A guy came into my office, sat down and began complaining about stress. Intense guy, going ninety miles an hour. He told me that his life is hectic, his pace is constant, he can’t relax, and he doesn’t know how to keep from being tense. I explained the idea of being present to him, told him how important it is, but he didn’t get it. He nodded his head, gave me a little lip service, then carried on with his complaint.
Now, outside my office window I have a bird feeder. Goldfinches gather on these two long nylon feeders full of seed, crashing into each other and eating like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve had these feeders up for years, largely because they’re just so pretty you can watch them for minutes at a time and forget about everything else going on in the world.
As my client was speaking, I looked out the window and, pointing at the feeders, I said, “What do you think about those?”
I looked back at my client, and as he’s looking at the birds, I looked back at the birds and listen for his response. He says, “You mean the birds?” I told him that, yes, I was referring to the birds, and I said, “These guys have been coming since 2005. It took them about six months to find the feeder. But once they hit it, they brought their family, their friends, finches they haven’t seen since high school. I mean just about every goldfinch in the tristate area comes and visits these bird feeders.”
Now the client was looking at the bird feeders. And to hold his interest, I pointed at one particularly well-fed goldfinch. I told him that this one comes here often and eats his weight in seed.
He laughed a little then, just before he goes back to his complaint, I stopped him and said, “Did you notice what just happened?”
He said, “What? What happened?”
I said, “You stopped to notice the goldfinches. You saw the fat one I was pointing to, observed the seed in the feeders, and stopped articulating your issues long enough to look outside of my window and see the goldfinches bash into each other.”
He said exactly what I thought he was going to say: “So?”
“When I guided your focus over to the birds, you paid attention. You calmed down. You were present only with the birds and their feeding. For about 20 seconds, your thoughts changed. No distractions, just you looking at those little yellow balls of feathers pigging out outside of my window.
“In the moment that I redirected your attention, you became present. You were with those birds. They were the only thing that mattered, the only thought in your head.”
I looked back at this man, and he had calmed down a little. I saw it in his breathing and I noticed it in his expression. I said, “What you did just now? That’s what ’being present’ is all about. Just focusing on something outside of yourself, giving it a little bit of attention, and allowing yourself to feel the calm that the focus facilitates. When you begin to think outside of yourself, and notice for a moment just what’s in front of you, you are present, focused only what you are seeing and experiencing. Keep noticing, and you’ll find yourself becoming a little more calm, a little more relaxed.”
He went on to describe his feelings and his issues, but came back to being present as a way to take the anxiety and strain from his emotional responses, becoming more at peace and, as a result, more effective in addressing all of the issues that brought him to my office. After a few sessions, he saw the world and, more importantly, himself and his environment very differently. His problems decreased. And his attitude toward his life improved. And just from knowing how to be present.
By entrusting us with your feelings, we help you take steps that you see necessary to begin and put forth the energy to make the needed change.
Now notice something: Trust in a coach, mentor, or guide helps you see what's in front of you. We see a Coach for Your Heart a little like an emotional Sherpa, somebody that helps you climb your mountain by pointing out where to best step along the path.
Offices in San Diego and Denver, but will travel to meet onsite anywhere in the United States and the World.