Prism of Experience 💎
Over the past holiday season, Ryan and I connected with many people who described their experience as a full mixture of things – delicious food, family challenges/stresses, squeezing in work time, rest, difficult conversations, loneliness, connection, some small moments of joy...
It's always complex, isn't it?
We've been thinking a lot about how our experiences are never really just one thing, but more like a prism – with many different qualities, feelings, perspectives blending together all at once. We had such a sweet Thanksgiving with my family in Montana. It was warm and cozy and full of love/gratitude. It was also our second Thanksgiving without my dad (he died unexpectedly of brain cancer in 2020). Alongside the warmth and fun, there was a poignancy woven throughout the whole weekend. Dad wasn't in his usual chair at the dinner table and he wasn't in his favorite spot on the sofa watching World Cup Soccer and NFL ticket with us on Sunday. My 90 year old grandma did cook pumpkin pies for everyone, and she danced at the end of dinner! It snowed, so everything was sparkling. And we FaceTimed with my 1-year old niece Rosie who is extremely ecstatic about taking baths. The giant grin on her face is still imprinted on my mind (I can't not smile whenever I think about it).
The prism. Maybe you've had a mixture of experiences over the past few days. Or perhaps right now, as you're reading this, you have tension in your shoulders or an injury in your knee. And you also have a stomach full of food and a fresh cup of coffee and a computer mouse that makes the perfect clicking sound. In any given moment – at work and at home – we can recognize the prism of our experience.
Our resiliency practices help us see that our life is always happening now, and that now is always more colorful and multidimensional than we think. They also help us see how others' lives are complex prisms, too, and whether we're a leader, a manager, a dad, or a friend, when we remember this, we're naturally more compassionate and understanding. We open up greater connection to ourselves and to each other. One of life's most potent lessons is training in acceptance. We can experiment with relaxing into the full spectrum – not believing that things should or need to be a certain way for us to be okay, but rather seeing the truth that the spectrum is the reality for each of us in every single moment, and it's actually what makes life so rich. Only when we can meet and accept this full spectrum can we unlock the power of choice to shape our lives and work in more meaningful and fulfilling ways.
Written by Rena Satre Meloy, Pause Cofounder