Finding Your Sea Legs
… navigating in life’s stormy seas and rogue waves
Stop for just a moment and let yourself feel this … it’s an experience I think we’ve all had in some form. Imagine you’re out in a boat. It’s a gorgeous day, you’ve charted your course, you’re sailing along … and something completely unanticipated happens – a rogue wave comes out of nowhere and hits the boat broadside.
You feel rocked; perhaps the boat is swamped, maybe even overturned. For at least a few moments the shock of the sudden impact makes it hard to catch your breath. If you actually find yourself underwater, your survival instinct kicks in. You find yourself thrashing about trying to orient yourself and get to air – the feeling of panic rising the longer it takes you to reach the surface.
It’s not just small sailing boats that are affected by rogue waves, large cruise ships, tankers and even oil drilling platforms are impacted … when a rogue wave happens, nothing and no one in its path escapes. And the aftershocks of this kind of experience keep reverberating through those who have experienced it long after the immediate danger has passed.
Even if you’re simply imagining this, you’re not crazy, cowardly or stupid if you cringe and your gut knots at the thought of experiencing a rogue wave – some who have lived through it have vowed never to go to sea again.
The thing is, rogue waves are a part of life even on land – they just come in different forms. That’s why we can all identify with the understandable impulse to avoid them, and the challenge of navigating them.
Triggers for rogue waves – on sea and on land …
The causes of rogue waves at sea remain a bit of a mystery, but research has found they occur far more frequently and their impact is far greater than once imagined. What’s known is they can occur without warning. On land we experience these out-of-a-clear-blue-sky rogue waves when we go in for a routine physical exam, get called back to the Doctor’s office and hear a diagnosis that rocks our sense of security and forever changes our lives. The surprising news of loss of a job, or ending of a significant relationship can rock our lives just as deeply.
Other times especially in stormy seas, rogue waves are created when a series of waves travelling at different speeds pile up together making a cumulative giant wave.
I was on a call with a friend recently. Just the month before her 58 year-old brother had dropped dead. Three weeks later, his childhood friend with whom she’d enjoyed reconnecting at her brother’s funeral also died suddenly. As we were talking, a second call came in on her line. Recognizing her brother’s last name on the call display was enough for my friend to feel the effect of this series of waves combining to touch off the beginning of a cumulative rogue wave rising inside her.
Even without this type of experience in your personal life, it would be hard to be on social media and not recognize the impact of the series of surprising and unanticipated celebrity deaths that have occurred recently – many of whom seemed to be healthy and vital. Fans reeled as reports of each new death became public. 2016 became known as the year people waited anxiously to end in hopes that the series of deaths would end with it.
And scientists have found another set of conditions that also greatly increase the possibility of rogue waves: the coming together of winds and waves moving in one direction, and strong currents moving in the opposite direction.
Meeting the current causes the waves to pile up, sending individual peaks higher. In life on dry land, it’s also possible to recognize this pattern of forces colliding – whether in the lives of individuals meeting and reacting to circumstances that trigger a reaction in them that’s often explosive, or in groups clashing over strongly held opposing political or religious ideologies.
Whether close to home or around the globe, this pattern of colliding world views eats away at our sense of safety and security, and is becoming painfully familiar. Though many around the world haven’t had this for years, the sense of safety and security in our western world has truly been shaken.
Truth is, the illusion of the veil of safety has been ripped. Even though we’d like to imagine it’s possible, there really is no guaranteed safe place or time. There is no escaping our new reality.
Without a doubt, life is inviting – perhaps even challenging – us to co-create a different way of living with the pain of this uncertainty. Even though there are some who continue to act based on the belief that we can somehow outthink and overpower others who are “moving in the opposite direction”, it’s more obvious than ever that these strategies we’ve used in the past are no longer sufficient to meet the complexities of life today.
So what do we do? How do we meet these challenging and often scary times?
What if you could …
- Gain clarity – Understanding and using the signs around you to navigate life – even when you’re feeling swamped.
Learn how to orient your thinking and, even in the middle of a storm, to use the cues embedded in your emotional responses to turn directly into the waves – facing them squarely and moving toward what’s coming to you.
Even though turning away from the waves is such an understandable impulse, the reality is that being crossways to the waves is both very uncomfortable, and also the most probable way to be swamped and sunk.
- Expand your capacity – Engaging practice in noticing – becoming attuned to recognizing and acknowledging what’s happening, and how best to respond.
It’s important to notice when it’s the moment to stand and face the storm, and when it’s time to go to shore and access support, respite and repair for any damage the waves have caused. There are times when periods of prep or rest are called for, and wisdom in knowing when to say ‘yes’ to that.
- Cultivate the companionship of community – this program isn’t about quick fixes. We’re in this for the long haul.
In this program, there’s a sharing of perspectives and practices which, as we engage them, expand capacity and open possibility. Together we can support each other as we hone our skills, offer our unique contributions, and continue to co-create the world of our best envisioning.
You can do this, and here’s how …
This program is like a bridge connecting head, heart and body. It combines a clear, cognitive framework, practices for dealing with our often swirling emotions, and taking practical action. To the extent that you gain clarity, expand capacity and cultivate the companionship of community, you’ll experience continued growth, greater freedom, and more joy – regardless of what’s happening ‘out there’.
What you’ll be doing is building greater capacity for:
- Powerfully grounded presence – from which you can make …
- Choices that are true to you – and nurture …
- Deep authentic connections – that lead to …
- Expression of your unique creative gifts in our world.
Along the way you’ll receive support in 3 ways …
- This work really is a gestalt, a unified whole, but for the purposes of teaching/learning (and so you don’t feel swamped!), we break the whole into the initial 5 weekly 90-minute sessions, each session focusing on a different part of the whole process, and adding additional parts of the practice.
- Session 1 – Understanding and Acknowledging the ‘Normalcy’ of Our Human Responses
- Session 2 – Creating a Different Relationship with Pain
- Session 3 – Putting Your Own Oxygen Mask on First
- Session 4 – Attending to Our Environments
- Session 5 – Putting It All Together – Creating from the Inside Out
- Theoretical knowledge on its own doesn’t create transformation and change! This work is about practical application in your everyday life. And so the 5 session introduction is followed by three additional 60-minute practice calls at 2 week intervals.
You’ll have the chance to bring to these calls any questions and challenges you meet in applying these principles and practices in your life. In sharing your own, and also hearing others share theirs, you’ll be supported in actually embodying this work.
- To further support you in your journey of practically applying this work in your life, if you’re feeling the need for additional coaching support during the practice part of the program, be in touch. If there’s need, I will offer additional 60 minute private coaching sessions at special program rates.
Also, all calls will be recorded. So both for times you may need to miss a call, and for deepening your practice later, you’ll have access to the recordings.
You’ll know you’re ready for this program if …
You’re feeling one or more of these:
- frustrated with or upset by your reactions, choices or capacity
- disoriented and caught in the swirl of the pain
- disconnected from your core, and having a hard time catching your breath
- feeling exhausted and running low on reserves
- unclear about your deep desires and missing that aliveness in your life (or recognizing your deep desires and feeling scared about what it would mean to create this in your life).
AND – you’re open to the possibility of:
- Not just feeling the pain of the upset, disorientation, disconnection, exhaustion, or lack of clarity, but feeling this AND having at least a sense that there’s got to be more to life than this. That way you’re open to exploring what else might be possible – even if you have no idea how, or if you’ve tried all kinds of things that haven’t ‘worked’ and so feel the frustration, and perhaps sense of betrayal, that you still feel stuck!
Without a sense of possibility, connecting with ourselves and our deep desires is too painful. So we continue to focus our attention ‘out there’. We blame the waves, fight with storm, make others wrong (they may well be!), want them to change (that might be a wonderful idea!)
Eventually, if we stay long enough in those familiar painful patterns, getting swamped over and over again, we become exhausted and at risk of glubbing under …
It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m inviting you into a different possibility.
If you’d like to hear more, read on …
The Promise of this Program
As we develop our sea legs, our relationship with the ocean of life changes. We have more confidence in our capacity to respond to what’s happening, and this impacts our:
- Relationship with navigating uncertainty and the unknown
- Ability to stay afloat and move toward our destination when things are choppy and we feel the swirl of the sea of emotions
- Need to control, and instead, we experience greater freedom to choose our responses to whatever is happening in our lives.
All this leads to an expansion in our capacity to hold as possible what we most deeply desire … as well as the resulting joy of RICH-er relationships with ourselves, others, and with Life itself.
Three more versions of what might have brought you here, and prompt you now, to say ‘yes’ to this invitation …
- Maybe in your life, you’ve grown up on land and stayed close to shore – just dipping into the sea. You’ve been warned and conditioned to play it safe, but are feeling bored and unsettled by these urges that rise up in you to risk going to sea.
Nothing can replace real on-the-water lived experience, but this program is a great place to begin to learn some important basic skills to support you on the journey of saying “yes” to the call of your life.
- You may know the exhilaration and joy of movement through and across the familiar waters and circumstances of your life, and you may also have discovered it doesn’t always work that way … You may have been minding your own business and taking care of things, and had the painful experience of being hit by a rogue wave or running into a sand bar that’s not on the charts. You may be in the midst of that initial confusion and disorientation of wondering “What’s happening here?!”
There might be a sense of feeling assaulted by the unanticipated – “I played by the rules, and did everything right – this isn’t fair.” If this is your experience, this program can support you to get back underway again.
- Perhaps you’ve risked going out again and again, trying all sorts of things, or the same things or tools many times and are still getting swamped. You may be feeling battered, betrayed, and angry or tempted to give up.
The dialogue in your head might be along these lines, “This shouldn’t still be happening. I can’t keep doing this! Either life’s just not fair, I’ve been wrong about my sense of calling, or there’s something wrong with me. Either way I’m having a hard time trusting.”
What if there was another way of holding these painful experiences?
The perspectives, principles and practices offered in this program might support you in finding that, as well as ways to access the courage and develop the resilience to risk again.
If you’re recognizing yourself in any of these stories, now may be the time for you to experience the full power and richness of this work …
At the moment, we’re not taking registrations for this program …