Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Will you show up and walk?

Sometimes I get calls from people who are hoping for a little magic to help them help someone else. The evidence on magic isn't very conclusive. While there are widespread stories of its effectiveness, most of the evidence comes down on the side of small, repeated changes in state and perception that gradually lead to a new way of thinking and feeling.

"Can't you speed it up through trance? I saw someone cure a phobia on youtube and it only took a minute or two." And behind the protests, I think I hear the voice of doubt whispering "maybe you're not as good as the magic ones."

In my experience, there's limited magic in showing up once. Magic happens when you are willing to show up for the time it takes for sustainable, reliable change to happen. I liked Change or Die very much because it lined up with my reading and my experience. Change happens sustainably when it is supported by three elements: Reframe, Relate, Repeat. If you like the article, buy the book (I am not an affiliate and don't get anything when you click). Reframing happens in an instant. Relating and repeating take time and will power.

If someone you love is struggling, the best way to help might be to get them to go for a walk with you three times a week until they feel better. If you know NLP, all the better. You can monitor their state and make hundreds of tiny adjustments as you walk. They won't even know why they feel connected, supported and better able to make decisions. There's a little magic in this.

The real magic happens with repetition. Lots of people would help if helping happened in the sit-com world of 22 minutes and done. Real help takes repetition and patience and showing up. Are you willing to show up, to coax someone who doesn't feel like moving into a 10 minute walk, to find your own breath and hold it while you match the dragging feet of someone who feels like they are walking through deep mud?

The question isn't whether you want to help. It's whether you are willing to show up and persevere while the change happens sustainably.

Friday, August 07, 2015

What metaphors can teach you about your desired future.

I've been at the beach.

As you can see, it's not a metaphorical beach. This picture was taken in the national park on the north shore of Prince Edward Island. The bird in the foreground is a real seagull.

This beach is a metaphor. It tells me exactly what I want in my experience as I encounter the clouds and the sunshine, the wind and the sand and the waves of life. It speaks to a paradoxical balance of elements, a balance of focus and soft edges, a balance of ground and flight.

If you asked me to describe what I want REALLY, I would stumble and hesitate. I would contradict myself and backtrack. I would have commitment issues.

If you asked me to tell you about this beach, you would know exactly what I choose as my experience and who I am choosing to be as I move forward.

This is my desired future.

But my desired future is not to stay on vacation - it's to bring this paradox into the clutter and contradiction and productivity that is my work and my life and my joy.