Today I took part in a Zoom coaching session titled Circle of Presence,with Nicholas Janni. Janni is a world-renowned teacher and transformational coach, and has been one of my favorite instructors. His talk today was about being present to clients, whatever their experience is. He said that nothing changes when we are trying to change something or trying to get rid of something. It is only when we become more one with that which ‘is’, that change is possible. He encouraged us to be with our clients in their experiences without trying to change them, but to ‘hold space’ for them. And how are we able to ‘hold space’? By doing our own work. With that in mind, our ‘work’ was to break into triads and each talk about what is important in our experience of these days, with the other two members fully present, listening and holding space. Before we began our breakout, Nicholas led us in an embodied meditation. As I went deep into the sensations of my body, and then into the space of awareness, an image of a crazy quilt appeared in my mind’s eye. I had no idea why that image popped up.
The first person in our triad to talk said that, for the first time in her life, she found herself having light and dark sit side by side. She had moments of deep grief, but also moments of grace where she was held by the kindness of others. That image of ‘side by side’ brought up my crazy quilt image, and I realized that I am holding many different tasks, emotions and experiences side by side at this time – different sizes and colors and shapes, but all stitched together to make a whole – the wholeness of who I am in these ‘crazy’ times.
I have moments of grief, when I hear about the latest deaths in our continuing care places, or when I hear of the biggest mass murder in our country’s history, this brought all the nearer by its effect on a dear friend who lives very near where the situation ended. I also have times of great joy, like when my granddaughter comes to spend the day with me and I see how she is growing and changing every week. I am so fortunate to have this time with her. I also have very serious times, when I must make decisions about the direction and future of our company, because of the lack of work and the inability of clients to pay us what they owe us. Some of my best time is spent in the company of my horses, who always manage to ground me as I groom away their shaggy winter hair. These are all parts of my Covid crazy quilt. They exist side by side, without any one situation or emotion overwhelming the others.
In our triad today, each of us talked about the creativity that is welling up within each of us right now. I am not surprised by this. Looking back at my picture of ‘Who do I want to be during Covid 19?’, I know that if I am not overtaken with fear, I move into that creative place, a place where new ideas take root and innovative ways of dealing with things can occur. This gives me hope for humanity. With so many people in social isolation, if we can reach out and be truly present for one another, even in a virtual way, maybe we can move out of the fear place, even if just for a while. Being present for one another, supporting one another, being with one another in whatever the experience is – this is the place where creative ways of going forward into a new ‘normal’ will be birthed.