I travelled a while back to a holistic coaching retreat in La Paz, Baja, Mexico. This was my first taste of Baja and I loved it and have subsequently returned on holiday. It’s that bit of Mexico which is a thin 1,000 mile peninsula south of the border with California, rather than the big lump of Mexico over to the west across the Sea of Cortez.
It’s Clint Eastwood country. Desert. Cactus. And much more than that. There’s a La Paz in Bolivia too, and my first set of air tickets arrived showing that destination, fortunately I noticed that if not much else.
Anyway, I hadn’t given much thought to the whole trip in advance, probably been too busy, but I knew it was important for me to go and I booked up with alacrity and looked forward to it for a long time. I overnighted in LA on the way out, stayed out at the beach, went shopping, had an early night and set out at dawn the next morning to complete my outward trip.
When I arrived at the airport in La Paz, the resort had sent a taxi to collect me. I was somewhat dazed and surprised when the driver greeted me in Spanish. I simply hadn’t had the time to work out that when I arrived at my destination, they would be speaking Spanish. It took my breath away. Not only is Spanish NOT one of my languages, I hadn’t had time to bone up on any useful phrases in advance, so I was literally dumbstruck with nothing to say in response. I sat in the back of the taxi trying to think of something that would translate. Nada.
Anyway, after a few days to acclimatise, I was duly relaxed and the coaching retreat started in earnest on a Monday morning and it was rather hard work initially because although we were at play for a lot of the time in the sunshine, when indoors with my fellow delegates we were working with two of the most inspirational and famous coaches on the planet and there were only about five of us delegates, so nowhere to hide.
Each day, we took it in turns to be coached individually, two on one, by the Famous and Inspirational Ones and by Thursday the spotlight had fallen on me.
I remember crying a lot, about not wanting to be famous and yet realising one had to be prepared to accommodate a bit of that if I wanted to help a lot of people. And I do.
And I remember them asking me the question, THE BIG QUESTION, the one I had unwittingly gone all the way to La Paz to hear. “What is it you really want, Judith?”
And I thought. Long and hard. And I said nothing. And the Famous and Inspirational ones said nothing. Good coaching that. When you ask a question and the client goes quiet for a long time and you can hear them thinking, you know you have hit pay dirt.
And I thought. And they waited.
And eventually I answered.
“Peace. I want Peace.”
And one of the Famous and Inspirational Ones said “La Paz”.
And then it dawned on me. Spanish might not be one of my languages and I might have been too busy to notice that they speak Spanish before I left Blightly nor managed to communicate in a single word of it, but I am a linguist of sorts. And so I knew in an instant when my coach said “La Paz” that it meant Peace. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I knew that already.
I had gone all the way to La Paz to find my Peace. Of course I had.
I know. It’s almost a shaggy dog story. And you probably saw the ending coming long before I did, but that’s my point really. Perspective, looking in, like hindsight, is a wonderful thing.
And perspective is what a good coach and mentor offers her clients.