People often wonder what life coaching is or how it could help them in their daily lives. Well, let me tell you a little story about how it helped me uncover a juicy awareness just this past weekend.
My family was heading up to our ranch on Friday and my husband and I were driving up separately, him from work in his pickup truck, me from home in the car he usually drives, an SUV.
Can I just take a moment and brag about how perfectly I had mapped out my day? I used all of my coaching tools to really get clear on what my intention was, what sort of attention I needed to give that intention all so that I could have no tension. It was going to be SO awesome and flawless and I was going to be all zen and relaxed as I pulled out of the driveway with my son and puppy for our drive up to the ranch.
And then reality interfered and despite my wonderful plan for my day, I couldn’t find the key to his car. It wasn’t where it usually was so I proceeded to look in my drawer, which always ends up as a catch-all drawer (yes, there is a metaphor here!). Lots of random crap but no key. I looked in the bags I had taken the last time we went up to the ranch, which was the last time I had driven it. Again, random stuff and no key.
All of a sudden I thought about how he puts his key in his white coat. I thought, “S#!t! He’s got both keys with him!” There goes my perfect day. I texted him and he swore he only had his key and that I was welcome to come to the hospital to pick it up. “S#!t! I don’t have time to do that! That is NOT in my plan for the day.” I said some other colorful words as I stormed around the house looking in every one of my cluttered drawers and bags again still not finding the key.
After about an hour of looking for that damn key, I decided to go and get the key, all while I still really believed that he had both keys with him. I was mad! At one point after looking in cluttered space after cluttered space, I even kicked the wall. I then hobbled to my car, hoping that my toe wasn’t broken, so I could get the key from him.
I got to his hospital office and told all of the office staff my “poor me” story of having to come there on my busy day because of course he had both keys. I could not wait to find it sitting in his truck so my anger would be justified and he’d have to apologize for ruining my perfectly mapped out day.
I got his key from him with no time to go to his truck to find the other key. I calmed down so I could work with a client and then did the grocery shopping I had planned on doing first thing that morning. I got home five minutes before my son was done with school and decided to look one more time. I went and checked a purse I rarely use and then my coats caught my eye. I had looked in some of them earlier but for some odd reason, not all of them. I checked them all this time and in my brown wool coat I felt a rectangular object and knew exactly what it was…the key! I had it all along. S#!t!
So you might be thinking where does life coaching come in? She totally sucked at keeping her s#!t together. Well, the juicy learning in this situation wasn’t about him being right and me being wrong, although one thought I could work was “He ruined my day.” Of course we all know NOW that he didn’t, I did. I made amends by calling him to apologize and the entire OR roared with laughter. I also emailed the office manager to let her know he was right. I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong.
What actually caused the anger was this juicy awareness…
In trying to find the key, I had to face some things about myself that weren’t very pretty or rather some things about myself that were cluttered with stuff. I asked myself what the anger was all about? Where was it coming from? Well, it turns out that the anger just got bigger and bigger with each drawer that I opened because I had to dig and shove stuff around in order to hopefully find the key. If I had found the key in one of them, it would have been fine but it still would have brought up shame because it would have meant that I had just stashed it somewhere rather than taking the time to put it where it belonged. Having to face my clutter drawer after drawer really pissed me off.
I’ve learned that anger is an emotion to indicate when a boundary has been crossed and the humble lesson I learned last Friday was that I was the one who was crossing a boundary with myself. How so? The thing is that I LOVE routine, order, structure. I LOVE decluttering and not having a lot of stuff. It makes me feel so clean and calm. It fills me with joy to open a drawer and know exactly where everything is. Yet, I allow myself to have thoughts like – “I’ll deal with it later” or “I can’t deal with this now because I’ve got to take care of other things, people, pet, Facebook, email, etc.” These are all MY stories, they are not true and they keep me from having what I want in my life. I had allowed myself to not take the time to give my things, drawers and bags the attention necessary in order to fulfill my intention of having spaces that make me feel peace and joy. As a coach I can take this further knowing that my physical space is a reflection of my inner life SO asking the question, “Where else am I not allowing myself to really be present and take time for myself to give attention to the things that are important to me that fill me with peace and joy?” Similar thoughts and stories for that as well, no surprise!
Good to know! I realized that as unpleasant as that morning was, it helped to shine a light on something that is important to me that I have not been honoring. From there, it is up to me to figure out what I can do to align myself and my physical space with what my essential self craves.
I woke up yesterday morning and set about to give attention to the spaces that had been neglected. I took everything out, sorted through it all, filled a garbage bag with unnecessary papers and other things that weren’t needed.
I now have a completely empty drawer that had been jammed with bills and papers to file.
I also have a drawer with only things that belong there – including the key!!
I have a few more drawers and bags to do the same to but I feel better already. In moving forward, I’m going to play with noticing when those blocking thoughts come in and keep me from doing what my essential self craves for both my inner life and my physical space.
- When you notice anger, ask yourself what it is about?
- If another person is involved, is it really about the other person or is it that they are reflecting back to you something you aren’t crazy about? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.
- Ask yourself what boundary has been crossed?
- What is it that you are wanting?
- How can you give that to yourself?