This morning I received a beautiful email from friend my Jeff Otis, whose home is also on Turtleback, a little bit higher than mine, with a view that is more open and expansive. In this email, Jeff writes: "Sometimes when I look out my office window, like right now, I wonder, ‘Can Rosie see the moon?’ Or, the other day when the golden afternoon light was painting Mt. Woolard, ‘Can Rosie see the beautiful light?’ I sometimes wonder what Rosie can see.”
I was deeply moved by his wonderings, and by his sharing these wonderings with me. Rarely do we know how often and how deeply we are connected to other people. And, rarely do we consider the perspectives of other people from such a wonderful open curiosity – "I wonder what Rosie sees."
Each person’s perspective on Orcas, or anywhere in the world for that matter, gives them a view of life unlike any other. Visiting friends around the Island allows me to see that their view of the world is extraordinary, and it is different from mine. This is true for the inner landscape as well as the outer.
As a life coach, when I’m doing my job well, I get to know the inner landscape of my clients. I get to see the extraordinary view of their world. The experience is exquisite for me, as I come to realize more and more that the complexities and unceasing strategies for survival override our desires to thrive in vitality and fulfillment. Our minds are truly beautiful! And, everyone’s mind creates a different view of the world, no matter what it looks like from the outside. Even people who live together for decades may never really know their partner’s, their children’s, or their own perspective, for that matter. Your view of the world is unique unto you. I wonder what you see!
Gurus sit on Mountain Tops
Some Gurus are all about being right and righteous. They sit on their lofty mountain tops pontificating the rights and wrongs, and the goods and bads of people, places and things. They tell people the right way to do everything and anything. They believe they are masters of truth and so we should listen to them.
Other Gurus understand that their viewpoint is theirs and theirs alone. They may share their perspective through writings and teachings, yet, more importantly they invite others to explore their own unique viewpoint and see the exquisite beauty of the world they have created all by themselves. They ask questions that encourage people to experience the truth of their making, and to discern if perhaps there is a different way to see thing, a different viewpoint or perspective that will enhance their personal fulfillment. They ask questions that reveal the fears that stop one from moving forward towards fulfillment. And they ask questions that inspire right action in alignment with personal truths. This is the kind of Guru-ness I aspire too.
My practice as a coach is to ask questions of my clients in a way that they can see how they are choosing to create and view their landscape. For each of us are entangled in a web of choices, and without a coach, steward, or guide, we will usually choose over and over again exactly as we have chosen in the past, and the world we view will look exactly the same, no matter where we live – even if we move to a new location, a new relationship, or a new job.
Rarely do I give advise, because rarely do people take advise – they can’t, because their patterns of thinking and being are wired to maintain status quo, regardless of the outcome.
Life coaching is about empowering people to see the choices they make: to see how they are making those choices, the outcome of those choices, and to acknowledge whether these choices actually serve their highest desires, their highest good, and their highest truth. This is big work for the coach but bigger work for the client. They have to start climbing their own mountain, and seeing what they see from different vantage points. The question I ask a lot is: "What are you seeing now, from where you are in this moment?"
Why am I telling you so much of what a life coach does? Well, because I believe that each of us have the capacity to be life coaches for ourselves. Actually, we act as life coaches, to ourselves and to others, all the time, don’t we? We have the capacity to coach ourselves to continually repeat our patterns over and over again, and we have the capacity to coach ourselves to see things differently too. But, most of us don’t want coaching, and most of us don’t want advise, though it is available from within as much as it is available from outside ourselves. We want to live on our mountain and only view the world from our habitual, though unique vantage point, no matter if it creates suffering, sadness, dissatisfaction, and discontent. Rarely do we pause to consider, "I wonder what can be seen from another vantage point?"
Every day I have to ask myself the same questions I ask my clients, especially when I’m frustrated, disappointed, and discouraged. I have to ask myself: "What am seeing now, from where I am in this moment?" Quite often, especially when I’m frustrated and feel powerless about the world I see, I ask: "Show me a different way to see this!" It sometimes takes courage to make this request, because I’m really invested in the way I see the world. It takes courage too, because I may come to see that it may be time to come off the mountain, give up my unique perspective, and perhaps journey to far off places – like Bali, to see a different world, hopefully with different eyes.
To age like a guru, we perceive everyone as a culmination of rich and challenging life experiences. We discover an ability to observe and witness without judging anything or anyone as right, wrong, good, or bad. We discover greater capacities for compassion, either because we have walked in many shoes and know there truly is no right path to walk, or we say, "There but for the Grace of God go I."
To age like a guru changes life circumstances from humiliating to humbling. We experience gratitude for the lows that we thought would kill us or drive us insane, and we experience gratitude for the highs that we thought would kill us or drive us insane.
As we age like a guru, we sit in the isness of what is, more often than not unable to make a dent in the perspective of the world, yet somehow capable of looking out our little windows and seeing that there is another way of viewing what is. . . I wonder what You see!
If you’d like to join Dr. Rosie in the AGING – Who Me? discussions at the Orcas Island Senior Center, they meet every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, from 10 – 11:30 a.m. Or, if you’d like to set up a life or business coaching session, feel free to call her at 360-376-4323.