My daughter says of the many (read: endless) pieces of advice I have given her, one that she really uses is to “go where it’s warm” i.e. choose the activity that you feel most like doing so that you will approach it with a kind of energy, acceptance and creativity rather than resistance. She uses this as an architect before tackling a pile of work and even in the way that she organizes the course of her day as a homemaker.
I am a psychologist with a specialty in psychodrama. I help people heal , grow, and explore their inner and outer worlds through the use of role play. One of the cardinal rules of role play is to do some sort of warming up process before entering into any “drama” that requires deep engagement. In much the same way as a dancer warms up their muscles before a performance, I help people warm up their emotional muscles so that their role play will go more smoothly and naturally. Or I teach them to become aware of when they are already warmed up, and to pay attention to what they are warmed up to do.
The theory is that people just do better, freer and more creative and spontaneous work or play for that matter if they are warmed up to the particular activity that they are doing.
So there are two issues here:
1. How do you become aware of where you are warmed up, what’s the feeling you’re looking for?
2. How do you get warmed up, if you’re not?
So for question #1 just become aware of that next activity that you have the most ease of entry towards, what’s nearest your hand, what to put it simply do you feel most like doing?
Answer #2 is more complex because how you warm up is very personal. For example, some people warm up to the morning with a cup of coffee and a check into the news, without it they don’t feel quite prepared for their day. Others meditate, some exercise, some have rituals that include a variety of things, such as stretches, tea, bathing and making up. Whatever your warm up is to the day, get to know it and value it as your way of entering your next activities.
Work undertakings have similar warm-ups. I am most warmed up to writing for example, when I wake up in the morning, as opposed to later in the day when I feel resistant to that same undertaking. My warm up to writing includes waking up and becoming aware of the day, looking out the window and feeling aware of being alive in a new day, I tune in on what is in my mind related to what I am about to write I then go into to the kitchen and prepare/steep a cup of tea. Next I go to my lap top and get cozy and comfortable, I take a couple of breaths, muse a little and start writing or culling through research that I have done the day before. If I am writing a book that first writing period may be half the day with different writing rhythms such a research and editing for the second half of the day. If I am writing an article or a blog, the period tends to be shorter. If I get distracted into other activities I can loose my richest writing period, when my ideas flow the most smoothly and easily. When my children were young I started writing at 5:00 am so that I was ready for a break when they needed to be gotten off to school. So part of my warm up came through years of necessity, if I wanted to do a lot of writing and have children it worked for me to go to bed early and get up early. These days I can play with that rhythm but I still find morning to be my prime writing time and my favorite way to warm up to my day. Writing has over the years become almost mixed together as my warm up to my day and my professional task.
As a psychodramatist we have a similar sort of ritual, we “check in” in the beginning of group so that people talk about what’s at the top of their mind and others can tune in on them. The check in is timed at three minutes tops, so it trains people to focus fast, to sift through what they most want everyone to know. The shortness of time makes them more choosey about what they want to share.
About now you are thinking, “yea but I don’t have choices as to what to do when etc, etc…” but having lived this philosophy for several decades now I suggest that you do. There are so many little choice points through out the day that in fact do allow you to put your work in order, in other words, even if you have “X” number of tasks to accomplish you can accomplish them in the order you choose. If you apply this thinking to your life this year or even this month there are a few things you might notice:
1. You will accomplish things more easily because you are not introducing the level of resistance that makes things tedious and unnecessarily hard.
2. You will bring more ease, creativity and spontaneity to your endeavors because you are “warmed up ‘ to doing them.
3. You will feel less frustrated throughout your day because you’re not jammed up in the kind of ruminating, resistance and ambivalence that being stuck where it’s cold generates.
So throw this concept into the back of your mind and play with it as this new year dawns, you may find, as my daughter has, that it will let you approach the activities of your life with more spontaneity, creativity and more of you!
Tips and Take Aways…..
Go where you feel like going, where your intuition takes you, where you feel already a little engaged…
1. Figure out your best warm up to a task OR
2. Start with the task you already feel most wormed up to…
Enjoy this process and above all MAKE IT YOUR OWN!
Originally published at medium.com