Time for a little self-reflection

TulipsIf, like myself you have a couple of days off right now, you might want to reflect upon:

  • what really counts for you in this life
  • how you began this year and if you are still on track towards where you wanted to go
  • the moments that made you very happy and how you can have more of these in your life.

This little moment of mindfulness for yourself will help refill your batteries and put you on track, so that spring with its energy and colors (at least in this hemisphere) can find its way to your inner self. Even if it’s not spring you are waiting for, a conscious focus on yourself, a close look into how you’re doing and feeling will be very beneficial, I can assure you.

Happy Easter to those of you who are celebrating these particular dates! And to say it with the words of Pablo Neruda: “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming” (quote)

What a journey: Intercultural Communications at its best!

Trail in Temperate Rainforest

Here I am again after three wonderful days in Italy; I have to say that I very rarely participated in a course where I felt completely at home and at the same time challenged by the subject. I honestly thought I knew a lot about intercultural communications and had to find out that much of what I actually knew needed to be seen in a completely different light and from a different angle. Did you know for example that following Dr. Milton J. Bennett:

  • Culture is an observational category constructed for the purpose of identifying various ways of coordinating meaning or action among people interacting within a boundary.
  • People within the boundaries see themselves as part of that culture.
  • Cultural identity is constructed by associating self-boundary with one or more cultural boundaries.
  • Culture as such does not exist in individuals; culture is a social phenomenon that exists in groups of people.

I therefore learned that because of my upbringing and background, I identify with different cultural groups, i.e. to name just a few:

  • European
  • Female
  • German/French

I also learned that stereotypes as “characteristics of society” don’t exist for groups or societies as they can only be applied to a particular type of person or thing. What we do see though are so-called generalizations, i.e. statements concerning the probability of a certain behavior in a certain context (the probability of patterns of behavior).

To give you one example: Americans have a higher probability of being individualists whereas Chinese have a higher probability of being collectivists; there are always deviants in the middle of the spectrum to which the probability does not apply. There can hence also be Chinese which are individualists and Americans who are collectivists.

I will definitely do my homework and read through all the materials that I have received so that I can already apply its principles to my day-to-day work. I will also certainly continue on that road as I really feel that the journey has just begun! Thank you IDRinstitute!

On another journey into intercultural communications

This afternoon when stepping into the train to Italy, I thought: “let the journey begin”. In fact, upon recommendation from Dianne from culturaldetective.com, I registered for a three day course about the constructivist foundations of intercultural communications. I thought that “some brain food” would do me a lot of good… so here I am now eager to begin my course tomorrow!


Well, in fact, my cultural “deep-dive” already started: I am usually having dinner very early as is normal in the French speaking part of Switzerland where I live. Now, going out with an Italian friend, the restaurant has been booked for 21h00 only… well, different country, different habits and behaviors. I actually feel lucky as 21h00 is not so bad; in countries like Spain, you would eat much later than that (I am trying to convince my stomach here).

So, stay tuned for new findings and interesting facts from the intercultural front! I am sure that the next days will bring a lot of interesting theory but also new views and acquaintances.

Ciao tutti,


On the path of self-transformation







Currently reading an excellent book in order to prepare for a ‘mindfulness in the workplace’ training I am going to attend, it struck me how easy it can be to bring calm and quietness into our daily lives. If you ever had anything to do with psychology, yoga, coaching, stress-reduction techniques or mediation you will certainly know this but bringing it all together to the point is what really makes a difference.

Did you for example know that:

  • What happens in your mind changes your brain and vice versa? You can actually train your mind to change your brain in lasting ways.
  • Small positive actions every day will add up to large changes over time? You will gradually build up new neural structures.
  • Human beings evolved to pay great attention to unpleasant experiences? This negativity bias highlights bad news and creates anxiety and pessimism. It takes about five positive interactions to overcome the effects of a single negative one.
  • Psychological pain draws on many of the same networks as physical pain and can thus trigger the same negative experience and suffering?

Little steps you can do on your path to change:

  • Turn positive facts into positive experiences. Bring your mindful attention to these facts, be open and allow them in. Let them affect you!
  • Hold these moments/experiences in awareness, being fully with them, savoring every moment. Focusing on your body sensations and emotions, let the experience fill your body and be as intense as possible so that both your body and mind can absorb it. Every time you do this, you build a little bit of neural structure. This will gradually and over time change how you feel and act.
  • Relax your body whenever you can by taking a deep breath for example or by focusing systematically on different parts of your body. There are many ways to train this from simple methods to yoga, meditation etc. Practicing ‘offline’ will allow you to foster and build strategies for your body which will then also be available to you when a stressful situation arises.

Let me finish for today with a quote:

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” – Buddha Quotes (Sources of Insight)

Have an excellent day/evening/morning! Jenny

My “Best Moment Award”

First-Best-Moment-Award-WinnerI recently received the “Best Moment Award” from Moment Matters for my post “The fight for attention in communication”. I must say that receiving two awards in one week really made me feel happy about the fact that people around the world actually read and appreciate what I have to say. This post – as all the others I write – got kicked-off by a real-life event where I had to deal with people who asked for a meeting and then were not really interested about what I had to say (or maybe it is a new way of multitasking where one ear listens to the person sitting in front and the eyes and brain concentrate on what the hands are writing to somebody else per e-mail). 😉

For me writing about mindful leadership and intercultural communication, being a humble ‘beginner’ on the path of awakening and meditation, it felt like a milestone to have received this award. Somehow, I moved forward (or maybe sideward) in this journey called life trying to look inside myself in order to pull out a “new and improved” me or better: the knowledge and peace that sits there anyways and that I was simply not able to hear until now. The “Best Moment Award” actually goes to people who

“live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered –
Savoring the experience of quality time.”

Let the journey begin! Every second of your life deserves to be lived at its fullest! Thank you Moment Matters!

Let me now award 10 people or posts as I don’t know more than that (yet). I have selected:

  1. The post “Teach peace” written by Gina
  2. The wind horse blog http://windhorseblog.wordpress.com/ inspiring, amazing and touching words
  3. The post “Feather Inspiration” by Ruby
  4. Evan’s post “An Inspirational Snack” and also his blog
  5. Business Life Asia with this post on the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong
  6. The Post on “Metta” by Khalil Bodhi
  7. The Post “What we long for” from Mindfulbalance.org
  8. “A call for mindful leadership” from Ellen Langer
  9. The “Zen of doing” by Leo Babauta
  10. Connecting with nature” by Sakshi Vashist