Corona times

Hiking leads to deeper (self-)reflection….

Were there always so many birds? Was it always this quiet in the forest? Did I always notice so many trees in bloom when it was spring?

Twice a day I walk through the forest with my dog, often accompanied by my partner. We are blessed because there are several treed areas in our neighbourhood.

As I walk along, my dog running ahead, I try to figure out where I am in the middle of this crisis. I ask myself: am I afraid? How will the future look for our children and grandchildren? What if our son’s business goes down the drain?

I quite literally stop in my tracks and plunk myself on a tree stump. One question definitely begs more reflection: how is it that I so appreciate the silence nowadays?

What does that tell me? Am I really at rest? And, if so…why couldn’t I feel that kind of peaceful state before Corona? And, deeper yet: why didn’t I stand still more often?

Was I one of those people who just ran from here to there…making appointments everywhere....arriving just in time to meet my supervisee....who had the right to expect my full attention.

I realize then...I have been distracted.....my mother in a care facility, my overwhelming joy and involvement with our grandchildren, volunteer work (I cannot say no), tasks at home, attention for my partner, family and friends, readIng the book of the month selection for my book club, writing something for my national association of supervisors, choosing a film for our film club.......I could go on and on like this.

It strikes me.....how much time did I really take to be ready for a supervision session? When I reflect on this, I ……..this has to go in a different way….

Once, during a discussion in our education for supervision, a fellow student commented: ‘I make sure that for an hour before a client is due to arrive, I have nothing to do.

This ensures that I am fully ‘empty’ and able to be fully open to listening—to be available and totally in the moment with my supervisee.’

I remember, that at the time, the group reacted somewhat uncomfortably…you can permit yourself this?

There may have been some jealousy… I remember my reaction.....I quietly chuckled a bit.

But now….I have that time…I have that hour to prepare for a session. These meetings are now held on Skype, but still…

A new phenomenen: having time....taking time before your client virtually enters the room.

Alting von Geusau, éminence grise in the field of supervision, once wrote a column about the value of preparation and reflection. He felt that time spent in reflection after a session was even more valuable than time spent in consideration beforehand. Reflection was more informative and instructive: what happened, what did I do, what did I hear, what did I feel?

He advised that the supervisor should train his/her listening skills by reading poetry and/or listening to music and suggested the modern and somewhat atonal compositions of Arvo Pärt (Estonia).

So, today: now that there is enough time, enough room in our lives....what do we all do? We offer and take suggestions: read Thomas Mann (Magic mountain) again, listen to beautiful music, read poems.

The advice from Alting von Geusau often puzzled me but now suddenly falls into place. The only difference is that I am going to follow his advice even before the client comes into my office.

Returning from my walk I pass a schoolyard. Normally shouting and laughter would be heard from the playground....happy children, playing. Now it is deafeningly silent.

Only the birds... twitter…..

Were there always so many birds there?

Gerian Dijkhuizen april 2020
geriandijkhuizen@gmail.com

www.geriandijkhuizen.nl