Metaphor in a Basket

Years ago I was working for a business partnership of sales and marketing gurus in NYC. I was the design and product development part of a working trio. They were a good cop/bad cop duo, and often I was caught in their personality crossfire. One cop would give me a citation, and the other would fix my ticket for good behavior. I never knew who would be on duty that day and what the price to pay might be.

Our office was on the 45th floor of the Empire State Building. There was a large Duane Reade drugstore in the basement of the building, and one lunch hour I found myself there, basket in hand, to do some shopping. Ten minutes later I looked down to see it was full of medical supplies: bandaids, bandages, tape, alcohol, antibiotic cream. A metaphor in a basket, my wounded state of mind, laid out for me to see.

Curiously, I remember a feeling of detached amusement mixed with a bit of sadness in the recognition, and yet it was a turning point. I had an insight about the nature of my state of mind. There was something about recognizing the wounded me that woke me up to my resilience. I’d been guided that day not to buy the supplies really, but to recognize that resilience at work.

I went home and restocked my medicine cabinet with fresh supplies in the form of fresh thinking about a familiar painful set of circumstances. I had moved from being a wounded victim to owning my experience. I could see that knowing what to do was there in the metaphor of the bandages.

It didn’t change the partners’ behavior; they’d practiced that for a long time, but it no longer mattered. It wasn’t about them. It was about me knowing I had access to insight, wisdom and resilience. I would always know what to do and what was possible to experience when I knew to look for it, no matter the situation, no matter the challenging circumstances. Everything simplified.

I see the human design behind that experience more clearly now with an understanding of how the mind works. I’ve learned to look to insight and my innate resilience and well being long before any supplies are sought. I can see that resilience and trust my humanness at work to shift my thinking experience and guide my actions even without a Duane Reade in the vicinity.

Today in my coaching I help people to understand that no matter their circumstances, their wounds, their patterns, their current perspective, there is always something new to see, and a metaphorical basket full of fresh insight and possibility.

Where might you have seen your own resilience, had your own insight? Maybe you didn’t recognize your human design at work at the time, but look for it. Once you notice, you’ll realize it’s always been there to guide you.