By: Stella Orange
When we last left our hero, she was telling the neighbors that there was no room for those scruffy propagated willow tree saplings on her front porch.
They didn’t *belong* to her.
They didn’t belong to *her.*
Side bar: This question of “belonging” has been rolling around in my pocket like a smooth stone for a while now.
What belongs to me?
To what do I belong?
The troll does not hesitate – this belongs with me. That does not.
So picture this: Ever since I got back from Summer Holiday, I have been feeling like I need more space. Yes, I know that technically I need more space is not a feeling. We can call it an instinct or a knowing.
When a knowing shows up on the scene, I run a quick diagnostic — Where I’m at? What’s working? What’s not?
Long story short, what wasn’t working was that I was sharing a home office with two other people and a coworking space with some forty plus other people, some of whom were beginning to notice that I’m fun to talk to.
I need more space!
I was also riding my bike to work four days a week. Which is actually fabulous and makes me happy… BUT it also means that my backpack is full, loaded, and twenty pounds on my (strong, tender, cranky) middle aged back.
What belongs to me?
To what do I belong?
The troll began her sorting:
Riding bikes is for me.
Too much stuff in my house is not.
Picking kale from the garden and making a schmancy kale salad every night to take to work is for me.
Sharing a desk is not.
I thought the troll had it sorted.
Even when, Rebecca asked me in that way she does, “Isn’t it annoying to have to pack up every morning and every night?” I was all, “No, I’m strong. I’m good. I don’t mind.”
Ha, my friend. Ha ha ha.
Time passes. My situation stabilizes, to a point. I feel better, to a point.
Until one day before a meeting I say to Rebecca, “I just want a door.”
Here’s the thing about being in cahoots with other people who know you, see you, and take what you say seriously. It creates what I think of as a Listening Bowl around you.
And when you’re in the Listening Bowl, you get to hear yourself more clearly.
“A door, you say?,” responded Rebecca, in her way. “Now isn’t that interesting.”
She may have grinned.
And then we just sat in silence together for a moment.
“I mean, I thought about getting a one-woman office here at the coworking space, but I didn’t want to spend my money like that,” I said in the Listening Bowl.
“Makes sense,” she said.
And that’s when something shifted inside.
“I mean, I have the money. I’d even had the idea of setting aside a pot of money as my Office Rent fund for the year.”
“Huh,” said the Listening Bowl.
She may have grinned even more.
“Oh, I see,” I said.
I started grinning, too.
“I’m gonna see if that one-person office is still available.”
“Okay,” said the Listening Bowl.
Here’s the thing – there’s listening to your self by your self. And then there’s a listening that can only happen when you have a Listening Bowl.
Without the Listening Bowl, I would not have my own office space – my first ever outside my house in the thirteen years I’ve been in business. (Thanks, Rebecca!)
Without the Listening Bowl, I would not have a locker to stash my computer and stapler at the coworking space while I wait for my office to become available next month because my shoulders are tight AF from all the biking with a loaded backpack. (Thanks, Philosopher!)
The troll knows what belongs to her, and what she belongs to.
And gradually, she is coming to feather her nest with Listening Bowls, those human-shaped spaces on the planet where her knowings are taken seriously and where she is encouraged to trust them to steer her home.
Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.
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