If there’s one thing that makes me want to shrivel up and become invisible it’s when someone asks what I do for a living. After more than two decades I still stumble when it comes to describing what I do. I tend to mumble that I’m a counselor and hope that the conversation takes another route. Not just because I want to avoid feeling awkward but because I’m not interested in trying to put a label to what I do.
I’m aware that if I reply with words like therapist, counselor, healer or coach each of these terms evokes a different image depending on the person asking, and none adequately describe the impact that transformative conversations have in the lives of my clients.
Most therapeutic and self help methods are based on the idea that if a human being is having a problem with life or themselves the solution lies in doing inner work; like clearing limiting beliefs or becoming more empowered or healing an inner wound. This approach may make sense but misses the fact that every human being has a soul or spirit which can never be broken or hurt.
One participant I spoke with described the difference like this: trying to fix our self on the inside is like of trying to re-arrange deckchairs on the Titanic.
I giggled because I’ve been dunked many times capsizing sailing small boats and it’s true. The thing you don’t do when a boat is capsizing is to spend your time tidying up the deck.
I’d love to respond to the “What do you do?” question with “I help people wake up”. Although I’d probably end up having to explain that no, I don’t help heavy sleepers with a problem of getting out of bed in the morning.
But waking up is a wonderful pointer. It points to the fact that transformation is more than self improvement.
Transformation happens when we:
- Look inside in the direction of our true nature, spirit or soul.
- Understand how human beings are always living in experiences generated by their state of mind. Rather than living in experiences caused by the world around them.
- Allow our thinking to quiet down and our true nature to come to the fore. Not to create a nicer, kinder improved version of our old self, but to live freely, comfortable in our own skin, able to bounce back from whatever life throws our way guided by wisdom, love and insight.
The next time you’re tempted to believe that life will only get better if you fix whatever you think is wrong with you inside. Pause to drop into your core that is unbroken and perfectly whole.