5: Finding Ease in the Struggle

Feb 5, 2019

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Let’s talk about how we think about “struggle,” all of the stories we’re holding around this idea and where it might be possible for us to find ease.

Mentioned resources:


You’re listening to A Call to Serve. This is a podcast calling entrepreneurs, coaches, healers, creatives, and transformative leaders who want to make a difference in their communities to show up with integrity, use their power and practice radical service. My name is Andréa Ranae. I’m a facilitator, coach and writer focusing my work on holding space for leadership and liberation, especially when it comes to business. This is episode five and we’re talking about finding ease in the struggle.

So it’s been a little bit since my last episode that I published and I’ve had some realizations around what I’m up to here and how I want to show up on this show. And a lot of it has to do with what I want for myself in this year ahead. It’s February when I’m recording this, the beginning of it. And at the beginning of the year, or really before, at the end of 2018, I was thinking a lot about like what my, what my word would be for the year if you don’t know what that’s in reference to… some people like to have this one theme or one idea of kind of like what we want this, this year to be about.

And for me, my word is ease and it makes me so uncomfortable, (laughs), because I’m doing a lot this year, I’m doing a lot right now and there’s a lot of newness happening right now and there’s some risky things and it’s also like I am going to be working a lot this year, at least for the first eight months. And I’m down for it. I’m here for it. That’s why my word is ease because I have this way of making things harder than they need to be, and that’s attached to a lot of different things. But, you know, I grew up learning how to work hard. In school, in my family, I am quite efficient and a really diligent worker, I can work my tail off and that doesn’t mean that I’m taking care of myself. So my word is ease. And as I’ve been thinking about this podcast, I’ve been realizing how I have not been making it easy at all for me to consistently put out… I would love to put out an episode every week and I have not been making that easy because my system… for some transparency and if anybody else is interested in starting a podcast or just like all the work that goes into it, what I’ve been doing, and there’s only four episodes before this one, but what I’ve been kind of requiring of myself is for me to write out a full script of everything that I want to say and write it out beforehand. Usually it turns into it’s like a full essay, like it’s a few pages long, um of like word for word what I want to say on the podcast. And then after doing that, which takes me a few hours to fully grasp everything that I want to say. After that I gotta sit down and record it. And then I sit here and try to record it in a way that requires the least amount of editing for me, which means that I’m stopping and starting a lot. I’m like checking to make sure what the sound is like that the levels are correct. So a lot of editing and then that takes like, depending on how long the episode is, if the episode is like 20 minutes long, it’ll take me like two hours to record it and get it to a place where I feel okay with publishing it. Can you feel… I don’t know if you could feel it, but in my, in my chest (laughs) I’m like, Ooh, a lot. (laughs) And then after that, let’s say it’s an interview. I don’t do a lot of scripting for the interview. There’s just like setting up the call with someone and recording it. But then I get a translation or what’s it called, a transcript of the episode. And sometimes I have help, to clean up the transcription, but a lot of time, at least right now, , I don’t have that help. So I put it into a system called Temi and Temi is a really amazing, quick and easy and pretty cheap option for transcriptions. It’s temi.com.

So I sit there and kind of clean it up and then I gotta put it in the system and set it up, choose the title, if I want to do any like graphics for it. So there’s like a lot that goes into this, and so it’s been probably around like two months since I have published a new episode, because I have been doing all of this and I have like running a podcast, it could be a full time job and I have always other things that I need to do to tend to my programs and like, and clients and students and friends and family and the way that I was doing it was just not sustainable. So, um, thinking about, having the question for myself about where can I find ease in this process, is what I’m doing right now.

Um, so I have decided that I’m going to try. Ah. So uncomfortable. I’m going to try doing this thing that I got from this Youtuber guy that used to be obsessed with, many years ago. His name is Gabe Bondoc, and he’s a singer/songwriter and on youtube he would (I think he actually still does this). He would do a One Take Session, what he called an OTS and I believe he would practice a song and everything and make sure he got it right. But once the time came it was just one take so press record and that’s the one that would be put up on youtube. He wouldn’t do that all the time, but most of his videos up on youtube are a One Take Session. And so I was like, whew. Okay. I was already considering just hopping up on to… I’m using Garageband to record this and just pressing record and just talking, which is what I’m doing right now. Instead of like reading off of a script and you could probably tell the difference between this episode and the last solo episode I did just in terms of how quickly I’m talking and there’s just a lot more ease in it. Ha Ha. So yeah, I am going to experiment with this episode, especially and then I might continue just doing it this way, with just writing down some notes about what I want to talk about and then pressing record and going for it. It may be disastrous and I might contradict myself. It is very uncomfortable because I don’t plan on editing this very much. I’m probably gonna say “um”, a lot, but this is also something that I want for myself to feel more comfortable.

On a consistent basis. Just just talking, and, and pressing publish. God, yeah, it’s tough. But, so that’s what I’m doing. Hey. Just talking, tell me what you think and if you, are, are vibing with it or you know, what you’re feeling. And as I’ve been thinking about this for myself, I mean this, this creates ease for me. It’s, it’s more uncomfortable. It’s, it’s more risky and it requires a different amount, a different kind of work for me to be able to do this. But it creates the ease because, I can, I can just show up with what I’ve got. I don’t have to write out a full script and edit that script for everything that I want to say. I can allow myself to be imperfect, have the “ums” and the likes and the pauses that I don’t want.

And there’s, there’s ease in that for me in the long run, especially because this podcast is really important to me. It’s something that I do want to show up consistently on. And if all I have to do over the next, let’s say, I mean these next six, seven, eight months are going to be really intense for me. And if I can just in order to keep this podcast going, if I can just pull out my microphone, open up garage band and talk. That’s a good deal. I’m down and I’ve been saying for so long like, oh, I need, I need a producer, I need someone to just like take the content and, or I need really, I was, I’ve been saying that like, I wish I could just go into a studio and record and then have somebody else handle everything else, and I still want that, but this is a way for me right now because I can’t, I can’t do that right now. But for right now I can, take away some of these tasks that I was requiring of myself. , and just do me. So I’m in this episode, I’m obviously talking about finding… finding ease in the struggle, so I wanted to talk more about this on a broader scale. So that’s like, this is what I’ve been just thinking about in my own personal life and as I relate to my work as well. But I’ve been thinking about this idea that, that is, prevalent throughout a lot of like organizing spaces and in the work of social justice, environmental justice, civil rights and so on. There is, this idea about the struggle and I think for a lot of people there’s, there’s honor in the struggle, and I think even when we’re talking about service, whether that’s a public service or I’m serving through your business or serving through parenting or however it is that you’re serving, there is in different ways, in different realms.

This idea that if, like, if I just work hard, if it’s easy, I’m not doing anything if it’s, but if it’s hard, if it’s a struggle, that’s how it’s supposed to be, that means that I’m really doing the good work that I need to be doing and I don’t know about that. I don’t really want to participate in that. I think that, for me there’s, there’s a difference between struggle and a challenge. So if, if something’s a struggle, for me that means that there’s some, like some other stuff going on were either, like, I usually means that I’m out of my lane, or I’m like hardcore judging myself or other people and I mean, I’m so down for that challenge when we’re talking about justice, when we’re talking about liberation, when we’re talking about healing and growth and I’m changing the way that we relate to one another and changing a systemic issues, cultural issues. I am so, so down for the challenge of that. I don’t need it to be a struggle though. I don’t want it to be a struggle. That does not sound appealing to me at all. And so it’s hard for me to say because I think there’s so much of that story of the struggle is honorable and I don’t have that it isn’t necessarily honorable. It’s just not what I want to do to me, for me in my integrity, where I feel like I’m honoring myself, honoring my ancestors, honoring the people that came before me, that have contributed to my life, the way that I get to live my life as a black queer femme and so many other identities… My way of honoring that is, is to accept the challenge. Challenge accepted.

And I want to find the places where I can have ease, where I can find joy and pleasure and, , space, spaciousness, care, rest. I… I want that for myself. I want that for others as well. I do think that our attachment to the struggle, whether that’s as a parent or as an activist or as I’m a business owner keeps us from doing our best work for as long as possible. And that’s what I want for myself. I want to be able to show up for the challenge. Whatever the challenge is, I want to be able to show up for as long as I possibly can. I want to live a long life doing the work that I’m doing. I want to see a different world.

So I think about like, for example, uh, when we’re talking about if we’re talking about business, I talk a lot about marketing with people. , and we have so many ideas and stories about what marketing and what it isn’t and selling and the slimy and manipulative and all of that. And that’s all very real like that. All very much exists in the world, but when I think about marketing it, to me, it’s literally just sharing about your work. It’s telling people, telling the right people, telling the people that you want to work with, that your work is meant for… about your work, how it relates to them, how it might help them or support them or guide them or offer them something that they don’t have right now. And we get, we get so much into all the like, oh, I don’t want to be manipulative. I don’t want to be a slimy or scammy or whatever. Then don’t, don’t do it. Tell the truth. Take care of yourself so that you don’t get into that like manipulative. Like “desperate” is the word I’m thinking of like I need you to say yes to this or else I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

Then don’t, don’t do that. Take care of yourself in other, in other ways or find ways to get communal care, collective care, that takes care of those needs. So I don’t know where I want it to go with that, but I’m just, I’m thinking about like ways that we can find, find ease in the struggle or the challenge of creating a world that’s different than the one we have right now. , for me, that comes on many different levels. It’s in the decisions that I make in my business, the decisions I make around how I choose to care for myself. Like in this decision and instead of creating all these steps to get this podcast out there, just doing the bare minimum, which will actually, I suspect that it will actually help this podcast and a lot of ways. So doing the bare minimum might be the most, well, easeful option but also impactful in this scenario.

So that’s what I… that’s what I’m thinking about right now. I committed to doing these one takes sessions for 20 minutes and here I am at the 20 minute mark, at least in this recording. But let me know your thoughts, , whether that’s on Instagram or Facebook or wherever it is that you connect with me. , I would love to, to hear what you’ve got around this. I’m down to be wrong. , I, I welcome it, but this is what for, for me. So I also want to reiterate if I haven’t already said this, , that if, if this isn’t true for you, then it’s not true for you and that’s okay as well, but offering up a different perspective that, , I don’t hear a lot of people talking about. I’m excited for Adrienne Maree Brown’s new book, Pleasure Activism. I don’t know that it’s exactly talking about what, what I’ve talked about today, but it does offer up that like how can we find pleasure in times of apocalypse? So I’m looking forward to that. And if you’re wanting to have more conversations about how to do your work in a sustainable way, , sustainable on all fronts personally, culturally, systemically, collectively, , come check out. Coaching is activism. I would love to have you. coachingasactivism.com. Yeah, that’s what I got. Okay. I got to go run to be on a call now. Thanks for listening.

Oh, and before I go and before you go real quick, I would love if you would leave a thank you in the form of a rating or a review on iTunes. That’s how I’m accepting “thank yous” for this episode. If you’re finding value or you know, getting some good stuff from this show, share your thank you in the form of a rating or review. Alright, I’m leaving for real now.