Think of a sailor in a boat. A little boat. Imagine this little boat floating in the middle of a great ocean, bobbing and ebbing whilst drifting in the water. With no usable sail and the ruder failing, the direction of this little boat and its single passenger seems solely at the mercy of the vast oceans whim.
On a calm day this little boat drifts, floats along with the warm currents, dancing automatically and re-actively in whatever direction the ocean deems fair. On good days with calm sky’s above and friendly waters beneath, all seems normal. The boat is pulled hither and tither occasionally washing ashore, the sailor feeling lucky, stocks up on supplies to survive, until the next stroke of luck. Then back to sea, looking to the horizon for the next future success, leaving the seeking and faith up the random dance that the deep water provides.
On a bad day, the ocean seems mean and unfair, the weather changes uncontrollably, wave after wave crashes in over the little boat and it’s brave sailor. As the onslaught continues they tire, weaken, slowly control starts slipping away. Huge swells as far as the sailor can see. The sailor begins to feels an all too familiar fear and desperation. “Oh not again” “Why me?” “I cant do this” The sentiment ring through and the sailor retreats, heading down below deck he thinks “I give up, I am just no good at this life.”
Many sailors, or we could call them clients I have worked with in the years sit there during their first session, Lost! Lost at sea, out of control. They are on the radio, signalling mayday, looking for help. They have been going around in circles for years, drifting through life on automatic mode. Never really feeling congruent with their key thoughts, feelings or behaviours. At drift in their little boat, trying and failing, trying and failing, hitting wave after wave, the little boat becomes damaged, the sail and ruder, their compass in lost. Until finally the current washes them onto my deck and in my chair, sitting, then recounting, probably saying “I give up, I am just no good at this life.”
There are so many types of talking therapies out there available to the public that explain to people “WHY?” they are feeling the way they feel – psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy or counselling. Sure it can be very useful to speak with someone professional and objective, to speak and get everything out of your head and onto the table. This is cathartic, no doubt! However understanding “Why I am feeling the way I feel?” does not always satisfy. “Ok so I know I am in a little boat at the will of this vast ocean and I continue to look outside of myself for the answers and the next piece of land to sooth me. I understand my sail has been torn by the strong gales that blew and that my ruder broke years ago when I hit some rocks. I need more…..”
I believe the more important question is not the “WHY?” but the “HOW?”
“How am I feeling the way I am feeling” and more importantly “How do I change now?” I am a firm believer that if I can explain to my clients what is actually happening in their mind to create this lost experience then I can show them very rapidly how they can start to move away from the feeling of been adrift or out of control. Allowing them to retrain and regain control over their little boat, to become the sailor they know they can be. We are all born sailing, free and with choice over our reality.
Consider this truer sailor – authentic, brave, resilient and see their bright little boat, bobbing along nicely and calmly. You might find this interesting, notice their boat is different, see the sail flying broad and tall, see the ruder displacing the water evenly and powerful, notice the sailor standing tall and proud, smiling – gripping the ruder with one hand, the other hand on the compass. They pick a destination, focus the ship and move forward into the future with ease and gentle happiness. Understanding that their will be good days and bad days, calm seas and stormy weathers however the bad days just wont seem to be as bad as they use to be and good days will just seem to be so much better!
I don’t offers too many answers to “WHY?” I cant control anyone’s mind, nor would I want to. I don’t have a magic wand either. Put simply, I teach people to sail (again).
This may mean cleaning up the little boat, giving it some much needed love and attention. Sweeping the deck of past events, scrubbing the hull of self-limiting beliefs, mending the sail and flying it high and proud, installing a new powerful ruder, dusting of the compass and imagining a future destination so compelling that the journey seem to right there for the taking.
See your sailor standing tall, gripping on and powering over those big swells, letting go on the other side and enjoying the ride to freedom and happiness. A solution focused approach to life awaits.
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