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Good evening dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. I am early this week. Six weeks back I wrote an article on Enlightenment. I made the following comments in Paragraph three:                                                                                  “…the inevitable pressure is always on & I feel as though the silent majority just follow, because it is the seen thing to do. Not until it is too late & the damage done & change is irrevocable, the comments come: what a silly idea it all was…

More importantly, I have been reflecting on my comment: Accordingly, we must begin to learn it is actually good to stop, rest, & take time to soak in the gifts which we already enjoy. If you have not done so already, I want to challenge you to study this for yourself.  Because if you do not have a conviction about this, the gravitational pull to busyness & the resultant loss of productivity will always suck you in.

More than ever, it is imperative for leaders to take time away for thinking & reflection about where we are & where we are headed. Even though intuitively we know this would be good & beneficial for us personally, these times alone rarely make it onto our calendars. I would argue in order to maintain emotional health, you have to make time for personal retreat.

If you’ve ever watched the Indy 500, you know that no one wins the race without making pit stops. Pit stops allow the tires to be changed, adjustments to be made, & the tank to be refuelled. In business today, we have to learn how to take personal pit stops so we can consider where we are headed & what mid-race adjustments need to be made.

One of the most important rhythms the life of a leader is a constant back & forth motion between times when we are engaged in the battle ~ giving our best energy to take the next hill ~ and times of retreat when are not ‘on’ & we do not have to be any particular way for anyone. Time when we can rest, relax & charge batteries, for the sake of our own soul.  [1]

Leaders who stay healthy are those who learn the rhythm of advance & retreat. There are times when we are focused on the mission & taking the next hill. But you cannot stay on the front lines forever. You have to rest & regroup. In fact, the more fierce & intense the battle, the more often you have to retreat.

For me, times of personal retreat have had two powerful benefits: Replenishing my soul Re-calibrating my perspective. As I ponder my outlook reminds me of what is really important. The goal of solitude is not so much to unplug from my crazy world as it is to change frequencies so I can listen. “Solitude does not give us the power to win the rat race, but to ignore it altogether.”  [2]

And Andrew Bonar has wisely said “In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone. It is not in society the soul grows most vigorously. In one single quiet hour will often make more progress than in days of company with others.  It is in the desert that the dew falls freshest & the air is purest.” 

So, how about it?  Pull up your calendar right now and schedule a twenty-four-hour personal retreat. I promise, it will not kill you, the world will manage without you, & you will be healthier for it. Hence the reason for my being early this week… Oh, & I should not forget, a night @ Eden park in Auckland tomorrow to watch our Mighty Tasman Mako team beat Auckland. This must surely rest the soul…

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next week. [3]

[1] Ruth Barton & Harvey O'Brien are Irish Council for humanities & social sciences postdoctoral research fellows working at the center for film studies at University College Dublin.
[2] Richard Foster

Kenn Butler
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