One thing that, if I would resolve it right now, would make everything else easier, is having a richer social life again; you know, like, kind of before covid, when you could go out and just meet and talk to people freely. I’ve got other struggles, but this one I feel really is undermining my overall energy.
Can you relate? Do you have something that you feel would make things easier for everything else in my life?
On too much, too little, ecosystems and balance…
It is very common to identify something as a problem and when we focus on it to find a solution… we end up exploring something else, that is indeed the solution, even though it looks like something else entirely.
I see it all the time in my coaching. It’s almost kind of funny. And it really makes me think about something that in Zen Shiatsu we call using the japanese words Kiyo and Jitsu.
Jitsu is something that is too much. It’s the thing that’s screaming for help; it is the red patch on your skin, the inflammation, the bump, the acute pain you cannot miss. It is right in front of you, and it is clear that it is a problem that you have to solve.
But Masunaga Senseï, the founder of the Zen Shiatsu and my teacher’s teacher, when presented with the Jitsu, listened to it, and had it lead him to the Kyo underneath.
Kyo is what is silent, what is whispering in the background and desperately need support, but is too little, too weak even to be heard. It is the not enough, in the shadow. Not as shadow is bad, but shadow because it’s the Jitsu is taking all the light.
Jitsu is excess and Kyo is deficiency. In the oriental tradition, everything is relative, and the deficiency is there to support the excess, and the excess it there because it is taking from the deficiency.
Nine times out of ten, Matsunaga treated the Kyo, the invisible to heal the Jitsu, the screaming, the hurt. And things would just balance themselves out, once the deficiency was supported, the excess didn’t need to stay.
We are living ecosystems
Isn’t interesting? When we have a problem, it screams so much, it’s all we can see, and we forget that it is connected with everything else. We are living Eco-Systems. Our professional life, our personal life, our emotional life, our somatic, physical life, etc. they are not disconnected, they all interact all the time.
That’s why I work in a systemic, generative, embodied way, for changework. And today we are talking about systemic.
So, a very common example I have is people coming to me for work / play balance:”I have too many things to do. I don’t see the end of this.” In other words, one or the other variation of the endless To-Do list syndrome.
“I don’t have enough time in my day to do everything I’m supposed to, I need to be more productive.” Well often then self care is viewed not only as not a priority, but even the obstacle. How many videos on YouTube about “Wake up an hour earlier and be more productive”?
Mathematically, it sounds correct, right? You wake up one hour earlier, you’ve got one more hour, so you’re more productive. OK, you’ve got more time. What about the quality of your work, is it the same really? I know for me it’s not.
And how long can you keep up with that? Again for me, not much. But let’s say it might be years for some. I know people who really went on that route and abused themselves to work more, and it worked, or seemed to work. They seemed more productive. But how long? Even if it’s two year, three years, five year, even ten years, if it leads to burnout, is it worth it really?
This kind of solution is still seeing one thing totally disconnected from everything else.
Putting everything back together
What about looking at things holistically? “I can’t get anything done in time, I need to be more productive.” leads to ask ourselves: “How do I feel in the other areas of my life: physically, emotionally? What about the relationship with my family, my friends, my partner?” And often there’s no time for that either.
If we put this in context of the whole ecosystem, we can balance everything instead of focusing on and maximising one thing, while draining everything else; in other words, listening to the Kyo.
And then often “I can’t get anything done in time.” becomes “I need to review my priorities. Includes self-care in the priorities, and make time for it, to get good quality work done in less time.”.
That’s the miracle. When we place the problem back into the system and make everything work together, then everything works better, including what was problematic. That’s why one of the first thing I will almost always have people do when they see me for this problematic, is reviewing their calendar to put self-care time in: Sleep-time, breaks, and everything else goes around.
What is your Kyo / Jitsu?
What is the Jitsu in your life, what is the area in your life that’s screaming for help?
Now keep it in mind, listen to it well and ask yourself: “Where is the Kyo, the silent element sacrificing itself, draining its energy in support to this?”
Once you identified those two, the too much and the too little: How can you balance it?
What is one thing you can change to support the too little, so that there is not any more need for the too much to scream anymore, it’s just balanced, equal: There actually isn’t any too much or too little anymore.
What is the one thing you can do so that the whole dynamic changes and the system balances itself? As always, I’m very curious to see your answers to that.
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Stay tuned for the next episode, à bientôt. 😉
(Intro music for the podcast: “Tiny people”, by Alexei De Bronhe )