Coach’s Challenge for 9/28/09

Please note: This is a corrected version of the first post I sent which for some mysterious reason, didn’t go out to the entire subscriber list.

Good day, team,

My, my! September is almost gone, and I can tell by the shorter days and the long light of autumn that we are moving rapidly toward winter.

I love this time of year, although I must admit that along with the beauty comes a melancholy which creates an elusive longing in my heart. It’s not as if I long for a specific thing; the experience is more of a wistful state that comes over me at no particular time and leaves me with a sense of loss. Perhaps it’s no more complicated than the passing of summer, its promise of light and warmth and long, languid days of relaxation no longer possible.

I thought about this mix of enjoyment and regret the other day while I was meeting with a client. As I sat listening to him, trying to be open and present to what he was saying, watching his body language, hearing his tone of voice, etc., my mind kept trying to draw me into its own complicated web of opinions, attitudes and general noise that goes on in my interior world.

How difficult it is, I thought, just to sit here and try to be silent, both internally and externally. I found myself struggling with my own emotional state thoughout our meeting; something he said reminded me of a time when I had felt that same kind of frustration, and within seconds I was feeling that same anxiety. I had to work to rise above the internal chatter and emotions and just be still and listen.

I know my experience is not uncommon, and so your challenge this week is to try to be still and just be where you are: listen, observe, feel your feet, experience your breathing, whatever it takes to not act from your own internal voices; try rather to listen to what others around you are saying or not saying, as the case may be. Take it in, give it time to digest, let it rattle around in there for a bit of time.

For those of us who are highly achievement-oriented I know how hard this challenge will be. We feel compelled to do so many things in a day that the idea of not doing seems totally contrary to what were supposed to be doing. But it’s important to remember that our thoughts and feelings color so many of our actions that sometimes it’s better to just be quiet and watch.

Walt Whitman wrote:

Apart
from the pulling and hauling
Stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating,
idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an
impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious
what will come next.
Both in and out of the game
and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated
through fog with linguists and contenders
I have no mockings or arguments
I witness and wait.

Have a good week!

Kathleen

Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

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