During this very strange and unprecedented time of COVID-19, I am discovering just how essential and integral rest and recovery are to leadership development. Just like the natural process of metamorphosis that a caterpillar undergoes to become a butterfly, I feel like COVID-19 has forced me into a sacred cocoon of rest, refection, and recovery. It is during this uncertain duration of time that I must adapt my plans to meet the reality of life in full appreciation of the continued growth that this time is yielding. I have also found that a trusting, patient and calm demeanor is more effective than trying to control the environment and/or growth process. Prior to being “forced” to stay home in light of this global pandemic, I would have never taken such amount of time in my Fellowship for introspection and social isolation. In fact, all of my Fellowship events up to this point have been so heavily enriched and influenced by social interaction that I would never have expected just how much I have been learning and appreciating about myself during this time of solitude.
The time of reflection and solitude was just the type of spiritual release that was necessary to help me appreciate my being and evolve as a person. I have been able to process and appreciate the many aspects of my personal and professional life that make me the person I am today. The reality of the time has also evoked more emotion than I was prepared to release but has been a wake-up call for my need to take more opportunities to relish in the quiet, as one with the present. There is so much beauty to behold in even the most seemingly mundane of tasks and I would like to be more intentional about being present in those experiences to enhance my leadership and reflective practices.
One very prominent recurring theme I discovered within my Fellowship’s reflective practices is my innate connection to the spirit of my grandmothers. The entire process of my Fellowship journey has led me to posthumous connections to the beautiful spirits of my grandmothers whose wisdom and legacies seem to reside within me. I have been called intimately to each of them, or they have made their presence known, at various points of my Fellowship process from application to the present. Through each interaction I discover more similarities to them, especially during points of adversity and resilience.
This realization reminds me that my leadership is very conscious of the past, in recognition of and appreciation for the work that my predecessors have done to enable me to continue the work that they started. The constant unfolding of new narratives about my grandmas’ lives, like the work of my predecessors, demonstrates a multifaceted world of aspects of their roles that I am ignorant to, but extremely open to learn from. Each generation bears their own unique burdens of society and personal issues that impact their work, but we’re all connected in the spirit of resilience. In learning about my grandmas and/or my predecessors, the common theme of fond recollection has been the legacy of the art of the resilience that was demonstrated in their deepest moments of adversity.
Aside from the amazing stories of resilience and the characteristics of their beings that were demonstrated in those times, the other most vivid recollections of my grandmas come from the hobbies and interests (sustaining practices) that they engaged in during their lifetimes. Through hearing these stories, the fabric of their lives that I was most ignorant to becomes more vivid, and it has become clear to me that my hobbies and interests are integral aspects of my leadership that will complement the other intentional practices to sustain my work. In fact, this realization has prompted me to do more things out of sheer interest and to view them as essential to my sanity and performance. In the fast-paced and goal-driven reality of life it is easy to forget to simply enjoy life. My Fellowship journey has been calling me back to a healthy restoration of my work-life balance.
Overall, my Fellowship has provided such amazing experiences and opportunities so far that have influenced my leadership development. Through the Bush Fellowship journey, I am learning to meet and accept myself at each stage of my development and trust that things come exactly when they are supposed to. In doing this I have also found that things tend to happen more gracefully and naturally. Like a caterpillar metamorphosizing, my Fellowship journey has been one of supernatural and scientific transformation of which I endure in grateful anticipation of the day when I emerge as butterfly—or an evolved version of who I’ve always been.