The Man said "I want to go deeper, I want to spend longer",
and the Witch said "Let's drink tea together, sitting with others."
And the alchemy worked in the Man, space and stilling
birthing growth far beyond even the dreams of that first grasping.
I hesitate to even name and describe it, so I just call it gossamer - approaching hard edges with softness.
Limiting thinking that anything worthwhile needs to involve striving and struggle is often connected with major change initiatives - the battle cry of transformation rings out, so ‘big stuff’ is coming, accompanied by great plans and stratagems, and the message that the disruption may be difficult, but will be worth it in the end (and unspoken “for those that survive”).
“Sometimes you have no words.
Not because you’ve lost the poetry, but because you’ve become it.
Everything you are now sings the song that can’t be sung,
only lived and breathed with every breath.” (McCall Erickson)
gossamer maybe doesn’t even seem real in contrast to hard goals and outcomes. It is other than, ethereal. Yet from working in its spaces, scaffolding insights emerge that become the structure of healthy, beneficial change. The alchemists call this transmuting - changing appearance and characteristics.
Most folks have already had glimpses of it. Think of those times when you were in a particularly idyllic or settled place, and somehow you had an insight into a problem, a way forward emerged that previously didn’t even exist. You cast your eyes upon a vista, a painting or piece of sculpture, and it seems to work within you to bring you to a different form of realisation and knowing. Someone says something in a way that makes new connections for a group, and entirely different understandings and possibilities are right there in front of everyone.
The ways of gossamer are already known to you, the possibility is all around us: in silence and in gentle ancient practices like tea and yoga. I relish the nourishment that being in practice and with teachers in these spaces gives me. What is wonderful is that we can cultivate this space and activate it in working with others in coaching and helping relationships.
What seems to be understood or released so suddenly has been held by the body for a long, long time. And yet “What is precious inside of us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.” (David Whyte)
- Crafting a good container and giving the past a place,
- Being with the present, just as it is,
- Being in front of and beyond processes and models,
- Wisdom and maps alongside and behind,
- Going outside of the logic of presenting polarities,
- Opening paradigms alternate to that of a beginning question or issue,
- Working ‘as if your head had been cut off’ and letting the knowing body speak.
Working with a clients metaphorical and spatial territory is like touching gossamer. They begin to mine not previously conscious, perhaps even mythical, meaning making and intelligence, emerging entirely fresh insights and ways of taking action.
The mind is known to work best in the presence of a question, yet the body feels and understands best in the presence of a 'true' sentence. As coaches and facilitators, 'true' sentences emerge from presence and allowing our body to speak. From such a sentence a shift in state emerges in those we work with. That is so often enough, at least in the moment. Later, movement and action, or choices not to act, emerge, now from a different form and state.
What is it that troubles this place?
The alchemy of fresh inner understanding is often difficult to articulate because the conscious mind hasn’t yet made sense of it, but we ‘know it’ because we can feel it. Details, specifics, plans may later be useful, but so often they now seem superfluous, with only adjustments and refinements required.
So, I see that these 'gentlest of interventions’ can have a more profound and lasting impact than striving for goals and outcomes.
We hold so much within our bodies, so much pain and so much knowing, encoded long, long ago, and waiting to be released or brought again into light. Healing and growth can be at its most profound and exquisite in the safety and strength of delicate simplicity.
In inviting you to step into your own very personal exploration, to activate these spaces for yourself, I offer this encouragement:
Wake up to the edge of your wonder,
to the pain held in your body,
to the love that surrounds you,
giving everything its place.
Go to the edges,
just to the edges,
be still there and stay awhile.
Discover what’s possible now,
beyond the edge,
a breath away.