It’s a pretty evocative image, isn’t it? And sometimes no small challenge to combine the two!
Getting logistical stuff done isn’t my favourite thing, but when I’m feeling clear and grounded, I’m pretty good at focusing my attention and checking things off the list. However feeling emotionally wobbly, adds another whole layer of challenge.
My thinking about this was triggered by my son Matthew who was in the midst of a big life transition. Part of this required him to attend to a bunch of time-sensitive logistics – something he’s probably even less passionate about than I am! I didn’t want to press or intrude, so I sent him my love and virtual support. In a WhatsAp note I let him know I was thinking of him, and appreciated the way he was figuring out how to be him in this new situation. I added that I trusted if there was anything more tangible I could do to support him he’d let me know.
He responded: “Love you very much mumma, thanks for the thoughts and support, but mostly thanks for helping to nurture the resilience needed to keep working on kicking logistic butt whilst feeling a bit emotionally wobbly.”
I replied: “Loving you in your very understandable emotional wobbliness, AND (because I’ve seen you do it) having confidence in your capacity for logistical butt kicking under challenging conditions!” ❤️
As I’ve been thinking about this, I realize the importance of the point Matthew made – this ISN’T a capacity that comes to us automatically.
something we nurture over time.
This idea of nurturing our resilience to live in the tension of the need to get stuff done, while we’re feeling emotionally wobbly has been percolating in me over this last week. And in truth, it’s been a pretty full week here, so as the time to publish this eNews approaches, I’m aware of experiencing that tension as I write. I’m not writing about theory here – I’m noticing my automatic impulses and my intentional choices and sharing them with you!
It feels like there are two parts to this. There’s the part that’s nurturing over time, and the part that’s in the moment of experiencing that tension.
I’ve created a 2 page resource for the nurturing this resilience over time. It’s based on my infographic called Six Environments – Nurturing Our Creative Freedom. In the handout I explore what nurturing in each of those enviroments could look like – you can access the free download of the handout via this link: Creating Supportive Environments.
But what about those times when we’re actually in-the-moment-of-tension? Those times when we’re feeling emotionally wobbly AND there’s the need to produce – to kick some logistical butt! How do we ‘Be’ us there?
Seems to me that while we’ll each have our own unique responses to each of these moments, there are two common patterns – neither of which has much to do with ‘Be-ing’. My habitual go-to response was (and sometimes still is) to ignore those wobbly parts of me – pushing on, checking stuff off the list until I was totally exhausted. Definitely not very nurturing, or respectful of myself. The other common response I’ve seen is the collapse into upset helplessness – “I can’t do this, someone else is going to have to do it!” Not a pretty picture, and certainly not one where trust (of ourselves, or trust of others in us) is engendered.
Here are a few (more helpful) alternatives – in these moments, simple is key!
1. Pause – put your attention inside and breathe … slowly, deeply, and preferably several times!
2. Connect with the part of you that is wise and capable – the part that would be there in an instant if this was happening to a good friend, or your kid.
3. From that part of you, take a moment to be tender and breathe – send some loving energy to the emotionally wobbly part of you. As you do this, you’ll notice that part of you taking a breath and relaxing a bit.
4. In this quieter space, keep breathing, and shift your attention to kicking some logistic butt. And remember – chunk things down to baby steps … ask yourself “What’s the clear next action here?”
5. Rinse and repeat! In the same way your breathing cycle naturally flows – inhale – pause – exhale – pause – inhale – pause etc., this cycle of attention inside – loving energy – attention outside – clear next action – attention inside etc., is the most loving and effective way for us to ‘be’.
And one last thing – remember, you’re not alone here! Especially if the sense of wobbliness continues, or the feeling of overwhelm rises, connecting with trusted others is another key piece to this puzzle. They can often remind you of things you know to be true, but can’t in that moment access.
The day after my exchange with Matthew, it was my daughter Rachael who was feeling challenged. We’d connected via FaceTime, and together walked through that 5 Step Cycle. The next morning as she was heading out to work, I sent her this note:
“Morning sweet babe. Whatever the weather, sending you some sunshine this morning as you get ready and head out to work. ☀️ Was thinking of you and sending you love, remembering a particular shining moment of logistical butt kicking of yours. We were packing the car with your stuff in Hamilton – leaving the time after your Rec. work term there. I was trying to help you figure out what to put where. You stopped me and said – kindly but VERY clearly – “I got this Mum. I know how to do this. Just let me figure it out.” Like I said to Matthew the other night, I’ve watched you over the years, and I’m confident in your capacity to both love yourself up AND kick logistical butt in doing what it takes to look after yourself. You CAN do it!!”
And she replied: “Thanks mumma good reminder” 🙂