One of the things I love about coaching at Choices is that, even after 8 years of being in the room fairly often, I still get ‘AHA!’ moments. Those moments of brilliant clarity that let me see deep into myself. Moments that illuminate how I am, and what I do in the world the things that aren’t working for me.
Coaching as much as I do has helped me to align my thinking with my doing. It has also helped me see where I am out of alignment.
On Thursday, there is a process that teaches the lesson of taking care of yourself first, of giving yourself what you need to be able to be of service to the world.
I have been in the room as that game was played many times, yet this time, something hit me that I hadn’t realized before.
When I played the game as a trainee, I played it my way. Sure, I’d made a commitment to myself on the first day that I would play at 100%. That I would do what was asked, and give it my all. Thelma Box, who was facilitating when I was there, had said she would not ask anyone to trust her, because she recognized that we didn’t know her, and had no reason to trust her. “We won’t ask you to do anything you can’t do, and definitely not anything that is immoral or illegal. Trust the person who asked you to come,” she said. “Trust that they love you and wouldn’t want to see you hurt.”
I knew my girlfriend who had sponsored me would never do anything to hurt me. She’d helped save my life when I was in that dark and painful relationship that almost killed me. I knew she loved me. And I trusted her. I had promised her that I would give the program my ‘all’. I would play hard, participate, and dive in.
What I realized last week was that I had lied to myself all the way through.
I didn’t play the game as asked. I played it my way. And while it didn’t hurt anyone other than myself, the fact I had weaseled out of a commitment I’d made to myself, was a reflection of how I was doing other things in my life, and still sometimes do.
When I was a little girl it was one of my mother’s constant complaints about me. “Why do you have to do it your way?” “Why can’t you just do what I tell you?”
I am, at heart, a rebel. It is my nature. I like to find my own path. I like to create my own waves.
Problem is, I have sometimes let my rebel nature undermine my word.
And that doesn’t work for me.
Eight years ago, when I played the game, I chose to ignore what the rules were and did it my way.
It worked. Well… kinda, sorta. I got what the game represented for me at the time.
That wasn’t the issue.
The issue was — I did it my way and ignored my commitment to participate at 100% — which meant playing the game as asked.
How many times in my life do I do that? Listen to what someone is asking me to do, and then, circumvent the rules, twist their meaning and do it my way anyway? — even after I’ve made the commitment to do it in another way.
Doing it my way is good — as long as I’m honest with my word.
What struck home this past week was how I said one thing — and did another.
And that doesn’t work for me.
It creates less of what I want in my life, because when I commit to doing it one way, and then, do it my way anyway, I am letting go of my commitment. I am not being true with my word.
The important thing is to be honest with my word. To stand up to my commitments — starting with the ones I make to myself. If I started out with being clear with my intention that I would do it my way, it’s not an issue.
It’s the making the commitment and doing it my way anyway that doesn’t work.
Don’t get me wrong. I like being a rebel. I think the world needs more rebels. We need people willing to break out of ‘the box’ to find new paths to create a loving and kind and compassionate world. I think we need to step out of the worn and tired path of conventionality to spark our imaginations and creative expression. For me, that’s important.
What I realized last week though was that my habit of trying to ‘fit in’ while judging what was going on and then, ignoring my promise to participate fully and doing it my way anyway, is what wasn’t working for me.
Be true with my word. Speak up. Speak the truth. Always.
I don’t know what I would have gotten out of the process when I originally did it if I’d done it the way I was asked. I do know today that it wasn’t about the process, it was all about the judgements I carried as I did them. I thought I knew better. In my smug arrogance, I let myself down. I didn’t keep my commitment. I didn’t keep my word.
I am grateful, and filled with joy. I saw something about myself I’d missed. I learned something about my way of doing that I can see today, doesn’t always work for me. In the light of knowing, I get to let go of what doesn’t work in my life and recommit to myself to turn up, pay attention, speak the truth and stay unattached to the outcome.
I get to begin again.
Always begin again.
To be open. Honest. True and Loving.
Always begin again.