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Ways of Seeing

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint Exupery, The Little Prince

When I lead retreats and workshops, I always invite participants to experience 5 minutes of seeing.

I was prompted to try it the first time many years ago with a group struggling with the idea that there are many ways of seeing and hearing. I asked them to stand up and line up along a bank of windows. It happened to be snowing. They stood and looked out for an uncomfortable length of time, some turning to look at me and see if we were done yet. At 4-5 minutes I asked, “What do you see?”. It took several seconds, and then, “snow” …. giggles…then, “beauty, magic, awe, power….”

One of the easiest places to do that is Glacier National Park. It is a powerful, magical place. However, one must be still, quiet, and aware to see and hear.

I took a friend on a classic hike there a few years ago. There were hundreds of people clamoring around climbing up a boardwalk. We moved by a woman who sat down while her partner took photos and I heard her say, “If you sit down you see more.

When you see these photos, look beyond “lake, water, mountains, sky….”

See beyond the nouns to the verbs, the experience of what is sometimes referred to as essence, not form. If you sit with a tree for a few minutes, or even just looking at a tree. it will reveal much more than the physical form of the tree.

And, everything in the natural world has a practical application to leadership, how teams function, and what we are trying to do at work. It’s all patterns. Biomimicry suggests that the natural world not only informs us about product development but social systems.

Pretty cool.

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