The world is not easy to navigate. It’s complex and drains a lot of energy from you. Complicated connections. Pull one thing and a whole lot of others come apart, too.
Sometimes, when we don’t do anything except witness–watch and wait, take notes before acting or jumping to conclusions–we get more information. That step–being a witness instead of a fixer–holds the space for learning.
Choosing to be a fixer means we rush in with an answer, a suggestion, a solution as soon as we sense the connection is complicated. We want to simplify it, cut it apart, all before we are sure what the problem really is. Because solving problems gives us a shot at being a hero. If we are a witness, and wait for information, well, time could be lost.
Time doesn’t get lost. We do, but time does not. Time knows exactly where it is. When we stand still, stay calm, witness, take notes, don’t give advice till we know what we are doing, we catch up with time. We gather information. We don’t take on work that isn’t ours to do. We see what is ready to resolve itself without our help.
And then, in the sharp shadow of understanding, the information becomes not only clear, but beautiful. Sometimes without our getting involved at all. The shadow of the fence on the sidewalk shows, not the complicated twisted pattern, but a simple light and dark outline of connections.
The other side of complicated is not simple, it’s waiting. So we can learn more.
—Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach who learns on her walks every day.