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Res(e)t and Listening

Part of rest and reset is gaining new or different perspectives. The metaphor of kaleidoscope is great for this. A slight twist, and accidental bump, or a change of light can significantly shift what we see through the peephole.

Sometimes we need an accidental bump to shift us to new ways of approaching old problems. Maybe the guest bloggers gave you a different perspective on how to incorporate rest into your life, one small moment at a time. Maybe they gave you permission to not be eaten up by the demands or desires of others. Maybe they gave you the space to take a deep breath, look up, and see the world in a new way. This is one of the ways wisdom shows up in our lives, and wisdom is something I am intentionally cultivating on my renewal leave.

One of my goals for this time of rest is to gain wisdom and insight into myself, my work, and my life. I want to be more of who I am and less of who I’m not. As much as I want to be able to approach my goal with a plan, I also know that wisdom comes to me in unexpected ways. I can’t control how insight approaches. What I can control is how I listen, how I pay attention to what I see, how I walk through the world noticing the air on my skin and the grass underfoot. It can seem so simple. So simple in fact that it fools us into complacency.

Many proverbs from different traditions tell us that Wisdom passes right by the fool who isn’t paying attention. It occurs to me as I write this that I haven’t been paying close attention to me, to what I want, to what restores me and what brings me joy. I find it ironic that I help people find the wisdom in their own lives, and yet I have in some ways neglected the practice in my own life.

I know from personal experience that four-dimensional, deep listening is a muscle that needs to be worked and sculpted consistently. Without consistent exercise, our bodily muscles begin to lose mass after seventy-two hours, but you might not notice a difference until three to four weeks later. Yes, we can take a week off from regular exercise or meditation, but if we don’t get back into it quickly, we begin to lose the gains we’ve built up.

I work with about thirty clients per month, deeply listening to what they’re saying and not saying, observing body language, and noticing tone and inflection with each breath. This listening is focused outward. I love this kind of listening because it’s amazingly valuable to my clients and deeply rewarding for myself. My listening muscles are strong.

This month I am doing a different kind of listening, focused inward on myself, on what I’m saying and not saying, listening to where I am silent and what my deep desires are. I’m curious to see what I learn about myself, to see how my true self wants to express herself in the world, and to see how creativity and play rejuvenate my tired mind, body, and soul.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this renewal leave shifts my perspective, allowing me to see another brilliant design through the kaleidoscope’s peephole.

Questions to ponder:

What is one area in your life that might benefit from rest or reset?

What can you do in this moment to take one small step to rest in the particular area of your life?

Make sure you’re listening to season one of the Dream Big Authentic Leadership podcast, found on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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