The more familiar you are with your core self, the easier it is to identify and deal with how your direct environment affects you. But with everything going on around you, how can you tell the difference between what is you and what you might be picking up – or have picked up years ago – from others? From day one we are so busy improving and developing that we hardly have time to catch our breath, let alone take stock or come to rest. Progress implies motion, so when do we have the chance to stop and reflect? And how do we calibrate who we really are?
One way is to take time out. If we have the opportunity, we would be wise to take it. As I write, I appreciate even more, one of the first things Karaj said to me in 1997. It was the opposite of what I had expected to hear. I was taking a break from my life in Germany, where I had a job at a bank. Even my colleagues were telling me banking was not the place for me, so I resigned, took six months off and went first to Spain, then to England.
It was during that period that I met Karaj for the first time. Explaining my situation to him, I was anticipating a parental response, along the lines of: ‘You can’t just take time off…‘. His actual response took me by surprise. He said, ‘Make the most of it. You may never get another chance like this.‘ I made the most of another two chances before I began working with him.
I know another coach who, at a younger age than I was in that story, has used the past few months to come to rest and listen to herself. She is harvesting the fruits of her patience and having insights which will make her a better coach. However, should life be too busy for a time-out, then take what time you can and be alone. Come to rest and listen. What do you hear? What do you notice about yourself at rest? Conscious rest.
There is a powerfully succinct blog post by Mia Hansson called, ‘There Are No Words For Love’, in which she talks of how imperative it is to feel fully. Completely and exclusively. It’s an excellent example of listening to yourself, which is why Hansson also refers to the need for silence and contemplation. The less noise there is, the more clearly we can hear who we are. Remove the clutter, and what remains makes more sense. In addition, you notice interference more easily, and that means you are likely to respond more effectively. So listen closely.