This week’s client story is about an executive I coach named Greta. A global leader, Greta is highly structured at her job because she has so much responsibility. Previous to learning about the inside-out nature of life, she would bring all that structure home with her. She tried to keep everything running on a tight schedule in her household, including her husband and kids! Her marriage was becoming strained, and she kept thinking her husband needed to get some therapy.
When Greta learned about the inside-out nature of life, she noticed that her mind became quieter. There were spaces where normally thoughts would be speeding through her head. At first it was a leap of faith for her to stop doing so much of the thinking she normally did, because she thought it was what kept everything running, that it was the secret to her success. But once she saw the Thought-Feeling connection, it soon became apparent that she was hurting herself by thinking this way so much of the time. She said the image she got for the way she thought was of someone dutifully playing the scales of a piano – pushing ever onward. You can think in ways like this for a while, but then it begins to take its toll on you.
As Greta let go of some of these thought habits, her life began to change. She began arranging her work schedule so that she worked from home one day a week, and had more time with her family. She was more easy going about the household schedule and routines. Everyone began to relax more, have more fun, and enjoy more quality of life.
Greta’s husband traveled a lot, and was mostly home on weekends. “Previous to realizing this, before my husband came home I would make sure my hair was washed, the house was spotless, and I had made him a fabulous dinner. This time before he came home I thought, ‘Do I really want to be doing all of that right now?’ The answer was a clear ‘no!’ So I didn’t take a shower, the house wasn’t spotless and we had leftovers. And you know what? We had just as good a time as ever. I asked him later if he had minded that I hadn’t made everything perfect, and you know what – he hadn’t even noticed! That really surprised me! I had been pressuring myself all these years to try to make everything the way I imagined he wanted it. I realized I was doing all that because of a routine I’d invented years ago, and I was sticking to it, even though sometimes I didn’t need to do any of those things, and they really didn’t make a difference to my husband.”
When Suzanne stopped doing all the things she habitually did in preparation for her husband’s return, she was amazed at what happened.. Because there were now cracks in the schedule, nature’s design could begin to re-assert itself. On one weekend she heard about a fun family outing that they all went on; later that day friends of both her kids invited them over, so she had an unexpected ‘date night’ with her husband. She said that, previous to this these opportunities may have been there, but she would have missed them because of keeping to her tight schedule. ‘It’s as if nature has a design all along, that I have been missing because I’ve been so determined to do everything perfectly. But in doing that, I’ve been missing out on opportunities I could never have imagined – often much better than what I could come up with.’
Isn’t it beautiful the way nature’s design is always there, just beneath the surface of our lives, of the plans we create, of the thought worlds we get lost in? And that, when our thoughts settle and our minds clear, we get gifted yet again but the beauty and intelligence of a design we had no idea was there.
With love, Annika