He called me shortly after his summer holiday. He has had three weeks off and still felt rushed. He had not been able to get rid of his work, had had the laptop open daily. And now going back to work feels as a very heavy load on his shoulders. The feeling of having to do something all the time and making long days again. There are less and less good ideas coming out of him, he feels that his contribution to the team is worth less and that is really disappointing for him.
We meet at an NS train station, to take a reflection walk from there. It is beautiful late summer weather and we have the whole morning. The first hour is like a waterfall of words. Everything comes out, frustration, fear, uncertainty. The rushing is noticeable in his walking, as if the last train leaves at the end of the walk within the hour.
Then silence is coming in and his step slows down. Finally the peace to absorb the environment. The cloudy skies above the dunes, a skittish deer that starts to run, a roar of a male deer in the distance. A herd of half wild grazing horses on the open plain. And further away dozens of species of birds on a small pond between the dunes. It is so quiet that we can hear the flapping of the wings and the landing of the birds on the water. No words are needed, just walk, enjoy what is there, clear the head.
The reward at the top
And then climb the last dune before the beach, heavy and slow up through the loose sand, the liberating feeling at the top with a wide view over the sea. After a deep sigh, we start with the reflection questions, taking plenty of time for each question and writing down the answer. The wind blows through our hair, the sun gives a pleasant warmth while the freshness of autumn is already in the air.
Reflection brings order to chaos
The vastness of the beach and the sea help him to look again with an open mind. The right question at the right time to create order in the chaos he has created for himself. As we approach the end of the walk, it has become much clearer to him how things work for him, in which pitfalls he keeps stepping. He knows what he has to do and has even formulated the concrete initial actions for this. On the way to the station, I notice that his pace is lighter and I see a smile on his face.
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