What Works (and What Doesn’t)

What Works (and What Doesn’t)

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” -Rumi

Rumi’s words remind me to step back from the dichotomy of “good” and “bad”/ “right” and “wrong.” Instead, there can only be what works and what doesn’t, and that is a moving target. A behavior that serves us in one moment may be detrimental in another. It’s not inherently of a particular value.

This can be a tough concept to digest when we have spent so many years conditioning ourselves to believe that when we struggle we “fail” or “are the worst.” We have trained ourselves to see our failures in the contrast of others’ (perceived) strengths, and so value ourselves against what we wish were.

My best friend and I were discussing this at length on a recent road trip together. We have so much in common, but when we travel together our differences in time management start to show. I am painstakingly always on time or early. She, on the other hand, often ends up being 10 min late. She bemoans her struggle and praises my ease. Until we talked about what really goes on.

The cost of my timeliness is hidden in the 20 wasted minutes I habitually spend sitting in my car parked at an appointment far too early. The stomach churning anxiety I feel looking at the clock, knowing I will be even 1 minute late. There are always two sides to the story. I wish I could take a deep breath and know it isn’t the end of the world to be fashionably late. A step before that would be to reduce my “just in case” travel buffer, and not end up sweating it out in parking lots on a regular basis. We have a lot we can learn from each other even in the simplest situations. Instead of “whose way is better?” the real question should be “what works here?”.

For a freewheeling day exploring the Pacific Northwest, it served us both to let my friend take the wheel. She didn’t stress that we wouldn’t be on time for our made up plans. Because of that, we had an adventure that neither of us planned on, and it remains the highlight of my visit. When it was time to get packed up and catch my flight home I stepped in with time checks and outlining priorities. We had lunch, shared our final stories and hugs and I was on a bus to the airport without rushing or concern.

To me “the field” out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing is finding our self in community. Together, we balance the traits to better ourselves and our impact on the world. Let your “wrongdoings” become an opportunity to ask for help. “Rightdoings” are simply the ways you can give back. We all have gaps. We all have skills. We all need each other.

Always in Service,
Dr. Carly

Self Reflection

Self Reflection

Lately, it feels like time is moving at the breakneck pace of stampeding horses. It would be easy to let my feet be swept out from under me and get carried along with the excitement of it all.

However, isn’t this the way we end up places we were never meant to be? Perhaps the first movements are exhilarating and freeing (and we all certainly need adventure in our lives); but have you ever been carried along so far and so long that you don’t quite recognize yourself any more?

As we grow, we often take time to create new goals and aspirations. When our goals mature, we are given the opportunity to look back on our last intention and evaluate what we accomplished and where we fell short. Self reflection is a powerful tool to keep us on the path to our best selves.

When we take the time to question the integrity of our choices and make new goals for things to come, we are constantly moving the needle of our lives to be in alignment with ourselves. This can become an opportunity to look our attachments and aversions and how we see ourselves and our place in our communities.

What are you doing to care for yourself and your body? We cannot pour from an empty cup and offer what we are unable to give ourselves.

What relationships are supporting you? It is often said that we are the sum of the 5 people with whom we spend the majority of our time. When you look at your community, do you feel they represent your best self?

How do you face inconveniences? Each day brings challenges and unplanned detours. Do they derail your day, or can you smile and laugh in the face of them?

What is your relationship with the devices in your life? Technology is neither inherently good or bad. Like all tools, it can serve a function of creating ease or fostering dependency. What would it be like to set them aside for a day or two?

These are questions have been asking myself. Not all of the answers are comfortable, but that discomfort is what offers me a chance to change. Perhaps now is the time for us each find a place in our lives that offers a sense of gritty discomfort and the growth edge of opportunity.

Always in Service,
Dr. Carly