“And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills / ‘Till Landslide brought me down.” – Stevie Nicks from the song Landslide
I went to visit my 83-year old mother yesterday. She struggles with Parkinson’s, a disease the makes everything harder.
And during our afternoon banter, she asks me: “Do you remember what the 5-year old boy says to his mother when asked to recite the golden rule? — “Do it to others before they do it to you.”
“Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.” – a Zen saying
Developmental shifts happen all the time. And they are very hard to spot.
In my last blog (…conscience as necessary forgiveness…), I described the developmental shift that happens when the intangible is more highly valued than the tangible. Necessary forgiveness re-establishes trust. Trust and forgiveness are what we give ourselves once we accept the intangible – both as an expectation and as an agreement. There is more than “heaven and earth” here – if we can learn to see it.
“Complete possession is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you.” — Andre Gide
I need to apologize.
My last blog, entitled …conscience as the folly of self-determination…, might have led some of you to assume I’m NOT in favor of self-determination. Au contraire. What coach would be worth is salt if he/she did not place high value on self-determination?
So I need to be more nuanced. Self-determination is no folly; it’s just that issues of conscience cannot be solved by focusing solely on self-determination. No one is an island. So being transparent and honest about our need for shared interdependence and trust gives us a whole lot more room to work with.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a family where verbal adages and maxims carried a whole lot more weight and meaning than what the words themselves might indicate. And I doubt that I’m alone in that.
As radical as it sounds, families are closed systems. Oh sure, families DO relate to other systems and in that sense they are open – but they are often treated as “closed” by virtue of their membership. The bond of blood creates a dividing line which culturally is hard to overcome. Not everyone can join.
I’m going to stick my neck out here.
I’m going to tell you — without any empirical data — that people filter data according to what is useful and valuable to them AND they overcome those filters in ways that can only be described as learning. But here’s the catch: learning is not entirely voluntary. Learning is simultaneously unreflective, unconscious, and involuntary AND reflective, conscious and voluntary. Learning is both completely intentional AND completely instinctual.
So… what’s going on here? … Is this a nature – nurture discussion? … Well, yes … and no. Let me explain.
“How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!”
– O, Little Town of Bethlehem
Christmas is almost here. The season of Advent announces the coming of a momentous new beginning, the fulfillment a deeply held sense of expectation — our belief that more is yet to come. The gift we wait for is just ahead, just around the corner. We only need to offer ourselves to it.
Son: You know about icebergs, dad?
Father: Do I? I saw an iceberg once. They were
hauling it down to Texas for drinking water.
They didn’t count on there being an elephant
frozen inside. The wooly kind. A mammoth.
— Excerpt from Big Fish
I commented to a friend that I only own two movies in my movie library: Big Fish (a 2003 father and son drama by Tim Burton, starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, and Jessica Lange) and the 1962 version of The Miracle Worker (about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke).
And I really never stopped to consider how much those two particular movies shape my thinking as a coach. My comments today will be about Big Fish, and tomorrow they will be about The Miracle Worker.