Let Go and Be More Dog

Mike Rawlins, NLP Master Practitioner, Executive Coach, songwriter and musician…amongst other things !

“That’s great,” says Florence. Then, with a smile, “You could write that up for Personal Effects”……………

We are drinking tea and chatting and I have just outlined my new project – my very new project; idea at 10 that morning, review and commitment in the car on the long drive up to Cumbria, first steps taken before my arrival and the project is real and happening and has always been there.

I say outlined – what I really mean is gabbled in a long, passionate outpouring of thoughts and parts of the picture as they flash into my mind accompanied by energetic gestures which are so not me – well, perhaps they are now.
The idea – that can wait for another day. The question is – how did I get here?

And it is a good question. For I look back over the last year and find it hard to detect the path from there to here.
The next day, I have the good fortune to accompany Florence and Pat on a walk with their two dogs. It is a dry but cloudy day – a hint of rain only – and a cool breeze that darts around us as we walk over hill and by river. Our walk is purposeful but not urgent and we cover the miles at a pace that allows the world to walk with us. The dogs, however, follow paths that defy logic – crossing and criss-crossing, here and there, pausing to investigate an interesting scent, then darting off in random directions just for the sheer hell of it.

I realise later that the last year has been a bit dog.

The energy and exuberance I now feel is the result of a series of seemingly random forays into dense undergrowth with the occasional pause when something I find smells interesting.

At the beginning of this ‘walk’, I was concerned by my inability to start things that matter – to take the ideas and endless plans in my head and make them real. I could procrastinate for England (unless we were playing Germany, then I would probably miss a penalty).

“What are you good at starting? What are you good at changing? What are you good at finishing? What patterns do you notice about yourself?”, asked Florence. The resulting lists sowed seeds – although I did not know this at the time.
I have become good at noticing and managing my state. Robert Dilts’ COACH model plays a big part in this. I find that I can choose to become Centred and Open; to be Attentive and Connected to myself and to the wider system and that I can Hold myself in a state of resourcefulness and curiosity. In a quiet corner of a cathedral in Gdansk last November, I met myself and saw myself to be good and connected to a wonderful greatness around me (this is a story for another time). The experience left me aware of a potential energy and connectedness that I had previously not felt.

I have also taken up Yoga and found, through the practice, a way of Letting Go. I started Yoga to find flexibility in mind and body. My guide to the physical practices has put me into many positions that take me to the edge of what I feel is possible. During one session, in a particularly difficult twist, I found myself about to give up when, out of consciousness, I sighed, smiled and the tension eased and I flowed further into the twist – just as she asked me to stop!
When this same pattern occurred again, I was ready for it. I realised that what was happening was an acceptance of how things were (the sigh), a sense of wellbeing at that acceptance (the smile) and a consequent loss of tension and gain in flexibility that allowed me to let go of inhibitions and find how much more I was capable of. And I realised that this Letting Go could be applied throughout my life.

For there to be Transformation – something must cease in order to create space for the new. Incremental change is ok, but unless space is created, those increments just build up and create stagnation and bloat (I love that word).
So now I am in control of my state and capable of letting go – ready for new beginnings. And new beginnings are there to be taken. And suddenly, without me noticing, I am a person who can take new steps without delay, without procrastination – and the project is underway and I am excited to find what happens with the next step.

I am centred, I am open, I have let go of the old – and the future is one of wonderful hidden paths and enticing smells. Time to be more dog.