Distraction → Quiet → Action
The past week has called much into question for me.
In my personal life, I have committed to building my coaching business, to jumping with both feet into the tasks and mindsets that building a business entails.
But I am deeply distracted. In my heart and in my body. How can I focus on email lists and blogs and workshops when more innocent black lives are taken at the hands of the police; when intolerance and hatred are bred within our presidential election; when so much in this world is in such crisis?
What can I do? How can I help? Donate? Protest? Volunteer? Write letters? Campaign? Talk to my children? Educate myself? Go to a community group meeting? Yes! All of these things.
I move to action. And then I am paralyzed with the fear that I am deeply ill-equipped to move anything forward, to have these hard conversations, to speak up, to advocate, to demand change. Who the hell am I to think that anything I can do could make a difference?
Writing this I feel ashamed. These are luxurious thoughts that come from a place of tremendous privilege. This blog seems quaint and stupid and pathetic in the grand scheme of it all.
But I write it anyway.
And this is why: this has everything to do with why I’m a coach.
I am a coach because I believe people are capable of tremendous things. Impossible things. Unproven, impractical, outrageous things. And I believe that what we hope for and dream for in our future and our children’s future can be our guides to building a better world.
But there is something that happens when we start getting to the “how” of it all. It’s the shit we tell ourselves, the “who am I to…” and the “I don’t have what it takes” and other feelings of inadequacy that rear their heads, and keep us from taking action. It’s this whirring, noisy activity that happens in our bodies and minds, distracting us from what we really want to do, to make happen, to be.
As a mother, I wonder how can I possibly talk to my children about what’s going on in the world when my feelings seem so out of control. And honestly, how do I commit to taking meaningful action in my community when I feel overwhelmed by my own work and home responsibilities?
Often, what happens, is I do it anyway. And it’s messy.
But great, right? Action is action. And that is true. Move forward. Keep going. Take that step.
But wait. What if I took just a moment, and quieted down. Just for a moment.
Because how can you be there for the world, your community, your family, if you are not there for yourself? How can you begin to address the changes you want to make in this world if you feel totally rocked or thrown around by the demands of your current life?
I wonder what kind of conversation I could have with my child if I first took time to breathe and cry and acknowledge my own fears and confusions? Could I then help them begin to unravel their own?
And what kind of commitment to take action could I make from a place of balance and quiet? Could I volunteer or protest or write or read or create community or go to that meeting/class? Yes. And feel more confident that I am taking action that will enrich my life, my family and my community.
Coaching reminds me that everything we do is interconnected, that how we take care of ourselves is how we take care of our families and our work and our community.
So with that in mind, if you, like me, are wanting to more deeply engage to make change, go ahead and find some resources, have conversations, discover a step you will take towards your vision for this world.
But before you take that step, I invite you to take just 20 minutes today to first care for yourself. Set a timer if you want. Commit to caring only for yourself for that short time, and giving your body and heart what you need. Be it a quiet walk, a good cry, meditation, writing, a conversation with a friend, whatever nourishes you.
Now, if you’re like me – this is what will happen: Your brain will start whirring again. With excuses about what you should be doing instead. Your body will start to physically revolt, tensing up or drawing you in other directions. You’ll have to conduct a serious internal negotiation to right this idea of caring for yourself to the point where your body and your mind comply.
That’s okay. Taking care of ourselves takes serious practice.
So when that happens to me, this is what I tell myself:
I can do nothing to heal the hurt in this world if I do not take the time to heal myself.
See you out there in 20 minutes.
PS. I want to hear from you! Share your ideas, questions, challenges, successes in the comments below or send me an email. I'd love to chat.