Friday 17 December 2010

Speeding up, slowing down and coming into the present (including buying them)

Welcome Back to Adventures with Autism Works,

Hope you are all ready for Christmas, and that the stress that the preparations as well as what Christmas shopping can bring isn't getting to you! I went into a few busy stores in Newcastle last weekend to get some presents for my nieces, all the mums were running around looking for the bargains, while the dads were looking for the exits!

Something that I am noticing within the working environment is the interesting paradox that the Season of Goodwill can bring, in terms of how quiet and slow work can be largely because many of us are away or on leave for Christmas, but outside of work just how much of a mad rush society can suddenly become in the weeks leading up to the big day. After finally completing my eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course this week, bringing the qualities I have managed to find during practice into everyday life situations I have noticed just how much this time of year can bring one out of one's comfort zone. For much of the year, it is largely the opposite way, with it being busy at work and then evenings and weekends, for the main part, providing much needed respite.

An aspect that I find of mindfulness meditation practised both within Buddhism as well as in a secular context that helps during the Christmas period is how it helps one to live in the present moment, as often in the run up to Christmas we await the big day and then when it comes it can be an anti-climax and then before we know it, the new year is rung in and it is the January-February blues. Being in the present moment gives us more freedom to step back from the flow during the Season of Goodwill, thus focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.

In the working environment, being in the present moment has helped me focus on tasks that can be done when it is quieter than normal including updating the Autism Works marketing database, an enjoyable job if you like detail as well as continuing to develop the Autism Works Operating Manuals, including an employee handbook to help our first employees whom we hope to recruit early in 2011. Developing the recruitment tools, including the application forms, was hard enough to do with extremely little in the way of good practice examples to build upon. The employee handbook though involves shaping the needs of a workforce with ASC around necessary employment law and good business practice. Fortunately though, I have the support at Autism Works and at ESPA to help keep me on track within a field that like much of what I have experienced in the four months it is now that I have been working at Autism Works, largely unknown territory.

Regarding Christmas shopping, to avoid too much hustle and bustle within the shopping centres, I have bought most of my gifts online this year. Keeping in spirit with the true meaning of Christmas, I like to see happiness in relation not just to receiving gifts, but also when those you have bought gifts for like your gift ideas, as after all it is the thought that counts.

Be sure to continue to follow this blog and to check the Autism Works website and Facebook page for further developments during a quiet season. And remember, keep the Facebook 'likes' coming!

Seasons Greetings!

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