Put Your Raft Down!
Amazingly, I turn 60 later this year. When I was a young girl, my mother used to tell me how fast time disappeared in adulthood. It wasn’t something I could comprehend and when we are young, we tend to live ‘in time’. However, she was right.
At this particular place in time, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. What do I really want to do in the next chapter of my life? Travel, of course. Lead an active lifestyle, of course. I’m not a lady who lunches or competes in golf although I do love to do both from time to time. No, not me. If only it were that easy. I am looking for intellectual stimulation, spiritual growth, creativity, fun, community and to be of service in an impactful way. Work that will align with my top values. I am looking for my life’s work, not a career as that ship has sailed. It’s the direction I wish to walk with the wisdom I have acquired over the years. In short, I’m in search of my calling.
After I left the financial sector, I walked many roads – from philanthropy, to marketing video business cards, trust protector, seed investor, participating on a couple of boards, and coaching. Some things I enjoyed more than others but there has always been a feeling deep within me that I am not doing what I was meant to do.
Coaching clients are few and far between where I live. The population is small and largely provincial in their thinking about the coaching industry. And I just haven’t had the desire to market my coaching wares in other markets or build an online presence because frankly, I didn’t like the direction my coaching was taking. I was being lumped in with life coaches when in reality I am a mindset and performance coach.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a life coach. They are very much needed but the work isn’t for me. It was never my intention. Naturally when we train our minds, a better life follows. One needn’t be a life coach for that.
My desire was to make quantum shifts in people’s thinking so they could excel at whatever it is they want to excel at. I never wanted to discuss people’s love lives. I wanted to teach people how to take themselves from good to great using the tools of NLP and Hypnotherapy because Neuro Science works. And I did do that sometimes.
Last year, I stopped coaching except for a select few. I stopped blogging. I needed quiet time to clear some health issues which included dealing with some of my sorted past, and contemplation to determine the direction of my work.
Late last year, I did one of the best things I could do for myself and hired an executive coach/spiritual guru. Her speciality is self-mastery.
Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees and I too get caught up in my own bullshit so I needed someone strong, who could call me on my stuff and get me back in touch with my soul. I don’t think I’ve been listening to the me inside of me in a meaningful way for a long, long time now. I was too busy building a life.
Last week, to end my non-productive pattern of pushing myself in all sorts of directions only to chase my tail, my coach instructed me to be kind to myself and slow down. I’ve got some ongoing health issues that stem from a weary endocrine system that need some TLC. I’ve lived a BIG life. My mind says ‘go’ and my body says ‘no’. I effectively need to continue to get over me for a while. LOL.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have pushed and pushed myself towards having a better life. I had a thought that turned into a belief that turned into a conviction and set me on the trajectory to attain ‘good life status’. This is a long-established thought pattern within me that began when I was 6 years old. #Gratitudeforsuchathoughtatayoungage
It’s time to release this pattern as it’s no longer serving me.
Since I’ve moved to the UK, I have had the sails knocked out of me and found myself flailing over rocks and being pelted by waves. I was left grasping for air, clinging to the raft that was my old life.
Being the person that I am have continued to push and push – creating workshops, learning to walk again after reconstructive foot surgery, studying NLP and Hypnotherapy, recovering from a ski accident which resulted in a multi fractured pelvis, learning to stepmom, grieving my mom, saying enough to my brothers’ emotional abuse, forever seeking to be a positive change in the world, fundraiser, walking the Camino, etc. Apparently, I’m still pushing. That’s why last week, my coach told me in no uncertain terms to put my raft down.
One of the Buddha’s most famous teachings is the Parable of the Raft. In it he likened his teachings to a raft for crossing a fast-flowing river.
A man is trapped on one side of a river. On this side of the river, there is great danger and uncertainty; on the far side is safety. But there is no bridge spanning the river, nor is there a ferry to cross over. What to do? The man gathers together logs, leaves, and creepers and by his wit fashions a raft from these materials. By lying on the raft and using his hands and feet as paddles he manages to cross the river from the dangerous side to the side of safety.
The Buddha then asks the listeners a question. What would you think if the man, having crossed over the river thought to himself, ‘That raft has served me well; I will carry it on my back over the land now?’ The monks replied that it would not be a very sensible idea to cling to the raft in such a way. The Buddha went on, ‘What if he lay the raft down gratefully thinking that this raft has served him well but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?’ The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude. The Buddha concluded by saying, ‘So it is with my teachings which are like a raft and are for crossing over with—not for seizing hold of.’
In the early stages of life there is a lot of raft-seizing. We find a truth or a piece of the truth, and we make it absolute. My truth was: “I’ve got to work hard to make it out of this emotional pain.” I built a really big raft.
I don’t need it anymore. I’ve crossed the river. I know my calling will come without having to push. I’ve FINALLY laid my raft on the ground and lightened my load. My 60’s are going to be awesome.