Spritual Coaching

“I freed hundreds of slaves. I could have freed thousands more, if they had only known they were enslaved.” - Harriet Tubman

It wasn’t until 5 years after my husband left our 23-year marriage that I realized I had been enslaved.

I remember standing in our kitchen while we were still married, saying to myself that this was a wonderful life I was living but it wasn’t mine. We had “everything” on the outside but there was a void, a disconnect to what mattered on the inside & I ached for it.

Building a house to families without a home - with my beloved children!
Building a house to families without a home – with my beloved children!

When my was-been (ex-husband) wanted to buy the big home on the acre lot, I was fearful that it would change our focus but he calmly assured me that it would only enhance our lives.

I trusted him to make that decision on our behalf, even though within me I knew the dangers of what could be the underlying motivation. In time, the focus insidiously shifted from investing in the meaningful foundation of our marriage to the outer appearance of how we were perceived.

Monies that were once available to give away or experience a life-changing adventure began to be primarily  poured into the home & outward appearances.

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Bucket Loads of Stuff

I get it … “everyone” does it, right? But I’m not everyone and he knew that when he married me. I was the adventurous, soulful, truth-seeking girl that passionately inspires change in the world.

Time & energy was being redirected by the bucket loads to things, stuff & what-nots. Frankly, there is nothing wrong with “stuff” unless it sucks you dry of vibrant life-giving energy & becomes what you live for.

There is nothing wrong with ‘stuff’ unless it sucks you dry of vibrant life-giving energy & becomes what you live for…

Sadly, it became apparent that he was unconsciously being swept up into creating the “perfect” life that served the ego not the soul.

The essence of our marriage was being sucked dry & the once heart-felt connection we had experienced was being replaced with harsh expectations, cold connections, bone-chilling distance. However, it was in no way apparent on the outside.

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The Odd-Girl Out

Thirsty to make a difference I still found my way to Calcutta, India, and Addis Abba, Ethiopia, to work with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

I spent months of my life serving & speaking in Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, India & trekking in the wilderness, climbing Kilimanjaro. Each time, I’d return to the palatial home we lived in and felt like the odd-girl out.

Mother Teresa said that you can find Calcutta in every part of the world, wherever you find the lonely, the forgotten. I began a ministry to high school & college-age kids in the urban core and filled that huge home with inner-city kids.

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Over the past decade, I started to intensely study yoga, meditation, mindfulness & intertwining these practices to an even deeper level in my life.

With my BS in Occupational Therapy, I received my MA in Leadership from seminary and became an ordained minister. I was raised Catholic, went to a Presbyterian seminary and became an ordained Baptist minister.

I’ve studied Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Christian meditation and became certified as a meditation instructor from the Chopra Institute. After working 1-on-1 with Martha Beck (one of Oprah’s Life Coaches) for three years, I became certified as one of her Life Coaches. I studied and became certified as a Jin Shin Jyutsu (an ancient form of acupressure) practitioner, studied Resonance repatterning and Kundalini Yoga.

Seeking The Deeper Truth

As a truth seeker, I awakened to the reality that the body, mind and soul are inextricably linked. We are designed to live in sync. I have explored this connection in my soulful & physical adventures of marathons, triathlons, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and yoga. 

The body, mind and soul are inextricably linked.

I also deeply value expressing the soul creatively through art, dance, singing, music, theatre, writing & film. We are experiential beings designed to explore our potential in every area that we are intrigued by. These explorations are invaluable to our expansion body, mind & soul.

 

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I unequivocally believe that there are many currencies that make up being wealthy and that investments in one’s self is the only lasting investment that compounds, hence my studies were/are my most valuable investments.

The currency of energy, enthusiasm, love, family, friends, creativity, health, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, passion and purpose are invaluable.  Money is only one currency & the one most highly regarded in our culture.

The currency of energy, enthusiasm, love, family, friends, creativity, health, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, passion and purpose are invaluable.

Wealth can be an incredible blessing but it can also be the source of a great deal of havoc when it is valued above authentic currencies.

Bone-Crushing Divorce

When my was-been left, I was baffled and completely unable to wrap my head around what had occurred. I had changed, continued to evolve through yoga, meditation, nutrition, soul seeking but I was simply on the same trajectory I had always been. What made it so unbearable that he would up and leave? I’m not sure I will ever make sense of it.

 

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It was a bone-crushing divorce. The need to control and crush was undeniable and evident to all. In utter disbelief, I wrestled to make sense of my new adversary: negotiating life as a single parent.

Left With the Shards

The confident, strong, capable, effervescent, adventurous, playful, loving, thriving woman and mom was replaced by an anxious, scared, hurt, beaten-down, protective single mom fighting to survive.
During this five-year period:
  • I had become a single mother
  • My best friend died after her eight-year battle with cancer
  • My best friend from college committed suicide
  • My dad died
  • We lost our family home
  • The family in which I had invested my hear was nowhere to be found
  • The economy crashed

I panicked and secured a full-time job in public television, pushing aside my motivational speaking and life/wellness coaching business. The life I created was obliterated, and with it everything I loved and in which I invested had vanished.

The life I created was obliterated, and with it everything I loved and in which I invested had vanished.

I was left alone with the shards to create a new life for the 3 of us & we called ourselves “Stronghold 3”.  We’d huddle together in that big house on one small couch.  We were inseparable.
I was their rock where they weathered all the crazy changes that were going on in their dad’s life. Desperate for attention of my own, I started dating two guys at once: Ben & Jerry. I went to bed with them every night to spoon.
Over time, they became clingy & I became fluffy. After the shock waves finally lifted, my body was depleted of energy and my heart was drained of all joy.
Once a marathoner and triathlete, my body felt like it was filled with lead, my heart empty and my mind stuck in “poor-me” thoughts. I was unable to run more than three miles and my workouts were puny. Stamina depleted, I was overwhelmed with the stress of being a single-mom and my playful energy tank was empty. I grieved the loss of what our family would never be and I got stuck in my dark sadness.

I grieved the loss of what our family would never be and I got stuck in my dark sadness.

It’s wild to think that my mother died at 56 from anger, bitterness and resentment after her debilitating divorce. She was overweight, inactive & a sugarholic. Diabetic with high blood pressure, she had three heart attacks in a 10-day period and her body did not have the stamina to recover.
We discovered that she had been addicted to valium. Although she sought help through counseling, she was unable to integrate the insights to elicit change. She was unable to be a strong mother. From as young as I can remember, it was my job to take care of her.
On May 6th, 2015, I turned 56: the age my mother was when she died. I am passionate about being in the most vibrant health ever…mind, body, soul.

Settled for Less

I  made the best of life after divorce but realized that I had settled for less. I had somehow begun to believe that as a single mother my life would be less than that of a married woman and that my opportunities would be bound by my limitations. When overcome by my loneliness, I found fleeting thoughts of suicide sting me.

 I had somehow begun to believe that as a single mother my life would be less than that of a married woman.

However, the undying love of my kids would not allow me to entertain that possibility. They needed me and I was here to sacrifice everything for them…they are my heart and my soul. It was devastating to not be able to protect them from the pain of the master control games spouses play amid a divorce.

The Most Painful Consequence

I did all I could to avoid the power struggles, but to no avail. This is perhaps the most painful of consequence of divorce My own father told me about his divorce through a note he left on my dresser asking me to tell my mother that he had moved out and wanted a divorce.

My deepest hope was that my kids would never experience the turmoil of a torn family and instead they got it in spades! Dodging, maneuvering, orchestrating…I twisted myself into all sorts of parenting positions to offer relief and protection for my babes with no concern about what it was costing me.  I desperately did not want them to experience what I did but no matter what I did, it was impossible. They were crushed and I could not protect them.

Finding Guts and Grit

However, in time I realized that just like before the divorce, I was not living the life I was intended to live — I wasn’t the adventurous, soulful, truth-seeking girl passionately inspiring change in the world I knew myself to be.  I was the beaten-down version of myself who hinted to reflections of my mom but in no way reflected the truth about myself. So it was time…time to find the guts and grit to start ALL over.
My first step was to stop buying into the self-limiting beliefs that, as a single mother, my opportunities were limited and to push through the belief that I had missed the boat.

My first step was to stop buying into the self-limiting belief that, as a single mother, my opportunities were limited.

I had been hesitating to take my kids across the border to Tijuana, Mexico to build a home for precious families who lived in cardboard. How could I, a single 5’2”, tiny flaca [blonde white chick in Spanish] risk taking her kids across the border — not to mention the financial cost and time away from work?
But somehow, someway I knew that if I decided to go the doors would open in the most unlikely way. And open they did.

Crossing the Border

Stronghold3! crossed the border, slept in tents, had bucket showers, swung hammers, mixed concrete by hand & built a 22′ x 11′ home for a beautiful family of six.
I reconnected with my passion to make a difference with my kids alongside of me. This was a significant step in re-embracing my true self. It reignited the guts & grit within me to keep tackling the next challenge & embracing the next opportunity.

I reconnected with my passion to make a difference with my kids alongside me. This was a significant step in re-embracing my true self.

I left my job at KCPT public television after two years of seeking the illusion of security and putting aside my life’s calling.  Opportunities began to appear out of seemingly nowhere urging me to risk returning to my passion and purpose as a life/wellness coach and speaker.
I mustered up the courage, let go of my grip on fear and at the very moment I left public television, KCTV5 asked me to be their life and wellness expert with a regular TV spot called “YOU GOT THIS!”. I was on-air live five days later. Then the Kansas University Medical Center’s Department of Integrative Medicine, an incredible cutting edge team focused on a holistic approach, referred clients to me as their wellness coach.
TV, radio,speaking gigs, articles and ideal clients began appearing effortlessly. My professional strength and traction were building. I felt led to rebuilding my physical strength and stamina to re-energize my body, mind & soul.

Revitalized

So I took myself through a mind/body transformation to reclaim my strength to see how far I could go. I cleansed, trained and fueled my body with the most nutrient-dense nourishment I could find.  I was amazed that my energy was revitalized beyond what I had ever experienced in my life. I was running faster, my body was stronger and sleeker and momentum was building. I am now beyond elated at my body’s ability to handle stress.

 I was amazed that my energy was revitalized beyond what I had ever experienced in my life.

At the same time, I realized that my head needed to be in the game. If I was to cleanse my body I had to cleanse my mind of all the negative thoughts sabotaging me. This was quite the challenge as I had replayed the divorce over and over again in my head, trying to figure what had happened and how to never repeat that painful experience ever again.
Without realizing it because of my weakened state,  I was creating more of the same pain by focusing on the difficulties. Reflection serves a purpose but once we learn from it, it’s time to recreate new stories of promise and embracing potential.

Embracing Who Your Are

Hence, I created my “YOU GOT THIS!” Body Fit, Mind Fit, Soul Fit philosophy. I began to fervently practice these tools in order to exemplify my  motto: “Live it to Give it!”
I knew that I was not the only woman who had been betrayed, bludgeoned and lost sight of her strength and calling. All too often, women in their 50’s can begin to believe that their lives no longer matter.
They have most likely sacrificed a great deal of themselves in the raising of their kids and in support of their halfhearted marriages. It’s scary to step out beyond what you know to embrace the unknown but the world is waiting for you.

All too often, women in their 50’s can begin to believe that their lives no longer matter. 

The world needs you to embrace the truth of who you are, coupled with the tremendous life experience you have to own your voice & live out loud.  Your wisdom, grace, life experiences and heartbreaks have prepared you for this time in your life.

Don’t settle for less than who you are. Dare to live it.

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And, as T.S. Eliot said:

“It’s never too late too be what you might have been.”