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To Do or Not To Do

creative doing Jun 24, 2018

I woke up yesterday with a head full of to-do’s, feeling the pressure to get out of bed and get started right away. All this, on a Saturday no less. I felt the tug, but instead of succumbing, I recognized the underlying truth: that I didn’t really have to do anything. The choice was mine. And when I looked closer, nothing on my list was truly urgent. It just felt that way. Momentarily.

I think we often convince ourselves of an urgency that isn’t real. Often it’s just a habit, a knee-jerk response to anxiety. Sometimes it’s an indulgence - a way of magnifying our sense of importance. And at other times still, I think it’s a cleverly disguised distraction. The busyness distracts us from whatever’s underneath. And the only way to face that is to slow down.

When I do slow down, the resulting ease is a welcome relief. I allow myself to rest there a while. The “while” can be a few minutes, hours, or a day. Yesterday, it was a day.

Sometimes in sessions with our clients, we can feel the pressure to do. The pressure to get through things. To move toward results. Quickly. We can think we don’t have time for anything less. And certainly, the sense of urgency that can arise in client work isn’t quite as easy to set aside, especially when the financial imperatives of insurance and managed care insist.

But still, the slowing down helps. It opens the space of possibility. The space beneath the explicit goals articulated on a treatment plan. A space in which something new can arise. Something we didn’t anticipate or plan for. A pleasant surprise. A respite. Relief.

Our clients notice when this space of possibility opens. They feel the difference. And they’re eager to join us there. We can support it, or we can insist on Doing Something.

So the next time you feel the pressure to do, whether in a session or elsewhere, back off a bit. And rest in the ease beneath the urgency.

Give yourself and your client the freedom to not have to do anything.

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