“The most ancient part of this whole thing is that in the northern hemisphere right now we’re talking about the return of the light. The fact that the sun appears to be disappearing and we don’t want it to leave. And what do we do with the spaciousness with this grace that solstice gives us, that darkness gives us, that knowledge gives us? Because if we know, if we can be confident that the sun is in fact coming back, that the world will in fact get warmer, that everything won’t stay dead forever…. If we know that, then we can rest in this time.”
Notes and transcript here:
Hi, everyone, thanks for tuning in. I want to talk about ease. This is the complicated season. This is the season where people tend to die. This is the season where the world gets cold and icy in a lot of places. And this the season where people have to find their way through a lot of relationships that they might be able to keep away from otherwise. And so I want to talk about ease, because ease is the thing that we can give ourselves.
Let's suppose, for example, that you have to go somewhere. And you're an intensive, we're intensives, the thing that we want more than anything in the world is just to be ourselves, to be in integrity, and not to hurt people. And sometimes, this season makes that extra difficult. So let's suppose you have to spend some time with somebody, maybe it's a company event, or maybe it's a personal event. And you know that the person you have to spend time with is not in alignment with your values.
A very long time ago, I worked at a newspaper, a small local newspaper. And the person I shared my office with was an extremely conservative Catholic. And as you can imagine, there was a lot of tongue biting that went into sharing a small office space. We had two desks, and we would sit with our backs to each other. And every so often, she would start talking to me, and I would just grit my teeth and pray that she didn't keep talking until she said something that made me feel like I could not in good conscience remain silent.
I tried to remain silent a lot, I tried to dodge a lot. I probably perfected my social coffee hour smile in that office. You know, the one. Where you're a leader in a space. And somebody says something, and it's moderately offensive. And you know, they didn't mean it, but it's really quite bad. And you're trying to figure out how to smile and deflect and get out of that conversation as fast as possible. That one.
So what can we do for ourselves when we're in that situation where we know that an event or an experience is coming up? But we're going to have to be prepared for that? How do we protect ourselves? How do we prepare something to say, what do we do? As intensives, our first impulse is likely going to be to tell them what we think. And that may not be the most effective means to the end that we want for that particular moment. Maybe it is. If it is, your planning is done. Go home. If it is, you can just say what you think and let the chips fall where they may.
But most of the time, we want something specific out of that experience. And the specific thing we came for is not to cause that kind of disruption in the event. If that is the case, that you have some other goal- first thing is, what is that goal? Figure out why you're going to this thing. For whom? What is your purpose? What is your endpoint? And what is your cut bait moment? What is the moment where you know that you're not going to be able to accomplish any more toward your goal, and it would be better if you just ducked out?
Then figure out who it is you think you're going to have to interact with. What kind of challenges do you think that interaction is going to raise? What are the kinds of things you can do? Can you deflect? Deflection is really useful. Can you redirect? Can you demure? What can you do to stay in integrity?
Because the most uncomfortable thing is to actually leave them thinking that you agree with them when you don't, for example. So what is the most in-integrity thing you can do that isn't direct confrontation? Can you avoid it? Can you be in that space and just constantly dodge? Can you bring something with you that will give you an out? Can you arrange for someone else to emergency call you whenever you hit a particular kind of button? Or if you're bringing someone with you, maybe you can get someone to interrupt your conversation? And if you have to what's your plan for leaving?
If you're, for example, staying in the same house where the event is happening, can you suddenly develop a migraine? It's not in integrity, but it's probably in more integrity than lying directly to somebody pretending to believe something you don't. And the question is, which one of those is worse for you? Is there something that you would actually get out of being there if that person only weren't ruining your experience? And if that's the case, how can you make sure that you get to enjoy the place, the people, the experience, or that you get to do the thing that you came to do? How can you make it your space? How can you claim it as your space? How can you take up space?
Because the thing about intensives is we're so frequently told that we're not allowed to take up space that we're too big that we're too much. So how can you build an extra metaphorical room on the space so that you can be as big as you want to be? Usually, what people mean, when they say that we're too much is that they mean that we're taking up too much space that they think is theirs, that they feel somehow crowded. Okay, we don't have to be crowded, it's alright. We don't have to be crowded, we can have ease.
But maybe that ease means... maybe that ease means that you come up with a way to spend less time or to be less attached or only be attached by one pinky toe or one big toe instead of being attached all the way up and down one side of your body. How can you make the space that you need?
How can you do that thing, you know those puzzles where they give you some kind of seemingly impossible task. One of those puzzles is when they give you a sheet of paper, and then they're like, well, you have to cover this entire area with a sheet of paper, but the sheet of paper is clearly too small. And usually the solution is that you cut the paper in a honeycomb pattern you you put alternating slits in it so that it stretches. One sheet of paper gets a lot bigger, when you put a honeycomb cut in it.
So what's the honeycomb cut for you? Because you deserve what you need. You deserve space, you deserve attention, you deserve ease, you deserve the luxury of movement. It's a necessary luxury. It's not optional. If, like me, you sometimes have meltdowns, making sure that your needs get met can be the difference between having a meltdown and not having a meltdown. And nobody wants us having meltdowns, not us, not anyone else.
And you may not be able to communicate what a meltdown is or why it's so important that you not have one. But you may be able to take your agency and do what you need to with it. Leave the room, leave the event, leave the building, have a plan. Because I know that we all hate structure in some way or other but we also all love structure in some way or other. And planning is the thing that saves us so often. You don't have to use the plan. But if you have one, then you can have ease.
This is true in our businesses. This is true in our personal lives. Right now I'm in the middle of a contract where I've agreed to work a certain number of hours a week on a particular project. And what I do is I block out that number of hours a week as a solid block once a week, because that's how I work best. But then if plans change, and that solid block can't be a solid block, I can move pieces of it around the plan can change. But I have a plan. And so I don't have to worry whether I have spent the appropriate number of hours on that project when I get to the end of the week, because I probably did. Because I blocked off that time. And I used that time for that. Or if I broke it up, I put more time on my schedule right away for that week so that it just gets moved around.
I have a plan. And so the plan opens up all the mental space that I would usually spend worrying about whether I was actually going to do the thing I said I would, when I really want to do the thing I said I would. But sometimes I kind of don't trust my brain enough. And this way, I don't have to trust my brain. I just have to trust my calendar.
So as we're moving into this season, as we're coming to the end of this month, in the beginning of next month, and we're talking about ease, and we're talking about pausing and waiting in the dark, and we're talking about wondering, wondering if the miracle will last and we're talking about hoping that people will come home and we're talking about the return of the light. The most ancient part of this whole thing is that in the northern hemisphere right now we're talking about the return of the light. The fact that the sun appears to be disappearing and we don't want it to leave.
And how long will the longest night be and will it come back? Because there are a couple weeks in there where if all you've got is watching the sky, it's a little uncertain. Do it's not clear that the days are ever gonna get longer the world is ever gonna get warmer. And what do we do with the spaciousness with this grace that solstice gives us, that darkness gives us, that knowledge gives us? Because if we know, if we can be confident that the sun is in fact coming back, that the world will in fact get warmer, that everything won't stay dead forever.... If we know that, then we can rest in this time.
Then we can take this time as ease, as a particular kind of ease, as a cozy hot chocolate kind of ease. And we can just know that it won't last like this forever, it won't be like this forever. We know it's going to get better. There are so many ways in the world right now that are uncertain that are un-easeful, that are uneasy.
But this one we know. Solstice will happen, the sun will return.
So we can take this time, we can take this time to make space we can take this time to be the people that we want to be just a little bit more. We can refuse things, we can say no to things. We can love people and meet our own needs at the same time. We can recognize- in my business I almost never make big sales at the end of the year. Little ons. Plans for the following year. But people don't usually want to start a new coaching or consulting process in the dark of the winter. A few people do.
But if I didn't have years of records to look back on, I would be a little bit frantic this time of year. It would be really easy for me to get caught up in the Black Friday sale brouhaha. But this is normal. This is the cycle. This is how it works. And I understand it. My brain is not really ready to start anything new right now either. A little bit. But not too much. It's clamoring for a recharge, it's clamoring for rest, it's clamoring for creative space and time, and I want to give it that. I don't want to push. I don't think pushing is healthy and I don't think it's good for my business.
So unless you have a very specifically holiday sale-oriented sales cycle, even as a business owner you can create some breathing room, let there be some breathing room. And if you do have a holiday sales cycle let there be some breathing room. What does resting in motion look like? Where can you go for that? Where can you go for a little extra breath. Where can you go? What can you build? What can you offer that is nearly effortless and gives you room to breathe. Thanks for tuning in.