I recently attended a weekend-long seminar and each day was ten hours and filled to the brim with information, exercises, and an incredible amount of will power to shut up my ranting ego of “Been there done that.”
The irony is that I spent a good part of the first day doing exactly what we were learning not to do: being self-righteous and judging. Whoops.
I think that you can relate a little. You may not want to admit it, and that’s what I’m here for; accepting my humanness so that you feel more human too.
No matter if it’s in a board room, an online course, around a fire pit, or a cocktail party, someone’s talking, and you’re sitting there smiling, judging, all “look at the baby, look at the baby.”
The goal is to catch yourself before you lose the lessons that you’re supposed to be gaining at that very moment. Most likely, it’s about what you can learn about yourself and become more aware of how you can work on catching yourself from living in your head instead of the present moment. We so easily become lost and entrenched in the details of life that we often forget that we’re part of a little ol’ thing called planet earth. No matter what your belief system may be, I think you and I can agree that our actions contribute to the whole. It’s not to create a frozen sense of panic but an interdependent cohesive sense of power and responsibility. We all have it. It’s not designated to the chosen and special few. Pretty cool stuff, right?
Sometimes it takes every single ounce of mental strength to acknowledge this and other times it’s as easy as shifting gears on a swerving country road.
If you need some sense of direction, here are two simple phrases that may help you out when you find yourself facing off with a fat, dense tree trunk with no forest in sight.
“Zoom out” is a straight to the point phrase that a dear friend swears by as the reminder to pull back and gain perspective. Its simplicity is as beautiful as the message itself. This is a back-pocket go-to when I need a quick reminder that at the end of the day everyone is looking for love and a sense of belonging. I may find myself saying it through gritted teeth, but even then, it’s the perfect pressure valve release to give me a little more space and grounding energy. Your jaw will thank you.
“And darling, our disease is the same one as the trees
Unaware that they’ve been living in a forest.”
– This Life, Vampire Weekend
Another friend uses one of my favorite images ever and says to “Google earth” it. This visual works especially well when you’re feeling alone, overwhelmed, or scared. Close your eyes and realize the constant interdependence that we all have with each other. Seeing where you are as a speck in the entire world helps create a sense of wholeness and interconnectedness when you need it most.
If all else fails, stick to the “Be curious” mantra. You can’t go wrong with that one. There’s no possible way you can judge and be curious at the same time. Curiosity has you in the growth mindset of learning and growing while simply judging plants you in the passive and closed off, fixed mindset. Curiosity is a gold mine to uncovering the expansive creativity that is always there. Instead of judging someone’s choices, whether it be hair color or politics, work at asking questions versus slapping on assumptions. Being curious allows you to zoom out without even knowing it.
For the remainder of the weekend I vowed to go back in the room with a “Google earth” it perspective. And whadayaknow? It worked.
So, starting today, where can you shift gears from the minutiae of judgment into the expansion of curiosity?
Let me know how it goes.