Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Yellowstone National Park as part of an epic family road trip. *Side note: if you’re heading there anytime soon, check out this awesome guide! Yes, I also have a 3-ring binder filled with travel details if you want to know more. Are you at all surprised?!? End side note!*
Yellowstone is a huge swath of wilderness known for its unusual geothermal activity. The picture above is of a mudpot – a place where the ground is literally bubbling due to the hot water just under the surface. Not particularly exciting or aesthetically pleasing in photo format, but very cool to see in person.
I was going through my pictures of that trip recently and when I saw the mudpots, my brain immediately went to how similar mudpots are to humans. Not in a Creature From the Black Lagoon or Scooby Doo mud monster kind of way. Rather in how we all have things (good and bad usually) bubbling just below the surface. Unlike the mudpots where you can see the mud bubbling in real time, we try to keep those thoughts, ideas, and feelings hidden.
The mud is hidden, but it’s there. At Yellowstone, they put up boardwalks and railings to keep us a safe distance from the boiling mud. Too bad people don’t come with those!
Right now, I have several big projects coming to critical points at the same time, so although it’s good mud that’s bubbling within me, I need to find a way to bring it back down from a boil to a simmer so it doesn’t steal my focus from the people, discussions, and projects that are important to me.
One of the ways I do that is to write down the muddy ideas. When I get them out of my head and onto paper, my brain stops churning on them. Another way is to keep reminding myself how it all aligns to my purpose, which smooths out the mud and serves to calm me down.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is recognize when someone else is experiencing a fit of bubbling mud. At work, we can get so focused on our daily tasks that we forget to check in with people on how they’re feeling. You’d be surprised what a difference it will make in a co-worker’s day if you make time to ask them how they’re feeling and really listen to the answer.
#PositiveAction What thoughts, ideas, and feelings are bubbling up right now? Do one thing to help yourself or better yet, someone else, smooth out the mud!
Photo by me, in Yellowstone National Park.