For the last handful of years, I had really been feeling as though I would never be able to truly make a difference in the care of our planet or in helping people find happiness through my work. The environment was still a deep connection for me, along with empowering and caring for people, but somehow the organizations I chose for jobs, unexpectedly, didn't leave me feeling like I was impacting either of these areas in my work. I was also tired of living to survive, pay check to paycheck, doing work that was stressful and disconnected from my heart. I felt trapped, stuck, shackled and unclear. I knew something had to change.
Serendipitously, my longest relationship unexpectedly came crashing down at about the same time as the overwhelming feeling of being chained to a professional career that no longer felt good. In the moment that I found out, I felt like lightening had cracked me in half; anxiety came screeching into my life out of nowhere. What I didn't know at the time, is that I had "cracked open", that I had opened to the whole me.
After a brief attempt at healing from the pain via talk therapy and anti-anxiety meds (I did not want to be on meds), I "put on my brave" and attended a local Women Within weekend retreat, which became a vulnerable and empowering start to my healing process. The Universe (and a common love of nature) connected me with one of the owners of a New York state intensive nature-based coaching business, Sagefire Institute, and I discovered "sit spot" or nature mindfulness, which was the next keystone step in what I now recognize as my "unfolding".
After 25 years of making monthly school loan payments (instead of taking "real" vacations), I signed up to attend Sagefire Institute's Puerto Rico Nature Retreat. I knew it was critical to my happiness to allow myself to go on the retreat. Luckily it was affordable, and I'm a wiz at bargain shopping, so I paid for the adventure, plus several additional hostel/Air BnB nights.
Every second there was magical...starting with a direct flight, and a discount car rental that was an orange Fiat! (Orange=joy!) The island was everything I had imagined and more...my route was coastal and food based, exploring the road side food stands and markets, and nature areas along the way. The hotel was incredible, and the retreat...magical. I felt free, alive and full of joy unlike anything I had felt in at least a decade.
One really important thing about life coaches, is that in their eyes (and mine), everyone is a beautiful human. NOT ONCE in that retreat or in my encounters with life coaches since, did I feel broken. I felt accepted, cared for, equal, and kind of... loved. I learned new ways of engaging my heart and soul under palm trees at the edge of the surf, footsteps from our hotel. It was there that I realized that if I became a coach and helped people discover how to fulfill their own basic needs- if people feel strong enough, healthy enough, connected enough and joyful, we would all be listening to our hearts and souls for guidance rather than fears, and our hearts and souls would never steer us to act in a truly destructive way.
That was the first step. There have been 100s of beautiful turtle steps since April 2016, as I learned to navigate the world from a place where emotions are natural and important, where my voice counts, where I can finally stand back and see the stories and fears that my past and my mind had "wired in" and that fed a path of lack. Becoming the calm, loving observer to my thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and all of me (inner child, accountant, warrior, etc), has created the freedom my soul needed to reconnect with joy and to tune into my inner knowing and the "greater knowing" that is guiding me along my true path once again.