A few years ago, I was doing a talk and a man approached me to discuss coaching. Apparently, he had done his homework; checked out my website, my credentials and client testimonials. He told me he was impressed with my work.
“I’d like to chat with you after your presentation,” he said. “I’m in the market for a coach, and I am looking forward to knowing more about you face-to-face.”
Afterwards, the man came up to me again with an outstretched arm holding a business card. “I’ve chosen not to work with you,” he said. “Give me a call if you’d like to learn why.” He smiled and walked away.
And that was that.
Okay, you know those moments in life where you can feel you are being given a chance to learn something very large and profound? Your brain gets all jumbled up and there is simply no other way to look at things?
Well, that was one of those moments for me. In that brief instant, I knew I had a choice to learn and grow or, well, frankly, not to. I could, it seemed, embrace this awkward moment with resiliency, or I could just turn away.
The adventurer in me could sense the call of discomfort… .okay, here we go, it seemed to say!
I chose to meet the unknown. The scary monster that threatened my ego and my feelings of safety in the world.
Now, don’t get me wrong, my Ego had to have its say, too. It wasn’t about to back down without some major resistance.
And so I railed in my head (and probably out loud, as well) during my 35 minute car ride home. I allowed my Ego its full say . . . to attack full throttle.
“Who the $%&# does he think he is??!!”
“I mean, who DOES that??!!”
“I’m sure this guy is just attempting to project some major insecurities on me!”
“What an ass!”
For a little while I felt protected in my righteousness, but I could not, however, get away from that deep, inner nagging. The communication that was rising to the surface telling me . . . there’s something there. There is a gift in this if you allow it.
That damn adventurer again!
Hmmm . . . .ALLOW . . . .
This word is often met with resistance by many a person with whom I’ve had the honor to work.
Our culture makes it tough for us to allow. It sounds, well, too damn door mat-like to our conditioned minds. We are taught to do, make, fix.
Action, action, action brings us what we want in life!
Allowing, in our get-it-done world is just so ambiguous. I mean, what the heck are we supposed to do with that? Where are the delineating lines? What do we hang our hat on?
In the energies of yin/yang, allowing is the feminine yin, while action orientation is the masculine yang.
Another way to look at these energies is by addressing the characteristics of the heart and those of the head.
From the beginning of time, humans have valued their intellectual abilities, especially, where they have set us “above and beyond” other animal species. Our capacity for reason and free will that exceeds the control of our instincts has been prized in numerous ways.
I would argue, however, that it has also led us tremendously astray. To question our intuitive and instinctual powers and second guess what our hearts tell us . . . has this been a practice that truly serves us?
A week after the interaction with the man who chose not to work with me (as family members referred to him), I sat across a café table from him with a cup of coffee in my hands.
“Thank you for taking the time to meet with me,” I began.
“It takes courage,” he replied, “to do what you are doing.”
“That’s me, ” I said. “Courage is not something I lack.”
You know French, I understand,” he replied.
Again, I smiled. “I do.”
“Then, you know that the French word coeur means heart and that is where we get the word courage. Leading from the heart.”
“Yes,” I said, simply.
“Well,” he began, “this is the ironic reason why I have chosen not to work with you. In the way you meet the world, it appears, your heart is not open. If I am to work with someone who can support me to the next level, this person must see and be seen through the heart.”
His words shot right through me.
Like an arrow into my skull.
Not from a place of wounding (well, maybe a little).
But more from a place of truth.
In that moment, I didn’t know why or how, but I did know he was right.
He continued. “I have studied with great masters around the world, and at the age of 65, there is one thing I know for sure. The only way in which we truly connect is through the heart.”
I sat for a good, long while, looking into his eyes. Finally, I nodded and he spoke again.
“We have been conditioned to believe that it is the head …the intellect …that connects us. Through our ability to communicate, we achieve connection.”
“I watched you, my dear. You are in your head. Although your smile shows warmth, you have an air of cool intellect. You have rationalized what works and what does not to the nth degree. Your look, your posture, your movements . .. perfect. Everything you said during your talk was, well, bred from a focus on perfection. You are very well spoken and quick. During the Q & A, your answers were intellectually impressive, but I had a hard time, even with your wonderful humor, to catch a glimpse of the human. She’s there, you just appear to be afraid to allow her to be seen.”
At that point, my human came forward and the tears fell.
I looked at the man silently.
He gently took my hands.
“Sweet girl, you are human and you do have a heart. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have all that capacity for courage.” He smiled. “You just need to awaken your heart and learn to trust it, too. Like you do your head.”
I don’t know about you, but I believe in angels on Earth. I knew, then, I had been lucky enough to earn a visit and assistance from one.
This angel had kind eyes and a heart wide open for all to see.
“So?” asked my husband when I returned home. “How did it go? Did you change his mind?”
“Nope, but he changed mine, ” I replied.
I told him about the meeting.
“So now what?” he asked.
“I’m going on a heart-opening journey,” I responded, simply.
“What does that mean? What are you going to do?” asked my husband.
“I have no idea,” I answered honestly.
What I can say, now, looking back over the past 3 years since I first embarked on this heart journey is that the power of intention is real. I have had opportunities and experiences that allowed me to learn, first hand, what it means to be led by the heart. What it means to tell the real truth about who I am and how I feel. I have truly felt emotions that I had otherwise just rationalized. I have come to know both joy and sorrow in a very different way . . . the way I was meant to experience them. I have reconnected with depths of my humanness and feel so much more alive for it.
Of course, it takes both head and heart to be a completely functioning person. Yin without Yang would be but half of an entire whole.
Yet, what I have learned has been, perhaps, the most valuable lesson of my life.
It has allowed me to celebrate my heart in a whole, new way!