We can get so narrow and constricted in what we think work needs to look like that we forget to listen. And be playful. And to let life feed us.
I know this habit from personal experience. I can get so focused on what I am designing and working on (however I narrowly define that) that I miss the other ways I might go about it.
Just take this week for example. Those of you who read last week’s post about everyday beauty know all about my gas leak and sick house. Then this week my youngest started coughing up a storm and the preschool called us come get her.
I looked at my schedule and once again was not seeing a home for deep writing.
But then I tapped on it. I tapped to release my little fingers of control and asked to be filled instead with that palm-open energy. What do I have to share? What feels fun and light?
A new idea emerges… a tapping audio to help you navigate the anxiety of stretching for a goal! You can access this free guided meditation audio below or download the Tapping on the Stretch audio file. *
(It works best if you repeat after me out loud. This audio assumes you know the acupressure points. Before you begin identify how strong the anxiety or fear is on a scale of 0 to 10. If you need to learn the tapping points check out my how to tap video here. )
Another thing I can do when I am drinking the “big goals require you to work your ass off ” Kool-Aid is to be so focused on work that I ignore/neglect things which are growing organically. If something feels fun and easy, that can’t be related to my big goals, can it?
This is dualistic thinking.
Work on this side. Play on another. Work takes effort. Usually me pounding away on the computer. Play by contrast is easy.
And keeping this dualistic approach prohibits us from setting and reaching big goals which require a combination of both approaches. And also, and this is key, knowing when to employ each.
There are times to hustle and to focus on follow through. To finish what you start. I like to break these projects into “turtle steps” and create a reward. I use the timer on my phone and after about 90 minutes, sometimes even less, I give myself a break. My favorite treats are a midday yoga break, time outside in my yard, and warm meals. Also pause to enjoy how you feel when you get it done. Satisfied. Spacious. Notice that before you plow into another task.
And make sure to create space in your weekly rhythm for play. If nothing else my Sundays are full of rest and play and they make such a big difference in how I feel going into the next week. I’m also starting to squeeze in an outing just for me on Saturday mornings. Last week I ran around a cemetery full of spring blossoms. Maybe not everyone’s definition of play but it delighted my senses (and was blissfully quiet.) My children are also fans of impromptu dance parties several evenings a week. Currently Michael Jackson is their favorite. Creating tiny bouquets and tending to my garden also feels like play for me. And travel. As anyone who has a creative pastime will tell you (writing, painting whatever it is) you come back from vacation filled up in a way that makes you more generative.
So I am learning to take play breaks even during times when I’m pushing toward a big goal (like recently while marketing and inviting people to my retreat at Ghost Ranch.) Even if I don’t feel like it. Or don’t feel like I can afford to stop. That is my clue that I totally do need to stop, even just for a bit!
It is also possible for your work to feel like play. Now this is the holy grail.
I came home so happy last night after hosting an Enneagram workshop. I don’t think I can even write about it yet, it was so beautiful and fun. Helping eager, inquisitive soulful people find their way into this wisdom tool. Well, there is nothing better.
In this category of work that feels like play I would also put a soulpreneur meetup group I started at a neighborhood coffee shop for entrepreneurs who want to lead with the heart. Truthfully I started it because I wanted and needed such a space of support and it has become a lively gathering due mostly to the first handful of participants inviting interesting people. In addition to camaraderie we have found new referral partners and people to go to for ideas related to a whole host of fields. For example I have been learning from a health coach in the group about detoxing and other nutrition tips and using those insights to design some bonus elements for my upcoming spring cleaning coaching package.
I hope this post helps you bust one more myth in the service of setting your juicy goal—whether it is a creative project, a work opportunity, or a remake of your home space. Not in a compulsive “I have to do this so I have some self-worth” kind of way. Because that outside-in fix never works.
But in a “Hells yes I have this desire within me and I want to honor who I am and the goal which is called out of me!” sort of way.
And as you do I hope you will tap away the anxiety of the stretch whenever you feel those graspy fingers of control. And know that you can trust yourself to do the work and to flex and engage play. And to know which you need to take the one next step in front of you toward that juicy goal.
PS Registrations are coming in for my MindBodySpirit course for women at Ghost Ranch and it is so much fun to see the group taking shape! We have ladies joining us from the West Coast, Midwest, Southwest and Texas too and a variety of fields, ages and passions as change-makers. If you have been noodling on whether or not to come I hope you jump on in! You may be the perfect missing ingredient to this beautiful gathering. And if you need one more incentive I’ve expanded my bonus book offer–follow the link for details and register today! xo
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This month I’m writing on the 4 key myths I had to burn through before I was ready to really own my own juiciest goals. If you have a juicy goal I hope this series might help you clear out any inner obstacles so the goal can go from “out there” to “right here + totally possible.” xo Courtney
*This audio was adapted from a meditation offered by Jessica Ortner of the Tapping Solution as part of the Tapping World Summit which concluded this week.