What an amazing weekend. I feel like I can't do it justice by putting what I experienced this weekend into words. I'll try and preface it with until you truly experience something like this for yourself, words won't do it justice.
As many of you know, I'm in getting my professional co-active coaching certification through the Coaches Training Institute. Starting in October, I've now attended four weekend long workshops on the nuts and bolts of coaching the coach. Their training model is best taught through experience and each gathering of 25 or so people result in organic and life changing moments. What I'm going to share with you is my experience and how the power of coaching is changing my life.
It's day one of the three day weekend. There's a buzz in the room: part excitement, anxiousness, openness, caution. The focus of the weekend is process. How we process and be with emotion, and how we can in turn be with the emotions of a client. Earlier that morning I had met with Gary, Ryan's dad and he shared with me some very personal health concerns and estate planning. A heavy, yet necessary, topic over a cup of coffee. I love the connection Gary and I have. We've grown very close since Ryan's death and I reach out every time I'm in town. Naturally, Ryan comes up often in conversation and talking with Gary about Ryan is healing, for both of us. I see Ryan in so many things that Gary does, and I'm sure he sees Ryan in me.
Being in LA, working in my new found profession and following my passion is good for Gary to see, and it's good for me to show him. He encourages me and supports me 100%. And our relationship is absolutely open enough so I can share with him my love for Benjamin. He gets that it doesn't take away from my love for Ryan and expresses his genuine joy in that my life is continuing on. Having that love fills me up inside.
Fifteen minutes before class, Gary shares with me that he's ready to take what I consider a major step in his healing process. He expresses his wishes for his ashes and the spreading of Ryan's at the same time in a very specific spot. I have to go - time presses for me to start class.
I enter in the room and that buzz is there. My earlier conversation with Gary momentarily forgotten. Our leaders begin introductions and when it's my time to share what I feel, I tell the room that I am in the presence of my tribe. There's a lot of trust, love, compassion and no judgement. It feels safe. We start talking about the process of process and I can feel my emotions starting to bubble. My ears are getting hot, I feel a building. Something I can't stop and it's coming. I'm not going to be able to suppress it and they are looking for a volunteer to be coached in front of the class with one of the master coaches. I raise my hand immediately and float to the front of the room, knowing a tidal wave of emotion is coming. It's erupting out of me.
Sam looks at me. He doesn't need to say anything and I start bawling. Grief, sadness, emotion washes over me. I can't keep my eyes open. I want to feel this, I don't want to push it away. I know if I push it away it'll come back stronger. I courageously face it and although scared, I know I have a guide in the process. And a room full of people who love me and support me.
I share a few details. I share Ryan's death 4 years ago, my relationship with Gary. The ashes and his request for spreading them. Sam asks me what I feel. We go deeper into my emotions. I close my eyes and as hard as it is to imagine, I picture myself carrying out those wishes in years to come. Of being in a boat, in Bellingham Bay between Lumi Island and Marine Park. On a clear day you can see both Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainer. I visualize myself standing at the gunnel, feeling the sway of the boat supported by the bay. Feeling the weight of their remains - Ryan in my left hand, Gary in my right. I know I should release them. I know this is the spot. And I have a choice: disperse them or put them back in my pocket. I carefully tuck them back in my pocket. This is not the right time for me. Not yet. And it feels right to do that. To hold on a while longer. I trust myself to find the right time. The right time to sprinkle them into the ocean, together.
We carefully wrap up the coaching. Sam has done a masterful job of letting me feel the depths of my emotions. And some where, some how in the midst of going really deep into that vortex, a little release happens. A shift. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to miss someone and express that longing. And it's okay to feel healing happening too.
The room is shocked. They had no idea that I have gone through the loss of a spouse, despite having three previous weekends of intense learning. That beneath my positivity and optimism was a tragic, life altering event. That it takes courage, great courage to face what I did in the manner I did it. That I'm wise, wise beyond my years. And for those that didn't share in front of the rest of the room, they came up afterward and shared how touched they were. How it helped them in some way face what's going on in their lives. They thanked me.
Leslie, the other master coach, likened me to a volcano. One whose power could be felt in the room and ready to erupt. There was no stopping me, it was coming out no matter what. And what a gift it is to be able to face my grief and really look at it. To examine it and trust myself on when to come up for air. To be willing to feel it and know that at any time I could stop, yet there's something down there. Something within that could be unlocked.
It unlocked my belief in myself and my life purpose. The one that became clearer when Ryan died. The one that I'm aligning my life with. The one I feel passionate about and that I want to spend my life doing. I want to inspire others to live the life of their dreams. And I'm doing it. As I go along, as I examine what's inside, I'm strengthening. I'm building muscle to spread my message. To help others uncover what's preventing them from their dreams and empowering them to choose.
As exhausting as it can be, for as many tears as I shed and layers I peeled off, I feel energized. I feel alive. I am living the life of my dreams so you in turn can live yours.
That's the power of coaching. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing. I wish you all the best in your life journey and when you're ready for help along the way, I'm here for you.