19 February 2012
There is an old story about campers who set a pot of water on their campfire and went into the forest to collect more wood. On their return, they found a bear clutching the boiling pot of water. As the bear’s distress increased, so did its tight grip. Applying the only tool he knew of, his physical strength to crush his victim, the bear lacked the mental agility to try a different approach.
Sometimes we humans get stuck and clutch our own boiling pot, even when we know it is harmful to our well-being or prevents us from achieving what we really want in life. Be sure to know what your deepest desires are and imagine what you would be doing if you are moving forward in attaining those goals. Is there a scalding pot that you are squeezing tightly? The only way familiar to you? Is there something you could be doing differently, even more simply, to get to your goals?
I am working with a client (who gave me his permission to write about him) in which he had a strained relationship with his son because every interaction ended with him giving a lecture and his son disengaging. The client realized what was most important to him was his relationship with his son, and he only had one way of responding, lecturing (a hidden form of fear), like the bear clutching the scalding pot. The revelation of the truth in this destructive pattern which was that he was getting in his own way to a great relationship with his son. Once that was known, the remedy was simple. Is there a scalding pot that you need to drop?