Evoking who you are being
There are two parts inside each of you with whom you can be in conversation: The part that experiences limitation, fear, smallness, anger, wrong and separation; or the part that experiences possibility, excitement, vastness, joy, confidence and power.
In fact, these two parts live in the only two places we can put our attention in any given moment. I refer to these places as “The Dark Room” or “The Light Room.”
I find that my life devolves when I stay in dark room conversations. These conversations aren’t going anywhere. They’re the downward spiral of the ego. As a matter of fact, if I as a coach stay within the superficial aspects of a client’s life and get tangled up in the details — the petty dramas and the dysfunction — I will have wasted my time and theirs. That’s because the ego has no real interest in anything shifting. Oftentimes it just wants to be right, left alone, or in the company of other gripers, whiners and misery-makers (in The Dark Room).
However, through the power of directing a person’s attention, I have the ability to speak to the aspects of this person who live in The Light Room. Sometimes this shift can appear to be like a magic trick. I start speaking and the person begins to feel better, more motivated, see new horizons and transform. That’s because I have been actively engaging and directing my conversation to the part of them with whom I want to speak: The person who operates in The Light Room. In a sense, I am disidentifying them from the ego, the smaller parts of themselves and the self-hatred, and evoking their authentic being instead. I am having a direct conversation with the power that animates them.
I’ll never forget a coaching session I did with a client who started our conversation criticizing the actions of her partner around the holidays. She was not seeing all the assumptions she was making about his possible motivations. She was dead set upon proving to me how he was wrong she was right. If I decided to get involved in this, to show her what I was seeing, I would either end up as “the enemy” (taking his side),“the advisor” (giving my unwanted opinion) or “the idiot” (not understanding her point of view). Instead, I asked her some questions directed to the part of her who wasn’t identified with the blame. For instance, I asked her, “Why do you think he did that?” This simple question encouraged her to stand in his shoes and begin to see another perspective. I asked, “What else?” so we could get even more perspectives.
As she answered my questions, she began to see for herself the story she had created based upon her assumptions. Then I asked her, “Do you think he loves you?” at which point she said, “Yes, of course,” and then the tears came and some clarity around how she felt for him and her disappointment. We got to the heart of the issue without dealing with the smoke-and-mirrors “problem.”
We then focused on her and the creative part of her who could solve this problem. The part of her who was empowered, saw possibilities, operated from creativity, love and joy. This was the part who could create solutions. The part who needed to be in charge of being her full time.
You see, in our work together, I helped her access this part of herself over-and-over again until she felt like she could be that more-and-more often. Because this wasn’t just a “relationship with her partner” issue, this was a beingness issue. A relationship with her self issue.
When she learned to master choosing who she was being, which room she was occupying — The Dark Room or The Light Room — everything else in her life began to open up in exactly the same manner.
She put the part of her who needed to be in charge of her life in charge of her life. And that made all the difference!
This is a chapter from my book, The Zen Life: Spiritual Training for Modern Times.