I've noticed that flying back from San Diego after working all weekend leaves me with little energy to delve deeply into any of our usual topics. In order to create the both-and, instead of the either-or (either I drink a load of caffeine or I don't have the energy to do my work and blog), I'm simply going to share two lessons that I took away from this weekend. If you're experiencing smooth sailing, you're not growing
Turbulence is a sign of flying, and if you actually want to move forward in your life, you need to get comfortable with the fact that the road has twists, turns and bumps.
If you're anything like me, you've grown up fearful of the unknown and honed your ability to control the crap out of it. I'm the master of controlling the unknown. Before taking on this work, I was slowly but surely casting a web of control over every aspect of my life, ensuring that nothing was out of place, no one ever painted outside of my lines, and I was never confronted with a situation that I hadn't previously dissected and planned out.
Without a lot of altitude, it might sound pretty great. You never have to be scared, you never have to feel uncomfortable. The road of life was slowly being smoothed out into a nice, long, flat plain.
But have you ever driven along the prairies? It's boring. There are no surprises. Nothing shows up unexpectedly — you usually see things coming from miles away, planning out your interaction with them (if at all) hours before you arrive at them.
[Tweet "Life happens in the unknown."]
Control is only useful as a measure of eliminating the unknown. As a strategy to get you through life, it guarantees your survival, but nothing greater. Is that really what you want to play for?
If you want to create intimacy, you've got to hang out in awkwardness for a while
I've noticed something funny. There is absolutely no difference between comfortable and uncomfortable silence. Scientifically, they're exactly the same thing.
You aren't talking, and I'm not talking. That's all.
The difference exists entirely in our minds. There's a real intimacy to sitting peacefully and quietly with someone. It builds trust, connection understanding. One of my favourite things to do when camping is simply sit and stare into the camp fire with friends. Nothing needs to be said — you simply stare into the hypnotic dance of the flames and let conversation ebb and flow as it does.
I can create this with someone at any time. I don't need a fire to do it, nor any other focus. What I do need is my permission to sit in silence with someone. It's not the silence that makes it awkward — it's my resistance to to it.
Peace doesn't come from controlling your surroundings or eliminating that which you are struggling with. It comes from an acceptance of what is. When I stop fighting against the uncomfortableness that silence in a conversation creates for me — which is ultimately bred out of my fears that you won't like me, don't think I'm interesting or have judgments about me — and simply accept it, it opens up the doors to trust, intimacy and connection. Once I simply allow what is showing up, it creates space for everything else.
That's what I took away from this weekend. What are you taking away from this?