Pay Attention

On Sunday we packed a lunch and drove up to Golden Gate Canyon. The day had that crisp and golden quality that feels reminiscent of other Indian Summer days. Our plan was to hike a couple of miles back in and have our picnic lunch before making a trek down the mountain.

I hadn't taken the time lately to get out and enjoy nature, or even to get any exercise. It was great fun to share the beauty of the day with friends. The movement of my body as we powered up the hill and the magic of the yellow aspens woven between the dark lush green of the pines was like a tonic, and I just couldn't stop drinking it.
 
We came across an old homesteader’s cabin in the center of a narrow valley. Rock formations created a natural protection on either side. We read the historical information about the pioneer who had lived there almost 150 years before. It was said he had such a gentle heart when it came to his animals, that he had to have a neighbor come each time one of his cows had to be killed. He would go inside the cabin and cover his ears trying to hide from the moment the gun would take the life of one of his animal friends.
 
I can relate to trying to hide from unpleasantness. Thankfully, I don't have to bury my head to avoid listening to a gun shot, but who doesn't from time to time attempt to avoid things that are painful or distasteful? Do you ever hide your head, plug your ears, and pretend that:
  • Everything is okay with your health. "I'll start taking better care of myself after I get done with..."
  • Key relationships are strong and healthy. "I'm going to start spending more quality time with my (partner, child, friend, parent, brother, sister) as soon as we..."
  • Someday you will have more time to (read, write, paint, dance, ride bikes, go to the gym, take a class).
 The day was so vibrant that we ended up taking the long way back, hiking nine miles or so. My knees and feet were screaming at me the last few miles, and my legs were sore for a couple days but it was just impossible to stop. I had pretended for too long that other things were more important and now my body was reminding me that I had kept my head buried for too long in my day-to-day responsibilities. I had forgotten the most important responsibility, the one I have to myself. If you listen carefully, the world has a way of saying when it’s time to stop hiding.  Pay attention.
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Deb Siverson

Deb Siverson is passionate about helping organizations drive results through connected and transparent conversations in the workplace. She is the author of the book, "The Cycle of Transformation: igniting organizational change through the leader coach." Deb's expertise includes organizational performance consulting, design and delivery of leadership development programs, customized team development, and individual and systems coaching. Deb holds a BS in Business from Regis University and an MS in Organizational Leadership from University of Colorado-Boulder. She serves on the board of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

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