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Untangling the wires in the sauna

light steam graphic

In The Secret of Healing, Deepak Chopra talks through the three step process of:

  • Reflection.
  • Contemplation.
  • Meditation.

For the simple Westerner who can’t understand offsides in a World Cup Soccer match, these are words of overlapping meaning.  For the sauna lover, maybe it’s a matter of:

  • Recognition.
  • Contemplation.
  • Solution.

During round 1, we settle ourselves into the hot room.

Outside that sauna door, we know there is a lot of shit going on.  There’s a heavy sigh of: “Ugh, I can’t juggle all this crap.  I’ve got to do (this) (that) and (the other thing), but I just can’t seem to sort it all out.”  After a couple more minutes of this, water gets tossed on the sauna rocks.  For many, recognition is a huge step.  Some avoid what’s bothering them, or can’t even isolate it.  Not us sauna lovers.  We spend 10 minutes or so in the hot room and are not distracted.  We can lose the anxiety that often comes with brushing up against what’s making us anxious.  What’s better, after a nice long session in the hot room, we reappear into the outside world hot and bothered.  Once we dive into a cold lake, or take an ice cold shower, our new lack of distraction turns into euphoric endorphin calmness.

Standing outside, possibly naked, after a few minutes of vacation from our problems, is there a better time to contemplate?

What was once a tangled mess of wires now starts to define itself.  During contemplation, we understand that we are imperfect, that the book In Search of Excellence is just a book written by a guy wearing a tie.  The things bogging us down are most likely external nonsense.  We chuckle at triviality and can bare down on the creative.  One sauna lover calls it untangling the wires.  Another refers to life as a puppet show.  “We are either the puppet, being pulled by the strings, or we are the puppeteer, who gets to pull the strings.”  It’s time to retake control of the cross bar, and look at life from above.  It’s easier to do this as our body comes back into equilibrium.  The pores of our skin are flushed by the cold water.  A fresh breeze in the garden all misty wet with rain brings our body core temperature down, slowly.  More minutes of wonderful casual thought.

A return to the hot room brings an opportunity for deeper contemplation.

A heavy dose of water on the sauna rocks brings forth a massive wave of hot steam (loyly), further opening the pores of the skin AND the mind.  We smile.  Even chuckle.  The world outside is indeed a puppet show.  Deepak Chopra has been on Oprah.  Am I going to let someone else pull my strings?

‘Cause there are stars
Up above

We can start
Moving forward

Lost in my mind
Lost in my mind
Oh I get lost in my mind
Lost, I get lost

Brene Brown can assure us how good it feels to be vulnerable, and Seth Godin can ride our ass to ship, but at 180˚ (82˚c.) a cold beer after round 2 makes more sense.  A second cold plunge.  There should be a book called In Search of Good Enough.  Sipping a cold drink, we recognize that one of the ways to pull the strings is to embrace constraints, because they teach us to think more creatively.  When we Rework, we:

“Let limitations guide you to creative solutions

There’s never enough to go around. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough people.

That’s a good thing.

Instead of freaking out about these constraints, embrace them. Let them guide you. Constraints drive innovation and force focus. Instead of trying to remove them, use them to your advantage.”

Solutions start to come quickly.  “I don’t have the time to..” is a blessing in disguise.  The creative solution becomes “why don’t I just”.  One tangled wire has just been neatly rolled up and put aside.  And just like untangling a bunch of wires, once a couple solutions are rolled up, the tangle becomes easier and easier to unravel.  By round 3, there is no tangle of wires.  We are holding the cross bow, moving the puppet, and we are controlling our own show.

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