Soul, Stirred not Shaken

Photo by Michelli Caroline on

Just between you and me, and as opposed to what your official statement should probably be, when did you most recently have a soul-stirring conversation? With whom did you have it and about what were you talking?

I mean the kind of sharing where you’re both – or all – if it was with a group of people (and bully for you if that was the case, you well-adjusted extrovert!) – anyway – the kind of conversation where you’re both/all leaning in and grinning and it feels like the words are spilling over the rim of your heart and out of your eyes and swirling in the air between you. The kind of talk that quenches a thirst you didn’t even know you had.

Sigh. I miss those.

When I first go to my work-for-money desk in the morning, I take a couple of ‘warm up laps’. That’s how I think of them. I take care of a few straight forward tasks, the ones I know I can take care of quickly and easily and get them off my desk. I can see that I’ve accomplished something. Get a little momentum going and sure, remind myself that I am capable.

I know there are those productivity gurus who advocate for taking care of the “rocks” first. Knocking a couple of big items off your desk. Er- list. (Knocking things off your desk would set you back, wouldn’t it? I mean, depending, broom and dustpan may be involved, absorbent rags, or God forbid ordering a replacement laptop.)

Anyway, there are those productivity leaders who feel that you should do the most difficult thing (the biggest rock) on your to-do list first. That is one way of approaching things, but I’m a proponent of easing in gently. The analogy I’m referencing here is that in which you imagine your limited-time work day as a big jar and your tasks as rocks and pebbles and sand that must fit inside the jar. It all has to get done. If you do all the little stuff first, i.e. put all the little grit-size tasks (responding to e-mails, putting out fires, deciding who’s going to bake the next office birthday cake etc) in first, you can’t fit any of the ‘big rock’ tasks in later. That big rock task like overhauling your website gets rolled forward into tomorrow, next week, next year. But if you put the big rocks in first, the grit and sand etc will still fit in.

Not me. I mean, what if you try to wrestle that big rock into the jar and you wind up on a tech call or a series of them all day long and at the end of the day your jar is absolutely empty?

I prefer to knock a few orders out before I tackle a complicated customs form or – ack – install a mandatory update because I’ve ignored all the other gentle reminders suggesting said update. Oh and if there’s a phone call to make on my to-do list, forget about it. I’m probably going to find myself washing my office window or vacuuming the carpet (and no I don’t actually have to clean my own office) before I feel warmed up enough for that phone call. You see the problem with my method.

Most of the time I do things when I have no other choice but to do them, I confess. Although I was thinking in terms of work and technology when I made that last statement, I’m afraid it may be my modus operandi in life.

So, I’m thinking about taking a few post-pandemic warm-up laps in terms of my social life. I want to get my hands on some of those soul-stirring conversations again.

That’s a big rock task for me, perhaps for many introverts. Not only making the heart-thumping, sweat-inducing phone call, but navigating the less enjoyable social conventions to get to the good stuff. Keeping up an amiable patter when I prefer companionable silence. Walking into a room full of people some of whom I know some of whom I don’t, all those heads turning to greet me, trying to pay the witty entrance fee when I would rather have just you to myself, not in this room.

But I’m also aware that I could put off that phone call to make that date…for…forever. I can fill up the weekend with blissful puttering. The gardens do need to be planted. The laundry must get folded.

It’s occurred to me that I could even re-invent my socializing to better suit, nay nurture, my introvert self. I’ve always kicked myself around for being socially awkward. Always contorted my heart into other peoples’ construct of a rousing good time. And I’m sure I will still do that for the extroverts in my life, God bless them. Bright lights and name tags and witty banter, oh my.

But I hereby affirm the soul-stirring conversation.

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