When my coachee gets closer on her bicycle I can see right away that things are not going well for her. She is in her early thirties, with a busy family and a busy job. She enjoys doing a session together just before the start of her work, to feel better at the start of her hectic work day.
We arranged to meet in the parking lot of the Amsterdamse Bos. It is very early and still dark, there are only the lamp posts of the parking lot. Her face is pale and tired looking, her shoulders droop low. This is the fourth time we meet.
Caught in the dark
Together we walk into the dark forest. She says that she has a bad headache and that she slept badly. Her voice is thin and uncertain. She is looking up to the team day planned at her work for today like an unsurmountable mountain; she contemplates calling in sick.
I let her talk: about the pressures at home, the pressures at work. The choices she has to make. The feeling that she imprisoned between two sides. Her mood is almost darker than the forest. While she talks the sky begins to get lighter, slow but sure. Tentatively birds start to sing.
Points of light
While walking and talking we come to an open field. It is becoming brighter, as is her mood. I notice that on the way something has changed in her through our talking, and also through the silences.
Instead of only seeing darkness, she can now also see points of light. All at once she can see the things that have gone well. She realizes that she has also made some very good choices. By being in the here-and-now, and by paying attention to her surroundings, she has achieved a different mindset.
While standing in the open field we are surprised by the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. Breathtaking. And my coachee literally sees the light. Something heavy drops from her shoulders. She has hope. And that hope gives her space. Just like we are now standing in this light open space instead of the close dark trees.
By actually starting to move her energy started to flow again, and with that her new insights. It is fantastic that nature supports this human endeavor, and even rewards us with that gorgeous sunrise!
Her despair was slowly but surely replaced by hope. Hope gives space. She is no longer skeptical; such a negative view destroys the road to hope. She realizes that, even if you are skeptical for just a moment, there is always a route to the light. No matter how dark. And if you look carefully there are always points of light. That is what hope does: there is space again for new ideas and new steps.
While she had earlier contemplated calling in sick, she decided to go to work for the team day. She needs less of herself. She will tell them that she is not feeling well, that is just the way it is. But she can still be there, even if she does not feel well. And perhaps the most important: she has permitted herself to be there. From there she will find out what the team day will bring.
Together we walk back to the parking lot. With a happy wave she says goodbye, and cheerfully she bicycles to her work: to the team day. I wave at her, happy, and realize why I love my profession.
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