I first learned what a life coach was about 6 years ago when I was living in Chicago. I had gone to a workshop that looked at all aspects of people's lives via a long questionnaire we filled out. The woman who was running the workshop was a life coach. I found myself judging her to seem a little..."out there." But I was intrigued. The workshop ended up being really beneficial and at the end she offered the students in the class a free coaching session with her.
A life coach? Someone who is going to let me talk about anything and listen to me deeply? And it was NOT therapy? I had to give it a try. The whole concept of coaching was strange and foreign to me and I didn't know what I could really learn from this eccentric woman but I eagerly set up my call.
I can still remember sitting on my red couch in my living room having the intro call with her - a mix of nervousness and excitement inside my heart and mind. What was this conversation going to bring up?
At that point in my life I had my anxiety much more under control thanks mostly to therapy but still felt like I was floating to a degree - or could be carried away if the winds were strong enough. I told her this. And through her support and empowering questions, out of my own mind and heart came a metaphor that would serve me for many years to come. It was really about the only thing I can remember from that phone call. I said that I metaphorically was a boat ready for the sea. I wanted the freedom that the boat brought in addition to the openness and awe that the ocean offers. But I also wanted a place to be able to anchor. Freedom, excitement, adventures and new challenges, yes, but also security, calm, safety and rest. A place to anchor my mind and soul when they were not co-captains at sea.
The image of an anchor took on huge symbolic meaning for me and ended up being somewhat of a guide as I checked in with myself, made decisions and decided how I wanted my life to look. Just thinking of the anchor had a certain calming effect on me. I even wondered if I should get an anchor tattooed onto my body as an everyday, obvious reminder. But then I thought better of it and remembered how much I don’t like needles. Instead, I settled for a necklace that I found in a seaside California town. The necklace had a large, silver anchor charm hanging from the chain. I put it on immediately after I made the purchase and wore it often - sometimes hiding it under my shirt. I loved being able to grasp it and feel its shape and its weight.
Fast forward to present day and I’ve found that I haven’t thought about the anchor as much in recent years. It had been years since I wore it. Had I become the anchor? Had I started to embody it so much that I didn’t need to think of this outside object? Or did I no longer want that same sense of ever being tethered anymore? It’s hard to say. But I do know that in my recent work with my own coach, a new powerful visual has emerged. And I must say, it’s one that reflects my even more empowered, even more badass self these days rocking out this chapter of life I'm currently in.
My new metaphor is that the perpetually burning flame inside my heart and soul is no longer a weak, flickering candlelight on the verge of burning out but rather it is a strong, powerful torch of fire. Not the type of fire that is angry, scary or dangerous. But the kind that has tremendous strength, heat and light. It’s passionate, it’s bold and it’s productive. I made an image to represent this new me - a simple picture of a body outline with beautiful flames in the chest cavity. The flames soar up from the core and through the throat and voice box. I think it means my soul and authentic self wants to speak through my voice and share my true self with the world.
Something else happened recently. I decided to clean out my closet and organize all my jewelry. I pulled out the old necklace of an anchor, part of it now turned green from tarnish. I wore it for the first time in years and it reminded me of that zany, skillful life coach I met all those years ago who from a simple 30 minute sample session came such a powerful metaphor that helped carry me through as I sailed through the adventures of the next several years. I love that I have this necklace still that served me well during that time and is now a reminder of that period in my life. It holds extra special meaning as I am now a life coach. I love that it is a throwback to when I first learned there was such a thing as a life coach. Do you know what else I love? I love that the anchor is not tattooed onto my body. :-)
Do you have an image or metaphor that describes your life right now? How about one that describes the life you desire?