Space…My Current Frontier

I like to ramble. I purge words and see how they land, mostly for me and not for audience. Writing gives me the space for this. So do recordings.

I collaborated on a video recording with the intention of identifying who I am as a coach and educator. Through that process, I heard my voice repeat “space” over and over again. “Sacred coaching space,” “Cultivate a space,” “Establish a space where,” “Using this space to dare to dream,” and on and on and on. Instead of judging myself for being so repetitive, I made a choice to listen deeper. Why was space such a recurring theme and why was it showing up at this time?

The school year had ended on the loveliest note possible. I had felt a strong compulsion to share a heartfelt message with my students and was worried I would either run out of time or nerve. So, I made an audio recording. One take. I debated whether I should play it or not. What if they thought I was the biggest dork? OK- maybe they thought that already. What if they thought it was too little too late? Is it ever too late?

I played it for all of my sections before they left. In the recording, I assured them that state testing couldn’t measure their level of awesomeness- their gifts, talents, and interests. My advice for them for next year, “Be you. Try not to impress anyone other than yourself.” I provided them with a copy of a post that I wrote in their honor, How 2B a #Grownup. Each student received a personalized message at the bottom. There were a lot of smiles. There were a surprising amount of tears. I was bombarded with hugs in the hallway. I was glad that I trusted my intuition and shared with them. I loved the space that we ended in. I floated in that space for days.

For those engaged in transformational coaching, we live to cultivate a space where people grow what they know and we serve them in truly living how they want to be. Catherine Cowan of The Holistic Way was facilitating a session on the Chakras. Catherine referred to our learning space as a “container” that she would hold open for us. That really resonated with me. It reminded me of my “Teacher’s Stand.”

“I am committed to remembering that my students are children. I hold their dreams in a container constructed of possibility and lidded by reality. It is my goal to keep the lid of reality askew so my students can reach their potential and beyond.” 

It’s been well over two years since I’ve looked at those words. My audio recording held the heart of this stance, even if I felt it missing in practice from time to time. No wonder I wanted to float in this space once it was rediscovered.

I believe the theme of space bubbled in my cauldron of words on Video Recording Day because I recognized that I failed to live up to it with a few of my peeps. Some part of me was screaming to reclaim it. But, that’s OK. Failure can inspire recommitment.

In coaching, goals or missions are often tied to imagery. Something quick that can be visualized or looked at or touched to stay grounded. Committed to in moments of stress or derailment. I use this with students, too. And, with myself.

In Decorative, Not Empty I wrote about a photo of a bench from my college years and how it represents my vision for my future. Julie is one of my clients. Throughout most of her journey, Julie has held her own metaphor of a bench. It is symbolic of how she wants to show up in her relationships. She makes choices that reflect being on the bench with the other person. The bench can shift from representing equality to care giving and care receiving or from safety to compassionate service. As with my failures, I draw inspiration from my clients’ transformations.

It’s not enough to hold a container and prop a lid. I need to be on the bench. How I show up on that bench needs to be flexible, tailored with who shares the space.

To the readers that roll their eyes or doubt my sincerity- I see you, I hear you. It’s OK. Here’s what I know about judgement. It points to an unmet need. I hope that you have the gift of space to process it. When you’re ready to explore your own cauldron of words, I’ll be waiting. On the bench.

Meanwhile, I’m going to take my own advice for this year. “Be you. Try not to impress anyone other than yourself.”

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