The inspiration for the name Door in the Mountain Coaching comes from Jean Valentine's poem, Door in The Mountain:
Never ran this hard through the valley
never ate so many stars
I was carrying a dead deer
tied on to my neck and shoulders
deer legs hanging in front of me
heavy on my chest
People are not wanting
to let me in
Door in the mountain
let me in
Start with the feeling of running--bursting lungs. The desire for coaching, for support in your process. Are those the hot stars knocking through your chest from all that exertion? Or are the stars what you gathered as you went, all your bright hopes?
This poem is emblematic of Jean Valentine's work (and, not surprisingly, the title poem for her astonishing 2004 New & Collected Poems)--brief, breathless, fully alive. There is an intuitive logic at play, something akin to dream logic, without ever letting go of the urgency of communication, the dearness of connecting with another intelligence. The poem is open, embracing freedom, and also deeply aware of the pressures of reality.
A model for coaching, then. Two intelligences, engaging in urgent communication, driving toward dreams. So the doors will open. Really open.
There are so many unresolved questions in this poem. A bevy of possibility.
Is the dead deer the weight of something it is time to let go of? Being shepherded to a resting place? There is a beating heart under these words. The deer legs hanging in front of the speaker, an echo of the movement of running, of striving, of eventually becoming light with it, graceful, embodying, perhaps, the movement of the deer itself.
The poet C.D. Wright wrote, "When I read Jean Valentine's poems, I fill up with questions, flow over with emotion. I cease, in some way, to think. At least the din of thinking dies back."
The best coaching makes this happen, too. A connecting to a deeper kind of knowledge. A clarification and a call to action.
Reading this poem, I feel that anything is possible. But not everything. It's a question of making it so. The swallowed stars. The door opening, right when you need it to. Emerging into the view.