Human to Human is a daily blog. It’s journalling and learning in public, Monday through Thursday, in which I post current learnings (taking sporadic weeks off to write longer pieces or to rest). Posts are 300-500 words, often with photos, intended to be read in five minutes and inspire reflection, individually and communally, on varied aspects of participative leadership practices, insights, and human to human depth.
It is not uncommon to speak of the need for adaptation. Whether in organizations or families. Whether in communities or as individuals. As the saying goes, the only thing constant is change.
Like many, I’ve been impressed by the capacity to change and adapt. Sometimes people and groups changing by choice, crafting a plan or a practice. Sometimes not by choice, that nonetheless scripts to an evolution.
Today, I’m impressed with this particular daffodil. It grows in my front yard. I have several daffodils that grow in my yard in other locations. The stems are mostly a foot from the ground. This one, however, grows through a Mugo Pine bush. It’s stem is two fee tall. And then it flowers through its surrounding pine branch neighbors.
Each year I’m particularly wowed by this daffodil. Rather than being shut down, it grows through the bush. It finds the sunshine it needs. It reaches for the open space. And flowers.
Yes, one could learn a fair amount from this daffodil. I am.
Impressive. Impressively adaptive.
As I listen with my colleagues, we are each coming to realize what I would call a kind of “convening fatigue.” The context in which I’m speaking is more to do with online spaces. So let’s call it online convening fatigue.
Online convening fatigue isn’t about whether the cause is good or not. It isn’t about whether the people are good or not. And, it isn’t about denying the stunning adaptations and connections that many of us make in online settings that open hearts and imaginations together.
As I listen with my colleagues, we are recognizing a very simple reclaiming — we humans aren’t meant to solely sit in front of computers. Even the most introverted of us are missing the incidental touch of a knee. Or the kindness of holding a physical door open for another. Or the collegiality of “can I poor you a cup of coffee?”
Online conventing fatigue is real. And, I am learning, it has a cumulative quality to it. It gets stronger over time with repeated experience.
Now, I want to be clear. I think we humans can adapt to most anything. The last year of all things digital has demonstrated that. And, I believe that if such a context were to continue for another ten years, we’d adapt further. Our expectations and reality of experience would change our DNA, removing some of this convening fatigue that rears in adaptive state.
But let’s stay in the present.
As I listen with my colleagues, we are each coming to advocate — hmm…, perhaps a bit stronger, insist — on self care as a priority. Not self-care as something to get to if there is time left over. Not self-care that is only at the end of the day when there is nothing left but crashing to sleep. Self-care needs to be higher on the list.
Self-care is of your choosing. It’s not yoga for everyone. It’s not meditation for everyone. It might be three minutes outside to deliberately breathe. Self-care isn’t just tending to physical body, or to spiritual body. It is also tending to emotional needs. Self-care can be a cup of tea. Self-care can be reading a poem a day. Or writing a poem a day. Lots of choices.
As I listen with my colleagues, we are learning that fatigue is real. We are learning that self care sometimes patches a gap in our personal and collective bandwidth. And sometimes, adds vitamins to the long arc of our adapting.
Here’s to speaking the truth of fatigue. And the kindness of witnessing it in others. Here’s to speaking the truth of some choices that move us with gentleness.
In my yard blooms an ornamental cherry tree. It was planted by the person that lived here before me. So, more than ten years ago. I enjoy the blossoms not of my planning or doing.
This week I found myself mesmerized by buds readied to flower. I love the white and pink colors ready to burst forth. I love the bunching of buds, huddled tightly, perhaps whispering their readiness. I love the accompaniment of green leaves and contrast of rich blue sky.
This week I’m found myself also mesmerized by scale. I looked at only the tip of one branch among many, counting buds. By my best guess, there are tens of thousands of buds on this small ornamental cherry tree.
This small ornamental cherry tree grows with little grooming from me. I only occasionally trim new shoots that rise from the base of its trunk.
I suppose, in this season of spring, I am drawn to such abundance and beauty, so near and natural.
I suppose, in this living of life, I’m drawn to where such buds grow naturally. In myself. With others. With kiss of sun.
This awakening with others, this budding with others — it too, might just be a scale of simple things that mesmerize.
From a spring day and a moment of pause and wonder.
Fire & Water is a 16 month leadership journey and rite of passage. It’s about growing wisdom inner and outer. It’s about reclaiming soulfulness and awakeness in the journey. It’s about departures from norms. It’s about community in support. It’s about return with gifts meant to be expressed in these times in which we live.
I’m proud of this work, a signature program that Quanita Roberson and I have created. I’m proud of the first group that completed last November. I’m in love with the second group that has now met for first retreat. I’m excited to welcome a third group that starts this Fall.
All of the website info is here.
Quanita and I recorded a short video (4 minutes) as further welcome to those applying to the Fall Cohort.