For Rosa and Dick.
The other day I found myself in a state of complaint. The recession, of course, and what it has done to my business. It’s clear, adding up the cancelled work for this year that I have lost a significant amount. I wrote to a good friend, Tom, about my state of mind. Tom is a compassionate and honest guy. He replied:
Perhaps, like many of us, this is a time of forced reflection on what are we really doing here, and what is the legacy we can leave. You have certainly left your mark on many of us. But it ain’t over yet, and I’m sure that out of the havoc will arise new opportunities and beginnings.
“Drats,” I thought to myself. “Caught in victim-thinking again.”
And so it is. A time for re-invention. I have gone through similar periods, notably after 9/ll and at other times during my career when working in a particular direction or with a particular client has come to an end. Despite the financial fears (will I ever work again? work this big?), it is also a time when something else always seems to come forward, something stark and beautiful that speaks of re-grounding, pushing the reset button, going back to “beginner’s mind.”
If someone asks me about my favorite season, I will usually say spring. And yet, given a choice, would I ever go through winter again? It’s hard to say. Chastened by my friend’s comments I took a walk to the local park to clear my mind. Sure enough the answers were there in the emerging green clouds of new leaves, sometimes hardly more than dust on the branches it seemed — but definitely there.
Along the lake, I discovered the willows greening up and the iris that suddenly had reappeared — as a duck paddled across the sky. Trilliums, those magical flowers one must not pick lest they fail to reappear for seven years, poked their lovely heads out of the dried leaves of the past season.
And I was slain again by the beauty of the cherry blossoms fluttering down in a warming breeze to litter my path.
Synchronistically, a client had asked me to plan a day of training — one of the cherished few left on my schedule. Suddenly I was back in front of my screen and I was thinking. What should be the topic? With a little inspiration from Peter Koestenbaum, a title for my day came to mind: Claiming Your Freedom: Exercises in Organizational Courage.
All this lyricism about recycling. Can it pay off in a harsh political world where money is king? And yet, could there be a better time, really, to talk about the courage of new growth?
I hate winter.
I love the spring.