I had the incredible honor recently of participating in coaching a client with my mentor George Pransky. This client was relatively new to the coaching paradigm of the three principles and over a three day intensive we collectively slowed down, found the space where inspiration is born and emerged into a new space of, as Syd Banks used to say;
What follows is a writing that our client sent to me just after his intensive. It is such a great illustration of the way that this understanding changes lives, how settling our minds opens us to seeing more and ultimately transforms us. Be sure to read all the way to the end where he experiences an everyday miracle.
Today is my 57th birthday. It’s also well beyond my 57th day of quarantining.
I’d planned a pretty good birthday week including watching a rock documentary (Woodstock – 3 Days That Changed The World), enjoying a hike, having my son Joe teach me a Tik-Tok dance, a round of golf with good friends and a wonderful meal from the cookbook Zahar prepared by my wife.
Of course, I over-plan and life laughs with wild rain showers taking almost no time to create lakes in my yard. So, I busied my day with other tasks. At some point I looked outside and noticed a bird sheltering under our patio, staring into the rain. There was something unique about it causing me to gather my family to watch the bird watch the rain adding to the growing lakes.
I had a flashback of being 10 and sitting on our covered patio swing enjoying the rains. It was so vivid I could smell the ozone. I also flashed to summer days on Lake Erie and how rain storms would sit for days over Camp Roosevelt. Every time it happened our spirits seemed to parallel with length of the storm from frustration, to relaxation in our cabins, to inspiration of actually being in the water doing something joyful like diving for frisbees or mud sliding. Time with ourselves allowed us to break from structure and seemed to create inspiration. All it would take is for someone to ignite the tiniest of sparks for the chance to become an all-out funfest.
So, I stood at the window without a porch or summer bunkmates or a youthful mind providing inspirational options. Then I had a thought, what if I dropped what I was doing and put on rain gear - in essence no different than the porch of my youth COMBINED with being immersed in the rain like my summer camp days..
With my son watching from his basement study - probably telling everyone on his on-line summer school class that his father was having a midlife crisis, I wandered into the storm and to a chair that separates my yard from a golf course that was now in 2ft of water inside a 30ft puddle. A sound followed that forced me to quiet the noise in my head and the sounds of heavy rain on my jacket… I was hearing birds chirping. I’d always thought birds chirp when rains stop and sky’s clear. Nope, I can attest that when I let my mind relax and listen, really listen – that birds sing right through the most aggressive of downpours. I wanted to ask them if they were telling partners they were OK, or asking each for help, or more likely laughing at the idiot beneath them. My mind blocked out everything except for the sounds of birds, more than I’d imagined – relaxing me to stay in that chair for probably an hour.
At some point I decided to wander about ¼ mile to a small waterfall on the 18th hole of the course. I’d never seen it during a rain storm and as luck would have it, discovered there to be a massive flow of water pouring over the sides reminiscent of a small Niagara Falls. The view also afforded me the pleasure of learning how to putt this very challenging green. I stood watching the water work its magic flow across the green exposing contours in a way I’d never seen before. Almost every week over the last 12 years I’ve played this wonderful par-5 finishing hole. Even on the driest of days it requires players to clear streams twice – once on a very challenging tee shot and then again on the approach shot to an undulating and protected green. I watched the waters expose what had been hidden from me for over a decade. I had to laugh as I stood there alone, with everything I’d discovered during this unexpected COVID excursion.
There is no way I’ll expose my secrets to anyone when I’m playing #18. There is no way I could….
Deborah Baron is a Transformative Leadership Coach and a 3 Principles practitioner who helps her clients achieve so much more with an ease they never thought possible. Sign up for her "Back of the Napkin Coaching" blog at www.deborahbaron.com.