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When We Unpin Our Hopes

when we unpin our hopes

Jen Ayres suggests now may be the time to tear up our own operating manuals – July 2021

Last month I finished the Zen Leader series, a three-year journey that has honestly changed the fabric of who I am. Zen Leader 3 happened at the right time for me. I’m raring to go, to open up to the future. The pandemic has brought talk of the ‘old normal’ and the ‘new normal,’ but right now who even knows which normal they’re experiencing? And why do we even care? Where’s the adventure in normal? Normality might bring feelings of safety, and of operating within our comfort zone. But how often do our comfort zones imprison us, preventing us from reaching our potential? If there were ever a perfect time to tear up our own operating manual and explore a new existence, it must be now.

ZL3 guides us into opening up to allow in all the possibilities of the future. To manifest the future consciously. In one exercise, Ginny asked us to leave the house and take a walk as our future selves. I decided to walk to the local shop to buy milk, giving my future self the chance to operate in the real world. As I waited to pay, a man in his 60s pulled out a thick wad of lottery scratch cards and handed them to the shop assistant. My first reaction was to sigh, thinking this would take forever and Ginny only gave us 15 mins! But not wanting my future to self to be triggered in this way, with a deep hara breath I let those feelings go and just observed.

I know how it feels when the future seems constricted, I know those who believe only a shift of miracle magnitude will improve the course of their life.

The man had a number of winning tickets which he immediately plowed back into buying more scratch cards, and I was struck heavily by what a gift Zen Leader had given me. We’d just been exploring how to create a boundless future and here I was watching the pinning of hopes to one-in-a-million odds. I don’t know that man or his situation but this moment affected me deeply, then and since. I know how it feels when the future seems constricted, I know those who believe only a shift of miracle magnitude will improve the course of their life.

I feel how fortunate I am to have been through the Zen Leader series, to have Zen practice in my life, to have blasted through old wounds and limitations and found a new way to live with a sense of free-ness, connection and opportunity. I’m profoundly grateful to Ginny, Andy, Cris, Gordon, everyone at Zen Leader, everyone at Chosei Zen and everyone who has taken part in the ZL series with me. This work changes lives. I look forward to training again and again with you all.

If you’ve started the Zen Leader journey but haven’t completed it, I really encourage you to come back to it when you feel the time is right. The journey takes however long it needs to but when you continue to move along it, continue to practise, a new, vast and enriched path of possibility opens up.

Jen Ayres first attended a Zen Leadership program in 2018, which had an immediate and major impact on her life during a very difficult time. She’s (slowly) breathing into Zen practice, gradually understanding just how beneficial this practice is and sharing her journey with all of us

See the recent re-run of Jen’s piece after her first Zen Leader experience


HEAL Practitioner Ruthanne Chun, a clinical professor of oncology in the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, has been named the winner of this year’s LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award. The award recognizes a member of the Greater Madison community who has made outstanding contributions to campus-community partnership initiatives.

In 2014, Chun co-founded Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education and Social services (WisCARES), a community veterinary clinic for low income and homeless families.

3 ways to give yourself a resonant foundation

“Every time I see someone in emotional pain, locked into their own suffering, I so wish that I could transport them into the Zen Leader Programme.” – Jen Ayres, Financial Consultant and Coach

“I attended the Zen Leadership training as a way to improve my well-being during the pandemic. I absolutely achieved the result I was seeking. Beyond that, by using the techniques and skills I learned, I was able to land a new coaching client. What an awesome experience.” – John Sigmon, Founder & CEO, Sigmon Solutions

Improving well-being,
Loosening the grip of fears,
Blasting through self-limiting beliefs,
Making an audacious improvement at work,
Growing a business,
Making a meaningful difference:
These are some of the “why’s” people train with us.
They’re also some of the outcomes.
What’s your why?
What outcome will help you make your greatest difference?
Super-charge what you can make possible;
Get started in our fall programs.
“I’m not sure I have time.”
We know that voice,
And we know how it causes one to miss the reframing “flips” that change even one’s sense of self and relationship to time.
Yes, that’s how deep we go.

But we also make it easy for you to find the time.
Three formats for our foundational programs:

1.       A long weekend immersion experience in ZL1 or HEAL1 (for those in healthcare).

2.      A 6-week serial ZL1/HEAL1 program, meets all day on 1 Saturday and 2 hours on 5 other Saturdays

3.      An asynchronous online course in Resonate that you can take whenever, plus 3 live webinars (that are also recorded)

Give yourself this foundation

And see how your “why” transforms into the outcome you need.

IZL Office moves into daikozen-ji

Last week, IZL’s Headquarters and Program and Operations Manager, Bill Kingsbury moved to Daikozen-Ji on East Mifflin St in Madison, part of our sister organization, Chosei Zen. Bill had been working from home since the pandemic closed our previous office in March of 2020. Here Bill gives you a preview of the beautiful work that’s breathing new life into this grand old building.

Have a question about anything IZL? Email Bill@zenleader.global

what meeting on a screen leaves out and how to bring it back

To build greater resonance in our online meetings, we need to bring the breath and body back in.

innerplicity summer contest

Our wonderful partners at Interplicity are launching three things this summer that you just might find wonderful, too. 
1-     A contest where we’re included in the prize! You can win a free seat in the fall offering of the Resonate course. You can also register for the course before Jul 19 and get the best price. And if you win, they’ll be happy to refund you or let you bring someone else.
2-     A super summer special on two of their on-demand courses: Super-power Your Decisions and Present in The Moment. They even travel with you.
3-     A suite of ways you or your organization could benefit from collaborating with them, from blogging to taking courses to affiliate relationships or building your own course. Who knew there were 9 ways to collaborate? See if one resonates with you.

Do we know how to find you?

If you received this from a friend and want your own monthly boost of insight and resources, let us know.

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