Posts Tagged ‘mental gymnastics’

I get a daily email from The Universe…really a British guy who is in my general line of work.  I signed up for it a long time ago, and I’ve thought of unsubscribing many times because I hardly ever read the notes.  But sometimes I do and they really resonate with me.  That was this case this morning.

What if you’re already doing everything right, even though you’re not sure?

And the surprises along the way have only sped things up, even though it felt like they slowed you down?

And all that you want is now barreling towards you, even though you can’t see it?

I’ve been doing a lot of mental gymnastics lately about what I need to do to build my coaching practice, whether I’m doing enough, is it sustainable, etc. etc.  Somehow my note from The Universe snapped me into a different perspective.  It was kind of like seeing something that has been there the whole time, but that I sometimes lose focus of.   Maybe I am doing enough, and maybe there are things coming that I just can’t see right now.  And that is comforting.   And maybe it’s okay to just be today, without coming up with the revolutionary thing that will change everything.  Maybe…

I picked up an Eckhart Tolle book, A New Earth, that I have been reading very very slowly and sporadically.  It’s extremely dense and if I’m not in just the right mood, I can’t wrap my mind around anything he’s saying.  But today I thought I’d try again.  At first it felt like a slog, but then I decided to just open to a random page and see what was there.  The section heading, The Duck with a Human Mind caught my eye.  I thought I could handle that.

And I could.  Tolle explains the idea of moving on or being in the moment incredibly succinctly by describing what ducks do after a fight; they separate and float off in opposite directions.

Then each duck will flap its wings vigorously a few times, thus releasing the surplus energy that built up during the fight.  After they flap their wings, they float on peacefully, as if nothing had ever happened.

In my mind’s eye, I can see that excess energy getting pushed out, and I get a sensation of relief.  Tolle then goes on to explain how a duck with a human mind would keep the encounter alive by thinking about it, going over it, expecting the next encounter and so on and so on.  Even though the physical fight would be over, the mind would keep the battle alive and the duck would have physical responses (like stress, anger, dread) to those thoughts.

Reading that made me so badly want to be able to flap my wings and move on!   All the thinking can be so exhausting.  I can’t even imagine being able to let go so completely, but it is very appealing.  I know I’ll no sooner start quacking than I will be able to glide away to the opposite side of the pond in a state of peace after a conflict.  But I can remind myself of that duck.  And I can imagine flapping my proverbial wings and moving on.  And that’s a first step.

I came across one of my favorite children’s books yesterday:  A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak.   There is something so elemental about it, so uncomplicated.  It’s a book of first definitions.  “A hole is to dig,” “Children are to love,” “A face is so you can make faces,” and so on.  As adults we often over-think things and forget about what is most basic and true.

After reading the book again, I thought about a few things I’ve been doing mental gymnastics over and took each thing down to its most basic element and made a statement.  For example, I do a lot of thinking about how I can be a good parent to my children and that can take on a frightening array of dimensions (how much to push or not/extra activities/academics/friends/independence) etc. etc.  When I refocused my statement to something I know to be true, “My children are to love,” I was already there.  Loving them, not confused at all.  And that feels good.

So I’m going to play with this idea of bringing things back to an elemental statement when I feel myself spinning.  What do I know to be true?  It’s not that all the other dimensions and questions don’t matter, but sometimes it’s good to remember that “a hole is to dig.”