My friend and teacher, Steve Anderson, helped me realize this. He said:
“You bounce out of bed at five every morning without an alarm clock. You run around all day doing all kinds of honorable, effective things. You don’t watch television, so you aren’t wasting any time. You flop in bed at nine or ten in the evening, tired. But you don’t spend any time in quiet reflection, asking yourself what is truly important to you. Why not?“
How do you recommend I do this, Steve?
“Highly functional people reflect on life every day. They go to a quiet place, where they won’t be interrupted. They sit in a cozy chair with a pad of paper in their lap, a pen in their hand. And they ask themselves, ‘What do I want to get done today, this week, this month, this year, this life? What is truly important to me?'”
The Hard Question
Weeks passed and I still didn’t do this. I found it difficult to tear myself away from the daily to-do list. Sitting in a cozy chair in quiet place seemed too self-indulgent.
So Steve asked the hard question:
“Why can’t you sit still in quiet reflection? What are you afraid to learn about yourself?“
More weeks passed and I sat quietly — a few times. I found it very hard. It seemed irresponsible, like playing hookey. So I tried to cut to the chase by asking Steve, “What does the end state look like? If you describe generally what I’m supposed to accomplish in the cozy chair, I’ll just do it.”
He said, “You are like the fellow who goes into the back yard to chop wood. You want me to tell you what a cord of wood looks like. That’s not what you need to learn. You aren’t living a life so you can end up with a cord of wood. You need to learn how to fall in love with the chopping.”
Do you sit quietly in reflection? How often? What is your experience?