Maybe it’s just because I’m a Libra? You know, born in October, the scales thing. Maybe it’s deeper than that? It seems like for me it’s always about seeking balance. Notice I didn’t say finding balance, I said seeking it. That’s because it’s illusive and fleeting.
One of the things that fascinates me in working with clients is our very human predilection to have black/white, on/off, good/bad thinking. We are so driven in that direction that ALL this amazing computer stuff in our lives is based on zero and one. Seems simple, seems practical. In the context of actually living it makes for very narrow and restricted possibilities.
One of the ideas I latched on to long ago during my coach training is that you need more than two options. I like the image of black at one end of the possibilities, white at the other, and all the multitudes of color in between. Wow! Bringing in the color really helps us find new solutions, experiences, and balance.
The fuel for this blog comes from an Anais Nin quote: “We don’t see things as they are: we see them as we are.” It’s a stunning thought. While noting our own view, it really asks us to look beyond our own perspective and see what else is there.
There is a dichotomy at work in this. It is both always about us, and never about us, simultaneously.
One of my favorite coaches would ask me this very irritating question: “What two percent of this is yours?” It was irritating, because it was also on point. All of us always have ownership in it somewhere. As much as I’d want to be right about the other person, I had ownership in the exchange.
And to play with the Seeking Balance theme here, it is also often true that the ‘rant’ someone is turning on you isn’t really about you—it’s about some place where they are disappointed, frustrated, tied up. Your question to yourself in these instances might be something like: “What if this really isn’t about me? What if it’s about something else? How does that change my reaction to it?”
People seek coaching because they want something to be different. They want something to change. And above all else, change requires self observation. As Dr. Phil puts it: “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” Acknowledge the extreme of both edges and the middle.
Getting clear is a crucial first step. It gives you a way to seek balance. If you try to skip it you just wander around bumping up against things. Clarity doesn’t actually mean you have to go over and over and over things. That’s actually counter productive because it keeps you literally stuck in the muck—you build up your neuropathways around the mess more and more. The trick here is that by acknowledging what you don’t want you become more conscious and make better choices.
Frankly, part of why this is on my mind is our current political climate. It’s all on/off, yes/no — oppositional. The idea of seeking—let alone finding balance—has been lost in the fray. To me the bigger goal is to create a country and culture that allows us to actually have differing views and seek balance and harmony. That’s up to us, each of us. And as we do that for ourselves it ripples out to others. All any of us can really do is be the change we want, right?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Want to chat about this idea of Seeking Balance? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.