August. I really do adore the month of August. It comes second to the only month that matters… April. One of the many reasons I love August is because Pinterest… Lol! Sounds a teensy bit shallow, doesn’t it?! I always loved the photos that would come up, all the different colored leaves and trees… the prettiness and differentness… not just green green all the time. Then I came here… and missed the green green all the time. Lol! Life can sometimes be an enigma. I have no answers for this randomness!
Second to Pinterest is, it has almost always been my reflection month. This week as I’m prepping to go into deep reflection mode, I realized that I’m walking into a season of lasts. I’m not even trying to wax poetic, I’m literally saying bye to a number of things (including the Prime student discount. Sneaky! What they did. Sneaky!)
One of the many things ending this week is the 8-week leadership course that I’ve been doing. Actually, let me tell you the proper whole story: this is the point where you grab a cup of black chai with some ginger and honey and chamomile, and listen.
This story begins with a movement… **insert an epic Shore score or a Brian Tyler one (listen, that last franchise lives on because of some us – earn that paycheck, Ty!). In the early months of 2020, there was this conference that caught fire and was everywhere. Okay! Everywhere might be a teensy exaggeration but no lie, multiple people in my network kept posting about this Season21. Season21 this, Season21 that. So I logged on, just to see what was all the fuss about. Alas, I soon became one of the people in the network posting, “Season 21 this, Season 21 that.”
Since that conference, I’ve kept my eye on those people… Just occasionally checking in, low-key plugging in to their events (nanti pandemic… all of a sudden errybody can now invest in an online presence. Yes! That last portion was dripping salt). Sometimes having conversations with my sister about things I’ve heard. Dropping a quote I’d heard while in conversation with my roommate. Talking practical lived theology with my darling cousin. I’d become a visitor-member… you know, like in the folk stories… the people who know your business but aren’t actually in the family? You know those fictional people… They were me. I was them.
Months dredged on of this kind of outskirts membership… until 8 weeks ago when said sibling decided to say, “You should try this class”. Lol! This sibling of mine asks nothing of me… I mean nothing. Also, the way she lay it on the table, there was no build up, no fanfare, no marketing… just “You should try this class”. I mean if it were you, tell me, how would you object? I need data for incase this happens again.
My attitude/response: Fine! What do I have to loose? I shall try as much as possible to remain in the background. stay silent. stay hidden. Such a MAJOR LOL! (Pronounced Low-l, not el-oh-el)
For even more context, around the same time, I was in what felt like a quagmire… (Yes, I said quagmire). My entire being was close to despondent, and just generally upset. So, I wasn’t about to emotionally invest in this class or these people… My soul had taken a hit and I was still trying to deal with the emotions that came with that reality. Suffice to say, I didn’t want to invest in new relationships with new people.
Then the first class happened. Zoom. We go around the room. Hardly, 30 minutes in and your girl was pulling all the English words to provide clarity to the state of her being. So much for stay silent. stay hidden. But. I needed this. I needed a space where I could process what I was thinking in the safety of other people who were also on the leadership growth journey. Then came the assignments. Reading and reflecting wasn’t a problem for me. Coming up with goals and vision, a little harder but still doable. Spend 7 days without uttering a single complaint about anything – whhhhaattttttt?! That simple task taught me how exceptionally creative my brain can get.
If you are Ugandan and you just rolled your eyes – spend a week without complaining or speaking negatively about your leaders/taxis/bodas/rolex guy. Then come back and tell me.
If you are PhD student who just rolled your eyes… the task would include not uttering a negative thing about your university, your program, your research, your benefits, your research, your conference deadlines…
If any of you just went “but…”, welcome to my world!
It has been 8 weeks of habit forming and the ever so subtle mind shift on habits long ingrained. It has also been 8 weeks of saying, “Oh my gosh, I needed to read that chapter!“, “Dang! This week that chapter was about me“, “That is the principle I should have applied this week“… to the point of literally feeling like a broken record.
At first, like the fabulously studious individual that I am, homework was to be done on Wednesday night. Class was on Thursday at 0000hrs (7am UG), so this was my excuse, working on Wednesday night would ensure I’m awake for class. One random week, I felt an inner challenge to try reading the chapter a day after class. Basically, don’t wait for next Wednesday, do the reading on Friday… **insert boom emoji. It was a total light bulb moment! Now, instead of reflective analysis, I had strategies… My game shifted.
It has also been 8 weeks of toying with the idea of a new law…
psst, if your chai is finished, go grab yourself another cup... this second cup can be Kericho Gold… any flavor!
My mind has been toying with the frequency with which tools and strategies have presented themselves/materialized/been discussed within my hearing. I’ve been equally intrigued at their relevance to my specific life circumstances. I have a sneaky suspicion that the space itself is the cause. My choice/decision to enter this space put me in proximity to the solutions I really needed. This, even though my decision was made with a less than great attitude. Thus, I submit to you, that the 16th invaluable law of growth should be the Law of Attraction. **insert that Ludwig Göransson score
Many people hold the belief that if you put it out in the universe (and Twitter), the universe will hear and respond to your request. I’m here theorizing that there are some spaces and situations that you walk into and things just start to happen. LOL! Really, there is no eloquent way to put it, things just start to happen. Honestly, it is a little eerie how on the nose some of these things are.
One example, I was reading the chapter on trade-offs, but something remained unanswered. I wasn’t sure what, I didn’t voice it (because I wasn’t sure how). The next week, I go to the library app and I check out a book by Greg McKeown called Essentialism. If you’ve read this book, you just smiled, didn’t you? The entire book, or rather the 85% I’ve gotten through is basically the practical extension of the trade-off chapter.
Many people believe that if you put it out in the universe (and Twitter), the universe will hear your request. I’m here theorizing that there are some spaces and situations that you walk into and… LOL! Really, there is no eloquent way to put it… things just start to happenTweet
Another example? Okay. During one of the weeks, I really felt like I needed to figure out how to take time off. I needed a retreat. I needed to pause and reflect. I reached out to multiple friends for help and ideas (some of you are reading this! S/O to y’all!!). Picked different places, balked at the prices then stopped and started again. Then I found a place within budget and now was the task of… what will I do once there… Would you like to guess what that week’s class was about? The Law of Reflection: the importance & tools of pausing to reflect.
I am data point of one, with many sub data points. If you have taken any of these classes, I’m curious, have you seen my proposed law in action as you have walked through the class? Would you mind sharing any examples you have? Or perhaps you feel this proposed law should take a different shape? Come, let’s have a conversation about it. I will not pretend that this suggestion is similar to the constant, k. No. Very few things are unchanging, this proposed 16th law might change or grow or burn to the ground. LOL! But before that last one, let us reason and debate about how you may have seen it play out in your lived experience on this growth journey.
So one last time, as I put down this pen and reflect on both the hard won wisdom I have earned this summer, and all these thoughts that I hope you have read with indulgence. It has been a summer of teaching myself to say goodbye to lost hopes and dreams.
Nooow! Somebarry, say Now!
Now, I anticipate with pleasing expectation my coming rest!
Credits: All photos are mine. Lastly, this blog also contains a nod to the genius that is Lin (in my head we are on first name basis)! So many of his songs have been part of my LOA experience this summer. I simply really couldn't resist. Don't be too mad! Add a little playfulness to your life!