March 4, 2008

Why I'm Not In a Hurry

I once heard Katie say that she'd love to do a workshop or school where everyone worked on the same belief for the entire time. I wonder who would sign up for that. Imagine: nine days delving deeply into "My husband should," "My kids shouldn't," "I want the world to..." "My body is..."

Actually, it could be really interesting. I experience benefit in slowing down inquiry, even if I never get past the first statement on my worksheet. (Anything left will surely keep.)

I've identified some of the most common pitfalls of doing The Work quickly. This is good for facilitators to notice as well, as we may inadvertantly be rushing our clients, thinking we have to get everything done! (Or undone, as it were.)

1. "Yeah, but..."
It's really easy for me to rationalize if I answer the four questions quickly. The answers are off the top of my head, not considered, not especially deep, so there's a rush to justify as well. (My friend and co-presenter, Nonviolent Communication trainer Christine King calls it the "Yeahbut Rabbit," which reproduces at the speed of light!). When you rationalize, it's not wrong, it's just that you stop inquiry. So if it's inquiry you want, slowing down is good.

2. Backtracking
Say I've rushed through question three, "How do you react when you think this thought?" Now it's time for question four, "Who would you be without this thought?" I've no idea, truly, because I haven't spent that "quality time" with the previous question. I may lose my place because I'm starting to see more ways I react with the thought. Good to notice!

So if this happens to you, you may want to try taking more time answering question three: get really still, make it a meditation. If you're being facilitated by someone, invoke "client's rights" and ask your facilitator to wait in the silence with you; you'll let them know when you're ready for the next question.

3. Playing the Glad Game
When you answer question four ("Who would you be without that thought?"), do you sound like Pollyanna, automatically looking for something to be happy about? Do you go into superficial rapture? I call it the "I would be love, I would be peace, I would be joy" answer. I won't let myself get away with that one, because it doesn't stick around for long...and if I hear a client doing it, I ask for specificity. I mean, it's a nice start, as are affirmations...and a lovely message for kids...but who among us ever read this children's classic and became the Lao Tzu of our third grade class, especially when we didn't get our way?

"I would be love, peace, and joy" while the stock market swallows up my retirement fund? I'm not that detached. Closer to my truth is, I would have some perspective, call my broker and rationally look at my options, see what I have now rather than look at what I used to have and mourn for it. Security being a myth, a balanced mind in the moment is what I want, more than the ephemeral pleasure of a portfolio that's behaving the way I want it to (though I'm certainly not knocking that; sure was nice while it lasted!)

4. Making Tough Turnarounds Even Tougher
"I do want my 'ex' to get the house? No way!" Your answer would have to be "no way" if you're looking to The Work for a quick fix, or if you're afraid that if you look at this turnaround, you'll lose something. We're just taking a look. Take it slow; how might it be a good thing if she gets the house? One little way? (The house needs work, and I don't have to sink more money into it.) Then two, perhaps. (We get to keep it in the family, for the kids.) Then, perhaps, three (I've been wanting to move to the city, here's my chance), or more. If you take your time and look at the turnarounds, it doesn't mean that she's going to get the house; it only means that the worst thing may not actually be so terrible. It could mean you have less fear and resentment. If there's nothing to fear, how would you show up at the attorney's office as you do what you know to do?

For a particularly moving example of taking time to be with the turnarounds, watch this video; If this gentleman is still living, maybe he's taking care of his cancer with less fear of something terrible happening; that's how I'd want to approach it myself. I saw him do this piece in person last year, and I was just blown away by his willingness to be with one of the toughest turnarounds I've ever heard.

©2008 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

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