Thursday 10 October 2013

Incomplete patterns

One of the tools I use with clients is Landscaping Your Life (LYL).
LYL uses nature as a teacher to provide insight into situations we'd like more clarity on. There's many different ways this can be achieved. One of the most often used processes in coaching sessions is using a landscape to represent the situation. 

For example you may be feeling stressed about a situation. To use the LYL process you're asked to think of a landscape that represents the current 'stressed' situation. (Sometimes if we're outside we'll use the landscape we're in. Otherwise it's achieved through visualisation.) We then explore the landscape for clues about what changes might assist in changing how you're currently feeling. These might include changes in weather, setting, certain aspects, colour, sounds, temperature and so on. These changes are tested until you're feeling less stressed. 

That is you end up with an amended landscape that represents a less stressed state. As this internal representation changes it can't help but impact and change how you're feeling and thinking. This in turn will impact how you act in the situation. 

And yes it can be that simple. Although don't under estimate the time it can take until the landscape is 'just right'. Nor the minds capacity to want to retain the current stressed state (and therefore return to the previous landscape) and therefore trick you into thinking you've cracked it! 
Over time and many instances of using this process with myself and others I've noticed a difference between those who obtain long term changes as a result of using the process and those who have more temporary reprieve.
The difference is in the 'completeness of the landscape they envisage'.
If their solution is a stream it seems important to expand the landscape to include the whole life of the stream from high up in the mountains, through waterfalls, rivers, estuary and finally into the ocean. As demonstrated in the pictures used here. 
Other times the pattern that needs completing is the time of day - with the landscape needing to run through 24 hours. For others its the need to represent a whole month, season or even year.
The key is ensuring that what we do makes the situation better not worse.
For example if someone has spent ages feeling like they're in the dark with no light, then 'completing' the pattern isn't likely to be sunrise, sunset and returning to darkness. Completeness however will need to be found in some other element within the landscape. 
Other patterns of completion may include harvesting the fruits, following the tide from high to low, and so on.
I'm not sure yet why this is - if you have any observations I'd love for you to share them.

I think it highlights and links to our unconscious connection to nature. Something I feel strongly we should be reinforcing not ignoring nor moving away from. (Although if my recent reliance on a weather app when deciding whether to bring sheets in from the line rather than pay attention to the dark clouds is anything to go by I have a long way to go myself!)

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out
+44 (0)7770 538159

This blog continues the theme of exploring the tools and techniques that help us release unhelpful patterns that are stopping us achieving our goals.

Other LYL blogs exploring how nature can be used as our teacher, personally or organisationally, include making mountains out of molehills and other sayings that keep us stuck, getting more perspective, business strategy development and the ICECAPS checklist. More on the process can also be found on the landscaping your life Facebook page, Pinterest board and YouTube playlist.

Landscaping Your Life, a process Alison uses with clients, is a brilliant approach, heartily recommended. Alison has extraordinary energy and an almost spooky sense of where people are and what they need. I have learned/ worked/ played alongside Alison for more than a decade and found her insights always useful" Ruth Wallsgrove Asset Management Trainer and Consultant

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