With a bit of shuffling around recently, there are 4 spots open in the upcoming autumn retreat October 18-22. While this isn’t entirely abnormal or unusual, a thought appeared that is so common, it would almost be weird if it didn’t run through my mind:
More people should be signed up by now.
You can do this work on anything you think isn’t meeting the “best” conditions, or the highest expectations, or the greatest achievement. Something where you need more people.
Perhaps you’re putting on an event to celebrate. My 50th birthday party fell on a late weekend in January and I swear half my friends literally had pneumonia that year. I had the thought “more people should be coming”.
Weddings, memorials, marches, work-parties, moving help. We want all those we want to come, to come.
People in business of course have this thought with respect to people showing up at their restaurant, or store, or fair, or event, or class. Sometimes we need more applicants, more advisors, more employees.
It’s so great to consider why, without simply assuming you know.
What do I hope will happen, if more people attend, or if more people are present, or more people are drawn to whatever it is you’re doing or offering?
Energy, buzz, financial income, giving and/or receiving emotional support, connection, success, appreciation.
So great to ask and wonder….do I really need that (energy, appreciation, etc)? Would I be fine without it?
You need more people to come, or different people….or heck, maybe you need fewer people depending on your situation.
Notice the thought looming or crossing into your mind.
Is it true?
Are you sure you need people to do something different than what they’re doing?
Oh. Hmmm. No.
It seems like it would be more fun, more fulfilling, more filled with laughter and excitement and insight…but I’m not sure that’s true.
Even if you say “yes” I need more people to show up….are you absolutely fundamentally sure this is true, without a shadow of a doubt?
How do you react when you believe you need more or less people than are actually there?
I believe there’s a problem. I wonder if I’m doing everything I can. I get snappy. I don’t take time to relax. I feel a little anxious. I worry. I hear the news someone else is out with pneumonia and I feel sad and disappointed, like I wish I wasn’t having a party in the first place.
Who would you be without your thought “I need more people” or “I need fewer people”?
Oh! Well then!
That’s sure different.
I’d feel soft within. I’d think about how fun it’s going to be and have an excited sense of what’s to come, no matter what. Maybe something would come to mind that’s active, and if not, that’s OK too.
Last weekend at the East West bookshop small event, the man who is always there at the cash register said “I noticed there was not as big a turnout as you normally have. Did you go deep?” I answered yes. He responded with a twinkle in his eye “I thought so. Sometimes a smaller group appears when people need to go deep.”
Without the thought that I want more people to be signed up for the retreat by now, I’d hear the gorgeous rain pouring outside the open window nearby. I’d notice how much I adored an epsom salt soaking bath just now, and how grateful to have the bathtub. I’d notice how I never thought one single time during the lovely dance I did this morning with so many beautiful dancers of the upcoming retreat and who was coming. LOL.
“When you believe a thought that argues with reality, you’re confused. When you question the thought and see that it’s not true, you’re enlightened to it, you’re liberated from it….And then the next stressful thought comes along, and you either believe it or you question it. It’s your next opportunity to get enlightened. Life is as simple as that.” ~ Byron Katie
Turning the thought around: I should be signed up by now. YES! I should be fully engaged, working on the flow of the retreat, noticing the joy of imagining 4 days in The Work.
Turning it around again: No one else should be signed up by now. It’s brilliant the way it is. All things are unfolding in just the right timing, and the right way, and already a fabulous group is assembling and I can’t wait to see everyone.
How is it a good thing that no one else is signed up? Well, I don’t have to explain the details or send directions to anyone. I don’t have to help anyone else find a place to stay. I can stop, and enjoy the peace of the rain this afternoon, and my questioned thinking.
“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” ~ Thich Nhat Hahn