The Rhythms of Reconnection

The Rhythms of Reconnection

Stephen Dinan
Stephen Dinan:
CEO of The Shift Network

For much of my adult life, I’ve been driven by manifesting the vision of The Shift Network, compelled by a sense of how important it is for us to amplify the wisest voices to co-create a more harmonious version of our world and help avert negative future scenarios. In the service of that, I’ve often pushed hard for long periods of time.

As I’ve gotten older and a bit wiser, a different rhythm has become more compelling: the organic unfolding of the vision. On one level, it may seem highly desirable to scale up evolutionary solutions as quickly as possible. But when I’ve attempted to do that, it typically leads to breakdowns in team dynamics and processes that aren’t ready yet for that level of growth, reach, or impact. 

Silicon Valley has been built on a hyperscaling philosophy that’s all about achieving market dominance in a short time period in order to harvest more wealth. That philosophy of business has become very influential, and it’s often what investors expect to see in presentations and promises. In the founding vision for Shift, I initially saw us as a more enlightened version of a Silicon Valley company — but I’ve come to question more aspects of that vision.

What happens in the hypergrowth philosophy is that growth has to be fueled by larger amounts of investment. Because of the legal assumptions and conditions in those investment agreements, companies slowly become turned towards realizing profit for investors rather than fulfilling a higher purpose.

What I’ve come to see is that the collective awakening of higher consciousness in society is intrinsically an organic process. Each person can move only so quickly through their healing journey and through the refinement of their body, mind, and soul as they become a conduit for more consciousness. Pushing that process faster simply doesn’t work.

Similarly, spiritual teachers who ascend too quickly also tend to spin out as they start to emulate a more awakened state of being rather than fully reside in it, which requires the slower work of integrating each stage. 

The desire to appear more whole, complete, and enlightened before that’s fully true can propel exaggerated claims, hype, and other things that diminish trust and connection.

As a man who long prided myself on being able to make things happen faster than others, embracing a more organic, connected rhythm that includes more rest and restoration hasn’t come easily. I had to veer close to burnout and recognize that I needed to do a fundamental rewiring of my energy system so that it would be linked with the natural rhythms of the earth, rather than a set of abstract ideals for business.

As I’ve done more and more of that, what I find is that I’m much better at enjoying the rhythms of a day, from an early morning natural awakening… to keeping myself in a flow state for much of the day… and ending the workday at a reasonable hour, often followed by yoga.

Beyond the work day, I’ve been designing annual cycles of more spacious time in the summer and time in the Mexican tropics in winter to replenish my body, mind, and soul.

And what I find is that my productivity and positive impact are actually increasing, especially as I advise and coach more leaders in our space. 

This redesign of a daily, weekly, and annual rhythm has been a slow process as I sort through the prioritization of time that’s required. My system is catching up from 30 years of moving fast, and there’s a deeper recalibration required.

In many ways, shifting into a rhythm of more relaxed flow is all about putting the larger shift into action through the microcosm of my life. The deeper our awakening, the deeper our trust in the evolutionary direction of the universe — and the less urgency to try to make changes happen faster.

I’ve seen how driven energy — even when aimed towards a noble goal — will tend to disconnect me from the wider and more enjoyable currents that infuse each moment. Whereas a slower, more connected pace — which is something I notice in beautiful elders — creates profound presence and demonstrates the savoring of life. 

As these deeper shifts take root, I notice that I’m becoming truly happier and more fulfilled, regardless of what’s happening with others. I can sit in silence and savor it — and enjoy the dance of getting to know the depths of another being. I can adventure across the world or stay peacefully happy at home. I can laugh with my girls and talk deeply with metaphysical giants.

There’s a quality of more equal appreciation of ALL the moments of life, rather than the peaks alone… and a sweeter recognition of the depth that’s available in each moment.

It’s becoming more palpable every day that I have access to the vast field of intelligence that animates all of life for guidance, upliftment, and healing. 

The stress of achievement is giving way to the flow of fulfillment.

Yet how to reconcile this with a world that seems to desperately need more conscious solutions to war, inequality, environmental degradation, and endless cruelty? 

Before, I used to see myself more heroically trying to “save the day,” but now I sense that even the unpleasant and regressive aspects of humanity’s current reality are parts of the slow birthing of a new way of being. 

The destructive currents are on full display, but they’re also catalyzing the birth of more beautiful, whole, and integrated patterns — which aren’t on the nightly news. Every month I meet more conscious, awake people who are fulfilling their soul purpose, including those who were recently focused on competing in the rate race.

The Shift of our planet is happening at a pace that might seem slow from the perspective of our lives, but which is actually quite rapid from the deeper perspective of epochs of time. We are awakening to the reality that we are spiritual beings, incarnate here with the intention to co-create a larger shift in the planet. We each have a set of patterns to heal and a set of traumas to clear. We each have our initiations and our lessons — and they simply can’t be rushed. 

If we take the time instead of rushing those changes, there’s a natural flowering of something more radiant and whole. And then, that flowering of one individual’s awakening touches thousands of others.

But this flowering of a new consciousness can only spread when it’s real. Grounded. And embodied.

So my questions to you are: What would reconnect you with your own natural rhythms? A soul, able to fully embrace the natural unfolding of your being? A luxurious morning walk? A day of complete rest? A weekend of being absorbed in the rhythms of the ocean? A daily bath to unwind the tensions of the day?

What would you do to synchronize your body with the cosmic unfolding of time, if you thought you had plenty of time to go? How might you engage with your work if you were steeped in the knowing that all is well on the deepest level?

I find these types of questions reconnect me with my soul and remind me to live as a divinely embodied human, evolving at the pace of grace.