When I moved in to my current home some 18 months ago, I was setting everything up just as I would like it to be, part of which was to organise the cords on my window blinds. I can’t have cords hanging freely, twisting and tangling at their own will. So in order to have those cords hang neatly, I attached plastic cord brackets to each of the window frames, running the cord through the bracket to create a pulley system. Now I needed ‘something’ to remind me which way was up and which way was down . . . a saying or some such ‘line’ or rhyme? And then it came to me: Front up! Back down! It really needs no explanation, but just in case . . . the cord in front is up, and the cord behind (back) is down. The most awesome solution! Then it occurred to me. . . not just for handling my blinds, but also for handling my life.
Sometimes there are situations in life, circumstances that we don’t know how to handle, or maybe we are trying too hard at, to sort out, or repair. Those on the receiving end of our ‘approach’ may feel as though we are more of a ‘front up and bowl down’ approach, which is then perceived and received as confronting and/or overwhelming, achieving the opposite result we were hoping for in trying to sort out that situation. And so the solution may well be to: ‘front up’ (show up) to that environment we want (or need) to attend, but to ‘back down’ in our approach to the situation within that environment.
Here’s another angle . . .
For the New Year weekend I was on call from Friday night through to Tuesday morning. So what do you do when you can’t make any definite plans with friends in case you have to abandon that ‘space’ for a surgical emergency? You plan a project! And so I planned for ‘Project Balcony Renovation’. With my phone in my pocket, I visited my local hardware store for synthetic turf, a new outdoor setting, some pots, lanterns, and a small water feature. I already had some succulents, and a friend had given me some additional cuttings from her garden. I also had a packet of seeds from a Woman’s Conference I had attended some time back. Potting and repotting, succulents and seeds, as I was watering those seeds . . . I wasn’t sure how much to water . . . and there was no water appearing in the tray below . . . so assuming I hadn’t given enough, I kept watering . . . then suddenly I had water over flowing everywhere . . . I was trying too hard, I was impatient, which resulted in me giving too much water, which was more than the pot and the tray could handle.
Sometimes our approach to those situations in life, those circumstances that we don’t know how to handle, or maybe we are trying too hard at to repair, does more damage than good. In our efforts, we try too hard, too fast, and it becomes too much to handle. But as it was with my watering, because we don’t see any return for our effort, we think we must need to give more, and so we do, but then we learn it was all too much, and what was needed was actually time. Time for the initial watering to soak in to the soil, to nourish the seeds sown, and any excess water would show in the tray below, and be taken up later. And so I’m learning: to ‘front up’ to water those seeds on my balcony, but to ‘back down’ on how much water I give. And in the right time . . . hoping that in my new approach, I will see a return for my efforts.
So how do we action this in real life?
Well maybe there’s a situation in your workplace (or some other space)? You can’t just not go to work. You could possibly take leave, or find another workplace, but does either of those really solve anything? Not usually. So in this case, the analogy goes like this: continue to ‘front up’ to work, to do work . . . but when at work ‘back down’ in terms of your approach to whatever the situation that is causing confrontation or overwhelm. Don’t buy into the ‘behaviours’ of your peers and colleagues, but instead pay kindness for rudeness, as you ‘back down’ in your overall approach and your ‘need’ to make things right. Ultimately, people are who they are, believing what they want to believe, be it true or not. But in time, things will turn around. And in the mean time . . . keep on ‘fronting up, and backing down.’
So whether it be in life or with your blinds,
When you don’t know which way is up, and which way is down,
The approach to remember is to:
Front up and back down!