Oak Communications
September 3, 2009
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How could I not notice that my boots were falling apart when I laced them up to get ready for our hike? It was, however, following a night of sleeping in a tent, and I was still a bit bleary-eyed.

When we arrived at our destination, Grass Lake, I took off my boots to give my feet a rest and soak them in the cool lake water.  I noticed that the sole of one of my boots was coming loose. "Oh no," I joked, "I'm losing my soul." Mark assured me that I still had plenty of soul.

We ate our packed lunch, relaxed by the lake, and I tried not to worry about whether my boot would fall apart on the hike back down to our car. I knew that worrying was not going to help the situation.

I calculated that I had hiked in these boots for 11 years, but thought that maybe they could still be repaired. They were broken in, and though I often got blisters on my heels, they were comfortable.

As it turned out, both boots started to flap at the toes soon after we started hiking back down.  I decided to do a walking meditation so as not to trip. I stopped and looked in my daypack to see what resources I might have to help me get down the mountain without tripping. I found an ace bandage which I cut into pieces and then tied up each toe and also one heel to keep them in place. That worked fairly well, but I had to stop every 5 - 10 minutes to secure the bandages. 

Needless to say, the hike down was slow going. I made it safely without tripping. I now realized the boots were beyond repair and that they had served me well all these years.

At the outdoors store that night, where I found new boots that fit, the salesperson recommended that I abandon my old method of wearing two pairs of socks. He showed me that socks these days are made with new materials that are more efficient and comfortable.  I discovered that I needed to move on in the sock department as well as in the boot department.

This experience reminds me of other things that serve us well for a period of time and then don't anymore. I had a client; we will call him Jake, who was writing his doctoral dissertation. In fact, he had been writing his dissertation for many years. He engaged my services as his coach because he really wanted to complete the dissertation and was stuck. 

To be honest, I didn't really do too much. I helped him to let go of an idea that had served him well while he was a graduate student but wasn't serving him so well anymore. He believed that his dissertation needed to be extremely thorough, to cite all the relevant publications and show his expertise in the subject. In reality, there would always be more to cite and it was now time for him to give birth to his project.

So, I had him give it a name. Actually, he already had a name for it but it was a swear word. I suggested that he give it a more loving name, like he would give a baby.

Jake's enthusiasm for the project had come apart, and I was helping him to get it back together. He was tripping on his thoughts and needed some new ways to look at the dissertation and his process.

He experienced some worry too. "What if I don't have anything to say when I sit down to write tomorrow?" We came up with tools for being present for his thoughts and for moving through them. We worked out a writing schedule, came up with ideas for energizing and creative breaks, and developed a schedule for completion.

I am pleased to say that Jake completed his dissertation and has now moved on. He too has a new pair of boots.

All my best,
Sue Schleifer

my boots

Movie Recommendation - Julie & Julia

Sue and Julia
Recently, I saw the movie,
Julie & Julia. How fun. I laughed out loud, and okay, I even cried. I could practically taste the dishes that the characters were so enjoying.

The movie led me to recollect some of my favorite meals. In the Dordogne Valley in France, I was researching a new bike trip for Backroads, the active travel company. I had the most delicious salad of my entire life at a train station cafe. One never knows where a favorite meal will come from. Then again, I can't imagine eating an amazing salad at a train station in the United States.

To continue reading and to learn about the photo above, please visit my blog.
Oak Communications

Oakland, CA

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