On Having the Courage to Just Sit With It

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The start of the year has been very hectic but not in a good way, I feel that I am very reactive to what is happening and have no clarity or vision forward. Uninspired and have the feeling I have no space for my spirituality or taking time to nurture myself and rest. Trying to drive business here is not easy (as if it was easy anywhere!) and draining.

You’ve set you intentions for the year, avoided the pitfall of setting goals, instead creating a theme for 2016, thus avoiding disappointment when you fail to meet your high expectations…..and yet, January isn’t quite being the joyful new start you’d hoped? You’re not alone.

If you’re feeling drained, with no sense of forward momentum, that everything is just difficult, it’s easy to feel that the issue is a “doing” one: more vision, better clarity — we’ll strategise and think and then do our way out of the funk.

Having no clarity or vision is a tough place for woman like us to be — women who want to change the world, to get out there and bring our brilliance to projects and initiatives and create, impact and do! But, don’t we find time and time again, that when we reflect back on times that seem difficult, there was a purpose behind the difficulties — sometimes something just hasn’t happened yet (“ah, that’s why there was a delay”), or sometimes we just haven’t worked out a way of seeing how our current experience is precisely what we need.

At such times “just sitting with it”, has been one of my biggest challenges. The high energy, activator me is always looking to “do” my way out of discomforting feelings, or use my head to figure out what’s wrong and what I therefore need to change. My talented client is a corporate refugee, like me, seeking to create a new life for herself with her partner in a new country. Away from home, a new language, trying to establish her new business…most of us would would find that draining.

It’s tempting to think our way out of such feelings, but I have found that often the answer lies in the language that we use to describe those feelings and simply sitting with those words to uncover the metaphor within.

As human beings we appear to be hardwired to think in metaphor and to communicate using metaphor. We are also hardwired to respond to metaphor — often unconsciously. In his article about using metaphor to inspire creative thinking, communication and creatvity trainer Andy Eklund says metaphors make the strange familiar and the familiar strange and expand our creative thinking in three ways:

  • By identifying similarities between two disparate problems. In doing so, new insights emerge, and can potentially be translated into new ideas to solve the original problem.
  • By examining the old problem in a new context. Here, a new or different perspective might reveal unusual approaches or potential alternatives to solve the original problem.
  • By looking elsewhere for answers, particularly outside our existing body of knowledge as well as our comfort zone. As we distance ourselves from our current situation, we give ourselves freedom and clarity to question our assumptions or stereotypes. By breaking these biases, we often can see new solutions to solve the original problem.

As we explored my client’s language and the metaphors they represented, I wondered whether the words clarity and draining might be connected, and whether a broader interpretation of clarity might help counter the feelings of being drained.

Exploring the etymological roots of clarity on Clarity Daily, a fabulous website which explores the spirit of words, reveals its source to be the Latin claritus meaning “clear-ity”. In Old French this became clarté meaning “clarity, brightness”. In Modern French this evolved to become clair, from the Latin clarus and evolved to mean “clear”, loud, bright, brilliant, illustrious of sounds. Figuratively it meant “plain, evident”, “bright, distinct” and also “illustrious, famous, glorious”.

As a verb clarity came to mean — “to make clear in the mind” to “remove what clouds” from 1530s — “to get rid of” and as an adverb, “quite, entirely, wholly”.

Exploring the spirit of the word clarity, the site goes on to describe clarity as:

A state of being that encompasses the qualities of being splendid, shining, blazing, white, light, glorious, brilliant, illustrious, evident, distinct, famous, pure, wholly, quite, entirely, filled with light, clear in mind, peaceful and serene. Personally, I can’t hep but notice the similarities of the origins of “bright” with the word “bear”. As we’ve shown in earlier etymology posts, bear is Moor. It’s safe to say that to be Moor is to be Clarity aka a “Light Bearer”. Those divine stars and suns here to be a light to the world for a chosen few who choose to take heed to divine principles. Clarity also describes the state of the sun. Light, bright, splendid, clear, celebrity, renown, fame. Let’s not forget the healing qualities of sun bathing and sun gazing; very literally being “filled with light” when one partakes in those activities. We’re also at least 76% water so being in a state of clearness and purity is extremely vital to sustain and maintain a healthy physical and mental existence.

Having an expanded sense of the word clarity — beyond a destination she was anxiously seeking to get to — helped my client see how she might bring clarity into her life in different ways. It might be as simple as drinking more water (interesting to consider this in the context of a “drain” — maybe some things that needed flushed away and got rid of?), or it might be that she simply needs time and space to re-connect to her own brilliance, and inner light, after a period of intense change. Whatever, given time and through paying attention to what her body is telling her that she needs she will discover what clarity means for her, herself, in her own language. She just needs to allow herself the permission to just sit with it.

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Originally published at Courage Matters.

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