I have a favorite coaching client who wakes up to dread every morning.
She wakes up dreading her day.
I asked her what the dread felt like. “Like a warm, wet blanket,” she said. “A gray, wet, stifling blanket.” She can feel it heavy around her shoulders.
“Does it find you, or do you seek it out?” I asked.
“I seek it out,” she mused.
I asked her to reflect on the blanket as it descends in the morning; to be aware of it. If she can identify of it, maybe she can choose not to pick it up, not to wrap it around herself.
So is that going to work? I wondered later. Or am I spouting some kind of metaphoric crap. Maybe I should reflect on a blanket, too.
I don’t wake up with dread: my bugaboo is shame. Sometimes I wake up and can feel my brain parsing all the things I feel shame around – the stupid thing I said, that idiot thing I did. And I wrap that shame blanket thickly around myself.
So I decided to stop picking up that blanket. Oh there it is! Nope, not picking it up.
The uncanny thing is that by identifying it simply as a (metaphoric) blanket and not some kind of infallible judgement on myself, it doesn’t have such power. It’s just a blanket.
I asked my client about her blanket. “Weird,” she said. “It’s not bugging me as much.”