To contact Gika Rector, call 713.213.7643 or send e-mail.

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Practice Towards Mastery

I’ve been running a little experiment lately. After reading about mastery and taking a couple of drawing classes, I still don’t like the way I draw. Reading about mastery did nothing for my drawing, but it did encourage practicing. So, I’ve been practicing. Almost every morning, I start my day with a practice that Julia Cameron calls “morning pages”. Before you read or check your email or listen to the news, you sit down and write three pages. Three pages about whatever comes to mind, no matter how serious, silly, redundant or irrelevant. When I start my day with morning pages, somehow the day goes better.coffee

Several weeks ago I added a practice. At the end of the writing, I draw my coffee cup. It’s always there. It has a simple shape and so it shouldn’t be that difficult to draw. I usually spend only about 5 minutes on the drawing, because I’m not yet patient enough to take more time with it. I’ve learned enough to know that I have a lot to learn—and not just about drawing. But here’s the good news: this morning’s rendering looks a little better than yesterday’s. It’s not quite as lopsided as previous versions, and something about the handle is beginning to look more like a handle. …more

Seeking Clarity in the Tangled Threads

threads

This year hasn’t worked out the way I planned. My family lost two little lives before they even had a chance to truly begin. A business venture fizzled into frustration and disappointment. An intimate relationship broke into a distant friendship. A dear friend moved across the country—still a cherished friend, but distant geographically. An elder in our family moved geographically nearby, but dementia seems to widen the gap between us—or between us and who she used to be. …more

Never and Always

Smoky sunset

Never.
Ya never
hafta
shoulda
woulda
coulda
on yourself
or others.

Ever.

Always.
This is always true.

Except when it’s not.

Breathing Room

Breathing roomFinding yourself with no room to breathe? It’s especially challenging during this time of year, when we’re rushing around, fighting the traffic, ticking off our list of things to get—hurrying up so we can sit around the hearth, expressing our gratitude, with people we love, but don’t always enjoy.

Here are a couple of simple suggestions.

Breathe.

Take a moment to breathe. Sit or stand still. Exhale deeply. Exhale a little more. And a little more. Hold the breath out. Pause. Wait until it’s time to inhale. Let the air in and notice where the air goes. Pause. Repeat. And repeat again, as often as you like. …more

Bright and Shiny Objects

Bright and shiny objects are great for diversionary tactics. Don’t want someone to notice a few flaws? Surround them with bling, and what people will mostly see is bling. Don’t want anyone to notice that your dining room needs painting? Turn the lights down low, and set the table with cut crystal and candlelight. The tone becomes romantic in a sparkly kind of way.

Bright and shiny objects in gold frameYou probably do the same thing in your life’s work. Got something really important to do, but you’re not sure where to start? Got something that you really want to have or be or achieve, but you’re not sure if you’re smart enough, good enough, deserving enough? You can distract yourself with bright and shiny objects—bright ideas and shiny enthusiasm for something that’s easier, simpler, and probably not as important as what you’re avoiding.

How do you distinguish the real stuff from “fool’s gold”? The real stuff keeps coming back. You might get nervous about it, avoid it, approach it, circle around it, whatever—but it keeps coming back. The real stuff makes your heart sing, makes the world a better place for you, and when you’re in the middle of it, you’re unselfconscious and have no sense of time. …more

When Your Friends Are Right

Best foot forward

Friends help you put your best foot forward.

Don’t you just hate it when your friends are right? Especially when it means you’ve got to dig a little deeper and do what you’re capable of doing. When they see your capacity to show up, to produce, to do great work, even when you are about to settle for good enough. When you are about to be a little lazy and deliver a product that’s not as good as it ought to be.

On our own, it’s easy to make excuses. It’s easy to say there isn’t enough time, or talent, or resources. It’s tempting to hide behind the excuses and play it safe, take the easy route.

But a good friend, a wise mentor, someone who sees you for who you are, will not let you show up that way, any more than they’d let you go out half dressed. They are not oblivious to your faults, but they treasure your talents and won’t let you forget them. …more

Rabbit Trails: Thinking About Not Worrying About Money

Rabbit trailI was thinking a lot about money this morning. The money I have. The money I don’t have. I went down a few “rabbit trails”—you know, those meandering pathways that wander far and wide, but don’t always end up somewhere that you meant to be. One was the “What would I do if the money were taken care of?” trail. It was a beautiful trail with lovely colors and scenes and lots of fun and creativity. Nice.

Then I went down an unusual trail—”What would I have to give up or leave behind, if the money were taken care of?” Anxiety, fear, excuses, constraints…. Might be nice to leave those behind.

And “What would I do differently, today, this morning, if the money were taken care of?” I’d finish typing this blog, pack my bag, and drive to Baton Rouge to visit some friends and family. Oh, that’s what I was going to do anyway.

What would you do if the money were taken care of? What would you leave behind? What would be different?

Some Days Are Foggy

Some days are foggySome days are foggy. Flights get cancelled. Traffic slows down. Meetings are postponed. Not much choice: ready or not, life slows down. We usually don’t like it when we’re forced to slow down. We’ve got places to go and things to do, and we don’t like interference. But every now and then, it’s nice to slow down and “feel your way” through an experience.

Explaining his work in the field of human functioning and self-awareness, Moshe Feldenkrais, founder of the Feldenkrais Method, invoked the Weber-Fechner law, which attempts to describe the relationship between the magnitudes of stimuli and our ability to perceive differences among them. He asserted that at a slower pace, with smaller movements—on a foggy day, maybe—we can get more clarity. If we slow down enough to pay attention, we can learn something new about how we move, how we put one foot in front of the other, what it takes to get us moving, how we find our way in a confusing environment.

Coaching is useful on those foggy days. Something interferes with your life and you need to get your bearings. Coaching can bring some light—not the high beams that bounce off the fog and create glare, but the low beams that focus on the ground right in front of you, the ground you might otherwise not have noticed. In coaching, we look at how you move, what propels you forward, and what slows you down. As daylight increases and burns away the fog, you can move forward with greater ease and grace because of what you’ve learned.

What’s interfering in your life? What creates the fog? Where might you shine some light and learn to move a little easier?

Options and Actions

January is more than half over, and in spite of my best efforts, I’m noticing that I haven’t fulfilled my New Year’s resolutions. I didn’t really mean to make resolutions. Those kinds of goals seem like a recipe for failure, but somehow when the new year rolled around, I had all these things I wanted to do and ways that I wanted to improve my life and my self. So, I set goals, and even clarified my vision for the coming year.

January racing byAnd now it’s getting toward the end of January, and I’ve been noticing some patterns. For example, when I get stressed out, I want to get everything organized and cleared out. I think that’s because I feel like I gain a sense of control, and when I’m stressed, I want to know that I can handle it.

I’ve also noticed that I like to keep my options open. Not such a bad thing, except when it keeps me from doing what I want to do. The problem is that in order to go somewhere or do something, you have to decide yes to this and no to that. Every time we make a decision to do something, we implicitly decide not to do something else. How’s that for narrowing your options?

Where is all this leading? I’m beginning to realize that not deciding, not finishing, and keeping my options open are sneaky ways of not doing what I’m here to do on this planet. I suppose there’s some underlying fear of not doing it right, not getting what I want, not pleasing other people or even myself. But what I also notice is that I’m surely not going to get it right, get what I want, or please anybody if I spend all my time opening up the options instead of choosing a place to start. I’ve also noticed that once I get started, the path gets clear and I can leave those unnecessary options in the dust.

Someone dear to me is dying, and she says she’s not ready to die. For a long time, I’ve thought that life is short, and I want to enjoy it to the fullest. Now I’m wondering if my friend and teacher, Paul Rubin, might be right when he says, “Life is long, and if it’s not, it doesn’t matter.”

What would be different about our options and our actions if we believed that “Life is long, and if it’s not, it doesn’t matter”?

The Coaching Experience: A Journey from Pain to Change

Guest
Blog Post

I never dreamed that coaching would change my life so dramatically. I was a skeptic who needed help making a decision, although I wasn’t aware of this need at the time.

I started seeing Gika about four years ago. I had been living in Oregon finishing up my master’s degree and planning to live there for the rest of my life when I hurt my back pretty badly. So badly that I found it difficult to walk because of the constant pain that shot through my lower left side, through my hip and down my leg. The fact that I lived rurally with just the basic amenities and that it was winter in the Pacific Northwest did not help the situation. I was cold and sore. I was a wreck physically, unable to grow food, which was my job at the time, or even to put on my own socks.

But I was also a wreck emotionally. I found myself crying more often than not. Scared that I would not be able to come out of this downspout, I decided to use the little money I had to travel back to Texas and spend an extended Christmas with my family. I resolved to get some sun and some more chiropractic attention and then return to Oregon at the end of January.

There was just one problem. I still felt stressed out and confused about my life and my plan. I didn’t know what to do; I should have wanted to go to Oregon. After all, I had friends there, and it’s beautiful. “People there have values that align with my own,” I told myself. Regardless of these reasons, I could not feel good about going back to Oregon, and I couldn’t say no to it either.

Then I got a phone call one day from a good friend who happens to be Gika’s daughter. She said that her mom, whom I only knew casually, was starting up a new coaching business, and she might be able to help me. I should try it. What could I lose? At the end of that first session, I decided to stay in Texas. I was jobless, penniless, and still in physical pain, but I felt total peace about my decision.

My experience in that coaching session—and every session I’ve had with Gika—is that she gets curious about me and about what’s going on with me. Out of that curiosity comes question after question. Through answering these questions, I am able to clarify my goals, my hopes and dreams, and my desires. For me, coaching is more relevant than counseling because we talk about the here and now. We might hit on a situation from the past, but we don’t dwell on it or over-analyze it. The old stuff is a stepping stone, a back-story, to what is happening right now in my life. Gika also gives me relevant and fun activities to do that help me continue my process when I’m not seeing her, like collage and journaling.

In the years since I moved back to Texas, I have clarified what I want and don’t want. I have regained my strength in every way. I have experienced forgiveness of myself and of the people closest to me. I have accepted my dark side and embraced my light. I have truly accepted help and relied on another human being for the first time in my life. And all of this has rippled out into every corner of my life. Gandhi said, “Change yourself, change the world,” and I have experienced this change through my coaching relationship with Gika. I am so grateful.

Gika says: Coaching Cynthia was sprinkled with surprise and delight. She arrived willing to work hard, to look directly at what she wanted to change, and ready to move forward. She’s an awesome example of how much this kind of work can change your life. Who knew it could be so much fun! Thanks, Cynthia.


Cynthia is a native Texan who has lived and traveled all over the U.S. She loves being in nature, and this love has led her to complete her master’s degree in environmental education. Cynthia currently works with a small conservancy.