Whose life are you living?
For many women, the answer to this question is, "Not mine."
That was my answer for a really long time. I grew up in a tight-knit religious community that emphasized being part of the group and not standing out as an individual. There were very clearly defined roles for women, and those roles did not include leadership, or much of anything outside the home.
That was the box I lived in, and people who stepped out of it were shunned or shamed. Your box may look different from mine, but most of us have them.
Here's how you know:
You find yourself feeling restless, and asking yourself questions like, "Is this all there is to life?"
You feel increasingly disconnected, like your family and friends just don't get you.
You realize that a lot of your decisions are made to please others, and that you censor parts of yourself you think might not meet with their approval.
You are starting to see that unconscious patterns of fear, people pleasing, and playing it small to avoid rocking the boat are being re-enacted in your family.
You feel like you've outgrown many of the ideas and even some of the relationships you've had for years.
If you found yourself nodding in agreement to any of these statements, I've got some good news for you...
You're waking up!
Waking up isn't always a straight and easy path...
But it is always worth it. You are always worth it.
I learned this myself from my personal experience, and from more than two decades of coaching others to embrace their true selves. I carried the fear of being seen and heard that I learned in childhood into my adult life.
While things may have looked perfect from the outside, I was struggling in a codependent marriage relationship, focused on everyone else's needs except my own.
In 2000, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I believe this particular type of cancer manifested for me as a result of not speaking my truth. As a cancer survivor, I began a journey of spiritual awakening that led me to three years of study at the Kairos School of Spiritual Formation, a Jesuit Center where I expanded my understanding of spirituality and deepened my relationship with Self and the Divine.
I made the decision to separate from my husband in 2006. It felt like an unraveling to me, because it was. It unraveled people’s opinions of me as "perfect" and having it all together, but it also unraveled my need for them to see me that way. My brokenness led to the breakthrough that I could not only live life on my own terms, but I could love it.
I'd already been working as a sports coach, but this experience prompted me to expand my practice to a wider audience. I received training in personal coaching for the whole person, and in 2009 I decided to start my own coaching practice to help people in the journey to discover the joy and freedom of embracing their true selves. I began working as a coach in various capacities including personal development, career, and wellness in academic, community, individual, and corporate settings.
Here's one of the things I learned:
When you're on a journey, it doesn't help if your guide is so far ahead of you that they can't relate to where you are now, and it doesn't help if your guide is at the same place you are and can't see any further along the road than you can. What does help is a guide who gets the journey and can walk alongside you on it, but also has the tools, expertise, and experience to empower you to move forward.
I'm an expert in this process because I've done it. And I'm still doing it. As an imperfect mom of four, a business owner, and a woman entering the world of divorce, I am not a guru on a mountaintop. I am a wounded healer, but that is my gift. I offer the hope of my own healing journey to other women looking for a life where deeper meaning and lighthearted play coexist in authentic, joyous expression.
I've crossed many bridges in my journey so far.
I'm a trained lay minister through Stephen Ministry International, a Credentialed Coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) of which I remain an active member, and I've obtained a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute. I am also a trained Reiki Master, and have worked with coaches, pastors, counselors, spiritual directors, EFT practitioners, and other lightworkers to develop a holistic approach to integrated coaching that honors the whole person.
I invite you to cross the bridges in your path to a life where you honor every part of yourself as a perfectly unique and worthy individual. Not just the parts that are safe, or expected, or easy. Not just the parts that you've been told are your role.
All of you.
Unleashed. Uncensored. Unashamed.
It's time to open the lid to your own box and step outside into the sunshine!