For a LONG time, NO the LONGEST time I have gotten frustrated with the box-kinda-label-thing-we-do-to-people…or really, the feeling that I needed to box myself up and put a label on it to explain who I am and what I do! I am sure I have driven my nearest and dearest crazy sometimes with this dilemma!!!
Maybe you know how it goes, “Hi, my name is Jen and I am a …*insert label*”. Or, “Hi there, this party is great right? So what do you do”? *insert expectation to explain all of me in an “elevator pitch”.
Labels. Boxes. I am not a fan. Stationary yes. Labels…no! Not these days anyway.
I don’t like that I need to be limited to a title. I just don’t.
I am so many things, and I imagine I will be many more different things in the future. What I did last week, might not be what I do this week.
The use of labels and boxes frustrates the boozonkas out of me. One thing I know with deep clarity about myself (thank you all that personal growth work) is when something frustrates me, it is a call for me to get really curious and find out what bugs me really and then turn it into something awesome. That is the kind of alchemy and transformation I have come to love.
I started to notice that anytime someone would ask me “what do you do?”, I would get the prickles and go all tense and all nervous and feel really uncomfortable. Was I ashamed of what I did? Did I not value it?
The truth is, I really didn’t know how to limit down all the stuff I do, into one little word or sentence. I didn’t like then having to explain it. It all just seemed so big and encompassing.
During a wayfinding session with a client, I heard myself say something that was clearly a message for me as much as it was for them. As we explored where they were in their life and the pain and discomfort it was bringing I asked them to explore what this experience meant to them. She said she felt “trapped, stuck. overwhelmed. I just don’t know what I am supposed to do”.
Her body was slouched. Her face drawn and sad. Her shoulders drooped. Chest con-caved. All classic depressive signs.
I asked if we could try something out and see how it felt.
So, we went back over the way she described the experience and I asked her to say, after each description, 3 little words and see how it feels.
“Ok”, she said clearly not convinced.
I asked her to say, “I feel trapped…at the moment”. I feel stuck…at the moment”. I feel overwhelmed…at the moment”. “I just don’t know what to do…at the moment”.
We said it again and really emphasised AT THE MOMENT.
Her body changed. Her face lightened. She seemed to sit up straighter.
***Oh and as a side note, I asked her is she wouldn’t mind me writing about this***
What happened here?
The brain believes what we tell it. It’s job is to create story so that it can understand. It isn’t worried if it is true or not. If we repeatedly lock in to the story, “I am stuck” our brain goes good, I understand that…even if it makes us miserable.
But if we open up to the POSSIBILITY that it MIGHT not be this way for ever, the brain starts looking around for another story to make sense of. So give it one. Maybe I will not be stuck next week. Maybe I will have a career change, maybe I will. So, I am stuck at the moment…that might change…right?
The brain will then freak out. What do you mean you don’t know??? Panic. Panic. MUST HAVE CERTAINTY!!!
We can’t know the outcome of anything. As much as we would like to control what life looks like, we just can’t. But what we can do, is be real and honest about where we are right now. How we feel right now. And allow our mind to calm giving it the story it can understand. “At the moment we are having a bit of a shit time”. “At the moment I am exploring new ways to express myself”. “At the moment I am therapy to get support with some dysfunctional family patterns”. “At the moment my health isn’t optimum”.
AT THE MOMENT!
Sometimes there are storms and those storms can cause massive destruction. An illness. A divorce. A betrayal. Loss of a job. Messy, painful storms.
But what if, in the midst of a storm, when we are holding on for dear life we can say, “My life feels like a massive fucking debacle of a shitty, shit storm at the moment?
Tell the truth!! You can’t change what you aren’t willing to see!
What if we create a gap to consider that this may pass? We can’t know for sure if it will or won’t (but looking at nature, all storms pass), but by just being open to the possibility this moment may change…well, perhaps you could try it out.
I’ve been trying it out.
When people ask me, “What do you do?”, I just say, “Well, at the moment I am writing a bit, sending some cards to some folks, loving my family, and enjoying a new exercise program and preparing for my next creative venture”.
Ahhhh. Oh, the exhale!
No box. No title. No pressure to get it right.
It’s just a story that I like to be a character in…at the moment.
Next week, who knows what my story will be…but I can’t wait to find out!!
I’d love to hear if this is something you do, or something you would be willing to try out and let me know how it goes!
Keep being kind to yourself.
Jen (a woman finding her way and helping others find theirs too).