Friday, August 26, 2011

Path Towards Unconditional Love

Organizing my art supplies, I came across paintings that I had not thrown out and didn’t deem valuable enough to frame, or give away.  Looking at each I could remember when it was exactly that I had decided that the work was not good enough to be shown to anyone.  I remembered the brush stroke, color, line, wash, or the one little mistake that turned the painting from a beautiful image in my mind to an unacceptable reject.  I even remembered what I did when I decided that the painting was unacceptable, I put away my paints and supplies and walked away.  Somehow, I didn’t find these paintings bad enough to throw away.  They were neatly stacked on top of each other under my art supplies, hidden, yet not discarded.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with a spiritual coaching client months ago.  After a challenging coaching session where she admitted that she was fighting the process, she admitted that this is not the way she is when she is with other people.  In fact, she said:  “Most people think I am upbeat and funny.  I always cheer everyone up and plough through my own hardships, at least that is what they say about me.  I don’t know why I am being this way with you, I hope you don’t think of me as a negative and depressed person.”  After reassuring her that I wasn’t judging her, I had to think about what she had said.

It is true that in an intimate coaching conversation, we reveal everything about ourselves.  Even the discarded pieces of ourselves that we hide from almost everyone else, we show to our coach.  I am a witness to all the undesirable paintings, the ones that are not acceptable for display and yet have not been thrown away.

Even though, I am sure that my clients have a different plan about what to do with their unacceptable creation, for me it is always the same.  I don’t see any of it as acceptable or not.  I see it as an indication of the creativity of its creator.  For me it is further proof that there is an artist in everyone.

My job is to remind the creator of his or her creativity and hence, responsibility towards their creation.  Then, I gently invite them to release judgment and start to look at their creation from another perspective.   Without the need to assess or evaluate, the creator can now see the real image and the hidden truth in their artwork.  With practice, they can now look at all of their artwork in the same manner. This practice is what gets us closer to conscious choice. 

We can only be consciously choosing, when we wake up from our nightmares of:  judgment, martyrdom, victimization, compulsive doing, and trying hard to finish the race or reach an imaginary point in time and space.   Conscious choice is born through unconditional love.

We are all searching for love from the outside.  How can we be loved if we can’t love ourselves wholly?  Are we hoping that our lover won’t see the ugly pictures if we hide them well enough?  If we only show the good ones, he will fall in love with us, that is until one day, he happens to come across all the ugly pictures neatly piled away and then off we go on to another search for someone else we can fool into believing that we are just a piece of what we really are.

So, what would you like to do with your previously labeled “unacceptable” creations?  Perhaps they get framed and placed somewhere visible to remind you of the rich source of creativity that is within you and does not yet know how to fully express itself through you.  Or might they remind you of your potential to love unconditionally pieces of yourself that you have judged to be unpleasant?  Can you love all of your creations?

If you are interested in spiritual life coaching to help you on your journey towards unconditional self-love and acceptance, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute session to determine if spiritual coaching is what you’d like to pursue.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Giving and Receiving Gone Bad

Whenever I am presented with an insurmountable issue by one of my clients, I like to observe the world around me and see if I recognize the same issue or pattern elsewhere.  Two of the most common issues my clients want to be coached on, are being stuck and lack of abundance of opportunities. I know that we all get stuck from time to time and can’t see what is available to us or feel uncreative and hence can’t produce anything to get us out of where we are stuck.  However, when life deals us a bad hand, some people have an excruciatingly difficult time getting out of their negative tendencies and so, sink deeper and deeper into the muck.

I’ve identified at least two categories in which we can get lost in.  These categories are extreme cases which in a healthy mental state we can go in and come out of.  Some can’t get out for many reasons and that is not the topic of this post.  I wanted to invite you to take a look at yourself and how you might fall into one or both of these categories from time to time.

Over-givers:  They tend to be women, mothers, multi-taskers and very good at many things.  In fact, many keep on giving even when there is nothing left to give.  What do they give when it is all gone?  They give away their frustrations, compulsions, stress, anxiety, worries, you name it, they dish it out and there is an endless supply of these.  They mean well, they just don’t know how to stop themselves.  It’s as if giving is programmed into their DNA, and they can’t stop.  It has nothing to do with the quality or even the content of what they are giving, they are caught up in the act and they keep at it. 

Many over-givers have control issues. They tend to choke off the life force in the receiver of their giving. They also tend to blame everyone who isn’t happy or cooperative about receiving what they are shoving their way.
Non-receivers:  The non-receivers won’t accept anything from anyone.  Many of the over givers are non-receivers too.  Some non-receivers on the other hand, aren’t interested in giving or receiving.  They are like a closed fist that does not know how to open up and hold or receive.  Everything is impossible, irrelevant, unrealistic, impractical, useless or a waste of time to them.  These beliefs keep the fist closed and serve their negative mental state. 

The non-receivers are stiff and not easily humored.  They cannot laugh at themselves, they are angry at the world.  They believe they are smart and not easily fooled like those other happy, gullible people they despise or envy.  Non-receivers cannot engage in any positive activities or conversations that challenge their position.  Challenging a non-receiver requires them to open up their fists and they can’t do that and remain a non-receiver at the same time.  It challenges their whole identity.

The over-givers are non-receivers for the most part.  They cannot receive because most of the time they are in their giving mode, and receiving would mess up with their giving function.  However, if and when they want something specific to be delivered in a specific way by a specific person, and it happens, then they will receive!  That however, rarely happens, so they keep on giving.

We all fall into one or both of these categories from time to time and about certain things and with certain people.  Like anxiety, a little bit of it is a good thing.  It stretches you.  However, when done over and over again, it becomes part of your personality and not only is it hard to get out of, it is hard to be around.

Do you find yourself falling into one or both of these categories at any time or with certain people or situations?  Are you stuck and can’t get away from your thinking patterns?  When stressed, what happens to your giving and receiving tendencies? 

If you would like to further explore these concepts and how they may be contributing to your level of dissatisfaction with life, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute session to determine if spiritual life coaching is what you might be interested in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Spiritual Coaching II (Positive vs. Negative Transitions)

I work with people who are going through all kinds of change.  Transition is how you manage change.  As such I coach  people who perceive their change as a negative one and hence, their transition becomes negative too.  The bulk of the work is about looking at what may have seemed like a negative transition (e.g., loss of a job, divorce) and dealing with it in a realistic way.  Being real is key to making it through any transition.  Reality includes negative and positive beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and all kinds of fears (rational or not).

When people use their so-called negative transition to explore the potentials hidden in the chaos or disorganization of their world, they become more comfortable with uncertainty and start seeing and experiencing creativity, non-linearity, and what may even seem like magic.  At this stage, there is no longer a feeling of dread even when they have to meet their divorce attorney to go over child support payments for example.  This is what I mean be keeping it real.
During a transition period, control and certainty have been replaced by chaos and uncertainty.  The good news is that anything can happen during chaos as long as you are ok with the fact that uncertainty will make sure you won’t know what is going to happen and how it happens.  Yes, the road to empowerment involves dismantling of the old you which means giving up the fake sense of power that you may have had.  When life works according to the old rules handed down by our parents, teachers, schools, jobs, bosses, and the media, we feel powerful.  We feel like we have figured it all out and we are smart and empowered.  It’s only when things don’t quite work out according to our expectations, that we feel betrayed and disempowered. 

True power however, is not something that anyone or anything can take away from you.  Real empowerment comes when you get to know the real you.  The real you is the integrated you: the good, the bad, and even the ugly.  When all those pieces come together and when you accept all of them as the real you, then you are empowered.  As long as you are rejecting any part of you, you are going to be rejected.

With real empowerment, there is no need to label life’s bumps and bruises as positive or negative.  It is just a part of life.  You may not like it, but you know that you will come through it.  As a spiritual life coach who helps people going through difficult transitions, this is where I like to help my clients get to, the place of full acceptance of whatever is or is not happening.  This can be done without resistance when you know who you are, what is important to you (your values), what your choices are, how to take care of yourself and who can support you.

Questions to Ponder:
1)    Are you going through a difficult transition? 
2)    Is it negative or positive, and what makes it so?
3)    What needs to change in order for you to have a more positive experience?

If you are going through a difficult transition and would like to work with a spiritual life coach, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute conversation to determine if I can help you through your journey.