Listen to the Rhythm
Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. –Maya Angelou
As I read the previous post from Jeff, I too was struck by the words he shared from Parker J. Palmer; especially,
“Pay attention to rhythm.”
This simple, yet powerful, statement reminded me of the clear messages shared by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in the book The Power of Full Engagement. Rhythm is all around us. It’s in nature as we move from day, to night, to day again; as we move through the seasons, and the years. There’s rhythm in the universe around us. And there’s rhythm in the universe within us. Our heartbeat, our breathing, our sleeping, and as we move through our day, there’s a rhythm we “dance” to – sometimes like a puppet on strings.
But our natural rhythms have been overridden. With the fast pace of life and advances in technology that is meant to keep us connected, we’re wired up, but we’re melting down. We have laptops and tablets and smart phones. There’s a wifi hot spot in just about every coffee shop, restaurant, sports center. We get pop-up reminders, and text messages – all designed to help us manage our time, and our connections, better.
Our capacity to be fully engaged, to be our whole selves, our strong selves, depends on our ability to periodically disengage, slow down, and listen. Listen to what the universe is trying to say to us.
Recently a good friend shared a story that has stayed with me. Maritza exemplifies what it means to truly listen. Like most of us, she was caught up in the hectic pace of the life and work she chose for herself. And like many of us, she was tired, stressed, and not fulfilled. Then she made a change. She quit one career and took a completely different path and found her calling, her purpose, by listening. Some may call it the universe or a guiding spirit. Maritza calls this her angel. Even though she has never seen him, she’s felt him, and listens to his “guiding voice”. Maritza’s interpretation of what she hears when she listens to her angel is her strength. Through her listening, she gathers what she needs to help others. And by sharing her strength, her calling, she can feel energized as well.
We all have our own “angel” trying to speak to us when we are faced with a problem or puzzle or decision. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of how to listen. We have a way that feels natural for us to renew our energy and maintain a natural rhythm. Whatever your preference, the point is to recognize when your rhythm is off and make the time to set it right. Some ways to do this are:
- Practice “strategic disengagement”. Consciously and deliberately create new boundaries for yourself. Disengagement doesn’t have to be long. It just needs to be intentional and conscious.
- Discipline yourself to see the patterns around you. Then use what you see to help others.
- Deliberately look for people with opposing viewpoints to engage in conversation. Look for evidence that contradicts what you believe. Doing this will help keep you from becoming complacent and keep your mind energized.
Even as we do this for ourselves, as leaders, we need to remember that others look to us for guidance. It may be our voice that speaks to them as their “angel”. So not only do we need to remember to disengage and renew our own energy, we need to be aware of the rhythm of those we lead and encourage them to do the same. In doing this we open ourselves to the rhythms around us and the creative tension that will help us to gather what we need to lead others.
So as you think about what you do and whom you lead, and I know you will, remember that you have a rhythm and the universe is speaking to you. Sometimes we just need to slow the rhythm, listen to our angel, and then get back in the dance.
Photos courtesy of https://pixabay.com
All that Jennifer does is driven by a commitment to help you look inside and identify your passions and strengths. Jennifer is a practitioner and consultant for organizational effectiveness.
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