When faced with a problem, we need to remember one simple, yet incredibly powerful thing: The answer is closer and clearer than you think. Sometimes, it helps tremendously to stop thinking, breath and allow space for things to be exactly as they are. Then, the way forward can reveal itself. I was reminded of this powerful process last weekend while trying to reach my destination in an unfamiliar city.
Here’s what happened
Have you ever found yourself arguing with your sat nav? I have, many times. One such time was last weekend while driving through Ireland’s majestic Cork City. I was attending a meet up with my fellow H. Dip in Coaching Psychology pals from UCC. Although we had spent the year together, formed close bonds and friendships, we had never met in person. So, this type of connection was a first and deeply special one for all of us. Having drove from North Wexford to Cork, Google Maps guided me seamlessly throughout the journey. ‘Doris’, as I lovingly call my sat nav, showed me that my destination was two minutes away. All I needed to do was drive over the bridge and the car park was on the left.
I crossed the bridge and couldn’t find the car park. It simply wasn’t there. Now, I was lost. My eyes scanned my surroundings for a car park sign while I quickly assessed which lane I should be in and decide which direction to go next. Meanwhile, the busy Saturday afternoon traffic turned left and right, went straight ahead, and weaved in and out of lanes. Doris recalculated. I was now eight minutes away. For the next forty minutes, Doris told me to turn left on a one-way system and yes, I answered louder and louder that I couldn’t, “It’s a one-way system Doris, I can’t”. I literally drove around in circles arguing with technology who seemed completely unphased by my insistence and continued to recalculate. Clearly, my strategy was not working.
It was time to change my approach and perspective. I decided to stop listening to Doris and stop thinking. Instead, I took a deliberate, slow, and meaningful breath, dropped into my senses and let go. Then, with complete acceptance that I was lost and despair gnawing for my attention, I slowed down my car on a relatively quiet side street. I looked around and saw a man looking at me. He approached the car as I turned down the window. I asked him if he knew how to get my destination. “It’s right there” he nodded and pointed to the car-park entrance to my immediate right. The carpark’s name was different to the hotel name; hence I didn’t recognize it. Relief and disbelief rushed through my veins as the panic began to leave my body. I clarified with the man that I was hearing him correctly, he affirmed, and warned me about the one-way system when entering the car park. I swung right, arriving at my destination and Doris lost her signal.
The Reflective Learning
Although, being lost in Cork City Centre on a busy Saturday afternoon was less than a joy, my experience is reflective of how, when faced with a problem we tend to rely on the internal system of thought alone and the usual ways of doing things (in this case, Doris was my go-to informer to lead the way). We fail to engage in the multitude of intelligence available to us, and hence, continue to look for answers in the wrong places. However, the intelligence beyond thought, such as our senses and intuition always hold deep wisdom, clarity, and direction if we listen and engage with it. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yes, in my panic, driving around in circles, yelling at Google Maps last Saturday does make me a little insane. Yet, it was only when I changed strategy that I came to my senses.
In the moments that I met both the situation and myself, and accepted things exactly as they were I began to see beyond what was not working and assess other ways forward. In this instance, I asked a kind stranger for direction, someone who knew more than me, and in doing so, realized that the car park was there all along, I just expected it to have a different name. This was another lesson in letting go of what we think the outcome should look like and instead allow reality is to be as it is, and work with that.
Now, let’s bring it home
So, what’s your problem? Can you stop thinking and engage with your senses and intuition to see reality as it is? When you do, what alternative options do you have? Who can help? Also, what or who do you need to stop listening to?
The answers to these questions can give rise to new insight and your way forward, what’s more, they are most likely hidden in plain sight. Furthermore, practicing the process of pausing thought and instead, dropping into your senses and intuition can instantly help you to accept your current reality from a broader perspective. This allows you to re-evaluate your problem in a way that you gain control, fully aligned in your power to resolve your problem, and choose your next progressive step.
Here is a step-by-step guide to this simple, yet powerful process
- Stop thinking
- Drop into your senses
- Accept things exactly as they are
- Look for new ways forward
- Take new action
If you feel that connecting with your senses and inner wisdom is something that could help you to navigate your life in a more meaningful and progressive way, my upcoming mindfulness meditation classes can help you to do so. You can book your place here or contact me and we’ll take it from there.