Stop [The Twelve Days of #QUEST2015 Day 5]

Stop what doesn't work for you #quest2015

Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder put together a program to help business artists plan for 2015 in an unusual way. Quest 2015 consists of a community of people and prompts that are sent out for people to respond to 12 times during the month of December. Part of the community building is through sharing blog posts, so I will be posting more frequently between now and the end of my reflections. After the 12 reflection posts, I’ll be back to my regular, irregular posting schedule.

Prompt Five

The fifth prompt for reflection in Quest 2015 comes from Charlie Gilkey.

We often think too much about adding new things, when the source of a lot of our growth is eliminating old things.
What do you need to STOP doing in 2015?
And what do you need to do to make that STOPPING more than an intention?

One of the benefits of starting this process late is that I have had a chance to see many other people’s responses to this prompt. I have seen people talk about actively stopping doing things and have seen people commit to stopping pussyfooting around or playing small.

It is time for me to stop getting in my own way.

I need to stop feeling confined to my desk. I need to stop letting the fact that I work from home become a force of distraction. I need to stop doing housework during work hours and work during home hours. I need to set alarms and reminders on my phone to keep me on track. I need to check in with my accountability buddy and practice what I preach.

And, I need to stop discounting my body wisdom which tells me that a 30-minute walk by Lake Ontario most days is an essential part of my creative productivity. The photo project I mentioned last week is part of claiming that truth for myself. I have started the photo selection process.

It is a beginning.

According to his bio, Charlie Gilkey is a champion of and catalyst for Creative Giants – talented Renaissance souls with a compassion-fueled bias towards action. He’s the brain and heart behind Productive Flourishing, best-selling author of The Small Business Life Cycle, Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, and a former Army Logistics Officer. He’s driven to figure out how to help Creative Giants be their best selves in the world. – See more at: http://trackingwonder.com/quest-2015/community/#toggle-id-2

 

 

Heart Leaps [The Twelve Days of #QUEST2015 Day 4]

joy, #quest2015

Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder put together a program to help business artists plan for 2015 in an unusual way. Quest 2015 consists of a community of people and prompts that are sent out for people to respond to 12 times during the month of December. Part of the community building is through sharing blog posts, so I will be posting more frequently between now and the end of my reflections. After the 12 reflection posts, I’ll be back to my regular, irregular posting schedule.

Prompt Four

The fourth prompt for reflection in Quest 2015 comes from Pam Houston.

Sit quietly and ask yourself, what in the last day or week or month has made your heart leap up? Not what should, or might or always had, but what did. Make that list. Be honest, even if it surprises you. Keep the list with you this month. Add to it when it happens. Train yourself to notice. Then ask your self today, how can I arrange my life to get more of those heart leaps in it?

 

This question is the easiest of the prompts so far because it is a specific application of a practice that I have been doing for years, a practice that embraces many of the fundamental principles of InterPlay.

Notice, Notice, Notice: Pay attention to what is, with a particular emphasis on your embodied experience of the good things. 

Inner Authority: Claim that knowing. What you experience in your body IS true for you. You are the only person who can speak to the truth of your experience.

Body Data, Body Knowledge, Body Wisdom: What you notice about your lived experience in a single moment is a unit of body data. When you collect data over time, you can see patterns and build up a catalog of body knowledge. And, with a library of body knowledge at your disposal, you can exercise body wisdom by making choices that serve your greater good.

In InterPlay, we often talk about body wisdom in relationship to making choices that serve our sense of grace, which we define as the physical experience that is the opposite of stress.

When Pam Houston is talking about heart leaps, I think she is suggesting a slightly more ambitious possibility for life design. She is not talking about ease and flow, two concepts closely related to grace. She is talking about that stretch us into awe and wonder. In many cases, these moments call us to grow in love and connection to the world and this growth is not always easy. In many cases, the things that make our hearts leap create a good kind of stress, eustress as opposed to distress.

For me, the things that make my heart leap are creative breakthroughs, deep connections with friends, laughter and smiles with my children, and the beauty of nature. I can cultivate opportunities for all of these. I can choose to take my free time to connect with people I already have deep relationships with. I can return to the page, editing my fiction, over and over again. I can be present with my children when I am in the room with them. And, I can make sure that my week has many walks in natural settings.

And, most importantly, I can keep noticing my experience and shift what I do if things no longer bring me grace or joy.

 

According to her bio, Pam Houston is the beloved author of four books including novel Contents May Have Shifted and the interconnected short stories Cowboys Are My Weakness. She is Professor of English at UC Davis, directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program.

Disappoint & Offend [The Twelve Days of #QUEST2015 Day 3]

disappoint, offend, resolution, #quest2015

Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder put together a program to help business artists plan for 2015 in an unusual way. Quest 2015 consists of a community of people and prompts that are sent out for people to respond to 12 times during the month of December. Part of the community building is through sharing blog posts, so I will be posting more frequently between now and the end of my reflections. After the 12 reflection posts, I’ll be back to my regular, irregular posting schedule.

Prompt Three

The third prompt for reflection in Quest 2015 comes from Michael Bungay-Stanier.

Who are you willing to disappoint or offend or upset or abandon… for the sake of the Great Work that’s calling you for your best 2015?

The reason psychopaths succeed as politicians and corporate leaders is they have no difficulty answering “everybody who gets in my way” to this question. On the other hand, many people stay stuck before the get started on their Great Work because they answer “nobody.”

For a long time, I wasn’t willing to disappoint, offend, or upset anyone who offered me love that seemed in any way conditional, whether they were friends or family. The cost was that whenever my needs conflicted with theirs, I suffered. These days, I am willing to disappoint or upset anyone if I believe my health and happiness depend on it. In many cases, I am willing to do the work necessary to maintain a healthy relationship that include disappointment and people being upset with each other.

The trickier question is who am I willing to abandon. There is no Great Work calling me that is worth abandoning my children. That is my one clear bottom line. Beyond that, there are some people I know I must abandon, people who are actively hindering my ability to do my most important work. These people, I am willing to abandon without hesitation.

But what about people who are preventing me doing my work without getting actively in my way. I do not want to actively abandon them. But, I must be willing to set boundaries with them to protect the time and energy I need for my work. And, if they will not respect those boundaries, I must be willing to let the relationships go. I will be tested as each case presents itself individually, but I believe I am ready and willing to abandon that which does not support me.

My intention is to serve my work in 2015 and to curate my life in service to my children and my work.

Banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” Michael Bungay Stanier has since found more productive ways to direct his creative defiance. He is author of numerous books, including Do More Great Work (with 90,000 copies sold) and End Malaria, a collection of articles about Great Work from thought leaders that has raised about $400,000 for Malaria No More. He is founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company devoted to helping organizations do less Good Work and more Great Work. Their Fortune 500 clients include TD Bank, Kraft, Gartner, and VMWare.

Compassionate Grit [The Twelve Days of #QUEST2015 Day 1]

CompassionateGritborder

Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder put together a program to help business artists plan for 2015 in an unusual way. Quest 2015 consists of a community of people and a prompt that is sent out for people to respond to every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday during the month of December.

I signed up in November, but the illness I have been battling in December kept me from diving in earlier. I am starting late, but this is the sort of thing where there really is no late. Yes, I have missed out on some of the community building, but the reflection is always appropriate.

Part of the community building is through sharing blog posts, so I will be posting more frequently between now and the end of my reflections. After the 12 reflection posts, I’ll be back to my regular, irregular posting schedule.

Prompt One
Grit without compassion is just grind.
What would be most fun to create this year?
How can self-compassionate grit support you in that creating?

My life over the past decade has included a lot of grind. Too much getting through things; not enough ease in the perserverence. And when the ease goes, the grit leads to burnout, not success. I burned out in 2014.

When I say ease, I refer to the feeling of flow, the deep connectedness to doing the work that leads to focus and progress. I am not suggesting easy tasks. In fact, the tasks I have in mind are all difficult: raising kids, finishing two novels, and building a business.

Grit got me a long way – 11 years with a twice-exceptional kid and almost 8 after adding triplets, including another twice-exceptional kid, to the family, two novels in process, and a beginning to the business. But, I have been hard on myself, pushing myself to always do more, because there is always more that could be done.

I had forgotten to take care of myself to maintain the motivation for the truly long haul.

In 2014, I have remembered to take care of myself more, seeking out the friends who nurture me, who show me my strengths, who remind me to dance and play, and who tell me to take it easy on myself.

I am slowly building new habits: sitting quietly in the evening not working for a few minutes at the end of the day; reading fewer novels to study my genre and more novels I want to read; asking for help instead of doing everything myself.

The things I want to create aren’t changing over time. I still want to tell stories with depth and heart. I still want to help other people create lives that feel meaningful and worthy through my coaching business. I still want to raise emotionally aware, kind, and productive children who choose lives that are meaningful to them over thoughtless conformity.

When I create these things from a place of playfulness, inventiveness, and fun, I am more successful and more satisfied, and my whole life is enriched. When I create from a place of anxiety and a sense that time is short, I suffer and eventually collapse under the pressure.

It is time to remind myself that small steps forward are progress, that I can only do so much in a day, and that I must nurture myself to sustain myself for the duration.

Because the truth is, I do an astounding amount of work, and all of it is good enough – and much of it is a whole lot better than that.

This first prompt came from Jen Louden. According to her bio, she is a writer, pioneer in the personal growth field, author of several popular books, and guide for navigating your life with authenticity. She is founder of the TeachNow program, which has served thousands of teachers, service providers, and entrepreneurs.