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The Return to Simple

When faced with chaos complexity and confusion - How do we get to the clarity of Simple ?

 

Today is a 500 yrs old celebrated Indian festival, “Makar Sankranti” – This festival marks the end of the winter solstice and flags the first day of suns transit into the next phase. 

It’s been true for me. As January started, I felt like a long game of waiting beginning to end. Year 2018, has been a difficult long year, for me and for many others. A year that tested my beliefs about past and its relevance, grief and its gifts, love and its purpose, connections and the story of separation. As the year ended, I found myself exhaling a long held breath… I feel as if the winter has been a long cold and hard one and the sun has now come out. With its small tender green shoots of new beginnings. Delicate and yet courageous.

When I feel this new energy I invariably feel it needs some direction. So I decided to clean some drawers. As I opened that one drawer , you know, the one which helps keep all other drawers sorted? because in this you throw everything that was irrelevant and in wrong place in the other drawers, thinking ONE day I will get to this one ?? . That drawer! .

I decided today was that one day.

I opened and I sighed loudly (my bravado lasted just that long) . It was so chaotic and complex, I did not know where to begin. I was overwhelmed. So I just stood there looking at it. So many different things, that had nothing in common, extra tooth brushes, rubber bands, small honey bottles, posit-its pads, pens, pencils, fridge magnets, chocolates, shoe laces, scribbled notes.. just crazy confused chaos.

Linear logic was not going to work.

As I stood and watched something happened.. I just took in the chaos and resisted the urge to shut the drawer. And just allowed myself to accept the chaos, judging it and me, and then letting even the judgement go. (Because the judging didn’t really clean the drawer, so it was useless to keep doing it).

As I kept looking my held breath slowly started to release (I also realised this is what I do when face with uncertainty – I hold my breath) and I began to grow silent inside. And the chatter in my head about “where should I start, how do I fix this, what a mess, ‘ how did this happen” – slowly subsided..

One of my core belief is “How you do anything is how you do everything”

So, as I hear myself say this about the messed up drawer, I realise I said the same things about some other things going on in my life, relationships, work, world etc.

Ok! so this was not just about the messy drawer.

As I saw, the fragments slowly turned to fractals, and I began to start seeing the whole picture. My agitation started to drop. And in the long pause..my hands went to pick the tangled ball of a dozen laces. As I slowly turned the ball in my hand.. I realised I was looking for the pointy piece where the lace starts or ends. Once I found that following the path from there was simpler. I just had to breathe and keep going and not lose touch.

Breathe – keep going and not lose touch

In matter of minutes the ball dis-entangled. And with it some tangles inside me also got sorted. The rests of the mess was easy now. I just has to look at the simplest aspect and keep building from there.

I cleaned the drawer in under an hour. I was very proud and pleased with myself.

As I sat back in reflection of the whole process I realised the following

Lesson learned: When we enter complex unchartered territories – simplicity returns. Corollary – When in complex ambiguous situation look for the Simple u-Turn(SuT) questions. What is the most simple truth and then build on that.

I began to think how this was so true about other places, Relationship – What took me back from believing and living out the story of separation to connection was asking myself the Simple U-turn question, “What brought me here in the first place?”, the answer – growth (mental, emotional spiritual) and this question helped me return to love.   

I thought about work. We have been working with a client for past 5 months, with the top team , where some members of the management team just don’t seems to see eye to eye and this has fragmented the organization. Last week as we worked with them the SuT question was, “What do you need the most from each other to be able to serve?” – the answer, open your fists and join hands.

“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

My realisation, when in a sticky complex situation we assume the answer has to also be complex and keep looking for it (and not find, ofcourse) . Whereas maybe all the while the answer to the scary VUCA world has always been right in front of us, hidden in plain view.

A Simple U-Turn question – That takes us back to basics.

  • How do we open our tightly fists?
  • How do we reach out to each other more?
  • How do we connect, What gives us ease? 
  • What do our stakeholders really need? 
  • What do people we love long for?
  • What make us feel joy and come alive?

What are the SIMPLE U turns – I can do today.

On that Simple note – Happy Makar Sankranti . May the sun shine – Simply !!!Report this

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