What kind of container do we want to create to hold our energy, our relationships, or own evolution? Do we want it to be strong, without leaks? Do we want it to be large to hold a lot? Or maybe just accept that the size will adjust according to need?
Wait... you might be asking yourself, "What does she mean by “container”?"
I’m referring to something that is not tangible — a space or a way of holding an intention — that allows people to feel safe. One way to do it is by setting up boundaries with the use of agreements about how we will treat each other.
Another way is to act consistently and clearly and to model this so that people know what to expect in the interaction.
If the container is a clear “why” of our purpose, then it’s transparent and everyone can see what’s inside — and manage their expectations. It’s easier to take action when we know what we’re getting into, and to take ownership and responsibility when it doesn’t meet our expectations.
However, we can also think of our own mindset or our body as a container.
Our mindset as a container
For example, if we use our mindset as a container for our thoughts, then it’s easy to imagine that a fixed mindset is a container that is rigid and fragile. It only contains an exact amount of what is possible and we threaten the status quo if we go beyond, or don’t fill it up exactly to the top.
And because it’s rigid, when we need to Be more — or do more, it becomes uncomfortable.
When we have a growth mindset, our container can expand and reduce based on what we need at the moment. Overfill or run out of resources? No problem, as a growth mindset allows us to learn from our mistakes and harnesses those new insights for doing better next time. Less stress — less wasted energy from worry or shame.
Our body as a container
If we use our body as an example of a container for our energy, then we can ask how well are we treating our container? Do we oil it when necessary, rub it down and let it rest? Do we wash it and put non-toxic ingredients in it? Do we stretch it to keep it elastic and pliable? Or do we hide it in the dark and use it irregularly — ashamed of it’s basic or misused appearance?
When we honour our body as a container for our energy, it’s easier to see the cause and effect of our behavior towards this amazingly adaptable and resilient container.
Relationships as a container
Of all the ways I can think of to use this delicious metaphor, offering up the container as a way to talk about how we relate and connect to others is my favorite.
For me — RELATION (emotionally connecting and exchanging communication) + SHIP (the container of a practice between two or more people) is a powerful way to explore how critical a healthy container is to transporting us from struggle to ease.
If we can imagine that the “Ship” is a vehicle (a mobile container!) of practice to get us from project to project, day to day — one moment to the next — then the ability to connect and re-late in this container is central to sustaining momentum.
Scanning Facebook and LinkedIn, there are an increasing number of articles that highlight the surge of people looking for deeper connection, not just information exchange that happens cognitively. As change increases in pace, we need to build stronger, more resilient containers.
The more agile, adaptable, and dynamic we can make them, the easier it will be to know when to continue forward autonomously, and when to collaborate.
So, maybe it’s time to use another frame of reference for looking at our mindset, bodies, and relationships.
What kind of container are you cultivating?
"Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you. It is meant to, and it couldn't do it better. Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition." - Florida Scott Maxwell
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