– even when we can’t in this moment figure out how everything will get done! …
I continue to see the power of this work – this week we’ve had a friend staying with us. She finds herself at a point in her life where she’s been stripped of everything to which she’d seen her identity tied – health, home, belongings, work, relationship… Some of this intentional choice on her part, others definitely not things she’d have chosen.
This is a woman who is extraordinarily capable and accomplished. She does her inner work. AND, in this space of loss, it was clear she needed a quiet space. Space and some open arms and hearts that would be able to meet with compassionate, calm, confidence the waves of any and all feelings that might emerge and wash over her, not making any of them wrong. And not only that, but meeting all of them with curiosity as to the creative impulses that Life might be calling her to say “Yes” to.
We’d invited her last week, fully knowing that this would add a significant amount of intensity to our lives. But the knowing in both Bruce and me that this was a “Yes” was clear.
“to do my part to support you in ensuring you aren’t stopped cold by the challenge of learning how to go from here as you take your work out to those who need it.”
She continued “Here’s one more I just learned of now from Danny Iny at Mirasee. It might mean the need for a fairly timely response if it calls to you (there’s bound to be serious competition for the 200 seats available), so you know. But if it feels like it’d be a good fit, might be a great option…”
Saying “Yes” ….
Since a coaching call with her in June this year, my focus has been on doing both the inner and outer work that is before me that “taking my work out to those who need it” requires.
If you know me at all, you know that the inner work is MUCH more comfortable and familiar than the outer! My work has always felt like an avocation, and even thinking about the idea of building a business has often triggered an “No, not business!” response in me. Each time that happens, it has pointed me to other inner work that’s needed to be cleared in order for me to move forward more freely in my outer actions. Actions that are in alignment with me, and the call of my life.
Though I knew nothing about Danny’s program – the Business Ignition Bootcamp – I’d seen his work and appreciated the low pressure, high value content of what I’d experienced from him, so I let Lissa know I’d take a look. I could feel those inner stirrings that ‘tell me’ this might be a “Yes”. But when I looked at the information I discovered a couple of things that triggered a familiar anxiety. This was an intensive Business development program – one that would require 10-15 hours of my attention during each of the 6 weeks. And the application deadline was two days later – the day our friend was due to arrive.
Immediately, I recognized there were inner parts of me that began to go into their familiar response pattern. Those inner voices saying things like “10-15 hours a week – that’s a lot of time! How will we fit that in?!” and “Even the application process – we’ve already designated this weekend as time for prepping and clearing the decks for our friend’s arrival – do we even have time to do that?!” I knew my first task was to respond to them – listening, soothing, and mentoring them into what was most deeply true for me. I definitely didn’t want to be trying to focus on an important piece of writing over top of those anxious voices inside!
As I checked in, there were a couple things that I knew in my bones were clearly true. First, that those inner stirrings of “Yes” to this were calling me to the outer action of completing the application. Submitting it was my part. In that moment, doing what it took to translate that inner “Yes” into the next step of outer action was ‘success’.
I couldn’t know whether I’d be accepted. I was being called to do my part, and allow the unfolding to take place. I could trust that if it wasn’t this, if I wasn’t accepted, I’d keep looking for the next step to become clear.
And second, if I was accepted, I’d have the opportunity in each moment to practice trusting, and leaning into the resources that I know would be there. I knew from experience that trying to figure things all out ahead of time was a clear recipe for going down the tubes into overwhelm!
So Saturday evening, after a day of prepping for our friend’s arrival, I sat and began – step by step – to answer each of the 20 questions in the application.
The 300 character limit to each answer required me to clarify, focus, and refine my thoughts. It wasn’t until I’d reached the end that I suddenly thought – I’ve put a lot of time and energy into these responses, I should save my answers.
Thankfully, I copied and pasted the whole of Page 3 before going back to Page 2. I’d assumed my responses would have been saved so I could go back and perhaps even do another edit before submitting them, but to my horror, when I clicked to Page 2, all my previously carefully crafted responses had disappeared!
Those voices inside me had a field day – “Are you kidding me?! See, this is stupid, and it’s too hard! Are you going to make me do this all over again?!” they complained to me.
And once again I had the opportunity to deepen my relationship with those tender parts, first validating their experience and feelings “I get it. It does suck, doesn’t it?! I really don’t want to have to do this again! It’s getting late, we’ve had a long day, and I’m tired.”
ONLY when they felt heard and their experience truly witnessed, did I remind them of the two things I spoke of above – my commitment to do my part in saying “Yes” by completing the application, and that right here was our first opportunity to practice trusting, and leaning into the resources that I know would be there. When I could feel their “ah, yes” response, I was then able from a place of quiet clarity and deeper knowing, to start over, re-create my responses to Page 2, and submit my application.
The next day our friend arrived, and as expected, we swam together into the wave pool of intense emotions that she’d been immersed in. Throughout the week, she, Bruce, and I flowed through the cycles of them all.
Holding space and walking with a friend …
In various combinations together we compassionately witnessed both the uncomfortable ones – disappointment, heartbreak, despair, longing, exasperation, outrage, fury, disorientation, numbness, dismay, exhaustion, remorse, and of course shame, as well as the ones we generally like to feel, but many might find them surprising (or perhaps even inappropriate) in this situation – feelings of loving acceptance, openheartedness, compassion, openness, fascination, appreciation, even moments where there were teeny twinges of excitement and expectancy.
Over the week it was an extraordinary and powerful honour to witness and support her powerful, holding and being with the pain of parts of herself that she’d known were there. And also to celebrate with her the clear seeing, and the beginnings of her nurturing of a relationship with other parts of her that (completely outside her consciousness) had been acting to protect her from that pain, but doing so in ways that were no longer serving her.
Though, as with any ‘new relationship’, there’s lots of discovery and learning ahead, she now has a freedom in choosing her responses to situations she experiences that she’s never before had.
I was so engaged in partnering with her that on Monday afternoon, I was a bit startled to receive an email from Danny Iny saying my application to the program had been accepted!
And so the journey for both me and my friend, and (with the unique combination of our gifts and skills) the partnership between Bruce and me in walking and working with others, continues.
There are for us, and no doubt for you as well, challenges ahead. Life continues to invite us to say “Yes” to things that – from the perspective of this moment – we can’t see our way through, yet we can feel in our bones are true callings.
May we have the courage (and the community support) to act on those “Yesses”. And in those moments when we notice that’s not the case, be fierce and especially kind, in loving those parts of us that clearly need more love, not less.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes here. As I dive into the Business Ignition Bootcamp this week and beyond, if I come to your thoughts and you feel drawn to be part of my virtual support team, holding me in a space of clarity, calm, focus, curiosity and creativity, I’d be grateful! And as always, I’d love to hear from you as to how Life is unfolding in your world.