I had a kind of aha experience this weekend, gathered in a four day men’s retreat called Soultime. It’s worth noting that in this retreat there is nothing that we need to produce. Not a plan. Not a project implementation schedule. Instead it is a collection of good men, eleven of us, in a lot of figurative hunting in the forest that is soul. Men learning together — through exploring, sharing dream fragments, listening to story, eating, cooking, cleaning, singing, dancing, silence — well this is highly productive.
I was joking with one of the guys as he was doing dishes. I wanted to compliment him in a playful way. “As my Grandpa used to say, if you keep this up, we’ll get you on steady.” It was mostly just fun to say. We laughed together and I got to remember my Grandpa, Billie Gould, who passed away last year at 98 years old.
I got to thinking, “steady work” was a big thing for my Grandpa. He lived through the great depression of the 30s and 40s. He had a sixth grade education, and a family. Steady work meant providing for family. It meant meals on the table. It meant wood for the stove. Steady work was security.
Steady work is important to me also. A part of the aha is realizing that I carry some of the anxieties my Grandpa had. My circumstances are far different than his. Funny how genetics can carry fears through generations, embedding emotions when there is no or little direct experience, right.
I learned on the weekend that steady still feels important. It just looks different that it did for Grandpa. Steady is being willing to challenge thoughts and assumptions that no longer fit an evolving world. Steady is practices of kindness, simplicity, courage to remain honest enough to acknowledge mystery.
Steady work. A job well done. I want this too. Need it. Maybe, like many of us. Steady presencing and clarity in self as regular practice.
Thank you Soultime brothers, friends. For dishes and friendship that remind me of a new kind of steady and why it matters so much to me.