To be effective and vital as a coach, I need to keep looking at those places just out of full view of my attention. This keeps me working on my own material, brings fresh information, and develops humility, compassion and skill.
My most recent inquiry into these places just out of view was through dream work. Under the wise and competent guidance of Cornelia Gerken, several of us recently explored our dreams in a weekend together – each of us bringing along a recent dream.
My dream was a potent one about condemnation and death. Under Cornelia’s thoughtful direction, I became each of the characters, speaking from their perspectives. I learned that in giving each part a voice, the real intention of the dream was to address what judgments I had of myself that kept me tethered to guilt, shame, and fear. I was able to recognize the deep programming from my culture and early life that has made me wrong for being innocent and trusting, for not towing the “line”, and for being vulnerable .
We all suffer from voices or discomforts on the edge of our consciousness – those voices that condemn and drive us to be “better”, forgetting that we are already whole, complete and full of wisdom at the core. Certain behaviors emerge out of denying, covering or judging these uncomfortable feelings. We develop strategies (busyness, defense, aggression, story, etc.) in an attempt to find ease. In other words, we develop a certain way of DOING because we cannot BE with what we are feeling.
In a coaching relationship, these strategies can be discovered. Next, you and I design practices to open new pathways of being that allow more freedom and choice. Here is an example: If my habitual way of doing (strategy) is to always be busy, a useful practice could be to spend quiet time in nature, experiencing the present moment, and relaxing into any discomfort without jumping into activity. The result could be a slowing of the nervous system, deeper insight into the nature of my particular programming and coping strategies, and more freedom to choose consciously.
When we can hold discomfort tenderly and allow it to be, it ceases to have such power and joins the complex of other emotions that make us whole human beings, fully awake to the spectrum of feelings that pass through.
One day you will look back and laugh at yourself.
You’ll say, ‘ I can’t believe I was so asleep!
How did I ever forget the truth?
How ridiculous to believe that sadness and sickness
Are anything other than bad dreams.’