The Other: Crumbs of Despair

The Other: Crumbs of Despair

Part of my day job is calling people to schedule coaching appointments.  Usually  people are polite and respectful, and even sometimes downright kind hearted and pleasant to talk to.  Which is good news, since I’m calling them to put them on my own coaching calendar, so we’ll be talking again.  It’s helpful to start the relationship off on a positive note.

But today I called a gentleman who wasn’t any of those things.  Quite the opposite, really, he was quite mean and disrespectful.  I asked if he wanted to set up a call, and he responded with sentences that tended to start with “you people” and “do you even realize” and so on, punctuated by sarcastic chuckling.  In short, he made it personal and he wanted me to acknowledge that I was in the wrong.  I was the enemy, and he was going to let me know it.  Usually I am good at being able to internalize the fact that everyone is dealing with a plethora of issues that I do not know about and that are quite probably very challenging, resulting in unfriendly behavior; and hey, maybe this man was just having a tough day, or week, or year.  His energy is absolutely the product of our broken culture, and at the end of the day, he needs love, too.  But today when he was essentially scolding me for not being able to meet his expectations, all I could hear was “you aren’t good enough” and “this is why it’s doing me a disservice.”  I felt like the bad child who doesn’t measure up, and I found myself apologizing and trying to hold back tears.  Which is really interesting, as 1. I did nothing “wrong” and 2. I was quite kind, professional and offered what I had to give.  He just didn’t find it acceptable.   When on the call, I knew intellectually that his issues and his anger were not about me at all, but in the moment his energy triggered a response that I couldn’t control.  I had to hang up the phone. Continue reading “The Other: Crumbs of Despair”

Fire Starters

Fire Starters

Act in ways that make you feel what you want to feel. ~Danielle LaPorte

I started listening to The Fire Starter Sessions a few days ago.  I was already familiar with Ms. LaPorte’s take on aligning your actions with what she calls “core desired feelings,” but listening to these audio sessions has been a good reminder to actually take that advice.  I spend a lot of time as a wellness coach asking about what underlays a desire to lose weight or stop smoking or get in better shape.  In a corporate coaching world, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get people to pick up the telephone for appointments, much less talk about what they truly desire for themselves.  But sometimes we go there.  Sometimes people are willing to look deeply into what is driving them to want something different. And it’s always a feeling. Continue reading “Fire Starters”

Where the Magic Happens

Where the Magic Happens

Here we are at the end of another December.  A time for looking back over the past year and looking ahead into the new one.  Some of us will indulge “one last time” before beginning a strict diet on January 1st.  Some of us will set lofty goals to exercise 6 days a week at the gym that we hate.  Some will get out a blank journal with the intent of getting up early everyday to write down three positive thoughts.  New years resolutions come in many forms, and sometimes they even stick for awhile.  Benefits have been seen by setting one’s sights on making change with the turn of the calendar year.

But.  So often it’s the same old same old every year.  The diet starts strong and tapers off by February.  It turns out we still hate the gym enough to stay home more often than not.  “Thinking positive” starts to feel like pulling the wool over our eyes and avoiding the root issue.   New years resolutions come in many forms, and they also fail a large percentage of the time.  They don’t do what we really want them to do.   They don’t change what we want them to change.

Do we throw in the resolution towel then?  Stop setting goals just to fail at them over and over again?  Embrace our negative thinking since that’s what feels real?

Maybe.  Actually, I propose we do all of those things. This is what I think we should do as a new year begins. Continue reading “Where the Magic Happens”

A Wild Calling

A Wild Calling

I started re-reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book Women Who Run With the Wolves about a month ago. The very short synopsis is that it’s a conglomeration of ancient folk stories, myths and fairy tales from all over the world that illustrate the importance of holding onto the wild is present in all women (and men).  The book is about the powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing that is the ‘Wild Woman’, the energy that represents the instinctual nature of women.

Reading this book is making me ask questions of my own story and the stories that dictate my way of being in my family, in my community and in the world.   Some of these stories are mine.  Some of them are not. Some of them are stories that have the potential to move me further into my own story, the one that is best suited to how I want to show up in life.  And some of them are stories that I have let overshadow my own, even though they don’t serve what I need and have the potential to create pain and struggle. Continue reading “A Wild Calling”

Palpable Joy: A Mindful Thanksgiving

Palpable Joy: A Mindful Thanksgiving

It’s two days until Halloween in America.  If you’ve gone into any commercial establishment in the last few weeks, you’ve been bombarded with pumpkins of all sizes and materials, plastic decor of infinite variety, mountains of orange and black wrapped candy, and enough cheap costuming to clothe the entire country for a year.  The holiday season is about to begin in earnest as October gives way to the season of shopping, otherwise known as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Commercialism abounds, we get sucked into the frenzy even if we don’t like to shop, and good deals take our attention from being content with what we already have.  We eat too much too quickly and have more excuses than usual for why we can’t exercise.   For many of us, the holidays mean putting on weight, being stressed out, spending too much money and throwing in the towel until January.   Often times we are multi-tasking, working late to prepare for a few extra days off or packing frantically to visit the in-laws.  We get snippy with our children, our neighbors put up lights that are too bright and we hope the time goes quickly. It doesn’t feel like a time of celebration when the culture calls the shots.  We forget to be mindful and live in the present.  Continue reading “Palpable Joy: A Mindful Thanksgiving”

Healing Healthcare: The Hard Questions

Healing Healthcare: The Hard Questions

I stumbled upon a post on social media earlier this summer by Dr. Lissa Rankin that made a lot of sense.  She’s a medical doctor who left her traditional practice to explore what it would mean for her to practice healing in a way that truly resonates with what she values.  (That’s the short version of her story)

She posed a number of questions that align quite well with the world of wellbeing coaching.  I can only imagine what health care might be like if more physicians asked them, too.  I’m posting a few of them here as food for thought as we continue to work toward bettering the health and well-being of all those which whom we come into contact.  Dr. Rankin titled her post Questions Your Doctor Should Ask You (But Probably Doesn’t)  It’s worth noting that some of these questions are likely to stir things up emotionally for people, so developing a good rapport and a sense of trust is essential before delving into some of these areas. Continue reading “Healing Healthcare: The Hard Questions”

Wild Springs

Wild Springs

Late August.  Western Wisconsin.  Mid afternoon.  Picture a big white farm house with people flowing in and out carrying trays laden with home cooked food, two bearded men with guitars on a stage in front of an old granary surrounded by hay bales, flags akin to those you might see in a mountain city in Tibet fluttering in a swift breeze, and more life of all sorts milling around the grounds, laughing, painting, eating and exploring.  There’s a tent city in a lakeside clearing down a short grassy path from the refurbished – yet – simple barn and a guy on a green tractor pulling a wagon full of people through the middle of it all.  Welcome to the Wild Springs Festival at Lily Springs Farm.

The farm’s namesake, a lily — or lotus — grows out of the mud and, in that spirit, their mission is:

..to provide a sanctuary in the natural world, dedicated to bringing beauty out of murkiness by reconnecting to what is essential and generative.

Permaculture and whole systems design are being applied to restore our habitats to health and to build a sustainable perennial-based farm system that integrates land, people and the built environment. Programming flows naturally from that work and from our intention to foster health in ourselves and the land.

Continue reading “Wild Springs”

We Are Wildness

We Are Wildness

I’ve been working with Alissa Wild and Kevin Park, the co-visionaries of We Are Wildness since January, and over the past eight months I’ve found nothing but inspiration, authenticity and a genuine presence from both of them as they continue furthering the mission to help people embrace their inner wildness and improve the health of the planet by inspiring people all over the world to reconnect with Nature.  They currently call Vancouver Island, British Columbia home, from a little cabin on the shores of a mountain fed river.  I live in Minnesota, near the St. Criox River Valley, almost 2000 miles to the east in the United States.  And recently an Ambassador program was started, and these wild souls hail from Slovenia to Colorado to the Canadian Rockies and back to Vancouver again, spreading Thoreau’s sentiment that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” Things expand even further if we look to the online communities that have come into being on social media.  From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, you’ll see people rewilding on almost every continent. I appreciate the vision that invites technology to serve as a catalyst fostering a return to our roots and how that vision has taken hold literally all over the world as the idea of “rewilding” gains momentum. Continue reading “We Are Wildness”

Let Wildness Find You

Let Wildness Find You

Right now the garden is thriving.  Every leaf is reaching its leaves toward the sky, and every root is nestling deep into the soil, drinking up the ample nourishment that comes with abundant rains and enough organic compost.  The sunflowers that were a foot high two weeks ago will soon be taller than me, and their flower heads follow the sun as it arcs across the sky, ending the day gazing toward the westerly hills.  There are cabbages as big as my fist, canopies of kale providing shade for the vole who munches the beets, and if you were to stretch all of the winter squash and zucchini vines out in a line they would reach down the road and around the corner.  Bees and hummingbirds are buzzing about, happily drinking up raspberry and oregano blossom nectar, doing their important pollinating work.  The scarecrow is earning his keep as the peppers, tomatoes and eggplants stake their claim and the potato plants are starting to lean over in hopes of harvest.  Eva, the resident three year old, likes to dart between the staked rows with bare feet and hide behind bouquets of wildflowers.   Like I said, everything is thriving.  And when I can remember how much life and abundance and beauty and breath catching astonishment exists just outside the door, I thrive, too. Continue reading “Let Wildness Find You”

Let’s Get Back to Nature

Let’s Get Back to Nature

Earlier this week I drove 20 miles south down WI 35, a roadway punctuated with greenery, gentle rolling hills, a few curves and some more rolling hills.  I took one left turn and meandered slightly east from the St. Croix river valley and sank deeper into the forest with every passing mile.  Then I abruptly remembered to pay attention and turned right at the correct fire number and parked in from of a pole barn.  A van had pulled in right before me, and a man covered in grass clippings was walking across the lawn in greeting as I approached.  The occupants of the van got out and joined us.  I had arrived.

The destination?  The site of “The Great Back to Nature Exchange”  as visioned by herbalist Kelley Hagenbuch.  She and her family moved onto 30 acres of wooded Wisconsin wildness late last year with the mission to live close to the land, and she’s passionate about sharing nature-based wisdom and cultivating a sense of community around realigning with ways of being that foster living attuned to our environment, rather than separate from it.   Our purpose of the day was to tour the site and do some planning for the event that will take place in early September.  After brief introductions, we started off into the woods, stopping frequently to discuss the plants along the trail, identify mushrooms and commune with the resident grouse, all the while absorbing the energy of a place that is still mostly wild. Continue reading “Let’s Get Back to Nature”