I’m writing this as I am serenaded by birds chirping outside my window, preparing for sunset.

And suddenly I’m acutely aware of the juxtaposition of those sounds of nature with so much of the noise in our world screaming — bigger, faster, stronger, scalable, more, more, more!

I see it all around me. Especially in the emails from companies promising to share (sell) their secret equation to bringing in 6 to 7 figures a month, increase my SEO, or improve my efficiency.

This is not unique to business pitches, either. It’s everywhere around us. We’ve become a society that prides itself on consumption, production, stress, and busyness.

But what if more isn’t the answer?

What would slowing down to imagine possibilities feel like?

What might unfold in the spaces between being and doing?

What wisdom is already present in the collective?

These are the types of questions I geek out over in my learning, evaluation, and strategy work.

Because I wholeheartedly believe that the magic is in the process, the people, the relationships, the history, and the conversations. The magic is in the learning and the unlearning. The magic IS the messy middle.

Maybe you’re in the messy middle right now. Or your organization. Or your evaluation. That space in between what has been and what’s to come can feel overwhelming. But that’s also what makes life…well…life.

We’re constantly becoming and unbecoming. Growing, evolving, shapeshifting. We know that takes time. Just look at the blooms emerging this spring.

The thorny branches of a pink rose bush, drip with morning dew.

I walk through our neighborhood park, watching as the gardens evolve. I have become familiar with the seasons for tulips, roses, and dahlias. I look forward to seeing the changes each year, noticing what is similar and what is different or new. Some years are more vibrant in color, some are more prolific in plants, and sometimes we have a drought.

How are you noticing these shifts and blooms in your work?

So often we don’t give ourselves, our organizations, or our learning, evaluation, and strategy work the same grace as we do nature. We don’t pause to celebrate where we’ve been or to give ourselves time to plan (or plant). We don’t honor the seasons.

What season are you in right now?

Are you growing, planning, shifting, hibernating, celebrating, grieving?

All of the above?

I know I’m feeling the push and pull of change and growth these days, leaning into the certainty of uncertainty. How can we not be while watching the world around us, eyes and hearts wide open?

Deep breaths. In. And out.

That’s all. I don’t have a bunch of resources or a big fancy sales pitch. I just wanted to pop in and say I see you. I see you in the messy middle, and I’m proud of you.

And I wonder, as we move to our next task, meeting, evaluation, deliverable, etc., what might we welcome in if we paused and instead moved with the rhythm of nature?