Life, Geese and Coaching

Leafing through the NLP Rapport magazine earlier this week I was attracted by the title ‘Passion in Action’.*  In it the authors, quote the poet, Mary Oliver, asking ‘What are you doing with your one wild and precious life?’ Although I had come across this poem before, I was curious and Googled Mary Oliver.

The question comes from the poem The Summer Day.  Scrolling through the suggested entries I noticed a poem called The Wild Geese.  Now this grabbed my attention – in case you haven’t noticed my logo is flying geese!

I am constantly amazed by how geese navigate their journeys across many miles, working as a team and flying in formations that flow and grow and change, steadily progressing towards their destination.

One of the most amazing memories I have is of coming home from a family holiday in the Scottish Highlands on a beautiful evening.  Spotting some geese against the red streaked dusky sky, we stopped the car and clambered out, kids, dog, the lot.  I remember standing in silence gazing in awe at hundreds of geese flying over, wave after wave morphing into and out of bigger and more complex V shaped skeins.

Now I listen out for the familiar racket that geese make as they approach.  I notice them passing overhead in all sorts of places – including city centres – and I know inside of me, even if just for a moment, that sense of connection, movement, space and freedom – things that I am passionate about and that coaching has helped me discover and explore in life.


Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You so not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles
through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you about mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are
moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


* Passion in Action – the wisdom of the cognitive mind by Judith Lowe and Judith DeLozier, Rapport Issue 62