Providing Time for Composting


“Our senses themselves are dumb. They take in experience, but they need the richness of sifting for a while through our consciousness and through our whole bodies. I call this ‘composting.’ Our bodies are garbage heaps: we collect experience, and from the decomposition of the thrown-out eggshells, spinach leaves, coffee grinds and old steak bones of our minds come nitrogen, heat and very fertile soil.”

This excerpt is from a book I am reading called Writing Down the Bones. I’m reading it to break past the barrier of my own writing to explore a new and different style. But as the author Natalie Goldberg says, these concepts about writing are applicable to all aspects of life from business to running. Just replace “writing” with “learning,” and the same rings true.!@!

So often in business, we push and push and forget to wait and wait. For true development to happen, there must be time to “compost” learning; time for the mind to break down concepts and put them together again in a way that makes sense; time to apply a unique idea or concept to the regularity of our job. How often do you provide time for composting? And when you do provide time, is there greater knowledge and retention?

I would argue that there would be. When learners have a moment to compost an idea, it remains with them. In addition to reflection, there is a need for practice, and enveloping these two aspects into learning creates a potent solution for developmental change and progress. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.