Friday, June 20, 2014

Stop, Think and Spit

The last eight months have been intense -- especially coming off of one of the slowest, most restful seasons of my whole life (sabbatical). Christa and I have traveled extensively, launched or helped grow a number of artistic projects and enjoyed expanded access to leaders and artists around the world.

In life there are seasonal upgrades -- like graduating from one year of school to the next, or going from high school to college. The new context requires a season of immersion, where it's all about watching, digging in, experimenting, learning as much as you can, usually for long hours. The last 8 months have been that for team Reuel.

But the time comes when it's wise to stop -- because there's only so much thinking you can do while you're going full speed. Re-calibration often means sitting down.

Once you stop, think. It's easy to vaguely ponder events; it's a whole different thing (and a challenging discipline) to dig deep, find patterns, ask hard questions, and name concrete learning.

And, finally, spit. After a certain point eating stops being healthy! In the first stage of an upgrade you take in a LOT of ideas, try a lot of things (sort of like eating). Once you stop and think, you need to sift through what you've found -- and spit out things that are not useful. Things need spit for a number of reasons: because they don't fit the season, don't fit who you are (individually or corporately), or because they are inedible or toxic. Sometimes it's hard to recognize the toxic elements in the rush of life, which is part of why regular course corrections are not only normal but a sign of health and growth. 

And, finally, think about where you spit. Depending on what you're spitting and why, a bit of thought might turn your waste into someone elses' benefit. And you might avoid causing bigger problems than the ones you avoid. Thinking metaphorically... If it's watermelons you've been eating, spit the seeds somewhere they can grow. If it's the bad part of a piece of meat, give it to the dogs. If it's something toxic, find out the best place to dispose of it. 

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