Random Conversations

Pausing to Reflect – A Conversation with Oneself

Pausing to Reflect – A Conversation with Oneself

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‘Tis the season to pause and reflect on the year that is ending – our year at work, our semester at school, the year in our personal lives. But how do we do that?

I’ve been reflecting on the act of reflection. There are countless ways to reflect, depending on the subject and any emotions tied around it. What occurs to me is that the act of reflecting engages us in a conversation with ourselves. Of course, I want to make that a delicious one!

I reflect to understand events, experiences, people that touch my life and to discover what I can learn. Often, that learning will be applicable elsewhere – currently or in the future.

What Can We Learn?

One of my favorite people I never met is George Dawson. I was introduced to him on CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes in the late 1990s. In 2000, he co-wrote Life is So Good, a book about his life. He was born in 1898 to parents who were only a generation away from being slaves. He never had the opportunity to learn how to read or write – until he was in his late 90s.

There are so many phenomenal stories to share about this man. One that stays with me touches on the power of reflection. His children had no idea their father could not read. They said he would come home and ask if they did their homework, which they had. He would then ask,

“What did you learn from that?”

What a powerful question! It allowed his children to sift through their studies, create deeper understandings, and anchor that learning by articulating what they had learned. That clever George also found a way to get his own education through these conversations.

Where Can We Apply That Learning?

Reflecting on what we have learned and applying it elsewhere takes learning to a new level. We can allow curiosity to expand our thinking into new areas and silence the internal voice that can step in to judge the merit of an idea. Thinking needs to flow unimpeded.

Before Covid changed so much of our world, I had the opportunity to deliver training onsite for a client for over two years. Each course was designed with multiple reflection points to embed learning.

What was meaningful for you about this concept or experience? How might you apply it in your work, or with your team, or in your life?

The final reflection was always about the course itself. What was most meaningful to you in what we covered and how will you use it? One person raised his hand and quietly said, “I really like that reflection stuff.” I hope he continues to use it.

Care to Try?

Reflection starts with a question. One of my favorites is one of the most simple:

What is the best thing that happened to you today?

Even on the worst day possible, there is always something that went a little bit better – a kind word from a stranger, a friend appearing when needed, the comfort of a steaming cup of tea. Choose that.

A shift occurs when we reflect on the positive. Hearts open, spirits lift, and feelings of wellbeing wash over us – quite a delicious conversation.

Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2022 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

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