Webpage design and blogging is new to me. As my son helped me with this blog domain, I felt inadequate and full of doubt. These were uncomfortable feelings and were in contrast to my usual perception of myself as being independent and competent.
I was watching him type away on the keyboard, looking at settings, choosing appearances, asking me questions regarding my likes and dislikes of pages that were appearing on the screen, and all of this happening without me knowing anything. It was all happening around me. I didn’t feel part of it. I was detached, spaced out. Within, I was dealing with confusion and resistance. I was trying to hold onto what I knew, knowing that I knew nothing.
He wanted me to play around on a trial blog first, to make mistakes, to discover how the process works. But I rejected that. I was afraid. I wanted to know how to work things without practice. I felt there was too much to know, so I didn’t want to even start.
Four days ago, I had a 8Km run with my daughter-in-law. It was a lovely run through the village turning left, winding roads here and there, entering a woodland, next to a little stream, up gentle hills, then onto steeper inclines, down and then right, back into another part of the village. I was in Switzerland doing exercise. It was in foreign territory and was following the directions being given. No decision was being required – no thinking was needed. I just needed to trust the instructions being given. I did recall a number of significant landmarks on the route. There was a small water fountain up on the hill, about half way through the run where we had a drink of water. An unusual, square wooden house that seemed out of place that was opposite the entrance of a school along a dark road that was lined with lots of trees that were absorbing the light. A cobble road that wound in and out of a built up industrial area.
My wife noticed that I was getting agitated while my son was setting up the blog. I should have been more appreciative. Anyway, at breakfast the next morning, I shared my feeling that you can only learn by doing and that I had felt inadequate in the process of the blog design. There was just too much information and the process was just too fast. I was in the middle of an enormous wave of information flow. The dominant perspective of those at breakfast was that I was a perfectionist and that I wanted to do things right the first time and that I feared failure. The advice was that I needed to relax more when I encountered new information. Maybe I was getting old and rigid, trying to hold onto what was familiar. I then tried to add a practical example to my feeling by stating that I couldn’t even use the coffee machine that was in the kitchen (I am not a coffee drinker and have no interest in the variety of coffees that are available). My son immediately challenged me to make everyone coffee (you only learn by doing). He wanted a large, strong coffee; my daughter-in-law, a small, normal one and my wife a normal, mild coffee. I soon discovered that these requests were in accordance with two dials that one could select on the machine. One dial for the amount of coffee, the other for the strength. Fortunately, I didn’t have to put coffee beans in the machine. Anyway, I feel that I made three reasonably successful coffees! I had just gone through a practical experience that was really significant to me, as simple as it was. It helped to remind me of my own philosophy about learning.
After breakfast I decided to have a run. I needed time alone. During these runs I encounter the necessary inner space that allows my thoughts and feelings time to settle. As I walked out the house, I decided to redo the run that I had had 4 days ago. I wanted to do the exact route, but doubted whether I could remember. Although I knew that I couldn’t get lost or that it did not matter whether or not I did the exact route, to me it did. I had this need to prove to myself that I could remember, that I could learn, that I could make the right decisions (strange as this may seem). As the run unfolded, I found myself at some of those ‘anchors’ that I had remembered. I got there without knowing how I got there. I got there without consciously making any decisions to turn left or right. I was being unconsciously navigated. I just ran, decisions were being made without being made.
I felt proud of myself when I returned home (as childish as this may seem). I had just been reminded of the deeper parts of myself that had the capability to integrate information without knowing that it was being done. It was the unconscious navigational system that kicked in as I stepped away from myself and just trusted the unfolding process.
I am sure that some of you have had a similar experience but maybe in a different context, especially those of you who are involved in sport.
Anyway, after the run I felt more balanced and returned to the computer to my blog. I felt more confident and found myself playing with the tools and settings of the blog site without much worry. There was no internal resistance. I found myself repeating processes as I cemented my basic knowledge further. I was on my own coping with the information that was coming my way.