As I think about the things I want Nico to know and truly understand deep inside, it is to see and be seen. I believe it encapsulates most of what everyone really wants. I have an idea for a tattoo on my wrist and I just might one day get off my ass and get it. Is it possible to do without needles? It would say: listen. It is a reminder for me to truly listen to others (undistracted) and for me to demand that others do the same for me.
I am currently reading an interesting book, called “The Art of Gathering” by Priya Parker. It has given me so much inspiration in my corporate and personal life about how we approach time together, how we respect and appreciate others’ time, and how to pull off the best of gatherings. Less Martha Stewart style that errs on the side of the perfect place setting and more pondering the lead up to the event, how do you connect with your guests before hand, and how do you truly pull off a successful time by planning an experience and not just a conference, meeting, dinner, etc.
A page I read over the weekend said:
“A good life is about seeing and being seen.” page 199
It sent my mind wandering to how many times I have felt that. How often do you go to someone’s house and feel odd because the hosts do not really find a way to weave together why they are having people over, and why they have selected those they have brought into their home? It also brings fresh memories of wonky corporate gatherings where individuals are disconnected, uncomfortable, and uninterested to mingle but required to hang together.
I have not finished the book, but am inspired to bring the ideas Parker shares to fruition in my life. To create a meeting that has purpose and desired outcome and the attendees know why they are there and leave inspired with a plan and next steps. To think about my dinner parties and how the individuals that come into our home feel the energy of what we want to share with them. I encourage you to pick up her book. There are some slow spots, but all in all I have some new ideas of how I will engage differently with others I meet with — more aware of the outcomes I want, and more focused on the individual. If we each remember that just as we want to be seen, we remember to see others.
I am not sure my parents really prepared me for all the curveballs that life has thrown at me starting at an early age. In some ways the curveballs have made me incredibly agile to which way to swing, when to duck, and when to let the ball pass right by me. That does not mean that all that movement and reaction is not exhausting, and it also does not mean that I have always reacted, or presented myself in the best of ways. I have high standards and expectations at work and in my personal life. Maybe my dad overly ingrained in my head: “Do it right the first time.” Now to me that does not mean only try once and get it right the first time. What it means in my mind is give it your all and keep at it until you get to where you are going.
“We can’t control what life throws our way, but we can control how we react to it. As we do, maybe we come closer to a meaningful life than any plan could ever take us. To do this, though, we have to let go of what we think we deserve and embrace what is, which just might lead to something better than we could have imagined.” Page xxvii
The part I love about the above quote is about letting go and letting ourselves be lead to something better than we could have imagined. While I have high standards I also have witnessed how taking a step back and listening to intuition allows for life to sometimes fall into place.
I will give you a tiny morsel from my day on Monday. All morning things kept changing — meetings moved, deadlines shifted, and when I tried to unravel it all it was just horribly frustrating and time-consuming. I kept (as often happens) getting pulled into other things and dealing with requests and the thought that came to me during it all was: ‘Let it go. you will figure it out later… as messed up as it all happens to feel right now.’ Later in the day when I had a moment to look at the mess, each conflict and deadline had actually all moved again and all the things I would have had to unravel were put in a place that worked out. I did not have to do anything other than respond to a few emails and accept moved meetings. No rearranging needed. Now — that does not mean that I think you should procrastinate or that my morsel of happenstance from Monday will occur all the time. What I honed in on from Monday is that I listened to my intuition to let it go for that time and it all worked out.
That is just a small moment in time. Think about what can happen if we let go more often, for the small and the large events in life, and let things naturally be designed in front of us. Somehow the universe has a way of bringing color, hope, and a graceful design that often surpasses what we can imagine for ourselves.
I sit a lot, I move a lot, and I stand a lot at work. I have days where I go from meeting to meeting, all back-to-back. I move constantly, and yet while in the meetings I am sitting from 30-60 minutes at a time. When I am at my desk, I am usually focused as I do not get that many minutes out of my day to focus on emails and projects. However, I often find that I want to stand both because I find I slump a bit at the computer and most of the time do not realize how bad my posture is altered while at my desk.
So, when I found these great yoga stretches for stress and to undo the damage of a desk, I was interested. I subscribe to a weekly 99U newsletter and I find it gives me different types of links about the office, managing, staying motivated, and much more. It is interesting how much your day and mood can shift even by the simplest of things: deep breathing is one way. We tend to hold our emotion, frustration, and stress in our body, and because we go all day long (and for me much of the night too) we never give our bodies time to chillax. I am the worst offender. I get 30-45 minutes to myself in the morning, and then I get ready, and am off to work, home by 6 usually, go for an hour run, shower, dinner, finish up work, then respond to personal emails + blog things, and by then it is 10 o’clock. Not much time to breathe deeply, stretch, and enjoy my hubby.
Rather than continue on this hamster wheel of constant and ongoing activity, I would like to stop and slow down a bit. I know I talk about that often, but gosh how I need to hear my own words. Yesterday I met a colleague for lunch, near the entrance of my work, we decided to take work bikes. The day was gorgeous and I loved being outside and riding off to lunch. Just the perfect get-off-your-butt adventure. I was even in a dress + flip flops. All fun, and all necessary. I think I might have to do that more often. Now I am plugging the idea of getting bikes (can you believe that we do not own bikes)?! with Chris.
My hunch is that we all could take more moments out of our days to stretch, relax, and breathe differently each day. I know I could use more downtime and allow myself time to stretch and work the kinks that my body has absorbed throughout my day. Bring it on!