This is a photo I took in New Zealand of the Milky Way over Lake Manapouri. It was a stunningly clear evening, and the very small village had few street lights, so little light pollution. We walked down to the lake side using our phones as torches.
We were rewarded with a stunning spectacle. Moment by moment, as our eyes acclimatised we saw more and more stars. Eventually seeing the stardust of the Milky Way. Of course, our solar system is part of the Milky Way. so we were gazing on our own Galaxy.
An awesome and sublime moment.
This took me to thinking how hard it is to see ourselves. How easy it is to get caught up in the ‘system’: drawn along or driven by mostly unconscious drives and assumptions. That’s why its so important to slow down. To reflect. To get ‘data’ from other perspectives (feedback from others) to help illuminate my own blind spots.
But for so many of us, the light pollution and noise is significant. The pace is relentless. The pressures enormous. It takes real courage to take time out. To slow down.
I remember many years ago a client telling me about his early career in Kodak, the film maker. They had a dark working area, which was light sealed by two doors – like an air lock. You go though one door, then wait a moment before opening the other door into the dark work area. When you step into this area it feels pitch black. You can see nothing in the inky blackness. Even though you can hear activity, and people saying ‘Hi Joe’ as they walk past you, it’s still black. Then, as you wait, he told me, you ‘get your eyes’. Your eyes become accustomed to the darkness, and things emerge, and after a time, you can move around and see clearly enough to work safely.
As I write this, I’m in a spiritual retreat venue called ‘The Bield’ just outside Perth. I have committed to myself to take a day a month to reflect. To step back. To think about the work, and myself in the work. To ‘get my eyes’.
I have a phrase we use in our work with clients: ‘we need to slow down to speed up.’ To ensure effort is expended on the right priorities and not just run around like a headless chicken. To fix the right problems.
Why not consider how you make time and space to ‘get your eyes’ and see what’s going on around you (and within you) in your work and life?