When the shoe no longer fits.
Ten years ago, my first meditation teacher—the late Michael Stone—told me a story about a small group of Hasidic Jewish men whom he taught yoga to on a weekly basis.
His students had decided that while internally they considered themselves Buddhists, externally they would continue to perform their duties as leaders in the Hasidic Jewish community.
As much as Eastern spiritual traditions resonated with them, they were aware of the impact and pain that would arise should they ever reveal this to the people who looked to them for religious guidance.
And so, once a week for an hour, they gathered and welcomed Michael’s teachings into their bodies while keeping the agreements they had made to their people intact.
In his book The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Michael writes, “Waking up is not an improvement of reality but rather direct contact with it.”
Since returning from my Master-level certification week at Integral Coaching Canada, I am feeling both the direct—and sometimes painful—contact of my “new” reality. It feels like every relationship and commitment that I had been building prior to last week no longer fits.
The shoe is too tight and it’s making it uncomfortable to be where I am.
On the last day of certification week, Laura Divine—one half of Integral Coaching Canada’s founding body and also my teacher—spoke to the ways that we as Integral Master Coaches™ have an increased capacity to hold complexity.
We are more able to meet what is with curiosity, patience, and intentional action.
While my old way of being would have cast off what no longer fits with barely a second glance, my new way of being is thinking deeply about how to skillfully and compassionately guide both herself and others through this shift.
My new way of being wants to include the people and projects she’s already working with in this process.
At the same time, I also appreciate and respect the choice that Michael’s students made. As desirable as personal and spiritual transformation may be, it is a largely relational—instead of solely individual—experience.
So maybe the question we need to be asking is, “How will this growth that I’m seeking shift my relationship to others and how will I navigate that change?”
It’s okay if the shoe no longer fits.
And it’s okay to leave it on and look for just a little more wiggle room.
And it’s okay to take off and seek out more fitting soles.
Because whatever you choose, you don’t need to walk alone.