April: The Grey Area

I chose all of the themes for my Unfolding the Year: 2020 project in December, and I’m pretty surprised at how “right” this month’s theme feels for our world right now.

There’s a lot of uncertainty and scariness out there right now, and it can feel overwhelming. In addition to, of course, social distancing and staying home to protect those most vulnerable, I highly recommend you first and foremost practice self-care, whatever that means to you. It’s the best way to care for ourselves and others.

This month’s theme is The Grey Area. It’s the idea that we have to move around from binary thinking — and/or, yes/no — and into both/and.

These might be concepts familiar to you if you’ve studied any improv (or, like me, read Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s books!). In improv, you never “yuck someone’s yum”: you adapt and make it work, you don’t judge it, you run with it and add your own creative spin in it.

To me, “the grey area” is a broader but similar concept. It’s the idea that nothing is just one thing. You can’t box someone in and assume you know everything about them, and so assuming the worst (or even the best!) is unwise.

Similarly, there’s no one way to complete a task; no “right” way to complete a project; no one idea that’s the perfect one.

When we let go of this idea of perfection, or that there’s one right way (and usually, in our minds, that means it’s our way) — we can allow ourselves to open up to so many new ideas, versions of creativity, and be kinder to others.

The question is unanswerable, which is not to say futile.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

So this month’s theme, and challenge, relates to finding the both/and, finding the “grey area” in a part of your life, and seeing if you can guide yourself into holding multiple possibilities in your mind at once.

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