Rest, relationships, and leadership

Rest, relationships, and leadership

Our way of being in the world is relational. Who we are is relational. How we are is relational. A way of being that is ‘restful’ is also relational.

How I am ‘in’ relationship with myself and others is integral to how I am rest-full in my every day living. My sense of rest personally is constructed within the context of the many inter-relationships I find myself in.

It is more typical to associate rest with an individual whereas the reality of being ‘in’ rest involves many relationships. Rest then might be seen as a quality of the relationships ‘between’ us. Another person’s way of being then influences my rest.

Notice too that rest is not being considered here in relation to being busy or task related, rather in relation to the relational nature of our collective ‘way of being’.

What links can be made then to the nature of leadership?

How often do we describe ducational leaders as restful beings?
How often do we describe educational organisations as restful organisations?
How as educational leaders do we engender or enable a great sense of rest with our educational communities?
Is being restful, antithetical to being a leader and model for others?


A rest-full ‘way of being’


I’ve been thinking about imposed rest. Can you actually impose rest? Or is it that we require a change in our immediate activity and / or remain in a particular place?

Thought of in this way, the imposition for rest relates to activity and place, rather than our ‘way of being’. We can limit and change activity and place, but we are powerless to enforce ‘rest’.

We influence the openness of our ‘way of being’ toward rest. We make every day decisions about our appointments and tasks for the day that influence the restfulness of our way of being.

As we make decisions we can enable or limit the opportunity for being full of rest, ‘rest-full’. Our decision making, or lack of decision making, influences ‘how’ we are and ‘how’ experience relationships that are near to us.

Just as we need days of rest, I think we also need to find restful ways of being in our everyday lives.

I’m heading home today from five days of intravenous medication in hospital. The infection in my ear has been dealt to and is returning to normal.

In my time in hospital I have reviewed four research proposals, answered my emails, and given thought to my week ahead. While this might sound busy, I’ve actually enjoyed these activities, in the knowledge that the school of education has many wonderful leaders who are building the school in my absence.

As I come to leave this place, my thoughts are with Pauline, fishing, driving, second hand shops in Strathalbyn, our extended family of five children and our four beautiful grandchildren. (That’s right, there’s no activity or space for work, administration, or any form of work related reading). This is how I reach for restful ways of being this weekend.


Imposed rest

Lying in a hospital bed as I write, I am pondering my acceptance of a rest that is given; required, somewhat imposed. Normally, I appreciate moments of being ‘in’ rest. Not so easy finding the way to be from a constrained environment (and yet this is analogous to our everyday way of being); albeit, my current home is very present.

There is an aspect of surrendering to rest as spaces for see-ing, hear-ing differently, of wondering about our being. Yielding is not initially rationale, controlled, held. Rather yielding ‘as’ a letting go, letting rest find us, being towards openings …

Resting spaces as openings to ‘let learning’ come; indeed let thoughts find us (Heidegger).

D Giles 21 May 2013

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