‘What if You Fly’

What If I Fall? Oh, but My Darling What If You Fly? – Erin Hanson

Originally Posted by: Lily Daub in All Seeds, Growth, Inspiration August 8, 2015

How many of us are living in fear of taking a leap into flight? A leap into flight out of our comfort zones? Into a new job, a new love, pursuing a passion without a way of knowing the outcome?
This fear, often times, keeps us caged in like birds who are too afraid to fly.

We tell ourselves many lies; convincing ourselves this cage is protecting us from the disappointments, hurts, and of possible failures that may happen if we decide to take that leap. So, we sit as caged birds and daydream of what could be.

What happens if we DO decided to take the leap? What if we DO decide to flap our wings and fly out of that cage?

Some of us will fly, landing safely at our destinations. Some of us will fly, falling short of our destinations. But ALL of us will have conquered the fear of taking the scariest leap of all, deciding to be brave and facing the wind. ALL of us will have experienced flying. Most importantly, ALL of us will have a story about our uncaged journey. What we do with our stories is up to us.

If you are one who has fallen short of your destination, remind yourself that you were at least brave enough to take the risk to fly. Remember, caged birds only daydream. Get back up, flap your wings, and create new adventures you can share.

flickr photo shared by -Delphine – under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

What We Can Learn From People We Don’t Like 

This article was originally printed at  Darouwellness blog:


By Pamela Bohan, RP, CGT

Projection is one thing that people do that continues to fascinate me in my practice and provides a deep well of information for my patients. In essence it is the act putting something of yourself onto the environment. The environment includes other people, animals, inanimate objects and even our culture. Projection impacts the perception of ourselves and the world around us. As a concept it seems simple enough, however, as a neurosis it is done without awareness and is difficult to spot in ourselves. Often, by way of projection, we are rejecting something we have difficulty accepting in ourselves and it can be painful to acknowledge so the resistance can be strong. If you’ve ever said to yourself or to another person, “I would never act, say or do that” you were projecting. Arrogance, deceit, calculation, aggression and spite are the root of many annoyances and atrocities committed by people. These traits are part of our humanity that every human has the potential to demonstrate given the right conditions.
Before we dive too deep into reclaiming our darkest traits it is important to consider how projection benefits us or, what we would call in the Gestalt Therapy tradition, a health boundary disturbance. First of all, projection is an important part of creativity. Most artists and visionaries are good projectors. You can not create something that you do not already posses yourself. In fact many artists come to understand that they are exploring aspects of themselves through their work even if it is not their intent at the time of their creation.
Projection is also how we are able to empathize. We actually project what we imagine someone is feeling in a situation on to them whether or not it’s true. We put ourselves in their shoes. This goes a long way towards relating with other people. This type of projection has a dark side too, particularly if we are making choices for others or holding ourselves back without checking in first, and can lead to a lot of second guessing or contrived behaviour. Imagine what a first date might be like for someone who neurotically projects in this way. If you have a solid relationship with someone you can gain insight and relief by directly asking to confirm your projections. It’s incredible to find out that something you’re worrying about isn’t even on your friend or family member’s mind.
One of the best opportunities for working with projection is considering people we don’t like. It’s just a reality that some people just rub us the wrong way. Don’t get too hung up on it because there are people who don’t like you either. Some may chalk this up to unresolvable differences but when you take projection into consideration it may boil down to rejected similarities. We often feel dislike for people who embody traits that we don’t like to own up to in ourselves. Projecting is a way to dissociate or keep at distance something we find distasteful that we have rejected because it disrupts our self image. The need to maintain this self image is usually born out of a need to create a sense of stability at a time in our development when the environment wasn’t stable and we were still dependant on that environment. Another unfortunate aspect of unhealthy projection is that it cuts us off from aspects of ourselves that we need to meet our environment. Can you imagine the good use of a so called negative trait like arrogance? Or deceit? Arrogance might be what you need to take a risk or demand your due. Deceit would be helpful in planning a surprise birthday party. Or in a life or death situation to protect an innocent person, such as Jewish children who were placed in gentile homes during the second world war. Despite this we are unlikely to describe ourselves to others as arrogant or deceitful.
A very common thing to do is to project negative traits about our parents on to others. In the moment it is unlikely you will have the knowledge that this is what you are doing, although a sign might be conflict or resentment. It can take some digging around to find out exactly what it is about the non-parent person that is reminding you of your parent. Sometimes it can be the sound of someone’s voice, the style of their hair or something less tangible like their attitude. We also project positive traits onto people that remind us of people we like (including our parents, because they have good traits too!). Of course this means we behave differently around people depending on who we are projecting on to them. Of course there are some people who make good screens for our projections. Authority figures make great projection screens. Ever have a boss you didn’t like? Likely you had some negative projections.
As you can imagine working with projection can get quite layered and can really effect relationships, particularly if you consider that people you are projecting onto are projecting on to you! What this all points to is how strongly our perception of now can be impacted by the past.
Now what you’ve all been waiting for- there is always some truth to projection. Maybe even since you began reading this article you’ve been saying to yourself, “that guy really is a jerk, it has nothing to do with me.” It’s very likely true that he behaves like a jerk sometimes. And isn’t great that he’s giving you the opportunity to explore a shadow aspect of yourself?
Think of a person you dislike.

Now identify a few traits about that person that bother you. Are they bossy? Rude? Gregarious? Controlling?

Speak the traits out loud by completing the statement “I am…” For example “I am controlling.”

After you’ve said them out loud it’s likely you felt strongly about one or two of them.

Pick one.

Repeat the statement “I am…”

Now ask yourself when is this true about you? How do avoid being this way? Is there any place in your life that you could use more of this trait but you are fearful of being that way?

Notice what happens with your feeling and your body during this experiment. If you’ve had some strong feelings or resistance you may have touched the surface of a deeply disowned part of yourself and are on your way to reclaiming it.”

This is the kind of exersize we are going to include in iur upcoming course on leaving through your feelings. 

Our Story, ‘Time Machine’ and the Impression of Now

The way we present our story directly influences who we are and how we feel. At a discovery session yesterday, a client talked about her feelings of ‘being stuck’, ‘lost’ and ‘moving backwards in life,’ listing all her past trials and ‘failures’. But when I asked what’s happening now, a very different story emerged. She has taken charge of her life on all levels and is going forward however slowly – all in recent weeks. What she did ‘fail’ is to recognise on the emotional level that she has already moved on. And that’s a trick our mind often plays well: it likes to get attached to particular points in our past and dwell on them making us feel the way it was then.

Our mind is a perfect time machine. We don’t need portals and sophisticated technology; it’s all included in our brain. In our minds, we can live in any part of the world and any time past, present or future. The most exciting part: we can feel anything our mind thinks about (that’s what many schools of coaching advise: to dream and visualize your future and attach certain feelings to it in order for the events to happen your way). While this technique really works I don’t advise my clients to use it as there is a price to pay that no one mentioned in ‘The Secret’ book. This is a topic of another blog post on the ecology of success and the answer why the secret works for some and not the others. Back to time travel, I love how this different time dimension is called ‘psychological time’ in ‘The Power of Now’ by Echart Tolle. Our mind can go there any moment and make us live in this alternative reality and feel accordingly.

Like my client’s story was associated with the past few months and years of her life so her current feelings of general unhappiness and dissatisfaction were coming from that period of time. Her mind was disregarding completely what was going on right now right here and prevented her taking it in emotionally. Once we had an inspection of what was actually happening her whole disposition changed in a second, and the shift was palpable even though we were in different continents separated by a mighty ocean conducting our Skype conversation online. She is now free to look forward and create a compelling future for herself starting from today, not from a decade or some months’ old day in the past.

(Claude Monet with ‘The Magpie’ 1868 – 69 and the impressionist who followed suit were the first artists who wanted to have the present moment’ impression and nothing else in their paintings).

So this exercise called Reality Check is almost always the first thing we do when starting coaching. However uncomplicated it sounds, people often have trouble leaving their ‘psychological time’ and starting to recognise the real physical time and their own full presence in it. It took me, like many other people, several years to get out from my own past story-expectation and realize that nothing is real except for the present. The past is mind’s ability to remember and the future is its ability to imagine. And those abilities are always skewed by our current outlook. If we are positive and upbeat, the mind will fetch good memories or even paint bad memories good. And if we feel optimistic in the present, our future will look bright. When we are experiencing a low point, the past will make us depressed or nostalgic, the future prediction often will be doom and gloom and make us feel uncertain and even panicky and incapable to act. The reverse is true, as in my client’s case, when we go over and over the situations in the past, we re-live and feel those situations instead of what’s happening now.

Another way our mind never lets us live right now is that we react from the past experiences and project from our fears of future, we almost never deal with and create from what it is. That’s why we need shocking amusement park experiences, boot camp endurance exercises, or like in one woman’s case, her husband’s mountain climbing ‘addiction’ – to force the mind to pay attention to the here and now. The bliss and happiness associated with those extreme life situations we often attribute to the feeling that we achieved something, when in reality we just had a glimpse of present moment and the emotion of awe and serenity attached to it however briefly.

Failing to organise all those unusual activities, we need a reality check as a daily routine in our life. So we are always grounded in the here and now and get the feeling of it systematically. Once this is in place we can live more or less consciously and have adequate perceptions of the events and interpret them in the way that help and empowers us. This way we can use our mind as a practical instrument for getting useful information we know from the past, planning and assessing current tasks and future goals, and we then can own our feelings of joy and happiness, unhappiness and anger and the whole rest of the emotional pallet of what is happening right here and now. That’s called living, everything else is remembering and imagining.