There is a time to pause and a time to act.
We explored this distinction in last month’s Haven Theme Kota.
In this episode of The Gentle Rebel Podcast, I share some of the ideas that came out of our conversation.
“Books are mirrors: You only see in them what you already have inside you.”Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
I recently chatted with my friend, Adam Kawalek about what it means to “coach for insight”. As coaches, we are committed to the principle that insights, revelations, and answers don’t come from the outside-in. They aren’t imparted by the coach. They are brought to life from the inside-out. And the coach’s questions, reflections, and invitations assist this process.
Coaching For Insight
Inspiration is like a candle inside us, waiting to be rekindled. An “aha!” moment, doesn’t happen when something completely new arrives. It’s when something outside us strikes the match that catches the wick within, which then illuminates the torch that casts its light on the environment around it.
I love that as a description of coaching. We play with matches (not something I normally advocate), and see what it ready to catch a spark inside us.
Expectation vs Expectancy
There is a difference between expectation and expectancy.
Expectation is a weight that can stop us from seeing things as they really are.
Expectancy is a nerve-tickling buzz. A helium spirit. It is ready to flow through the contours of this landscape without judgement. It is flexible, adaptable, and prepared to make something memorable out of something undesirable.
The pause of expectancy allows us to receive what is there. The push of expectation is an entitled demand to repeat what is no longer necessarily there. It burdens the present with judgement and comparison based on a story from the past.
Making Inspired Decisions
Where do you feel insights in your body?
Our bodies tell us a lot about intuitive responses to ideas, people, and environments. We don’t think twice about using terms like “gut feelings”, “broken heart”, “sinking feeling”, “butterflies in the stomach”, and “jelly legs”. These describe physical responses to something going on around us.
The body might say yes or no but the mind rationalises its way to another decision. In our Kota conversation, we talked about learning to hear what the body is saying so that we can make more informed choices and inspired decisions.
Under-thinking and Overthinking
Under-thinking can occur when we only listen to the body and don’t pause to ask whether the uncomfortable sensation is part of doing something important to us. For example, feeling nervous before a performance. If I under-think the situation, I might follow the urge to remove myself from it, which in turn stops me from accessing its meaningful rewards.
Overthinking happens when we get ahead of ourselves and worry about things beyond our control. Fear of failure/success, logistical anxieties, and catastrophising everything that could go wrong – however unlikely – can turn an exciting opportunity into a pressurised ball of dread.
It’s important to maintain an open line of communication between these thoughts and feelings. Connecting with the small glimmers of joy, holding lightly, and reminding ourselves that this feeling will pass. I feel this strongly because it is important. It will not break or make me. I feel creatively energised and alive. It is a chance to play, connect, and do something I love. And if all else fails, we might anticipate the beautiful feeling that is awaiting us when it’s over. The out-breath of relief.
Where do you feel insight?
Is there a difference between toward and away from insight feelings in your physical body? When something is an invitation toward a desirable place, where do you feel it? Shoulders? Stomach? Lungs? Legs? I get it in my belly.
How would you describe that feeling? Flutter, leaping, twirling, pulsing – they are words that come to mind for me.
How about the opposite? When an away from insight arrives. When the body says “no thanks”. How does that feel? Where do you experience it? For me it is tension, tightening, throbbing, trapped, shrinking, constricted, and hunched.
We might observe and notice this information, and use it to make good decisions. Both forms of energy can lead us to under-think our actions. To push when we need to pause.
Connected vs Panicked Decisions
In any moment we might ask ourselves about the energy underpinning our decision? And what story is driving this energy? Are we in a state of internal connection or panic?
One way to gauge this is to assess whether we feel able to put space and time between the stimulus and our reaction. If not, why not? Where is the pressure to “act now!” coming from? Is there genuine life or death urgency that requires we push, or has something triggered a false alarm survival response pattern?
Pause. Notice. Become aware of the stories, comments, and environmental cues that seem to pull this chord. Take a breath and come back to a place of safe connection.
Harnessing The Creative Moment(um)
We talked about the space between insight and action. When an idea lands and new possibility occurs to us as more than a vague “wouldn’t it be nice” wish.
This insight lights the candle and illuminates a step or two on the path ahead. It feels like something that could actually happen.
The Creative Pause
Welcoming the insight is enough for this moment. It’s not necessarily the time to push forwards and get bogged down in details and decisions. Just allow this new creative possibility to breathe.
The Creative Push
The time will come when you’re ready to explore, probe, and push this possibility. What does it want to be? How might it come to life? What are the options? This is a time to act with expectancy. Notice what’s going on within. Which ideas feel alive and exciting? Which ones feel old and weathered?
The Oscillation of Inspiration
Inspiration is about breath. Breathing in, breathing out, and allowing the cycle to flow into, through, and beyond us.
Our job is to keep it flowing. Without forcing, without stalling. Remembering that when we hold your breath, we lose it.
If you’d like to join us in The Haven for future Kota conversations (or go back and watch previous ones), you can become a member at the-haven.co – it’s a virtual village where we connect, listen, and learn from the inside out alongside like-spirited people all over the world.
I finish this episode with a Sound Anchor. If you find it helpful, you can join us live in The Haven Harbour for an extended Sound Anchor in the future. Learn more here.