Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection


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Poppies

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We always have choices and on this day I choose to feel a bit daft.

Driving along but then ducking off the road – parking in a muddy verge and then loping off into a field with iPhone in hand. I hadn’t expected this and I am arrested by the moment.

Whilst I was snapping away I was aware of passengers in cars going past looking at me. Yes I’m supposed to – and allowed to – feel a bit daft.

But here’s the gig. For whatever the reason – by design or pure chance – a whole field is on fire with poppy redness. A camera can never capture it but from behind the wheel of my car – across the snapdragon yellow bonnet and stretched out forever – is a sea of flowers that I just didn’t expect.

Are they planted and planned or were the conditions ‘just right’? Did they pop, go viral – a groundswell event expressing passion and vitality in this flash of colour. An uprising.  Expected and predicted? Or did you have to be part of the in-group to know it was coming?

But here it is and it’s quite striking and I don’t mind stopping my day and trying to capture it.

What I find is that you need to seize these chances because when winter comes the images are even more precious. (And I’m plucking out these images now and it IS winter  and it is a blue-grey, wet-spray kind of world right now…)

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Seeing these poppies – in a field at the start of Halfpenny Lane –  reminded me of the time (2002?) when Farringdon Hill – closer to home – exploded with poppies. A huge field at the foot of the Folly – totally committed to red – unexpected and dazzling to everyone that went past.

Memorable not just for the colour (or the shock of it), but also for the way people responded to the spectacle. The Folly hill, a field that sits at the side of the road – a busy road. People veered off their journeys – pulled onto the verge and walked into the field like pilgrims at Varanasi walking into the Ganges.

It was 10 Years ago – before mobile phones grew eyes – and people clasped their chunky AA-battery powered digital cameras and sought ways to steal a slice of the crimson. The Faringdon Poppies were stunning – I didn’t expect it and I doubt others didn’t either. I’d never seen it before and still don’t know if it is by design or chance that it happened.

But there in that moment we have impact and contrast. And cars and people all stop. And I still remember it.

The snaps below are pictures of my Oxfordshire poppies from last summer. But the picture at the top of the page is from a local artist who captured the Faringdon Folly experience – it’s quite beautiful and a wonderful thing she has painted.

A moment captured.

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Bring your truer self

 

Amy Cuddy

Presence.

I work with a guy who is super intelligent, sharp and clinically logical – but when he communicates it’s not real – the smile is not coming from the heart – it’s stuck on his chops because it’s was ‘needed’ not because it was felt. It’s all a bit Gordon Brown.

I’m thinking of him because I’ve just been watching Ted Talks and watching Amy Cuddy – a social psychologist – talking about body language.

She says we need ‘Presence’ – a physical and mental suggestion of power. We need presence to influence.

Confident – Passionate – Enthusiastic – Authentic – Comfortable – Captivating. These are the words that she uses to explore presence.

These are big, full words. If this is the feedback you are getting during your own exchanges consider yourself in the zone. But it’s not a check list to tick off – these are outcomes – all are grounded in our body language. Presence is not some mental to-do list.

Own it.

Amy’s position is that presence is not about presentation skills. Presence is signaling that we deserve to be here. It’s about posture and how that posture promotes belief. The posture even chemically changes us – we release testosterone from the power our stance exudes. We don’t just influence others we influence ourselves.

To have presence you can never be an imposter – you need to truly see it, feel it and you need to become it. (Less like Gordon Brown and more like Tony Blair on WMD…).

But you can fake it  (the Presence, the posture). Until you become it – because you want it. (Again, I’m thinking ‘like Blair on WMD’.. meh)

Tiny tweaks lead to big changes. Life is a series of “One shots”- never leave without showing who you are. Try a power pose – change the outcome of your life.

Checkout her talk – it might just nudge your choices, boost your presence… And above all else enjoy her personal storytelling – there is a treat there for you in her talk – she is quite the master.

It’s a 20 minute TED talk – are you going to give yourself a tweak and show a bigger, truer self?