One of the routines I’ve taken up in the past months has been taking Josie, my dog, to the river for early morning walks. This was born of her declaring herself over the sidewalk circles in our neighborhood… and as she’s somewhere in the vicinity of 80 lbs, if she wants to stand on the stoop and stare at me obstinate and immovable, there’s not much to do. So… we go to the park and walk along the Delaware every morning; it turned out she was just after some trees and grass*. We’ve done this daily for enough months now that I’m noticing the tidal cadences. Last week, a new moon, it was about the lowest I’ve seen it, rotted wood from bygone piers unveiled.
I’ve been in conversation with myself and a few close colleagues about rhythms, about how to approach a new year that screams “new year, same old dumpster fire”, in which the list of crisis that we’re collectively enduring remains exhaustingly long.
Like many entrepreneurs, I like new things. The glint of what is coalescing in my mind, or just outside the corner of my vision, but still blurry at the edges. This is what fires me up!
And so, I usually like a new year and the possibility of reset. But, truth be told, it was kind of a let down this year, wasn’t it? I didn’t quite feel renewed, and I showed up to work again after our winter break muttering to myself “I’m in the wrong business, I want January off!”**
My friend Holly reminded me recently of the important of the inner quest and inner alignment as leaders. The kind of compass calibration that can only happen in the spaciousness of quiet retreat.
I’ve been lately feeling excited when the folks that I regularly follow and engage with slip away from the internet. I feel bolstered by the quiet— in part because it’s so counterculture. To retreat, rest, to not be visible or present.
Resisting linear growth and productivity is easier said than done. Low tides and fallow states, as metaphors made real in our lives, often don’t feel good: guilt, grief, depression can arise. The metaphors make it fairly obvious— no farmer plants tomatoes in a frozen field in January— but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight ourselves in an effort to continue doing. When I short circuit these feelings by getting back to doing again too quickly, I tend to lose steam pretty quickly.
So I’ve been letting the planning and the doing unfold much more slowly than usual this year so far. Maybe your beginning of year looks differently too?
A couple readings and thinkings on new years, resolutions, and doing.
“I would prefer to be special than happy.” I felt a bit hot under the collar at that sentence.
“Significantly, this obsession with personal amelioration also distracts us from the sort of collective action that would actually change things, or work towards a society where “eat a healthy diet” and “save money” weren’t in direct opposition to one anothe