for the Quiet ones Archives - Page 2 of 6 - Kristen Kalp

Posts in "for the Quiet ones" Category — Page 2

The waterfall, the bucket, and big magic.

In the storied past — which all of us remember, to some extent — you had to go seeking most anything you wanted to consume.

To obtain a book, you had to go to a store or your local library. To read an article, you had to pick up a magazine or a newspaper. To hear music, you had to listen to a record or a tape or a CD using a physical device that couldn’t be moved easily. (And my GOD, when Walkmans came out, we all rejoiced!)

To watch a movie, you had to either visit the theater or stumble into Blockbuster with your friend(s) and fight for twenty minutes about what to watch before agreeing upon a film nobody particularly objected to seeing. To see photographs, you had to open an album or rifle through a shoebox or develop them yourself, in a tiny black room that smelled like chemicals and feet had a particularly disgusting olfactory baby.

To be moved by others’ creations, you had to go looking for them.

You couldn’t simply touch a tiny rectangular device and see endless streams of other people’s photographs, or touch that same device and read books from now until your death without ceasing, never once having to leave your home or talk to another human in your quest to find more reading material.

You couldn’t watch every popular movie from the last fifty years with minimal investment, back to back to back to back, drowning out the more subtle soundtrack of your thighs expanding with the sound of crunching Cheetos.

Nor could you sign up for new thirty classes in the space of ten minutes, devoting yourself to yoga and to meditation, to learning Chinese and memoir writing, to financial investing and real estate within the time it takes for an episode of your favorite TV show to finish. Because once, you had to learn with other humans, too.

Once, you took your bucket to the waterfall to be filled.

Now, the waterfall comes blasting out of your tiny rectangle at any time of the day or night, 24/7, and your bucket — your delightful, miraculous red bucket — will never, ever be big enough.

All the world’s buckets, combined, aren’t enough to contain the information available at your fingertips.

How do we participate in this tiny rectangular society, so rife with inspiration and comparison, ingesting and consuming, without drowning in the virtual waters?

How do we begrudgingly admire Kanye’s confidence while simultaneously shunning news about Kanye while secretly wondering how he does it — how he keeps making shit despite the cacophony aimed in his direction at every waking moment of every single day?

How can we say anything at all without contributing to the fucking NOISE of it all?

How do we hear ourselves above the cacophony?

We can unplug completely, washing our hands of the whole riotous and messy beast known as the internet. But. Then we become people who have opted out of the system, thus rendering us incapable of changing it from the inside.

We can limit time with the internet, absolutely. But that doesn’t stop us from having a too-small bucket for the all-too-big torrent of ideas and classes and drivel and cat videos and films and photographs and articles and books and courses and programs and memes pointed in our direction.

Truly, I’m asking. How do we hear ourselves above the cacophony?

Because I want to learn about shamanism and dance while enjoying otter videos and knowing how many people the Golden Girls slept with and dreaming of a whole closet full of Bill Murray apparel, and I want to enjoy the worlds my friends are creating and read what they’re writing while keeping a still, sacred space for shitty television that fills me up in a way classier programming cannot.

I also want to hear my own damn voice and then share what I’m saying with other people.

By virtue of speaking at all, I’m adding to the noise that drives me insane.

Should I practice silence?
Practice shutting the fuck up so other people can talk?
Might that be the solution?

But then people with 19 kids get TV shows, and Trump is running for POTUS, and the other voices speaking without my being able to say a word feel like they’re smooshing my brain, Roger-Rabbit-style, under a steamroller.

I cannot NOT write.
I have to say my piece.
I have to type these words,
however confused and directionless they may be,
and share them where I might find others who think the same things.

We are drowning in chatter of our own making.

How can we turn our attention to doing the work only we can do — when that work involves adding to the chatter in some way, by virtue of having been created?

Have we, by finding first-world solutions for grocery shopping and laundering, fashion creation and transportation, garbage removal and home design, invented an even bigger problem to take its place?

How do we tame the insatiable monster, the glaring beast rendered from billions of pieces of digital ephemera, that we feed in the name of proving ourselves alive on this planet?

…and the biggest, darkest, most difficult question of all: can we call spending 70% of any given day with a screen living, in the first place…?

If you’re thinking these thoughts, too…I encourage you to pull the whole thing to the side of the road and take a seat in the meadow. Let your engine stop purring, let your phone sleep in another room, and share this article to encourage others to do the same.

You are called to expand.

The game of it is getting more alive
each day, refusing to close
or to stifle your whole being
in the face of despair.

The trick of it is opening relentlessly,
letting all the world reach you:
exposing your neck to a creature who may bite.
Refusing to kill off your most vital bits when it does.

…and when you find those who are more alive than you,
ask their secrets.
(This is the only one
I know so far.)

Expansion, contraction, and the best obituary you can imagine.  It’s light and dark, easy and oh-so-difficult, in this episode of That’s What She Said.

Leaving the School of Judgement

I can say “I like going to Whole Foods” kindly and simply, because I like looking at pyramids of lemons whilst picking up my citrus fruits.

Or I can say “I like going to Whole Foods” with disdain, as if your choice to not be at Whole Foods right now makes you lower than cockroach scum on the food chain. As if to say: My choices? SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOURS.

I used to judge everyone I met before they could judge me. It was a game I played in real time, passing people on the street:

Fat.
Bald.
Jiggly.
Those shoes.
Those teeth.
Hair.
Loud.
Rude.
Redneck.
Mullet.
Republican.

…on and on, thinking of all the insults I could give in case those strangers insulted me first. I was beating them to the punch! Go me!

Only.

No one ever insulted me. No complete stranger ever appeared out of the blue to call me names or question my fashion choices.

When people hurt me, it was those who knew me well, and it had nothing to do with something as simple to spot as a mullet or unfortunate shoes.

I was kindly called onto the carpet for this judge-first-lest-ye-be-judged attitude at a business retreat. I was invited to examine the sidecar message I was sending with everything I said: “My way is better than yours.”

And I wept. You can see that judgement? Worse yet, you can FEEL that judgement?

The coping mechanism I thought was invisible to everyone around me a.) wasn’t invisible and b.) wasn’t working.

In fact, it was screaming at every stranger in my path from a hundred yards off. I didn’t want to send that message any longer. I wanted to be sweet and kind, vulnerable and open, without assuming everyone was out to get me, judge me, insult me, or say my way was wrong.

Something fell away that day.

Sure, I still think some t-shirts are ugly and some haircuts are unfortunate. But I’m able to quickly put those in the ‘opinions’ box in my head without making the other person wrong for wearing a Creed t-shirt or reading an Ann Coulter book. Different strokes for different folks.

If you’ve ever done the defensive game of hiding behind judgement, snark gun loaded and ready to fire, I dare you to put it down.

Pick up your kinder tools of connection and see how they do.

Eye contact.
A soft smile.
Seeing without making any simple choice wrong.

Jeans don’t have a code of ethics.
Flip flops aren’t a political statement.
No one is writing a list of your wrongs at this moment.

When you see people as people — not as insults waiting to happen to you — everything changes. You open in ways you couldn’t have imagined. You soften.

When your brain gives up the offense, you can see people clearly. Maybe for the first time.

Sure, they’re wearing socks with sandals and they’re plagued with awkward tan lines in the middle of summer.

They’re also glorious and beautiful, ripe with potential connection.

They aren’t out to get you. (They aren’t.)

When it comes to business, this whole seeing-people-clearly thing means you’re better able to see the needs you can meet. You’re also able to see the problem behind the problem: the real reason someone is having a meltdown or putting off buying or otherwise engaging in behaviors you would have preemptively insulted just a few days or weeks or months ago. Without the judgment, you can see it and address it. Gently and gracefully.

Further. You feel different. To yourself, and to other people.

Your clients are willing to let you stand beside them, shoulder to shoulder, instead of across from them like some business version of Mortal Kombat gone wrong. You’re privy to secrets no one would have told you before. They’ll lean in where before they would have walked away. They’ll buy where before they would have run screaming without saying a word.

This habit change is a subtle one. It’s won’t be touted in all those 7 Steps to Business Success books or 83 Days to the Next Level for Your Business programs.

It’s an internal armor, falling to the wayside. It was designed to protect your tender bits, and instead it cuts off the blood supply keeping that keeps those same bits alive and feeling.

When you take the armor of judgement off, your humanity steps forward. And oh my word, is it beautiful.

P.S.  What do you want to want?