Let me begin by saying I am a seeker by nature.
As New Yorkers, we’re always seeking: a bigger apartment, a prestigious job title, and a lifestyle we believe to be The Best. But, this interminable seeking can morph into suffering. Not epic, tragic suffering, but the existential kind. We dangle between life’s dualities: its electricity and its exasperation—the interplay of thrill and terror, tapped into any kind of inner awareness, we can find ourselves wanting to explore how between desires and disappointments, between the longing and the anticipatory. If we’re our unlived lives illuminate the priorities, values, and desires underpinning the lives we actually do live.
I think of Anaïs Nin, the great French writer, who once wrote, “Something is always born of excess.” Born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, and instabilities. Finding myself at one of life’s turning points, I’m trying my best to think brand new thoughts I’ve never thought before–the kind of thoughts that are conducive to creating big life changes. However, I find this struggle centers mainly on thinking different varieties of the same old thoughts, which only leads me right back to Square One.
I do realize this is a process of refining the truths I try to tell myself. As I move through mid-life, I’ve come to know it’s sometimes more dangerous to keep apace than it is to take a breather. I also realize the heavy mental lifting that is part of deep contemplation can also be an emotional house-of-mirrors. These rather insightful reflections have led me to Central Park on a humid June afternoon in the hopes of finding some sort of guidance.
As much as I enjoy communing with nature, I’m here, at what I consider to be The Center of New York, in an effort to find my center with the help of two unique professionals. One is an experienced life coach with a global clientele and one is an up-and-coming hypnotherapist who has had the distinction of recently lecturing at the Harvard University. My hope is that they will help me navigate this emotional hall-of-mirrors in which I find myself wandering these days.
As I wind my way around the Central Park reservoir, I come upon Nicolas Serres-Cousiné, who immediately strikes me as a man who is a keen and experienced observer of inner contradictions. I’m sure that, as a life coach, he’s seen many others on a global scale who walk hand-in-hand with that age-old existential dilemma: How shall I live now? With him is Sylvain Coulon, a tall graceful young man, who strikes me as deeply compassionate and well-trained professional. Chatting for just a short time, he recognizes almost instantly the mismatch between the telling of my story versus my body language. It’s Sylvain’s subtle, unique way of listening.
Seeing them together, I sense they work from powerful and intuitive complementary angles.
My angle is that it’s difficult to let my guard down and feel balanced without becoming threatened by what could come my way. I’m generally accepting, but not prone to being too open about things. My life path is pretty well worn by now. But, it’s also about something else. The issue is not being able to make a move because of an internal argument. The conflict is between wanting to be spontaneous and yet wanting to be practical in life. It’s the tricky interplay between being desperate for spontaneity and being a solid player. At my innermost core, it’s risky business because it requires tremendous effort to stay balanced. While there are some familiar arenas where I’m good at taking risks, that “risk-taking” is actually within my comfort zone.
From a larger perspective, I very much want to join my everyday life of solid practicality with my ideal life of spontaneity and to lessen the fears I have of creating a more expansive way of living. I’m always wondering: Is there a way to be both stable and free at the same time?
With that in mind, I want to know more about a 30-day program they’ve created, a kind of Life Boot Camp, if you will, to help high achieving professionals ease the struggle—to relax with the happiness and ease at the heart of a balanced life. I’m hoping that it’s a simpler concept than I ever imagined.
Their program, which consists of two meetings three times per week, takes place over the course of 30 days. It is one of not only discovery, but also of unraveling. It consists of unraveling the well-constructed stories we not only tell ourselves, but stories on which we base our lives. I’m sure what transpires over 30 days is not for the faint-of-heart.
Sylvain works to help loosen and clear the unconscious mind, which can construct mental roadblocks—the kind of blocks that we don’t realize are holding us hostage emotionally. It’s apparent from our first meeting he has a deep knowledge of the science of hypnotherapy. I was leery of the idea of delving into the unconscious, but Sylvain’s efficient manner in establishing connections was impressive. It was a true pleasure learning more about his deep commitment to this medical discipline as well as the value it offers his clientele. I know that working with him would be worth the effort as he is extremely personable and professional in his approach.
Nicolas, on the other hand, helps to effectively deconstruct emotional blocks with a no-nonsense yet empathic coaching style. In our first conversation, he helped me to realize a number of challenges all the while using his great sense of humor about the absurdities of life. I was surprised that, during my silences, he made revealing statements that encouraged me to take a step back and ponder my thought processes. That is, to look more closely at what is ultimately holding me back from having fuller, deeper experiences in life. He is extremely articulate and focused in providing direction. With an unusual clarity, I found Nicolas to be extremely warm and giving of himself in the most professional way. He is also ridiculously smart and I love that.
And, so…I’m onboard.
We discussed how our sessions would consist of using conversational, insightful, and challenging techniques to help find the “story behind the story.” Nicolas made a point of explaining how important it is to know that neither he or Sylvain act as players in a client’s story, but rather as guides during a brief respite along the their life’s path. I’m relieved to hear him address this issue. I’ve always had a fear of a being too influenced by others, particularly while being in an emotionally vulnerable state. The aim here is that both Sylvain and Nicolas are present to engage in active listening—that is, to peel back the layers of “My Story” using guided dialogues connected to a clear presentation of focused steps to take in order to help me pass confidently through a personal crossroads.
I know now that working with them will be a way to take stock of where I am in my life, so I can focus on learning new ways to move forward with resolve and, most importantly, without fear.
Let’s face it: this program is not one-size-fits-all, nor is the $10,000 price tag to be taken lightly. In the long run, it’s an investment in the future—particularly when you consider the value over the course of a lifetime.
In the end, it’s clear given their empathetic natures, they are drawn to working with clients who value sincere introspection, appreciate genuine curiosity, and share a deep affinity for change. Ultimately, I see this 30-day program as a one-of-a-kind opportunity for soul growth in order to discover a deeply authentic understanding and to move toward a more liberated, joyful life.
All of this leaves me thinking…
What would you do if you knew you could?