For episode sixteen of season two, Tim and Tuesday reflect on how sheltering in place, during COVID-19, is presenting an opportunity for the discovery of other parts of ourselves and how unsettling that can be.
Together, Tim Merry and Tuesday Ryan-Hart are THE OUTSIDE—systems change and equity facilitators who bring the fresh air necessary to organize movements, organizations, and collaborators forward for progress, surfacing new mindsets for greater participation and shared impact.
2.16 — SHOW NOTES
- Tim: This week on the podcast we are going to talk about being “unsettled.”
- Tues: I think this feels really timely. Last week we hit the month mark and folks had been doing so much to get everything pulled together - how do I get my kids figuring school out, how do I figure out what I am going to do for work? The first month of quarantine was filled with activity, of figuring it out, and then last week it was like, “oh, this is what we are doing” and I feel like things just kind of busted loose. Last week you saw people get more anxious, more depressed, more angry. The first month was all hands on deck and last week it turned to “oh, my gosh, we are doing this thing” and I think it’s deeply unsettling.
- Tues: Several headlines I’ve read have talked about the second COVID crisis will be around mental health. There is no place to go for our coping besides internal and often that spills out to the people external to us.
- Tim: What I am beginning to discover, under the boredom piece for me, is a thirst for freedom. The desire to not feel trapped. A lot of that is related to being sent away to school for so long at such a young age and then essentially being confined within an institution for so much of my young life. So I am doing a lot of things that allow me to seek that feeling of not being trapped. Walking has been one of those.
- Tim: I’ve been roaming through boredom, depression and desperately trying to find tasks to keep me busy. I put on a mixed tape the other day and it was perfect. It was like 25 year old me had made it for me for this moment. I wonder what other parts of us we are discovering to help us in these times?
- Tim: I’m finding in the midst of what feels trapped, and quite dark and quite uncomfortable, and quite painful for me sometimes in terms of what I am encountering inside myself, I’m also finding there are these moments where something just clicks. A little bit of beauty happens, a little bit of synchronicity takes place that creates that feeling of freedom. It’s a funny world right now because I feel like I am wandering between these multiple different states.
- Tues: I know what you mean! I feel like at the beginning of this sheltering in place/quarantine it was day-by-day and now it feels like hour-by-hour. I listen to a lot of podcasts and people are talking about a going back to things that gave them comfort earlier in their life - music, old TV show, old clothes, old friends from high school… familiarity. People are seeking some of that in the midst of all this uncertainty. That feels really interesting to me because I think we are both pretty self-reflective people and yet this period is almost making us go to the root, of the root, of the root. Now we can’t get away from it - you have to go into that particular thing and get to know the nuances of it. Right now I try to turn toward it - walk/run, journal, etc.
- Tim: There is a lot of forgiveness in our house at the moment; not making things bigger than they already are in our house and that seems to be very healthy. There is a lot of letting things go in terms of the emotional tennis that is happening in households right now.
- Tues: A lot of it is acknowledging that it is a hard time for everyone so you can give grace.
- Tim: We are all facing our shadows. I know it might sound trite but now we are getting the opportunity to deal with our deepest, darkest shit. So many of the structures that are in place are now falling away and we are now being faced with things that we structured our lives to avoid.
- Tues: It might be trite… but it is also true and it is a choice. We can or we can’t. We will or we won’t. I don’t think we have too. I think that we could all stumble through this, coping the best we can - in good ways and in bad ways - and come out the other side with not a bit more insight or self-reflection and just having survived. I feel really strongly that if my mind is going to try and take me to these places, I am going to go. I am going to try and use it as an opportunity, and I won’t take every opportunity and I won’t do it perfectly, but the world doesn’t get to stop and slow down that often and you don’t get to really look and have these things come up. The things, the very things, we have tried to avoid are coming up. We do have a choice and we don’t have to make it everyday… some days you can just listen to really loud music.
- Tim: In addition to all this personal practice that is going on, some of the stuff we have been navigating is in our business. How do you and I distribute wealth between us during this period? How are we tending to, and looking after, our subcontractors? Who needs what during a period of crisis?
- Tues: We know that conversations on equity can be a challenge at the best of times and then when you have a lot of economic uncertainty, that we’re facing, it’s quite interesting. We just said that this gives us the opportunity to look at things we haven’t had to look at, we’ve structured ourselves in a way that we haven’t had to look at them and so that would also be true in terms of any money issues. We haven’t, either personally or professionally, had to go too deeply into them. We’ve had some really good conversations that had to be quite explicit and frank. What does it mean that you [Tim] have family money and I don’t? What does that mean when we are running a business together that is having some contraction and the partners in the business have a different level of wealth to fall back into / that they can count on? What does that mean going forward? What does that mean as we do things that are building the business but are not billable hours? Because I [Tues] have less family wealth, we should give me more billable hours but you [Tim] are still working? It’s quite complex and emotional and it’s about our good friendship and it’s about this lens we have. How do we build a company together across class?
- Tues: This is what is happening now with The Outside. This is part of the “unsettled” part of this pandemic. The decisions now are not just short-term, it’s medium and long-term and what does this mean for us across time, and what does that mean for us in our different circumstances and what does this mean for our different perspectives around our company income and revenue. All of it is up now. It’s coming up for us personally, for our company, and for our clients. One of the things we’ve talked about is that there is a tendency to go back to a more traditional, mechanistic, command and control leadership right now. But, some of the people in our client base are thinking this is a time when we could choose do be different here. It’s a choice point in the organization. That’s happening at every level we’re working with right now. It’s all levels, all the time.
Song: “A message to myself,” by Roo Panes
Poem: “Untitled,” from the book “Lele Kawa: The rituals of Pele," by Taupouri Tangaro
Olelo i ke aka
Ka hele ho’okahi e
Mamina ka leo
He leo wale no e
Speaking to the shadow
Is what one does when travelling alone
Treasure the voice
For it gives sound to the thoughts otherwise dormant.
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Produced by: Mark Coffin @ Sound Good Studios
Theme music: Gary Blakemore
Episode cover image: source
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