For the past few months I’ve been working in a virtual co-working community, and it’s given me much-needed structure to force me into my chair by a certain time. I also love the community. I look forward to logging in every morning and seeing my friends.
At the same time, the social interaction and forced time constraints of the Pomodoro technique are not ideal for creating the space I need for my morning “deep work” sessions that help me create my best work.
I’ve been co-working an average of three sessions a day lately, and it’s a lot. Under the surface, I was feeling some ambivalence above the morning work session.
Maybe I needed to skip a day.
This is a place where I could easily get caught in the trap of indecision, pulled by two conflicting desires. Or, I could pay attention to the signs.
Reading the Signs
In general, I have a slow burn; it takes me a while to get myself fully awake in the morning. Usually I’m there after my morning workout and meditation, but this week I’ve been slower than usual.
This was the first sign that maybe what I needed most was some solo-work time.
I was running “behind schedule” for the morning session and feeling the anxiety rise in my chest as I rushed to get ready.
Nothing good ever happens when I rush.
First, I did the dumb thing of trying to fix my contact lens after I had just put tea tree oil on my legs.
The sting in my eye was instantaneous. Duh.
Back to the bathroom to wash my hands and rinse my lens with saline.
Lost in the fog of my mind, I accidentally caught my left pinky finger in the medicine cabinet door, right where I had just removed a band-aid to heal a cut. Ouch. I didn’t even see it happen.
I heard the faint whispers of my inner voice telling me to slow down. But I looked at my watch and I knew I could still make it.
I came downstairs to set up my outdoor work space. It’s part of my new morning ritual: setting up my surge protector and extension cord, my computer, ipad, and phone. I still had a minute to open my computer and log into Zoom.
Before I sit down, I always spray myself with bug spray to ward off mosquitos. But the zipper for the pouch where I keep the bug spray was stuck. I also keep a few resistance bands in the pouch, for stretch breaks. One was caught in the zipper.
The metaphors sometimes are so obvious.
I was literally caught in resistance.
So perfect. So clear in its message.
Listening to the Messages
If you’ve ever tried to unzip a stuck zipper, you know that fighting it is not the way. It’s like trying to untangle knots: if you pull too hard you just strengthen the knots. To unstick the zipper requires care, patience, and persistence. This isn’t a rush job.
The First Message: Slow down. Find your grounding. Breathe. Nothing productive happens when you rush.
A stuck zipper cannot be forced open. Resisting the resistance only makes it stronger. What you resist, persists.
The Second Message: Don’t force yourself. Go inward to meet yourself where you are. Stay within your own experience.
Everything is a message and a messenger. The question is whether we are noticing.