A workshop without content

February 21, 2021

I ran a workshop last week that had no content and it went quite well.

We talked about listening, about poetry, and about places and spaces that gave us peace.

We reflected on how words made us feel and not what those words had to say. We wondered how others may feel receiving our words, because meaning is not just in the keystrokes, but in the relationships we have influenced beforehand and in the fragile webbing of interests in which our words come to rest.

We talked about pauses as the buttresses for our busy lives on which we must learn to rest our weary minds. We didn’t talk about the projects, the objectives and the strategies of our work. But we noticed that without the pauses the tangle of tasks tested us more.

We noticed how helping someone else to feel heard seemed to matter more to us than having something to say ourselves. To create the time and place for the words of others to be heard was to amplify our own contribution without saying a word.

It was a workshop without content.

It was a workshop about emptying crowded spaces, and allowing feelings to be felt again rather than just remembered from the past. It was about noticing the feelings of others in the peacefulness of the pauses we made when the noise would be still.

The relentlessness of our working lives is a daily test of our endurance to be resilient to the volume, both the amount and the noise. We learn to cope, to get through, and to be there at the end; but it is hardly to thrive.

My gentle enquiry therefore is to ask whether it is the content that really matters to you?

I suspect you are already wise enough, that you know more than enough to perform your tasks, and that you will achieve enough, because you strive and you care; but it is still not the content you need.

When you already know enough, the difference you make is not to know more, but in how the words you choose make others feel about what you know.

When you can do everything that is expected of you, task after task after task, the difference you make is not the next task, but knowing how to pause between tasks so that you honour your talent and fulfil your needs too.

When you have been there before and have a wardrobe full of t-shirts, the difference you make is allowing others to be heard for their potential to have its time and place to thrive.

The workshop had no content, but it went quite well.

Take care. Paul xx

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