Tuesday, September 14, 2004

life coaching at dave matthews

sunday afternoon the fog had burned off enough that blue patches replaced grey ones in the sometimes dismal sunset neighborhood of san francisco. katy and i tried multiple times to hop on a bus, hail any taxi that would stop to get to the dave matthews benefit concert in golden gate park- to no avail, until one taxi finally pulled over.

our driver, a nice tunisian man, with musical notes and melodies from lebanon playing in the background took off as soon as we had shut the door. he knew where we needed to go. he also knew that 1/14th of the city would be in attendance, as evidenced by the gridlock found on fulton and probably experienced on lincoln. never before had we seen so many stuffed busses, stuffed cabs, resembling tins of sardines on wheels- all headed to the same place. our driver zipped along on side streets until he finally dropped us off at the main intersection. people of all different sizes and socio-economic backgrounds milled about and forged a way through the woods with such purpose. we followed suit and passed a grove where we had crashed a postal workers' credit union salsa party two years before. upon entering the polo fields where the concert would be held, we saw throngs of people as far as the eye could see forward. which of course got my blood and my feet pumping.

katy and i have been to many concerts together and know each other's m.o. we usually grab an okay spot and send me out to do reconnaissance to see if more prime spots exist (they always do). so after taking some time to assess the configuration of the stage i set down my blanket, as a discoverer claiming his plot of land would have during the age of exploration. we were situated in between a man with no leg or fingers and in front of a woman and some kids. on the right was this girl and her boyfriend who had a knack for twirling a clear orb over his knuckles and arm to the rhythm of the music.

katy left to go explore all the offerings of the booths and try to secure concert pins for us. i stayed and relished the sunshine, lying down on the blanket and opening my book on cadavers that we are reading in our book club. the woman behind me asked if the book was any good; she had heard a lot about it. i put the book down, never opened it again at the concert, as we began dialoguing at first about the book and then next about our lives.

her name is stephanie. she is a life coach. she is a single parent with two children- one who accompanied her to the concert, is 17, but looks 13 and another with the opposite misfortune.
i was totally intrigued by her profession, and as i am oft-prone to do, began to ask a lot of questions about it.

life coaches help people who are at a place of transition, but can't get there by themselves.
very interesting. people who are ready to change, are aided by life coaches who help facilitate and enable the change to come to fruition. throughout our conversation i learned that resistance is really only negative thoughts and usually last only 52 seconds long. if you can move through that gap of time, you can resist the resistance. she explained to me that when you meet someone you don't like or a situation that is unfavorable, try the "yes and" approach, where you acknowledge the reality of the situation/your sentiments to the other person, but move past it with the conjunction "and."

so hypothetically if i meet someone named horton and i think he is a jerk, i need to say "yes and" this is what i will bring into this situation. kind of like giving second chances/moving past initial reactions that are scheduled into everyday encounters. it takes 21-28 days to break or form a new habit. we talked about posture and how she actually had studied the science of body language (had some long quirky name to it). she made the point that if a person stands erect, there is no way that they will feel depressed.

we talked about my encounters and relationships with street kids and i mentioned a few specific people and situations. we talked about how even when you want to help someone make a change for the better, if they are not ready, in this case to get off the streets, then you have to accept it.
i told her about my meditation time sunday morning involving renewal, restoration and isaiah (recorded in another blog) and how jesus is the living water all of us are thirsty for. she seemed to be tracking me, as we began talking about spirituality and the role it plays in human development. in the end she said i would make a good life coach and encouraged me to check out their school. she mentioned some authors too, which if i had had a pen would have been useful for further evaluation and learning.

what a great conversation. to me some of life's highest moments are great conversations.

to my left katy was talking to our neighbor, who was sharing his story. he had been a skilled athlete- surfing and skiing mostly and then was diagnosed with toxic shock disorder, which ended up taking most of his right leg and all of his fingers. he told her that he has several kids who are very active in sports and doing well. he looks like he is a little down on his luck and potentially living outside. she offered to buy him a beer. i handed him the bag of low carb chips from which we were munching.

stephanie shared one of our blankets for a while, until kenny, stacey and maela showed up.
when the concert actually began, three hours after we had arrived, we got up and danced. and even our new friends danced- stephanie on two healthy legs and our neighbor without a leg bopping his head up and down from the ground. what a fabulous san francisco afternoon.


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