Aug 04, 2022 | Your Self

Catherine A. Wood

The power of one degree turns

I was speaking with a dear friend earlier this year and she said something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about ever since.

We were reconnecting and sharing about our lives and what was new. She mentioned that she’d been so busy and stressed at work, but as an empath, all I could think about was the sadness I felt in my friend’s voice.

It’s taken me some time to understand that as empaths and HSPs, we often sense other people’s emotions before they do, and with time and practice, we learn how to separate what’s ours from the emotions of others.

I have found this skill to be highly useful as a coach because my own somatic responses to my clients often serves as a mirror and place to reflect and explore with them.

But with friends (who I never coach), it’s not like I can turn off my empathy and care. So I asked her, “hey, it sounds like you’re sad, is everything ok?”

And she shared, “I know that this is what I do to myself in my jobs. I’ve been working 15-hour days. And I know I am choosing this, but this is just how I am.”

I was flooded with a wave of compassion, but also with the resignation I could hear in her voice. She knew she was doing this to herself, yet didn’t see a way to choose differently.

It wasn’t my job to make her see things differently, but oh how I wish I could.

I believe that we always have the capacity to choose differently.

We often believe change is hard and that it will require us to do something dramatically different. But I have seen over and over again, that it is often through making one-degree turns that we make much more dramatic and sustainable change over time.

For like everything in life, we too are a practice not a perfect.

In The Way of Integrity by Martha Beck, she says “Whenever we inquire deeply enough into the truth about our suffering, we arrive at a place where, without changing direction, we stop descending and start ascending.”

She goes on further to say that “Every day you make thousands of tiny decisions about what to do with your time. Every single choice is a chance to turn toward the life you really want. Repeatedly putting a little less time into what you don’t love, and a little more into what you do love, is your next step on the way of integrity.”

In every instant, we have the opportunity to make a one-degree turn toward the life you really want. To give our attention just a little more towards what you love and desire for yourself.

What will you practice turning towards this season, one degree at a time?

To one-degree turns and choosing you this season.




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Catherine is a Master Certified Coach and bestselling author of Belonging: Overcome Your Inner Critic and Reclaim Your Joy.

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