Last December I was in Melbourne working and living for a month there. As I usually do I registered to several events I could find on Eventbrite. One of them was a leadership session with Leadership Partners.

Leadership is about business but it’s also, and at the core, about the person. This session was extremely personal and gently forced us to look inward and share our vulnerabilities with the room.

Feeling things, saying them to ourselves and speaking them out are 3 very different, indispensable and evolving steps. Verbalising our thoughts and feelings is the best and surest way to make them really sink in. It’s like moving things out of the shadows of our mind into the light of our words. Taking the time to think, feel and search inside for those words can make all the difference.

Several times these past two years the magic happened when I took a few minutes to just stay still, close my eyes and listen quietly to finally hear a word resonating in my mind: one word clear as a bell, that makes sense for me, helps me understand my journey and better see my future.

One of those time was at that session when Tim asked us to reflect on a question for 2 minutes then share and elaborate for maximum 3 minutes with 2 other persons: “Thinking about this past year, what would you want to be celebrated for?”

I sat there, closed my eyes, thinking about people, then about me and what I should be cheering myself on about this past year. Then I stayed silent in my mind and listen in… one word came out: “acceptance”.

I felt it. It summed up and concluded several milestones I had made the past years: despair, difficulty, rethink, self awareness, compassion, vision, lack of vision, stillness and finally that acceptance. Having a mental image of a world fallen down to pieces, being able to look at those spread out pieces that I can’t yet reconstruct and be ok with it somehow.

Nothing bad happened to me. All this shattering I created willingly. It started with a discussion about slaughterhouses and down I went the rabbit hole. Once I started looking into the meat industry, I couldn’t help but keep reading and watching. No matter my tears, the blinders had to come down. In a few weeks I was vegetarian, in a few months vegan… and it never stops. It was really hard not to question each and everything. Adding to that the constant reminder of global cruelty, I could see how despair turns into depression.

At that time of sadness and self-judgments, the word that helped me move forward was: “compassion”. Becoming vegan is about being compassionate about others: other people, species, living beings, but as I realised the things I had been doing in my life, that eye-opening sorrow became overwhelming and it took me a few months to be able to refocus on myself and understand that this compassion I needed to use on me as well. Once I found my balance again, I could go on.

I have this blurry optimistic vision of a possible future that I know is there but can’t get out of my head and onto “paper” just yet. It’s ok. I still need time to process. I need to meet different people, experience new things, witness new beauty and then, when the time is right, I’ll close my eyes, breathe, listen, and I’ll hear a new word resonate in my mind, hopefully a new word unlocking a clearer vision.

But for now, acceptance.