Thursday, March 11, 2010

Solutio: Releasing Buried Emotions

(Second in the series on alchemy as metaphor for great coaching)

Imagine your relationship with clients as a dynamic vessel within which all the elements of transformational change are generated. To have the necessary presence for deep change to take place, we might ask ourselves:
How can I create the space for clients to step into the fire (calcinatio), free buried and repressed emotions (solutio), discover and pursue an illuminated vision (solificatio), hold to the course when shaken by disorientation or despair (nigredo), dissolve negative beliefs (separatio), "kill" their ego attachments (mortificatio), find a new spiritual perspective (sublimatio) and soul power (coagulatio), and become more whole (coniunctio)?
Following my blog post about calcinatio, now we explore solutio:
Solutio, the second order of alchemical practices, uses the purifying and dissolving properties of water to return to its most basic state the whitened ash left from burning away our ego-based illusion of reality. This dissolution works on the heart to release buried emotions.
Some of your clients, especially if they're in helping professions, will find it particularly difficult to acknowledge and explore their own needs and emotions. All of us, though, have elements of self-image fed by pride that form barriers to self-knowledge.

As my client Doris said,
It's been tough for me in the journey to find behaviors I don't like about myself. I took a serious step away from trying to fix everybody's life around me. That was relatively easy. The hard part is taking charge of my own life, loving and accepting myself and other people for who we are. And it's O.K. if I'm screwed up.

The way I'm most different is with my daughter. I used to fix everything because I didn't want her to hurt, I didn't want her or her kids to do without. I enabled her to avoid reality, and I've not done her a service. So I've gently eased out of that, though it was a struggle. She'd say, "Mom, my daughter forgot this, can you run it by her school," and I'd say, "No, honey, I'm sorry, I'm late for work."

If something comes in my face a couple of times and I think I've dealt with it, but it keeps coming back, I know I haven't dealt with it! I've used journaling and meditating to help me get a clean slate, stay centered. It's a journey and I know I'll slip off the path, but not quite as deep anymore. Being able to recognize these patterns when they come up has been such a gift. I always know that no matter what happens, I'll get through it.
(See also Calcinatio, Solificatio, Nigredo, Separatio, Mortificatio, Sublimatio, Coagulatio)

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