After nearly 20 years of working in high octane environments with no real breaks beyond vacations, I decided to take one.
I had lost my father.
I had lost my vision of what I thought work and leadership were.
I wanted to unravel who I had become without a title or company to anchor my identity.
I wanted to disconnect from technology and connect more with myself. I wanted to create myself with more intention.
My days were full of more questions than answers, more space to think than emails to answer, and more solitude to embrace than meetings to attend.
I wrote more.
I read more.
I slept more.
I meditated more.
During a one-week stint with no phone, access to email, texts, tweets, or any connection to the world except for a landline, I wrote this, on the grass, under the sun, with a blank-paged green notebook, and a blue Sharpie.
I Forgot to Listen.
I Forgot that birds chirp in different languages.
I Forgot that the sound of silence makes my shoulders go down.
I Forgot how easy it is to know a person’s story if we just listen—
Not the “uh huh” kind of listening—
The “I get you” kind.
I Forgot to See.
I Forgot that there were so many shades of blue in the world.
I Forgot how the bamboo trees swayed and that a very early morning sunrise is deep orange.
I Forgot how deeply I can see someone—really see them when I ask how they’re doing—
Not the surface ”how are you?” kind of seeing—
The “I’m with you” kind.
I Forgot to Feel.
I Forgot how soft and reassuring the breeze can be against my face.
I Forgot how to authentically answer, “How are you?” when it’s not all good.
I Forgot how deeply I can feel another’s pain when they do not know what is next—
Not the surface level “I’m sorry” feeling—
The “I’m here for you…anytime” kind.
Now I Remember.
And I’m working every day
to never Forget