Wide open

I was supposed to have gotten on a plane tonight and travel to Egypt. I haven’t been in Egypt for 36 years and was excited to check out the new Egypt. But yesterday I received a message that this was not to be. The trip was postponed by two weeks and the new dates don’t work for me. Alas. This is the second aborted attempt to return to Egypt. On January 29 (?) 2011 I had my visa in hand and was ready to visit Egypt with 16 Afghans. But things took a turn on Tahrir Square and our trip was postponed, then cancelled.

On the upside, I suddenly have an ocean of unprogrammed time ahead of me. It was a very liberating feeling – I haven’t been unprogrammed for months. Axel commented that I have been wound up tight as a top. Indeed, I have been, sliding from one intense assignment to another, getting up at 4:30 in the morning and often working in the evening before collapsing at 9 PM.

One of the things I have been working on early mornings or after dinner are the requirements for my coaching certification that command about 5 hours a week, most outside work hours: practice coaching sessions with people in my cohort, being on the giving and receiving end has taken 2 to 3 hours a week; weekly support group sessions on Sunday evening and a weekly class by phone eat up another two and a half hours. Most of these requirements, at least for the first phase of my training, have been met. By Monday I will have completed all but the Wednesday evening classes and monthly mentoring sessions, which will go on, seemingly ad infinitum, but in reality till October. Another 30 hour training weekend is beginning to appear on the horizon, the day after faro’s first birthday next month.

Our peer group calls always start with a check-in, with the innocent question of ‘how was your week?’ None of us has a straight answer. It’s always an ‘up-and-down’ answer. As I reflect on this week, during which I did not add one single post, and from my new liberated vantage point, I realize that this week as been, once more an emotional rollercoaster.

Two weeks ago I had been requested to investigate a drawn out organizational process that had left much pain in its wake, and prepare a meeting with key stakeholders with the purpose of learning. The closing meeting was on Monday and created more turbulences in spite of an overall outcome that was very positive. How can that happen? Answering that has taken much of my mental energy this week.

I learned a few things about myself in the process and try to be more self aware, putting my coaching learnings into practice and noticing the results. The investment is paying off. As my teachers say, coaching is about being rather than doing, although I am also aware of how much doing has to precede the being.

And so I am reveling in my sense of freedom. I took the day off since it was programmed for packing and leaving. I scheduled a massage, caught up on (a fraction of) old new Yorkers, try to keep up with sister’s astonishing scrabble skills, and bought tickets to a concert of Zoe Lewis tonight in Marblehead. The disappointment of the cancellation of the Egypt trip has faded and is replaced by the joy of a wide open space. And while I enjoy all of that Axel has a crown put in this afternoon and has to open wide.

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