Curiosity, Compassion, Creativity & Kitchen Counter Dancing
Curiosity, Creativity, Compassion and Kitchen Counter Dancing.
Over the past several months, we have all experienced tremendous change, uncertainty and probably, a great deal of stress. I’ve been observing the world within me, surrounding me and globally with open eyes, an open heart and an eagerness to lean in to possibility.
But it wasn’t always this way. I’m leaning in now but I must admit that the first month of the global Covid situation, I was not leaning in. I was running away, searching for a rewind button, eagerly wanting life to return to the way it was – pronto! My eyes were shut tightly (in denial) as I couldn’t stand to see my speaking career (temporarily) evaporate right before my very eyes, and future earnings disappear along with it. My heart or spirit were on total lock-down too, cringing in fear that the familiar life as I once knew it was gone forever without any clarity of what the future could or would look like or when.
That first month was frightening and extremely unsettling – for all of us.
What saved me from my own implosion after the first month was surrendering. Surrendering to the current situation and letting go of the past. Surrendering to the fact that my career was not going to ‘go back to normal’ any time soon. (My hopes and likely all of our hopes that the whole situation was just a 2-week blip on the radar soon evaporated as the weeks in isolation went on.) And so the process of surrendering began. Surrendering and letting go of control and of my expectations of what I wanted my life to be like. You know, sometimes we don’t have a choice. We just have to roll with it. Sometimes life isn’t what we want it to be like. I totally get that. But rolling with life felt like a belly flop in the deep end of the pool – a hard smack of reality that stung like a darn, until I figured out the tuck and dive! Well, now’s the time to tuck and dive…and surrender.
Somewhere between belly-flopping and figuring out the tuck & dive, something remarkable happened! During the pause and isolation and living life so still and quiet that I could hear the sound of my own heart beating, the worry and anxiousness disappeared and I began to get very, very curious. Curious about about all possibilities that the future could hold. Sure, I’m freaked out about the unknown. The unfamiliar. But how often do we get a chance to rewrite the future? How often do we get a clean slate to create a different path? Who could we become through this situation and how could we make a positive impact within our own lives and the lives of others? (The truth is that we could all become ‘more’ through this experience and contribute to the world in a greater way. The world is in need right now and it’s waiting – for you and I to step up.) And as I let go of the past and embraced possibility, what evolved over the past couple months was an ability to be more compassionate with myself and others and a growing creativity in my business and life.
For me, there are four things that have helped me during the past couple months; curiosity, compassion, creativity and, yes, kitchen dancing.
These are the greatest currencies in life right now. (Well, the first three certainly are, and the fourth is a bonus!) From what I can see, those that are not only staying afloat right now but thriving through this current situation are buoyed with a sense of curiosity, compassion and creativity….and perhaps even a little kitchen dancing.
Within myself, I’ve been observing how I feel, what I’m thinking and what my outward behaviours are. Like the global situation, currently my own inner-world has been shaken up a bit and it’s unsettling. Very unsettling. What helps me navigate and maneuver through my own experience is surrendering to what is and then being curious, compassionate and creative – mixed together to invent a vision of possibility for the future. No matter what the current situation, at some point we all have to decide what our perspective will be and intentionally create new meaning, purpose and possibility out of what ever our circumstances are.
I have friends that are thriving during this time of isolation; sequestered with their families – playing board games, laughing together, going on outdoor adventures with one another and coming home to the fresh aroma of baking bread in the oven. Ahhh yes, there are people that are absolutely loving this so-called, new normal. They are never going back!
I also have friends that are suffering and struggling immensely; with uncertainty and stress running high, the isolation only serving to exacerbate (previous-to-Covid) frustrations and issues in their lives. My heart aches for loved ones and strangers suffering and struggling right now. I know what that suffering feels like and it’s exhausting. These truly are unprecedented times and life is not easy for so many who have lost so much.
There is much we do not have control over but a few things remain within our control – how we see the world and how we respond to it. And while my imperfections are many, what I’m learning is that the more curious I become, about life and everything in it, and the more open-minded I can be – the more positive and joyful life becomes, the more I learn, the greater positive impact I can make in the world and the better I feel – inside and out! For me, struggle happens when I think I know everything.
Einstein reminds me that, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” and this is so pertinent, especially in these current circumstances.
There are many different perspectives of the same thing, like in the image below, all of which may true, but appearing very different. What if our experience of the current situation was like that too?
What if we could become passionately curious? How would that create a different life experience for us? Perhaps views appearing different from our own might not be so opposing after all. How could becoming passionately curious create a different future for you? For me? For our world?
I love photography and over the past months, I’ve had more time to take pictures. It’s incredible how gorgeous even a dandilion puff ball can be …if we become passionately curious and look at it from a different perspective. (See photo at the top of this blog post.)
Compassion is the second thing that has been like a life raft for me during this time, lost in the sea of unknown. Compassion for myself and compassion for others. The kinder I have been towards myself and the kinder I have been towards others has directly impacted every moment of every day of my life, not just during Covid but my entire life. My mom taught me very early on to always be kind to others and like most of you, that’s just how we grew up. But being kind to myself, I wasn’t always so good at that. I’m still really just a novice, but getting better. In the past, I’ve dabbled in self-compassion now and then but never been very good at it until the Universe pressed the pause button a few months ago. With all of my speaking business contracts postponed until 2021 with just a couple moved to late 2020, I suddenly had an abundance of available time, which was something I never seemed to have enough of before. In the pause, I began to hear my own inner-voice…and listen to it. I began to take notes and become a student of my own inner wisdom – something that I either stifled, ignored or suppressed before that. What I’ve learned is that great things happen when we honour ourselves and what’s true within our own hearts.
How could you become kinder to yourself? More gentle? What is your inner-voice saying? What would happen if you listened to it? If you can find a way to be a little more compassionate with yourself, you’ll be astounded by what happens. Trust me on this.
One of the great things that have come out of being kinder, more compassionate with myself is that my creativity has soared. Maybe the global slow-down has allowed for a chance to catch up (b/c I felt wawwwwaaayaaayyyyyyy behind) or maybe it’s allowed an opportunity to swim in a different direction than where the current was previously pulling me. Either way, what I’ve come to know is that there is creativity in all of us – and it’s just begging for a chance to shine! To have an opportunity to flourish. To influence the future and make a greater difference in the world! Yes – that’s what creativity can do…if we honour it.
With a new podcast starting next month, a couple business ideas rising like the sourdough starter sitting on your kitchen counter (and mine) and some new products soon to be available in my online store, there is more possibility available than I knew could exist. Implosion isn’t the only outcome of this really challenging situation. Far from it! There are opportunities everywhere if we choose to see them and if we can find a way to be passionately curious, compassionate with ourselves and others, allowing our creativity to rise…the possibilities are endless. And in the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, in her snazzy shoes, if we can Be kind. Be calm. And be Safe, we’ll make it through this together!
And now, let’s talk about kitchen dancing. Whether you are the only one in attendance or if family, friends and even pets are invited, the fourth little flotation device that’s helped me drift through the past couple months is kitchen dancing. For those of you who know me, you know I love dancing. It’s one of my absolutely favourite things to do! All you need is some music and yourself. And when I’ve been feeling down and out, deflated, worried or anxious, I know I’m just 20 seconds away from a good mood, or rather, a great mood – if I turn up the music and start dancing. (Getting out and dancing with friends as we did at this Room To Read fundraiser are temporarily on hold…but it doesn’t mean we can’t crank up the music and get up on the counter!) Kitchen dancing has become like a comfort food for me during this whole situation, like all the bread that’s been baking in ovens around the world. And occasionally, when the music is really good, the kitchen island counter is the perfect place to be.
Perhaps it’s not the kitchen counter or even dancing for you, but whatever it is, please join me in bringing to life what serves you, what inspires you and what makes you feel good! Really good! There’s no time like the present to become a little more curious, compassionate and creative! Your inner voice is calling. Your heart has much to say. During this global pause or reset, please take a few moments to listen and honour yourself. The time is now and the world is waiting!
Crystal Flaman is an international keynote speaker and social entrepreneur, inspiring you to discover your dreams and the difference you can create in the world. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Believe in your dreams. Do what you love and be fearlessly you.
If you would like to learn more information about this topic or to have Crystal share this message with your team, (on a virtual basis during the current global situation) please contact Crystal. Thank you.
PS: When the time is right, let’s get together for a little sourdough bread! My friend Beth taught me to make it last week and like millions of people around the world, I’m now hooked on the fine art of baking bread, too! These loaves just came out of the oven this morning and my gratitude for the time and wisdom that Beth took to share her passion permeates the air just like the aroma of this bread. Thank you Beth. (Check out Poilane.com for more inspiration about the art of baking bread and a 3-generation bakery that turned hand-made bread into a global product!)
During this situation, when time might be a little more available, what passion do you have that you could share with a friend? Sharing it will make a difference to you both! If dancing just might pique your interest, come on over! I’ll have the music ready and the kitchen is waiting!