A friend of mine once owned a beautiful statute of an elegant woman, serene and confident, expecting great things to come. She called this woman, “Clarity”.
My friend died several years ago. But it seems like twenty minutes ago she introduced me to Clarity, telling me enthusiastically just how important Clarity was to her. She explained in her elf-like mischievous grin that made you think—is she being serious or pulling my leg right now? But after a few moments of utter homage to Clarity, I could see she was down right serious and I better take Clarity seriously, too.
This dear friend taught me many vital life lessons, but this one in particular, touched my core. Over time, I saw the more I relied on Clarity, the easier things became. I soon discovered greater focus for addressing my priorities. An a-ha moment arrived when I realized that one must have Clarity before any Focus can emerge. In fact, Clarity births Focus. Without Clarity, Focus fizzles out with half-hearted attempts, however well intentioned, and we’re left right where we started—standing in muddy confusion, unable to lift one foot forward.
Once I became clear about Clarity, I devised the Clarity-Focus dynamic for my coaching clients (and now for all who study with me to become PCI Certified Parent Coaches®.) Attending to this dynamic during the coaching sessions, directs a positive path making it easier to ignore tempting distractions and put heart’s desire front and center.
Today my respect for Lady Clarity is immense. I have seen her power a thousand times over.
While Clarity isn’t certainty, you certainly can’t figure out
How until you know What.
It may seem like such a simplistic given—Clarity is important, well, duh? Right. But hang with me a little longer here. Clarity isn’t an easy access pass or as simple as a click of the remote. Clarity usually takes time, although, granted, situations often force us into crystal-clear clarity.
Let’s check in with three faces of Lady Clarity.
Quick Best Bet Clarity
When we don’t have the luxury of time to stay nebulous or uncommitted, this Lady Clarity rushes us into a decision. When your fourteen year-old catches you off guard, harried, hurried and basically in a parenting fog, she asks, “Can I sleep over at Jane’s house tonight?” But even with half your sense you know the important question to ask: “Will her parents be home?” “Yep.” “OK then, you can go.”
When your daughter elatedly leaves and you’re finally soaking in a hot bath after several skirmishes with your husband about weekend plans, and after a familiar, tedious, argument with your mother about who is cooking Thanksgiving dinner, (she’s texting again this very moment) and only after you tucked your four year-old into bed after reading Good Night Moon for the 76th time so far this week; now, and only now, you think, “I didn’t ask her who else would be there and what movies they would be watching.”
“Oh, hell, the hell with it,” is one possible response. Another might be: “OK, I was as clear as I could be given the circumstances. Next time, I will have my act together to ask more questions before saying Yes.” Well, maybe.
We’ve got to be gentle with ourselves when Hurry-Up Lady Clarity shows up, otherwise we may not have enough focus next time to gain enough information to invite the majestic presence of Pure Clarity.
Pure Clarity is a rare, precious gift, sometimes hard to explain, but we recognize it when we have it. For instance, if you know Jane’s parents were out of town, you would immediately know for sure the answer to the sleepover questions was a resounding, “No” pure and simple. Pure Clarity shows up when we have more of the facts and can interact them with our values, priorities, and what we want most.
And it won’t matter how much your daughter rants or how many doors she slams. You are in a state of Pure Clarity. You know what to do: leave her vent; go into her room and talk with her, soothe her like you did when she was two and her stuffed bunny somehow hopped in the dryer and blew to pieces; then when the tears stop, ask her to invite Jane over to your house. Problem solved. Disaster averted.
Pure Clarity can be pure bliss when immediate. Unfortunately it can often take years to arrive. And we don’t have years to decide.
That’s why Feeling Our Way Through is the most popular Lady Clarity.
Feeling Our Way Through Clarity
As thinking, planning creatures, we have the future in mind more than the present. Our brains are hard-wired that way for survival (Ah, now you know why you are always thinking of how to pay the bills!)
So here’s Feeling Our Way Through Clarity in action:
As soon as you meet Jane, your antennae could whiplash her if she could see it. Is she a nice girl? Respectful? A good student? Who are her parents? What do they do? Do I think she is an appropriate friend for my daughter? If not, why not? What is my gut saying here?
As parents we ask ourselves hundreds of questions like this almost every day—we are long into clarifying before we have to make a decision about a sleepover or anything else concerning our kids for that matter.
Then, oops, if we make a quick decision and regretted it, we go back to square one and start feeling our way once again through those dark tunnels until we spot a hint of clarity ahead. Then we amend our previous not-so-good decision to be more congruent with our integrity, more in line with what we really want. Clarity gifts us with self-knowledge, among other things. We now have enough clarity necessary to adjust our focus, which beautifully clears the way for a choice we can live with, and sleep with, I may add.
While we may not have arrived at Pure Clarity, at least we aren’t tossing and turning by the light of our digital clock. Sleep comes becomes we have progressed to a kinder, more gracious version of Feeling Our Way Through Clarity.
Thank you Good Enough Lady Clarity! We now know what and can take it from here.
Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2015. All rights reserved.