Unfinished business. This concept is right up there with “discussing the undiscussables” in organizations, the proverbial “elephant in the room.” Can you feel the sensation in your gut contracting at the mention of these words? I can, and that’s why I’m here, with you, reading this right now. Because this, too, is part of the human experience.
As a coach and mentor to teens and adults, it’s critical that I do what I ask my clients and mentees to do. Some of the deepest work we do is around “being with.” Being with what, you ask? Being with the fullest possible range of what we cross paths with every day: joy, pain, delight, terror, ease, sadness, discomfort, you name it. We coaches take this to the next level, accompanying you to that place of pain or joy that left alone, you may skip over or ignore, even. Being with an experience or emotion involves the practice of acceptance and that is no small deal. One way I describe it to my clients and colleagues is the act of taking something that arises in us—something even as seemingly “easy” as immense joy when a loved one is shining in their own light after they nail a personal achievement, or, the sadness one suffers after a setback around something new and important—and befriend it. Befriending it means noticing it is there, greeting it (“Hello joy, nice to see you!!” ), staying with it for more than a second but no longer than 90 (you pick minutes or seconds) while feeling with what is there when you stay, and then celebrating your ability to have that whole sequence of experiences.
We can apply this to any situation, experience or emotion, and, it takes hundreds of practice rounds for this to become a living practice, a conscious approach to accepting what comes. It is so much easier to rush through life, to ignore huge swaths of it, to “back burner”, shelve or downright bury whatever comes along where we aren’t “feeling it.”
Instead of diving deep into what the whole big idea is around here regarding unfinished business, I’d love for you to have your own personal experience over the next few days of “being with.” Boss flies into your room, exasperated look on their face and says “Where is the analysis, I need it yesterday!” Be with that. A good friend who you thought was in the perfect marriage shares that they are getting a divorce. Be with that. You got the call back! Be with that. Go through the phases: notice/greet; stay/be with; feel; celebrate.
And repeat. Often.
Catch yourself in the act of this and shoot me a recap here, would you? Your experiences are fascinating and are full of variety!