The 4 Leaf Clover

This morning I read this quote by Rummer Godden:

“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”

I got reminded of my first module in the NLP Practitioner when my mentor and trainer Dr. Joke Land presented us with the concept of the 4 leaf clover.

For most of us the 4-leaf clover is a metaphor of happiness. I remember when I was a child, during the hot summer days I would spend a lot of time in the grass looking for one. When I would find the rare one, I would jump out of luck. I would then press it between the pages of the book I was reading to bring me luck. It was a real treasure.

During my NLP Practitioner training I discovered that behind this 4-leaf clover metaphor is the balance between its four leafs, the four fields making up the whole: mental, physical, energy and soul field. These are the four fields that make us and through balancing them we can accomplish happiness. They are separate, but they can not exist separately. They act together, impact and complement each other. When one is misbalanced, the whole system is out of balance. Does a 3-leaf clover bring luck?

The mental field is your thinking, your unconscious processes and patterns, your beliefs and values. NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is very useful in creating mental agility – in freeing yourself from limiting beliefs and patterns that you are running on an unconscious level, in creating new values for your personal and professional life and in becoming aware of what is stopping you in life and creating long-lasting and effective change. To strengthen your mental field you need to invest in your personal and professional development.

The physical field is your body and all the processes that make you alive today. Go and have a glance at a biology book and be amazed at what your body is capable of, what a perfect organism it is. It is your home. So, how do you take care of your home? Do you air the rooms frequently? How often do you clean and throw the garbage? When is the last time you renovated to get rid of the old and make room for the new? What do you feed your home with, what thoughts and what foods do you feed it with?

All your mental processes are shown in your body. Your internal dialogue, your coping mechanisms and patterns from stimuli that come from the external world or your internal world, your emotions and how you deal with them – it is all reflected. Our body constantly signals us with SOSs (Spontaneously Occurring Signals) and we need to learn how to listen to these signals. To strengthen your physical field you need to take moments of conscious breathing and grounding yourself to the present moment, healthy food and regular physical activity.

The energy field is your field of emotions and feelings. Do you allow yourself to feel all the emotions? Growing up, were you allowed to be sad, angry or disappointed? Were you allowed to express all of your emotions? Now, as a mature person, how do you cope with your emotions? Do you deny, suppress or negate them or do you allow yourself to feel, accept and transform them?

Emotions are given to us to be felt. By denying the uncomfortable emotions, we close ourselves for the pleasant ones and in this process we create coping strategies that produce harmful behaviours. Coping with your emotions is usually what creates the problem. The good thing is that coping is a learned process and you can unlearn the old ways and learn new ways of coping.

Our behaviour is driven by our emotions and feelings. So, to strengthen the energy field you need to master the skill of recognising your emotions, labelling them and separating them from your behaviour. This is emotional intelligence or self-awareness – a skill that every leader should master. The sooner you master this skill, the easier it will be for you to choose your behaviour. This is your superpower!

The soul field is the greater field to which we belong, it is that something that is bigger than us to which we connect. It is also our mission and our purpose.

The deepest human need is to belong, to be seen and accepted. When this need is fulfilled we feel satisfied, motivated and we can grow. But, when this need is not satisfied we have a constant feeling of emptiness and we always search for ways to fill in the void and satisfy the need to belong. The first system to which we belong usually is the family. Each family system has certain dynamics and principles that govern it, which we learn and then unconsciously or consciously take on and apply throughout our life. As we grow, we enter other systems (social networks, friendships, educational systems, work systems) that also have their own dynamics and principles. We tend to be unconsciously loyal to the principles of our family systems and many times they might be contradicting the dynamics of the other systems we belong to. This loyalty might limit you, or might help you grow.

To strengthen your soul system you can look into the systemic principles and the unspoken rules of the systems you belong to. Are you aware of the principles of your family system and how they affect you in your mature life? Do you allow yourself to receive as much as you give? How do you connect to others? Do you create dependancies and addictions or you create connections that allow for freedom?

If you want to be happy you need to constantly be aware and look into all the four leafs of the clover. The point is to notice which field needs more attention, which one you need to influence so that you create balance to the whole. Systemic coaching and NLP can give you a good start into your journey to achieving this balance.

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