I grew up in a village partially surrounded by wide stretches of open land. In a building that comfortably housed my grandparents, my parents, me and my sister. There was a large garden behind our house, with other farm buildings and a field where different things were grown depending on the year. My cousins’ house was on the same yard as ours and not a day passed by without us playing together and visiting each other. I grew up in a warm-hearted community surrounded by beautiful natural spaces.
It wasn’t until I started living in the UK that I realised how strongly my well-being is related to the open countryside and to kind-hearted interactions that come with communal living. I think that these two aspects of life are so strongly ingrained in our systems that without them we stop thriving. Of course, we thrive in some communities and in some spaces more than in others, but it is a task of an adult to figure out exactly where we thrive.
A while ago I listened to a wonderful conversation between Kirsta Tippet and Maria Popova. They discussed a different type of space to the physical and the communal that I mentioned above. They were talking about the moments in our day when our minds are least burdened, the moments when great ideas pop up in our heads, when we shower, for example. The moments of unburdened cognitive space.
I often think about questions related to good leadership. Partially because I think that a role of a mother has to do a lot with good leadership, but also because I would like to be a good leader for myself. (Who wouldn’t like to lead their life beautifully, eh?) I really feel now that in order to be a good leader in our overloaded times we need to be able to create for ourselves and others as much unburdened cognitive space as possible – sometimes that space comes with a reduction of tasks, sometimes with a reduction of judgment that we throw at ourselves and others, and other times just with holidays or a daily meditation. But the most space we get is when we practise all of those… with great quantities of love. The more we love ourselves and the people who we are with, the more we strive for balance (rather than praise or control). Only then can we become for others what we always hoped for: a delicate and energizing light.