People seek coaching and counseling because they are in pain.
Counseling or coaching isn’t a cure-all. But for the types of challenges that many people live with — relationship difficulties, divorce, work challenges, loss, mid-life changes and many others — counseling and coaching offers the possibility to create a richer and more fulfilling life.
I’d like to share a story with you as an example of what’s possible when a person commits to creating meaningful and lasting change and engages in working with me. This story is a composite of the journey I have traveled with many clients who have come to me for counseling and coaching.
One day my phone rang, and a woman was on the other end of the line. I’ll call her Rachel.
When I met Rachel, personal difficulties in her life were coming to a head. She felt very frustrated and alone. She had trouble sleeping. She felt like she was living in fear of whether her life was going to crumple underneath her. With a divorce, money struggles, challenging family relationships, a daughter she was fully responsible for and only one close friend, Rachel was really struggling to navigate her life. She was uncomfortable in social situations, terrified about her financial future and didn’t know how to meet and make friends.
Meanwhile, her once-successful work situation had begun to fall apart. Her shyness and self-doubt had resulted in more and more aloneness. Rachel knew she needed to make some changes but had no idea what or how.
I doubt that she ever would have contacted me had things not become so unbearable. She viewed herself as a capable and smart woman. Her whole identity was invested in her child and her work; these were her primary sources of self-esteem. This was now at risk unless something radical changed.
It’s quite common for people to be reluctant to seek support. It is often a last resort. This was definitely the case for Rachel. She told me so many times early in our work together. But, as Rachel and I met weekly, we were able to find the source of the dissolution in her life that she was experiencing.
Rachel’s home summed up her isolation perfectly. She lived in a small home with her daughter where she did not know her neighbors and they didn’t know her. The inside of her house was her main environment day in and day out except for the few hours of work which was becoming fewer and fewer hours each week.
One of Rachel’s parents had a life-altering accident when she was a teenager. This event turned Rachel’s world upside down. It was never spoken of in the house and she always felt somehow the accident was her fault. Her childhood was officially over. Unfortunately, her other parent was overly invested in the injured parent and simply ignored Rachel and her siblings. Years of withstanding this treatment took its toll on Rachel.
Our work offered Rachel a safe place in which she could make the changes she wanted to make. Every week, Rachel brought herself and her willingness to engage in our processes. At some point Rachel decided to participate in the Vision Quest I offer in Mount Shasta. This was a huge step of courage and confidence that sincerely changed her life in every good way.
She began to see the old stories she kept alive and the conclusions about herself she had made. She saw how the subtle influences from her ancestors, parents, family and culture had contributed to her playing small. She finally realized she had personal power to choose her life. She asked herself “Is this how she wanted to live?”
On some days, the answer was yes.
But other days and certainly following her Vision Quest, it was clear that the assumptions she was living by were no longer true. She saw that patterns she had internalized had helped her cope with life when she was younger but they were now making it impossible for her to thrive as an adult.
After a period of meeting regularly, supporting her exploration and discoveries, and her Vision Quest Rachel’s life took a major turn for the better.
She transformed from a single, lonely woman raising her daughter in a quiet and depressing home into a powerful, excited healer ready to create the life of her dreams. Her relationship with her parents was re-ignited and healing happened. She began to make friends and become a leader in her community.
Did all this change happen without any effort, pain or struggle?
No. Rachel did the work she needed to do. Sometimes, it was hard, scary, painful and tiring. But Rachel would never go back to the way things were, even if she could.
She told me how much she loved her life now that she had worked through the issues that had held her down for so long. And how much she appreciated the person she had become. She was more caring, more trusting and more willing to let people in.
People often ask if they can expect the changes they experience in our work together to last. This is a reasonable question, and many of us may have experienced something that made us feel better for a day or a week, only to fall right back into our old habits in the long term. I offer spiritual practices that are designed to be used for your lifetime. In Rachel’s case, I hear from her regularly in the years since we ended our sessions, and the positive changes she implemented in our work together have endured and even deepened over time.
This is the ultimate purpose of my work: the opportunity to create enduring and positive changes in your life that ripple out into your family, your community and your world.