I’m back home again after another whirlwind trip. Three states and 1000 miles in 5 days. The landscape whipping past my car at 70 mph has been a literal reminder of what many of us are experiencing in our lives: Things are moving quickly. Life is full. And change seems to be ever-present and escalating.
Know what I mean?
As I move into my first day back, the questions du jour:
How to stay balanced in the face of what can feel like flux and chaos?
How to remain purposeful, focused and grounded when the scenery is a blur?
Having just come out of some powerful conversations as part of this last trip, several threads of thought beckon and I sense there are some dots to connect. Here’s what I mean:
1) From the Heart and Soul of Coaching call on May 16th, with guests Lissa Boles and Patti McBride Williams: There is a grace available to us from embracing and working within the dynamic tension between openness and constriction.
Like the birthing process, both are required and are a natural part of the process. All too often, we tend to think that anything other than peaceful flowing is somehow wrong. Even the heart, in order to fulfill its function in the body, cycles between opening and constricting.
2) From Lissa’s talk on purpose, later that same day: The reminder that the old “push, force, muscle your way through” approach to success and productivity is not sustainable.
Something new, another way of being mindfully present, is calling to be born. (There’s that birth metaphor again.) Yet, if you remember point #1 above from the H&S call in which constriction is actually a natural part of the birthing process, then….this question arises:
How do you integrate the apparent polarities of openness and constriction in order to be productive without getting caught in old patterns of pushing and forcing?
3) From my dear friend Janis, tai chi teacher and Taoist Abbess, during a private qi gong lesson as we worked to open stiff joints in my hand and balance energy in my body: Work with the energy before working with the physical.
I take this as a reminder to be intentional, to remain present and aware, and to work with rather than push against what is.
As I ease into this first day back in my office after having been away a second time in less than month, I can cringe at the thought of email backlogs, commitments to fulfill and a task list on steroids. But even as I feel the siren call of the old pattern to push to Get Things Done, the conversations from the past few days call me to be present and mindful, and allow another way of being productive to emerge.
Moving into new ways of being with new patterns requires practice. This is Day 1 of a new practice in mindfulness, purposefulness and intention.
Want to join me in this exploration of new ways of being productive?
Watch for my next article on the power of practice.
In celebration of your balanced, joyful productivity!
PS: Notice how the birth metaphor above, and the reference to the heart’s opening and closing impacted your assimilation of this article. These are examples of how I use language to support learning. If that speaks to you, you can find more here.
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You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!
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I would suggest that perhaps I make it seem straightforward or simple, which is not always the same thing as easy. You know where I mention in this article, ‘today is day 1 of a new practice….”? Sometimes we have a new Day 1 every day as we work to integrate new practices and mindsets that help us move of the old pushing approach.
I love that you sent your comment now, about a year after I first wrote this article because I needed to reconnect with the material for myself. After more travel and 4 weeks of not feeling physically optimal, the old “push through to get things done” pattern is really triggering for me. And in truth, I think that’s the way it is: We first encounter a concept, try it on, and perhaps try it on again and again until it lands internally in a more sustainable way.
So – easy? No. Especially as we are “working” this piece of transformation collectively. It’s a big piece and deserving of respect.
Thanks so much for your comment!