Coach’s Challenge for 12/11/11 “Season of Renewal”
Good day, team.
Outside my window this morning, the gray skies hang heavy over leafless trees. Frost clings to my unhappy rose bush, and I feel a cold draft seeping through the window frame. Why, when everything else has gone underground to sleep, do we continue to be as active as ever? If it were April and the days were becoming warmer and all the trees and plants were in bud, I could understand it. But now?
As I page through my calendar for the next two weeks, I realize how busy I am during the holiday season. There is something strange about working hard this time of year. I often think the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas should be one of rest rather than work. However, like everyone else, I seem to be scurrying around trying to get stuff done before year-end.
Somewhere along the line, we human beings created a world in which we don’t have to pay much attention to the seasons. We stay warm in winter, cool in summer, and at least on the west coast, we can buy any kind of vegetable or fruit we want all year long. Believe me, I’m as grateful for these conveniences as anyone but I’m also aware that because of them, we keep up the same busy pace pretty much all year long, with an occasional few weeks of vacation here and there.
Winter is actually a time of renewal. It’s the time when nature draws its energy underground to rest. People who live in more primitive settings live inside and rely on what they’ve harvested and stored to nourish them through the winter months. Animals acknowledge the shorter days and sleep more. I find myself going to bed much earlier in winter. Who needs to stay awake after 9 p.m. when it’s already been dark for four hours?
Here are some thoughts from educator and writer Margaret Wheatley, who contributed to the book, “Leadership and the New Science.” In these writings, she acknowledges this time of renewal as it relates to business.
“Renewal most naturally occurs in late fall and winter when the leaves are off the trees and life appears still. Renewal is the time to remember our true nature. How do we do that? We remember who we are by becoming silent witnesses, by being instead of acting. Renewal is a time to be a human be-ing. If vision is the in breath and action is the out breath, then renewal is the space between the breaths. Renewal is the time to let go and to make space for a new or refreshed vision to emerge, so that the cycle may begin again. Renewal is called for when our vision is no longer assuring or our actions aren’t in alignment with our vision. Renewal is the time to assess our work in its own context as well as in the context of our lives and purpose. Renewal asks, ‘What really matters now?’ and is the time to tell the truth and to ask questions rather than to give answers. Answers encourage blinders: Questions open us up, free and empower us.
“Renewal is a time to tell the truth about what is so, and then to face that truth. It is the time to heal our selves, to remember who we are. And when we remember who we are, we bring our authentic selves forward.
“Renewal is a time to surrender what is no longer useful. There is often an aspect of death in renewal, as letting go may require the end of a way of thinking or operating, the end of a product line, closing down a factory, letting go of a dream. The very act of renewal is a surrender of doing.
“Once we let go, we often experience a sense of release and new energy. We also experience a sense of spaciousness. The often irresistible temptation is to fill that space immediately, as not knowing may be very uncomfortable. This space is best used as a time of questioning and allowing. This space may last a moment, a week, or several months or more in time. This space is the rich, fertile ground out of which true vision emerges.”
Give yourself permission to embrace this season of renewal by finding ways to rejuvenate your inner resources. The first of the year will be here before we know it, and then spring will be right around the corner. Now is the time to restore some of your vital energy to be able to approach the new year and coming spring with vigor and a new attitude.
Have a good week!
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