“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
Watching Chris Sharma’s determination and enthusiasm in his first ascent of Dreamcatcher (a granite route on the Cadodemon boulder in Squamish, British Columbia) is inspirational, to say the least. It certainly puts my challenges in perspective. It also inspires me to dream BIG. We can all learn a lot from Chris as we watch him live his dream.
While his strength and physicality are remarkable, it is his perspective that moves me. He is realistic about the challenge and when he faces obstacles, he knows when to “let go” and when to perservere. This is the space for real learning to occur, as letting go for me often seems counterintuitive to moving forward. Sometimes it is harder. His letting go does not become a failure; he returns the next month with buoyancy and determination to start anew.
You know there is a happy ending to this story.
Happy endings are not just made in Hollywood. But they are not just made in dreams either. I love this as it is not an ending, per se. While it is a dream, it also is just another day, another climb in this guy’s life. It’s a practice. Happy endings are born in the patience, perserverence, and practice to achieve our dreams. And our dreams can often feel like failure, set-backs and lulls, depending on where you are in the climb and when and how the lens is capturing the moment.
I’m going to take in the inspiration of dreamcatcher as I begin my day.
I once heard someone say something that perked my interest… and I’ve kept it in my back pocket ever since.
“Keep it pointed to where you want it to go.”
So simple. So profound. Sometimes so hard.
Every moment, every day, every choice we are pointing ourselves in some direction — whether we know it or not. It often starts with an internal or external event (simply put, something that we want – woo hoo! or don’t want – ugghhh!), a thought, and an accompanying emotion (yum or yuck)……and away we go in whatever direction this place takes us.
The direction we end up going is mostly driven by two powerful motivators: avoidance and pleasure. We instinctively avoid what we fear and move toward what feels good. Makes sense, right?
Unexamined, this can give us faulty navigational equipment when we want well-being and a life grounded in happiness. It is important to get in touch with what drives us, so that we can gain clarity and free up energy that has been holding us back or driving us in a direction that is not serving us – the wrong direction, or at least on a long detour.
Often the consequences of not exploring where you’re pointing it and how you’re going about getting it results in powerful consequences:
1) Not getting what you want and living in a mood of resignation and resentment.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~ Wayne Gretzky
2) Getting something else. Perhaps even something that takes us in the opposite direction of where we’re aiming: striving and being off-target; burned out and swimming up-stream; continuously striving for something but not getting results.
Often folks realize their target has been off — perhaps confusing bigger or more with better. Or that fear has been in the driver’s seat. When we can take a step back and look at how we’re looking at things, then we can create a new observer. And with this new observer, we can gain clarity in the direction we want to go and maybe even learn a new dance.
Where are you “pointing it” in your life? Are you getting the results you want?
I have conversations with individuals and groups to help them gain clarity and refocus their aim: helping a couple navigate their relationship with their children or in their partnership; supporting a team in gaining clarity in purpose and coordinating action; assisting individuals with a career change; recovering from a divorce or break-up; or just navigating life more effectively. No matter which path you’re traveling, if you need a co-pilot to assist with clarifying your direction and your aim, or some new steps/actions to take to get you further down your path, contact me and maybe we can take a journey together.
“No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.”~Albert Einstein
Most of us think of crisis as a “problem”. Another way to think of crisis is when we have a breakdown in our world, an interruption in the normal flow of everyday life (usually in our external world), that perturbs our perspective.
We all have crises. It comes with the territory of living and being a human being. Whether it is waking up and realizing that we’re going to miss an important meeting because our car won’t start, a health crisis, or losing our job, our home, our spouse – all constitute a shift which requires us to step back and readjust. Crises can be small. Crises can be big. A colleague of mine says, “The bigger the crisis, the bigger the opportunity.”
It is often when we aren’t responding to our crises effectively when clients begin work in psychotherapy. At this time, they are frequently in the “belly of the whale” and deeply stuck in pain and can’t see possibilities.
With our old, hard-wired (flight/fight) primitive stress reactions, our brains can’t distinguish between life-threatening survival stress and smaller challenges which evoke fear. Our bodies constrict and tense, sending signals to our brain that we are in danger and we react out of that place, thus often experiencing pain. If we stay stuck in this constricted place, our bodies become compromised and these challenges become and remain problems. From this perspective, we are held captive to the crisis, resigned to powerlessness in the situation — our only power is just waiting for things to pass and hopefully get better.
Where is the gift?
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor Frankl
We don’t need to stay stuck in these habitual patterns – we can breathe, stay present and attentive to allow possibilities to unfold. What if we looked at crises or things that perturb our perspective as opportunities to look more completely at what life is wanting us to learn about being human – about ourselves, life, others?
If we aren’t having crises, we aren’t learning.
Crisis challenges us to look at life not as “cause and effect”, but “challenge and response.” And in these challenges we can have a creative response. In being with it, in it, we can hold it differently. Maybe in being with it, or “in the flow” of the experience we can find our way out. That way out is choice. And in that new place, a new learning occurs that allows us to return to that same challenge with new and different eyes. A new place with ourselves, not with the event.
What possibilities are available to you if you were to cultivate an intention of seeing crises in your life as learning opportunities?
Opportunity: Explore a challenge you are currently facing:
~Notice without judgement how you are currently responding to it;
~Surrender to the moment….to what is; not what you would like to be happening;
~Ground yourself – feel your feet on the floor. Take a big, DEEP breath. Visualize yourself as a lotus flower opening, a large beautiful tree, or a mountain. Continue breathing. Notice your natural body sensations, reactions, feelings and thinking. Again without judgement;
~Radically accept where you are as what is happening without the pressure to react or control.
~Be patient as you are in this place and see if curiosity can begin to bubble up. In curiosity, ask yourself:
~Where is my learning in this?
~What is this crisis trying to teach me?
~Where is my power in my response?
~Does this challenge present as an opportunity for me to trust myself more? To trust others more? To make a request of others? To accept my limitations as a human being?
~What is emergent in me? What new capacities do I need to “pull out of myself”?
As you begin having new awareness with this inquiry, I invite you to begin to embrace and step more fully into the challenges in your life as opportunities. Create the intention to begin living with breakdowns in your life with mastery — to create masterful living.
“I can’t imagine choosing a more perfectly fitting therapist for my healing journey. After meeting with several therapists prior to Lynn, I felt discouraged and misunderstood. However, it only took a short time with her for my fears to diminish. I purged and healed many very painful, crippling and horrific memories with Lynn’s comfort, understanding and supportive guidance. She has equipped me with tools to overcome any adversity I am faced with. I now feel strong and confident in mind and body. With this confidence I am empowered to have the life I want and deserve. Most importantly, Lynn has taught me to live in the moment without judgment and that positive thoughts creative positive reality.” — CL