements of an ecosystem. Ākāśa creates the space for mindfulness, courage, empathy and authenticity to flourish harmoniously, and it is also the vital essence present within each of them that turns their potential into actuality. Ākāśa means to appreciate all life around us to flourish.
I hope you will find guidance in these five tips and become a more mindful, hopeful, empathetic, authentic and appreciative person!