Patience is not learned in safety.
I often think to write when I’m excited about something, or I’m grateful for something, or have figured something out. It’s less comfortable—and potentially less interesting—to write from a place of not knowing. But since I think it’s important to note what happens in the middle of the story, before success and before you know if success is even coming. I’m at that moment right now. I’m not hopeless, I’m not depressed, but I am at a place of not knowing.
Tonight would have been the first group coaching session — if Dream Sessions had enough folks signed up to make it work. As the date approached and our numbers were still low, I experienced myriad emotions. I feel disappointment. I feel fear that I had messed it up somehow and it was my fault not enough people had signed up. Chris, the creator of Dream Sessions, has successfully run good sized groups. Even though he assures me this isn’t the case, it’s easy to feel like the weak link. I also feel embarrassed because part of promoting something and telling as many people as you possibly can means you then have to tell them “hey this didn’t happen… again.” I don’t love feeling vulnerable like this.
It was a hard call to make. There were some very excited people committed and ready to go who, when I met them, I thought, “heck yes, I totally want to get to know them!” I had to deliver the bad news that through no fault of their own — in some cases they even committed months ago — we couldn’t hold the series. I hate letting people down.
Now that I’ve done the work of cancelation, and everyone was very gracious and supportive, I’m okay. The world is not ending, and I’m not anxious or in despair. We tried all the things we knew to try. I still believe in our idea, and I still believe this is a great thing for my community. In my mind I can see how great this will be once it’s successful, but I’m stalled out at the starting line.
Chris and I are pulling together some fresh minds to brainstorm with us. We talked about how this will be a great part of our story because we are eternal optimists. I feel good about this next step. Partly because it feels good to have a plan, and partly because I’m always inspired by a good brainstorming session.
As I think about how to end this piece, I’m tempted to hold onto it, I could wait until we have a successful Dream Session series, maybe even save it until we’ve had several, maybe by then there would be a whole community of Dreamers out there all supporting each other with and the cool stuff they were doing. That kind of vulnerability I’m good with. The kind that points to another time I’ve safely lived through. “See how silly I was back then doubting myself?”
I remember riding on a bus in Bolivia with a copy of Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chödrön. To be honest, I never finished it, I just picked it up at one hostel and left it at another. I was too overwhelmed to read much on that trip. I wasn’t used to traveling in places where I had to worry about things like blockades keeping me from catching my flight home. I knew even if I missed one flight I’d be able to get another, and I’d eventually make it home, but it kind of drove me nuts not being able to make solid plans.
Here is one sentence that I did read: “Patience is not learned in safety.” To me, this is what these moments are for: cultivating the patience to let life unfold. There are times you know where you’re going, and there are times you have to just learn from being lost.