I found my power animal today.
Yes, it’s true.
But wait, there’s more to this story.
On Monday I learned (again?) that my parents are separating (divorcing?). Lots of backstory, lots of unanswered questions, lots of talk without much action so far. It’s sent me into an emotional tailspin that (today) causes me to spontaneously burst into tears with no warning whatsoever.
Also I’ve been participating in a life coaching program, which consists of a couple of one-on-one phone sessions a month and a few group sessions a year. It‘s an interesting practice that I‘m happy to discuss with those who aren‘t currently making faces or obnoxious judgmental noises.
As a result of the aforementioned emotional tailspin, I’ve found it difficult to “coach” or get “coached”. On Tuesday I nearly put my fist through my computer monitor as my life coach asked me “What do you need to learn from the situation with your parents? What does the ideal situation look like? How do you take care of Maria?”
Needless to say I was none-too-excited for group life coaching.
So today we practiced leading someone through a difficult problem, and rest of the group watched and identified our “essence”. Most people were identified as being really great at creating a safe, welcoming place, and were told that they should work on being too nice and just get to the point. When it was my turn to be evaluated, the woman leading the session prefaced my "critique" by saying that I was different than everyone else. People described my essence as “direct, intense, unpredictable, interested and patient”. I should work on trusting myself and my intuition in order to fully embrace qualities I already have. Choosing a power animal (okay, a “metaphor for your essence” - some people were lighthouses or trees or something) is about identifying something that relates to your essence while calling forth the extra bit of energy you need to make the improvements you can make to get better at leading.
I had to laugh a little. I actually coerced one of my group members to agree that his power animal was Babe the pig from that movie - yeah, the one who’s followed around by those mice who say things like, “Pork is a sweet meat” in little mousy voices. I felt kind of bad.
I, on the other hand, became an eagle circling for fish above a mountain lake, confidently diving for prey, occasionally missing and returning to the air, circling again.
I probably could have remained glib and cynical about all of this had she not made us stop and journal about it. I had to admit, then, that it helps. Not that it makes situations themselves any less painful, but at the very least clearer.