- TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I learned about holding space to allow growth. <= That’s the best I can do in one sentence. It’s been a pretty cool week, tbh.
I have had a week filled with two noticings: First, wow, yes, there are grifters and cheaters in the world (cf: podcast I am listening to “Behind the Bastards” <= wow, depressing and heavy)
Second: It is always possible to grow and do better. Often it looks like the opposite of trying.
The best decision I made this week happened late…perhaps Friday night? I called it early, really early, and went to sleep at 7:30. I kind of realized that I had been trying too hard, was not making good decisions, and, frankly, I was finished.
I think an earlier version of me would have been devastated at the apparent failure and been unable to peacefully fall asleep and would have stayed “in the arena” fighting, trying, struggling.
So - I woke up the next morning with a series of decisions made. Now – I try to keep personal details personal but it’s important to notice that this is decidedly not a situation where I blissfully went to sleep, had Jungian dreams, and woke up understanding perfectly how to live an Instagram-ready life.
I honestly hope that you know by now that this newsletter, this project, is not that. It’s more: here is a weekly reminder that a perfectly imperfect life is a good enough life, and here is my best attempt at one, with encouragements and exercises to lift you up as well.
So: over early morning coffee, all that happened is that I understood that I had everything that I needed, it is okay to ask for help, everything generally works out, and staying calm is often a really good idea.
And that was enough.
“What I’m not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
If you have a seemingly unfixable problem, try this: At a time when you are calm (and, yes, in the face of unfixable problems, I understand, this itself takes practice, patience, and trust) sit quietly.
Allow yourself to focus on … what they call in yoga the drishti …that dreamy space, out of focus space. Breathe out fully and accept where you are, who you are, what is.
Consider - just try this - consider what might be the next steps?
To give an idea of how small the answers might be, my words this week were: porch, plants, dogs, woods, and embodiment (which I quickly understood to be ‘tai chi’)
The idea, then, is to trust that you have everything you need, it is enough, and, honestly, MacGiver-level, you are where you need to be and can make what you need to make.
And, sometimes, what you need to do is so small, so effortless, that the main thing that you need to “do” is almost nothing.
And so we might want to focus on breathing out. (And, yes, hat tip to the tai chi master mentioned above who literally taught me this)
It’s possible, too, that you might need to focus on breathing in…
But - and not in a “calm down and center yourself way” - but in a way that reminds you that you have breath, you have enough breath, and you can just let your breath go, out, all the way out…
Practice breathing. Notice that your body knows what to do. Notice your breath going in, going out. Ground yourself in that knowing.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
The noticing I had was a bit intense. Whatever you notice, sit with and allow it. In an opposite of bliss way, what I noticed and am grateful for, is the reality of heart break in this moment, reality of grief, reality of not yet. And, without saying too much personal, also the deep reality of allowing, holding space for others to just be. To just be.
It feels – imperfectly – good enough.