Are you a follower or a leader? (August 2015)

 

When we walk our life path we never walk alone, there is always someone following or leading us. You can consider him your travelling companion or your worst nightmare. In that case you make a choice either to stay with him; or to turn a blind eye to him.

Last year I started to study coaching and durging one of my coaching sessions, my client was experiencing severe emotional trauma causing her intense feelings of schock,confusion and anxiety. As a coach I had a choice either to stay and hold the space for her or to walk her away. I couldn’t stand the idea of both of us sitting in a dark tunnel with no clear vision. So, I steered the conversation into a lighter place. At that time I was oblivious to the amount of light we both would accumulate, only if we had stayed longer in the dark tunnel. Having a discussion about other possibilities and choices with my mentor was one of the moments that I bookmarked for the rest of my life. She shot two questions.
First one: What would happen if you stayed in the present moment and held the space for your client, to dive deeply and consciously together with your client’s full consent?
Second: what was triggered in you when she was heading towards the dark tunnel?
To my dismay, I couldn’t answer to the first question because I simply didn’t know, but I was able to provide a full answer to the second question “My wellbeing was at stake, and I was in fact rescuing myself.”

By now, you must be wondering about the mysterious person that could follow or lead us. For this or that particular matter I have one word to utter “Emotions”. The distinction here is neither to categorize positive emotions as our journey companions nor to label negative emotions as our nightmares.

Let me invite you to join me in a short visualizing exeriscape to illustrate my point. Sit comfortably in your chair, take a deep breath and ground yourself, feel the weight of your feet on the ground. Now slowly close your eyes and visualize the person who walks your life path inseparably, and who can never be eluded. The only person I can vision right now is my shadow, which I would suggest is an excellent way to envision emotions.

Now, we could all glance at the same shadow through different lenses. Sometimes our Shadow is too big and tall which could be perceived as an indication for self- expansion and growth, voicing positivity such as; “yes, I can do it”, “I can reach out high”. Others could observe it as a monster holding them back, making them procrastinate and preventing them from taking the leap to change their lives or even worse jailing them in their current comfort cell.

Shadows are not always big and tall. Sometimes they shrink, get smaller and tinier. So how do we perceive them?
From my own lens, I look at them as a way to suppress negative emotions because we don’t want to, or even know how to deal with them?. Another interpretation would that we should turn a blind eye towards our own needs, neglecting our share of wellbeing, sacrificing what is truly meaningful and important to us for the sake of people whom we love and care for.

It is true that when we lack self- awareness, emotions can easily drive and steer our actions. In that sense we don’t act, we only react. We don’t lead, we only follow.
Your emotional state is part of your physical and mental wellbeing. There is no white or black emotions, we are not even close to a choice of keeping some and withdrawing the rest for as long as we wish. In fact, the more you sit with them, trace all the signs they signal, the more you’re able to decode the signs and read the messages crystal clear. For instance, start with monitoring your body; check where you feel it tenses, stiffens. Feel your heart beats and whether or not they are racing up or slowing down. Your heart state should be on the top of your check-in list. Does it feel cold and empty or warm and fully occupied? Pay attention to the screaming and whispering voices in your head, what is the nature of these internal conversations, how does it shape you? And how do others perceive you?. Raising your self- awarness, your self- knowledge is such a precious tool that will assist you to move from a reactive mode to a more active and effective place. In other words, be your own good doctor and investigate the symptoms before you prescribe the antidote.

When you manage to do that, and only then, you will come to a conclusion that darkness is the legitimate father of lightness, fear is your way to practice courage, failure is your first step to success, sadness is your key to happiness, and silence takes you to the core of wisdom.

When we walk our life path we never walk alone, there is always someone following or leading us. In your own life story are you a follower or a leader?

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