The last time I wrote one of my monthly Reflections newsletters was two months ago. While I certainly could have "banged one out" and nearly did several times, I stopped short of doing so.
Each time I asked myself "how critical is it that I do this?" Some of my responses to myself were:
I reflect all the time, so forcing myself to reflect is not necessary.
If I had hordes of followers who expected my monthly Reflections and would feel betrayed or disappointed if they didn't receive it, perhaps I would have felt compelled to send one out of a sense of commitment or responsibility to them.
Since I don't have hordes of readers, forcing myself to send Reflections as a way of attracting new readers would probably have been silly or even delusional, and would have forced me to focus my attention, time and energy, rather than letting it flow.
If I had something that I felt was or could be of value to others that warranted passing on, I would have taken the time to send it, as was the case with my Reflection on Heads Up! in May. I sensed it could be useful to others, as it reflected significant learning for me. Yesterday my new brother-in-law pulled me aside to tell me how helpful it had been to him and that he continues to reflect on it, nearly two months later.
The message in all of this, I take to indicate is that of "Just Chill" - don't force something if it isn't calling to be expressed or address. be patient and wait for something to emerge.
As is usually the case, I find this message to be showing up in various domains in my life including, (no surprise!), in my surfing, where I am learning to paddle less and to focus more on the waves in the distance, in the patterns over time, in the position of the other surfers, on my form and timing. Miraculously, with less effort I am catching more waves and getting better rides. It is no mistake that Max Baumann, a competitive surfer, created a relaxation beverage called Just Chill!
As I continued to reflect on this, I noted a couple other possible responses.
If our response to circumstances, or to the ever-moving flow of waves coming towards us is to Brace Ourselves - anxiously anticipating the next wave, the next crisis, the next thing that will call for our attention, we're pretty much screwed.
Of course there are times when bracing yourself is called for (like riding on a sail boat that tips strongly in one direction, and if you don't hold on and brace yourself, you will end up in the brink, with the boat sailing away), most of the time, there are more effective and less energy-intensive responses.
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the most assured way to injure yourself is to tighten up when presented with a challenge from a training partner of opponent. In parenting, the best way to insure escalating tension is to contract when challenged by your child. And in business, the way to limit the palette of possibilities and undermine trust is to hold on tight to a perspective or position.
I recall a recent wave where a backwash wave bumped me off balance and I noticed that the top of my left foot was facing down on the board. Had I tightened up and continued to try to stand up, I would have most likely sprained my ankle. Instead, I relaxed and allowed myself to come back down on my board, and ride the wave lying down.
In general, the more contracted we are, the less flexibility and fluidity we have in our responses to circumstances. The more expanded into Just Chill awareness, the more possibilities available for our response.
Go For It!
Coming full circle, when things do line up and call to be addressed, go for it, with the appropriate energy, which sometimes can be intense. When you are in the right place at the right time, and a big wave is upon you, don't dawdle, paddle hard and fast and go for it. It usually only takes a couple stokes to catch the wave.
When the mood or spirit or energy move you to write, to take action, go for it. The moment might pass, and something else may come along afterwards that calls for your attention. Go for it now, or forever hold your peace. And if you don't go for it or you go for it and don't catch it, don't worry, Just Chill!