Blue Heron Visions

Spiritual Life Coaching


Volume 2, Issue 1
January/February 2005

Inside This Issue
Burning Our Bridges
Thoughts from the Coach . . .

 

Burning Our Bridges


Most of us have been told at some time in our lives: Don’t burn your bridges behind you. Typically, we are given this advice when we change the circumstances of a relationship either in our professional or personal lives, such as when leaving a job, changing banks, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or dissolving a marriage. In each case, the advice given means to do what we can to ensure that the relationship—or bridge—remains open and accessible between ourselves and the other person or organization. The reasoning behind this advice is that these relationships may help us or influence our lives at some future date.

I agree that this advice is generally sound. However, after I read this definition of the idiom—“[t]o eliminate any possibility of retreat to a former position” (from http://www.bartleby.com)—I started wondering when burning our bridges behind us is the best action to take. As I considered this thought, I came up with the following ideas.


Burning Of The Lebanon Valley Railroad Bridge By The Rioters
Taken from “The Great Strike,” Harper’s Weekly—August 11, 1877
http://www.catskillarchive.com/rrextra/sk771103.html

 
  • Let’s burn bridges to our assumptions.
    In coaching, we define assumptions as our beliefs and expectations that situations and their outcomes which have occurred in the past will occur in the same way now and in the future. For example, if we have had a challenge in getting along with a family member in the past, we assume that we will continue to have that challenge. Our assumptions color the way we view any situation because we are already locked into one—and only one—possibility.

    We burn the bridges to our assumptions by looking at each situation we face as new and full of possibilities for different outcomes and great change. We can remind ourselves that no situation, no person, no choice is exactly the same because everyone and everything is always changing. Remember the words of Heraclitus: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man” Of course, that goes for us women, too!

  • Let’s burn bridges to our interpretations.
    Interpretations are the meanings and intentions we assign to people’s words, facial expressions, tone of voice, actions, etc. As with assumptions, we create these interpretations in our minds. Interpretations also limit the possibility for change and growth in our relationships. When we allow our interpretations to guide our actions, we are not able to see other points of view or embrace other meanings.

    We burn the bridges to our interpretations by acknowledging that we can only discover people’s intentions or the meanings of their words by asking them directly. By taking the risk to find out exactly what someone is communicating, we open the door to building our relationships, eliminate the probability of misunderstanding, and save ourselves countless hours of reenacting the stories that we create in our minds as we try to figure out what the person really meant, how could the person think that, how we should have reacted, and how we will behave toward the person in the future.

  • Let’s burn bridges to our destructive self-talk.
    How much time do we spend telling ourselves how wrong, bad, insignificant, inappropriate, etc. we are? Listening to this destructive self-talk is like listening to a record whose needle is stuck in a groove. Unless someone acts to make the needle move, that “stuck” record will continue to play the same words over and over and over again. Some of us have been listening to the same broken “self-talk” record for years!

    We can burn the bridges to our destructive self-talk by first becoming aware that we are listening to destructive self-talk. We can spend some time paying attention to what we tell ourselves when we think we have made a mistake or when we have had a disagreement with someone or when we have to try some new challenge or experience. What are we really saying to ourselves?

    Once we are aware of the broken record that we are listening to, then we can throw it out by creating a new record in which we use self-talk as a way to encourage ourselves and to acknowledge the marvelous spiritual beings we are.

  • Let’s burn bridges to our past.
    Carolyn Myss often talks about how our energy is rarely concentrated where we are at the present moment. Most of the time, our energy is fragmented. We have energy pieces in the past as we relive situations and events that have already occurred.

    We burn the bridges to our past by letting go of our need to hold on to past hurts. By acknowledging the experience, by allowing and feeling the associated emotions, and by believing, as impossible as it may seem, that every person involved did the best he/she could with the knowledge he/she had at the time, we can move toward forgiveness. We can look at the lessons we learned as a result of the experience. By forgiving those involved, including ourselves, we can bring our energy back into the present moment and burn the bridge to the hurt, blame, and unforgiveness of that past experience.

As we welcome 2005, let us examine the bridges that are no longer serving us or our spiritual growth. Think about and answer this question: What bridges need to be burned behind you so that you can move forward into new possibilities and positive change? :o)

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“No mirror ever became iron again; No bread ever became wheat; No ripened grape ever became sour fruit.
Mature yourself and be secure from a change for the worse. Become the light.”

—Melvana Rumi


Thoughts from the Coach . . .


 

The very first article I wrote for Blue Heron Visions was about creating, reevaluating, and reshaping a vision. What I did not talk about was how the actual process of accomplishing a vision can change over time, an occurrence that I am currently experiencing with the Blue Heron Visions newsletter.

My vision for the newsletter consists of three main parts:

  • Encourage readers to see themselves as spiritual beings having a human experience.

  • Provide an opportunity for me to use my writing, editing, and coaching skills.

  • Promote coaching by giving coaches an opportunity to share their perspectives and their niches.

Originally, I saw myself accomplishing this vision by publishing a monthly newsletter in which I wrote several articles about journaling, listening to one’s Soul, and other spiritual life topics as well as by inviting coaches, both personally and through the newsletter, to write feature articles and biographies to promote themselves and the coaching profession.


A challenge arose, though, when I did not have an article by a guest coach. While I certainly can fill a newsletter with articles, I felt my doing so did not give my readers a broad enough perspective of the coaching profession. However, I soon realized that there is only so much I can do to get coaches to send me articles!

So while my vision is still intact, I am changing the way I accomplish it. Here are the changes:

  • The newsletter will include two articles by me in each issue. The first article will be about a specific topic. The second will be titled “Thoughts from the Coach.” Occasionally, I may include poetry, short stories, or book reviews.

  • The newsletter will be published 6 times per year—approximately every 2 months.

  • I continue to extend an open invitation to all coaches to send me articles and be featured as a guest coach.

  • If I receive an article and biography from a coach, those items will be published in addition to the two articles I write.

  • I will not be compiling a Coach’s directory. (I have received no response to the invitation I published in the newsletter.) However, readers can write to me for recommendations about coaches

I am making these changes for several reasons. First, by writing fewer articles, I can go into more depth in the articles I do write. Second, I can use the “Thoughts from the Coach” section to teach coaching skills, to share Soul Messages, or to educate readers about different aspects of the coaching profession. Third, publishing the newsletter less often gives me more time to write quality articles and readers more time to read the articles.

Since I value your opinions, please send me an email at vlmma_1995@yahoo.com to let me know how you feel about the changes I have mentioned. What topics would you like to see addressed in the newsletter? What questions do you have about coaching? How can the newsletter be of more service to you as a reader?

I look forward to hearing from you! :o)

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“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care what you think.
Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”

—Swami Vivekananda


 

Copyright (c) 2005 Vicky Lynn Macchione All Rights Reserved.
No part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without written permission of the author(s).
Email address: vlmma_1995@yahoo.com Web site: www.geocities.com/vlmma_1995