I've got a story for you.
It's a little before 7 p.m. Everyone's here now. Bags are being leaned against the wall, coffees are being finished, and cell phones are being silenced after one last text message check. We make our way onto the big blue mat and into a sort of circle to begin rehearsal.
One is exhausted from staying out late last night. One is nursing a sore ankle. One got great news earlier today. One spent the day sending out resumes, looking for a new job.
The energy we bring in from our separate days is bouncing all around us and between us, and our thoughts are going going going. Under the reality of our hellos and how are yous, each of our brains is doing a background tabulation of things-we-didn't-finish-today, phone-calls-we-owe, things-we-need-to-tell-our-partners-when-we-get-home-tonight, and even whether-we-are-living-the-lives-we-want-to-live.
We lie down to begin our warm up ritual, and I say this: "For the next three hours, let go of all the things you need to do, decide, and fix. While you're here, you can't do anything about them anyway. So for the next three hours, just be in this room, with these people, doing this."
I see tensed shoulders drop, held breath sigh out, and clenched jaws soften. Including my own. Secretly, I know that I say it as much for myself as for anyone else.
Here's another story.
I was leading a public speaking coaching session for a small group working on a product pitch. They were all crazy tired and had miles of tedious product-tweaking to go after our session ended. It felt like we were all on different planets. Their brains were trying to keep working on their product while their bodies were going through the motions in the room with me.
For me, public speaking coaching is just like a really fun rehearsal, so I said, "For the next hour, let go of that to-do list. While you're here, you can't do anything about it anyway. So for the next hour, just be in this room, with these people, doing this." Yes.
And here's a story from today.
I was driving along, late for an appointment. My thoughts jumped like a scared rabbit from imagining what I would say to apologize when I got to the appointment, to going through the list of stuff I needed to do later at the office, to what I needed to arrange in order to make this The Springiest Spring Ever with our daughter. For the first time ever in a non-rehearsal context, I thought to myself, "For the next ten minutes, let go of all that stuff. While you're driving, you can't do anything about it anyway. So for the next ten minutes, just drive."
Sweet mercy, it worked, y'all. I had really nice drive in this blooming, blossoming North Carolina springtime.
Will you try it?
When you go into a meeting, when you sit down for family dinner, when you start work on making a new thing, will you try it? Think to yourself, "For the next little bit, I can't do anything about all that stuff anyway. So I'm just going to be here, with these people, doing this."
Email me to let me know if it's helpful, will you?