You can think of a practice as any action you consistently take.
For example, brushing your teeth, showering, (I know I’m making assumptions for some of you here😉), eating, communicating, driving the car, exercising, working/creating, meditating, walking, sleeping.
🌟Basically, everything you do can become a practice, if you choose to look at it that way.🌟
Do you normally think of every personal interaction as a practice? What about your interactions with your significant other? Could that be a practice?
Do you think of living your life and all the actions you take in it itself as *skills* that you can practice and get better at?
I’m talking about how you make your morning (bulletproof) coffee/tea, the way you walk to your car from your house, the way you enter your office, what you choose to put your focus on during the drive *to* your office, etc.
I recommend adopting this viewpoint, that every action you take is a practice, one of YOUR practices, because implied with the word “practice” is the idea that we’re improving our action over time, in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.
***quickly rubs hands together with enthusiastic anticipation***
Does anyone else get as excited as I do about effectiveness and efficiency?
Someone might say, “Effectiveness and efficiency, Aaron, blah blah blah…”
⚡️But not so fast!
The more we practice something, with consciousness, the more likely we are to tilt toward mastery of that practice. And there is a deep fulfillment available to us in Mastery.
💲Masters of their craft not only tend to make more money (they are in high demand), they also experience more happiness and fulfillment in their lives.
Research has shown that the most critical factor in determining one’s mastery of a skill is not innate talent, but the person’s decision that they will practice their given craft for the rest of their lives.
So, will YOU be practicing these different “crafts” for the rest of your life?
🌠Of course you will!
And there’s something about taking this long-term “Practice of Mastery” perspective on our current circumstances that also helps us experience more patience, and to shift some of our energy from attachment to the desired outcome toward enjoyment of the process itself.
🎲Then, since we are more deeply engaged with the practices themselves, this leads to more enjoyment of life right now, instead of gambling on potential happiness in the future.
Have an awesome day.
There are 2 fundamental cultural belief systems that create big problems around this nebulous idea and practice called “Coaching.”
1. Many people, to some degree, often unconsciously, want to be Gurus, and they want others to see the world the way they see it and for others to adopt their own viewpoints and behaviors, and given the opportunity, they would often be willing to use force, subtle or overt, to make that happen; they then project these beliefs and desires to control onto the potential coach.
A very light but tragically common example of this would be giving someone unsolicited advice without properly understanding their situation first.
I call this the “Guru” model of what people perceive as “coaching.”
Many people are ready to barge in with their “expertise,” whether you’d like to hear it or not, whether it applies to you or not, and they become resentful if that advice is not well received. They want to be gurus, experts, superior on the basis of their superior knowledge.
That’s the petty, less consequential end of the spectrum.
To name a few examples on the heavier side of the spectrum, of how we are so culturally entrenched in control/power-over belief systems–think centralized government, centralized banks, centralized (medical) monopolies, centralized military planning, and other quagmires of control and suppression, only kept in place by force and the abuse of individual consent.
Those are heavy, society-level examples, so let’s just take a simple symptom of this collective program/belief system at the interpersonal level.
Why do people often get so angry when confronted with an opposing viewpoint? (on social media, for example.)
Why do they often feel personally threatened when someone disagrees with their viewpoint?
At least partially, it’s because they have attached their identity to their beliefs. They “identify” with their ideas. In other words, they think they ARE their ideas. So if their ideas are challenged, they feel *personally* challenged. You challenge their ideas, you challenge them.
We can readily see some of this in our language when we say “You’re wrong!” as opposed to “that idea is wrong.”
*You* are not wrong! You’re a human being with a particular set of experiences that have led you to believe what you believe!
🌟You are doing the very best you can with what you know.🌟
Now, your map of the world (your ideas about the way things are and the way things work) might be a little misrepresentative of the actual territory (or in some cases a LOT misrepresentative, are you with me?😉), however, that doesn’t mean that YOU are a misrepresentation.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m going to trust your MAP.
Next time you find yourself in a conflict of ideas, remember this simple shift in language: If you must, say “*That* is inaccurate. That is wrong.” Never call someONE wrong, even when you are convinced their IDEAS are inaccurate. (extra points for saying, “I see it differently, and here’s why:”✅
🕺Honor and respect the individual; compassionately question the ideas.🕺
In the past, people have literally been tied up to wooden poles and burned alive for disagreeing with the fashionable cultural ideas/maps…
In some places today, horrific executions, mostly in other ways, but for similar, ideological reasons, still routinely occur.
So, let’s remember we’re still collectively unwinding a lot of those old violent, power-over, control-based paradigms and karma.
A good coach truly believes that his/her coachee is doing the best they can, no matter what, and that their intentions are good, AND that their “maps” can always be upgraded, like everyone else’s can, infinitely.
The aim of a good coach is to explore the maps of the coachee to help the coachee see what is working or not working (for *that* individual), what is producing the fruit or not, what’s under the hood of this Ferrari, and how can we gently remove any accumulated debris as well as supercharge the engine so you can get to where you want to be, and maybe even enjoy the ride?😎
It tends to be confident, strong-minded people who get coaching. People who already have an above average degree of self-awareness and self-confidence, in my experience.
They like to examine what works and what doesn’t, and they don’t mind learning that they have ideas and beliefs that need to be upgraded–actually they love it, because they see it as an opportunity to create better results, in terms of what they are looking for.
As Don Miguel Ruiz wrote in The Four Agreements, “A clean mind loves to be touched.”
When there is a place inside you that is painful to be with (“being with is how I define “love,” or touching with awareness), chances are there is some “debris accumulation” that can be dissolved with the compassionate light of awareness.
It’s wise to be gentle when touching a delicate area, and a good coach will be extra careful around the more tender places of one’s consciousness.
A beautiful, strong, productive coaching partnership is predicated on a clear agreement between the coach and coachee that both individuals are autonomous, whole, good human beings, and one is not more “right” than the other.
One is not the guru and the other the student.
There is, in a coaching partnership, simply an opportunity to examine the beliefs/habits/inner workings of the coachee to find out what works and what doesn’t, for the coachee.
2. Many people believe that being in a masculine energy is more honorable, more respectable, or simply “better” than being in a feminine energy. They confuse giving up control and being consensually “held” with giving “over” control and being weak or dominated. They are not familiar with switching polarities/with playing different roles, and they feel threatened by the idea of temporarily taking a feminine polarity role.
So who has the power in a coaching partnership? Obviously it would be the coach, right?
Well, then, is it the coachee?
The answer is, of course, in a proper coaching agreement, *both* have the power. (They’ve made a win/win agreement; a mutually beneficial agreement.)
Power doesn’t come from the masculine, nor does it come from the feminine energy.
⚡Power is when you put both of them together with awareness and consensual cooperation.⚡
The coaching relationship is based off of two people playing clearly defined roles, temporarily.
The coach IS essentially maintaining a more masculine energetic polarity of curiously asking penetrating questions, holding space, offering presence, and generally gently guiding the expression of the feminine through the coachee.
The coachee is in a more feminine polarity of being seen, of revealing themselves, of letting go of “holding things together” for the designated amount of time.
And this is all within the framework of a clear agreement between two sovereign human beings.
Don’t confuse a clear agreement between two people to play two specific roles for 45 minutes for a giving-over of autonomy, self-authority or power.
Power, in the neutral sense of the word, is ENERGY or potential.
You can DO something with Energy.
With power, you have the capacity to act.
Power does not equal domination.
It’s easy to see why it’s confusing because we have so many examples of domination and submission in society, of the exertion of power-OVER someone, of the abuse of power, of the disrespect of consent at every level of human interaction; and we are only recently remembering the principles of radical consent, self-sovereignty, and of mutually and universally beneficial interactions, aka win/win/win interactions.
So, because of points number 1 and 2, it is clear why there is concern here.
Masculine energy doesn’t exist without Feminine Energy, and vice versa. Light doesn’t exist without darkness.
Neither one is better than the other.
I suggest we rethink our vogue and flippant phrases like “The Future is Feminine” because, with this meme, we will literally just try to suppress the masculine, as opposed to suppressing the feminine, and then NO ONE WILL BE HAPPY again.
We don’t need the future to be feminine anymore than we need it to be masculine.
We don’t need to be masculinists, or feminists, or even humanists. I suggest we endeavor to be universalists, in the sense that we recognize and honor the universal principles that sustain every part of the whole.
(“But we need to fight the patriarchy, right?” …where is that coming from? Why is there violence built into this language? What is the hurt place inside that has us “fighting” instead of asserting ourselves, demanding punishment instead of accountability and healing, perpetuating the victim/persecutor/hero “drama triangle”? These words stem from hurt/unhealed/wounded places within ourselves. When will we stop pretending acts of violence can create peace, or the abuse of consent can effect harmony, and remember that the means always inform the ends?)
If Self-knowledge, or Power/Energy, or just plain old balance and harmony are things you’re interested in, then it’s worth learning to honor the feminine polarity as much as the masculine one, and to give neither a dominant position over the other, but to allow them to switch, as they do, daily, seasonally, whenever the time is right, and always with consent.
When coaching, I am generally in the more masculine polarity of the two people–holding or protecting the container/agreements surrounding the call, asking penetrating questions, offering presence, and allowing the “dance of the many forms” of the person on the other end to come forward and to be known.
What I find that people need more than anything else is a place to hear their own voices and experience themselves in an amplified way, which allows them to see what’s working and what’s not, and ultimately to release their pain.
Something that experienced coaches know is that when the coachee has the insights themselves, it’s much more powerful than the coach trying to inform the coachee, which can only happen through a container of deep listening and awareness on the consciousness of the coachee.
💩Advice is almost never what people need more of.💩
(Yes, advice deserves the #poopemoji.)
And besides, their “Rubiks cube” of their life, as it were, their personal karma may need twisting in a direction that wouldn’t make sense from the point of view of my own life experience, my own “Rubiks cube” and its unique karmic situation. That’s ok.
Again, being in a masculine polarity isn’t better than being in a feminine one. It’s just different.
I put myself in the different roles all the time.
Same male body, of course, but I can switch between these energies, as we all have the capacity to do, especially as we practice.
We all have a left brain and right brain, a feminine and masculine side, although most of us have preferences about where we like to reside within those options.
I find the more deeply I allow myself to go into my feminine, out of control, wild, expressive, uncontained side, the more I’m able to be competent in my masculine side, and to channel all that life and raw energy with precision and efficacy, to know that I can handle the intensity of whatever situation presents itself.
When masculine meets feminine is when creation happens.
So, in summary, cultural conditioning and beliefs around power dynamics (like the “guru” model) as well as the fear/discomfort/lack of awareness around temporarily playing roles between masculine and feminine energies can affect the way we perceive “coaching.”
I’ll end with a few questions:
Do you find that you are easily angered by opposing viewpoints, and are you afraid a coach might try “to make you” see the world from his/her point of view? Do you want to be a guru, and do you assume others operate from that same desire?
Do you love discovering where your map does not match the territory, or are you afraid this type of discovery would mean that YOU are wrong?
How comfortable are you switching masculine/feminine roles/polarities? Are you as comfortable in your feminine as you are in your masculine?
(featured image by Alex on Unsplash.com)
I’ve gone through many long periods in my life when I’ve cried almost every day.
The faster I’m growing and making changes in my life, taking risks, putting myself into uncomfortable situations in the pursuit of expanding my comfort zone, the more I cry.
The more somatic meditation I do, the more I cry.
The more embodiment and healing work I do, the more I cry.
Crying is associated with growth, healing, and letting go of pain.
Vulnerability is necessary for true leadership.
It takes more courage to be with the pain than to try to run away from it.
And trying to run away can only ever work temporarily anyway.
What’s good about turning toward our pain, is that it gives us a chance to be with life as it really is, as opposed to sustaining our neuroticism, our ego-projects, trying to freeze everything in place, trying to control ourselves and everyone around us.
When we turn towards our pain, we remember that it was for us the whole time.
It is the fuel that empowers us with purpose and clarity, when we turn toward it, as a practice.
And we begin to discover more life with less effort required for the living.
We discover a life that is surrendered to something even greater than our own attempts to build and protect who we think we are.
We are so much more, so much more beautiful than any idea we could come up with.
And when we practice being with life as it really is, through embodied, somatic practices, we experience more of the beauty, ease and infinite grace of life.
Crazy, I know.
Counter-intuitive…. or, at least, counter-conditioning.
It turns out that the poison is the cure.
The pain is the medicine which, when we turn towards it, transforms us into more of whom we are really meant to be:
Infinitely, more fully ALIVE.
Did you know you can turn your pain into power in about half an hour?
Ok, maybe not ALL of it, but definitely SOME of it.
And wouldn’t it be nice to let some steam out of that pressure cooker, if you know what I mean?
We’re all holding tension in our bodies, in one way or another *unless you’re already immortal, and if you are, then come talk to me now*
The problem is, we think we can lose.
We think we’re in this game of winning and losing, and sure, from one perspective, it looks that way.
But what happens when you just surrender?
What happens if you stop the effort and just…. tell it like it is. Say what you really think. Do what you really want to do….
Sure, maybe the whole world is not ready for that yet.
If you’re going to start a fire, maybe you should use a fire-pit, instead of lighting up in the middle of a Colorado pine forest.
What I do with my clients is sort of like that fire-pit.
I give them a place to experiment with letting go a little bit.
They get to admit how they really feel.
About their dreams.
About their perceived failures and shortcomings.
And about what they really, really, *really* want in their lives, and how they feel about receiving that.
We get real, so that you can stop putting forth so much effort, and relax more into the person you are underneath all that tiresome trying.
I’m a big fan of trying, don’t get me wrong. I think trying often gets a bad rap.
If you don’t try something, you won’t know…
But I’m talking about surrendering to the truth and power inside of you. The fuel that’s waiting for you.
Allow me to help you remember more of your unlimited, unstoppable, unkillable power.