in the wind and sea ~ I used to hear others sing ~ now it’s only you —© Lize Bard @ Haiku out of Africa
This Saturday I am in Duluth, Minnesota. I have had the ability to drive a bit up the north shore and also explore the south shore more than I have before (actually in Wisconsin, the state where I was born).
On Thursday, my body beckoned me for a drive on the south shore. While I drove I re-listened to the episodes of a podcast I have loved, called Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett. It is the short form version of the On Being podcast which is the longer form interview style show.
I just noticed that there will be another season of this show even though the first season was released in 2016. The first episode is with Paulo Coelho, author of many books including The Alchemist. It was beautiful, on the principle of pilgrimage as a journey into the question “Who am I?”
What I love about this short form is that she distills the beautiful essence of her conversations into such wisdom. My very favorite episodes actually contributed to my decision to start a yoga teacher training certification.
The conversations with Matthew Sanford, a paraplegic yoga instructor, entitled “Compassion for Our Bodies,” as well as “I Feel, Therefore I am” with Eve Ensler and “Trauma and Resilience Land in Our Bodies” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, are all pure gold. These are short and lovely episodes, 9 minutes long and less. Many other episodes I have listened repeatedly as well. Krista Tippett has such a gift for eliciting these amazing conversations.
If you want some audio nourishment as you go about your weekend activities, I highly encourage you to check these out. There are also transcripts if you prefer to read rather than listen, though I think the audio/voice experience can add much.
I borrowed the above title from a line in a guided meditation and I wish I could remember which one so I can properly attribute it. Nonetheless, it reminds me that building more space into my weekly time for reflection and writing my own work is more challenging than I thought. I am seldom the wordless person. I have lots of words. And I share them freely.
When you write your “morning pages” in your journal, you are the only one who can give yourself praise for getting your work done. Social media and the clicks and likes can be an addictive little “hit” for affirmation. As a writer, I write every day no matter what. It is like oxygen for me. But I am susceptible to that buzz that comes from others receiving the work well.
I am comforted to know that there is brain chemistry and neurobiology behind this, of course. Those clicks and likes produce a little hit of dopamine in your brain, and because we are social creatures, approval is important to us at a primal level. There is nothing wrong with that, and it is very natural. Please have some compassion for yourself if you worry sometimes about what other people think. Being part of a tribe or pack was how the mammals of today survived.
As a person who loves words, and who loves the ease of publishing that blogs can offer, it is even harder for me to be the “wordless” person. I joke to my husband that this blog is my little soapbox, so that I can express my ideas freely without subjecting him to all of my opinions. 😉 So he is grateful that it exists.
Some days, I am better off going into observer mode rather than writing publicly. It reminds me of meditation, noticing what is going on in my body, and in my mind, while not attaching to it. Emotions come and go, as thoughts do. Ideas float through and sometimes I want to grab a pen. But I sit, and allow things to flow through. My ego-ic mind can be quite impressed with my thoughts sometimes. But my higher self, the watcher, just observes and allows. No thought is better than another, they just are.
Is it challenging to be the wordless person? Heck yeah, more than I ever realized.
On the holiday yesterday I was reflecting a bit on the notion of space.
I learned through some reading (and probably a podcast as well) about a Japanese concept called “Yutori” and it caught my attention. It describes a notion of spaciousness. It’s leaving time between appointments so you can get there early and look around. It is allowing time for meditation or mindfully and slowly engaging in a quiet practice of some kind.
I really love this notion. The more I learn about this concept, the more I realize I have been actively trying to embody this notion in my daily life. From the desire for a more minimalist space to my conscious efforts to increase my meditative practices, I am pursuing this desire for Yutori.
As I allow for more spaciousness in my life, my creativity seems to open to ideas I might not have considered before. My days “resist” too much scheduling, but invite just the right amount of activity and rest to feel more integrated.
Though I am far from perfecting this notion, the concept and its appeal for me is driving me toward my next venture. I can feel that, as much as I occasionally feel I must accelerate things. Somehow I firmly trust that giving the spaciousness enough soil, air and water, I cultivate an amazing garden of inner richness.
Where and when do you find spaciousness in your life?
I have been experimenting with different titles on my Linked In page lately and the results are fascinating.
Recently it occurred to me that “researcher” describes a lot of what I do best and still love to do – constantly learning and taking in new “data” while evaluating and coming up with theories about how to apply knowledge in new ways. It made me giggle when I described myself in a new way on my page. I also added my company name (which is a little generic right now, a place-holder for the freelance LLC). I suddenly I had a lot of congratulatory messages on the new job. Ha, I thought. I am just making this up, people!
No titles can ever encompass the totality of what makes you YOU in a professional or a personal sense. When you seek employment with a company, typically titles mean something specific, and have a particular job description that accompanies them.
When you are a freelancer, or are starting a company of your own, nobody tells you what title you can have. A lot of folks like the “grand” titles: CEO, President, Creator, Founder… I like those too. But they imply a lot of things that I just don’t care to embody in my new venture. I don’t plan to have a slew of employees, so they do not apply.
I landed on “Principal Researcher” (for the moment) because it reflects a large part of what I truly enjoy, and I like it better than the generic “consultant.” But there are so many other phrases that could describe what I like to do – Creative Director, Facilitator, translator of cultural norms, etc. The “glue that holds a team together…” But since I am Minnesotan and we are taught not to brag, I’ll move right along. 😉
What’s great is that I get to make this up as I go along, and I can change it when I wish. There are NO rules! That’s liberating. I like to defy definition. Of course, I am more comfortable with ambiguity than most, so that works for me.
What about you? What title would you give yourself, if you could just make one up?
Happy Saturday, friends.
I hope you are well. This week I recommend a beautiful poetry blog, Vita Brevis. It is curated by Brian Geiger. There you will find some lovely pieces by emerging poets, usually accompanied by artwork as well.
In these days when reading time becomes precious to me, I appreciate poetry more and more. I love the magic of an idea or a scene expressed in the medium of poetry. It is a pleasure and a gift.