Nurture.

creative sanctuary & self care for entrepreneurs via retreats & curated experiences

How Science helped me unstick issues that were glued for years

Dear Nurturers, 

I remember being obsessed with both dinosaurs (Stegosaurus all the way, folks) and outer space (I may have begged to be Roberta Bondar for Halloween) as a youngster and then was told science and math were needed to truly explore those passions. I moved on to theatre and music at the lightning speed of me-when-there-is-a-croissant-in-the-room (so, so fast). I stopped taking science after my mandatory grade 10 science class and played first clarinet in band class instead.

I'm that girl. 

I've been telling a lot of people lately, really, anyone who will listen, about my recent scientific discovery, or rather - my discovery of science. Those who know me well will be raising their eyebrows in puzzlement - the only place I consciously/willingly use science is in the kitchen and even there I'm more Barefoot Contessa than Wylie Dufresne.

So, you could say I was a little out of my comfort zone when I recently attended a daylong neurobiology workshop. This was a workshop specifically for entrepreneurs addressing the neurobiology of belief as it applies to leadership and creativity.

Fascinating.

The theatre student in me wanted our group to have to wear lab coats and possibly look at brains in beakers. Wait - wrong science.  

What I was greeted with was neither stereotype nor PhD jargon. Instead, I was picked up at Finch station by the hosts of this event - brother and sister duo Yashar and Ayla Khosroshahi.

From the moment I got in their car, my life changed. 

Yashar drove and Ayla let me sit in the front while she leaned in to hear us from the back seat. We spent maybe 2.5 seconds on small talk before we dove right in to a) automatic witty banter like we'd known one another for years and b) the real stuff. God bless those kinds of strangers. You know when things simply flow? It was that. Stepping into this energy created by these two felt so natural and familiar and...alive.

You know when you're around people whom you admire and you feel like magical things happen in their presence, like even the most humble of tasks or most poorly lit rooms are fun and bearable because they are there?

Let me tell you that the drive from Finch station to Newmarket is decidedly NOT the 'scenic route,' but I was so happy to be in that car. 

I was also happy because I had a hunch this workshop was finally going to give me some actionable steps to get me some answers. I had some questions that had been on my mind and heart that none of my other tools (personal development, spiritual practice or otherwise) had made a dent on. You know those issues? I'm sure you've got one or two of your own that just flitted across your mind and gave you that weird 'gungh' feeling in your solar plexus. Personal thorns in your side that have caused you to fill 8,765 journals, carry the equivalent of a new age crystal store in your purse for protection, and allowed your therapist to go on rather nice vacations. You know the one(s) I mean. 

I felt like I was in the Lee Valley of personal development tools and had discovered a whole new section of the catalogue I'd forgotten to order from: Science. And my new friends were going to show me how to apply it.

Somewhat nervous, but mostly excited, I dove in to the workshop, a very eager student who expected to learn what I didn't know, but was surprised to learn what I didn't know I didn't know. My aha moments have not left my side since. 

Not one to spoil a surprise (I think you would all enjoy these workshops and should go if what I'm saying here resonates), I will not tell you too much about the hows and the whats. I will tell you that our brains are fascinating creatures and learning how they work is the key to unlocking many doors that have been unopenable due to our relationship with the story of why they're closed. Best news of the day? The brain doesn't care about the story!

Neural pathways are neutral pathways - they are grooved by the presence of the content, not the content itself.

That one blew my mind. What, brain, you mean you don't care about the carefully orchestrated, perfectly lit, dramatic tale with accompanying soundtrack that I've fabricated to accompany this thought or that behaviour that's kept me stuck in this one area of life for years? Oh. How infuriating. Don't you know how much it's COST me to put on that production? But, then a second thought - don't you see how freeing it is to give it the red light and cut the funding?!

Ayla and Yashar emanate intelligence (they're both Executive Coaches, but he's also a Naturopathic Doctor and she's a Strategist with a background in Human Rights, Political Science and Psychology). They would be intimidating if they didn't also have probably some of the world's best smiles (picture for proof), deep compassion for those they serve and a humility and gratitude for their work that is inspiring to be around. I can't even begin to tell you how refreshing it is to be amongst experts who are also aware of their own humanity (and have a healthy sense of humour about it). Both lead with a passion that is palpable for showing people how to expand, evolve and ultimately, to connect.

I'm also in the business of connection, although, as you may have ascertained from reading these posts, I come at it largely from the heart, not the mind.

I can't remember whose idea it was first (fine, Yashar, you can say it was yours...), but we decided it would be fun to combine the two approaches - the mind and the heart, and see what happens. I've been keeping you all updated on the latest collaborative Nurture adventures, and this is one of them!

Here's what we came up with. We got super nerdy and Yashar gave me a list of all the foods that are particularly healthy for brain development and clarity, and I designed an indulgently nourishing menu featuring these ingredients to cater the snacks and lunch for their upcoming workshops. I am not joking when I say my salted dark chocolate truffles with roasted maca almond butter and date caramel will be worth the cost of admission alone. 

Want to check it out? Here's the link to their MINDSHIFT NINJA workshops Your Best Work and Your Creative Best coming up this April 1st & 8th (they're great as a pair!).

You can sign up HERE.

Ayla & Yashar have been kind to offer me 5% of any sign-ups from this link. I want to be upfront about that and let you know that all of those proceeds will go directly to the Nurture Bursary Fund, which I am starting to help send entrepreneurs to Nurture retreats whose financial needs might be just as pressing as the need to Nurture themselves. 

Much love, 

Sonja

p.s. Speaking of Nurture retreats, registration for our Spring retreat is open and workshop descriptions are up (seriously so excited!). You joining us? 

p.p.s. I really wasn't kidding about the truffles. 

©2016 Sonja Seiler. All Rights Reserved. Photos by Alyssa Wodabek Photography & Liat Aharoni Photography.