Venn Diagrams

January 29, 2012

I hardly know where to start this, so I suppose I’ll just jump in. Sorry if I forget to tie it all together at the end.

I went to Meeting this morning, looking for a space in my head I have yet to define. My life sometimes feels ruled by “do” lists (or “action plans”), regardless of how many times I lose all those pieces of paper they’re written on. Meeting is a place to leave those behind.

The Charlottesville Friends Meeting house is a quiet, cozy little house (literally, it used to be a house) nestled on a small hill next to the alternative high school in Charlottesville. The paint is peeling on the outside, the steps are a little warped. Inside, though, the soaring ceiling in the carpeted room allows for expansive breathing. Handmade pews, some with cushions and some without, form a three-rowed circle; skylights and glass doors and lots of windows let in shafts of sunlight. People pause at the door, figuring out where they’ll sit this week, then enter in silence. There’s a sense of worship even before they’ve sat down.

Sometimes Meeting is silent for the whole time. Today, though, was more “popcorn” than silent. The very first message tapped into my own thoughts, and the rest did the same.

The first message had to do with community, and belonging. Funny, I had been thinking about my overlapping communities, my many many responsibilities. I forgot that this very topic had woken me up in the middle of the night – until someone who is in my writing world walked into Meeting.

The message made me think about what it means to belong to a community. And I realize that, for me, my version of responsibility includes action. Hence my overwhelming need to DO things. I started picturing a Venn diagram of my life, wondering what and where the circles would overlap. Is the space where a lot of circles overlap a good thing, or a bad one? Is there a need, somehow, for a circle that stands on its own?

I’ve prized work that serves two purposes since I was in college (if not earlier), where I loved it when a class I took worked for both of my majors. Two for one. Ahh. I still find great satisfaction when I score a freebie, when something I am doing for my Tasty Food work overlaps with home, or when my Beachbody business can overlap with writing. (heck, that might well be the reason I started this blog in the first place)

I’m not sure I ever considered that Meeting would overlap with my Beachbody business.

But after hearing 3 messages (or more – I’ve lost track) about belonging, about safety, about community – I realized the “back of my head” simmer about overlap had generated an “afterthought” – a message which didn’t quite get all the way formed. And it was this:

One of the things I love about Beachbody and the coaching I am doing is the constant reminder to “Push Play”. To “do your best and forget the rest”. To just plain show up. And even when I can’t settle in Meeting, or when my workout is full of distractions and vaguely unsatisfying, or when I forget my vow to not yell at my kids and yell anyway – I have to give myself a break. I am showing up. I am doing my best – and am doing my best to “forget the rest”. (That’s really hard to do, by the way. Just in case you were wondering.)

So though I still think a Venn diagram of my life would be an interesting exercise, I don’t really question whether or not I need a separate circle. I need a space, apparently, where I can realize everything I do is connected.

Maybe a separate circle would just encompass all the rest of them anyway.

May your day be filled with your best. And don’t beat yourself up if that BEST isn’t the same from day to day.

Show up, press play. Amazing results happen.


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