To state the tritest thing on earth, I love summer. Besides the long days, the warm nights, the biking, the slower pace, I also love the beauty of all things around us living and growing. As I stand in the woods in my mountain home, I am immersed in the idea of summer as the season of growth.
The seasonality of summer in a place like Canada is intense. Like the trees around us, we have two months to absorb emotional nutrients, recharge ourselves, and grow…so get going!
But what if we lived in a more temperate climate? Would we spread out our growth time over more of the year? How might our latitude shift the seasonality of our being?
The number of people I have spoken to who have relished in summer so far have been able to read, write, re-connect with colleagues, and have space to think about the fall and winter to come.
How we balance time considering how we show up with what we do - balance the seasons so to speak. Many spend time focused doing and planning, and I am starting to think that activity is at our peril. Our power and impact is strengthened when we consider the deeper parts of ourselves and how we work:
- how we want to be and show up,
- how we want to interact with others,
- what our purpose is, and
- how we want to achieve our goals.
In the absence of this kind of reflection, we end up doing a lot of busy work.
This kind of reflection is not limited to summer. What if we always built in time for considering what ways of being and doing serve us well…and which do not?
We are so steeped the culture around us – the sense of urgency, the sense that there is a “right way” to get things done and our continual seeking to achieve that in a way that is “perfect”. The discomfort we have with conflict and things that are “different”, the need to justify what we do by the volume of work we do and the hours of back-to-back meetings in our calendar. It leaves no time for the season of reflection.
What if instead we offered ourselves the reflection time on who we were as a person and the impact we wanted to make in the work we do. What if we learned from the wisdom of others and freed ourselves from the burden of us figuring out on our own? What if we considered different ways of looking at things – through the arts or through our intuition? What if we looked at conflict as a natural flow of energy between people that offers a new learning if explored?
What if we balanced process and outcomes? Being and doing? And what if we didn’t save the open spaces for summer exclusively?
As a wise Carolyn McKanders said: “It’s all made up”. Go ahead, just make up something different.
Here are the things are listening to and reading this summer…and will continue into the fall! Their work is demonstrating how coaching and facilitating skills are the way we can be with others in a way that harnesses the power of interpersonal biology into our day to day lives and the care that we give to others.
The Myth of Normal – Gabor Mate with Daniel Mate
Attending: Mindfulness, Medicine and Humanity by Ronald Epstein
Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes a Difference by Anthony Mazzarelli and Stephen Trzeciak