I was presenting at a conference the other week, giving a workshop on grounded presence. Over here . It was a new idea for most of the participants in the room, some of the people really got into it – and got a lot out of it. Almost inevitably though, there was a reluctant participant.
At the end of our session she told me that she did give it a short try but quickly decided that it wasn’t for her. ‘With this technique I may as well go for a run, I was hoping for something that will help me when I am talking for example with my boss, this obviously won’t help me there’.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to give her my full answer at the time – so I am posting it here. Actually I am a great fan of running – at least I used to be. My Dad got us all into running when I was a kid and I had often found it was a great way to let off steam when I got frustrated with people – especially for example, a difficult boss. Years ago pounding the pavements was the best tool I had and I will be forever grateful for the Happy Mondays Running Club in Norwich for getting me running again. Running brings you back into contact with your breathing, your body, with the environment, with yourself, and with the people you are with – if you are running in company. It’s all good stuff.
However running does have its limitations – when you are in the middle of a conversation and you don’t like the way its going – it’s usually quite difficult to drop it all, and come back to it after your run and your shower….. when you might still get triggered all over again.
Grounded presence is much more immediate – you simply stay present with what is happening, and start noticing – sounds simple doesn’t it !
‘Oh, I am trying to have a conversation with this person, but I find they don’t give me much time to answer. They seem to be a bit aggressive. Hmmm …. I am noticing that my feet are on the floor and the chair is supporting me, the air is warm. Let’s see what happens if I ask them to slow down a little and give me a bit of space to find what I want to say…..
Just taking a moment to notice the obvious might seem a strange thing to do . Like it’s so obvious why would you bother? On the other hand, its so immediate and can be done so quickly, why wouldn’t you bother?
In the past, in those difficult situations, I would get more and more frustrated and wound up, and then be hard on myself at the end of it for how reactive I had been. Worse, I might feel like I had completely abandoned myself and let the other person say whatever they wanted. I could end up feeling that they had walked all over me. These days, thankfully, it’s a different story….. I still get frustrated sometimes of course – but I notice the signals early, I come back to myself, I find my feet on the floor, find the chair supporting me. I suddenly feel I am somehow bigger and I can watch compassionately the part of me that is caught up in this struggle. This gives me the wherewithal to say ‘Erm …..I can see that is your perspective on things – but I have a different perspective that is equally valid and different to yours, and this is how I see it …. ‘ Usually the other person can hear my views and we can together find a way forward that works for us both. It’s definitely better than storming out the door and looking for my running shoes as I did in the past! Why don’t you give it a try!