Those are the golden sessions; when four or five of us after a hard day’s walk have come to our inn; when our slippers are on, our feet spread out toward the blaze and our drinks are at our elbows; when the whole world, and something beyond the world, opens itself to our minds as we talk; and no one has any claim on or any responsibility for another, but all are freemen and equals as if we had first met an hour ago, while at the same time an Affection mellowed by the years enfolds us. Life — natural life — has no better gift to give.
These moments are where the magic happens, where great ideas are born, where people gather the courage they need to do the work they were destined to do. Where are the golden sessions? Without them we are not what we could be.
Golden sessions don’t happen by accident. They don’t come together spontaneously with the football game blaring in the background or with half of the people checking for updates on their mobile devices. We may think, in this uber connected day and age, that we’ve already derived all the value that can be had from a session like this. I think we are wrong.
No, a session like this must be carefully constructed. The subtleties are very important. Making a session like this happen is an art form all by itself. Here are some key ingredients.
- A shared journey – You need people who are on the same journey. It doesn’t have to be the very same project or mission, but the same struggle in a general sense, a difficult road that each is familiar with.
- A place of rest – All the signals have to indicate that it is time to pause and rest. You need a place that reminds us that we can let our guard down and prepare to be nourished, that we have come to our inn.
- Comfort – We need to be comfortable and warm and nourished. All immediate threats must be removed so we can be truly present.
- Dialogue – We talk. We could spend a lifetime learning the art of conversation, and we should.
- Mutual respect – Imagine, no claim or responsibility for the others, just free equals who are present because they want to be.
The power of these sessions could not be overstated. We need them to nourish our souls. If you devoted yourself to making these happen and had any measure of success it will have been well worth the effort. Go and find your golden sessions… or even better, go and make them happen.