Beth is a city planner and author, based in Alberta, Canada, who has spent decades working with City Hall, communities, developers and neighbourhoods, often in situations of conflict. She helps people make space for all views to be alive and integrated, so they can find a way forward and figure out how to work together. It can be very challenging work.
We chatted to Beth about her work life before and after taking the Working Light course.
How did Working Light change your work life?
About ten years before Beth found Working Light, she was in an intense, ambitious, crisis-mode work environment where she often worked 12 hours a day.
“It was hard work, shoulder to the wheel, grind myself into the ground. One job, it took me a year to recuperate after. It was a good experience, with no regrets, but I walked away. I decided I'm going to work six hours a day. And before I do my six hours of work, I'm going to go for a walk and I'm going to journal and I'm going to get exercise at some point during the day, and I'm going to make space for things in my neighbourhood and community, and things that feel really, really good. So that choice to shrink my work day was significant and super helpful.”
“I still try to do the six hours of working a day plus time and space to do other exploratory kinds of things. But with Working Light, when I'm sitting down to work, for example, it just happens more easily. So, it went from really difficult to quite a bit easier, to even more easeful.”
“My practices that serve me have always been evolving. So Working Light just slid in as a recalibration of those practices. It helped me with another level of working less hard and relaxing into the joy of the work that I do. Trusting that things will fall into place.”
What was the impact of Working Light on your writing?
Beth had been working on a manuscript for a few years and needed to find the right people to help finish it off and turn it into a book. Using the tools she learned in Working Light, “finding the editor happened really easily. Finding the copy editor, the Illustrator, the book designer, and a website designer. All of these folks came together to do their work at the beginning of the pandemic without ever having met - to magically stitch their work together to produce a book that I feel really happy with. There were all these moving pieces to pull this off and it just happened. It wasn't effortless, because it was a lot of effort on all of our parts, but yet at the same time, it just came together really nicely.”
Beth’s work now is a combination of working with clients, and writing. Working Light has helped her to: “work nice and simply and lightly with clients, not taking on stuff that's not mine, but seeing clearly what I can offer, what I need to say in a meeting, what I need to write in a proposal. It just got lighter and clearer - a crystallisation.”
How would you describe Working Light to a friend?
“If you were my friend Melissa I’d say…. So I've heard that you want to work smarter instead of harder. What's your reaction to working lighter instead of harder? I can see her ears pricking up and saying, what does that mean? And then we'd have a conversation. What is the difference between working harder, smarter, or lighter? I would summarise it as: when you're working, it’s not taxing on you mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. What if the work you do leaves you with more energy? What if the work you do or the work that needs to be done, happens effortlessly?”
In Beth’s words, Working Light “... is a manageable, easy entry into that inner stance of how I am in relationship with myself in the work I do, whether paid or unpaid: professional work, personal work, washing dishes, doing laundry, working on a manuscript, working in a high conflict situation with clients. All of that boils down to: Who am I? And what's my inner stance? Each week of the course focuses on a different piece of the practice and those felt very bite-sized, immediately usable, and useful.”
Website: . http://www.bethsanders.ca/