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Federal Government Manager
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Senior Executive and Professional Coach
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author, A Theory of Everything

Birth

By Joanne Hunt

I think that we are born many times in a lifetime. We create a sort of life and we get it sort of stabilized and we think that things are sort of figured out. Then all hell breaks lose. Things break. A student dies in a motorcycle accident a week before class is to start. A teacher leaves suddenly for a more stable financial career. A diagnosis arrives unexpectedly. Or it rains. On your parade. What you were expecting doesn't happen. The impermanent structure of your expectation collapses and you are called to enter the birth canal again. What is to grow out of another broken structure?

Everything.

Breaking structure regularly is a good thing. It releases energy. It causes you to momentarily wake up. You pay attention. Without it, you become complacent, lose attention and drift through your life. There is no need to break everything! "Today I am going to leave my wife, close down my business, sell my possessions, find a suitably old and chipped monk's begging bowl, and set out on a quest of awakening." That kind of leave-taking does not bring a solution. You are actually creating a new notion of permanence: the quest of the monk. It too will break so don't turn every structure in your life upside down. Natalie Goldberg once said, "Don't break so much structure that you have no place to live."

Breaking structures is hard. It can be a little traumatic when something arises unexpectedly and for a brief moment, you stand there lost. No idea what to do. This is good. Beginner's Mind brings a certain liberation. It can be tiring always knowing what to do. At some point after structure breaks, a new reality arises. It's always hard and disruptive at first. The "new" that emerges will always bring new energy to your life. Eventually! Sometimes you can also wander around in a daze, unsure, unsettled for a long time. Maybe years. But then you realize that you have stepped into a future that is different, radically or simply different and you rejoice in the seeing. Even with the loss. And grief. And darkness.

You develop a trust in breaking structure from repeatedly taking note that you come out the other side. It is usually more poignant to remember the breakdown and not the emergence. Try noticing that you come out the other end of the tunnel. It builds a trust over time in the impermanence of life.

Sometimes I want things to stay stable for just a little longer. Do you? Did it have to break so fucking soon? Why rain? Why now? I curse the Gods. I have found it tough to be called to re-birth repeatedly in tight time frames. I become fatigued with the prospect of another developmental journey. I am weighted down by the circumstance that requires another new building, new foundation, new walls. And I have always risen to the task. It is in my nature. You can count on me. I am reliable. And still.

I want to play in daisies for a while. Romp with a new puppy. Swim down a river. Sit with a steaming coffee enjoying country air with nothing on my agenda but breathing. No call for what is next for maybe a decade or two. I want to stay in this time, in this moment, in this place. I don't want to envision new futures, new possibilities and new births that arise from a structure that cracks. Yes, Leonard Cohen, I know that the crack lets the light in but I'd like to be in the dark for awhile. Like mushrooms, perhaps I would flourish.

It is challenging to hold the duality of structure breaking because it includes both death and birth. It takes all of my strength to know that renewal may require a painful breach and that it also somehow works out; if not forever, then for awhile. I guess I have held the incorrect belief that someday I will get it figured out and that the hard won figuring will last and last and last. I won't have to do it again. I put so much energy into envisioning and erecting the "new" so perfectly. I get attached. I want it to last because it took so much of my life resource to get it in place so fully, so well thought out, so permanent.

I need to be in re-birth with a lighter touch. Not so fixated on getting it right this time so that it doesn't break but instead build a little something that is just good enough for now.

Good enough for now.
Now that's a revolutionary thought.

Maybe I'll just pour myself a glass of wine and ponder that for awhile.

© Joanne Hunt

 
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