I find it easy to stand aside and look at what is happening around me. This is one of the reasons why I am a good coach. My clients benefit from this ability to give them the clarity of distance in their situation.
When we observe our life we see things in perspective. Keeping the bigger picture in mind helps us to disentangle from attachments and make a commitment to our vision.
It unfortunately also has a drawback. To much observing prevents us from engaging in the moment and being present in the moment is one of the important aspects of flow.
This was driven home a few weeks ago when I trained to use horses in my coaching. The horse I was working with was named “Opportunity”. We had to mark the horse. True to myself, I dipped my fingers into the paint and splattered a few drops on the horse. As I looked up, I saw my colleague painting the whole back of his horse named “Knowledge”.
What a powerful lesson! Opportunity is standing in front of you – get your hands dirty and mark it as yours.
To really move into flow I need to observe AND engage.
This insight uncovered and challenged a underlying assumption about life I have: I do not have the authority to change things.
This assumption is useful in certain aspects of life, for example it is easier to accept things as they are. Which is good for observing the bigger picture. It helps to stand without judgment in front of life and disentangle our attachments to certain outcomes.
The same assumption also dis-empowers me to create my life as I want it. Life is constantly created. Either we do it or it is done for us. More accurately – either we do it consciously or it is done unconsciously. Depending on whether you have an internal or external locus of control (locus: place – the place from which control is exercised) and whether you have an internal or external locus of causality (the place that causes things).
If I keep on believing I do not have the authority to change things, my locus of causality is external. This creates a discrepancy as it clashes with my internal locus of control belief that I am responsible for my own life. To become congruent I need to change my belief about myself.
This presents a paradox, does it not? Two seemingly opposite truths co-existing next to each other. At the same time I have the authority to engage and change life and I am part of the bigger ecosystem in which I have a rightful place to just be.
And suddenly things fall in place. Like a tree that keeps on growing – taking nutrients from the ground, filling up space and simultaneously adding value – giving shade and oxygen, I too can engage and observe.
With dirty hands