Asking the questions… expands the possibilities
I’m looking forward to getting to know you and what you need to thrive! I’ll tell you a bit about myself and how I came to vision my own purposeful life and to make The Thriving Place a reality.
About 7 years ago I was asked to define what I really wanted for my life. What I valued the most. What was bigger than the obstacles I was seeing? The question came my way through my acupuncturist and yoga therapist. I was literally dragging myself into her office for appointments and she was helping me to rebuild my health. She insisted that this question was going to be integral to my ability to breathe again and to get through the day without the crashing fatigue I was living with. She suggested that having the answer would help with my constant back and joint pain. That knowing what I really wanted to be doing would bring me out of a place of so much effort, a place of so much depletion.
I knew she was right but I couldn’t come up with an authentic answer. I had been in a mode of reacting to what needed to be done, to organizing around responsibilities and the needs of others for a long time. I wrote the question in my journal and stared at it from time to time for almost 2 years.
One careful question woke me up. My need to answer it started me on a journey.
At that point, I had a life where I worked a lot, and was taking on lots of heroic feats that weren’t always of my choosing. Even things that were gifts to me were complicated burdens at that time. I loved my work but had a lack of clarity about how to find balance and to receive as well as give to my community. I loved my daughter dearly but worried about her after a divorce and blending my family. Life brought me a good dose of lessons during that period of time, difficulties that needed attention. My new farm with my partner was a constant source of problems to solve and situations that were urgent, like cows escaping their pasture or storms that knocked over shelters, or barns that caught on fire. I’ll share a story or two in my blog!
After years of working hard to fix things that didn’t turn out as I expected, of meeting phenomenal “wow you did that, got through that, accomplished that” heights, my adrenal system was shot. I felt terrible most of the time even if I didn’t want to acknowledge it.
It was evident to me that my daughter, who was moving into a new phase of girlhood needed me to stop being a constant source of unending sacrifice and instead she needed me to be a role model. She needed someone to show her how to be open-hearted and generous towards herself as well as others. She needed to see that it was possible to live intentionally, to make a commitment to living in balance, with practices that keep you there. She was my inspiration to stop my habits of thinking and the habits of reacting and to start paying attention so I could answer that question.
I remembered the gift of meditation (which was shared with me some 20 years ago, and also remembered that it works best if you do it), and found great healing with a regular yoga practice. I started to make that first commitment to get on the ‘mat and/or cushion’ every day and from there, began to see my reactions more clearly. I started to notice that I was actually making decisions (they weren’t being made for me) and then began making ones more aligned with what really resonated for me. I started to form some answers to the question: What matters most? What do YOU want? What, in essence, was true for me?
I started to find deeper joy and contentment. One day, when my daughter asked me what were the best moments in my life and hoped for some great travel story or accomplishment, I told her that it was the day she was born and….. today. This day when we are making dinner and tidying up and the sunlight is streaming in with that beautiful afternoon light and we’re now moving outside to weed the garden. Because I had learned to be really present and I was finding the threads that mattered and was weaving a life that was wise, purposeful, and right for me. I reclaimed my lifestyle habits that nourished me but had slipped away and found support for those things that needed reinforcing. I exercised with less pain and more awareness. Ate with more wisdom.Slept soundly after years of insomnia.
As a health coach and advocate, I’m going to ask you some big questions. We’ll create the ground from which you can find steadiness amidst all of life’s uncertainties. We’ll explore what really matters to you and hold the awareness of how to hold that vision of your greatest wellbeing through the inevitable distractions and obstacles that life puts in our way. You’ll explore what it means to thrive, for you. It might mean adding a challenge that you’re inspired by or might mean asking yourself to do less, to rest more and to slow down. I’m not a cheerleading kind of coach. I’m a listen clearly kind of coach. I will inspire and encourage you but I’m not a fan of us being pushed to be better, to do more, to find some state of perfection. We will find a state of thriving together that is a deeper way of wellbeing, one that is lasting. I have the skillfulness to help you find the right questions but you have the answers.
You might want to also know if I know what I’m doing as an ally and a support to you. In addition to being an Integrative Health Coach I am also a midwife and lactation consultant, with more than 20 years of experience related to women’s health, perinatal mood disorders, lactation, newborn wellbeing, and parenting. My training at Duke Integrative Medicine has allowed me to deepen my work regarding the neuroscience of transition and change that has been a passion since the beginning of my career when I learned that the brain has greater neuroplasticity during the childbearing year. I’ve been bringing non-judgmental, compassionate care to thousands of families. I know how to work with fear & trauma and have specialized in working with women with depression, anxiety and perinatal mood disorders. I am very experienced with advocacy in health care and train others to be skillful in a range of settings and health care providers. I like to help people get the most out of their health care interventions and to find the practitioners that are right for them, that they can communicate with, and that offer the right support or intervention at the right time. I’m keen on preventative health and have been helping folks have great outcomes for a long time. You can read more about me here.
At one point, I reflected on my work: “I get to be loving for a living!” For this, I am eternally grateful. I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service, grateful when I’m called upon to listen deeply, to refrain from knowing in favor of asking with more curiosity, when I can bring light and kindness into a moment of difficulty. When I can bear witness to someone finding their deepest joy and purpose, I feel that I’m finding my own.
Now, I still have a big garden and a full life. But it’s chosen with great care. I chose to start The Thriving Place with a discovery that I thrive when I get to be in full presence with others. I have and continue to enjoy working with women in the childbearing year and love the community of Birthways. I get to work with some awesome, heart-centered, smart, conscientious women (I mean the doulas and my team here but come to think of it, it’s true of my clients as well!) I think this will always fill my heart in important ways. But finding resonance through other life transitions reminds me that our lives come into focus through cycles of change and transformation. Having a baby is one of the creative, awe-filled and transformative things we can choose to do but it’s not the only one. Just living to our potential and greatest authenticity, choosing to live in the face of health challenge and embracing our wisdom as we age is a tremendous, amazing journey all its own!