TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated movement. Completely out of context, someone brought up the book The Art of War. Required reading when my kids were little, a book I turn to often.
One of the lessons of Art of War (in my opinion) is sometimes you should move forward, sometimes you should retreat, sometimes you should pause. There’s no valor in charging forward “bravely” into a battle you will lose. That’s just irresponsible.
Maintaining peace is the goal. Knowing your enemy is essential. I would like to suggest that often, the enemy is inside us, a piece of ourselves we have yet to integrate.
I had a series of conversations this week with people discussing their “stuckness” — That conversation where someone knows they are stuck in a pattern of behaviour but they can’t seem to change.
That moment just before movement is intense. The image that comes to me is a round stone lodged in a river bed that is being pushed by water.
Before, the stone was calm, with water running over it. Now, it’s been a bit disturbed, the water now upsetting it more, it’s moving, but in that heavy, difficult way that is only frustrating. Soon, perhaps, the pressure will increase and the stone will come loose and tumble downstream, where my metaphor pretty much falls apart.
But that feeling? You must have felt it? Before, things were calm. You knew what to do. Perhaps you were in a rut, but hey, routine is good, isn’t it? And then that day comes.
Something happens to jostle you. An opportunity, a challenge, an awakening of some kind. The first little nudge might feel good. But that period of time, where the pressure feels relentless, just before you are about to move. And calm will be restored.
My question is: how can we flow with the moments where we are getting unstuck? Is it possible (and maybe not always) to find grace, peace, acceptance when we are being jostled by an opportunity or challenge?
Can we use Sun Tzu’s idea within ourselves? He also says “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Would it help to know the enemy within yourself? Your shadow side, your petty side, your underbelly?
Movement. Not away from your shadow side but toward it? Facing those bits of yourself you are aware of and ready to let go of. Often, a clue is that we are quite angry at a certain person. Or we can’t tolerate a certain quality in “people”
Maybe move through your week aware of this? And when you feel it, gently ask yourself if this is not something within yourself you are ready to let go of? Perhaps.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
I am going to mention Trump. I am going to attempt to mention him in a neutral way. I feel he was the water pressure for four years, dislodging us.
It’s possible. It’s definitely how I feel. And now, here we are. Awakened a bit. Each of us with our own reckoning. Our own work to do.
My personal reckoning centers around realizing endless possibilities for getting stronger, more effective, better at lifting others up. Lifting myself up.
9. Hero: Wanuri Kahiu —Director
Why? Please, please watch this video. She speaks to the message I tried valiantly to express this morning.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
Wild and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available everywhere you download podcasts. Movement episode Thursday with Lisa Richardson, writer.