Friday Friction: Hold Your Space
Neutrality: the ability to see things as they are, to see the energy of a thing without emotional charge or baggage.
At work, at play, at rest, opportunities to practice neutrality abound. We talk about neutrality all. the. time. Why? Because when you can have neutrality in a situation, big or small, it immediately makes things clearer and easier. Here are a couple examples of neutrality in action from our own lives in the past week.
My family is eyeballs-deep in what Glennon Doyle Melton so aptly calls the brutiful nature of life. Brutiful = brutal + beautiful. Mourning and celebrating, grieving and partying; lately we've had a run on the feels and I'm finding that holding my space has required significant conscious effort. It's so totally worth every brain cell I've devoted to the task of staying neutral.
If I weren't able to have some neutrality, to stay in my own lane, so to speak, I would have crossed into unacceptable social behavior territory pretty much hourly (or at least daily). When you're in the thick of it, surrounded by energy that isn't yours, it can be oh-so-tempting to just go with the flow, slip out of the center of your head, surrender your own point of view and just let other people dictate your mood & reactions.
Here's the catch (because there's always a catch): what soothes or fuels someone else may not be what you need. It's like putting the wrong kind of gas in your car's tank. Sure it might run for a little while, but pretty quickly it'll stop. Abruptly. Possibly on a busy highway. Not pretty (or safe).
If you match someone else's energy, you might run for a while, but...yeah, you know.
Neutrality - the ability to see things as they are, without jumping to assigning value or merit - has empowered me to move through a whole slew of emotionally charged situations recently. I am still puttering along on my life's little highway, whereas before I made practicing neutrality a priority I would have likely been trapped and battered in the middle of a 47-car emotional pile-up.
It makes a difference.
Rest your attention in the center of your head, the place for neutrality and non-judgement. It sounds so simple. And yet, wait, what, where?
I had an experience this week where a little neutrality would have gone a long way. I got an angry phone call from someone I was working with and my first response was "could we all take a deep breath and get into the center of our heads?" I let him vent and, as most things in life, when you let someone have their space about something, the situation calmed down.
What was also happening (behind the scenes if you will) is that I was grounding, blowing roses, and staying in the center of my head. In other words, I didn't match to his energy. I held my space of calm, relaxed, and certainty. I knew the issue would be resolved without issue, I knew all was fine. I also knew he needed to have his space first before he could see what I saw and knew.
When you hold your space when confronted with energy, it changes things. In my experience, it makes it much gentler on all involved. And I will admit it, I am aiming for gentle. The center of your head trick fosters gentle, and really, couldn't we all use a bit more gentle in our lives?