di•ges•tion (di jes′c̸hən, dī-);
noun; the absorption of ideas.
I recently listened to a radio interview with acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.
She said that when Franklin D. Roosevelt was putting together the New Deal, he would venture out on his sailboat–sometimes for ten days at a time–to contemplate the situation.
John F. Kennedy, she said, had three days to sit with Cuban Missile Crisis before he had to take action.
The president, if he’s lucky, will have 20 minutes to be with breaking news regarding the war before the world hears of it on CNN.
I remember working with a career coaching client years ago who had recently left a toxic corporate environment after ten years and was “in the void”—preparing for her next career phase. She told me she was sure if she could just have two weeks of downtime to process and heal from the scarring experience, she’d be good as new and ready to launch into a new endeavor.
I bumped into her the other day. She shared she was surprised that it had taken her a full 18 months to recover from her corporate experience and digest what she wanted to keep and expel what she didn’t.
My new friend Christine Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow and I were visiting recently. Christine agrees that we’re living in a culture that doesn’t encourage us to take time to sit, absorb and fully be with things.
I can’t get this idea out of my head.
What revelations might we all be missing because we’re yes, moving too fast, but also not creating big spaces of time in our lives to really allow ideas to deeply seep into our bones? To fully digest concepts that may surface, but are quickly swatted away, like pesky flies.
I am preparing for a writing sabbatical this summer. What that means, is I am devoting roughly 4 hours a day to sit with a theme that has been bubbling up for me for two years. For my personality, it would be very easy to slide into being focused, outcome-oriented and wanting to answer “what is this all leading to?” –but, I’m resisting this urge.
Because right now, I really get that this is a meal I don’t want to rush through.
I have just pulled up my chair and with the utmost of care, I plan to relish and enjoy one long course at a time. So I can truly digest whatever it is that is churning within.
However long it may take.
Live Inside Out, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out every Tuesday. Learn more/subscribe www.ReneeTrudeau.com/blog.