Layering

It’s fall here in the Northwest and that means, more often than not, rain. After the first week of letting it be an excuse to stay in to watch movies and read books, you realize that you can’t let the rain stop you from being active, unless you’re ready to spend much of the next six months inside. So, we put on the high-tech rain gear from REI and went for a hike in the Columbia River Gorge.

The waterfalls were more gorgeous than usual with such a high volume of water crashing down. We saw a doe and her fawn, and a few birds. Other than that it was quiet. There weren’t many people out braving the weather.

After about 20 minutes of hiking up switchbacks, we hard to start peeling off the layers. Then, when we stopped to eat lunch, we had to put them back on. My hiking partner told me about how sherpas laugh at westerners because they’re always doing this. Putting on all the layers, then taking them off, then putting them on, off, on, off.

It made me think of a recent coaching session. Like so many of my clients (and myself for that matter) this client wants to take off some of the layers that have built up over the years. As we were talking about this, it struck me that we spend a lot of time at the beginning of our lives adding on layers to create ourselves. And then it’s not unusual to want to get rid of the excess, to peel off the layers to discover who we really are.

Recently I mentioned that I’ve downsized recently. It took awhile but I stripped away layers and layers of stuff from my life. It was tough to do, but once it was gone, the freedom was surprising. I’ve had clients who’ve peeled away layers of debt, of personal myth, fear, weight, bad habits. And always, the result is a sense of freedom. What are your layers made of?

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