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Guest Speaker: Stephanie West Allen, JD, PPI Dean of Neuroscience, Artistry, and Contemplative Practices

Host: John A. Warnick, Esq., Founder, Purposeful Planning Institute

Description: When we enter into the mystery of not yet knowing what we are going to create, we may choose a goal prematurely. Sometimes taking action while staying in the ambiguity and uncertainty allows us to discover unplanned treasures in the unknown. Showing up to that aimless place and trusting while engaging and improvising is mindful, attentive, committed muddling.

This kind of muddling is not unproductive. It can lead to new perspectives, marvelous art, exceptional solutions. You may even enter a place, a process, that is wiser than you are and yet is yours and is a part of you.

In order to reap the benefits of muddling, two conditions are extraordinarily helpful, if not necessary. The first is openness to awe. Awe allows us to transcend ourselves and our limiting notions and expectations, and often brings a spirit of generosity or collaboration. Awe loosens boundaries, expands our mind, and perhaps changes us. Awe often is astonishing.

The second condition is the attitude of playfulness. Being playful is not frivolous or silly. Instead this attitude can be valuable in many of life’s endeavors. Because its qualities often include purposelessness, openness, freedom, and absence of rigidity, playfulness fosters the gifts of muddling.

In this webinar, after considering muddling, awe, and play, we each will imagine a map. Maps do not have to be geographic; they can help us organize information and visualize what is important on our path. These maps we will imagine will help us navigate our way to that rich place of ambiguity and uncertainty. Because each of us is different (e.g., each of us has a different play personality and may be awed by different stimuli), each of our maps will be unique.

Attendees will leave the webinar with maps in our minds (and maybe on paper) that can benefit both us and others in our world, including our clients. We’ll each have a map that leads us to treasure.

Stephanie will describe how her maps have been invaluable in designing retreats that increase self-knowledge and creativity, in addition to bringing forth surprising bonus gifts.

Introduction to Our Guest Speaker

Stephanie West Allen’s career history includes lawyer, candy maker, high school teacher, cocktail waitress, juvenile probation officer, and college instructor. Her diverse background allows her to bring a multidisciplinary approach to the workshops she presents (and has presented for several decades) on topics such as the neuroscience of conflict resolution, improvisation, writing, creativity, and the benefits of play. 
 
Stephanie practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed a number of five-day mediation training programs, including several with the Center for Mediation in Law, and a two-year intensive with Center co-founder Gary Friedman. She has been a mediator for over three decades.

Stephanie consulted with lawyers and law firms for many years, and spent a number of years as lawyer training director at a large firm. She also designed and presented Continuing Legal Education programs. She has taught workshops around the US, including such venues as Portland State University and Smithsonian Institution.

She is the author of Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook and many articles on workplace and professional issues for such publications as Lawyer Hiring and Training ReportColorado NurseThe Complete LawyerNational Law JournalOf CounselThe Jury ExpertLaw PracticeDenver Business Journal, and TRIAL.

Stephanie co-wrote “The Human Factor,” a column on alternative dispute resolution for The Complete Lawyer. She also wrote the column “Reading Minds” for the ABA’s Law Practice.

She has designed and taught courses at such institutions as Hastings College of the Law, University of Colorado-Denver, and Regis University (Denver). In her Attention Choreography programs, she shows people how to use their minds to change their brains in order to break and create habits, increase focus and awareness, and achieve goals. She has developed and delivered seminars on the neuroscience of writing, looking at the role of the mind and the brain in both the writing process and the reading experience.

Stephanie is dedicated to continuing her learning and thus regularly attends professional conferences, including those sponsored by the Association for Psychological Science, Women Writing the West, Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop, and Learning & the Brain. She is a member of several professional organizations, including Association for Psychological Science and a number of writing organizations.

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