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May 6, 2008

Burnout Relief

One assignment I had during my coaching certification program was to sit for one hour and do nothing. I chose to bring my collapsible chair to Compo Beach for my hour of nothingness. It was chilly, so I had a blanket wrapped over my body. The tide was low and coming in.

Within a few minutes of disorientation–how does one do nothing?–I began to observe what was going on in the nothingness of sitting. I started watching the gulls. One would swoop down, pick up a clam shell in its beak, fly up and drop it to the ground. When it broke open, the bird would swallow the contents–mission accomplished.

I noticed that the activity would be repeated two or three times if the shell wasn’t immediately compliant. The bird simply swooped down again, retrieved the same shell, flew up and dropped it again. After a couple of tries without success, it moved on to another shell. It was a force of nature. No judgment. Just…NEXT.

Even in that time of doing nothing, I noticed my brain assessing, judging, making sense out of what was in front of me. I applied it to myself and my clients. How refreshing, natural and healthy to observe what’s working, what feeds you and when to let go. There’s always a NEXT. Keep moving. Keep doing what you do. And when the tide flows in, move on to the next activity for the day.

The outcome of that assignment for me was connecting with nature, giving my mind a healthy distraction and not having any responsibility for what was happening in front of me. I left with the beach with a renewed sense of energy and optimism.

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