I hear you

Have you ever been in a conversation with a small group of people, but you just can’t seem to jump in.  Everyone else—often just two people—seems to be feeding off each other’s momentum, and really knowing what they’re talking about and it’s just a topic you know nothing about, or something you know a lot about, but there just aren’t breaks of enough space to breathe between their insistences, let alone chime in.

How do you feel when that happens?  Are you content to just be and let them talk and be a silent presence beside them?  If so, for how long?  Often when we feel left out or forgotten, it’s hard to remember why we matter.  When we can’t contribute our voice to a conversation, to the world beyond our head, we get backed up.  Like an artery or a freeway.  At work, in relationships, on our own, this clogging has become all too common.  We forget that the world needs to hear us, because we often get the message that no one cares what we have to say.

The competitive feel of that conversation and its social demands can get us way off topic.  When you’re home, and have had some tea, or just taken a shower, or done something that makes you relaxed without checking out (tv, internet, overeating—whatever your vegetative strategy), take a moment and listen.  Hear your thoughts and listen deeper. What does your intuition say?  Where is your joy?  Does it seem irrevocably lost?  It isn’t.  Joy easily hides when the world’s clutter collects.  That’s okay.  Each of us has the time and energy to dig to the bottom of the pile of leaves.

I hear you.  You’re too busy, your kids, your significant other, you’re taking care of a parent, you have a hard deadline at midnight, or you don’t have time to waste because you have to find a job.  Those responsibilities may have truth to them.  They may be “have to”s.  But at what point does making yourself happy become a have to?  When can you no longer afford to put that off?  When does your stuck-ness, or depression, or worry become too much for both you and the people around you?

Many of the people I work with have come to this place, but don’t know what to do.  We can’t become unstuck by doing the same things we’ve been doing.  Those strategies brought us to the mud.  Changing course is difficult if only because it’s unfamiliar.  That’s where coaching comes in.  Coaching helps someone see beyond their immediate, seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  With help, you set up a structure that will slowly but surely carve a new path for your heart.  Or your soul.  Or whatever innerspace you associate with your true self.

Your voice matters.  The complex collection of ideas, personality, and inspiration that is you constitute an essential harmonic chord that the world needs.  Learning to hear your voice, express it when no one’s around, to articulate your vision on your terms, and then share it with the world will create the space for your elation.  We are not here to be disappointed.  We are alive.

Last metaphor:  You are in a snowball fight with this kid named, “The World.”  You’re yelling antagonisms at each other.  “You can’t take me!”  “I could do this all day!” as you launch snowballs from behind opposing mounds.  A few of your friends show up and help, but The World has a whole gaggle of people show up to help.  After a while you can tell that your friends are tiring and want to go home.  You sought their help but now you’re losing.  What do you do?

You can always keep throwing snowballs, but you’ll get colder and colder and more tired and frustrated, and somehow the World will still get stronger.  Or you can make friends.

“I can’t beat you!” you yell.  “I might as well throw with my left hand.”

A cheer comes up from across the snowfield.  “You surrender?” yells back The World.

“No don’t,” say your teammates, looking bedraggled, but holding on to pride.

“It’s okay,” you whisper to them.”  “I do!” you shout back.

The World’s friends high five and laugh, and slowly walk away.  You peer up over the mound and catch sight of The World.  “I have an idea,” you say aloud, so that your friends can hear, but not directly to them.  You surmount the mound and trudge across in your boots toward the triumphant World.

“It was a great battle,” you hear yourself saying, “but seriously I’d love if you can show me your technique.”

The World tilts its head.  “Sure, I’ve been doing this for a while.  Your throws aren’t that bad actually.”

How does that last line sit with you?  Does the seemingly backhanded compliment offend you?  Or do you take a breath realizing that you’ve turned an adversary into an ally?

There will always be more obstacles.  Within you have the resources to climb, or circle, or tunnel.  You have choices—fight yourself into the ground, surrender and reach out for help, or somewhere in between.  Where on the spectrum of joy will you fall?

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One Response to “I hear you”

  1. mycupoverbrims Says:

    While reading this post, my body wanted to pause, take a deep breath and settle. Thank you for posting, Brian!

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