For anyone who is deep in the trenches of the fight for self-esteem with me, like me, I am sure you have found a million different tiny ways to try to make sure that you feel like you are enough. However we do it, we find our own little ways of creating that spark of recognition in others.
My capacity for doing has always been exponential, whatever I have chosen to apply that ‘doing’ to. The doing is linked to feeling like I have value. If I can make the world feel a certain way about me, I create safety.
It’s not a part of some deep, evil plan to manipulate others to remove them of something they can’t afford to give, however. What my subconscious is trying to collect is love, admiration and affection.
Excessive doing means that you are never truly being.
You exist in every moment calculating what the next might be. Pre COVID, I always had plans, I always had ideas of what I wanted to get up to. When the world stopped in March 2020, I had no choice but to stop with it.
Happily, I had already been hard at work learning how to get still with myself. I was lucky enough to have already started to curate a toolkit for my own version of wellness and it served me well.
Even with big pockets of stillness, I still managed to find plenty of ways to keep doing. Working crazy hours, consoling myself that I was one of the fortunate ones to even have the opportunity to be working.
Then something shifted. I met a human who I wanted to be still with. With that human I felt no need to escape back into doing. I could be still.
That’s where I am right now, content in the still. But knowing him and experiencing those moments of not wanting to escape to the next thing, has shown me that I still seek my escape often.
So that is my work. Being over doing.
Being gives us so much more than doing, my friends. Being enables us to connect to our higher power, our light within. Being allows us to have a dialogue with our bodies, and honour what they truly need. Being enables us to create space inside ourselves for wonder.
I read a great book lately, From What Is to What If, by Rob Hopkins. He talks in detail about what the lack of this kind of space does not only to humans, but also to the world.
When we are deeply immersed in stuff, however hard that stuff might be, we are less able to imagine our way out. Imagination lies at the heart of our growth. If we can’t see further than what is in front of us and allow ourselves to be sucked into the cycles of our lives, we will never truly create the space for joy.
Joy is a radical force, because it connects us to life.
When we are connected to life, we feel connected to each other, we see each other more clearly, we care more about each other’s experiences and are therefore more likely to start trying to figure out how we might be able to enrich them.
Trying to figure out how to truly create this energy within workplaces will be my life’s work. What is the right shape of the organisation for imaginations to flourish? How do we start to measure success by new dreams adopted? I’ll let you know if and when I get there.
Right now, our work is in our own back yards.
How you manage to create ‘space’ is going to be completely individual to you, but in the meantime, let me inspire you with some clues in the world to help you on your path, some taken from the book:
- The more joy you fake, the more joy you make. A trick of mine for years has been smiling when I don’t feel like doing so, even if alone.
- Create time to do something that moves you, perhaps it’s writing, perhaps it’s drawing, perhaps it’s just lying on your back and looking at the sky and feeling how small you are.
- Find more opportunities for we not me. See where you can start to shift self-interest to collective interest. When making big decisions, reflect deeply on what the drivers might be.
- In the teams you work in, work hard to remove the fallacy of a right or wrong answer. Become critical friends rather than critics to one another’s ideas. “Yes, and” over “No, but” for the win.
- Turn off stories so you don’t have pre traumatic stress disorder. Consider what you are consuming in your world and if that needs to alter. Does how you are living deplete or support you?
- Find moments of awe to reunite with fellow humans. When we are in awe of something, it creates a shift with us, it makes us wonder and it helps us to turn our own imaginations back on.
Once you have created the awareness of what joyful exploration feels like, you will start to notice when you stop doing it. When that happens, you might be running out of space again. Use that awareness as a beautiful gift and do whatever it is you need to do to create that space again.