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Red carpet
The royal road to your dreams
Are you hesitating at the threshold?
J sat down on the red sofa in my consulting room and told me he shouldn't be here.

This was our first coaching session, following a conversation at a party when we got talking about his dream of living on a boat. I adore listening to people's heartfelt dreams, so we got into a no-holds-barred discussion on 'how it would be if'. The conversation had concluded with J's words 'I would pay actual money for this!' and us setting up to work together.

Even so, there he was, less than a week later, apparently full of apprehension rather than enthusiastic anticipation of us fleshing out his dream life.

I acknowledged out loud that he had the right and the power to leave if he wanted. He carried on explaining why he should not be getting into this, a torrent of tangled half-finished thoughts pouring out of him.
I tried engaging with the issues he was describing, but that conversation seemed to be going in circles. I began to wonder what we were really talking about.

I found myself stepping out of the scene, metaphorically speaking, like zooming out and feeling as though I were watching from the sidelines. From this vantage point a few paces away, I could 'see' J, still sitting on my red sofa, talking about why he could not stay.

Yet the guy was still… sitting… on my sofa (only just, because he was so agitated and fidgety).

That's when it dawned on me: J could have left if he had wanted to; a few quick steps to the door would have let him out of this room, where he was finding it so difficult to settle.
He was not trying to leave.
He was *trying to stay*.
Suddenly, I knew what we were talking about: everything that was making it *difficult* for J to stay.

Finally, I had 'heard' what was not being said, the 'meaning between the words': that J was trying to stay, despite the onslaught of memories of bitter disappointments somewhere in his past, despite the misgivings that I might not be able to help him either, despite the foreboding that another disappointment would feel deeply crushing.
I now knew what J was asking of me: to help him stay.
Staying would mean embracing his dreams. His will was bent on staying, it had brought him here even though he was near-drowning in the booming drone of his inner 'Doom Radio'.

I offered J that image. 'It's like there is a Doom Radio on and it is drowning out everything else in your inner space.' J slowed up and looked at me surprised: 'Yes.'

'Well, to develop the metaphor, just like if you have a radio, there are many frequencies, and Doom Radio is just one of the stations transmitting. If you could find the tuner button and the volume control, you would have many more choices of background tracks for your life.'

'That sort of makes sense. But how?'

What I was about to offer him is referred to in Psychosynthesis psychology as 'sub-personality work' (I've described it in an earlier blog post 'Every Dragon is a Keeper of Treasure'.)

'The first step, paradoxically, is to hear out what Doom Radio has to say. It may get less insistent, just like a person might after they'd had a proper chance to speak their piece.'

J looked apprehensive. He'd been at pains to try to keep Doom Radio down, to keep that bully-within at a distance. The idea of turning the volume up, passing the Mic, so to speak, to this 'inner monster' must have seemed completely counter-intuitive.

'I promise you would not get stuck on Doom Radio Broadcast if you let it speak more fully. We may even discover a deeper truth beneath its rantings.'

He chose to trust me.
What follows is a simplified transcript of my interviewing J's Doom Radio, the voice inside him that had been constantly forecasting disaster.

Q: Dear Doom Radio, what do you want? What are you trying to bring about?
DOOM RADIO: I don't know. I haven't thought about that… I'm trying to keep J safe.

Q: What do you need? What do you need to receive, what are you hungry for?
DOOM RADIO: Huh? I've no idea…
Q: If you could have this thing that's been missing for you…
DOOM RADIO: Reassurance. Faith in me.

J was looking at me astonished at what he'd just spoken. Doom Radio had been after reassurance all this time? It was beginning to sound distinctly less like a hound-from-hell monster, shedding its guise of a bully along the way. It was showing up with its vulnerability and a very relatable human thirst for reassurance.

J could embrace this message as part of himself, no longer alienated and rejecting of what had seemed an utterly destructive force within him. This embracing a part of ourselves that we'd been at odds with, a restoration of wholeness, is one of the strands of 'synthesis' within Psychosynthesis.
In the end, J decided to pick a new nickname for Doom Radio, to reflect the new vibe it was now emanating, about reassurance and new horizons.

He called it 'Rainbow Radio', as its previous sombre tone had burst into a kaleidoscope of colours.
If the above sequence seems near-magical, I am with you there. I've witnessed such moments of revelation many times over, and even so the exact nature of what will be revealed is a surprise that feels profound, again and again. Experience has built my confidence that that core of wholesome human impulse is there, a real thirst at the heart of the contorted hurt, so I know to look for it, to coax it out, to connect with it even before it has risen to the surface.

This is a recurring experience in my practice: clients think they are speaking an insurmountable obstacle while I smile a welcome to that disgruntled voice, because I know it has come, like a moth to the light, drawn by its hunger for human warmth. I know that this next 'dragon', too, will offer up its long-cherished treasure, if I know how to greet it.
In writing this, I am thinking of you, reading these words.
I am wondering whether you're trying to hold faith with yourself to go for your fuller life.

I am wondering if you are trying to stay in touch with your vibrant radiant future, the fullness of your most generous destiny, long enough to start to make it reality.
May J's courage inspire you.
He came *with* his fear.
When J arrived for our next session a week later, he spoke of imagining a red carpet leading to that red sofa in my consulting room.

To me, this was a great sign that he had taken a step over the threshold of doubting himself. He had taken a step onto the royal road of trusting himself and life to bring him what is right for him. Such a royal road is yours for the taking - a royal road to summoning your abundant destiny and imbuing it with the energy of your imagination, breathing life into it enough to become reality.
P.S. I will describe the 'Stepping out to get a larger view' manoeuvre in another post soon, and will add a link as soon as this is live.
Photo by Sophia Baboolal on Unsplash
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margarita Steinberg

I am a Leadership Coach with a specialism in Psychosynthesis psychology. I am the founder of ByHeart Coaching, and this blog grows out of my coaching work. I am also a qualified and experienced teacher, and draw on training in counselling skills.

I work with individuals and couples, as private clients; I also work with organisations through running leadership coaching programmes and group workshops.

A chapter on my innovative learning format using embodied learning appears in the book 'Disrupting traditional pedagogy: Active Learning in Practice' published by University of Sussex Press in June 2019.

In preparation: my first book 'One step at a time: how to thrive in a dynamic world'

Find out more about my work
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ByHeart Blog
I write about my clients' stories, about coaching and psychology, current events and the human condition
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive alerts about upcoming blog posts, offers and events
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