October 2019: Waiting for yourself…

Between 20th and 31st December, I have chosen a Quiet Disruptor post from each of the months of 2019. I hope this walking reflection on the year helps prepare us for 2020…

October – the call to be more intentional, both in our waiting and our moving 

Waiting for yourself…

Waiting for yourself – what an odd thing to say!

Yes, I agree.

It seems totally out of place in our world and culture.

We’ve got to get to the next thing. To catch up, and be on top of it all…

But what if we’re looking at it the wrong way?

Choose your race

In an excellent promotional video circulating during the week – Email is not dead – David Hieatt quoted Mary Meeker the Internet Trend specialist, showing that as human beings our capacity for human adaptability is now being outstripped by the rate of technological change.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that we are feeling overwhelmed, left behind in the race. We are struggling to keep up, some of us more than others!

But maybe what we are pitching ourselves against isn’t the real thing. This isn’t the race for us to win.

Instead, our race is about our development as human beings. Our skills, our leadership, our way of doing and being that enables us to do our best work.

And if we are feeling overwhelmed by the technology, switch it off.

We have far more important things to develop like creativity, curiosity, imagination, insight and empathy. Being able to see the whole as more than the sum of its parts. Only we can do that.

So in running our race, perhaps one of the most important things we can do is to:

STOP MULTITASKING – it really doesn’t help us pay attention.

Thanks, David.

Valuing identity

This current theme of waiting for ourselves was prompted in part by reading John O’Donohue again yesterday. Even though this was written over a decade ago it is still relevant:

“Behind each face there is a unique world that no one else can see. This is the mystery of individuality. The shape of each soul is different. No one else feels your life the way you do. No one else sees or hears the world as you do. The creation of the individual is a divine masterpiece. We were dreamed for a long time before we were born… Given the uniqueness of each of us, it should not be surprising that one of the greatest challenges is to inhabit our own individuality and to discover which life-form best expresses it…

“For some people, the question of their calling is very difficult to decipher; for others, it follows from an early intuition and practically unfolds of its own accord…

“… Following one’s vocation ensures that what you choose to do finds itself in harmony with your inner nature. It also means that this is the optimum way to unfold and develop whatever gifts one has. A vocation does not clear before you a smooth path through difficulties. Having a sense of one’s vocation does not in any way relieve one of the travail and turbulence of being human. Indeed, being true to one’s vocation can often require a level of generosity and risk that will cause great suffering, for more often than not there is no surge of light to clarify direction; the light on offer is only enough to guide the next step.”

(John O’Donohue: Introduction to Chapter Six: Callings, from Benedictus – a Book of Blessings, Bantam Press, 2007)

So it’s okay to be waiting for yourself. Indeed, you must. This is part of outworking your calling. It’s a life long journey.

Cultivating character

A few years ago, I came across this insightful quote from Stephen R Covey from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:

“You can’t talk your way out of a problem you’ve behaved yourself into.“

So another aspect of waiting for ourselves to catch up is the tough work of paying attention to our character. What underpins or prompts our behaviours?

Think about anyone you really trust. Why have you given them your trust? What is it about them that is worthy of such a gift?

And in your experience, what does it take to break that trust?

We are so used to papering over character. The media does it all the time.

Making excuses for ourselves and others. Not recognising that the world and our work is waiting for us to pay attention.

How much are we waiting for ourselves to catch up with who we aspire to be?

Deepening relationships

Where is home? Or more particularly, where do you feel most at home?

They may be two different places or states. But I’d be really surprised if people weren’t involved.

At my sister-in-law’s wedding last weekend I experienced a lovely sense of being at home. Even though I wasn’t expecting it.

We rarely make the trek across the country to see my niece and nephews, and their children, because of caring for Jules my Downs Syndrome/physically disabled younger brother, and the alpacas here in Wales.

Sitting in a beautiful marquee with fabulous food and lovely company in Kent, I recognised a deep feeling of relaxed belonging. I didn’t have to earn being there. And I smiled.

It reminded me of the other place where I also feel that way. Our church family at Linden, in Swansea.

Connected, at a deeper level, with people who are somehow ‘like us’. Where we don’t have to explain ourselves or justify why we are there.

This is been absent so long, yet it’s the place our soul yearns for.

It is coming home.

As human beings, the sense of deeper connection is part of our DNA. We are not complete without it.

But we have been so schooled in our independence. It takes humility and vulnerability to recognise it.

Again, I suspect this is part of waiting for ourselves. Giving ourselves permission to recognise our need to be needed. And our need to be received, without judgement. Finding home.

For some of us that might be quite a long ride. But it is worth it.

So this weekend are you waiting for yourself to catch up?

If so, join the club. It’s full of grace and you do have time.

I promise.

Thanks for reading (and by the way that is Sorrel, our Welsh Springer Spaniel, in the picture. She is always waiting… usually for food or attention)


3rd October 2019

If this has struck a chord, you might also appreciate a reflection later in the month – Change and the interim time – which is also relevant at this time of the year, between Christmas and New Year. Especially, this year with the dawn of the new decade…