There was a brilliant metaphor shared in a New York Times article that compared the experience of holding a beach ball underwater to the experience of suppressing our emotions. Such a brilliant description! Think about it...
What happens when you hold a beach ball underwater…? It eventually comes up, with a lot more force. (And it probably smacks you in the face). Frankly, I think some of us are trying to keep six or seven balls under, all at the same time.
Sooner or later, in one way or another, usually when we least expect it, we get “smacked in the face” with what we’ve been trying to keep down.
You’d think history would be a better teacher. But here we are. We are all still dealing with keeping our “beach balls” under, day in and day out. And we need a break. 2020 has been a lot.
COVID-19, loss of loved ones and fear of losing a loved one, fear of getting sick ourselves or getting someone else sick, a complete upheaval of our routines, new challenges with children, schooling, and changing our expectations...the impending election, the economy, the constant stream of injustices, loss of jobs, and a constant uptick of social unrest...you all know the list. We’ve all cried and laughed and shouted at what has become our collective 2020.
Despite all that has been thrown at us, the rules haven’t changed. We don’t get to skip the basics. If we want “the good life,” a life that matters to us, and one that is sourced from our values, we must feel what we are feeling, when we are feeling it. I’m going to repeat that again because it’s that important.
We have to feel what we are feeling, when we are feeling it...so that we can express our greatest potential and create impact when and where it matters.
The alternative is exhausting yourself and diverting your precious attention away from what matters, only to have the inevitable happen anyway...the beach ball always finds its way to the surface...with more force and destructive potential.
The destruction comes from all the behaviors we use to keep that beach ball down, like distracting ourselves with mindless scrolling, collusive relationships, isolation, tuning out, neediness, and of course the more well known like drug use and overeating and overdrinking... it’s an endless list.
Being reminded to slow down and feel should probably be on everyone’s daily to-do list. But, our culture doesn't foster time for pausing. More often than not, a break in the day is spent glued to our devices, getting updates while “relaxing.” If we did in fact pause, if we sat in stillness, we would have the opportunity to notice and attend to the beach balls.
COVID-19 forced a pause on us. And what happened? A lot of us experienced those beach balls popping up. Our usual devices to keep them down were quarantined.
Well, what an OPPORTUNITY!
Workability’s battle cry (to be a bit dramatic) has always been “slow down and pay attention.” And it holds true in 2020. To paraphrase Mr. Rogers, “If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.” And we believe that when we slow down and pay attention, we see, and what we see we can own, accept, and ultimately grow from. Can you tolerate what you see in the stillness?
To moments of stillness.