Tag Archives: pandemic

Inspired by #goodtrouble

The late Congressman John Lewis, a towering advocate for equality in our nation, invited us all to get into ‘Good Trouble.’ To Lewis #goodtrouble involved three actions; living in concert with our beliefs, confronting people and systems that are misaligned with those beliefs, and working to make our beliefs a reality. The misalignment he fought permeated our society. It expressed itself in efforts to pass landmark Civil Rights legislation and in the insidious ordinary interactions among Americans that happen everyday. He and hosts of others made real progress. Yet, as the past weeks have illustrated, we have so much more work ahead of us.

How does misalignment express itself for you?

Misalignment is front and center in our experience of transition. Those who explore transition often do so because there is misalignment in their lives. It may express itself in the aftermath of a divorce that leaves you questioning who you are both in and out of that relationship. It may express itself in a job loss that leaves you wondering if getting back into that same field is really a way forward.  It may express itself in a pandemic that upends how you think about safety or about the expectations that have always guided your way.

My work in transition and the words of John Lewis both inspire us to address this misalignment in the same fashion. They both compel us to be seen for who we are and heard for what we believe in. #goodtrouble and transition invite us to  follow a path we’ve discussed many times before in this column, to be seen.

Are you willing to be seen for who you are?  Doing so may require you to step outside of the shield of expectations set by another or to come up with your own definition of success. #goodtrouble seems to be asking me if I am ready to be seen for who I am.

Are you?

An exercise for being seen

To make this real, try this exercise. Think for a moment about a piece of you that isn’t visible to others. It can be anything. It can be something tangible like your skill at flower arranging, or something less so, like your optimism or energy. Once you recognize something that isn’t often seen, ask yourself why this absence might be important? The answer to this question may surprise you. Very often it is this answer that helps us gain a better picture of what is in the way of our willingness to be seen. After completing the above steps, define a small activity related to being seen that you could practice this week. Take that step!

Borrowing From Lewis’s Playbook

As we turn up the volume on who we are, we have a decision to make. Will we act in concert with what we find there? For some this will be joining a demonstration. For others this will be sitting quietly next to a friend in need. The specifics of your action is not what matters here, what really counts is that you do something in line with who you are.

So many that I work with are quick to tell me, ‘of course, I’d love to act in concert with who I am – BUT I cannot because of huge piles of resistance I meet along the way.’ Resistance comes in many forms; an unsupportive spouse, a mortgage payment, a parent in failing health, uncertainty and so much more.

I don’t have the magical answer to neutralize your resistance. I do, however, embrace an image that Congressman Lewis put in my head. He said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”  I interpret this simply: find a way to be you in spite of the resistance you meet.

Being seen is the beginning of a wonderful path. Few will line up the confetti guns and music to celebrate your journey down this road. However, it will be the most engaging and inspired path that you’ll ever be on. It is your path. You have to choose to take it. You won’t find your way there without such a choice. That choice starts by listening carefully to the misalignment you encounter and having the confidence to bring your own folding chair.

Godspeed Congressman Lewis.

Linda Rossetti (linda@LindaRossetti.com, remember 2 s’s and 2 t’s!)

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Interested in talking with others about our unsettled time and how to navigate it successfully?  Join me for Dishing on Disruption every Thursday evening at 7:00 – 7:45 pm eastern.  We talk, we laugh, we explore uncertainty and play with skill-building exercises from my extensive library of tools for transitioning. It is invaluable and free!

Details can be found here. Hope to see you!

Photo by Alin Luna on Unsplash

 

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Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

Suspending Expectations

I laughed out loud the other day as I read the NY Times article, Giving In to Letting Go.  The piece was all silliness about ditching beauty routines given that we are all sequestered in our living rooms. High heels, make-up, manicures, hair dye, underwear, accessorizing, and blow dryers…all took it on the chin. There was an important message threaded amidst all this casting off. What do we do when expectations – in whatever form – are suspended?

Photo by Alysa Bajenaru on Unsplash

The article tried to answer that question. There was one woman who couldn’t let go entirely.  She quipped, ‘I still wear my lipstick!’  Another reveled in the freedom away from straightening irons and beauty parlor chairs.  Still another shared that her beauty regime was how she enacted her blackness, a fundamental piece of her identity.

The identity reference was strong. It was like a punch in the nose. What about expectations and who they allow us to be?

Expectations stand at the core of transitioning. A transition starts when we choose to decouple from expectations set for us by others. By families, by communities, by professions, by lovers, by friends. It is a courageous act that isn’t so much a leap but a pivot. We turn away only to turn up the volume on what is uniquely our own. Our own voice. Our own truth. In transitioning, we don’t eschew all that has been. We learn to feather it into our new direction, one fueled by all that we are capable of becoming.  Those who love us cheer at this pivot, many others stand bewildered.

Transition isn’t easy. It includes loss or sadness or grief.  Something. After all, in it we step away from things that held us in place.  We may begin by bending the boundaries of what we always thought was acceptable – like not wearing lipstick or skipping the SPF 50 moisturizer. These early steps may lead to bigger ones. We may reconsider what it means to be successful. What it means to love, or be loved.

You might ask, ‘Who in their right mind would take on all of this?’

That answer is easy.

Those who go there recognize transition’s unparalleled gifts. The gifts start appearing right from the get go. There are improvements in our well-being and positivity; there are contributions to our longevity, there are newly reset thoughts about success.  From my perch, the most extraordinary gift of all is capacity. Transition builds in us the capacity to grow into our fullest self. For this alone, I view it as an essential process in life.  One too few explore.  Transition gives us the currency to see what is in there with us and to celebrate! (Hopi Elder).

See if you can find a moment in the days ahead to recognize how it feels to suspend an expectation.  Is there one part of your life – like a beauty routine – that it emanates from? Wonder what that is telling you.

This pandemic – for all its loss and hardship and devastation – is unknowingly offering us a glimpse at something important. Thanks to it, we can dip our toe into the waters of suspending expectations.

May health, safety and security blanket you and all those around you. And, may you gain confidence from your ability to recognize who is in there with you…and celebrate.

Stay safe and well.   Linda R. (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.