When setting visual intentions for my monthly 2016 Mandalas I knew February would be a month of reaching out and engaging with not just a few close friends but with hundreds of people – including students, blog friends, readers, fans, strangers, and industry movers and shakers! I knew I would be teaching quite a bit, including at Quiltcon which begins in five days.
I’m pretty good at public speaking, because it’s easy for me to talk about what I know and love. However, interacting with lots of people, reaching out while keeping my sense of integrity —branching fragrantly from my center and sharing my essence authentically is more of a challenge. When I ask myself why this is, I pin it on my highly developed critical mind gone haywire. My judgmental mind, the one that compares my self to others and to unrealistic expectations of myself, keeps me separated, leaves me insecure, and stops my creative flow… It’s my YES BUT mind.
In my work, I easily get stuck in this perpetually dissatisfied judgmental mind because it keeps me safe. In fact my YES BUT’s often arise because I’m on the edge of exploring new territory. Either I chicken out and I’m dissatisfied, or I do something so new and uncomfortable I can’t tell if it’s “right” or “good” so I feel dissatisfied. When stuck in the YES BUTS the only way I’ve found to step outside my judgmental mind is to invoke my sense of curiosity and begin saying YES AND… Affirm and build.
So now when I’m meeting people, and I notice my mind making comparative judgements… I’m thinner than they are… I’m heavier than they are… I wish I had their sense of style… my quilts aren’t as good OR my quilts are better than theirs… and I become stuck in the judgmental spiral, judging myself for being judgmental, guess my key to escape?
That’s right… CURIOSITY!
When my YES BUT judgmental mind starts to kick in, I immediately switch on my curious mind… I wonder about the hardships of living on the street? I wonder what it would be like to start over in a new country… I wonder why someone is shy? or outgoing? I wonder about a quilter’s unique memories of color that make her quilt shine? The focus is not about me, I can relax, and all of a sudden I’m in the midst of an interesting world of possibility, opportunity, and new relationships.
When I get nervous meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, I quiet my judgmental mind, find my curiosity, listen to what they are saying, and do my best to respond with a YES AND….
Let’s get curious together!
I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at Quiltcon next week. I am teaching Thursday, Friday, and Sunday but I will be on the floor all day Saturday, enjoying the quilts, vendors, and the community. Please introduce yourselves and say hi if you see me. I will also be signing copies of The Improv Handbook at the Sew Modern Booth (#215 ) on Saturday from 3-5 pm.