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Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Posted 3/15/22

Welcome to My Life Coaching Blog.

The word is: BREATHE

Definition: Per Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "To feel free of restraint"

BREATHE. Please take a moment and say the word softly to yourself and notice what a genuinely calming effect the sound of such a small word can have. Breathe.

Years before I was a Life Coach, I was a Childbirth Educator and a Labor Coach. Childbirth can conjure up images from our own experiences, or the portrayal of births in movies, on TV or, by reading about it in books. In my training, I learned the process of breathing in childbirth is pivotal. During labor, breathing is a tool for distraction from the pain and a means of delivering oxygen needed to fuel both mother and child. It is what helps women to keep going, to keep progressing, and ultimately, to deliver a new life. So, I invite you now to continue reading, breathe normally and enjoy my story.

My Story on Breathe:

Do you know how sometimes a memory stays with you your entire life? You may not have all the details in place but you remember the impact it had on you then and the message it continues to carry. Every time I think about childbirth, I think of a paper I wrote for a Sociology class my sophomore year of college. The focus was on how different the childbirth experience can be from one culture to another. I took the journey of several women in my research. I remember typing slowly and breathing normally as I formulated my research thoughts into sentences and transferred those sentences onto a page.

There was one particular woman I recall who was laboring ever so slowly. Her breaths got longer and deeper as she progressed, keeping her pain down and her oxygen levels up. As she continued along this steady path, I could feel a change in my own body. I had started slow and steady while typing and then fell in step with the breathing rhythm of her labor. And so it went for a while. As the last stage of her labor set in, I continued to type but I found myself so caught up in what I was typing, that I began typing faster and faster. It was as if I too were in labor, breathing and pushing along with the woman I was writing about. I felt my fingers hitting the keys harder and harder as if my typing would somehow take away her pain or deliver the baby sooner. I felt that way for a good few minutes. Had anyone been in my room watching me, they surely would have called for a doctor. I was sweating and breathing heavily along with the words I was putting on the page. Then came my final sentence, sharing the baby's first cry, the joy that the pain was gone, the baby was healthy, and the labor, although exhausting at times, had passed. My sweating and heavy breathing also passed, so no doctor was necessary. It became clear that what I was experiencing was visceral.

The empowering ability to control our breath during childbirth cannot be understated. In the same way, neither can the empowering effects of controlled breathing on reducing stress and anxiety in our day-to-day lives. Note that I was typing faster and faster, when the woman was in pain. My own stress level was rising as I experienced her progressing labor, similar to stress levels rising when the pain of life can get somewhat unbearable.

Our bodies and minds react by shutting down when stressed. The rhythm of deep cleansing breaths allows us to take a step back long enough for our bodies to open up, refuel and re-energize. We come away with a clearer head and a more relaxed body so we can better manage whatever is challenging us. As with childbirth, our power over our bodies through breathing, can help take away the pain, feel healthy again and know that our labors, although exhausting at times, will pass so that we too can enjoy a new life.

If you find yourself needing help relieving stress and would like to learn some breathing exercises I hope you’ll email me.

Thank you for reading my blog and for checking back next week when the word will be ACCEPTANCE.

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Posted March 8, 2022

The word is: OBSTACLE

Definition: Per Merriam Webster Dictionary: “something that impedes progress or achievement”

My Story on Obstacle:

The focus of this week’s story was staring me in the face while I was taking a walk last week. I hope the message behind the word “obstacle” inspires and motivates you.

About fifteen minutes into my walk, I noticed, coming from the opposite direction, four mini packs of twelve to fifteen-year-olds on their way home from Middle School. They were equally poised, walking single file with their heads down and focused entirely on the glow of their cell phone screens. This being 2022, I assumed they shared a sense of urgency to consume every morsel of whatever emails, Instagram messages, TicTok videos, or calls they had missed while at school that day. They seemed oblivious to anything around them, including me.

Further assessing the situation, I acknowledged the likelihood that two people walking towards each other on a narrowly plowed sidewalk (the result of an eight inch snowstorm just days before) would surely collide. Put another way, there was no swerve room on this sidewalk and only a slim chance that any of the pack were going to look up from their phones, in time to avoid bumping into me. The decision fell on me to change course or absorb the consequences of a minor head-on collision. I could have crossed the street, but curiosity got the better of me, so I kept moving forward to see how this would play out.

Whether it was the sound of my boots on the pavement or the other person’s sense that something was closing in on her personal space, I found myself face to face with a member of the pack. To my surprise, I was met with a genuine sense of remorse from this young woman, as she looked up from her cell phone and uttered the words “Oops, I’m so sorry”. My curiosity was satisfied and a collision was averted.

This was, for all intents and purposes, an innocent example of an “obstacle” of daily life, that carries the message that although we can’t control other people’s behaviors we can control how we respond to them. We can hit them head-on or change course and navigate away from them. In hindsight, I could easily have crossed the street to avoid the possibility of contact, but maybe by not changing my behavior, I inspired this Middle Schooler to change hers. Think of it this way, had I changed course and crossed the street, her next collision might result in serious or even grave consequences. Imagine this young woman face down, lost in her cell phone screen, while driving in a car and this time not looking up in time.

Obstacles aren’t always recognizable. We tend to fall into habits and behaviors and accept that certain obstacles are just a part of life. We may believe that the way things have been is the way they will always have to be. What I would encourage you to do is allow yourself to step back, see how a certain obstacle is impeding or holding you back from achieving your goals, and consider how best to change course. You could remove yourself from the situation or you could see if your behavior might affect a positive change in someone else. It takes time and effort to make a change. If it’s something you truly want, the time and effort taken is well worth it. My message is to make informed choices, remove any obstacles in the way of your progress or achievements and metaphorically, to always do your best to get home safely.

If you have an obstacle stopping you from progressing or achieving in life, it might be time to talk to a Life Coach. I hope you’ll reach out to me. Thank you for reading my blog and for checking back in next week when the word will be BREATHE.

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Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Posted March 1, 2022

Welcome to My Life Coaching Blog.

To all of you who read my blog on “Purpose”, last week, thank you for coming back. For any new readers, welcome. I hope you will be inspired by what you read.

The Word is: CHANGE

Definition: Per Merriam Webster Dictionary: "A reversal in position or attitude."

My Story on Change:

It’s impossible to ignore the changes the Pandemic had on so many of us and how it shook our world in ways we could never have imagined. However, instead of focusing on the negative impact the Pandemic had, I want to reflect on something positive.

I want to share a story that begins with a simple walk. It was a day I think about often because it exemplified the theory that behind every dark cloud there truly is a silver lining waiting to be found. Let’s see if you agree.

When weather permits, and that day was an unseasonably warm and sunny one, I put on my sneakers and walk from my house to the lake in my town. It takes me about half an hour each way. When I get there, I usually rest on a spot somewhere near the middle of the lake between the entrance and the snack shack. I choose this spot because there is a wall of rocks suitable for resting upon and for taking in a panoramic view of the beautiful lake before me.

When I sat down on the rocks that day, instead of looking at the view in front of me, I looked at the people around me. In fact, I believe I did a double take because what I saw was unusual for two o’clock on a Friday afternoon in April. What I saw warmed me to the core. I saw mother’s and father’s with their kids. I saw couples of all ages. I saw dogs with their owners. One father was flying a kite with his son, some parents were on the ground playing in the sand with sand toys they had brought from home. There were couples sitting on beach towels, usually reserved for summer outings. Dogs were running around playfully chasing frisbees, tennis balls and children. People were smiling, laughing, embracing. Dogs were barking.

Now, if this was any afternoon in the summer or some random weekend day, I might not have taken notice. But this was two o’clock on a Friday afternoon in April of 2020. History might recall this as the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The Pandemic that stopped us in our tracks. The Pandemic that prevented many from going to work or school. It stopped most of us from going to any number of places we would normally be rushing back and forth to on a Friday afternoon in April. But today was different. Today people left their worries behind and decided to have a "Lake Day". It was a day to embrace the sun, the sand and the people they most wanted to be with. This was a day of change, of changed priorities, of changed schedules and of changed “attitudes”. There was something going on that was helping to alleviate the stress the Pandemic had

brought on. There was something that gave all who were there that day permission to exercise a sense of freedom and to deliver on something they needed so very badly, a sense of normalcy in their lives. I suppose we could attribute it to the weather, but I think it ran much deeper than that. I think those people, at that lake, on that sunny April afternoon, had found their silver lining.

Sometimes, the changes we can’t control end up opening doors that may have been closed for far too long or doors that may never have opened at all. It’s true, we can’t always exercise the freedom to take a Lake Day. In fact, some might argue it would take a miracle to pull a person away from their daily responsibilities, because change comes with its share of fear and risk. And yet, when we do take a step towards change, we often discover it wasn’t so scary after all and the risk was well worth it. We might discover change was just what we needed to enjoy the day, the month, the year or the rest of our lives.

If you’ve been contemplating a change for a while and feel stuck, it might be time to talk to a Life Coach. I hope you’ll reach out to me. Thank you for reading my blog and for checking back next week when the word will be OBSTACLE.

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