Coaching Through Transitions

One Degree Changes

A change of one degree will completely alter your destination, my friend Jasmin tells me. This is the theme of her coaching work. By looking at past transitions and seeing patterns, you discover more about your current location. With her guidance, you can better understand the nudges and the leaps that marked transitional times. This helps you understand how one degree of change can alter the destination.

I am documenting the experience of being coached through these transitions in a series of posts. This is 1 of who knows how many.

Week One

Recently a friend gave me the gift of her coaching services. She’s from South Africa where she was involved in conflict resolution and the anti-apartheid movement. When she moved to the Netherlands, she had to find a whole new way of being in the world, so she combined her skills in conflict resolution and transformation to helping individuals set a course towards the future.

She does this by helping you map out 3 past transitions and identify patterns. By identifying patterns in your behavior, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses and make the small changes you need to in order to meet your current goals.

I am writing this because it’s been such an amazing gift. In just one week and with just one transition story, I gained more insight into myself than I expected. I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly open book, but I have kept secrets from myself. What a shocker!

In the first coaching session with Jasmin Nordien of One Degree Changes, I used the term “unmoored” to describe myself. She asked me spend the week leading to our following session journaling about this term.

Three white children playing on the beach, lake in the background
Me and my sisters at Miller Beach

When I was moored

There was the gentle roll of sand sometimes coming together to form a dune, sometimes collecting against the rusting barrier that held contained the grass covered yards of the people like us who called this place home. At one time this would have been the home of the Pottawatomi and not us at all, the children and grandchildren of working class immigrants, who made a living from steel and the lake.

During one particularly cold winter, the waves of the lake froze, stuck in time.

This is the place I am moored to. It holds the landscape that grips my soul and contains all that is me: the Jewish me, the American me, the optimistic and happy me, the pessimist me, and the me who is rooted in justice. This is where I was nurtured…

When I was unmoored

When I was unmoored from this place, I lost a sense of the place of home for good. I found home elsewhere: in a particular chocolate cake or a bowl of chicken soup, in an aroma or a song. But not in a place.

The entries from my week of journaling began with negatives. I was looking at what I lacked and what felt lost. When we moved from northern Indiana, I lost my sense of place. When my grandfather died, I lost my belief in God. I have lost dreams and ambitions and even irreplaceable documents.  When I moved to the Netherlands, I lost my career.

I have often felt like I was flailing, a constant potential caught in my heart, unable to escape.

And then, the morning of the second session, I woke up and wrote this:

So…

The sense of being unmoored, is also one of being attached to something deeper and more long-lasting: the intimacy of family and siblings, the call to justice, the longing for peace.

Maybe this sense of being unmoored is how I not only weather storms but also enjoy them. Maybe it’s the gift of acceptance, of meeting people where they are.

Being unmoored is about movement. It’s what makes it possible for me to let go of bad ideas and keeps me learning and growing and changing.

So, although I sometimes feel untethered, I feel deep abiding connection to these values that cannot be broken.

The script flipped. I realized that unmoored did not mean without a core. I have a core. It burns inside me. It keeps me honest and dedicated.

So another week of thanks.

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