Goals, Guides, Personal Development, Personal Growth

Life Hack: Whose advice would you follow – the Cat or the Poet?

Picture a crossroad in the magical landscape of your mind. You are standing there, looking in all directions but cannot choose a path. Which way to go?

The Cheshire Cat, from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, looks down from a nearby tree and says,

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So you head out, arbitrarily picking a direction… confident that it will get you somewhere, but just aren’t sure where that somewhere is!

Many of us choose to follow the advice of the Cheshire Cat. We just wander through life and, guaranteed, we will get somewhere. But is there any real difference between somewhere and nowhere?

When we start our journey of transformation, we may not know what we’re looking for… or even where the path we have chosen may eventually lead. And that’s okay. It’s part of life and our journey. We may initially choose an “easy” goal,  because we might not be confident enough to choose a loftier goal… or because we do not yet know just how magnificent and capable we are. Or sometimes we just want to have that “quick win” which will help us confidently move forward.

However, we may be operating from self-limiting beliefs, the ones that keep us small and safe. We may not even be aware that they are operating. The filters of where we are NOW may be informing where we can go. We may not see the open doors and windows that are around us. We do not see where the path might lead.

The actual quote from Alice in Wonderland is somewhat more illuminating:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” said Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat
I don’t much care where..” said Alice.
Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.,” said the Cat.
“… …so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

So you will get somewhere eventually but you may not learn anything on the way… and you may end up somewhere you didn’t want to go.

But this is a magical landscape, and there is more advice coming. You are standing again at that same crossroad and poet Robert Frost walks by and gives you his advice:

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I would prefer to heed the advice of the Poet, to take a path that makes a difference, to take a path with purpose and direction, and one that has been less traveled by me before.

Whose advice have you followed so far in life… the Cat or the Poet?

Some of us cannot see the choices in front of us. Have you ever said these words to yourself,  or heard a friend or colleague struggle with action or direction, saying variations of:

  • “I don’t know what else I could have done”
  • “I have only once choice… and I don’t like it… there’s got to be something else I can do!”

As a life coach – and a shamanic practitioner – I do believe it is important to set goals but I believe that goal setting can – and should – be flexible, because our goals can change and grow as we change and grow, and get closer to understanding our true Self. And it is important that we have goals to hold the light and guide us throughout our the journey.

But how do you start? Have you ever said these words to yourself,  or heard a friend or colleague struggle with action or direction, saying variations of:

  • “I don’t know what else I could have done”
  • “I have only once choice… and I don’t like it… there’s got to be something else I can do!”
  • “This was the only thing I could do!” .

But you may have seen a handful of other choices they could have made, that they weren’t boxed in at all… and vice versa. But where they were at that time limited what options they could see. And that’s okay. The experience of making a limited decision can be empowering if we choose to learn from it.

As a coach and shamanic practitioner, I help people find those blocks and there are many techniques you can use in your own practice and self-development work to help you create options.

How can you shift towards the more empowering advice of the Poet? Over the next few weeks, I will offer some exercise and tools to help you start making new choices.

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