More Like a Cha-Cha

By Jennifer Hilton. Jennifer is a Haven Faculty member and a Haven Coach. 

I like this definition of being an optimist … at least I do now.

I tend to be more future oriented. What is my next step? Where do I want to be? How can I create “more” of…? I don’t often “do regrets”, so much so that I have successfully wiped out a lot of meaning and feelings by moving forward with a sense of never quite making the mark. I am a seeker, in that I have lived a fair amount of life not unhappy, but not really content. It makes sense to me that I am a coaching practitioner, supporting people to move towards their potential and what they want for a more satisfying life.

Last year, I took what I would now call a step back in my life, just after I had taken several steps forward towards a personal dream. At the time, I had all kinds of judgments about myself in stepping back; that I was sabotaging, that I was failing to reach my ideal/potential. I was somewhat surprised when a dear friend said to me that my step back was courageous. I did not dismiss the idea completely and at the time it was generally foggy.

In stepping back, I worked through the fog. I discovered more about myself, uncovered blind spots, buried feelings and beliefs. I was blind to my own motivation, how much I was striving, how much I was invested in the outcome and how along the way I was excluding others in my life. My world was smaller, my body tighter, my feelings blocked and my relationships strained. This was very unsettling in so many ways as I believed I was living the dream I had envisioned.

I was not prepared for the depth of self-revelation and feelings that came. It was a challenging time, filled with periods of uncertainty, chaos, anxiety, fatigue and depression. I did not journey through alone, as I would have in the past. I had learned enough about myself to reach out for support from my partner, dear friends and fellow coaches/counselors. I consciously chose to step into myself and really look at what was driving me, to feel my feelings, to challenge my assumptions about myself, relationships and how I wanted to live my life.

This particular step ended up opening me to self-compassion and ability to be far more friendly with myself. Today, my awareness of my body, sensation and feelings are more available to me, which seemingly supports deepening in all my relationships. I am still the seeker and I have dreams and passions to explore and I have faith that I have learned how to notice and loosen the grip on the inside. I am aware that I am practicing the cha-cha with more faith, ease, creativity and grounded optimism.

In reflection, I can see my courage and how taking the step back was a gift, even with the labeled self-sabotage. I can see how, the “disaster” of the time, was a continuation of the steps I take in life. My heart is full when I think of the people that supported me. I am grateful for the Haven’s philosophy’s and concepts that I continue to embody by living through my experiences in relationship and share with others as I coach.

My guess is that we all have these steps we might see as “disaster” in our lives. Looking at it in this way, as a cha-cha is far more appealing. As with any dance, each step, each movement has a different felt experience. Stepping with awareness, stepping into support, relationship, and consciously choosing the next step brings more meaning and vitality. Music please … let the cha-cha continue!

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