I like walking and being outside. Combining it with my work has always seemed like a great idea. Problem is, I don’t do it enough. I don’t do it enough because I don’t suggest it enough. Fortunately my clients are beginning to demand it and this week three baby ducks showed me why they are right to do so.
I arrived for our session and as we moved to sit down inside I felt a draining of energy and knew instinctively it was the wrong place to start any useful discussion. The problem was that it was one of those days when the weather was turning from sun into rain in a flash and the sky was in a darkening phase. We wobbled for a moment. Then I read the mood rather than the logic and we decided to take the plunge and to go for a walk in the park.
As we walked outside, the weather worked its way in to the talk. My client mentioned how emotions – anger was the one she choose – tended to have her, just as the weather might. On a wet and dreary day we can easily end up being a victim of the weather just as we can end up being a victim of anger.
We carried on and used the metaphor of the weather and our clothing as a way of looking at our emotions. Rain will visit us from time to time but why must we be taken over by it? We are not made of sugar anyway and – even better – we can simply put on more appropriate clothes or a brave smile.
We then made the leap into emotional arrivals. Just like the weather, something happens in our experience and we tend to react to it. Anger was the example we choose. If, instead of being angry, we can recognise it as a transient state and deal with it, we take back our power to choose how we react.
We can’t change the rain but we can change how the rain affects us and ultimately the story we take from it.
With greater awareness, we can re-establish choice.
With this brave face set we continued our walk, along a path through the park, regularly stopping, changing pace and pausing. At one such pause we both saw a duck sitting resolutely on the grass, by a tree, facing us. Running around mother duck were three young ducklings. They were almost unbelievably cute. We were both transfixed, taking in the scene.
I wasn’t long before my client started telling me a story. “Do you know” she said, “I used to go to my grandparents house a lot and once they gave me three ducklings of my own”. She then continued to tell me how one day she had been at her grandparents house for Sunday lunch and they’d had a meal of duck. Soon after the meal she’d started to feel unwell and at that point her grandparents had told her that they had just eaten her ducks.
We stood there now, for some time, both in shock, for different reasons. We then slowly walked away from the ducklings, exploring how the stories she took away from the incident showed up in her life today and had been trapping her.
We can’t go back and change what happened but we can change how the incident affects us, the story we take from it and how it shows up today.
Prior to this point my client had no realisation of either the significance of this incident or how it’s effect was connected to some of the things she was now dealing with.
I will now hold these ducklings as evidence of the power of the world, if we let it, to deliver us what we need, when we need it.
This incident taught me – once again – why getting outside matters.
As the heavens opened and it started to hail in painful sheets we headed back to the now welcoming office, to continue our discussion.