It’s a small part on the rudder of a large ship; by changing the direction of this small part, you can change the direction of the entire ship. It’s also a metaphor for making a small change with a large impact. My friend Unyong Kim — who teaches yoga and meditation in northern Virginia at Stress Burner Yoga — has started a Trimtab Project to bring mindfulness to busy, stressed activists and social change agents. I’m writing to urge you to give it a try.
I write this as a — how can I put this? — skeptical bitch. I am very un-new age. I have resisted yoga. I would like, in theory, to meditate, but IT’S TIME FOR COFFEE NOW! I am not mindful.
So when my dear friend Unyong suggested I be a sort of beta tester for her Trimtab project, I enthusiastically volunteered to help out, while my inner skeptical bitch rolled her eyes.
Joke’s on you, Skeptical Bitch! I’m really enjoying my Trimtab sessions and find them deeply helpful in precisely the way Unyong described.
I generally like things that help for reasons I understand like Benadryl or being edited by my smart co-counsel. The Trimtab project helps for reasons I don’t really understand. Helps what? The best way to describe it is to say: helps me come unstuck. I like to think of the work I do as significant — or at least as trying to wrestle with significant issues. But where my mental wheels often spin are the daily stresses of litigation, the small insults of opposing counsel, the brief section that I can’t get from my brain to the page, my own voice in my head telling me “ur doing it wrong.” It is these artificial barriers to thought that my work with Unyong helps to unstick. It is hard to be more specific without being more personal, which would be both awkward and irrelevant, as I’m convinced the unsticking is not topic-dependent and that the project — the method she uses — would be useful in any field.
Here’s how Unyong describes it:
The trimtab is a powerful metaphor from Buckminster Fuller: in order to change the course of a huge ocean vessel, you must turn the rudder. The trimtab is a small flap of metal which causes the rudder to turn. Turn the trimtab and you turn the huge vessel.
The Trimtab Project, aims to turn the trimtab that changes the course of your vessel, easily, elegantly, toward health, maximum effectiveness and enjoyment, with a minimum investment of time and energy.
There’s more info on Unyong’s website.
I’ve been doing one 15-20 minute Skype session per week for the past few months and have really enjoyed and benefited from it. I keep meaning to take the time to learn meditation, to be mindful, etc and always face the mental barrier that I don’t have the hours to set aside to do it right. (Also IT’S TIME FOR COFFEE NOW!) The Trimtab Project leapfrogs that barrier. My first session was right in the middle of trial prep and the sessions continued through oral argument prep; they’ve been little oases in the middle of all that stress.
Give it a try, bitches!