What Really Matters

“What do you think is really at the heart of this?”

I’m asking that question more and more of my clients, of the people I get the privilege to work with in a pretty deep way. It may seem like such an obvious question to you reading this—it is really—but it’s one that’s starting to feel distinct for me for a big reason. I am not asking what hurts, not what your physical therapist or doctor or shaman on the mountaintop told you. Those assets can all be, of course and pain included, sources of amazingly valuable if not indispensable information; Lord knows I have my struggles, my physical therapist, and my shaman on the mountaintop, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything (well, the last two anyway).

But we’re barking up a different tree with this question.

Sometimes, my client will respond, very understandably, “I don’t know.” And then we move on.

But sometimes … there’s a flicker. Sometimes we get an insight into the whole of that person, call it anatomy or gut sense or energetic field (or more accurately all three), that often feels like the last place they would want to go. Sometimes that flicker—rarely well formed, and in fact I’d say that’s a hallmark of a genuine answer—is about the way they’re working, or that they’re actually training too much and don’t want to stop even though it hurts, or the way a long-standing relationship has been going.

Sometimes it’s more simple, sometimes more complex.

The real question, it seems to me: Are we actually willing to hear the answer?

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