When Briana and I were creating the Dragontree Life Coach training program, we had lots and lots of meetings to discuss the curriculum. During one of those meetings I suddenly remembered something that happened in a classroom about 20 years earlier . . .
I was in graduate school for Asian medicine and I was taking a course in a subtle form of healing called Jin Shin Do. It involves touching acupuncture points on a patient’s body with minimal pressure. The idea isn’t to give a massage or manipulate the tissue, but to simply make contact, forming circuits between the points and supporting them to perform their therapeutic functions.
At the same time, I was studying massage, herbal medicine, and acupuncture – modalities where both practitioner and patient could agree that something more “obvious” was being done. In comparison I had some doubts about whether Jin Shin Do would accomplish anything, but I was pleasantly surprised. As the weeks passed and my classmates and I treated each other, we all noticed improvements in our physical and psychological health. And because the intervention was so gentle, there weren’t any side effects.
I was especially amazed at how recipients’ experiences were affected when the practitioners were secretly instructed to hold a certain mental focus during the treatment. For instance, sometimes the instructor would have the practitioners think about what they were going to make for dinner, or about their finances, or to keep the word “love” in mind while touching the recipient.
One focus resulted in the best experiences for the recipients. When the practitioners were told (without the recipients’ knowledge) to hold in mind the phrase “I am here for you,” the recipients reported feeling the deepest relaxation, profound peace, and a sense of trust in the process. (Unsurprisingly, when the practitioners spent the session thinking about dinner or money, the recipients reported that it didn’t feel like the treatment did anything).
Though it was a fleeting experience, it taught me a lot about what humans want and how we can best support each other. When it came to developing the coaching curriculum, this memory shaped our approach. While it may sound great to be able to solve people’s problems for them, often it’s even more supportive to be a steadfast presence for them – to “hold space” so they can safely feel and explore what’s happening for them . . . and discover the solution themselves.
This recognition sometimes comes as a big relief to coaches (or anyone in the healing arts) because it means you don’t have to have all the answers. In fact, I think it’s safe to say you’ll never have them. You can let yourself off the hook.
If you care for people and like to help, if you feel joy from seeing someone grow and develop their superpowers, you can do this. If you’re able to say, “I am here for you,” you’re able to support healing and evolution. And if you’d like some instruction in doing this work – some heart-centered, compassionate, holistic, nature-based, and thoroughly beautiful instruction – please check out our Dragontree Life Coaching Program.