Sometimes the best results come when we don't look for them head-on.
Arguing to prove a point?
My best resolutions come from ignoring whether I'm right or wrong, assuming great intentions, and seeking to understand and accept before saying anything more.
Meditating to get calm?
It never works for me. When I meditate to get calm, I tend to fixate on my lack of calm.
My deepest relaxations are when I look first to understand myself and the world. Then, as I gain insight, the peace I seek arrives unexpectedly.
There's a misconception that coaching is pointers toward success. But the best coaching is almost always NOT head-on.
What I experience -- both as a client and as a coach -- is that great results come when directing attention away from the worn paths that have already been tried and into an adjacent, fertile territory to free the mind.
Weeks ago I talked with a client about finding stability and strength in uncertain times.
As Russia invaded Ukraine and everything seemed to be falling apart, I told him a story about when I sat at the fire in my new backyard in Nevada.
Far from friends and family, my mind asked, "Where can I get strength now that I am alone?"
I thought about the fire next to me and how powerful it was as a metaphor for strength. Then I thought how nice it would be to carry that fire wherever I needed it.
I closed my eyes to create a new fire in my mind. Could I carry that fire with me and MAKE strength?
With my eyes still closed, I took all the things that were troubling me and threw them into the visualized fire.
Insecurities about my family and my future. Worries about war. Problems with my health. Failures of the past. Worries about money.
The flames grew, and then because I chose it to be, the heat transformed every ailment and insecurity into a new source of strength.
Focusing on my problems head-on often does nothing. Hiring a coach to help us deal with our problems can work beautifully, but I'm also smart enough to know it isn't for everyone.
But everyone can close their eyes, make a little fire, and sit patiently roasting their problems until somewhere in there they find a source of strength to carry forward.
We might choose to see everything as falling apart, but we can also choose to see everything as fuel and warmth.
We get to choose.
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