Omg it’s so HUGE, Jaya. I finally gathered courage to make the move to California—and I’m keeping the job I love. I asked my boss if I could keep my job and work remotely, and she said yes. I’ve been wanting to this for years. And it’s happening within a month.
Things lined up in the universe. I just kept looking outward and I was able to see that there were opportunities unfolding—without stressing about the process, or pushing it forward or pre-thinking. It felt like I just went along for the ride, one step and then another. Not too much thinking really, just: what’s next? And what’s next?
I didn’t have a place to quarantine … and it resolved itself, or a place to stay, and that resolved itself. … The drive across the country was intimidating, but it’s all organized and—it’s no problem.
I’m proud because it took courage to tell people who might not be happy with my decision. I’m proud because I was conscious in my choices. I called my landlord even though I wanted to text him, because I didn’t want to deal with his reaction or the possibility I’d be putting him out. (Do I know his financial situation or that it will really put him out? No. Is it my business? No.) It turned out he was happy for me. And I met up with friend for a hike even though I wanted to call him—I was worried he’d be angry or depressed or flip out on me. (Is this my business? No.) He was sad, but he was also happy for me. I had individual conversations with staff and then group meetings—and people expressed joy and excitement for me. One woman said: “You’re putting yourself first, you’re a real leader, and that inspires me to do that for myself.”
In the middle of all this joy and abundance: covid, riots and protests and looting, and economic recession and joblessness. I could feel guilt or upset but instead I just notice that there are all of these things happening at the same time. And I am able to feel gratitude and take in the awesomeness of other people supporting me. While also reading, and watching, and doing what I can to learn more and be active.
I notice that organically, somehow, I have not been saying to myself that I don’t deserve this—instead I have been just full of gratitude. I have been thanking other people for inspiring me, for their part in this huge moment of joy for me. Which I think is really showing growth for me—I feel a connectedness about my life and these “choices” (in all the senses of the word).
1. What do you understand, see differently, or have a new handle on as a result of our process?
Two big big big ones, of many:
1) Boundaries. The 3 kinds of business: the Universe's, yours, and mine. And how complicit I can be in co-dependence, in enmeshment. How not-speaking is an action.
2) Being a subject. Knowing how much I looked at my own self as an object (like A LOT). And deciding to see the world through my own eyes. Being curious about my own self: What am I seeing? What do I think or feel about them/that/it? Rather than being separated from myself, constantly thinking about how I’m being perceived.
2. How do you understand or like yourself better?
There are so many things to write, it’s hard to know where to start. I have feelings that I can identify clearly—like a true feeling of gratitude, like joy, like feeling connection and noticing when I’m not feeling connected. I’m able to think: This is not how I want to talk to this person/group right now, I want to be more (kind or more honest about who I am, what I feel, what I think). Sometimes I can shift right then. Or sometimes I can just notice. And sometimes I can come back and re-engage and articulate something the way I wished I had. I notice if I’m yelling at myself in my mind or being hard on myself. And I try to see things another way.
3. Did this process give you any concrete, super-practical tools that you’re now using or that you intend to experiment with?
Yes. SO MANY. So many. Your whole book! Inquiry. Just asking the one question: do I know that’s 100% true? Focus wheels. Going back to my senses to get present: What am I seeing? What does it smell like?
4. This work might include 1) tending the mind (questioning thoughts, reframing or redefining, clearing victim consciousness); 2) minding the pain body (meeting feelings, self-soothing, supportive self-talk); 3) meeting consciousness (presence, curiosity, connection with all that is). Which of the 3 entered into this process, and which was most relevant for you?
These are all useful at different moments and for different problems, I think. And when you have different energy/time to engage in them. Presence, I will say, you can call on anytime. Even if you can’t RIGHT NOW tend the mind or mind the pain body, you can at least get to presence. Even for a second during a meeting—you don’t even have to close your eyes—you can just see the people in front of you, smell the room, notice the lighting, etc. So for that reason, I think it’s particularly powerful. It also stops your mind from the other thoughts. Like if your mind is picking on you or someone else, momentary presence re-connects you to everything else that isn’t picking on yourself or someone else. So that’s powerful also.
6. What did you like about this coaching process and my coaching style? What would you change, or what else could be in place to better serve you?
I love that you’re so candid and honest. You live out what you coach—which means that while you’re coaching, I also have someone modeling the new ways of thinking. I like that you always have great analogies and stories that help me remember concepts, that you don’t mind repeating things (because sometimes it takes me hearing it 100 times), and that you’re nimble and we could shift to talk about whatever was most pressing at the time—but also you’d recommend when you thought something might deserve more time at some point.
Jaya: thank you. I genuinely don’t think I would have gotten here without the work we’ve done together this past year. I feel like a different person. A person I like. That I’m proud of sometimes. I’m excited about what is to come and also excited about right now.