Friday, February 10, 2017

Light steps

Twice, recently, the topic of stepping lightly has come up. The conversations were about stepping lightly into existing groups we are new to or when meeting new people. I gave it some thought.

It makes a difference how we enter into both situations–entering into existing groups or meeting new people. Do we enter big and bold to make an impression and make ourselves known? Or do we enter quietly and observant to know and understand who we are meeting and what they are about? It depends on our intention. There are instances in which coming in like a firecracker is best, like when revving up an audience at a sports game or cheering up a group of corporate employees at a company retreat. But there are many times we come into an existing culture or group or meet people individually in which knowing and understanding the other is best. How we come in affects what we interpret and the ensuing relationship.

When we come in forcefully, we bring with us an energy that can be perceived as aggressive, intrusive, and egotistical. It can put up a wall between us and them. Stepping lightly, however, allows us to perceive the other with clarity, to start to know what the other is going through. It also let's us break forces of habit in thought and action, in how we react automatically. It can break down prejudice and intolerance. Stepping lightly also allows us to become aware of patterns in our relationships by letting us think and feel before we react or make decisions. It is that pause that creates space for empathy and compassion.

Today is a good day to take light steps wherever we go. Let's feel the ground we are walking on and the energy in the room we step into. We will then know how to relate to others in that space or to that situation. Let's create a different experience. It's not about me and it's not about them, it's about the us we make up together and how much better it can be if we just step lightly.

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