Alive in Berlin 2014 (Day 1)

I got back from Berlin almost a week ago. I was attending ‘Alive in Berlin,’ which was organised by my amazing coach, Jana Shuberth of ‘Love Work Now’.

It was my first time in Berlin and I hope it won’t be my last. I had a map that I had bought in Hamburg and I used it to find my way from Friedrichstraße where my hotel was to the Kalkscheune in Johannisstraße. Look on a map and you’ll see that it is not very far at all. You probably wouldn’t even need a map, honestly. But there is some kind of comfort in seeing a new to you cities streets laid out in pink and yellow.

My first walk there I crossed over the bridge and the light was hitting the water, the concert hall calling to Berlin’s culture and nightlife. The pavement cafe’s were set out with paper napkins and plastic covered menus. As I crossed the bridge there was a woman screaming at a man across the road in what sounded like Spanish. She was living in her own drama, the queen of it. I’d seen a group of young men on my earlier walk carrying an ice filled trailer garnished with bottles of beer and a loud playing radio on my way from the station. I could see that Berlin was it’s own city, a piece of the past like a stage set for the present and future of its residents. A real life opera.

The Kalkscheune is like a loft apartment with the high ceilings that help dreams to soar and plenty of grounded brickwork. Greg Hartle of ‘Ten Dollars and a Laptop’ spoke and set the scene for the conference making us all stop and think about what we are here to do, about the limits of our lives. He said to look at what the conversations in the world are and to ask how can I help them using my skills? I watched the clock on the screen tick down for each of our lives and listened as one of the musicians played ‘it’s time to flip the script of time,’ as I considered what my own script would be.

Pam Slim followed and I will never forget her story of her son and how she taught him to stand up with pride about his cultural background and wear his long locks in spite of what other might say as a badge of respect and honour for his cultural inheritance. As Pam had tears in her eyes, so I felt them in mine.

Michael Gebben bounded onto the stage with tigger-like exuberance and gave his formula for a great life. Giving, without Expectation, Believing, doing your Best, keeping in Simple with childlike happiness and Success as a journey or process. The capitals in this spell Gebbss. The positivity of Michael would be the motivational equivalent of the machines that get Wallace and Gromit ready in the morning.

Carl Paoli talked about ‘Mastering the basics of Movement to Become a Better Communicator, Leader and Innovator.’ It stuck with me that making a skill set relevant to an individual is the foundation of innovation. I can apply this to my work as a coach as I take my coaching skills and apply them to clients and in the application to the individual the tools become new.

Sarah Kathleen Peck talked about ‘The Upside of Loneliness.’ She explained what loneliness was and how it was a product of the society we live in and how it now functions, a society that puts people and communications (hello smart-phone, I forget what the sky looks like) into boxes. This feeling, the loneliness that is, can tell us what we want to do, what we desire. She suggested we use the feeling template to tap into the power of emotional messages. The feeling template is:

I feel…

Because of… (Repeat as often as necessary).

Loneliness, she said drives us to connect, both on the outside and on the inside. We need to acknowledge our emotions and give them space to move and to grow.

These were the speakers on day one. WOW. The energy in the room was both calm and energetic at the same time, flow and momentum. I loved the people I met, their openness, their sense that they were there for a reason, had a purpose, were on a mission and that they knew that everyone else in that room was too. Community became a verb.

There were workshops in the afternoon and I did one with Nicola Troeger and Sabina Abdulajeva about ‘Being Alive as a Physical Experience’. This was a really worthwhile workshop as it related so well to the Mind / Body work in the Martha Beck training that I have done. The exercises they took us through helped me be totally present in the room and in my body.

Other workshops were with Dave Ursillo which was called ‘Creative for Life: How to Write Whatever You Want, However You Want, Now and Forever.’ Audrey and Dan Scott on ‘Creating More Mini-Adventures and Better Travel to Create a Story Filled Life’, Naho Iguchi’s ‘Everyday is a Piece of Art,’ and Ben Austin’s ‘Masculine Presence and Feminine Radiance: How to Own your Power to Create Awesome Passion in Your Life and Relationships Everyday.’ I am glad that I caught the end of this workshop, the demonstrations of masculine and feminine energy filled the room with the masculine energy of a matador and the feminine energy of a goddess. The only downside with the workshops in the afternoon was having to choose one.

The evening party highlights for me were the lindy hoppers demonstrating the dance and getting people to try the steps and the beatbox group.

The first day of ‘Alive in Berlin’ and there was still one day to go.