Holding Hands and Stargazing

There is an immense simplicity and joy in coaching from this understanding of who-we-are beyond our mind's story. My clients and I often refer to it as holding hands and stargazing. Together, we walk through a vast forest, led by the brilliance and intelligence of the stars. We talk about what looks real and true. We question the stories that arise to see if we can find the holes in them. And then we see where the stars lead us next.

This is typically how the journey together begins...

My fellow traveler and I usually spend a small amount of time in the story of their suffering—their habit, addiction, circumstance, decision that must-be-made, depression, overwhelm, or anxiety—but we don't stay in the content for long. Typically, I ask them to "set it down," knowing they can pick it back up again after we have traveled for a little while together.

Why do I ask my fellow travelers to set down the very thing they've come to coaching for?

That's simple.

Most of us have spent our lives obsessed with how we're doing. We check-in to see how we're feeling, how we're measuring up, and how we're being perceived by others. We've been conditioned to live as if we are the center of the world and everything happening is about us.

We behave as if there is a little "me" inside the head pulling levers and pushing buttons like the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz. The belief that I am a separate little me, controlling things from some place behind the eyes, is an exhausting and never-ending search for security and OK-ness.

What if we were never meant to spend so much time and energy on how-we're-doing. After all, how we're doing changes like the wind. It literally never stops shifting. How-we're-doing is a function of a trillion different factors, most of which occur far below our level of consciousness. And consider this: the only thing telling you how you're doing is that little voice in your head.

Think about that. The SAME voice that points out every possible worst-case scenario at three o'clock in the morning is the one you're relying on to tell you how you're doing.

So, if my fellow traveler and I don't focus on the HOW, what do we talk about?

We talk about the WHO. We begin getting a better sense of WHO we are; all of us. We look at stories that arise for people and we poke holes in them until we see our true selves hiding underneath them.

As we travel, we unlearn who the world told us we are. We learn to listen to the feelings of tension, overwhelm, anxiety, and "triggers" in a brand new way. We learn to trust the natural rhythms of our psychology (thoughts, feelings, emotions) without so much attachment.

We get comfortable feeling ALL the feelings, not because we get better at white-knuckling, but because we understand what all feelings are made of. The resistance to particular feelings dissipates.

As a byproduct, our nervous systems are allowed to settle. As our nervous systems settle, we settle. As we settle, the need to check-in to see how-we're-doing diminishes.

The lens through which we see "our issues" shifts. As a result, the issues themselves begin to shift.

The beginning of the journey is simple. We set down the how-we're-doing and we get reacquainted with who-we-are.

We hold hands. We walk. We stargaze. And we watch the miracles that unfold when our old stories begin to shimmer and fade.

Thank you to my friend Sherri, who inspired this post.