What I Learned the Week of Apil 8, 2022

Dinosaurs talking to each other

Podcast – Leaning into Yuck

The Tim Ferriss Show (#583)– Susan Cain on Transforming Pain, Building Your Emotional Resilience, Exploring Sufi Wisdom, Tapping into Bittersweet Songs, and Seeking the Shards of Light

I am a big believer in the universe sending you messages. And usually, if I do not pick up the first time it just keeps sending the same message. The learning here is a good example.

Tim Ferriss was my first real podcast addiction. I used to listen to him religiously. And over the years I have expanded my tastes and made time for others. So, this past Thursday when I was starting my morning forest walk and looking for something different it had been months since I had listened to one of his shows. I was looking for something different because I was in a yucky mood. As I paused before selecting, I thought to myself “Do I want to listen to something upbeat to help get me out of this mood or do I want to lean into the yuckiness”. I clicked on the link to view the latest episodes and found Susan Cain, author of the new book Bittersweet, right at the top. Universe I’m listening.

I knew of Susan Cain from her well know book Quiet. And although I have had it recommended to me many times and given it as suggestions to others looking for a leadership book for the “introverted”, I had never personally read her work or even heard her speak before. I am now in love!

I will not do the podcast justice, but I highly recommend you invest the time to listen to the complete podcast on your own. I learned so much from their discussion, including new things about Tim, however, the biggest takeaway was of course the message the universe was trying to give me all along. Don’t avoid the yuck just because you know where it might be coming from.

You’ll see in the book learning reference that I sometimes let my logical brain talk me out of really leaning into painful emotions. I knew that I could easily get out of the funk. Super good at that. However, what if being in a funk is the key part of the journey.

There was a statement in the book made by Susan that I really appreciated. It was something along the lines of we tend to think that when things go well that this is us on our right path and when things go wrong those are the detours in life. And we use the word detours as if that is a bad thing, something that is taking us off our path and/or taking more time. Can we reframe the detours, or when things are not going well, to also be on the right path? 

I have certainly had many detours in life and some detours were regrets that made me self-reflect (see last week’s post on lessons learned from Daniel Pink). But if the detour had not been there the self-reflection would have also not been there and the growth opportunity missed. Some personal growth is painful and yucky. Avoiding processing that pain just means the universe keeps reminding us to slow down and lean into it.

From a Book – Dinosaur Therapy

This book was given to me by a dear friend, Fernando José Suarez Saiz, who shares my passion for mental health. I have since gifted it a few times to friends. This is absolutely the one book that I see myself gifting the most in 2022 as it is relatable to all audiences in so many ways and super easy to consume one page at a time.

The cartoon image shared in the heading, spotlighting the old mantra of “no pain, no gain” is a point of reflection for me this week. I have absolutely lived by this motto for most of my life. I like my workouts to be challenging or they do not feel like a workout. If someone tells me a task will be difficult or impossible, I jump in eager to do whatever it takes to get it done. I like doing hard things.

I also am recognizing that when it comes to feeling painful emotions for myself, I have largely taken the position of “what’s the point”. I certainly see the value of acknowledging a negative emotion but my logical brain (which I love to use) can very quickly get to why I am feeling sad, angry, frustrated or bored and then assume the puzzle is solved so no need to spend any more time with that emotion. To build upon the prior paragraph I like doing hard things quickly.

I appreciate how this cartoon is attempting to reframe our relationship to pain. But I do not take the 2nd dinosaur’s statement as the absolute message – “no pain sounds like a gain to me” – as funny this statement might be. Instead, it has helped me shape my perspective on pain and how I want to leverage my strength of embracing hard things in the service of others. 

Pain is part of life and if we do not experience pain then I believe we cannot fully experience joy. Experiencing pain, and being with it, can give us clarity about what is going on in our body, with ourselves and in our relationships. However, like the purple dinosaur, whom I have named PD, I do not believe pain has to be experienced on its own. I think we can bring laughter and fun and excitement and sometimes even eagerness to get through it to the table. And that when we do this it makes pain a little less frightening. Gives us a little less trepidation. More courage. Optimism and positive expectation that something good is on the other side of this pain. 

I do hard things and make them feel easy and fun!

Social Media – Becoming Totally Free

Tik Tok lessons from Reese Witherspoon. A similar message aligns to another key learning I took away from the Tim Ferriss podcast that Tim shared towards the very end “why am I taking some of this stuff so seriously?”. It doesn’t really matter.

Check out Reese offering a similar message as she chills out on what I presume is her couch.

From Others – Afrikaans

Ons gaan na Suid Afrika!!!

For those who do not recognize the above language, it is Afrikaans which is a creole language that evolved during the 19th century under colonialism in southern Africa. Afrikaans and English are the only Indo-European languages that are among the many official languages of South Africa. The translation is “We are going to South Africa!!”.

Who did I learn it from? Darlington Murasiranwa is a professional footballer for FC Edmonton. You can follow him on Instagram @dnsm48.

But this is not learning from a social media post which means I had a personal exchange with him. ❤️  Lucky me.

I have known Darlington since he was 16 when he came to live with our family as a billet for the Vancouver Whitecaps. The year he lived with us was such a blessing to our family in so many ways. But mostly because he is a person so full of love and kindness and passion. He is originally from Zimbabwe and his story of how he came to Canada and into football is one you should ask him. It will fill you with gratitude and inspiration. He is now in his early twenties and living back home with his adorable mother and father. While he was living with us, he tried to teach us a few things, like cooking, from his home country which I failed at miserably. 

As the phrase states, we (my husband and I) are going to South Africa as he made the Canadian Men’s Over 50 Field Hockey team, and the international tournament will be in Cape Town this October. Thrilled for him and super excited to be joining him for my first ever trip to South Africa. Has been on my bucket list for a while. 

When we learned Mike made the team, I knew Darlington would want to know. Of course, he was happy and encouraged us to learn some Afrikaans for our trip. Hence the quick language lesson. When we were attempting to converse back with him Mike noticed it sounded a little German. Darlington confirmed it is more similar to Dutch. I know neither German, Dutch nor Afrikaans but I guess it’s time to get started and at least learn “is there meat in this dish”. 

From Myself

Very simple. I need to process grief. More to come on this topic but the short story for where I am at now is appreciating that the emotion of grief can be just as powerful when it is about missing something/someone that never was a part of your life as much as it is about missing something that used to be present. 

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