What are you waiting for?
A voice whispers, from somewhere deep inside… “What if you just took the step?”
But which step? You wondered. It’s always a bit that way. You get the message… but then you wonder, right? Could it be THAT step? No, not that one. Or perhaps… The thoughts roll through your mind like a ticker tape parade. Options. Ideas. Questions. Doubts.
Yet in all of that white noise, you might also detect a faint flicker of excitement.
If THAT voice is speaking, I encourage you to take a moment and listen.
Eighteen months ago, I took a risk and moved from my home in Berkeley, California to the East Coast city of Philadelphia. It couldn’t have been a stranger decision. Quite literally, to a person, the most common response among acquaintances in my new city was:
Always with immense curiosity and yes, always in capital letters.
What about the weather? The heaviness? The grit? Why would you leave a place so beautiful? So progressive? So cultured? So temperate?
And frankly, the answer is still “I don’t know”…
But I know that for now, I’m in the right place.
Think for a moment about your own life. When was the last time you acted the fool, making a decision that you could not justify, nor explain… and yet, you knew it was the right thing to do?
When was the last time you took a leap of faith, into the unknown, to be met with a long silent pause… and then perhaps, after some time of watching and waiting and wondering, discovered a doorway into the future you’d been looking for?
Among those I support in my day job as a corporate coach and consultant, the fool is not an archetype that gets a good rap. Taking risks, acting on intuition, trusting one’s gut in the face of naysayers… even going against the grain…
can be a recipe for disaster in the context of a billion dollar business deal.
Yet, in the past few weeks I have been conducting interviews with high level corporate executives and – to my surprise and delight – they are calling out this skill as a missing and needed aspect of 21st Century leadership.
As one leader said with slight exasperation,
“So many of our leaders are afraid to take a risk. They are afraid of how they will be perceived, or how it will look… but how do you motivate people into an unknown future, if you’re not willing to give it a try?”
The ipod wasn’t born from a desire to make the same old safe choices one more time.
I know it’s cliché. We’ve heard it before. But how do we put it into practice?
Remember the voice?
The one that spoke: What are you waiting for?
That’s right. You start to listen.
The archtype of the fool lives at the intersection between birth and death. He (or she) is wildly creative, present in the moment, and abundant. The fool represents the sense of adventure that comes from leaning into a journey… and being willing to take the next right step, regardless of perceptions, fears or doubts.
The fool brings feelings together with energy and vision, giving birth to the next right thing. Yet she doesn’t know what will come of this alchemy… rather, she listens well, and deeply deeply trusts.
This week I invite you to explore your own relationship with creativity, with listening, with surrender and trust.
This week I invite you to try acting “the fool”… in the best possible way.
In your movement practice,
Pay closer attention to the instincts and impulses that move you. Do you override them with good ideas about what you ought to do next, and how best to do it? What if you took the approach of playful and curious exploration, rather than a competent and skillful push. What might change about your routine? How would you move differently if you allowed a bit more surrender? Exploration? Impulse?
What if you danced a bit more with the unknown?
I have a magnet on my refrigerator door that says: “Do one thing… every day… that scares you.”
In life, this week, I invite you to try THAT on. Take a moment and listen more deeply to the voice that whispers, softer than the loud rational voice, but nonetheless has something important to say. What is she suggesting? Notice the resistance that comes up. It can be subtle! I’m not necessarily talking big decisions like moving across coasts or buying a new home. Maybe it’s something as small as “buy the raspberries…”
Notice the push and pull of the rational mind “but they’re waayyyyyyy overpriced today!” (Of course they are, at $5.25 per container! But then… it’s still only five dollars…).
This week I invite you to take a risk and play on the edges of the unknown.
There’s no telling just what you’ll find…
but, I suspect, the world will find it easier to surprise and delight you.