“Here is my own plan for life, the Pathfinder’s plan: ‘I exist in perpetual creative response to whatever is present.'” – Martha Beck, Steering by Starlight
In her incredible new book, Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck writes about a mantra she made up…
I’ve been saying “Just this” to myself for several weeks.
I say it when I wake up in the morning to my dog’s thumping tail. I say it when the sun starts rising. I say it while I’m slicing vegetables for the dinner salad. I say it when there’s a large choir of the “I’m not enough’s” or the “I messed up again’s” singing rounds in my head.
This weekend I said it to myself throughout the Successful and Outstanding Blogger conference. (I performed on Friday night and participated all day Saturday.)
I know. I know. Conferences are not for this woo-woo stuff. Conferences are where I should be handing out my business card (don’t have one), networking (not my favorite word) and taking notes (I prefer pen and Moleskine).
The only problem is this: when I get too much into that Conference mindset, I forget that other human beings are present. Conference Mindset makes me become more about getting things than about being at the conference. Conference Mindset makes some people “important” and some people “not so much.” (I’ve showcased at a few big music conferences, where most people look at your name tag before they decide whether or not to look at you. Watching someone who is “important” step onto an elevator of people who “aren’t” is priceless.)
Not everyone looks at it this way, I know. But most people would agree that it’s easy to go to a conference and lose the moment completely.
So, throughout this weekend, I put it to the test. I reminded myself to be at the conference with the other people by reminding myself:
When I could do this, (and admittedly, sometimes I couldn’t) I felt like I experienced the conference. I experienced each person I met. I experienced the speakers. I really saw each person I talked with.
Now, let me be clear. I didn’t get weird or anything. I didn’t look at anyone and say, “I’m experiencing you now.” This would’ve caused mass chaos. “Help! There’s someone from Asheville over there! Grab your laptop and run away!”
You can keep your “Just this” in your own head. No one has to know you’re doing it.
Try it this week. Twitter it. It’s a great little mantra.
p.s. If you decide to get Steering by Starlight, I highly recommend that you click on the Audible.com link in the left sidebar and get the audio version. It’s worth it just to hear Martha Beck read about Cookie the beagle.