About Journey Coaching
The Hero's Journey
Bridging the Gulf found its name after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
There, nestled in a usually protected cranny of the Gulf of Mexico, in a low-lying land laced by rivers, inlets, bayous, and bays, wholesale destruction by an unimaginably powerful force of nature precipitated a serious and widely shared crisis. In time, the struggle to cope with the loss of so many real, physical bridges offered a way to reflect on the need for a metaphorical bridge - an inner, psychological bridge that would span the gulf between the familiar rational mind and the much more mysterious emotional mind that holds keys to coping with difficult situations. The name, Bridging the Gulf, evokes its mission of helping people access the benefits of conversation between our two kinds of minds. The term journey coaching describes how Melinda approaches her role in pursuing that mission.
The Idea of Two Minds
Over the past few decades, we have revolutionized our understanding of the human mind. During this time, science has empirically re-discovered the “Unconscious” – a possibility embraced by Freud and Jung more than a century ago. Basically, the current idea is this:
Humans have two kinds of minds – a conscious or rational mind and an unconscious or emotional mind.
The very survival of the human species as well as our extraordinary achievements are consequences of having these two very different kinds of minds.
Since by definition our conscious mind engages only with that of which we are aware, the experience of consciousness often leads us to the erroneous conclusion that the conscious part of ourself (the part we call "I" or "me") is the captain of our ship, so to speak.
In reality, however, completely outside of our awareness, our unconscious mind exerts powerful influence over our behaviors, decisions, and beliefs – even those we think for sure we consciously choose.
The Relationship of the Unconscious Mind to Well-being
Evolutionarily speaking, the relatively limited areas of the human brain that give rise to our often noisy experience of consciousness are a recent addition to our mental apparatus. The quality of consciousness and the cognitive abilities that we most often identify as characteristically human are associated with the function of the cerebral cortex and related superficial structures. The structures that feed the deep and silent pool of unconscious processes, on the other hand, are primordial and much more powerful. When our conscious mind senses the presence of unconscious processes, it can feel like we are encountering something that is, in the words of Pink Floyd, "not me." If the impact of the "not me" is negative, we may label the experience mental illness. However, if the impact is positive, we may call it inspiration, being in the zone, in the flow, or in the hands of God. So, the idea that we have the capacity to cultivate an intentional relationship with the "not me" sets a magnificent stage on which to explore well-being.
The phenomena that await us as we learn to bridge the gulf between our conscious and unconscious minds are sometimes described as uncanny and fortuitous; sometimes referred to as coincidence, synchronicity, miracle, or sheer good luck. Our unconscious mind is our best advocate for survival and well-being. However, because our conscious and unconscious minds are so vastly different, attempts at intentional "inter-mind communication," so to speak, are plagued by failure. If, therefore, our conscious goal is to calm our symptoms, to befriend our emotions, to enhance the quality of our lives, or to stimulate creativity, we do well to help our conscious/ rational mind learn the language of the Unconscious.
Inviting In Bridging Phenomena
Bridging the Gulf was founded as a home for learning the language of the Unconscious and inviting in experiences of bridging phenomena. Anything that helps us stoke our imagination can help us take advantage of familiar yet under-utilized states of mind, which, in turn, can help us cross the bridge. Melinda uses various coaching strategies to foster imagination, including active listening, active imagination, focusing, dream-tending, improvisation, narrative, and intuition-seeding. One of her favorite strategies involves the meta-story or mono-myth known as the hero's journey. For more information on how she approaches this strategy, click here or follow the headings under The Hero's Journey tab above.
"In each of us there is another whom we do not know."
"There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me."
"Almost the entirety of what happens in your mental life is not under your conscious control, and the truth is that it’s better this way."
author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
"[T]he field that starts to develop around people who have experienced these shifts of mind creates a phenomena that Joe calls predictable miracles."
from the Introduction to
The Inner Path of Leadership
is choreographed by
a great, pervasive intelligence that lies
at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through intuitive knowledge."
"In times of trouble, the wise build bridges . . ."
the Black Panther
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
C. G. Jung