20 years ago I pulled into the parking lot of my job (I was a Senior Interior Design Project Manager.) and was overwhelmed by the thought of “There has to be another way. There has to be a way to be happy”.
“I was miserable.”
On the outside I looked like I had an amazing life. Interesting and creative job in my chosen profession, a husband who loved me, an adorable toddler and a beautiful home we loved just to name a few, but getting out of bed each morning was so hard. There was always a brittle edge to me. I was argumentative, controlling, defensive, reactive, and over “doer”, full of “shoulds” and a perfectionist. I also caught every flu or cold that came around. I had strep throat one winter 4 times; yet the mask I wore was happy, joyful, OK and life was good. This current job had a perk. The owner had hired a life coach to have sessions with her employees. In one of my sessions this coach shared the Lynn Grabhorn book “Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting”. This simple, humorous, and straightforward book was my 1st introduction into another way.
The thought of “there has to be a way to be happier”, the life coach and Lynn Grabhorn’s book began my 20-year quest for meaning, a new way of doing things, spirituality, compassion, understanding, flexibility, showing up authentically, allowing emotions to flow through me not get stuck in me, joy, enthusiasm for life, appreciation, and better health. This was the slow road to finding and claiming my power. I read so many self-help books my shelves heaved, numerous weekend workshops for diving into my inner being, books on spirituality, talk sessions with therapists, appointments with hypnotherapists, rituals for cleansing my chakras, reiki, etc., etc., etc. Now many of these things helped move the dial. I did feel more peace and ease, but the old stuff always slipped back in. None of these options had gotten to my core. The catalyst was a series of traumatic experiences within two years: my mother had a near fatal stroke, our child was in crisis, a hurricane headed for our city, my neighborhood was terrorized by a serial killer for 5 months and my being hospitalized for a potential pulmonary embolism. The last 3 happened while my husband was overseas on deployment.
By the time all of that occurred, I could barely get out of bed. My body was so riddled with chronic pain that I became bed ridden while Doctors prescribed pain killers/pain clinics or physical therapy. That was what shook me. How had I ended up here? I selected PT, began to make conscious eating and exercise choices, and “absorbed” books on neuroscience, the brain and psychology. I wanted to know why I ticked the way I ticked. What was going on behind the veil so to speak. How was information being processed in my brain and stored in my body? What childhood schemas were running my life without my knowledge? I began a meditation practice, which is extremely hard for someone whose brain loved to ruminate, spin and chew on just about everything. I learned to be kind to myself and forgive myself for my past. I realized that I did not have the tools in the past to live differently.
These skills are not taught in school. We are not taught how to regulate our nervous system, release stress and anxiety in a healthy way. We are not taught about ACE’s, adverse childhood experiences, the effects of chronic stress or how trauma stays with us in our bodies and minds. As I read, I began to feel my personal power come back. I realized those inner critic voices were not mine. It was OK to let my sparkling pixie self out and shine. If I was too much for some people, that is OK. They get to honor their truths.
I decided it was time to take a huge leap of faith and I signed up to train as a life coach at Coach Training World. I kept moving forward even as the imposter complex came out to play. The inner critic did her thing too. Though I knew this was my path. I met some of the most amazing people in that coaching (program. We are all different and that was celebrated and even nurtured. We get to encourage and support each other on our journey and now I finally know I am living my purpose.