“What is your life coaching philosophy?”
“What we do with our system of coaching is to clear away the obstacles that are blocking people’s best selves. We add nothing, we simply subtract what isn’t working. The essential self that remains is far more sophisticated, intelligent, and beautiful than anything we could dream up.”
~ Martha Beck (my coaching teacher)
In my training, I learned really great tools for getting down to our essential selves. Not only are they effective, but I enjoy them. I think you will too. But ultimately, I model my coaching and my life on Joseph Campbell’s conclusion:
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about.”
When we feel that presence ourselves, we are catalysts for others. The people around us seemingly magically, coincidentally, to live as they desire. That’s not our goal (if it were, it wouldn’t work), but it’s a welcome rapturous, alive side effect.
“How is coaching different from therapy?”
Coaching helps people live as they want.
This includes helping you decide what you want, figure out how to get it, do that, run into obstacles (always!), try a new way and/or find and dissolve obstacles that keep you from doing what you want (spoiler: they are mostly internal and always mentionable and manageable), and surf the gorgeous, scary waves of inevitable change.
Therapy and medical healthcare addresses the healing of physical and mental/emotional ailments.
I wholeheartedly recommend therapy and a visit to a health provider if you suspect you might be dealing with addiction, clinical depression, past trauma, or any mental health issue. Be good to yourself and go for it — I did, and it was such a relief.
A similarity: Although quite different, my work does overlap with therapy in one important way: creation of a safe, confidential, and nurturing space. Because here’s what I know for sure:
I know each of us has experienced suffering and been party to someone else’s suffering in ways shocking and mundane.
I also know each of us has an amazing essence and a capacity for joy and loving connection.
Together, these two beliefs bring a sweet freedom, plus they allow us to be fully present with others… making that sweetness grow even more open and huge.
“Where are you?”
Beautiful Sheridan, Wyoming.
What if my “true self” is not as great as you seem to think is? What if putting my heart’s desires in charge is like having the fox guard the hen house?
I have been exploring this stuff my entire life. Literally. Meaning, purpose, consciousness, psychology, religion, spirituality, self-help, happiness, suffering…. I’ve read a lot about it, talked to a lot of different kinds of people, and experienced a lot — I’m a gray hair now! And here’s what I know: your heart is good.
(I deleted a long dissertation-length follow-up, but suffice to say I can prove this to you in one phone call. Even if you had a bad childhood and have done bad things, your heart is good and you can access it. If you experienced trauma, therapy is likely to help you more than coaching. But you can find that clear heart inside. Don’t give up.)
Do you feel an obligation under this new title as a professional life coach to maintain the appearance of having your own life completely in order and under control?
I was relieved when a friend emailed me this question because I realized that I did want to address it here:
Because of what I mean by life coaching (described in detail above), I am living in line with my beliefs as long as I am trying to be honest with myself as I learn and practice engaging with and loving the mystery of life and figuring out what holds me back or makes me suffer — because things still do: things in my own mind of course.
“Order and control” are no longer my goal. Now I want to enjoy trying to live wholly — embracing the rapture of being alive no matter what’s going on. This process is messy, but it feels so very good; and good things happen almost magically.
Why do you coach?
Because I know all of us can live as our hearts desire and it’s best for the world that we do so. When we live in alignment with our true selves, we do good, make good, love good.
Why is your header picture not from your garden?
Because it is the fabulousness of the Round Church of Perugia, Italy. Layer upon layer of humanness on one holy site.
Like onion flowers at magic hour: