I firmly believe, that as a Life Coach, I should practice what I preach. This summer break was a most excellent opportunity to do some of that. I am accustomed to being active and having a rather busy schedule, and it seems I did keep myself busy. But, I actually found I had A LOT of free time. Free time to myself. Time with nothing scheduled.
I was compelled to attend to my thoughts. ‘Thought work’ is huge in the coaching that I practice, yet I rarely did my own work. This summer, I could no longer avoid it. Every morning and sometimes every afternoon and every evening, I caught myself thinking thoughts that were negative and very often painful. I used to be able to get away with believing that just acknowledging the thought was ‘enough’ and left it at that. That no longer works for me. I make myself do the work of writing (in my case typing out) the ticker tape of thought stream in my mind. Then I narrow it down to one actual thought – the ‘what am I telling myself?’ sentence. After that, I apply the tools that I’ve been trained to use to find a better, truer thought. I can feel that my energy level has risen and my general, overall happiness has increased.
But this, my friends, was not ‘enough’ for me either! I had to practice leaving my mind. Yes! I had to go ‘out’ of my mind and tune into my body. There is only so much your mind can work out. It really has limited resources. Your body, on the other hand has access to unlimited information from within and also from without. By being able to quiet my thoughts, or at least leave them for a while and practice breathing and hearing my own heart beat, I have discovered a level of relaxation and calm that I’d not previously known. I’ve discovered that all those ‘woo woo,’ ‘out there’ kind of people (ok, maybe not ‘all’ of them) are onto something. Not only is it relaxing and restorative, it actually increases the ability to ‘think’ things through. Ideas somehow formulate. Information stored in one compartment in your brain has a chance to make connections with information stored in another part while you are otherwise occupied, say breathing, or counting your heart beats. Inspiration has a chance to appear and be seen/heard/felt.
AND… It has improved my ability to see things metaphorically. Metaphors are great for understanding problems or especially for viewing your life. Metaphor- Definition: something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol. I was entrenched in the habit of thinking and seeing everything literally and problem solving from the place of the problem. After learning and practicing to ‘leave my mind’ I can now see things around me from an observer perspective-a step removed. It is such a cooler place to be!
If you need to see ‘metaphor’ demonstrated, watch any M. Night Shyamalan movie! Such great stories. Such great metaphors! When I watched his movies before, I would always be scared and confused. Now I can watch the same one over and over and never be finished getting all the ‘truth’ in the story.
Very soon I will be back to a busier schedule. I fully intend to carry on with my new ‘practices.’ And watch some more M. Night Shyamalan movies. It’s going to be a great new season. I hope yours is as well!