Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Life changing events

Have you met someone who has faced a life changing situation and become a happier person as a result? I've been wondering for a some time about what enables some people to face life threatening illness, the loss of someone close or disability and come through it a better person?  It's as if the event releases a life changing response that nothing else was strong enough to trigger. 

What I really wanted to know was 'How can I become a better, happier person, without such a trigger?'  How can I truly and naturally choose to respect others just as much as I look after my own best interests, choose to enjoy the present rather than worry about an uncertain future, follow the path to achieving my potential, rather than waiting for life to deliver up the goods for me...?

This has only been a thought at the back of my mind until recently. After all, life's not so bad and change on this scale could demand a lot of effort! And then something happened to make me pay attention. 

I received a routine medical screening test for colon cancer. This is a self-administered test which I duly completed. I was one of the few people called into hospital for a further investigation. I'm quite in touch with my body and felt confident this further investigation would only prove my general health. And I was right. But I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit to an intangible 'niggle' that there might indeed be something to worry about. I spent just over three weeks focussed on myself and biding time till I got the result. The day after the hospital investigation, when I knew everything was fine, I woke up with a strange feeling. Pressed to describe it, I told Nigel I felt as though this was the first day of the rest of my life. 

The first day of the rest of my life
We took the day off - which immediately set the day apart as different!  It was the very end of September and the changing season seemed a good time for reflection. As we stopped for coffee, Nigel did something very special for me, which I shall be grateful for, for the rest of my life. He facilitated me in an understated and seamless way to understand more about what 'the first day of the rest of my life' could mean.

I cannot remember the journey he took me through - that's the beauty of skillful coaching - only that it seemed very natural and unpressured. What I discovered was a rich understanding of my  need to be loved, cherished and appreciated. Not surprisingly this came out in the form of a metaphor or two! And this new perspective gives me a way to be a better, happier me. I'll tell you a bit more about how it works for me, although you are likely to have your very own 'system'.

Firstly, being loved, cherished and appreciated puts energy in my tank. This energy tank is filled with emotion: all the positive emotions nearer the top and the negative emotions nearer the bottom. Coping with things that happen in life demands amongst other reactions, an emotional response, which drains those positive emotions first. If I'm going to have a mostly positive response to things, my tank needs to be filled regularly and frequently.  

Secondly filling the tank can happen in two ways. Of course it's great when it comes from someone else - and the second wonderful thing Nigel did that day was to realise thinking loving thoughts about me isn't the same as saying them! It was a tough moment when I answered his question by saying 'yes, I do need to be told more often'. For me, however,  the big realisation was how important it is for me to love, cherish and appreciate myself.

Which takes me to my second metaphor. I have got used to expressing the more spiritual aspects of my life and purpose in terms of riding on Pegasus. In my metaphor, Pegasus, the winged horse, is a non-emotional being - with great wisdom and loyalty. The view from his back has always given me that essential 'overview' that stops me getting too bogged down in detail. This day I realised that I could trust any feedback from Pegasus as valuable and objective - the perfect trigger for me to tell myself how much I cared for and respected me. 

Saying thank you
Pegasus also reminds me to say 'Thank you'. Thank you that I had a positive medical outcome. Thank you for the chance to enjoy every little bit of every day. Thank you to Nigel for his generosity in giving me his attention when it was most needed - and his love on a daily basis. And a big thank you that in the end there was no need to change my life dramatically - it's just been a matter of looking at things differently! the effect has been profound - and not just for me.

I wonder what might trigger you to reflect on being the best you can be? How has life changed you? 

And if a little expert and kind facilitation will help you make the most of your life, then do get in touch or call:  0800 298 5938


1 comment:

  1. This was really lovely, heart warming and inspiring to read, Jenny. Thank you for sharing something personal so openly. I love the Pegasus metaphor too.