Many people don’t know this about me because I don’t talk about it much, but on August 28, 2018, I celebrated my “Soberthday,” my 2-year anniversary of being sober. Yay!
We all have our reasons to start living sober. It’s a scary proposition to change a habit because habits can be stronger than steel.
For me, it was about my health. I read somewhere that “wine is not a health food” and somehow that was enough to get me thinking. I told myself that at my age, as I’m heading into peri-menopause, I might make things easier for myself if I didn’t complicate my hormonal mix with alcohol.
That was probably a wise decision on my part, but I’ve also learned that there’s way more to living sober than I initially thought. Sober living is also a spiritual quest.
I used to love drinking wine. That was my go-to beverage. There was something about crisp white wines on sunny days and warming red wines on rainy days that kept me going year round.
I liked the romance of drinking wine and the socializing and the dinner parties. I liked the deep conversations that came after a few glasses of “truth serum.” I liked turning off the worrying and the anxiety for a few hours.
But I didn’t like the hangovers and the headaches and the mood swings and the foggy brain and feeling tired all of the time. I didn’t like not being able to drive my car home after a night out or carrying extra body weight or saying mean things to people.
And drinking’s expensive! I shutter to think about all of the money I spent on bottles and bottles over years and years, and on top of that, all of the time I had wasted sitting around and drinking and then recovering the next day.
I’m glad those days are behind me.
That’s not to say that suddenly my life became a breeze once I gave up the hooch. Not at all. In a sense, my life actually became harder.
These last few years have been difficult — not because of feeling deprived though — not drinking is relatively easy for me — I haven’t really had any wine cravings to speak of.
And I’ve had my share of opportunities to drink in the last two years. I’ve been to weddings and funerals and even on my worst days…
like when a celebrity cancelled a massage appointment within 2 minutes of me starting the session,
having my heart broken,
my cat dying,
not getting hired after job interviews,
betrayals from so-called friends,
all of the recent, crazy world events, etc., etc., etc.,
I didn’t really have to fight the urge to pour myself a glass of wine to help numb the pain or to cope. Somehow it didn’t occur to me to drown my sorrows with wine anymore.
My life has gotten harder because I am now on a spiritual path that is requiring more from me. My new choices are bringing all of the things that I had been covering up and avoiding to the surface of my life and now I have to face them head on so I can finally let them go.
I think the Serenity Prayer, as recited in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, eloquently touches on the relationship between spiritual truths and sobriety and that’s why it’s so enduring and powerful:
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
The Serenity Prayer acknowledges the spiritual truths of acceptance, courage, wisdom, being present, trust, and surrendering to a higher power, and these, among others, are the principles that I am learning to embrace in this new, healthier chapter of my life.
A spiritual life is not necessarily easy (though it can be). Unfortunately, most people, including me, have to struggle through suffering for awhile before we can enjoy our blessings.
The beauty is, there’s a wonderful life waiting for us on the other side of the obstacle course. We just have to keep going.
“You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.”
~ Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough
If you’ve tried to make healthier choices for yourself, like living sober, but are struggling and suffering on your journey, and aren’t sitting on that “bench in the sun” yet and think it would be easier to give up and go back to your old ways, take a breath and keep climbing your mountain anyway.
“Hold on for one more day,” as the Wilson-Phillips song goes.
Ironically, suffering is life’s way of giving you an opportunity to break the chains from your past so you can move forward. Don’t suffer just to suffer. We are not meant to suffer in this life.
But if you are going to suffer, don’t let it go to waste. Use the suffering to propel you into a better, kinder, more compassionate version of yourself. Let the suffering and the sobriety be part of your spiritual awakening.
Would you like to have some spiritual guidance on this topic? Consider signing up for a Free Crystal Mapping Session with Spa Therapist and Spiritual Wellness Coach, Maria Koropecky. Subscribe to this Crystal Clear Coaching blog and book your free Crystal Mapping Session today.
Editor’s Note: I originally published this article on my Homespunspa blog back on September 19, 2015. You may still see the expired link when you do a search. I’ve decided to re-post the article here on this coaching blog because it fits better on this website.
Over the past few years, many people, who have been looking for a coaching school, have reached out to me because of this blog post and I think that’s great.
If you’re trying to decide which coaching school to sign up with and you’d like to talk to me as well and ask me any questions about the Rayner Institute as a coaching school, please contact me, Maria, by email, anytime.
How I Found Out About the Rayner Institute
by Maria Koropecky, Wellness Coach
Secretly, I’ve wanted to be a life coach for at least a decade but it didn’t seem like it was possible for me. I would not have known where to go to get coaching training even if I had given the thought any serious consideration.
I hired a business coach back in 2005 and I loved our conversations about the spiritual laws of the universe but this particular coach made things more about her than they were about me (as the client) and after a few months, she pushed me away and that was that. We’ve not spoken since and that experience left a bad taste in my mouth about coaches in general.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on coaching forever because of one bad apple. Much has changed in the coaching profession in the past few years and life coaches are being recognized for doing some wonderful work for the people of this planet.
I wish I had had the sense to become a coach sooner but the timing wasn’t right for me. I still had a lot of living to do first before I could embark on this career. Like for example, I had to go to esthetics school in 2010 so I could awaken my healing and nurturing side and learn how to work with people hands on.
Had I just jumped ahead and gone to coaching school at that time instead, (which would have worked for other people), I personally would have been missing some key ingredients for my recipe and my coaching practice would not have flourished. I also would not have opened my mobile spa, which, as you’ll see, is integral to this story.
Anyway, fast forward to the summer of 2014. It was a challenging summer for me personally. My finances were not in good shape and on top of that, my Uncle, who was also my Godfather, died and then my friend from high school had committed suicide. In the bigger picture, you may also recall that in August of that year, Robin Williams committed suicide and Joan Rivers died as well. The world had taken on a serious tone.
Meanwhile, I got a call from a woman who was looking to hire someone to give her 90-year-old mother a manicure. So, I went to the seniors’ care home, just going about my business, and that was the day I met June, her daughter, Carol, and Carol’s husband, Peter. I had no idea how pivotal that day would be for me.
The manicure appointment went well enough that they called me again for another appointment and I started visiting June every five weeks or so. Often, Carol was present also.
In November, Carol mentioned something to her mother about going away for a week to upgrade her coaching training and my ear’s perked up.
“Did you say coaching???”
As it turned out, Carol is a coach and a facilitator at the Rayner Institute and she said there was a course starting in February, if I was interested. So I took her card and thought about it long and hard.
Eventually, in April of 2015, I took the plunge and enrolled in the Self-Actualized Coaching and Mentoring Program at the Rayner Institute and I have since passed my exams and graduated.
Currently, I’m going through the program again but this time as a Ride-Along where I get to hold a healing space for the new students and support them on their journey as they enter the coaching profession and become certified coaches themselves.
And last night during class, I had my own personal insight that made a big difference in how I see my life. Mark Rayner, the founder of the Rayner Institute, was coaching Carol to show the students the beauty of a transformational and transcendent coaching conversation.
(Normally, I wouldn’t share what goes on in a confidential coaching class but I will have asked for permission from Carol and Mark before publishing this post).
Carol spoke about her mother. She wanted to enjoy the time she spends with her even if it’s just flipping through a catalogue together. She said that 18 months ago, her mother became very ill and she was in hospital in Calgary for a month, and they didn’t give her much time to live. Somehow during that difficult time, they sold her mother’s house and moved her to Victoria.
As I listened to Carol describe the process of moving her mother to the Island where she would be closer to the whole family including her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, I marvelled at how those events and decisions also affected me, someone they didn’t even know existed yet. It struck me that an act as personal as caring for an elderly parent could also have so much influence over other people’s lives, known and unknown, as well.
To me, if June hadn’t moved to Victoria and if Carol hadn’t gone looking for a manicurist for her mother and if Carol hadn’t mentioned coaching, then I would not have found the Rayner Institute and I would have probably postponed my dream of becoming a life coach indefinitely.
Suddenly, the timing was right. A lot of things had to happen behind the scenes in order for me to get to this place in my life and my point is, you can’t write this stuff, you can’t script it, and you can’t force it. You just have to follow your heart wherever it wants to go.
Also, and this was my insight last night,
you have no idea whose lives you touch even if you never, ever meet them directly.
That’s the beauty of coaching. You get to touch the lives of people and help them get to where they want to go just by being you and doing what you do. And in turn, the people who are getting coached are also spreading love and kindness and healing energy to the people in their lives and day by day, the world becomes a better place for all of us.
I’m truly grateful for June and Carol for leading me here and for my extraordinary coaching training at the Rayner Institute and now I can pay it forward as a coach to my friends and clients.
If you’re thinking about becoming a coach, I’d be happy to talk to you about the Rayner Institute. Also, if you’re thinking about hiring a coach, feel free to contact me to make an appointment.
We’re all connected and don’t think that what you’re doing isn’t affecting someone else’s life. The ripples in a pond are endless.
Did you know the term, “Girl Friday” comes from the movie, His Girl Friday (1940) with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell?
A Girl Friday is:
a ‘go to’ girl;
someone who will help you get things taken care of;
a person you can count on to help you out with your to-do list;
someone you can rely on when you are in need of extra assistance;
an extra pair of hands on a big project; and
someone who acts as a ‘jack of all trades’ and is capable of doing almost anything!
Contact Maria Koropecky today. Services starting @ $22.
Life Coaching; English Tutor; Conversational English practice; Visiting; Reading Stories; Interviews (you interview me or I interview you); Speaking at conferences, events, & retreats; Speech Rehearsal.
Website Content; Blogging; Social Media Posts; Co-Author Books; Biographer; Journalism; Letters; & Resumes.
Creating; Updating; Content Writing; & SEO using HTML, WordPress, & Shopify.
Admin Assistant; Virtual Assistant; Event Planning; Organizing Collections; Trade show Booth Set Up & Sales; Shipping & Receiving; Estate Sales; & Personal Shopper.
Chair Massage; Relaxation Massage; Facials.
Food Prep & Catering Support
Menu Planning; Party Prep; Cooking Food; Serving Food; & Hosting.
Cat-sitting; House-sitting; & Dog Walking.
Pick up/drop off; Errands; Long Distance; & Car Washes.
Travel Companion; Tour Guide; Location Scouting; Packing; Photographer.
Fruit Picking; Weeding; Snow Shoveling; Gift Wrapping; & Home Staging.
Not available for:
Electrical, plumbing or any construction trades; Car maintenance; Nursing; Childcare services; Outdoor or high window washing; Exterior painting; Carpet cleaning; Hoarders’ trash removal, & obviously anything illegal.
I’m just putting the finishing touches on my “How to Practice Colourful Self-Care” talk and I have to say, I’m really excited about it! I’ve been thinking about this topic for years and now the pieces of the puzzle have finally come together for me and I’d love to share this talk with you!
“How to Practice Colourful Self-Care” combines everything I know about spa therapy, healing, coaching, spirituality, and wellness!
This talk is chalk full of colourful ideas on how you can sprinkle self-care into your day without indulging in a vice, or spending a fortune on the latest trend, or even if you’re super busy and you don’t feel you have the time in your day – and it all starts with colour!
Now it’s time for me to give my talk to as many people as I can and I’ve decided to start a 50 Free Talks Challenge!
My goal is to give 50 free talks in the next six to eight months — but I need your help. If you know of anyone who might be interested in hearing this talk, please introduce us! Thank you so much!
By the end of the talk you’ll learn:
What is self-care and why it’s important.
What each of the 7 primary colours mean.
A simple system of how to balance your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs using the energy of colour.
You’ll also learn one of the secrets of the universe!
And by the end of this “How to Practice Colourful Self-Care”talk, you’ll have an assortment of self-care ideas that you can use each day that will improve your wellness, allow peace of mind, and add quality years to your life.
How does that sound?
In my experience, practicing self-care on a daily basis is super important! But how do you choose which self-care activity is best for you to do at this moment?
In “How to Practice Colourful Self-Care” I talk about a colourful system that will help you get started!
By identifying and understanding how colours relate to your physical, mental, and emotional needs, you can easily perform a self-care activity that will help you address a weak spot and restore yourself to equilibrium.
You’ll get ideas for each of the different areas of self-care including:
Aromatherapy – Working with your sense of smell to feel better.
Crystal Therapy – Using colourful rocks, gemstones, and crystals for inspiration.
Spa Therapy – Applying natural treatments on the body to help with relaxation.
Nutrition – Choosing foods by colour and nutritional value to fuel your body.
Music & Sound Therapy – Listening to music and sounds to generate an emotional response.
Healing with Nature – Interacting with the natural world, including plants and animals.
Medical Check-Ups – Visiting health practitioners and specialists.
Athletic Activities – Doing specific exercises and sports.
Financial Self-Care – Managing your money.
Spiritual Self-Care – Finding meaning, being present, and expanding your awareness.
Meditation – Turning your focus within to feel calm and centered.
Affirmations – Deliberately repeating positive words to create change.
Fashion – Wearing colourful clothing and jewellery to change your mood.
Healing Space – Creating your own sanctuary with pleasing colours.
Relationships – Improving your relationships with yourself, friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours.
Creative Play – Letting yourself be silly.
If you’d like to dive deeper into the colours and learn more about practicing self-care, consider hosting this “How to Practice Colourful Self-Care” talk and inviting me to speak at your next event!
by Maria Koropecky, Wellness Coach & Spiritual Teacher
On February 13th, I had the joy of attending “The Power of Your Words” presented by Caroline Myss at the University of Victoria.
When I woke up that morning, I had no idea I was going to be at UVic by the end of the day. It was a completely unexpected and welcomed surprise. To me, it was a little miracle how everything came together and interestingly enough, Caroline lightly touched on that idea in her talk.
In essence, she said each day is a new day, a new start, a blank slate, and we get to choose our reality, and what we experience, and it starts with the words we use. We have no idea what the day will bring so why not nudge it in a good direction with our words.
I love that Caroline Myss said, “Words are our Magic Carpet!” I must be choosing some pretty good words these days!
I’m grateful to my best client and friend Linda for gifting me the ticket!
It was a big deal for me to go and I actually wore a dress, heels, and make-up to the event. I also decided to wear my rose quartz heart Christmas tree ornament necklace and rose quartz bracelet because it was the day before Valentine’s Day. More on that later…
Seeing Caroline Myss in person (from the balcony) was significant for me. Her book, Sacred Contracts, which I read around 2002-2004, explained so much to me spiritually and I even made my own set of Archetype cards from her list.
But more than that, I feel like I’ve been on a deep and profound spiritual journey of awakening and for the last year or so, it has been intense. Lots of crying, lots of letting go, lots of shedding my old ways. To help me through this process, I’ve been studying the work of Eckhart Tolle.
I’ve been searching for answers to the big questions of life and it’s been very emotional and some people told me that I was depressed and that I needed to talk to a therapist. Caroline Myss explained that people often confuse depression with spiritual crisis but we don’t have the language to express and articulate what’s going on with us, so the depression gets the attention, but not the spirit or soul. Both depression and spiritual crisis can show up similarly, but if you sense you need to find the meaning and purpose to your life, then that’s a clue that you might be having a spiritual crisis this time.
I thought, yes, that’s what I’ve been going through this past year: a spiritual crisis.
That’s good news!
Here’s my opportunity to push through into a whole new dimension of living life and I’m really excited about this breakthrough!
Instead of letting this spiritual heartbreak be my excuse to keep me unconscious, I’m going to use it to help me awaken into consciousness.
That’s the message that I keep hearing from spiritual teachers. Eckhart Tolle says the most important thing we can do for humanity is to be conscious and present.
And Caroline Myss explained that back in the 1960’s, with the introduction of nuclear weapons that can potentially destroy us, “we unleashed a darkness into the world.” However, around the same time, the world religions were also stepping up their presence. The East and the West were talking to each other and big changes were taking place. There was a counter force to the darkness that was also emerging. It’s like two sides of the same coin, one balances the other. In the midst of this darkness, there is also light.
At this point of the talk, this is where Caroline Myss really lit up! I don’t know if it was the stage lighting or something else, but I saw violet light surrounding her. It was like a purple, misty shadow trailing behind her movements. Violet is the most spiritual colour. It’s associated with the Crown chakra, our connection to the Divine, so I knew she was speaking Spiritual Truth.
That’s what we’re called to do. As generations living in a dark, nuclear age, we’re called to be the light!
This reminds me of Bruce Cockburn’s song, “Lovers in a Dangerous Time,” where he says, “You’ve got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight.” We are lovers in a dangerous time — lovers in the sense of bigger picture lovers of humanity, not necessarily romantic couples, as I once thought.
But how do you fight the good fight and shine your light when you’re living in fear and pain?
Caroline says there’s no archetype for people who have been wounded but have somehow moved forward, yet still have remained vulnerable. It’s an interesting mix — wounded, vulnerable, and strong. We’ve all been wounded one way or another, on a personal level and on a global level, and we’re really good at re-telling our victim stories over and over again.
But we can’t wallow in the victim role anymore!
Caroline said “Coddling doesn’t serve anybody.” We’re past the point of coddling each other through the pain. I’ve decided I’m not going to entertain those victim stories, either from myself, or my coaching clients, or my friends, anymore.
The better question is, “what strength is emerging” or “what is the gift?” It’s not about the adversity, or our history, it’s about how we respond from here that counts.
And this is what I got from Caroline’s talk: It’s time to retire those victim stories and poor word choices and step up in this critical time in history. Crazy world leaders, missile warnings, and natural disasters are the wake up calls!
It’s time we take our head out of the sand, or put down those distracting devices, or resist those numbing addictions, and instead, be present!
If you feel like you’ve been going through a spiritual crises, as I have, and you’ve been called to shine your light in this world and do something really amazing, then do it! The only one who is stopping you is you. You are in charge of your reality and it’s up to you! The words you say to yourself and out loud will create your path. Choose them thoughtfully!
And that’s exactly what I’m doing starting today. Hearing Caroline Myss speak affirmed in my heart that I’d like to join her and Eckhart Tolle and many others and be a spiritual teacher as well. I’m open to working with a mentor, if you know anybody!
And I’d like to put forth a new archetype, that I like to call Green Leaders, that represents people who have been through the trenches but have also emerged as conscious and awakened leaders with heart. Just because you’ve been through it, doesn’t give you the excuse to be miserable, and mean, or to fall back into unconsciousness. Let the adversity be your doorway to enlightenment.
Let’s define the Green Leader archetype together so we can enjoy Mother Earth for many, many thousands more generations to come! What do you think, Caroline Myss?
The title of this post is, “Don’t lose your heart.” That’s my message for today. Although things may seem bleak, remember, we’re still in the game. Don’t lose faith. Prayers are always heard and answered and miracles happen every day. Caroline finished her talk by praying, “May God hover over us.”
As I was leaving the auditorium, I grazed over something with my shoe. I looked behind me and it was my pink quartz heart necklace on the floor. I quickly retrieved it and as I was picking it up, a woman who saw me said, “Don’t lose your heart!” and she was stunned a little by what she said, so she said it again, “Don’t lose your heart!” and I said, “Noooooo!”
Talk about the “power of words!”
I believe this anonymous woman was speaking on behalf of the Universe in that moment. “Don’t lose your heart, Green Leaders!”
Thank you anonymous woman in the auditorium, and thank you Linda for the ticket, and thank you Caroline Myss for coming to Victoria! Come back anytime!
To further inspire you to be the leader you were born to be, here are four more traits to add to the list.
1. Many leaders are born in the month of January.
2. Many leaders are the first born in their sibling birth order.
3. Many leaders are above average in height and/or are considered tall when standing next to others.
4. Many leaders are left-handed.
Let’s talk more about these traits.
1. Many leaders are born in the month of January.
Because of how the school year is set up, kids born in January are often more mature and athletic than their younger classmates. Being the oldest in your class by up to 11 months in your early years can make a big difference in terms of development and can translate into lifelong leadership abilities down the road. One study suggests that even the NHL favours players who are born in the earliest months of the year – most notably, Wayne Gretzky, born on January 26th.
2. Many leaders are the first born in their sibling birth order.
First born children are more likely than their siblings to become leaders because they already have many years’ of practice on their belts. They’re also used to being looked up to by their younger siblings, both literally and figuratively, and they’re the first to go out into the world and report back to the others what they’ve learned. They also tend to be more responsible and protective in nature. They’re also known for being bossy.
3. Many leaders are above average in height and/or are considered tall when standing next to others.
Have you ever noticed that many leaders are quite tall? Being “head and shoulders above the rest” allows visionary leaders to see above the crowds and to focus ahead into the distance. Also, being tall allows the group to see the leader in the crowd from afar, as well.
Oddly, it has been observed that in 67% of ALL U.S. presidential elections, the taller candidate has won the popular vote, even before the days of televised debates.
If you look at evolutionary psychology, this makes sense. We may prefer taller leaders because our ancestors used height as one of the cues of physical formidability and when our ancestors had a big, tall, resourceful, strong, and formidable friend on their team to help them with their survival (like procuring food, shelter, and territory), they had a relative advantage against the elements and a better chance of living another day.
4. Many leaders are left-handed.
Although lefties make up 10% of the world’s population and have been historically shunned, being left-handed can have its advantages. Left-handed people tend to be more “right-brained” and therefore more creative. Growing up left-handed in a world that has been designed for the logical, right-handed among us, can be quite frustrating and challenging – just try using the wrong scissors – but this lefty trait can also make you more likely to think outside-the-box, to see things from a different perspective, to be more intuitive, and become a visionary leader.
What do you think of this list? Which of these traits do you have? As for me, I’m slightly taller than average for women and I’m left-handed.
These four curious traits of leaders come from my own observations and research and aren’t carved in stone. Most likely, you won’t have all four – though that’s possible – and if you do, please tell me, I’d love to meet you and ask if you consider yourself a leader as well.
I’m just offering this list to help you recognize your inherent leadership abilities and to see yourself as a natural-born leader (in case you don’t – yet).
If you by chance don’t have any of these particular leadership traits, don’t worry, leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Good leadership skills can be learned. These four traits just give you a bit of a head start.
Regardless of where you’re starting from now, whether you have zero, one, two, three, or all four of these curious leadership traits, and if you’d like to be a better leader in general, please contact me. I’d love to be your wellness coach and mentor.
Have you ever wondered why all of a sudden, more and more people are calling themselves coaches these days? Where were all of the Life Coaches, Spiritual Coaches, Career Coaches, Leadership Coaches, and Health & Wellness Coaches even 20 years ago, back in the 1900’s?
While there are plenty of socio-economic reasons that address why we’re big into coaching these days (which I won’t get into in this blog post), would it surprise you to learn that coaching has actually been around for 2500 years?
Although the modern coaching profession is booming these days with many people throwing their hat into the ring, the roots of coaching, as practiced today, can be traced, in my opinion, all the way back to Socrates and his Socratic Method.
I said, “the roots of coaching” and not “actual coaching” as we know it today, because there is ONE BIG DIFFERENCE that I’ll get to in a minute. So stay with me.
This Socratic insight dawned on me while I was watching the BBC TV series, “Genius of the Ancient World,” a show where historian Bettany Hughes investigates three giants of ancient philosophy – Buddha, Confucious, and Socrates.
“By daring to think the unthinkable, [Socrates, Buddha, and Confucious] laid the foundations of our modern world. I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that these men, who lived many thousands of miles apart, seemed spontaneously and within 100 years of one another, to come up with such radical ideas. So, what was going on? I want to investigate their revolutionary ideas – to understand what set them in motion. This time, Socrates,” ~ Bettany Hughes.
I had my own aha moment while watching the episode where Bettany travels to Greece to learn about wise Socrates, a man who lived 2500 years ago in Athens, during a time of tremendous upheaval and transformation.
I realized that during my coaching training at the Rayner Institute in 2015, I was actually learning a version of the Socratic Method! So, in my mind, Socrates was the first Spiritual and Life Coach! To me, Socrates is the father of modern coaching!
A little bit about Socrates
The son of a midwife and stonemason, Socrates was born in 469 BC and grew up in the suburbs of Athens, Greece, during a time of great social unrest.
Socrates believed that living a virtuous, happy, and flourishing life was within reach. He emphasized the importance of caring about wisdom and truth and improvement of the soul, rather than seeking status and stuff.
He favoured oral communication over writing.
He was all about asking good questions.
He also “played the fool” in the sense that he didn’t pretend to know more than the person he was talking with, which allowed them to have their own insights.
Socrates also said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Here’s a look at the Socratic Method in play
Fortunately, in case you missed the airing of “Genius of the Ancient World” on TV, you can still watch the whole video on YouTube.
The whole hour is very interesting but if you don’t have time to watch from beginning to end, I recommend starting at minute 24:42 when Brittany (BH) has a conversation with writer, Apostolos Doxiadis, (AD), who in effect plays the role of Socrates.
Here’s the 5-6 minute transcript:
Bettany Hughes narrating: “His Socratic method worked something like this – Socrates would engage someone in the street… He’d ask them an ethical question… The person would attempt to define the concept, but Socrates would find inconsistencies in their answers… They would be forced to withdraw their definition and to reformulate and refine their ideas… This process would spiral into a dizzying round of question and answer. Socrates likens his role to that of a midwife, who helps to nurture and deliver the thoughts of others. But it was never an easy birth.”
Minute 24:42. AD: “So, Bettany, I understand you’re here to do a documentary about Socrates.”
AD: Why are you making this documentary?
BH: “I can learn something more about Socrates and I can share that knowledge with the people who are watching it.”
AD: “These are big words – ‘knowledge’ and ‘truth.’ Shall we take one of them? What would it mean…? So what is this thing – knowledge – that you want to impart?”
BH: “In my book, knowledge is love of what it is to be human.”
AD: “So, knowledge is love?”
A.D: “OK. So, if you wanted to have an operation for an appendicitis, would you go to a woman who was full of love, but knew nothing about surgery?”
AD: “OK, So I would say that the definition of “knowledge as love” is not good enough. So, let’s try it again. Is there one kind of knowledge, or many kinds of knowledge?”
BH: “Knowledge is one thing…”
AD: “Take your time. I don’t know the answers to this.”
BH: “Maybe knowledge is one thing, but knowing is many things.
AD: “To know how the stars move and to know how the liver operates is the same thing?”
BH. “No, they’re not the same thing.”
AD: “Does the person who possesses knowledge in the big way know everything? Between those two, who is probably the best stone maker?”
BH. “Er… The one who…I don’t know! I give up, I give up!” I have to say that the one thing you’ve proved to me is that I know nothing.”
AD: “Ah, no, no. That’s me! [LAUGHTER]. I am the expert at making other people know things, but I’m no good – I know nothing and that is the only knowledge I claim for myself.”
Coaching and the Socratic Method
As you can see, a question leads to an answer, which leads to another question, which leads to an answer, and so on, and so on.
There are many similarities between the Socratic Method and Coaching but again, there’s a big difference, which I’m getting to…
Here’s a continuation of the conversation between Bettany and Apostolos, essentially describing the Socratic Method, with some hints pointing to the coaching process as well.
BH: “That Socratic method is fascinating and stimulating, but it is also infuriating.”
AD: “Yes, because it’s in an oral context, the way we do it, and Socrates famously believed in the supremacy of the oral over the written and that also stirs up the emotions. First of all, in his pretence of being the fool, the ignorant man, of knowing nothing. Yes, and because that is his tool, that he turns, in fact, against his friends – or opponents, as you may take it – and makes them admit to things that they don’t want to admit to, by playing essentially the fool, saying, ‘I know nothing, I know nothing. I can only ask you to tell me, because I know nothing.’ So, he laid an emphasis on the definitions, then on what he called “diaeresis” – division – of breaking down a problem into little parts, analyzing parts, analyzing it. And then, attacking each one separately and then trying, inductively, to group them back together into a more general concept.”
Did you catch the big difference between the Socratic Method and Coaching?
While both methods start off with a blank slate, and use verbal communication to exchange ideas, and are about asking good questions and listening to answers, and breaking down the topic into smaller parts, observing them, and putting them back together again in a new way, the spirit of the conversations are much different.
With the Socratic Method, it’s more of an interrogation rather than a conversation. It’s more of an argument where eventually someone will paint themselves into a corner. It’s a handy technique that lawyers, and detectives, and journalists use all of the time.
On the other hand, with coaching, the spirit is much more convivial. From a coaching session, you’re meant to feel safe to express yourself, to take something away from the conversation, to have more clarity, and to feel stronger, rather than feeling more lost, confused, and frustrated than you were when you started.
So even though Socrates wasn’t intending to create the profession of coaching, he did get the ball rolling, and over generations, just as children build on the ideas of their parents, coaching has grown from it’s humble beginnings, and has taken the art of deep conversations and introspection, to a whole new level.
But still, where would we be today without Socrates and his Socratic Method?
BH: “So, Socrates uses that to make people become aware that things they consider simple, and elementary, and basic, and that they know – they in fact don’t know. And what about the modern world? Do you think we could have the modern world without Socratic debate, without questioning what it is to be human and what it is to be human in the world around us?
AD: “Well, I think that the best way to accept, to find Socrates’ place in it, is to see that the opposite of the Socratic method, essentially, is fanaticism and dogmatism. And in that sense, the modern world very much needs an antidote to those things, at every level.”
Bettany Hughes narrating: “The Socratic method was cathartic. It got difficult issues out into the open and defined concepts with much greater precision. Socrates’ tough questioning, with his trademark irony, was conducted in public, causing a stir wherever he went. He was inviting everyone to seek knowledge of the human good, to identify fundamental truths. But people could only do this for themselves by constantly interrogating their actions and most deeply held beliefs. “The unexamined life,” Socrates said, “is not worth living.” Minute: 29:37.
Enter, today’s Life Coach, Spiritual Coach, Wellness Coach…
“Socrates might have been infuriating, but his tenacious questioning of what it means to be human still has absolute resonance. By stating that the ultimate evil is ignorance and that a good life is within our reach, he challenges us all never to be thoughtless,” ~ Bettany Hughes.
So that’s why I think Socrates is the father of modern coaching. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Like Socrates in ancient Greece, we’re also living in highly charged times and we’re still wrestling with the same questions about the nature of life and death.
If you’ve reached a point where you’re interested in examining your own life and exploring life’s big questions, consider working with me, Maria, a Wellness Coach. Feel free to email today! Let’s talk!
Did you know Eckhart Tolle mentions crystals in his best-selling book, “A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,” (2005)?
If you had asked me before I started re-reading this ground-breaking gem, I would have answered, “no, I didn’t know” but I was delighted to read about his appreciation for the mineral kingdom in the opening pages.
There’s more to crystals and flowers and people than meets the eye and I’m inviting you to dig a little deeper and tune into the essence of all beings. By becoming present to the here and now, a whole new world will unfold and new possibilities will emerge — which is super amazing! — and crystals, among all natural treasures, can help open those doors!
The old me would have skimmed over these particular paragraphs but the new me, the more present and conscious me, gets the beautiful connection.
In Chapter 1, “The Flowering of Human Consciousness,” Eckhart introduces us to the heart of his book as he describes a moment of transcendent transformation, the day flowers first blossomed on Earth,
“One day, however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of color and scent all over the planet.” ~ A New Earth, page 1
That “critical threshold” is related to the “evolutionary leap” that people experience when they finally let go of their ego and pain body and live from their essence, their true and authentic self.
Remember the expression, “Stop and smell the roses?”
Flowers have always been inviting us to relax, be present, and appreciate the beauty of life, and when we actually take a moment to pause, be still, and focus on the wonder of the present moment, peace emerges.
“Once there is a certain degree of Presence, of still and alert attention in human beings’ perceptions, they can sense the divine life essence, the one indwelling consciousness or spirit in every creature, every life-form, recognize it as one with their own essence and so love it as themselves.” ~ A New Earth, page 4
Loving the essence. That was the clincher for me. That’s why I recently started re-reading a New Earth. I heard Eckhart explain this concept of divine life essence to Oprah on a recent SuperSoul Sunday. When Jesus said “Love your neighbour as yourself,” He wasn’t talking about loving people’s egos. Jesus was talking about seeing past the ego (which is just a costume), and loving someone’s essence, and loving your own essence, and recognizing how the essence of our beings are all connected as One in this great, big, living sea.
Oh, to live from my essence!
When I think of essence, I like to picture a pilot light, if that helps. From what I understand, when someone says, “Namaste” they are saying, “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.” In other words, the essence in me recognizes the essence in you. Essence is what you see when you look deep into someone’s eyes.
Isn’t that much better than dealing with someone’s ego? 🙂 Just remember that the next time someone annoys you.
The ethereal nature of flowers remind us about our true essence.
“…flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless…” ~ A New Earth, pages 2-3
By the way, this way of being, is available to us humans and we can be like messengers as well.
Eckhart continues to say, the flowers
“not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit. Using the word “enlightenment” in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.” ~ A New Earth, page 3
And flowers are just the beginning! Crystals are here, too!
“Since time immemorial, flowers, crystals, precious stones, and birds have held special significance for the human spirit.” ~ A New Earth, pages 3-4
We as humans have been fascinated with crystals since pre-historic times. When the Greeks travelled and found dazzling quartz crystals in the Alps, they believed these beauties were actually a form of frozen water that would never thaw. They named them, “krystallos,” which means “ice.”
“The haunting beauty of the mineral kingdom is irresistible, so it’s no wonder that the human race has a long history of wearing and working with crystals. Historians and archaeologists have traced the use of crystals in healing and beauty rituals back to the earliest civilizations. And no wonder: They magnify personal and planetary vibrational energy. Our ancestors used crystals as mystical tools, energy generators, communication enhancers, and medical instruments. Archaeological digs show their use as talismans of good fortune and protection; as well as amulets, jewelry, and magnificent home showpieces.” ~ Excerpt from Crystal Therapy, by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., & Judith Lukomski.
Perhaps you also have a fascination for rocks and minerals:
* Do you collect rocks and seashells whenever you go to the beach?
* Do you have fond memories of rocks and stones from your childhood?
* Do you have a piece of jewelry that has a special meaning for you?
* Do you by chance have a Himalayan Salt Lamp?
The Art of Contemplation
The next time you come across a crystal, sit with it and contemplate. Appreciate the stone without trying to own it. See past its outer form and tune into its inner essence. Let the crystal help you expand your awareness. Like a flower, it just might be a bridge on your journey of spiritual awakening and enlightenment.
“So when you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal, or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless. There is an inner opening, however slight, into the realm of spirit.” ~ A New Earth, page 5
Tuning into a crystal is not a crystal reading in the sense of fortune-telling. Once your ego is out of the way, it’s more about how the crystals reveal wisdom and a sense of calmness, through timeless intuition.
“In the case of a flower, a crystal, precious stone, or bird, however, even someone with little or no Presence can occasionally sense that there is more there than the mere physical existence of that form, without knowing that this is the reason why he or she is drawn toward it, feels an affinity with it.” ~ A New Earth, page 4
Is Enlightenment Possible?
“Any life-form in any realm – mineral, vegetable, animal, or human – can be said to undergo “enlightenment.”” ~ A New Earth, page 3
But Eckhart asks,
“What could be heavier and more impenetrable than a rock, the densest of all forms?” ~ A New Earth, page 3
Yet, even rocks can lighten up and transcend their nature!
“And yet some rocks undergo a change in their molecular structure, turn into crystals, and so become transparent to the light. Some carbons, under inconceivable heat and pressure, turn into diamonds, and some heavy minerals into other precious stones.” ~ A New Earth, page 3
In each case, enlightenment requires,
“a discontinuity in its development, a leap to an entirely different level of being and, most important, a lessening of materiality.” ~ A New Earth, page 3
Enlightenment is just a matter of shedding the dark and heavy density (the materiality, including the ego) and moving towards lightness.
Ultimately, that’s how the Universe works!
We live in a dynamic universe and everything is always moving from formless to form to formless and from slow to fast, density to space, heavy to light, and from dark to light, through the ever expanding cycle of:
1) Rebirth * New Beginning (on a whole new level) * A New Earth! -> …
And on and on it goes from one age to the next. You can see this spiraling cycle of life as it’s constantly moving toward enlightenment, playing out everywhere! There are no beginnings and no endings and because everything is always moving and changing, there’s no sense in identifying with or being attached to any of it. The ego has nothing to cling to and so it dissolves, creating space for the present moment to arise. This is true, happy-go-lucky freedom.
So, yes, enlightenment is within reach and as we’ve seen with flowers and rocks, it’s part of the natural progression of the Universe!
Are you ready?
“Can human beings lose the density of their conditioned mind structures and become like crystals or precious stones, so to speak, transparent to the light of consciousness?” ~ A New Earth, page 5
We seem to have reached a time where more and more people are starting to awaken.
“What can you do, if anything, to bring about or accelerate this inner shift?” ~ A New Earth, page 6
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, at the beginning, somewhere in the middle, or at your tipping point, and if you’re reading, have read, or would like to read, A New Earth, and want to talk about your insights and ideas with someone who is open and present and a good listener, please feel free to contact me, Maria. I’d love to connect with your essence.
And if there’s enough interest, maybe we can start a book club!
I coach Green Leaders on living the life that lights them up!
You may be wondering what I mean by Green Leaders. Well, to me Green Leaders have heart and interestingly enough, the colour associated with the Heart Chakra, is Emerald Green!
Our Green Intelligence is about our compassion and heart-felt feelings. Green balances our spirit world with our physical world so we can relate to others with unconditional love and kindness. Green is also the colour of nature, healing, and new beginnings.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do work that allows you to share from your heart, to be of joyful service, to contribute in a meaningful way, to make the world an even better place, and to inspire others to do the same?
To me, that’s what being a Green Leader is all about and I invite you to give yourself a chance and to throw your hat into the ring!
Here are 25 signs you’re an up & coming Green Leader:
You have a big heart and you care about people, animals, and our planet.
You have a creative and nurturing spirit.
You’ve been asking yourself questions like, “What’s my life’s purpose?” and you feel like there’s something really big out there waiting for you but you can’t seem to claim it just yet.
Your new ideas for change have not always been well-received or understood and people have bullied, criticized, and harassed you for being different, but you’re still determined to keep going.
You want to take on more leadership responsibilities at work but you don’t know how to communicate your intentions to the higher ups.
You care about environmental stewardship, and you’ve volunteered on a clean up crew like the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup with the intention of doing that kind of work more often, or even starting your own similar group.
You’ve been on a Green Committee at work or school and enjoyed discussing ideas on how to improve your organization’s Reduce, Reuse, and Recycling efforts.
You’re what they call a “Green Consumer” and are mindful of the environment when you make your purchases, taking into consideration things like how the products are made, what the products are made from, and how far they’ve travelled to get to you.
You’ve thought about voting Green in past elections but there weren’t any Green candidates on the ballot or you were afraid you’d split the vote.
You look for ways to save money and stick to your budget and it bothers you when you notice things like money and resources being wasted.
You can’t stand watching incompetent leaders be in charge and feel like you can do a better job.
You’re opening your own business.
You’ve been the first in your family, neighbourhood, class, or office to do something new and positive, paving the way for others to follow suit.
You’d prefer your personal space to be neat, tidy, and organized but you’re still surrounded by clutter because it’s hard for you to throw things out.
Although you have access to a car, you’re starting to choose to walk, ride a bike, take the bus, or join a carpool more often.
You’re looking to optimize your health and wellness, and practice self-care, but you find yourself over-indulging in unhealthy behaviours from time to time.
You’re interested in eating fresh, healthy, and organic food every day but you still order highly-packaged take-out dinners a few times a week for the convenience.
Spirituality is becoming more important to you and you may be drawn to yoga classes, learning how to meditate, the personal growth movement, reading self-help, leadership, and spiritual books, attending workshops and seminars, distance running in charity events, going to church, praying, etc.
You’re noticing moments of synchronicity, the interconnectedness of events that aren’t planned or repeatable, and it’s really cool!
You’re an advocate for social justice and believe that all humans have a fundamental right to health, wellbeing, education, clean water, nourishing food, safe shelter, and freedom.
You’ve been known to speak for those who have no voice.
You’re grateful for the diversity in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms of the world.
You marvel at nature’s beauty and enjoy camping, and nature hikes, and spending time outside in all kinds of weather.
You’ve witnessed an environmental disaster first hand and are now motivated more than ever to find solutions and create changes that will lead to a healthy future on a global scale.
Deep down, you’re optimistic about the future.
As you can see after reading this list, I’ve not painted the portrait of a perfect person or somebody who is better than everyone else even though they’re a leader because perfect is boring and more than that, perfect doesn’t exist, other than as a mathematical absolute. We’re all a work in progress and there’s always room to grow.
So, if you resonate with many of these qualities and you’d like to grow into your potential as a Green Leader and help make the world an even better place, please contact me, Maria. As a Wellness Coach, I can help!
Wellness Coaching Can Help You:
discover what lights you up so you can do more of it;
get clear about your life purpose and what you want to do as a Green Leader;
remind yourself about what’s already working;
uncover the hidden obstacles in your path;
figure out ways to blast through the obstacles as they come up;