7 Signs that may Indicate a Life Course Shift

1.    You have an urge to explore your potential and in the course of doing so you find yourself reviewing your past. A past you desire to detach yourself from, in order to create and explore new possibilities of your own making.

2.    You want to spend more time alone away from negativity and drama, but not isolated and lonely.

3.    You crave change in your current environment be it the sense of home and/or employment, for something that is uniquely yours and that accommodates your true purpose.

4.    You find yourself feeling acute emotions when looking at past or current situations while trying to move pass them into a more philosophical or spiritual way of Being.

5.    You have the desire to give up on harmful habits that no longer serve you, be it toxic interaction with people or substances, that drain strength, inner-peace and the sense of wellbeing.

6.    Your current world view no longer makes sense to you. Things, objects, desires, goals you once placed great value in, no longer holds importance to you, and perhaps feels harmful to the new sense of identity or purpose you are moving towards.

7.    You gain an awareness, of a conscious synchronicity of words and actions that repeat in your life, that come together as if as a signpost to direct you into right action and towards revealing your naked truth and your mission in life.


My Experience of Discovery with Jean-Paul Basquiat's Notebooks

By Michael Kelly

"In my opinion, an individual without any love of the arts cannot be considered completely civilized. At the same time, it is extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, to interest people in works of art unless they can see them and know something about them."

—J. Paul Getty, 1965

In a continuing discourse on Art and where to begin finding yours. I would like to present a post by my friend Michael Kelly who, among other things, is a technical business & educational systems creator. -Calvin

On my first visit to the High Museum’s exhibit of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Unknown Notebooks” here in Atlanta, I was disappointed. Close to a hundred pages from the notebooks were displayed in the usual waist-high display cases in two large galleries; it was a very mixed bag: some were interesting, but most seemed to be the product of someone playing with one or two words, or a few lines. Here’s an example:

colors with numbers on the back
brooming into mezzo /aspuria-

You have to picture a page with just these two lines on the top the rest blank. Insight, anyone? It’s true that this is the kind of private noodling that art-history scholars love to sift through, but why was it trumpeted as providing insight into Jean-Michel’s art for the rest of us?

Before saying more about my visits, you should know that this is a traveling exhibit that may come to a Museum near you. It came to the High from the Brooklyn Museum, where it was first organized, and where an important Basquiat show was mounted in 2005. I wanted to see Basquiat’s notebooks because of seeing and enjoying other artists’ notebooks, and because his art is baffling to me. While some of his pieces have a very strong visceral impact, I draw a blank when I try to understand why; many of his pieces hardly register as art, which of course is hardly unique to Basquiat. Although I’ve spent a good number of years in New York’s many museums and galleries enjoying and learning about all kinds of art, especially modern art, I find it difficult to sort out what is going on in any given Basquiat painting—and if you are familiar with his work, you know that there’s typically a lot going on. He put an enormous amount of energy into his work, which attracted me and affected me, but it was also clear that I had very little resonance with what was actually being depicted in the paintings.

Although I left the exhibit disappointed, I was actually still processing a lecture by Franklin Sirmans on Basquiat and his notebooks which I’d attended earlier in the evening. Basquiat was born in New York City on December 22, 1960 and died there in 1988. He emerged as an artist in the 80s, and some of the key points of reference in Mr. Sirmans’ talk were the cultural transformations that Jean-Michel was immersed in during this period: rap music and other kinds of street art, most notably for Jean-Michel graffiti. Where he emerged was in Manhattan’s famous downtown gallery scene, which was scruffy, energetic and Punk.

Discovering that the Notebooks show was closing in a matter of days, I decided to give it one more try. The second time I could feel the pieces start to come together. I realized that I was reading the words on the page in a literal way, as if they were orphans from a story or that he started describing something and kept getting interrupted. In other words, I was reading like I would read my notebook, not like the words of a graffiti artist! And not words from a street-art, rap-inflected view of the world. These neatly printed words were like bits of poems: creating visual imagery in the mind’s eye; testing out how they looked on the page; and experimenting with how they sounded. Once I made that shift, the notebooks came alive for me. I still don’t know what “colors with numbers on the back” means, but as poetry it comes alive: maybe a colored ticket or artist’s paints? And “brooming into Mezzo”—I get that he’s playing with word-sounds: booming into…, brrrroooming into…. I began to peer down at each page, trying to free-associate with each one. It was an intense kind of fun, and had the side-effect of creating a backed up line of museum visitors.

My discovery was to see the notebook pages more like a street-smart graffiti artist with an attitude and a lyrical gift with words as images. It takes time to see something in a new way because we don’t have any indication that we are seeing in a way at all and don’t have a conscious way to change it even if we want to. But despite our habitual ways of seeing, that ones we don’t know are ways, with lots of inputs and a willing attitude our brains are able to process things differently. So be on the lookout for possible visual shifts, and then pay attention when what you obviously see is raw fish—try to get your brain to show you sushi!

Michael Kelly can be contacted thorough his blog Explorations.


Life as Art

It’s Spring and like bears after hibernation people seem to be getting out of their caves more and doing things. In my recent meet ups with my peeps there is a lot of chatter the last few months around ART – as in having seen it, or going to see it or new places to find it and even discussions about who’s doing it dead or alive.  That’s all well and good but you can get so involved in that idea that ART is out there, that one forgets everyone is an Artist to some extent, and perhaps a dam good one at one time or another in their life. They are good at something, maybe a lot of different things – it could be wood carving and auto mechanics. You could be a great brick layer with people saying yep, the way he works, he’s a great craftsman, an artist and a great chef too! Okay, I heard you in the back bleachers. Yes, as the wise guy in the bleachers has shouted out. We can all be exceptional in something, even if it is being the best bull shitter in the room. That still counts as Art, the art of bullshit.

We need to somehow sustain that knowledge of ourselves as artist in the continuing shift of our talents throughout our lifetime. Taking pride associated with doing a job well done, be it baker, lawyer, candle-stick maker, architect, musician, mechanic, painter, web-builder, actor, physicist, and or dancer (you choose) and then do it.

This dialogue may be of assistance for you guys who feel you have no, or have not found your ART (aka) talent yet.   Even the mention of the word talent…worse the word ‘ART’ sounds foreign to many, but I can tell you that it is there. I suggest that if you are up for the challenge of looking for it, you start with your life style. Hey come on, what do you have to lose but perhaps some ignorance about the way your life could be lived. Oh I must warn you, you may be shocked at what you learn about and see in yourself while you are making those discoveries.  It’s like James Bond, 007, you will find out that the assignment can unearth an identity, where you’ll be faced with a wide range of emotions and actions that come up and present themselves to you, and like Bond, you will become quick on your feet finding ways to master and be proficient in the use of them. Oh did I mention danger and unsavory action? I didn’t? good.  That may be saying too much and I am getting ahead of myself.

Let’s take a step back, and attempt to understand the basis of the nature ART, Talent and Life. Then we might get an idea of what kinds of balls you will need to pursue it.

Some think being Young, a Hunk, and Moneyed is just about as far as you can go in life…that ain’t it kids, not even half as far as it goes. What you really have is frozen yogurt pretending to be ice cream.  It’s like using apps on the electric device and pretending you are dating rather than getting some clothes on your ass, hitting the street and meeting somebody.

I hope you can see that when I mention the word ART I’m not talking about pictures on a wall or music at a concert, or dance on a stage per say. Oh no Baby ART is much more than that and can be expressed in many facets. That is why in life you get to find your ART, name it and put it to use for you.

ART is the uncanny ability to communicate” a particular facet of an idea or unique twist to a subject. To depict a moment or flash in time securing that idea or subject in some kind of medium, that can bring a vibrancy and depth to something ordinary, that then transforms it, much like vivacious colors and brush strokes on an impressionist artist canvas, changes the ordinary landscape into something memorable. You look for the best possible situation for you to express your medium, to bring about your object of ART and to capture it. That facet of itself not yet known or enlightened before. It is the best of compliments when someone says, “Wow, you made that ugly building beautiful.” Or when a customer says “you saw something gorgeous in that old wreck, that I did not see.” It’s about capturing the spirit of the subject not seen before.  If you can do that, then your job is done.'

Where do you look to find your ART? It might be found in the location of where you grew up, or where you lived, or in the influences of those you grew up with. If you reflect on those areas in your life, you may find traces of what would becomes your technique, or how you learned to express things.  It could be the very thing that becomes your muse. A Muse, is that inspiration which draws out of you talent, or what I call, your ART. The Muse can start out as simply as Betty Sue telling you she liked the tie you wore to her 10th birthday party, or you handing your pop tools while he was restoring an old car, or the math or science teacher that showed you an answer to a problem that you could not get your head around. Whatever it was, picture it now. Then let the scene show you that spark becoming the passionate fire that catches you up in it, and still drives you to keep doing more.

Then again, a muse can appear fickle, but know that it is to maintain your passion, it can steer you to change an activity. It can take you from the love of auto mechanics to being a musician. A muse may take you down some avenue as a way to keep the fire in your loins going.

Now that is the rub. You imagined yourself being a mechanic for all of your life, and your muse has now brought you up against other images in your head representing other ways to be successful in the ART of living. Other ways to succeed,  and you feel conflict of purpose. Your muse has taken you down a different path than you thought.  This is where it is good to stop and reflect. You may need research in how to processed, what to do, or in what order to flush out your direction towards your new goal. Know that no path is wrong, just that each has different dynamics to succeed. Conversations with others may be helpful. Taking pictures relating to what you want to do, or even writing a bio – description will bring it more into focus. These forms of activities can create the internal dialogue between you and your muse to catch inspiration and move you forward. Remember to breathe, keep it interesting and fun.

You may find that your talents can take you into different directions at once.  Finding yourself going from no talent to jack of all talents all at once. 

Recognize where your energy wants to take you. Look back on your body of work, there you will see the threads and a style that shows your unique stamp for doing things. You may find that when you create, like 007 on a mission, the challenge requires you to step up for an assignment with different skill sets, but that you to know you have the right equipment. 

Pick that one medium and let the rest of the possibilities go for now. Once you have learned what that experience has to teach you then you can go on to the next challenge. Start in on the chosen task knowing that whichever one has been chosen, that it is the right one for now.  Everything is experimental, and once in your hands, it is designed for you to know the form, and what’s more important, to know yourself as the ARTIST in mastering that form, in the Art of Living Life.

Review: The Gigantic Beard that was Evil


Since we are talking about Beards what better time than now to introduce this awesome new book:

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, by Stephen Collins

Cartoonist Collins' debut graphic novel is filled with black-and-white sketches, which are funny, whimsical, bittersweet, and darkly visually.

Collins's fable-like graphic novel details what happens when borders collapse and stories have no tidy endings.”  this graphic novel is the perfect Archetypal parable that appreciates the value of eccentricity in a world of overwhelming uniformity and the thought of what could happen with just the appearance of one unruly facial hair.”

This Off-beat ambitious writing style of Stephen Collins novel has put this work in a class worthy of the names Roald Dahl and Tim Burton – being a darkly funny meditation on life, death, and what it means to be different.  And oh did I mention a timeless ode to the art of beard maintenance.  Now add to that the pages of crosshatched art panels, rich with nuances of black-and-white interiors put's the artwork in this book in a class with Aubrey Beardsley.

If Collins stylistic fable is no more than what Collin calls – “Stories are necessary lies.” -  Then I hope this awesome juiced up writer/artist has got a lot more lies to tell us.

Love vs. Getting Somebody

The New Year has begun. For some, that new year’s resolution is to find Somebody. St Valentine’s Day, February 14, seems to be the kick-off day for couples of all types to express their passion, deepest feelings, and love for each other or at least their Lust. But for others, that set of folks, who are single or almost single, they may decide they need a Somebody and the Hunt is on.

When I was a young child in school, we celebrated Valentine’s Day by making cut-out red hearts using poster board and colored tissue paper for cards. We would share our Valentine cards with our friends in the class room, but we all hoped secretly to be special by getting the most cards from everybody (as if the number of cards determined how loved one was), or by getting special ones from our closest buddies.

Valentine’s Day is a poignant reminder of how far we’ve come today, far removed from that grade school notion of Valentine’s Day. Yet, as a culture at this time of year, we find our heart vulnerable, hoping for that special “other” someone. We want somebody else to recognize us and make us feel whole. Thus for some, the search is on - on the web and in the clubs - for that one special Valentine, that one person that will make their heart race and put a wide smile on their face. But does it ensure love?

I recently found out in idle party conversation that, for online dating companies, this is the most successful time of the year, with growth rates that move upwards to a peak of 60 percent in new clients (January to March of each year). For myself as a Mentor and Life Coach, I find people put themselves through a lot of stress during this time of year, trying to make something happen and / or to get Somebody. I guess it is good that they come to me and want to talk out some of their thinking before going forward. Some folks seem to stumble over performance issues, or being intimidated by feelings of being out of their league, or the need to find somebody in an arousal state to tell them they have sex appeal or that they are worth something. What’s worse is not having a sense of humor about it. There seems to be confusion in people’s mind about the difference between Love vs. Sex. In the back of my mind comes the phase “Sex is really the only interesting thing that some boring people do." And then they want to take the humor out of the equation. Really ???

Did You Know?

Valentine’s day is a pagan festival. February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. You can do your own research or trust me on this one. According to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Of course, Americans tone it down a lot, with just the exchanging of hand-made valentines in the 1700s (not as much fun as the Roman lotto). Then came Esther A. Howland in the 1840s, who introduced and sold the first mass-produced Valentine cards in America. Fast forward to today and, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

Yeah, I know the V.D. card isn’t doing it for you. So let’s put aside everything you think you know about this Love-in-bloom day and approach it differently. For some, you are all involved with the motions of what you should be doing to find and express Love, and yet didn’t stop to think what does Love and relationship really mean to you. And then the billion-dollar question, “Can I sustain and have love last”?

So what do we know about the scene now? Well people are into hook-ups, and I’d say from my unscientific method of investigation that about half of young adults have had a one-night stand, and about half of those people were lucky enough to turn that one-night stand into some kind of long-term relationship. Now, that is not to say that young singles of today are any more promiscuous than their parents, maybe just a little more open about what and how they do things. I’ve even found more young men and women ages 21-34 proud to tell you that they are virgins and have never had sex.

Single women for generations were expected to be married young or face dire consequences. As late as 1970, college-educated women earned less, on average, than a male with a high school education. A survey poll of the time found that almost two-thirds of college women said they would consider marrying a man they didn’t love if he met their other criteria, most of which revolved around financial security.

Today, by contrast, women are far less likely to put financial security ahead of love, and they express far less anxiety about the prospect of remaining unmarried if they do not find someone they love and trust. In America, today, women are far more cautious about getting themselves into relationships than men are. It is interesting now that women are more likely than men to want to maintain their personal space, their own bank accounts, and their own interests, including regular nights out with girlfriends and vacations on their own. It raises some interesting questions about today’s man and his ability to create support systems for himself beyond spouse and children.

To choose to be single, well that was a dicey option, and much harder to carve out as a satisfying life back in the 1950s and 1960s, even for those who would want such a life. During that same time period, men who were still unmarried in their early 30s were considered questionable and often denied bank loans or promotions. Unlike today, that choice of bachelorhood was not considered an option.

Fashion, culture, mores: all change; even our words change meaning. "I love you" once implied a serious sexual commitment. It is in wider use today meaning “I care about you,” - “I want or am happy with you in my life” or as an acknowledgement of various relationship with the individuals in your life. In fact, LOVE can have many meanings and be expressed in many ways, to many people. The most important, however, is how it will be expressed and sustained by you in your life. There are various studies that show love can and does last, and it’s not just for a rare and privileged few. Yet it usually takes a change of perspective and some conscious effort to maintain a loving state, especially beyond the euphoria of Lust and Fixation. But it is possible to cut through the confusion, both for you and for the people who are earnestly attempting to connect with you.

Let’s start with the word Love. We have long been told that we must love our selves before we could truly love someone else. Therein is the key. To turn the key, we must narrow the aperture of the word Love, for Love can mean all sorts of things. But by using one of its older forms - Agape - we have a far more potent form of the word Love. The secret knowledge regarding lasting love lies within that word Agape, in achieving the elusive and alluring ideal of Love. Those reporting greatest romantic love and closeness with their partners have somehow stumbled onto using Agape in their life, resulting in the reward of a more revved-up relationship.

To summarize . . .

Sometimes, when people are hurting and feeling rejected it’s often fueled by anxiety and a desire to feel better about themselves given the box they have put themselves in. This results in them not moving towards something positive; rather, they are trying to get away from something painful. When you’re in this emotional place yourself it’s hard to authentically connect with a new person. As much as you want to connect, you just don’t have the emotional stamina. Your heart is still occupied. You must come to a new truth of yourself to be able to declutter and dislodge those feelings of not being worthy. Those feelings of needing the presence of Sombody else for you to be loved. Once you start your examination, you will find you have all sorts of options to have love and be loved.

As you allow yourself to be aware, flexible, and able to express your authentic desire according to circumstance, you gain freedom, insight, and can acknowledge Love in your Life. You see Agape (love’s) multifaceted capability within you for great feats of compassion, empathy, and passion. You are not bound by the expectations of past customs, or cultures, or by what you have been through: you have the ability to change all that within you. You are wired for change. That wiring consists of being conscious, being aware and moving towards the freedom to be yourself - to be love and the desire to share however and with whomever you choose. It all depends on you: your feelings and your truth. Take some time to do the work of releasing your attachments. Then know you are Love, Eros, Agape expressing, rather than having that Somebody stand in for you. Share yourself as Love.

Aloha !

Life Coaching: The Razor's Edge of Mentoring

This post could also be titled as “The Catch-22 of Telling People What to Do.” For in my work with people, topics such as


seem to come up all the time. Also questions such as :

“Am I in the right job for me?”

"Should I marry this person?"

"What can I do to make my body look better?”

“Is this a better career choice for me to make the money?”

In my practice of helping people come to their sense of Holistic Living these are just a few of the typical questions I tend to receive from clients who come to me for insight into the workings of their lives.

Years ago, in the 1980s, which were in my early days of working with clients in the use of self-help classes, one such course I designed and taught was the male-oriented Grooming Dynamics course (which to my surprise and delight worked equally well with female clients).  Back then I would have done my damnedest to answer such questions as those posed above and done it with some sort of definitive “yes” or “no” response. After all, these people were paying me for that type of advice, right? 

Over the years, an evolution and maturity have taken place in my practices of Life Coaching and Mentoring. With expanded listening techniques I now find myself being subtler, more cautious, in my answers and, I hope, more responsible in my approach toward my duties as a Mentor / Coach, for I’ve thought long and hard about what these duties really entail. Such as: Am I truly there (as a Mentor / Coach) to make up my clients’ minds for them concerning significant life decisions? More importantly, perhaps: What are the real consequences – for both the client and myself – of saying things that could alter a person’s life forever? As tempting as it may sometimes be to “help” a person through a genuinely difficult period, there is a thin line between truly helpful counsel and unwise interference with another person’s destiny.

I can think of an example that may show what I mean: Many years ago, a friend called to say he was signing up to join the Peace Corps and within the next few months would be traveling with a group through South America. He had never set foot outside the United States, so he was eagerly looking forward to this opportunity and began preparing for his trip. Just out of curiosity, and without telling him, I decided to check international news sources to find out what I could about the current situations in those countries – and was somewhat uncomfortable to find a host of challenging diplomatic, political, and / or military challenges occurring that could impact him while he was on this trip. Yes, there was the matter of safety that was being addressed by the Peace Corps, but by and large it was the sort of backdrop I myself would probably have avoided were I planning a trip and had this information.

What to do? My first reaction was to do the “altruistic” thing by telling him what I had found and then go on a volunteered rant of my advice on the matter, hopefully sparing him the problems of a potentially terrible trip. A few days later, before I had the chance to tell him what I found, he came in so excited about his plans, what it meant to his future, on and on . . . . His words caused me to take a step back from revealing my intel and to think about words that I have heard from many sources before, “Never volunteer advice or teaching uninvited.” These were words that seemed so timely in that situation. It made me reflect all the more deeply on my tendency to offer counsel to friends or family even when it wasn’t asked for.  So I buttoned my lip and wished him the best trip possible.

Well, as it turned out, my friend’s trip proved to be a life-changing experience in ways neither of us could have foreseen. While he was in one of those remote regions of South America, a local villager had an accident and suffered serious injuries; my friend, who had already gone through American Red Cross basic first aid training and had a working knowledge of the Spanish language, became involved in the life-saving efforts until medical assistance could arrive. The scene, I could imagine, was one filled with chaos and anxiety. Yet for my friend this experience marked a key turning point in his life. Not only did it bring him into contact with an aspect of a foreign culture he wouldn’t have experienced otherwise, but it also served as a catalyst for his becoming more involved with humanitarian activities on a global scale. And there was a slim chance none of this would have even happened had I opened my mouth and volunteered my sage opinion.

A Fine Line

Since then, I’ve attempted to be much more conscious of how and when I go about freely dispensing advice to people. But what if a client asks me for advice on a major life decision? Does that violate a principle of noninterference?

If it becomes as strong a question as to send a flag up my emotional pole, then I have to stop and ask myself, “What then would my motivations for giving the advice be?” Sometimes giving advice makes a counselor, or Mentor, or Coach feel important and knowledgeable, but then the advice becomes ineffective. Sometimes it may even foster a non-therapeutic dependency such that the client does not learn how to solve problems himself or herself but merely how to ask for more advice. The sage saying, “Teach a man to fish,” comes to mind.

My goal with my clients is to be consciously nondirective. After all, who among us is truly wise enough to know all the ramifications of any given situation, whether acted upon or not? I know that no human is omniscient. We certainly cannot know all the variables of any situation, so we need to approach our discipline with a certain humility regarding our own grasp of “what is best” – or what isn’t.

I find myself asking more and more if a certain experience should be avoided simply because it may prove physically or emotionally difficult? How can we really know for sure what lessons a person might need to learn from a certain challenging situation? The history pages are filled with challenged individuals whose lives were changed – or whose lives, in turn, changed the world – by seemingly difficult experiences. Much as I hate to admit it, I fear that, 40 years ago, I probably would have done all I could to steer such a person away from potentially difficult situations.

So we find ourselves on the Razor's Edge as to what is the solution. Do we simply refrain entirely from giving advice or pointing the client in one direction or another?

Not necessarily. But first we realize that we cannot think about the clients questions from the viewpoint of our own values and well-being. The question has to be reframed.

First, I try to remember that I am consciously playing a role. My role could be as simple as a passenger in a car with a map on my lap of the destination. The driver of the car (the client) has come to a fork in the road. I can point out the different prongs in the forked road, with the amount of miles each has, as well as curves, hills, switchbacks, and scenic views each would have, but it is ultimately the driver that must decide which course to take.

Secondly I and the client are in a state of conscious investigation of our Emotional Intelligence. (That is, coming to recognize the part emotions play in the decision-making process and how that play of emotions might have unconscious factors attached that affect decisions in thoughts and behavior.)

Thirdly, I provide my clients with strategies for how to come to the Truth of their problems. I am not there to make up my clients’ minds for them, nor to tell them how to live their lives; rather, it’s to draw out of them accurate information vs. unconscious playback loops of what they believe to be best: help them make their own decisions by drawing out their own inner wisdom and intuition in situations.

An example to illustrate how this might work is: An individual comes to me, tells me he is an A-Type personality and asks whether he should marry someone who, it turns out, is also a heavily A-Type personality. Taking a simplistic and judgmental approach, I might well look at this situation and tell him that two A-type individuals forming a partnership could make for a fairly competitive or volatile combination and, for that reason, might best be avoided. But taking a more nondirective, non-coercive approach, I could instead engage the client in what he is looking for from this relationship. I could ask the client to point out the potential problems he could encounter along with the potential perks that could arise from such a union. Indeed, such competition and or volatility might prove to be the very thing that a given individual might want in a relationship. Once clarified it is the client’s decision as to which way to go with it.

I can recall hearing my teacher say: “If you want to end a relationship with such and such person, simply stop arguing with them. They’ll get bored and go search out someone else to do battle with!” The key here is not to tell the client what to do, but merely help to illuminate his choices.

Helping Clients Help Themselves

The other point I want to make, which is many times so simple or apparent that it is disregarded, is best illustrated by a quote from Douglas Adams, who said, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Which is in keeping with the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, those fictional characters from the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Alice asks the Cat “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

There is no such thing as the one right choice. It is more to do with the uniqueness of each of us. We must learn to get to know and then honor our authentic selves; then comes a realization that at the root of the things we desire is the authentic self within. It is that driver, that evolutionary impulse that has driven humanity forward and expresses within us, through us, and as us; that spark that drives us to want to be ourselves and know ourselves through the symbols of our desires. Decoding the symbols leads us to who we are meant to be. This is the only way we can ever find true happiness and fulfillment.

In some ways, even more importantly: My job as an Ontologically-based consultant is to help clients to get in touch with their own reserves of intuition in situations and to draw upon those reserves when making their decisions regarding these situations. Like our fairytale characters Alice and the Cheshire Cat these archetype symbols prove a useful analogy. The symbol is never really intended to simply answer questions about major life decisions, but rather to provide a series of metaphorical images that could serve to unlock an individual’s own inner wisdom regarding those problems. By reflecting on a symbol that arises in response to a question, one begins to understand the hidden dynamics underlying everyday situations.

Archetype symbols have been with us for centuries, in every culture and on every continent.  There is profound wisdom contained within them, that draws on unconscious resources about life or our hidden talents - if we could but learn to trust and tap into them by slowing down the mind chatter to accept this input when contemplating a decision; to be aware, to listen for that certain “yes!” whispering from deep within as you contemplate your options. More often than not, I find that people already know at an intuitive level the right thing to do – they’re just looking for an outside confirmation of that inner knowing.

How I’ve come to see my role as Mentor in the lives of people who come to me for advice or insight is to realize that each person that I engage with has a unique life, as vivid and complex as my own, with their own calling, which is a calling demanding to be drawn out and realized by them.

The stance I take regarding my role in this process isn’t popular with every one of my clients, especially those who are looking for someone to take responsibility for their lives. But with each passing year I’m convinced that this is the wisest approach both for them and myself. It leaves me with a clearer conscience about my impact on others’ lives and in my own role as a Mentor / Coach.