‘If you want to live a shallow and unchallenged life then walk back through those doors but I’m getting on the plane’
So I’d signed up to a workshop in Central America, although between you and me when I was first invited to attend, I hadn’t realised it was on the other side of the Atlantic having momentarily imagined that Costa Rica was one of the Canary Islands….
If I’m honest, I didn’t know that it was a workshop either, I thought that we were going on holiday with a bunch of like minded people that my colleague had met whilst working in the States.
I say colleague but she had actually been my coach for two years although we had recently mutually ended our professional relationship. My life had changed and improved immensely during that period, a combination of the questions she had asked me together with my determination to find answers however painful. I trusted her.
Our communication over the preparation of the trip was sketchy owing to busy lives, time zones and unanswered mail and no doubt, denial on my part.
On meeting up with the rest of the participants at the airport in San Jose, I finally learned the detail of what I had agreed to. An intensive experience, 7 days camping in the heart of the rainforest with a group of American strangers to learn and accept the difference and value of masculine and feminine behaviours with a facilitator who organised arranged marriages.
And so it was that I found myself standing on the runway trying to accept the bare truth of what boarding that 6 seater plane actually meant. Voicing my fears to my ex-coach and expecting a mini coaching session in order to reassure myself, she replied with those uncompromising words that have remained with me for over 10 years. I can still picture the doors but I got on the plane.
For a woman who believes that, ‘If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it’, it really, really didn’t feel right.In fact thinking about it, my adrenals would have been working flat out generating my fight or flight response so I would have been incapable of feeling anything other than fear in that moment. But fear isn’t only about fight or flight, fear can be about standing on a stage and speaking anyway, risking rejection but asking anyway, witnessing an injustice and acting, that day it was about feeling the terror but some part of me knowing that I had to get on the plane
My fears were proved right, it was intense. There were some truly hideous moments and there was no escape but as the week passed so the learnings and gifts unfolded.To live in a rainforest even for just a week is a deeply magical experience, the lessons I learned have stayed with me and shaped my life in truly wonderful ways and yes, I escaped an arranged marriage and yes, after 7 days I was very happy to get back on that plane to get out of there.
So my coach was right to invite me along and I was right to trust her, the questions that she had asked me, oh so gently over the previous two years meant that I found my own answers. I learned to trust myself to always know what’s best for me in a way that no other person will ever be able to, I learned to trust my gut feeling, I learned how to find my True North. The more you trust, the easier it becomes, it’s how I got onto that plane when my brain was screaming, ‘Run’.
So today I’m never far away from someone who’s going to ask me good questions then remain silent and although I have never repeated the extreme rainforest experience I do know I have never since lived a shallow or unchallenged life.