Moving Forward (When You’re Stuck Behind a Truck)
… I did the best I could with what was in front of me and kept moving forward.
The Universe has hilarious timing…
In 1990, I earned a B.A. in Broadcasting Arts. I never worked in Broadcasting. For decades I thought, “Well that was a weird left turn.” >shrug.<
In 1992, I started to write a book about racial reconciliation in the Christian church. I floated my first chapter, all shiny and excited, to four trusted church leader friends for comment. Three ignored it altogether. One clearly did read it, made a few comments, but was essentially flat in response.
I was so discouraged. I have had a clear sense since about 1973, (when I was in the second grade,) that at least part of my purpose in life was to help people end racism. I thought I had found my voice in the writing. I was so energized! The milquetoast reception of my passionate, vision-captivated work cut me deeply.
I wasn’t about to give up on what I knew I was here to do, but I took the part of me that felt so urged to write the book and curled it up inside a cocoon and tucked it away for safety. I did the best I could with what was in front of me and kept moving forward.
Why am I sharing this with you now??
We are in a time of bizarre and amazing fluctuation. We are in limbo. We don’t know what our communities, our economy, our jobs, our schools, our government, our families, our lives will look like tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, next decade. Limbo is hard. Long, drawn out limbo is exhausting.
I’ve been steadily encouraging my clients to “Do Now Well” for many years. It’s even on the back of the exit door to my office, if anyone remembers what that looks like. Tomorrow is composed of a thousand “nows.” Or something like that. (I’ve been out of the office so long that even I don’t remember the exact quote!) It’s never been more important for us to do the best we can with what is in front of us and keep moving forward.
Being in limbo can be like being stuck behind a truck on the highway with no sense of when we will see more than “How’s my driving?…” hour after hour after hour. When will we smell something other than diesel fuel?!?!?
The power of NOW
Back to my 30 year old story… I became a therapist in 1999. The internet was only barely a thing. We marketed our practices face to face. As an introvert, even the idea of pressing palms felt to me like being stabbed by a thousand tiny knives. But I committed to “doing now well.” I did the best I could with what was in front of me and kept moving forward.
When I started my private practice in 2004, technology was starting to emerge in much more helpful ways. Websites became a thing. Blogs became a thing. Magically, almost overnight, everything I had learned in the 80’s about using media to connect humans with resources that can help came into play again! I had no idea what I was doing, but I kept doing the best I could with what was in front of me and kept moving forward.
I spent the wee hours of the morning in blissful solitude, designing my online presence and writing in a way that would help connect my work with people who would benefit from it. And I did not have to talk to any other human beings in the process! #IntrovertsForTheWIN!!!
Over time, our reach, our ability to help more and more people has expanded as exponentially as technology itself. We have become a global community with endless potential to use our powers for good.
I will continue to do the best I can with what I have in front of me and keep moving forward, including encouraging you to do the same in this uncomfortable time of breaking down and building back up in a way that serves all of the humans better.
About that book…
I’ve had an entire adult life filled with an amazing array of experiences since 1992, but none of them included writing that book. The world around me has also evolved at dizzying speed. People are reading books less and less. I’m currently building on my broadcasting arts foundation to create online courses that will cover the material I had intended to write in several other books. (Stay tuned.)
And now… amazingly… nearly everyone is interested in the content that so few in my environment appeared to care about in 1992. And… a whole lot of them listen to podcasts!!
I’m going to take the initial concepts from the book I didn’t finish writing, combine all that I’m learning about technology, employing all of the constructive dialogue skills that my clients and I have been refining for the past 21 years and create a podcast that puts seemingly diametrically opposed people in recorded dialogue together. We can create a safe-enough place for people in each duad to hear and to be heard, to ask and answer the critically important questions about race, culture, and social justice, each from their unique perspective.
I plan to start with race, but the opportunity exists to explore all sorts of people-polarities: religion, socioeconomic differences, age, gender, sexual identity presentation… any of it. All of it.
My intention is for the podcast to simultaneously explore the deep underpinnings of our beliefs and habits so that we can make conscious choices around how we move forward from this point in time. It will also demonstrate and offer tools on sustaining safe-enough dialogue that is both candid and constructive. Whether we are talking about social justice, the decisions we make around COVID, or even more mundane conflicts in our homes or friendship circles, these are tools that will help us both hear and be heard in a way that facilitates sustainable, necessary change.
Doing now well
By doing each “now” as best I can with what has been in front of me in the moment, things that seemed long forgotten are being folded together in an amazing and effective way that I never could have imagined or predicted.
When I perseverate on the words on the truck in front of me, my journey has felt intolerable. When I’ve angrily or anxiously tried to see around the truck to force a different view, it has made me brittle and less resilient. When I have used the time well — occupied my mind, dreamed my dreams, listened to people around me and done the best I could with the situation in front of me, eventually, in its own weird and unpredictable timing, visions have come to fruition in intriguing ways.
Are you feeling like you’re stuck behind a truck on the highway inhaling fumes with all of the uncertainty we face today? You have gifts and offerings that are unique to you. We need you, and what you bring to the conversation, from the microcosm of your relationships to your place in the world. What will it look like for you to do now well, doing the best you can, moving forward?
If you’re feeling stuck on how to move forward while staring down the back of the trucks in your life, send me a message on my Contact Me page. Let’s talk!