Posted by: Marie | October 29, 2013

(888) So, what’s the problem? – Part 3 of 4

Post #888
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 about a coaching session – continued from previous post]

[ Audio file – Part 2 ]

George: So, going to the other side of the coin . . . what if you chose not to work with any of those challenged kids and you just focused on the ideal clients, what would be different in your business?

Me: (Becoming emotional again) There would be a hole there because that’s the part of (sigh) . . . that’s the part that connects me . . . I mean . . . (sigh)

(With a quivering voice) With ideal clients, they’re . . . that’s fun and easy and effortless . . . but then my heart reaches out and I think I would feel . . . I don’t know . . . the toughest clients are the ones that I ache the most for . . . that I . . . they are the ones that keep me up at night . . .


Photo by Martin Chen

George: Okay . . . okay . . .

So just step back for me and take a moment, and take a look at . . . ideally, what would you like to have happen in this context that we are talking about . . . like with the whole cheesy question of . . . if you could wave the magic wand . . . what ideally would be happening?

Me: That these kids would have an “ah ha” moment where they would realize they are capable of playing piano . . . that they start believing in themselves, that they find a way to express what is going on inside of them . . . because sometimes kids find that in art or in whatever . . . you know . . . I think it would give them an outlet . . . to have a voice that they maybe wouldn’t have otherwise . . .

George: Okay.

Me: It would give them a source of pride. So ideally, I would be able to flip that switch.

George: Okay, so you would like to continue to work with some of these challenged kids and get them to open them up and help them see their gifts.

Me: Right.

George: Okay . . . all right . . .

Me: And it is important that I do that.

George: Is there a certain point in time, in the process, where you can sense that they’re not going to open up?

Me: I have one student in particular that I can think of, and I know she is never going to click with music but I feel like I can talk to her and feel like she is heading down a really dangerous path, and I feel like maybe . . . just the connection that we have . . . maybe I can be of help to her as some things are unfolding . . . I believe she’s going to get into some destructive behavior. So, I know that she’s never get lit up by the music . . . and she’s probably the one that . . . [I think to myself] “Oh, maybe I would let go of her at some point . . . “

George: Okay . . . all right . . .

So, you have ideal clients, and then you’ve got some of the challenged kids that come through that aren’t so ideal but that your heart wants to serve and be a contribution to these people.

Me: Right.

George: So, what’s the problem?

Me: I don’t know how to do that . . . I don’t know to reach them.

George: If you did know, how would you?

(I quietly giggled because I found humor in his question)

Me: (After a pause) The only way I know is to demonstrate my joy around it.

(Another pause)

Me: (Becoming emotional again) I can’t share a lot of my story with the kids. But, music was kind of my savior . . . it’s what gave me an outlet to deal with stuff . . .

George: So, in this scenario, it sounds like you’re becoming more of a counselor . . . a kind of coach . . . type of mentor kind of person . . . ??

Me: With using the tool of music . . . without getting into . . . obviously, I’m not a psychological counselor, but how to use music as a part of that healing tool box.

George: Okay . . . all right . . .

As coaches, or as counselors . . . (turning to the group) some of you are coaches, counselors, therapists . . . a lot of time we have this expectation that we set up for ourselves that every single person that we work with, we have to give them the breakthrough that we want for them. But, the truth is that no matter how profound of a statement or insight you have for them, people are only ready to hear what they are ready to hear, feel what they are ready to feel, and see what they are ready to see.

And it’s not our jobs to play God and try to force change or force opening amongst people, it’s our job . . . (turning back to me) and you said it so perfectly . . . is to be you, is to completely be you. And if they choose to see that as something they want to open up into, then it’s always going to be their choice.

So, what would be different if you took the pressure off you to be their savior?

Me: I guess I don’t see it as being a pressure like I have to flip the switch . . . I see it as . . . my part is to continue showing up.

George: Okay . . . and are you?

Me: I do.

George: Okay . . . so, what’s the problem?


George: And, again, thank you for being so open in exploring . . .

Me: Thank you . . .

Um . . . I guess knowing when to let go . . . (an almost-sob filling up my throat) or, you know . . . because I just know that a lot of these kids, nobody is standing up for . . . nobody is . . .

George: Okay . . . come back for a moment . . . knowing when to let go . . .

How can you become more clear on when to let go?

Me: I don’t know . . . I don’t know that . . .

George: If you did know, what would it be?


George: (Turning to the group) When we use the words “I don’t know”, we cut off our brilliance and our awareness in a lot of cases, and so that simple question – “If you did know, what would it be?” – opens a new door for exploration.

(He turned back towards me)

Me: I don’t have . . . I don’t have that answer in front of me . . .

George: What’s the energy that the question brings?

(Long pause)

Me: (Very emotionally) It brings up my own story.

George: Okay . . . and what’s that?

(Long pause as I struggled for composure and as I figured out what I was going to say next . . . )

Me: Music is a natural part of who I am . . . and when I was four, the choir director of our church molested me and used the piano as our connection. And, even though I stayed involved in music through high school and college, once I really didn’t have that in front of me . . . like a reason to play, I still ached to play and to create music, but didn’t . . . I shut it down because it was too emotional – too raw.

George: Yeah . . .

Have you done some inner work – deep work – around this?

Me: Absolutely.

(Some of the people in the audience know about all the effort I’ve put into my healing journey, so they gently laughed – in a supportive way – at this question . . . )

Me: So, like four or five years ago, my career had dissolved that I had . . . I had a very successful career in software development that went away, lost everything I owned . . . my house . . . and was basically homeless if it hadn’t have been family . . . and struggling to come back from that, I was suicidal a lot of times . . . tried to rebuild, tried to figure out what my new identity would be, would I ever be a productive person again.

I finally got a job doing clerical work . . . I realized I needed to do something to pull myself out of this hole . . . started going to therapy and that’s when the memories of all of this stuff came up . . .

(From the timekeeper guy) Five minutes . . .

Me: Okay, thank you . . .

When the memories started coming up and I was dealing . . . trying to believe myself that what I was remembering was true. And, in the middle of all of that, my housemates, on a whim, went to a garage sale and bought a piano . . . so, a piano shows up . . . and they said, “All we need is a piano teacher now.” I said, “Well, it’s been twenty years, but I can play . . . let me teach you.”

Then, a month later I got laid off of that job, got on as driving school bus, and that was only half the income I needed, so I put an ad in the paper to start teaching lessons, then a year-and-a-half later, I was so busy that I had open a studio and buy my own piano . . .

George: See how powerful you are . . . ??

(I nodded)

George: A lot of times we’ll create something really beautiful in our experience to help heal ourselves. And so, through these kids that come through who are challenged . . . who is it that you think you are really trying to heal?

Me: Well, a lot of it is me, obviously. I mean, just to have access to composing . . . I have dreams where I get music in my head and I wake up and write this beautiful music . . . where did that come from . . ??

I just know how powerful it is for me and I want that for other kids . . . well, for other people (laughing) . . . for other people who happen to be kids at the moment . . . because I didn’t have help, I didn’t have anybody who listened to me, and I want to give that to kids . . . and it doesn’t always come easy . . . sometimes you have to work with kids a long time before they’ll open up . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 798

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