Square Zero - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Square Zero

Square One means you know where you are and have some idea of the tasks that lie ahead.

You’ve moved before, so you know there are boxes to be packed and unpacked; utilities to transfer to your name; furniture to rearrange and a new neighborhood to learn.

Square Zero feels like you live in Flan, or Blueberry, or The Quadratic Equation.

Wait, what? How did I get here? WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

That’s disorientation.

Square Zero means you’ve never been to this particular place, and you have no idea how to move out of, through, or beyond it.

Psst! This is an episode of my podcast, That’s What She Said! Listen in below or keep reading for a transcript-ish version. 👇🏼

I remember crying so hard that I was sure my body had lost all liquid when Donald Trump won the Presidential election in 2016. Disorientation came with thoughts like, ‘I don’t know anything about life,’ ‘I don’t understand anything about America,’ and ‘I clearly don’t understand a goddamn thing about humans.’ (You know, really simple and not even a tiny bit dramatic statements!)

Square Zero can’t be solved by jumping into action-taking mode.

Everything in our culture is geared toward TAKE ACTION NOW.

You want to lose weight? START WORKING OUT.

You want to make a bajillion dollars? GET TO HUSTLING.

You want to make a better world? GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY RIGHT NOW.

Our collective TAKE ACTION NOW bias abandons the very human parts of ourselves that are paralyzed by disorientation.

How do you know what to do if you don’t know what’s happening or where you are?

How do you move in the direction of your dreams if a tornado of systemic collapse just blasted your reality to pieces?

Square Zero requires a great deal of empathy for where you are in this moment.

If you’re underwater and you don’t know which way is up — a physical experience of disorientation — swimming will only waste your energy. You’ve got to stay underwater until such time as you know where the sunlight is coming from, and THEN swim toward the surface.

It’s hard to know where the sunlight is right now.

It’s hard to know which actions will bear fruit and which are just spinning our wheels.

It’s difficult to plan for the future with anything resembling certainty.

Our lives are basically a series of if/then flow charts with Covid and its variants causing chaos at the center.

Pandemic caused (and is still causing) MASSIVE disorientation.

We’ve been collectively spinning in some form of WTF IS THIS??? since March 2020.

We are told that this will end; or it won’t; well, maybe; nah, nevermind.

From the CDC, we’ve gotten guidance like, We don’t need masks if we’re vaccinated; OH YES WE CERTAINLY DO; actually, everything is optional; JUST KIDDING WEAR MASKS AND STAY HOME.


Are you currently experiencing disorientation about your work? About what makes your life meaningful? About what you’d like to do and be in the world? About what the future of your home/school/place of worship/community looks like?

That’s normal. We’ve never been here before.

This is where asshole brain gets awesome: it tries to convince you that YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM and EVERYONE ELSE HAS THEIR SHIT FIGURED OUT and also, THIS PROBLEM IS UNSOLVABLE.

It doesn’t matter what the problem is or how big the problem is; Square Zero can apply to pandemic life as well as to opening a cereal box that’s been duct-taped shut.

A better question for Square Zero might be: where is the light? What, if anything, is bringing you even 3% joy at this moment?


Even if it doesn’t make sense or is ‘too expensive’ or you ‘don’t have time’ for it. Maybe it’s a new hobby with very involved processes, or maybe it’s enjoying the sweet, sweet hours-long quiet of morning once the kids have gone to school. (Some call this ‘rest.’)

It’s entirely possible that your painting practice is the difference between your ability to withstand the rest of pandemic and your total collapse. (Related: your art will save your life.)


Just because something isn’t entirely ‘logical’ or isn’t valued by capitalism doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Where there is any joy or light in disorientation, trust it. Follow it.

Let the wildest parts of your spirit lead you back to yourself, bit by bit.

Judging yourself for not knowing won’t help you know any faster.

Freaking out won’t make the way clearer.

Taking action because being still is too painful will only waste your energy.

Let your longings speak to you.

Let your uncertainty have its say.

Let your whole being want what it wants,

love what it loves,

enjoy what it enjoys.

And eventually — I promise, eventually —

you’ll find Square One.

The next step will emerge.

The path will make itself known.

You’ll leave this place of not knowing

wiser and stronger, more connected

to your own interiors and the world at large.

You will.

You will.

But first…let your crumbs of light lead.

If you’d like my help navigating from Square Zero, book a call and talk with me!

I’ll listen to where you are and then hook you up with one of the the three 1-on-1 options available for working with me at this time!  (We can work together in person, virtually through KK on Tap, or soooon in Philly at The Imaginarium!  But you gotta talk to me!)

P.S. Joy is an act of resistance.