Trust coaching, demystified
My wish and vision for you is that you would live with embodied presence; know, attend to, and honor your own heart; and notice and question your thinking so that you can move through life with curiosity, wide open to each next revelation.
I want you to connect to your guidance system without a lot of unexamined concepts in the way. This will give you more access to choice, peace, personal power.
More than anything, my aim as a coach is to support you to know and follow your own guidance system, and thus to live in what I call everyday magic. Our work together involves a coaching collaboration, in which my clear presence looking in with you on your world (or some specific aspect of it) supports you to find your own inspiration, clarity, and solutions.
My job, above all else, is to listen to you carefully, see you clearly, and hold a vision of your most free and authentic life. I'm very skilled at extracting from your words things we might look at more carefully to question and reframe or grab and build from. I hear your passion and clarity as well as your victim mentality and self-defeating interpretations. To me, the larger part of the personal-growth pie for anyone involves seeing your gifts, your innocence, your beauty; knowing the truth of who you are; feeling at ease with what you're here to do.
Thus, my point of departure is not what's wrong with you. I won't see you as a problem, a failure, or something that needs to be fixed. In the context of the personality system I work with (the Enneagram), I'm interested not only in supporting you to watch for the tendencies to compassionately witness and counter, but also (even more) in knowing the power and brilliance of your type and harnessing that in order to be your best self. My most recent (currently still active!) study of the Enneagram (with Russ Hudson and Jessica Dibb) has emphasized using this system to reject no part of yourself, to see yourself not only with honest clarity but with compassion, total acceptance, and appreciation. You're meant to work out your blind spots and negative tendencies over a life's journey, so there's never a problem with where you find yourself now.
Teaching is part of what I do in session. There are new ways to understand and look at so much of life. Topics that I typically address (or that organically insert themselves) with clients include visioning, issues of personality and personal power, mental habits, reactivity, presence and mindfulness, clearing shame and guilt and obligation, accepting what is, allowing pain to be part of the whole picture (without letting it overwhelm you, and especially without perpetuating it!), and learning to focus your attention on minding your feeling states and feeling better much more of the time. (How to prioritize minding your feeling states is addressed with clarity and practical support—plus a personalized audio I make for each participant who does homework—in my expansion program, available online for $33. )
Yep, the theme of trust seems to sneak in there no matter what other topics we're on. Typically, trusting life or Source and trusting yourself rise to prominence over trusting others. With those in place (or in healthy progress), in fact, it's much easier to know where to place external trust and how not to fool yourself (miss cues from life or tell yourself lies) where other people are concerned.
In and out of sessions, I offer clients numerous tools and support you to practice them so that you'll be able to continue to use them wherever life takes you next, again and again, not only between sessions and in the current challenges, but for the rest of your life whether in relative ease or hardship. Part of the collaborative aspect of our journey together is that you ask for what you want and give me feedback about what is and isn't working, or what's piqued your interest but still seems fuzzy or elusive, or what you get but can't apply here and now. This allows me to keep showing up with on-point, genuinely helpful support: sometimes as questions that turn your thinking around, sometimes as insights or metaphors that give you a new grasp on something, sometimes as a new process or tool or further help in working with the one you're in a good experiment with already.
One of the gifts of the time in active coaching is that our being able to look at things in real time as they come up. It's always fascinating how clients have things come up during our work together (often, notably, right before the scheduled session), and they get worried for a moment that this will sidetrack us from what we're (supposed to be) working on together. It never does. It's all related, always. You are a whole units, not separate parts. The Universe doesn't care about the categories you divide your life into: that's just for you, to be able to manage all the parts or think and talk about them clearly; nonetheless, it's all you, and no part is separate from another or exists outside of the whole. Thus, our coaching collaboration may address any part of who you are and how you live, no matter what you set as the intention for what we're doing together.
As we navigate our work together, I believe and hold that you're the ultimate authority on you, what you need, where you're headed, what you're up for, what your next step is, where your point of least resistance is ... (I could go on). You're equipped to navigate any era of your life and any given moment: if it's here, you're equipped to meet it. You can trust that, and you can trust yourself to follow the guidance. You can also trust yourself to go off-course and to course-correct to get back to what feels more aligned.
It helps to believe there's no problem when you find yourself off-track. It helps to appreciate that it's your gorgeous, well-functioning guidance system that successfully alerts you to the fact that something's off. It helps to trust that life always wants to bring in all the support and illumination you need in order to get back on-track. You can begin by experimenting with believing, appreciating, and trusting. And if you're going to experiment at all, I invite you to a grand experiment.
It's possible to learn how to course-correct swiftly without unnecessary detours that slow you down and keep you stuck in feeling off. Typical detours take you off into self-judgment (and possibly shame eddies with no visible exit point); into believing something (anything) should or shouldn't be happening (and getting trapped in the outrage or frustration of that); or into focusing on what others are doing that's off (even if you're right—but that's never the point, and you'll always suffer, and miss a whole lot of other stuff going on, when you fixate on being right).
I invite you to a consciousness that you live in a symbolic, meaningful, responsive Universe. I invite you to play with everyday magic. I invite you to analyze this life as the waking dream, without getting too tripped up on overanalyzing or overdefining all the symbols. For example, synchronicity won't necessarily mean that this is the one, that something is here to stay, that tomorrow's guidance will point in the same direction as today's. (Guidance comes in now, for now.) You can always take synchronicity as meaning Pay attention, and as a reminder that you're in dialogue with the Universe (and you're not the only one talking).
I invite you to let everyday magic impact the ins and outs of your day, your short- and long-term visions, your mundane and momentous choices and actions, your thoughts and language, your feeling states (and how you mind your feeling states). I invite you to presence, because there's a lot to pay attention to. There are gifts and there's revelation in everything—in what appears to be still, silent, boring, simple; uncertain, unknown, painful, frightening; intimate, gorgeous, energizing, inspiring ... (I could go on).
You can come to learn deeply and trust fully that all guidance is inner guidance. That is, you can trust life to deliver ongoing messages that come in from the so-called outside and resonate inside or that simply bloom in the so-called inside. You can come to trust that those messages will get you where you need to go. You can stop responding to them as pesky, controlling external authority figures and treat them instead as what they are, aligned messages from your inner being that hold the whole picture—including what you most want and what's best for you and the good of all concerned; what aligns with your preferences, skills and talents, sensibilities, sense of fun, total well-being, body-heart-head needs all included; and much more. You can love, appreciate, honor, swiftly respond to, and effortlessly live in sync with your own marvelous guidance system.
You can respond to others in an aligned way—whatever they counsel you to do, whatever they want or require from you—and you can keep learning to ever more gracefully move toward or away from them as guided by your own deep knowing. You can meet every face as the face of God—and that doesn't mean you do what every face tells you or go along with them, as some faces of God show up to invite us to say NO, or to declare and hold boundaries, or to move away from them on our own terms and for our own reasons, whether we know what those are or not (and we never owe explanations even to ourselves, never mind to anyone else).
Your deep inner knowing won't always show itself with or be felt as crystal clarity; you may feel it as an unprocessed, perhaps illogical, mentally unclear impulse in the moment that just grabs you. Practice going with those impulses fearlessly. Start with low-stakes stuff if you must, but do get up and stir the soup when you feel the impulse to get up and stir the soup. You might come to say, with Florence Scovel Shinn, "I am always under direct inspiration. I know just what to do and give instant obedience to my intuitive leads." Where your thinking creates clouding and confusion, you can learn to work with and around thoughts, beliefs, and concepts that get in the way. You can learn to use your mind in productive, purposeful ways and respond to gut and heart with self-trust, unimpeded by mental harassment. (The Work of Byron Katie is a brilliant tool for processing and clearing out problematic thinking.)
If you'd like extra support for a leg of your journey, my work is designed to guide you through processes and practices to be self-referential, to know and follow your guidance system, to live in alignment with your inner being. It invites you to a relationship with yourself that is honest, aligned, and allowing of joy, well-being, and a journey as and toward your highest and most authentic self.
I'm personally engaged in an ongoing experiment with trusting that I live in a responsive Universe that wants to support me in my healing and evolution. A great aspect of that is believing (or what-iffing) that anything I go through (whether it feels good or not, whether I think I'd vote for it or not)—all of it is here to heal and evolve me; to build muscles where I'm weak and where I'll need strength in my journey; and to support me to become who I most want to be and to get to where I'm going. Supporting my clients in similar journeys and experiments in the past decade has been profound. If this imperfect and incomplete description of my work resonates with you, I'd love to support you to play with your own experiments.
Here's the protocol if you'd like to explore a coaching collaboration with me through profound, playful, life-changing one-on-one work.
“If, right now, you step into your healing; if, in this moment, you're consciously course-correcting out of what you caught yourself in and toward what better matches your intention—then, right now … the transformation is underway. … And that's what scooching is all about.”
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