Swiftly identify what is holding you back.
When I was around 4 or 6 years old I had a phobia. I actually do not remember my exact age. What I do remember is being really freaked out by any deep water.
I grew up nestled up in the small country valley outside of Durango, Colorado. In the safe bosom of the country. In our backyard, we had a stream trickling down from the mountain that was filled with snails and water bugs. I loved the stream, it was meek, simple and gentle.
My fear of water eventually led to swimming lessons, in an attempt to lessen my fright and be able to swim if needed. After all, we had the Animas River in town and loved to camp at the beautiful nearby lakes, Lemon Dam, Vallecito and Haviland.
I remember the day of my first lesson very clearly.
The female instructor was very outgoing and friendly. There were lots of kids splashing around, which felt intimidating. I refused to get off that first step. I was perfectly content to keep my feet in only and stay securely on the pool’s edge.
She came over and asked me to come with her. I eventually agreed and grabbed onto her for dear life as she peeled me off of the pool’s edge.
She walked with me on her hip, bouncing us gently, into the deeper waters. She reassured me every step of the way, “You are safe. You are ok. It’s ok, you can trust me. See, you are ok.” I was petrified, but felt safe grasping to her and with her strong presence by my little side.
And then. The game changed.
She proceeded to hold me tight and dunked us under the water without warning..
Seconds felt like an eternity.. I wanted out, I was drowning, the rug had been pulled, “us” being in the water together, shifted into ‘me’ feeling desolence and abandoned. I held my breath in the sheer terror, not knowing how long she would hold me under.. I squirmed trying to free myself to breath again..
Finally, up we came.
I think I screamed. Probably for my mother’s arms.
What came of this? I look back and realize this woman had the fully fledged intention of showing me I could survive going under. However, what was accomplished was very different for me.
Without knowing it, my perception of the world shifted that day.
“Adults are not trustworthy.”
“Just when I feel safe, the rug gets pulled.”
“Life is chaotic and unpredictable.”
“I’m not safe.”
These filters we see the world through, created for one reason, can persist for others. Yet, while they may have had meaning in the past, in a single moment of fear or trauma, there is a point when they no longer serve us.
“Adults are not trustworthy.” Not only does not serve me, it is not true for the majority of adults.
“Life is chaotic and unpredictable.” Is a great belief if I were a ninja. However, when I desire solace and peace, it is limiting.
The brilliance of these beliefs is that we take them with us, consciously or not, to keep us safe. The limit of them is that they eventually keep us small, keep us from blooming fully and keep us looping in predictable patterns.
Thinking back to the first fearful experience you can remember. What beliefs did you take away that day? Write them down.
Are these beliefs true today? Do you they serve the mission of your Highest Self? What becomes possible without them?
When asked: When should I seek the guidance of a counselor, versus, work with a life coach? I ask: What stage are you at?
We need a counselor when we have emotional healing work to do relative to the past and that is keeping us stuck in the present, especially traumas. A good counselor illuminates the healing path that allows us to come back into balance.
Once we have agency, awareness and alignment in our lives, coaching helps us access the multi-dimensional nature that actualizes us into the next phases of our life: leaving our legacy and accomplishing bigger goals.
Below are some distinctions to help determine which discipline is appropriate for forward movement.
You wish to grow a garden full of (only you can fill in the blanks of what your heart desires to grow)
You find the perfect land, yet it is overgrown with weeds. You see the weeds, but can also envision this plot of land without the weeds and know it would be perfect space for a beautiful yield. (what does this rich perfect space look like?)
Now, you have the land. You have the vision. But, if you plant your (choose your own adventure here) in the weeds, it wouldn’t grow very well without adequate space.
This is where therapy comes in and helps us remove overgrowth from getting in the way of what we wish to create. If there are emotional wounds keeping us in reactivity or stuck in a deeply rooted cycles that are not serving us, then we need a clearing. This clearing is healing, restorative and needed to move forward.
Now envision you have that same plot of land and it is cleared of the overgrowth and the earth is perfectly ripe and ready for planting.
What does your plot of land now look like?
It is in this moment of clearing that anything is possible. This is where coaching comes in… your coach, a blank slate, seeing you as the expert of your own life and own will to create.
Go there now: What does your heart desire to create and experience that you have set aside, or believed was too out of reach to obtain?
A coach also challenges us in meaningful ways so that we don’t sell ourselves short and so we step fully into our vision.
The bigger the illusion, the bigger the fall. The bigger the fall the bigger the consequence. All illusion carries consequence.
Yet, if we choose to awaken we do not fall, we fly.
In disillusionment we are taken back to zero. Yet, zero is still an absence of form.
Until the illusion is replaced, we remain asleep to a greater truth. Disillusionment then is merely the realization of what is off, that something went wrong and that we are in the shadow of something bigger.
In awakening we move from zero to algebra. The world moves from black and white into a full spectrum of color. When we awaken, the illusion is replaced by a greater truth and balance returns. Balance is fertile ground… just look at what is possible on this planet because we are perfectly positioned for enough warmth to grow life. Not too much- we would burn, not too little- we would freeze.
When we awaken we see all… we comprehend more fully. When we awaken we have a new illumination at our feet, which carries with it a new possibility.
What will you create once illuminated?
Timing. It is one of the ways we can give our power away without knowing it. We either over heed timing and allow it to become an excuse for not moving forward, or we allow our impulses to leave us in the dust of effect as we view cause with longing in the rearview mirror and not knowing what happened.
This exploration of timing is based on the simple principle: “Different times, different things.”
Have you heard the adage, “There is no such thing as a good time – there is no time like now!” Or, how about “It is best to heed timing and all will fall into place.”?
These two seemingly discrepant perspectives on timing carry within them a single message.. a message that there is a time to act.
At what point is not acting holding us back? At what point is choosing exactly when to act empowering?
Let’s start with the first adage, “There is no good time.” I’ve heard people comment in this direction when it comes to having children, or going through a divorce. However, having had children before I obtained my degree, I can speak first hand to this first adage not applying to me. Waiting until after college would have been admittedly easier on them and me, financially and energetically.
What about heeding timing? That one has left it’s sting as well. I remember wanting so deeply to give a mentor of mine a hug of gratitude one evening and felt too shy to approach her in a large group..3 months later she passed away. There was no other time like now and I lament the missed opportunity that had sprung in my heart that day.
When we boil down these concepts we are left with two possibilities. The first is throwing caution to the wind, taking inspired action now and just going for it! The second is thinking ahead and mapping out a combination of opportunities. These possibilities beg the single question… At what point is it best to throw caution to the wind and go for it and at what point is it better to work from a well positioned plan?
Afterall, if we always work from a plan, we may miss ripe opportunities entirely. Yet, if we always throw caution to the wind, we may create too much chaos and not anchor in a rich new opportunity.
What criteria could help us determine when one is an asset and one a liability and vice versa?
Let’s examine foundation. Discernment: “Is my desire to not move forward based on fear, or based on missing ingredients?”
Person A: Not starting a new program that would bridge me to a new goal but really wanting too. Nothing is getting in the way that can’t be negotiated, but it that would bridge me to a major goal, feels like a big investment and life is always just too busy.
Person B: Not starting a new program that would bridge me to a new goal because I just started a new job, need some time to settle in and focus. I’ll start in 3 months.
Which axiom would be more fitting, when?
By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty