I am about to meet a client for the first time. This has been somebody that I have been wanting to work with for some time and I am feeling slightly anxious.
I should know better, as I have been coaching for years and have had lots of meetings like this.
I still get jittery and excited.
Taking a step back, I remember that I need to ensure that I am there for my client both in person and mentally.
Preparation of my state is so key. I remember a quick trick that can help me.
Not having time for a full-body meditation, I do have time to focus on breathing.
I close my eyes and focus on an imaginary pulsating light that moves in and out as my chest expands and contracts. I concentrate on reducing the pulses and find that my breathing rate has also slowed.
I feel more in control, and more in the moment for my session.
This short form of meditation is useful. For those that may have jumped into virtual reality, there is an app called Tripp that does just this. It links visual stimuli to breathing and presence. Tripp also is available for mobile (Android or iPhone).
Another method that you can work with is Belly Breathing. Belly breathing is a technique that can be used to strengthen the breath and focus your attention on the present moment. It’s called “belly breathing” because it involves expanding your belly as you inhale, rather than just taking shallow breaths from the chest.
When you breathe this way, it helps slow down your heart rate, relax muscles throughout the body and calm anxiety–all of which are great for reducing stress levels!
Here’s how to do belly breathing:
- Place one hand on your chest and another just below your ribcage (where there are two bones).
- Count as you inhale through one nostril at a time;
- Count “one” as both arms rise up towards the sky;
- Exhale slowly through both nostrils;
- Repeat for 10 cycles (20 counts total).
If this feels difficult at first don’t worry! It takes practice but soon becomes second nature when practiced consistently over time.
As you explore the importance of breathing – I hope you can explore perhaps the new sensations that this can bring.
I was made aware of this poem when asked to prepare for a development session. Inspiring in thought but where does this take you?
Once, I ran from fear
so fear controlled me.
Until I learned to hold fear like a newborn.
Listen to it, but not give in.
Honour it, but not worship it.
Fear could not stop me anymore.
I walked with courage into the storm.
I still have fear,
but it does not have me.
Once, I was ashamed of who I was.
I invited shame into my heart.
I let it burn.
It told me, “I am only trying
to protect your vulnerability”.
I thanked shame dearly,
and stepped into life anyway,
unashamed, with shame as a lover.
Once, I had great sadness
buried deep inside.
I invited it to come out and play.
I wept oceans. My tear ducts ran dry.
And I found joy right there.
Right at the core of my sorrow.
It was heartbreak that taught me how to love.
Once, I had anxiety.
A mind that wouldn’t stop.
Thoughts that wouldn’t be silent.
So I stopped trying to silence them.
And I dropped out of the mind,
and into the Earth.
Into the mud.
Where I was held strong
like a tree, unshakeable, safe.
Once, anger burned in the depths.
I called anger into the light of myself.
I felt its shocking power.
I let my heart pound and my blood boil.
Listened to it, finally.
And it screamed, “Respect yourself fiercely now!”.
“Speak your truth with passion!”.
“Say no when you mean no!”.
“Walk your path with courage!”.
“Let no one speak for you!”
Anger became an honest friend.
A truthful guide.
A beautiful wild child.
Once, loneliness cut deep.
I tried to distract and numb myself.
Ran to people and places and things.
Even pretended I was “happy”.
But soon I could not run anymore.
And I tumbled into the heart of loneliness.
And I died and was reborn
into an exquisite solitude and stillness.
That connected me to all things.
So I was not lonely, but alone with All Life.
My heart One with all other hearts.
Once, I ran from difficult feelings.
Now, they are my advisors, confidants, friends,
and they all have a home in me,
and they all belong and have dignity.
I am sensitive, soft, fragile,
my arms wrapped around all my inner children.
And in my sensitivity, power.
In my fragility, an unshakeable Presence.
In the depths of my wounds,
in what I had named “darkness”,
I found a blazing Light
that guides me now in battle.
I became a warrior
when I turned towards myself.
And started listening.
– Jeff Foster