The Best Practice
I will never forget when I left my graduate program in counseling. Correction: when I left two graduate programs in counseling. I guess dropping out just once wasn't sufficient for me. ;) But in all seriousness, I did leave because the whole helping people mend what's broken didn't land for me.
Do we need to help from time to time? Yes.
Do we need to remember that we are ok and capable? Of course.
Are there people who are in need of mental health support and recovery? Absolutely.
The thing is, it isn't that this kind of work isn't important it just isn't what I am here to deliver. And I can say with such honesty that for the first 7 years of my career I felt bad about this.
When I first got into coaching I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. Did I want to support people's goals? Help them heal? Show them how to live by their values? Or did I simply want a career I thought would be useful to others?
Perhaps all of the above.
Technically I am trained in these things but over the last 8 years as a professional coach, something I didn't expect to come through the work has emerged. I will get to that in a moment.
But instead of really heeding that call I assumed I was in the wrong. More so, I wondered what was wrong with me?
Why couldn't I just do what other coaches did?
Why couldn't I just follow the rules and guidelines that had so perfectly been crafted for me?
Do I simply like to make things more difficult or was it really not enough to satisfy me?
And then two major life events solidified that I didn't need to answer these questions. These questions had already been answered and I knew what kind of work I really did but I was the only one who could own it wholly. No one could give me permission. I had to grant it myself.
Before my dad passed away we had a conversation that will stick with me forever. We were standing in the kitchen and I told him that I had finally admitted to myself that I was deeply DIS-interested in helping people mend their lives. This may seem like a subtle realization but I had been banging my head against the wall (not literally) for years wishing this work fulfilled me.
I have no desire to help people "get better". I have no desire to help people slog through old memories and replay the things that have left their mark. Please don't get me wrong, I have been this client in need of this work. But that I myself don't want to be a dumping ground for the things we wish didn't happen.
I also have no desire to help people set big goals and inch their way toward what they believe is more happiness driven by some external need to see themselves in a place other there where they are right now. This is what most coaching is predicated on and while it's useful it is a micro sliver of the whole picture.
So, then, what DO I want?
I want to sit with you as you have the most life-giving conversation about your life and witness you coming home to your True Nature.
I want to hold space for you to go within and realize you are actually an active co-creator of reality and you have everything you need.
I want to ask those questions that not only get to the heart of the matter but open new worlds internally and allow you to fully own your soul path.
And I want to challenge the narrow viewpoint that you are separate, taking on the world when really we are a collective consciousness spinning through the cosmos expanding with every thought.
Is this spirituality? I don't know.
Is it mental health? Maybe.
Is it emotional resilience? Perhaps.
Am I tired of trying to define it? YES.
So this is me, standing in a ground that I totally love but can't simply define and I am ok with that. I am ok with it because of what I see in the people I am lucky enough to talk to. And because of the students I am lucky enough to guide and teach.
I call this Life Practice.
Not practice as in a repeated exercise in life but practice as in the ongoing application of your personal dance with life.
I will leave you with this quote from Donna Farhi:
"The best practice can only be defined as the one that works. What matters is that whatever we do we hold to the intention and spirit of the practice, which is to bring together rather than to pull apart."
Scroll down for two powerful questions and journal prompts I hope bring these ideas home for you.
And if this kind of work calls you - the not mending and the not goal setting but rather the work of guiding others toward a life practice that brings them HOME to themselves, I invite you to consider Awaken Your Life.
Who am I becoming through my life practice?
Am I becoming the world in which I wish to live?