One of the most fascinating (to me) practices, both in the world of self-helpishness and in terms of business biggification is working with setting.
I’ve hinted about this in stories about the Playground — the elements that came together to create it, the process of moving from a tiny idea to something that exists and breathes, the amazing things that happen with the right setting.
And we’ve talked a bit about the symbolic powers of setting.
The way this blog space here has a particular feel and a vibrant, crazy, fabulous culture that lives here. How it’s both instantly recognizable and constantly evolving.
Anyway, when setting works, the most extraordinary things happen.
And everything you can accomplish within that setting ends up being far bigger, deeper-rooted and generally more astonishing than what you can do without it.
So sure, I can teach brain-bending wacky things anywhere, and it will be outrageous and great.
But even though my duck and I give good content, it’s always going to be better here than on some random blog (that’s partly why we don’t write guest posts). And it’s going to be better at certain real life spaces than others.
That’s why I spend a lot of time thinking about setting.
Setting for rituals and practices. Setting for teaching. Setting for experiencing things. Setting things up to make the entire experience more charged, more grounded, more silly and playful … whatever is needed.
Even when you get this and you know setting (place + culture + look + feel + essence) is another doorway into big, powerful experiences — what my friend Maya calls transformative shit…
There’s always the doubt that it will work this time.
And it can be hard to understand why a certain setting is necessary or meaningful for making it easier to access certain types of (mostly symbolic) doorways.
A couple of people commented on how bizarre it seems — to them — that my Week of Biggification program in November is at such a super fancypants location.
To me it was a clear choice — not a secret hidden “method behind my madness” one, but a very intentional sense of this-is-what’s-needed.
So I’ll use this as an example to help us talk about a particular use of setting — we can also think about other ways to apply this without necessarily changing location.
Setting as a way to intentionally challenge yourself.
The Playground challenges people to be playful. With costumes and blocks and markers and cushions and blanket forts.
For the Week of Biggification, we have specific things we’re trying to shift. And the setting is special because it holds qualities that can help us do that.
And this is important, because these are some pretty deep, intense, life-changing (in the I-am-still-me-and-yet-everything-is-different-now way) experiences.
Yes, it will also be hilarious and full of epic goofballery. But we’re doing some hardcore deconstruction of stucknesses and rebuilding.
So. Not at a retreat place. We’re doing it at a very gorgeous, posh hotel.
We’re challenging ourselves to discover where our discomfort lives. We’re challenging ourselves to interact with qualities of comfort and ease, and do things differently.
And we’re challenging all of our assumptions about what we know about ourselves and the world. Asking, as always, what are we wrong about?
With love. And sweetness. In a place of beauty and wonder and other-ness.
Setting as a way of intentionally getting used to fabulousness.
This means: not being intimidated by wealth (whether being around it, having it, or being present in a world where it exists).
What this doesn’t mean:
This does not mean even slightly that this is a lifestyle you need to adopt or that this has anything to do with how you’ll want to live.
After all, being the sovereign power in your internal kingdom of you-ness means you always get to make choices that are comfortable for you.
As your business grows, you do not ever have to spend your monies on anything that does not support your you-ness and your values.
For example: despite being all biggified, I don’t own a car and don’t plan to. I know the qualities I want in my life — simplicity and sustainability are always at the core.
So this is not about having or consuming or acquiring.
It’s about choice.
You might decide that as you biggify, you will donate all your wealth to helper mouse organizations that do important change-the-world things.
You might decide that you will donate some of your monies to the causes that are in your heart and invest the rest in your business to create more good in the world.
You might decide that you are ready to have a healthy, cozy relationship with things that are comfortable, and that this kind of having is part of how you create a supportive environment to help you do your best work and give back.
I’m cool with all of those things.
I just want it to be a choice, not a reaction. A conscious, intentional, loving way of being in the world, not something that comes from stuckness and lack.
And I want everyone who comes to the experience that is this Week of (mindful, fun, silly, powerful, messy, clarity-inducing) Biggification to go through a process.
And to come out the other end feeling safe, comfortable and unintimidated.
So if you decide poshness is not for you, it’s not about judgment or otherness, it’s just about knowing what you need.
And if you come to the conclusion that you are ready to have more sweetness and softness and beautiful things in your life, that you can reach that in a way that is grounded and stable, not reactive and not defensive.
Ideally, we’ll all start out a little wide-eyed and uncomfortable in our surroundings. And as we go through the many processes of the week, we will end up getting to that point of yeah I belong here too.
Setting and location as a place for big, crazy change.
Outside of Asheville is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world.
One of the reasons I decided that this hugely intense experience had to happen in this particular place is the power and beauty there to help us through it.
The mountain is extraordinary. The views are breathtaking. We chose November because the colors are exquisite. And also because I knew this was the right time.
The mesmerizing green green green of the hillside and the trees. The faded autumn colors: pinks and oranges. The faint pale purple of mountains in the distance. The rain. The outrageous sunsets.
Being in a place of beauty helps a lot. It just does. It is a facilitator of magical things.
The setting as a place for good things to happen.
The place where we are staying is exquisite. And crazy. Like this:
It’s on a mountain. You enter at the top.
And then you take an elevator down to get to your room.
The biggest challenge at the Week of Biggification might actually be people not wanting to leave their rooms because they won’t be able to tear themselves away from the windows.
Luckily, just as the Pacific ocean did incredible things for us (Remember? Dance of Shiva on the beach?) at the Destuckification retreat last January, this is a place where amazing things can happen with grace and ease.
It’s also a place to be cared for and to practice being cared for. Which is something we’re all going to have to learn to get more comfortable with if we want to biggify.
And I’m expecting this will be one of the side effects: one more thing we’ll be able to take back into our businesses and the rest of our lives.
It will also be a ridiculously fun place to run around with magic wands and clown noses, should you want to. Because that’s what I will be doing.
The actual point.
Well, a few points.
- Setting is something you can create anywhere. It lives inside of you. Like culture.
- At the same time, in order to have setting live inside of you and access it’s power, sometimes you need to go experience it.
- This doesn’t necessarily have to be a big, complicated change. In Hebrew we say, “change your place, change your luck”. Any movement that alters your perspective is probably good.
- Setting is something we get to consciously interact with, even at those frustrating times when we’re in situations that feel narrow and stifling — when we don’t seem to have much choice in our setting. Small, symbolic things count too.
- Once you learn how to be comfortable in more glorious settings, you can bring that comfort/beauty/appreciation/expansiveness into all sorts of narrow spaces.
- Changes in setting, like culture, can help you feel way more okay with being biggified. Just like how using the Friday Chicken to check in with people who are also going through the same stuff makes all that stuff seem less hard to bear.
- It is useful to intentionally use setting as a way to challenge patterns, surprise yourself, unravel what needs unraveling. And it is equally useful to use setting to help you feel safe and supported.
And that’s where I’ll stop for now.
And comment zen for today.
Working on this stuff is really hard. It brings up all of our internal “but but but” and all of our rules about how things have to be. If anything I said stepped on your stuff, I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intention.
And if you can’t make it to our Week of Biggification, thinking about setting and place is totally a way of symbolically being there, and maybe this will help you incorporate these principles into some aspect of what you’re working on.
Because really, when we talk about the power of setting, we’re INVOKING it.
Which means just thinking about this can move some things around in your brain and in the your internal culture. That’s what I’m hoping it will do for me too. Can we brainstorm on this?
p.s. Our Week of Biggification (password = pickles) is nearly full, but take a look. If you are on of the people for it, I would LOVE to have you there. And if this isn’t the right time, I will adore you anyway. xox