Unfurling: “To become opened out from a rolled or folded state, especially in order to be open to the wind” or “To release from a furled state.”
I had forgotten the last post I’d written about the Art of Distraction. Understandable, I guess, as I’d written it in the midst of my Sea-Fever, when the pull of my life was in full flow – it captures the intensity and rawness I was living and feeling in the run-up to module 3 of THNK’s Creative Leadership program. How I was pushing my mind and body to the edge, again and again with little space for recovery…feeling caught in a whirlwind that I had no control over.
And then something shifted, on the edge of breaking point…Something subtle that taught me the value of being patient, especially with ourselves (patience being one of my greatest ‘learning edges’)…In those moments of feeling overwhelmed, breathe it all in…because it’s the stuff grace is made of, these uncelebrated moments, filtered and censored from a shiny, digital, live-streaming world. The stuff that takes grit and brings gratitude. The longing that keeps me hungry and ready for the next wave, ready to let my soul come pouring out. But first you have to be ready to let go, let the longing and desire wash over us without holding on…easier said than done.
I’ve been described as a ‘feet-forward’ person, driven by a sense of urgency that breeds restlessness…that can be a real strength, a proven characteristic of creative leadership, but it has a flip-side. The inability to let go, to stop mid-way, to turn a yes into a gentle no or to see what is truly essential.
“BE HERE NOW. BE SOMEPLACE ELSE LATER. IS THAT SO COMPLICATED?” – David Bader
I struggled with this in the last module and it’s what created this big shift. Being able to so quickly let go of the push and pull outside and to immediately drop into THNK-Now space.
This shift has a lot to do with experimenting and exploring ‘presence’…what it means to be truly present. The exploration of vulnerability. Realising that my power comes from my vulnerability and that by trying to shield how I really feel in order to protect my power I was only diminishing it, suppressing that energy. Presence comes after weeding out the weeds…
In module 3 it was less about the weeding and more about beginning to see the seeds take root, spread and hold-fast in the earth. It was about getting grounded through the power of connection…both connecting the dots of our inner workings, beginning to see more clearly the connection between our passion and purpose and how that translates into our story, and the connections between each other, my classmates.
THNK has been a process of alternating divergence and convergence to find my focus…the essence of what matters most. The open spaces and sharing my ‘ask’ allowed for more unraveling, encouraged by an ecosystem of trust, a shedding of old skin.
As my vision clears the boundaries between my dimensions, my ‘skins’ are beginning to dissolve and merge into a whole. Unfurling and taking form. Permission to not only explore and find my own way but to create new ways…and I don’t have to do it alone…in fact, a core part of creative leadership is working together with creative teams… an aspect I thought I was lacking until know…through ‘mirroring’ and ‘flower showering’ from other participants, I saw myself through their eyes and my reflection was unexpected.
We often put ourselves last, or don’t take a step back.
My THNK class-mates are like my personal accountability team! They help me…
- Cultivate good habits / daily rituals
- Reflect on priorities, replace with ‘what if…’ instead of ‘should.’
- Cause, don’t do by making my priorities align with what I want to happen
- Embrace the crazy
- Explore all the dimensions of my passion, “It’s really important to know the why behind the what and the how.” – Carrie Rich, one of the most inspiring women I know and CEO of Global Good Fund
(With Carrie on a boat in Amsterdam)
(Ayana, wowing us with her stunning voice)
It comes back to presence, that is to be, ‘Open to and in touch with your own authentic feelings and those of others.’
By crossing the threshold of my dreams I’ve opened up myself – it’s brought openness and vulnerability that at first left me raw and exhausted but now is making me stronger. Another gift is understanding the need for nourishment. That it doesn’t have to require a sabbatical or becoming a hermit, it can be found in the beauty of small things…the power of one moment meditation…a new appreciation for ‘micro-adventures’ to fill some of my longing and need for wild places and immersion in nature, the importance of daily ritual in my otherwise unpredictable, intense schedule…
That said, there should always be space and priority given to taking macro-moments for deceleration too…to get beneath the surface so you can refocus your energy and really get your creative flow going.