These are true life stories of people and their experience of transformation. Names, times and location details have been altered to respect their identity.
The Fossil. A prolonged numbing out is also a call to change and Rose was one who heard the call at first not loudly and not clearly, it was a slow gradual noise until she recognised she was not living her life. She had a fabulous, (or so she was told), career working in film. She worked promoting big Hollywood stars and she had met several of them and networking was a major part of her PR job. Her boss had spent two decades frenetically busy building up the business. She was a woman who knew what she wanted type: Alpha female driven, competitive and was hard on herself and her staff. Yet she had a soft spot for Rose which was justified because Rose was incredibility focused and brilliant at her job. Just that for Rose her heart was not in her job. Her heart told her through sleepless nights and mounting anxiety. Her mind went into overdrive and big things suddenly became enormous and overwhelming. She could not go to sleep as she has to analyse all her actions had she done this had she done that? She carried on with the role using all her available energy to keep on track. Until one day she crashed. She could not do this anymore. Time off was granted at work and some tasks taken away from her. The doctor prescribed short term medication to cope with moods and anxiety and perpetual thoughts in a whirr. Yet in her heart despite all the numbness and pain she knew she was not looking for a band-aid solution she was looking for something more fundamental and substantial.
Although she was not sure what it was she wanted she knew that this was not it. She needed to find out who she was and what she really wanted. Her life was so far removed from what she wanted that she did not know where to start. She was from a loyal family and in a secure and loving relationship yet she felt alien to them all.
She knew there was someone inside not showing up. Some dreams that were not being lived. Some inner truth that she was not able to explore. As she took herself on long walks through nature objects seemed to whisper to her without words. She felt peaceful here where there was no noise and momentarily the noise inside her head was also silenced. One day on her walk down a familiar country path, she stopped and picked up a stone and noticed a pattern within it emerging. She put in in her pocket intuitively feeling that the stone was her talisman Time to find our her pattern her inner truth her awareness. She needed a guide one that could offer wisdom and insight. She had already consulted both a psychotherapist and a cognitive behavioural therapist for a number of years to look into the anxiety she pervasively felt. They both helped to a certain degree and the anxiety was kept in check. Now it emerged like a raging beast and was constantly taking to her side in the form of obsessive dark thoughts. She wanted someone who could help her find her own solution.
Serendipity bought her the person through a personal contact who mentioned that the person in question neither offered advice or worked to a set formula yet enabled the person to find their own through self-enquiry and mindfulness. Over the next few months Rose learnt to listen to herself deeply, to show down and to enjoy her own company. She learnt to like the stillness. She knew for sure that she did not want to return to the corporate world. She wanted to write novels, have children, take walks in nature. That was not going to happen straight away. In the meantime, she quit her job for good and found herself working in a bookshop. She felt on her path, in her heart and living with her choices. She was ready to live it.
Max sat down at his desk surrounded by his house clearance business in North London. He sold furniture after people moved home. He had been doing this for over two decades. It was something he fell into and something which kept life ticking along and at certain points made him a decent living. Over the last year in particular his business had changed radically and he had to make some tough calls so he laid off four members of his staff. He noticed that business had changed some time ago yet he thought it will be ok if he kept himself busy it would work out it always did. He ignored his tiredness, his feelings of mounting frustrations as he drove all day in his van chasing furniture deals with so little margin and the pure physical exertion that was required. He had long ago lost his enthusiasm for his business.
The decline was gradual like a frog sitting in boiling water not realising that the inaction was slowly not killing his business and also his ability to think of different solutions. He sat there knowing that he had to do what he dreaded which was to change as could no longer go on as he had. But what was going to do? This is what he knew about making a living.
He sat with his head in his hands groaning and a customer walked in. He found himself telling her his situation and also why he was alone in the shop. Surprisingly she did not do what everyone else did which was say, it is a sign of the times, carry on it will get better .She did not swap another hard luck story in the hope it would make him feel better.
She asked some simple questions.
What can you do that you competition can't?
What is the one thing you still love about what you do?
What can you offer that is a genuine service to people in this area?
What will give you the biggest return on your investment of time and energy?.
She was asking him to change perspective and to start with a blank of paper. Start to dream. Believe. Planning and actions could come later. She understood that it was very difficult to run a successful business successfully out or fear and lack. That kept customers away. What he needed was inspiration a vision and confidence to know the true value of business. She did not give advice, tell him what she would have done. She asked challenging questions, ones that stimulated his vision, his problem solving ability, ones that encouraged him to change perspective and to do that we often have to change the scenery inside our own head. A year later Max’s shop front had changed out of all recognition. He had thrown out all the furniture he did not like. He bought pieces he liked and restored them.
He changed the layout of his shop inside. It looked fun, funky, it had character and style. Accordingly his appearance changed. He looked sharper, smarter: happier. He was following his heart and was giving his customers a different experience. His shop had life and business was picking up. He had to to hit the bottom till he started to live from his heart and create a heart-centred business.