Holding all that passion back

Holding all that passion back

Restraint has so many possibilities as a powerful word for me. I realize that with restraint I can be at full permission and have my full range of expression and the full palate of emotions to draw upon in any moment, and yet have a kind of patience holding them back. I can have all my desires and appetites and mouth watering gourmet and eyes popping out of my head want to savor, and yet have a kind of compassionate hand that is in front of me like a crossing guard who holds the children back on the corner before she lets them cross the street. Restraint is that patience and that compassionate hand that holds back all my passion and desire from blurping uncontrollably out into the world. It denies nothing. It doesn’t say “no” it says “wait a bit and see what’s coming”. Then choices can be made.

I am teaching myself restraint when it comes to eating. Sometimes I am successful at learning the lessons and sometimes not. Yesterday was a day when I experienced both success and failure. Success at breakfast with both restraint and moderation. I love it when I am able to restrain myself from filling my bowl with oatmeal or whatever and then as I eat consciously discover that not only did I restrain myself from filling my bowl I also discover, through staying conscious, that I don’t even want all of what I did take. Whew that feels good. At lunch I did the restraint part perfectly and chose just the right amount to put on my plate so that I didn’t need to practice moderation as I consciously ate and finished what I had put on my plate and left room for a little granola desert treat. Now dinner was another story. I went to dinner with Sam and Doug & Walker Silsbee who own the Bend of Ivy retreat center and are very spiritual folks who are very aligned with Sam and me in so many ways. I practiced moderation in the appetizer course we all shared and when it came time to order entrees I ordered a delicious Gorganzola Pollo Pomadora which was a grilled chicken served over penne pasta in a gorgonzola cream sauce with some spinach and sun dried tomatoes in it. Well it was tasty and I was staying pretty conscious as I ate it and stayed in the conversation and there was this point when I looked down and realized that I was done and there was still about a third of the food left in the bowl. I preceded to nibble my way through the remainder of the dish as we sat and had some great conversation. I vaguely recall a point where I decided to go unconscious and not restrain myself from eating the rest. In retrospect it was a very interesting moment and I can’t seem to get my mind wrapped around what happened in that moment. I can come up with all sorts of excuses but I can’t find the real reason that I made that choice. I will keep stalking it though.

The main reason I wanted to write about restraint this morning though isn’t about food and eating. The main reason is in my Leadership. R4 is all about beginning to hand over the reigns of Leadership to the participants and that requires restraint that I realized last night that I am not practicing. I am so passionate about the learning and I have great desire to create as much deep learning as possible that I run out into the street right through the compassionate arm of the crossing guard. And it works people love that I do it and great learning is had by all but the actual responsibility is still completely mine and I am not handing it over very well to the group. Now that I am conscious of it I will practice restraint more today and patience and I must tomorrow as we get to the official handoff of the baton of leadership. I get a little nervous that I have done too much and it is too late. It is like when I finished that Pollo Pomadora last night and knew I had gone too far and it was too late.

Well I know it will always work out because it always does.

3 responses to “Restraint

  1. Hi Henry,

    I like the compassionate hand as a metaphor for restraint — the kind mother who coaches her children through life, keeping them out of harms way. However, I know from experience that when the hand doesn’t let go every so often, she becomes a controlling force that invites rebellion.

    So GOOD for you choosing to let go and indulging the senses. There’s no restraint without letting go, just like there are no mountains without valleys or happiness without sadness.

    Sounds to me like you are doing great at the 1/3! I imagine the hand-off of the baton could be a different story without Karen around…


  2. Hi Henry….

    Ummmm….. gorgonzola cream sauce….. you could put that over sawdust and I would be drawn to it….

    Love what you are saying about restraint. I’ve had a bit of a failure in my journey this week, and it has me collapse and lose my capacity for restraint. that’s whre I am and what I’m looking at currently.

    I love the connection you make to R4 – I can relate to that. For me, I imagine that it’s a bit connected to ego for me. I love to go for and create deep learning just because I love doing that — and also because it is an ego boost because I get attention doing that. Seems to me that – especially in the R4 context – the longer term reward of exercising restraint is potentially even more rich. Just like the food…. I know that the longer term reward of restraint is (or will be) even more rich than that gorgonzola-laced cream sauce would be right now.

    Keep going — you are an inspiration.



  3. Oh all this talk of failure from great leaders really bugs me. It seems to me that we need to celebrate our falls, they are inevitable and indeed they are vital, for the entire process…. I realise you have a goal, and what I got from yesterdays post was that it wasn’t really about the goal, it was about the deliciousness of consciousness. So I suppose the goal is a quest, and the quest is really about the journey and the journey well that can be………..
    Love you Henry… and Art…

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