Archives for the month of: June, 2012

Two weeks ago today my mom was on the operating table for almost five hours while an amazingly skilled surgeon replaced a valve, bypassed a main artery, and did some serious zapping in order for her heart to function properly. I am more than happy to report that she is well on her way to recovery and know she will be better than ever as a result of the ordeal.

Since finding out she would have to go through this, and realizing I would be the primary caregiver especially those first two weeks, there were several things I knew I would learn, re-affirm, understand, and most importantly, practice, as we embarked upon this journey….so lord knows these PGG’s will be chock full of my ‘take-aways’ this summer!

Let’s start with first things first: witnessing the simple yet miraculous fact that the body is built to heal. Our natural state is one of health, healing and wholeness and we are always trying to get back to that place even with little or no conscious effort on our part. When given enough time the body will adjust so it can live – like the main artery the docs said had been so clogged and calcified it had to have happened over many years because her body just naturally created its own way to get blood where it needed to go, and how quickly she was functioning less than 24  hours after the extensive operation she endured.

I’m a huge proponent of alternative medicine and holistic/mind/body wellness and believe that most illness can be prevented and/or cured by diet, exercise, sleep, positive thoughts, understanding and healing the emotional roots of the disease etc….But when it comes to fixing broken stuff, there is nothing like modern Western medicine for surgery – and it’s pretty amazing what we can do these days.

Unfortunately I’ve had to the opportunity to visit and know intimately many hospitals over the years.  My mom was in a place that is known for its superior cardiac care, but what struck me about this particular hospital is that besides its excellent doctors, nurses and technical/medical reputation, the atmosphere of healing permeates the premises and radiates through just about everyone we interacted with.

It was a Catholic hospital, and I had never been in one of those before, so wondered if perhaps that has something to do with it.  There is a genuine feeling that they are there for patients as whole people, not numbers or cases, (I knew we had chosen a great place when I noticed signs everywhere that say “Please be quiet…healing in process“), and almost as importantly, to keep the family and friends of those patients as relaxed and stress-free as possible.  In other words, I felt equally cared for as my mother. They totally acknowledge that the caregivers are very much part of the patient’s experience and are integral to their healing as well.   

As a career/life coach and speaker on employee engagement, I am always talking about how aligning your work with your life creates the most fulfillment not only for yourself but also serves others.  I was impressed how the staff seemed to share a common purpose, a deeper meaning to what they do and why they were there, and my guess is that it comes not only from ‘management’ but an inner connection to their work. And man does it show!

Of course this is heightened by the fact that many have jobs that are quite often literally dealing with matters of life and death, and I’m sure they have their bad days and issues with co-workers, but nothing is perfect and we should all strive to have workplaces as cohesive as that, regardless of the industry or business.

As I say in all my talks, we are living in extraordinary times; change and upheaval abound, causing us to confront our own versions of dis-ease in one or more areas of our lives. Wondering how you can create an atmosphere of healing and purpose wherever you need it?  Give me a buzz, and I will perform my own version of open heart surgery on you….minus the anesthesia or rehab and with an extra dose of heart and soul!

This week’s PGG is excerpted from an article I was featured in both The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. Enjoy!

I’ve always over analyzed situations growing up. I was a Psych major for that very reason. Well, that plus four years of free therapy. Women are infamous for over-thinking, obsessing about “Why didn’t he call?” Or “Should I buy these shoes?” Or “I hate these shoes I bought but all I can think about is why didn’t he call!

Life coach Kristina Leonardi puts it this way: “Our guts and hearts are like hard drives, our minds the software. We need to let our centers do the heavy lifting and lead the way. But like any other muscle, you need to exercise love, intuition and trust in yourself on a regular basis. Then, little by little you grow stronger and more confident in order to let that part of you run the show, instead of your brain.”

Just listening to her say that makes me feel better and lighter. So, I recently attended Leonardi’s support group for people in career transition. They all had the same issue: ruminating about their next professional move.

Leonardi explains that becoming totally present allows us to know what feels right as a next step at any given moment. To get there, she recommends doing the following at least once a week:

  • Do something physical, preferably an activity that requires some concentration and skill, or even simple manual labor.
  • Be creative with your hands: paint, knit, cook or throw pottery.
  • Journal to get the thoughts out of your head and out onto the paper.
  • Play with animals or small children.
  • Disconnect from technology and spend time in nature.

These are all doable ideas, yes? So today, I’m going to sun it up at a friend’s pool, not thinking about what I should be doing tomorrow.

Instead, I’ll concentrate on my breaststroke…and lead with my heart.

Click here for the full article either on Psychology Today or The Huffington Post

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. ~ Unknown

One of my current clients has done a tremendous amount of work in a very short time – she has had major revelations in noticing past patterns, stripped away unhealthy relationships and is beginning to tap into who she really is, not who she became to please everyone else.  It takes an immense amount of effort to do this.

For the caterpillar, transformation literally means disintegrating its old form to become ‘goop’ while protected in the cocoon prior to emerging as a butterfly.  You can imagine the energy required to do so, and it can’t be very comfortable being formless and not able to see much, if you can see at all – it’s not easy being goop!

Conscious or not of its eventual destiny, the old self, having served its purpose, is dying a type of death and there is natural grieving process that occurs. In consoling my client about letting go of her past, I mentioned how Cher had a hard time because intellectually she had grasped what was happening, but she became very upset when she realized the voice of her child was changing, as her daughter was now becoming a son. And although the person that she gave birth to was very much still there, she was losing Chastity in order to welcome Chaz.

Chaz Bono, and anyone who is transgender, has to deal with perhaps the most extreme of identity issues.  The amount of courage  it takes to make such a transition, especially in the public eye, is truly inspiring. Not only did he have to know and be comfortable enough with himself to make such a seemingly drastic decision, but to then be able to articulate so graciously and effectively how and why he needed to do what he did is a lesson for us all in ultimate self-awareness and love. 

No matter how you identify yourself, Chaz’s story is an important and powerful one, as we all go through various forms of transformation throughout our lives -some more internal and others more external -in order to evolve into the best and fullest versions of our own humanity. His experience teaches us to be true to ourselves, accept and honor all of who we are, and trust that those who sincerely care for us will do so as well, even if it does take some time to adjust.  He is more content in his new body and his new life than he has ever been; the more of us who get to that place, the better off we all are.

Whether you want to find your voice, be more comfortable in your body, or express more of your Sal or Sally, I can be a mirror and guide for you in the process, peeling back the layers and providing a cocoon of support and space for you to go from goop to glorious, like a Butterfly!

(Today’s PGG was originally posted on May 17, 2011)

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the article featuring yours truly in Forbes.com:  What I Learned Working with a Career Coach and be sure to share with your friends and followers 🙂 

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