And yet, here we were, doing it again.
It was the same old pattern. The meeting began with great connection, vision, dreaming and energy. But after the lunch break, as the conversation turned to plans on what to do next, all that energy we’d experienced fled the room.
We turned to making long to-do lists, agonizing over all we had to do, remembering everything that we’d once tried that hadn’t work. Hopelessness and despair descended like thick fog over our morning mountain top clarity and excitement.
It had happened to us before – one, three, five – too many times. And this time we were headed that same way again until someone interrupted our pattern and said, “Stop. We have to stop. We can’t do this one more time.”
And so that day, we did something different. We stopped. We put down our to-do lists, raised our heads from our hands, unclenched our fists, and got curious about what we were doing. We talked about our fears. We acknowledged that as a board we had a lot invested in our time, energy, histories in holding this work together and keeping it going. We remembered however that our call wasn’t to keep things going as they’d always been, but to do things differently, to lead into change. We wondered if we kept falling back into our familiar pattern of stuck and despair, so that nothing needed to change.
My experience at the meeting made me wonder what patterns I might be invited to interrupt today. I mean, when we find ourselves falling back into the “same old same old”, what if we stopped and acknowledged that we were stuck again in a life-draining way. What if instead of pushing through it we got curious about what was happening? What if we tried doing something differently?
The meeting that day, ended not with us fleeing the room exhausted and weary, as we had done so many times before – but looking around at each other with delight and giving ourselves a round of applause. Instead of a long list of things to do and not sure who was going to do it, we came out with just a couple of items that a few folks gladly took on.
What pattern might you be invited to interrupt today?
How might you pause and reflect on the way things always are – to make room for the new that might possibly be?
What would it take for your day to end with clapping?