September has seen me travelling to Denmark, Sicily and Czech Republic – a mixture of holiday and workshops. (I can’t tell the difference any more!) So this is my first musing for a while.
I’ve been coaching several people recently who have come to me because they live in a state of chronic stress through:
• Their thinking about their jobs, and how much they have to do
• Their thinking about themselves – often a variation of “not good enough”
• Their thinking about what will happen if they lose their job (in their minds, it will be “the end of the world”)
These people are not “losers”. They would be seen by most of us as highly successful individuals. Their day to day experience of a “stressful life” would even be seen as ‘normal’ by most people.
My work with them is hardly ever about supporting them into a different job. The stress isn’t coming from the job – although it certainly looks that way sometimes. My work with them is pointing them towards an understanding of how to truly thrive – regardless of circumstances.
I became a keen gardener quite late in life – and now I love creating beautiful outside spaces to enjoy.
All gardeners will know that it makes sense to invest our energy and time into the environment and the soil in which plants grow, so that the root systems become healthier and more resilient. The plants can then withstand and tolerate much more adverse conditions. I’ve seen during this very hot summer how some of my plants have flourished, and others have just given up the ghost unless I get the hosepipe out every ten minutes!
Sometimes though, as inexperienced gardeners, we focus only on the fruits and the flowers – cutting corners through our impatience and misunderstanding.
“You stumble through your days
Got your head hung low
Your sky’s a shade of grey
Like a zombie in a maze
You’re asleep inside
But you can shake awake
‘Cause you’re just a dead man walking
Thinking that’s your only option
But you can flip the switch and brighten up your darkest day
Sun is up and the colour’s blinding
Take the world and redefine it
Leave behind your narrow mind
You’ll never be the same
Come alive, come alive
Go and light your light
Let it burn so bright
To the sky
And it’s open wide
Songs by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
These words, together with many other lyrics from “The Greatest Showman” by 20th Century Fox, seem to sum up for me how many people I meet live their lives.
More importantly, the chorus of “Come Alive!” is so resonant of the impact that the understanding I share with people has on their lives.