Premium travel at your personal edge? Or status quo economy?

Premium travel at your personal edge? Or status quo economy?

Around 8am in the morning of May 3rd, I was eating breakfast in Pret-a-Manger at London Heathrow, Terminal 3….

Some of you will no doubt consider me somewhat weird when I disclose my love of airports.

I admit that I have travelled more for my own purposes than I have for business reasons. This may be why I have retained a fascination for people watching and window shopping that transcends any frustration or boredom, should I experience long queues or flight delays.

What I noticed on the morning of May 3rd was how alive I felt, despite the early morning start a 10am flight necessitates.  I remembered a remark from a colleague some years ago. When I told him I liked airports, he’d said, ‘That makes sense Cathy. You like transitional, edgy places.’

So true. The thing about transitional, edgy places is that they are full of possibility and potential. I think this is what airports represent for me. Whether I am departing to a far flung destination or not, the thrill of adventure and the unknown is present as I look at the departures screen.

New environments bring new perspectives. When we travel we may encounter unfamiliar situations that force new and creative responses. In the process, we may also have to face our fears and reactive patterns. We can feel more alive when we explore new ways of being and doing. We will also feel more alive when we unravel the habitual patterns that have caused repeating problems in our lives.

But the status quo is a formidable opponent to growth. When we return to a familiar comfort zone, we literally lose our edge. It is harder to act on insights received at edgy places from the midst of the demands of familiar, daily life.

There are times in life when the comfort and stability of the status quo is necessary and enjoyable. However, when our comfort is punctuated by longings for adventure, we might consider what part of ourselves is lying dormant and asking for expression.

While a holiday might ‘take the edge’ off that hunger for a short while, we will soon be back. Unless we’ve worked out what needs to change while we are away and acted on it, we may soon be re-experiencing the signals for the need for change, such as boredom, tiredness, frustration or restlessness. There may even be depression if a situation has become chronic.

After I boarded my flight to Philadelphia on May 3rd, I took out my phone and headphones and recorded the insights that form the basis of this newsletter. I didn’t want to lose them. By the time the plane was in the air, I’d also recorded insights regarding choices I need to make with regard to my own direction over forthcoming months. That included a decision re the right coaching support to invest in for the next phase of my life and work.

My question to you this month is to ask whether you are in touch with your growing edge? Are you feeling excited as you engage with the frontier of your life? Or, do you need help to decide where the frontier is? Or, having found the frontier, have you discovered inner saboteurs that seem to lie in wait to persuade you that the status quo really is acceptable?

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend who is selling the house that his grown up children and elderly mother are fond of. They would rather he didn’t sell. But, he has strong personal reasons to make a move that he has delayed for some time.

He said, ‘The status quo is no longer an option.’ I thought that was a great statement!

For a house move, the appropriate support comes from estate agents and solicitors. But, personal edges, which challenge us to call forward underdeveloped parts of ourselves in order to shift our work and relationships to new levels, are different.

Is it wise to wait until a crisis brings you to a forced edge? Might you prefer the premium choice of hiring the support of someone who can keep both keep you in touch with the potential of your growing edge and support you as you make changes? If there’s a part of you that knows you have inner challenges to address in order to make outer changes, coaching can shift you out of a vicious cycle or a downward spiral.  


Resolutions vs. Mastery

I’ve realised that the word resolutions doesn’t work for me as a framework for a new year. 

I am more interested in orienting my life around the word mastery.

Resolutions are often to do with changes of habits. Mastery demands that we work towards a larger goal.

I hope the following teaching offers food for thought if you are inspired to consider what you will master in 2017.

New Foundations

During my years of practice of Chinese and Indian yogic (i.e. non religious) traditions, I have been deeply inspired by the wisdom of the Five Elements.

In the non dual Indian (and Tibetan) wisdom traditions, the Five Elements are Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. Space is the element from which the others arise as aspects. The Five Elements represent the building blocks of the entire manifested universe, including the human body, its thoughts and its emotions.

There is no good and bad or positive and negative applied to the body/mind in the non dual traditions. The orientation is towards either obstruction or flow.

As we enter a new year, we might be wise to reflect on the Earth element, which is associated with foundations. Here’s a short summary of Earth element associations. Check your tendency towards any obstructed orientations that could sabotage your journey of mastery.

Obstructions to an element are created by fear. The fear that underlies Earth obstructions is insubstantiality. This fear tends to arise after an experience of the ‘rug being pulled from under your feet.’ Of course, many felt this last year following the Brexit vote and the US election.

Arising out of these surprise results were feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. To counteract this the individual (and collective) fear based persona leans towards strategies that re-store a sense of solidity (individual) or solidarity (collective).

Pride, territorialism and solidification of a stance together with behaviours of entitlement or control or obsession are some ways in which humans attempt to counteract the sense of lack, impoverishment, and need that can accompany insecurity. Or it can be the opposite – pretence of no need leads to deprivation, retraction and maybe isolation/self sufficiency. Actions of unsolicited giving, giving away or hoarding may occur but do not provide the security or validation that is unconsciously sought.

Authentic generosity, the wisdom associated with the Earth element, requires a different type of self understanding and relationship to uncertainty. There will always be uncertainty and impermanence in the material world. But it is possible to remain grounded in a way that lessens the impact of the shifting sands and enables appropriate response.

The liberated qualities of the Earth element – equanimity, contentment and stability – become established with spiritual maturity. The embodiment of these qualities is no small achievement.

Resolution may start a journey. But, only a commitment to mastery can reach the finishing line.


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