You’re walking through the woods on a warm, bright Spring day. Everything is a lush green color highlighted by the sunlight’s rays streaming down through the branches. The path is grassy and wide and curves down a small hill. At the foot of the hill is a stream, running full and strong powered by the heavy winter’s snow melt. The water runs over the pathway, and the grass that is covered by the water sways with the current. There are several large rocks carefully placed by nature to allow pedestrians to cross. You carefully step on each of the rocks as you make your way across the small stream. You stop to watch the water flow and reach to touch it. It is cold and clear and rushes past your hand. You can see everything beneath the water: the rocks, the grass, the leftover fall leaves, and other small plants that hold on tight to keep from being swept away. The scent is intoxicating, fresh and clean. The sound is mesmerizing and your senses struggle to take it all in. When you are ready, you continue past the brook and up the hill leading in to the woods. Where will you go today? How will you know when you’re there?
When my children were young, I asked them to learn to become monitors of themselves. As a parent, I wanted them to become aware of their surroundings and their feelings so that they could keep themselves safe while away from home. I wanted them to think for themselves because I would not always be there to do it for them. I asked them to notice their behaviors and monitor if they were being appropriate in situations. I knew they would act a certain way around their friends, but they needed to learn to adjust those actions when out in public. It was important for them to learn boundaries and respect for others. I also told them to trust their feelings and if they were at someone’s home and felt uncomfortable, that they could take the steps they needed to remove themselves from the situation. I wanted them to learn to trust their higher voice, to be able to monitor their emotions and use them as guides.
We use a lot of bus metaphors where I work. Who’s riding the bus? Who’s under the bus? Who had to take the bus because they wore the wrong shoes to the walk? (That was the funniest one, but a long story.) The one I want to talk about today is who’s driving the bus? I pose that question as a metaphor for asking yourself about who makes the choices that drive your actions.
Ever since reading an article about life coaching back in 2003, I have been fascinated about the concept of coaching as a means of support for people seeking to make change in their lives. At the time, I had just come through many years of therapy and was ready for a different type of support. I found coaching’s action-oriented process exciting, challenging, and motivating. Instead of seeing my life through the lens of my past, coaching offered me a different perspective, one of looking towards the future.