On the final leg of my road trip, probably some remote place in MT or WY, I saw patches of “kinda green” alternated with “deathly brown.” I had an instant flash on the fact that skill sets are on a cyclic rotation like so many other things. I mused on this for a few minutes.
Obviously, when one retires, there are probably a few things that could be cleared out and released from one’s life. My closet, house, garage and storage unit fall right into those categories. How many times have I held on to things that really could be let go of? My “girl scout” part wants to continue to be prepared for all eventualities; you never know when you might need to have an “X.” One of my friends would blame that on my Libra rising where I seem unable to make a decision…
What struck me about the patch of contrasting grasses was the fact that skills came up around it. Some skills are new and need to be nourished, others were ready to be released. How often does one even go in that direction? Letting go of skills? How does one even approach that? Well, turning it around, what skills are ready to emerge or be utilized? First word that comes up for me is relaxation. I know that somehow, there is still a need to push that comes into play for me. While on my trip, I deliberately worked on small things. I set my cruise control at the speed limit, and used it a lot. I told myself, I did not have to be in a hurry. Take my time, be in the moment, enjoy what is around me. That worked most of the time. Once in a while, I zoomed around a slow moving vehicle rather than stay behind it; other times I slowed down and took my time.
One of my biggest take aways from my multi-week journey was that I didn’t schedule enough time between stops. I drove, stayed a couple of nights, drove, stayed a couple of nights and repeated that pattern for a big part of the trip. I didn’t schedule any real down time – i.e., completely down time. I had put myself into a spot of having to press to “keep the schedule.” There were also a couple of other instances where in order to get something done, I stayed up later than my body wanted to. Not exactly a letting go of the need to push.
Related to the need to push – being willing to “stop and smell the proverbial roses.” One of the things that I am learning to do is to take pictures. Frequently, while driving, I would see something that I thought “that could make a great picture.” A few times I actually stopped by the side of the road to take a few pictures. Generally, I didn’t. It would have meant trying to find a safe place to do that; turn around and go backwards; pull the camera out…any number of reasons. And truthfully, it was a time constraint – it would make it later before I got to where I was going, and it was already going to be “late enough.” I would say that what is emerging is staying more in the present, and honoring those impulses that say, “that would make a great picture.” Being able to truly appreciate the journey rather than focus on the destination.
Another skill that seems ready to emerge is “advisor.” I found during my time meeting with people that I had skills come forth that were not the ones that I had used at work, or at least not used in the same way. The way of approaching a problem can be done much differently. Instead of researching, synthesizing, preparing presentations and reporting, I could now converse, ask questions, brainstorm, leave things open ended. This created more space and allowed for more possibilities. It also encouraged a willingness to live more in the question rather than having solutions for everything.
I would say that one of the greatest adventures in front of me is to pay attention to what is emerging and honoring it.