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There are days when it feels natural and instinctive to make progress on my dream of refurbishing my retreat. I might sell a bunch of Life Coaching packages and put significant money aside, feeling like I have made a big leap towards my ultimate destination. Then, there are the days when my confidence wobbles.

Life Coaching means I can recognise this place where my poise falters and the nature of the voices in my mind shifts so that the gently running stream of thoughts becomes frothy rapids, picking me up and hurling me around.

Years ago, this would have been enough to undo me, writing off weeks, even months. It’s different now. The rapids are still there, from time to time, and I get caught up in them, but I’m also standing on the riverbank watching. With my meditation practice, I used to think that I was trying to get to a place where I was calmly floating on still water, and that the arrival of a wobble was a sign that there was ‘still’ something wrong with me. Back to the drawing board on project ‘Fix Gabs’!

Standing on the riverbank, observing the rapids is not about ignoring the current or acting like life hasn’t just got frothy. It’s about seeing all of that from a different perspective. Imagine the benefit of two viewpoints: the person, spinning in the rapids and the one watching. If all I can see is churning water all around me, then all I have a chance of feeling is terror, helplessness, (or, often in my case, ‘bollox what am I doing back here again?’) By also observing from the riverbank, I might notice that I’m actually wearing a life-jacket. (It’s surprising the obvious things that come up when we change our angle of vision – and I love Life Coaching sessions when I get to see my clients’ faces in this moment.) From the bank, I might discover the frothy waters are being created by my own panic. From this angle I can tell that all I need to stop is stop thrashing, lay back and the waters will fall still.

Really?

Let me tell you about my last wobble. It came a few days ago. I felt the waters begin to froth. The discomfort of this feeling made me want to do a whole list of things that I know don’t serve me one bit. I stood on the edge of the bank and reminded myself that things always look a lot better after a walk. Here is my life jacket, (that one thing I can always depend on), if I care to use it. As much as I wanted to keep thrashing, I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. An hour later, as my state began to improve, I decided to write a page in my notebook. When I’m wobbling like this I like to use an App, which generates one-word prompts. The one that came up was ‘fine’.

I laughed. My initial response was to write about how we use this word often when we’re feeling far from it. But, as I put my pencil on the page, I went off somewhere else. The riverbank. I began to write about the fact that I had all the resources I needed. I was fine in the true sense. I had this covered.