A Life that Lets You Shine

A Life that Lets You Shine

 

At the core of the work I do here are my beliefs about people.  Our beliefs – or our rules – about how the world works are how we make sense of our lives, right?  If I believe that people are innately trustworthy and kind, my life will probably look different than if I believe that people are inherently untrustworthy and mean.

Of course, neither of those extremes are accurate – people are not all one way or another.  So most of us develop some more nuanced beliefs that try to explain how people are.  Which brings me back to what I believe, and why I talk about having a life that lets us shine.

I believe that we all have a deep, unshakeable part of ourselves that is quintessentially who we are.  We talk about a “true self.”  We can call it “wise mind,” the combination of rational and emotional aspects of ourselves, plus intuition and instinct and a bit of something else.  It is the part of us that really knows what we need or what the right thing to do is (for ourselves.)   It is the part of us that is most truly who we are.

When we’re babies, that part of us is unclouded.  We shine.  When we’re unhappy, every one knows it, and when we feel better, our smile lights up the room.  There’s no hiding what we’re feeling, and nothing between our inner self and the outer expression of it.

That can’t last, of course.  We have to learn to moderate our expression of feelings, resist our impulses and act in ways that will effectively get our needs met.   That’s a long, hard process and none of us master it completely.

As we learn those skills, we learn what parts of ourselves aren’t acceptable.  We learn what parts of ourselves need to be blocked or shut down.  And the more of our Self that we start to consider unacceptable, the more we shut down, the less our inner light can shine.

And this process doesn’t stop when we’re grown.  Every relationship we have, every job, everything we read or watch on the Internet is teaching us what parts of ourselves are deemed acceptable and which ones need to be hidden.  Over time, we can even hide those parts from ourselves.

Think about the complex relationship we have with food and weight and our bodies.   The standards that leave many men believing that anger is the only “manly” emotion.  Or women who are taught they’re “too much” – too loud, too big, too demanding.

All of those things can block our light and keep us from shining.

When you work with people who experience trauma, there are lots of opportunities to shine, and there are lots of reasons to shut down.  When you feel like you’re losing your self, sinking in other people’s suffering, you aren’t able to let your light shine.  You need some solid ground to stand on for yourself.

Does that make sense?

I remember a time, many years ago, which I was just beginning to recognize how my clients’ trauma was impacting me.  I was at the park on a beautiful, sunshine-y day,  smiling at other people – couples holding hands, a woman with a baby stroller, small children feeding the ducks.  As I walked deeper into the park, I saw three teenagers with a dog.   And I felt an overwhelming anxiety.

For absolutely no reason, I had a sense that something terrible was going to happen to them.  Or maybe they were going to do something terrible.  I didn’t know what, maybe something was going to happen to the dog.  I had an urge to go yell at them to go home, quickly!

Fortunately, I knew that wasn’t really the thing to do, but I felt so anxious and helpless.  All my pleasure in my walk drained away and I ended up leaving quickly.

Once I was able to calm myself, I could see that my experiences at work were changing how I saw the world.  I realized that I needed to do something to manage what I was thinking and feeling if I wanted to enjoy my own life.  That started me on a fascinating journey that has taken me in all kinds of different directions – but that’s a story for a different day.

One thing I’ve learned is the importance of figuring out what keeps us from being able to show up in the world as our own beautiful, shining selves.

The picture at the top of the page is a painting by my dear friend, Jeanne Tessier, who was a Ky artist.  For me, the picture has always represented what it might look like if we were able to unblock our light, take down the barriers to letting our light shine.  I invite you to join me in figuring out what that would look like for you.

 

Why Coaching?

Why Coaching?

After all the years of being a therapist, why would I switch to coaching?   And is it really different?   

Yes!  It really is!   The 5 principles of coaching capture the difference.  

#1 The Client Is Whole, Completely Resourceful and Self-Innovative:  

In therapy, part of the goal actually is figuring out what’s wrong with the client and trying to fix it.  How that works can vary.  Often, therapists are more likely to have a specific plan they follow with the expectation that it will work for most patients.  Other therapists are more flexible and allow the client to determine some of the direction of the treatment.  But in general, these days, therapy follows a medical model – there’s a diagnosis and a treatment for the diagnosis.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  As a therapist, I had my favorite treatment approaches because I believed they worked.  And often, they were helpful.  Sometimes, therapy is exactly what someone needs.  But it’s different from coaching.

Coaching assumes that there’s nothing wrong with you that needs to be fixed.  That you have your own answers.  And that you can find your way to your own path with someone who helps guide your process.  I don’t know where you’re going – or exactly what you need to get there.  But I can help you figure it out.

#2  The Client Determines the Coaching Agenda:

As a coach, I’m not trying to figure out what needs to be different in your life.  Where you want to go is up to you.  You have a destination, I have a map.  There are lots of different ways to get to where you’re going.  Together, we look at the map and decide which direction to take and where we need to stop along the way.

adventure background backpack backpacker

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

#3 The Client’s Life Is Viewed and Addressed as a Whole:

Because this is holistic – Whole Person – coaching, “The Map” may start with the Web of Life.  This leads us to look at all the areas of your life before you decide which direction to take.

WPC-Web-of-Life-2014 Page 1In any case, we are working with your agenda, helping you figure out how to move in the direction you want to go.  You may discover that many areas of your life are working well for you.   There may be just a couple of areas that you want to address.  Or you may need to bring more balance to all the areas in your life.

#4 The Coaching Relationship Is Co-Creative and Synergistic:

I have  emphasized that you, the client, are in the driver’s seat in the coaching process.  So why have a coach?  What do I bring to the relationship?

Of course, I answer that question here, in my bio, I talk about my experience and some of the things I’ve learned in a lifetime of listening to people and walking their journey with them.  I bring my authentic self to our relationship, mirroring what I see in you as you deepen your awareness of your authentic self.

landscape photo of tree on riverbed

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

The relationship between us is co-creative and synergistic.  Co-creative because we both bring our creative energy to the process.  We are working together to create the space for you to choose your own destination and find your own path.

The relationship is synergistic.  “Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.”   In the combination of our creative selves, there is a bit of alchemy that allows us to develop a new energy, one that is more than just the two of us.  That is the power of coaching.

#5 The Coaching Process Is Dynamic and Honors the Client’s Journey:

Coaching is a dynamic process.  We talk about progressive sessions because there is movement, one flows from the last one into the next.  It doesn’t have to be a roller coaster – it might be more like a budding flower or opening a door.

On your journey, you may cross bridges and break down barriers.  You can change your mind about where you’re going and how to get there.  You can choose a new direction.  Whatever you feel called to do, in the process of creating a life that supports the work you do, we can plan the steps to take and walk the path together.

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