At the recent North Eastern Ontario Victim Crisis Conference, I presented a Tool Box for those assisting people experiencing grief and trauma.
In conversation with Victims Crisis’ staff and volunteers throughout the weekend, it was not surprising to hear that many had survived trauma and losses of their own.
Remarkable stories were shared with me by courageous souls, once cracked open by profound loss. It was a privilege to hear and to witness how they had transcended their grief.
Additionally, I was approached by a few people questioning if the higher education they already had was sufficient to contribute and make a difference in the way they passionately sought to do. This both resonated and light a fire within me!
My personal losses have definitely shaped the landscape of my life. They have also informed my work. In recent years, an organic shift occurred within my Life Coaching practice. Clients engaged in grief and trauma recovery repeatedly showed up. Despite understanding vibrational frequency and how energy attracts like energy, I was initially resistant. Did I have what it takes to effectively serve these clients? Then…
Curiosity replaced inner struggle. Intuition repeatedly nudged me. Synchronicity fluttered its brilliant butterfly wings. Clarity squeezed out doubt…
There is the endless, bombardment of information technology. Moreso, it is often the societal expectations and pressures regarding higher education that often lead us to question or even doubt. That we are enough. That we have enough knowledge, enough experience, and certainly enough education to be of service in a meaningful way, let alone perform the great work that each of us is called to do in this lifetime.
Although I do not dismiss the merit of knowledge, training and life experiences that can be acquired by pursuing a college or university education, I would argue that these do not teach compassion, how to trust your own intuition or how to access third-level listening. Nor do they instruct us on how to develop deep compassion or how to hold sacred space for another.
When we are wholdheartedly open and committed to doing our inner work, I deem that the prestigiously private school of LIFE provides an array of opportunities to help us glean the skills and to develop the tools and inner resources required to perform the meaningful work that we feel called to do.
As for the doubt that once inhabited me, this is what I know for sure. Being a compassionate witness to my client’s experience allows me to tap into their hope and resilience.
Through co-creation, my client and I prepare the fertile soil to sow the seeds of possibility in the garden that exists beyond grief and trauma. When a client makes this choice, not only healing but life-altering change can unfold.
In addition to working with individuals, my deep conviction in the synergistic and transformational power of groups led me to create Beyond Grief, a retreat-like experience for people experiencing profound grief after loss.
Undoubtedly, a near-death experience or a shattering loss can subsequently awaken us to a deeper calling. However, I also want to reassure you that neither of these need be a pre-requisite for heading the call and being in service to others.
Frequently, it's the sudden calm and tranquility after an “inner storm” dissipates that offers us astonishing lucidity and enlightens our next step.
Whether we are feeling dejected, rejected or devastated. Whether we lost face, had a fall-out with someone or failed miserably. Or whether we are experiencing an ultimate, dark night of the soul, our life experiences inevitably generate inner storms. I coined the term "inner storm chaser" because throughout our lives, the circumstances of each conscious inhabitant of this planet will generate plenty of inner storms. They will then have the option to turn and face them or to run away.
Contrary to many misconceptions that exist about actual storm chasers- the ones who follow tornadoes and hurricanes- studies demonstrate that most are simply seeking to experience and learn. In order to do so, they are willing to take the risks.
An "inner storm" chaser is someone who seeks to experience and learn from the disturbance, discomfort or pain they are experiencing. They are willing to take the risks and turn inward for closer examination. They have a desire to excavate in order to get to the core of the matter. They are curious and observant. Since inner storms are inevitable, they can also be great catalysts. An inner storm beckons us to a place of deeper awareness and introspection that requires that we shine the light in all those dark crevices. Inner storm chasers are willing to bravely surrender so that the once potentially debilitating elements of the storm can now serve to facilitate their personal evolution.
In my many years of work with clients in the fields of social service and life coaching, I have frequently observed that within the aspiration of embracing inner storms, there often dwells a desire to serve in a meaningful way.
Inner storm chasers are crystal clear that in order to effectively serve others, they are required to diligently do their on-going inner work.
Cheers to you courageously curious, risk-taking, inner storm chasers!
When faced with a difficult or problematic situation, our friends are often the first people we turn to as a compassionate sounding board. True friends not only have our back; they often jump at the chance to commemorate the joyful occasions as well as our victories and successes.
Geographical distance and overflowing schedules can be a challenge to remaining connected with good friends on a consistent basis. When the weeks between visits turn into months and sometimes years, we feel regretful for not making the time to nurture these relationships. Additionally, we miss out on the opportunity of filling each other's cups.
This past year, one of my dear friends and I decided to stop the cycle of fret and regret. We now schedule a few hours on a morning once a month to hang out, support and celebrate each other, share our visions and dreams as well as brainstorm ideas and strategies regarding our lives and businesses.
Breakfast of Champions rolled off my tongue one day and resonated with my friend. Since she and I are naturally committed to championing each other and the people in our lives, it seemed fitting.
Spending time with good friends, whether face to face or virtually, usually infuses me with joy and ramps up my creativity. Afterwards, I typically return to my office stoked about birthing an idea or a project that I've been incubating.
Despite missing them, a jam-packed schedule, lengthy To-Do list or projects with looming deadlines can send us into a compelling story about not having enough time right now to contact a good friend. The thought of taking that valuable time may fire up concerns that something "very important" will have to be sacrificed in the process!
What would it be to challenge your story? If you are still concerned that time away from your work or the demands of your personal schedule would have a negative impact, test out how taking time to connect with a friend over lunch can change your outlook. You do have to eat at some point!
Still not convinced? Start by blocking a one hour time period once a week to reconnect, either face to face or virtually, with a good friend with whom you have not spoken to in a while.
After your encounter, check in with yourself to see how you feel. What do you notice there is now more of or less of?
How might scheduling time to consistently visit with valued and trusted friends deepen and strengthen your relationships while also enhancing your own fulfillment? In what ways do you sense this might impact your creativity and productivity?
I invite you to leave a comment.