Well actually I don’t, but the words to the Jet’s song started dancing around my head as soon as I began writing this. Click the link to go and indulge in 3 and half minutes of nostalgia. But remember to come back, or not, actually losing yourself in the world of ’80s pop sounds great. If you figure how to do those knee moves please come back and tell me.
Anyway, back to crushes. I’m not talking about romantic relationships but the infatuations we develop on people, places, art forms, activities. For me it’s always people. I spent many years of my life believing other people had it all figured out, so it’s no wonder that my obsessions are with people from whom I want to learn something. Thankfully I’ve learned that no one ever figures it all out. However by indulging my obsessions, I found the teachers I needed, had fun learning what I needed from them and then, moved on.
If I’m drawn to a person, I thrive on learning whatever they have to teach, unlike when I believe I “should” like someone. How often have you felt that you should do a certain thing because logic, or other people’s experience says so, but deep down you have no interest? All the un-read books on my shelf are the ones other people said I “must read”, rather than ones I chose through wanting. Listen to what you want. Your obsessions might be music, travel, animals, a combination of all kinds of things. Listen to them. It’s not just children who are allowed to immerse themselves in phases – it’s a very creative and inspiring process to allow your desires to guide you. *Disclaimer I’m not saying jack in your job and go travelling just because you fancy Brazil this week, but I am saying listen; maybe the desire is guiding you to something new.
When the student is ready the teacher appears.
When I first completed my coach training I had girl crush on Nisha Moodley. She’s intelligent, hot, successful, spiritual, cares deeply and puts these things front and centre. A lot of those things about her also made me cringe. Because often the opposite of a crush, the things we can’t stand, have so much to teach us too. They too are a reflection of who we are, but they reflect the things we don’t yet accept in ourselves. The things we hide. And so alas, I had to realise that the people who rubbed me up the wrong way are also my teachers. My teachers in my development as a coach but also in just plain old figuring out who I am. That process is true for all of us: discovering what we like and don’t like teaches us who are as people, and this leads to our purpose. That is why I think it’s important to enjoy all your crushes, but especially to listen to them. My first obsession that I knew was mine and not just going along with the crowd was with Nina Simone. Her music delighted and moved me deeply. I couldn’t have explained why at the time but something about her touched me. Now I can see how her phenomenal power, her sadness and her vulnerability all spoke to something in the teenage me. All the crushes and obsessions I have had have spoken to a part of me that needed to learn something. We are all here to learn from each other. Who have your teachers been? Your obsessions?
Let your imagination run wild! Letting go of reason and logic, in day or night dreams, can allow your subconscious to tell you what it wants you to know. Whilst in the throws of my crush on Nisha, I dreamt there was a big coaching type event in my home town, Liverpool, and Nisha Moodley (who lives in San Fransico) and I were both speakers at the event. I had just started out as a coach, had never even thought of running a worksop and just thought it was a random dream. Then last year I realised that the 1st day of Hebden Two coincided with her 1st Global Sisterhood day. Nisha believes sisterhood is key to women’s freedom. The thing that I’m most proud of from the Hebden Retreats is the group dynamic that emerges between the women. I don’t really follow Nisha these days, I no longer feel drawn to her but I am drawn to the same purpose as she is: working with women to step into their next level of leadership, and I can see that in a sense we share the same stage. I may return to Nisha one day but for now there are new teachers who are right for me. And so, incase you are called to any of them I’ll share below, my soul’s crushes over the last few years. But first you.
Who or what have you been obsessed with recently?
How can you allow yourself to get maximum learning and fun from this obsession?
Who or what has rubbed you up the wrong way? What could that be showing you is a disowned part of yourself?
This is a selection of my meditation and coaching teachers. These are just the ones with websites with lots of resources… many others have appeared in books and in person, however the internet is a play ground for the obsessed. In order of appearance to me:
Nisha Moodley, she taught me the power of being more and more feminine in order to be more powerful. But more importantly to cherish women and let them cherish me.
Zen Habits, Leo Babatua’s clean site, full of clean writing about clean living. He used to be an overweight, in debt, smoker but he’s not an annoying health evangelist as converts sometimes are. He’s a great teacher; still learning and sharing as he goes. He taught me to listen to procrastination and declutter a room 10 minutes at a time.
Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler, through the beauty and power of a service mentality, they taught me to enjoy coaching and being me as a coach, rather than try to build a business conventionally.
Tara Brach, I feel calm just writing her name, she publishes a new meditation every week and is really easy to meditate with, she also gives wise and humorous talks. She mixes eastern spirituality and western psychology, as does her mate Jack below.
Jack Kornfield, what a wise and compassionate man, he taught me that there is no right way, no one teacher, just you on your path. He makes spirituality very real-world and made me realise I don’t need to bother with an ashram.
Gabrielle Berstein, I never got hooked on her but she taught me that getting hooked up to your inner world can still be very modern world.
Marie Forleo, there is a fair bit about her “build a business and life that you love” empire that makes me uncomfortable, so still stuff for me to learn about having an online presence that is part of how I make a living. But I never disagree with her points, just maybe her style. Each to their own. Check her out if you want online marketing advice.
Sally Kempton, teaches tantra and the wisdom goddesses. She taught me to appreciate the religious context of meditation, reinforced that all religions really are the same at heart, and there’s no “right way”. Through the stories of her chosen religion she taught me how to cultivate different energies in myself. It’s another way of setting intentions.
Jeff Foster, after absorbing all the aforementioned had to offer I was mainly obsessed with the fact that this guy was not American but a young Brit and even better – northern! Jeff is the most real world and humorous proponent of non-dualism I have encountered.
Last week to book your place on September’s Hebden Retreat