Have you ever experienced someone breaking an agreement with you? …If you ask the question, “What is that like?” what is your answer?
Was it like being “punched in the gut”? Like some part of you was “shattered”? Or maybe it’s more like you’ve “reached the edge of a cliff without a bridge?”
For Steve, it was “like they pulled the rug out from under me.” Here’s an abridged reprint of his blog post outlining a personal experience using Andy Austin’s Metaphors of Movement process:
What do You Experience When Someone Breaks an Agreement?
ex·as·per·a·tion - a feeling of intense irritation or annoyance. "synonyms: irritation, annoyance, vexation, anger, fury, rage, ill humor, crossness, testiness, tetchiness
Recently I was exasperated by someone who didn’t keep what I thought was an agreement between us. But “Exasperation” doesn’t fully express the intensity of the confusion and disorientation I felt when that happened, so I decided to explore it using Metaphors of Movement.
I explained to Connirae, “It’s like they pulled the rug out from under me.” My image was that I was standing on a small rug, about 3 feet wide, and 6 feet long. Someone else was holding onto the end in front of me, and they jerked it out from under me. When that happened I tumbled backwards, flailing, into a tank of some kind of fluid that had been beneath the rug. The broken agreement was disappointing, but tumbling and flailing into the fluid was what created my confusion and disorientation.
Connirae said, “So you’re a person who stands on your agreements.” “Definitely!” I said. This was true both literally and figuratively. It’s always been important to me to keep my commitments.
At first I didn’t see a way out — except for the other person not to yank the rug!
Andy Austin [has] said, “We usually see clearly what other people can do to “solve” their metaphoric situation, but we often don’t see what we can do in our own.” This is the value of working with a partner, and it certainly held true for me in this situation. Connirae suggested that I explore taking a step to the left, or to the right, or back — just off the carpet — to see what that would be like. “You’ll be standing by your agreements instead of on them,” she said. Initially, I didn’t like the idea. It wasn’t being true to my commitments in the way I was familiar with, …but I wanted to explore it.
What if I “stood behind” my agreements? What if I “stood by” my agreements? In my metaphor, there was just solid ground on all sides of the rug, so this had potential. As I tried out these different ways of “standing” within the metaphor, I decided that standing behind an agreement fit best for me. I could do this with integrity, and my position was definitely more stable.
When I tried out that new stance in the real-life context of the agreement that hadn’t been kept, it felt much better, because I remained standing when the rug was pulled out. Without the flailing and splashing, and the resulting disorientation and confusion, it was much easier to focus on what to do about the broken agreement itself.
As most of us do with our problems, I had been feeling like a victim, and focused on what someone else did, rather than on what I was doing. Within the metaphor, I could quickly realize what I was doing, and experiment with more useful alternatives. It is one thing to know, as a general principle, that I can only really change what I am doing, and that if I feel like a victim, I am probably missing what I can do in a situation. It is quite another to explore a metaphor, and find out what I can actually do differently.
Metaphors of Movement takes the guess work out of change work. Whether you use it with yourself, with clients, or with teams, you gain practical precision tools to help you zero in on the stuck points and understand how you maintain your problem state. This understanding, in turn, triggers a series of rapid, self-induced results. Because there is a structure to the process, you get the ‘hang of it,’ and fast.
Explore this intriguing and effective innovation in NLP this Spring, when Andy will be training in Boulder May 5-10.
Register by February 7 for the earlybird rate!
As always, please contact us if you have any questions. Just reply to this email. We would love to see you in May.
Warm Regards, Connirae, Mark, & Steve Andreas
Coming Events Calendar
Coming to Wholeness
Foundation Training: Feb 18-19, 2017
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May 5-10, 2017
Andrew T. Austin
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Extended training begins Feb 2017
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Aug 6-8, 2017