Awakening From Despair to Awe: 2021 International Forum on Consciousness

Banner for the International Forum on Consciousness 2021

Each year, the International Forum on Consciousness draws thought leaders from around the world to explore important, and often challenging, topics related to the exploration of consciousness. The theme for this year, Consciousness of Connection: Awakening from Despair to Awe, is an invitation to broaden curiosity about connection and take a closer look at the variety of connections that we forge in our lives.

Participants will examine the kinds of connections that transcend our individual selves and reach our inner desire to be part of an interconnected world, perhaps to transform our current sense of the individual, community, and society, from independent to interdependent. More specifically, the Forum will examine connection across the primary aspects of our lives with:

  • Self, and the many selves in our amazing neural networks
  • Others, and the multiple communities we intersect
  • Nature, and the breadth of life forms that surround us
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The Power of Vulnerability

Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices, and Tim Weitzel, ESI Architect.

If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we must rehumanize work.

-Silicon Valley CEO of Several Start-ups

If we want to rehumanize work, we need to be more human in the workplace.

-Promega’s ESI Bootcamp

Vulnerability is the birthplace of intimacy, trust connection, creativity, innovation. For leaders, it is the birthplace of trusted influence. But it is not permission to overshare.

-Brené Brown

Myths of Vulnerability

It’s important that we start off by making a few things about vulnerability crystal clear:  being vulnerable is not about over-sharing, being emotional—or worse, gushy. It is not about sacrificing necessary boundaries or letting go of all discernment when speaking. Vulnerability, as we intend it, is about being real with others. It is about being clear and honest enough within yourself that you can use courage and clarity to state a need or a perspective. Quite the opposite of requiring tears or grand displays of emotion, vulnerability can be expressed with utter command of one’s emotions, so that the clarity and authenticity of the message is what remains.

Vulnerability is also knowing that you cannot know everything or do your work perfectly or even to your full satisfaction sometimes, and it is having this same understanding and acceptance for others. It is being able to speak to that honestly so that we can build sustainable bridges between ourselves and others. We call this speaking our truths–with discernment.

Finally, vulnerability is knowing that while we must give our best efforts where and whenever we can, we must also know what we can’t control.  In most cases, what we cannot control is outcomes.  Therefore, vulnerability is embracing the uncertainty in how things will go in our relationships and in our work if we risk emotional exposure.  We cannot always know how others will hear what we share, but we can learn to take that risk and speak in service to a common goal.  For example, we might decide to share that the reason we are being so obsessive or insistent on a process is because of a past failure (perceived or real) that we still carry with us.  Even though we cannot control what others will think of our story, we trust that the sharing may help them share a need of their own or to hear our own need differently, so that we can all work together.  This is true in every relationship of our lives, where we learn to share something true for the sake of allowing another human being to know us as we are. 

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Three Pillars of ESI Mastery: Part Three

A Future Vision that Shapes Today’s Behavior

Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices, and Tim Weitzel, ESI Architect.

In one of our earliest blogs, we shared one of our favorite parables about a stonecutter. it went as follows:

In medieval times, a traveler happens upon a stonemason and asks him, “What are you doing?” The stonemason says wearily, “I spend long, hard days cutting and laying stone.” Further down the traveler encounters a second stonemason and asks him the same question, “What are you doing?” This stonemason, more energetically, replies. “I’m building a wall. I am blessed to have work that allows me to support my family so well.” Again, walking on, the traveler encounters a third stonemason doing the same work as the previous two; yet this stonemason is beaming with life. When the traveler asks what he is doing, he spreads his arm wide and exclaims, “I am building a cathedral that will uplift countless lives for centuries to come!”

ESI Mastery Part Three

The last pillar of Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESI) Mastery that we explore in this three-part series is the importance of identifying a vision or writing a future story. This vision or story shapes how we behave so that we can live into it.

In short, stories drive our lives. However, too often, the wrong story causes us to become stuck in a version of reality that cuts us off from giving and receiving the best of ourselves and of life.

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How the Pandemic Changed Us

This past year has been a challenging one for most of us. The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way we live. We are working from home, our kids are learning online, we can’t gather with friends and family, we are wearing masks, we no longer attend in-person events. All of this change around us has profoundly affected us in many ways.

We asked our Promega colleagues how the pandemic changed their lives and how they adapted. How are they feeling? What keeps them going? What lessons have they learned? And what good has come out of it? Here’s what they said.

Photo credit: Johanna Lee
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Adapting Holiday Traditions: COVID, Customs and Cookies at Promega

Adaptation: In biology and ecology, the process or state of adjusting or changing to become more suited to an environment.    

Holiday traditions are certainly taking new forms this year as we all determine how to safely celebrate during a pandemic. It goes without saying that it’s been a tough year. Customs and rituals, large and small, bring peace and comfort. We need those more than ever now, so the challenge becomes finding new ways to honor valued traditions.

Chuck York, VP Manufacturing delivers individually packaged cookies to R&D Scientists on the Promega Madison Campus, adapting this holiday tradition to the life during a pandemic.
This year’s cookie delivery happened with a twist. Chuck York, VP Manufacturing delivers individually packaged cookies to R&D Scientists on the Promega Madison Campus.

Today, we would like to share how one dearly held Promega Madison tradition was able to endure in our COVID-19 world. Adaptation is key. And butter and sugar help, too.

Elaine Day

Promega employees this week were surprised and deeply moved to find that their beloved “Elaine Day” had not become yet another casualty of the pandemic.

“This has been such a difficult year,” says Senior QA Scientist Sue Wigdal. “I had assumed, sadly, that Elaine Day would be cancelled, but to be able to have it and all the thoughtfulness and deliciousness that it brings, was amazing.”  

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Three Pillars of ESI Mastery: Part Two

Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices, and Tim Weitzel, ESI Architect.

Last month we wrote about the first of three pillars of ESI Self-Mastery: Recognizing and Owning What You Already Have/Are/Do. In this blog, we offer some thoughts on the second pillar: continuously growing our ESI knowledge and skill.

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Supporting Caregivers, Colleagues, and Neighbors

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.” – The Beatles

And don’t forget family, colleagues, neighbors. And, these days, the chatty checker at the grocery store, the postal carrier who offers a wave, even the guy who makes oh-so-brief eye contact at a stoplight. We’re all getting by with a little help from anyone who will offer it.   

two people wearing masks and social distancing give waves in the subway station

Care. Support. Help! We provide and receive these gifts throughout our entire lives. The pandemic, however, has prompted many of us to feel the weight of their importance more than ever. We simply need one another to get by. Lending someone a helping hand can be tremendous therapy, too. Today we pause to appreciate three distinct ways our Promega community is supporting colleagues in times of need.     

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3 Tips for Preserving Muscle and Joint Health at Work

Today’s guest blog was written by Claire Checovich, Exercise & Ergonomics Specialist in the Promega Wellness Center.

The human body is amazing – it can climb towering cliffs, run hundreds of miles, and move many times its own weight.

It can also be annoying – how many of us have been injured just by sleeping or sitting in a funny position?

We’ve almost certainly all experienced the latter, whether we’re hunched over books and papers or staring at a computer for hours on end. That’s where ergonomics and biomechanics comes in.

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Three Pillars of ESI Mastery: Part One

“If You Only Knew Who You Were…”

Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices, and Tim Weitzel, ESI Architect.

We are a little nervous writing about Emotional & Social Intelligence (ESI) “mastery.” This makes it sound like we think it is possible to become perfect at emotional and social intelligence when our actual position on the matter is more about progress than perfection. 

We’re reminded of a quote from a wise teacher. Upon turning 90 he was asked, “What’s one of the most important lessons you have learned in your 90 years?” He replied, “That we are all a mixed bag.” 

No one is perfect. We all have strengths and we all have areas to grow, and we all always will. But the progress we make and its impact on our lives is so worth the effort.

Continue reading “Three Pillars of ESI Mastery: Part One”