In early November I embarked on a brand new challenge. After 15 years as an entrepreneur, almost 17 years of motherhood, and with much more information about what is possible in relationship, it’s time for something entirely different.
Except it’s not that different, I don’t think. It’s more like a convergence of all the things that have been and all the things that will be.
I am enrolled in Concordia University’s PPCC program, an ICF recognized coach training program, which is a dream come true for me. I’d debated going back to school for a few years now, but couldn’t figure out a good fit. This program came up on my radar a few times, and in January I bit the bullet, applied, and was admitted.
I didn’t know very much about the coaching profession before I took the leap. I felt a bit silly telling people I was training to become a life coach. My imposter syndrome kicked in simply in the naming of what I was doing. Anyone can call themselves a life coach. There are countless programs online, internationally certified or otherwise, and I wasn’t aware of the way that major corporations value coaching for their employees, for personal and for business reasons. I saw that I was needing to validate my choice by letting people know that the program was legitimate – through a major university and through the business school, no less. But now, with a few days of classes and quite a bit of reading under my belt, I realize how much I didn’t and still don’t know about this beautiful helping profession. It’s legitimate in and of itself, with no need for validation. It is, in fact, necessary.
I intend to document my journey through the course and use the space it holds to hone my written communication skills and work more deeply into my personal craft. Regarding the latter, it’s becoming evident that I have been cultivating a gift for many years now, but that I’ve been directionless and without intent. What I wanted most from returning to school was to learn to self-direct and organize my processes, so that they could be easily offered to others as structure for their own process of self-inquiry. I don’t think I could have chosen better.
I used to be an avid reader. Like most do, I made up excuses for many years as to why I wasn’t reading. Too tired, not enough time, can’t find anything good to read, no more bandwidth. Mostly I was at a loss as to what I wanted to read about. But now that I have a framework, my hunger for the printed word has exploded and I can sit and focus on content AND take notes while I make my way through a book.
Something beautiful has happened since I started this journey a month ago. My interests are converging. I recently became enamoured with the philosophy of Stoicism. The deeper I get into my personal studies, the more I realize that I am a born Stoic thinker. Accountability and ownership are foundational values that I strive to embody and have striven for ever since my epiphany at age 25 that I am in charge of the quality of my own life. My reading in the fields of psychology, nutrition, and self-help have always served to provide me with access to concepts to allow for deeper integration and greater self-awareness. My most pivotal breakthrough came this summer after reading Pete Walker’s Complex PTSD and being deeply rocked by the recognition that my Outer Critic has been running the show and that I’ve never questioned the legitimacy of that voice.
Stoicism, active listening, questioning, and now somatic experiencing, are new concepts for me, but I am realizing that these concepts and approaches are in me. Accessing them was simply a matter of waiting for the moment when the catalyst would present that would bring them to the surface. Through these concepts, I’ve connected deeply with stillness and experienced equanimity, and I’ve tuned into my spirituality and my faith. I feel that my commitment to learning all I can, and to integrating and living wholly according to my values, is my act of service to the collective. I know that the more objectivity I can gain on my own experiencing, the more powerful I become, and the more space I can hold for my loved ones to step into their own agency. The rapturousness that follows these awareness moments are followed by a bit of anhedonia, leading me to remember that my greatest personal work will always lie in recognizing my attachment to hyperbole.
It has all come to this. In class the other week I communicated an analogy – that all our lives previous to now we were gathering the ingredients to make pasta. This beautiful 8-month journey that we are on together is the pasta maker, and we will spend time here mixing all the ingredients together to be transformed into a product that can then be transformed for a variety of culinary applications.
I am so excited about this journey. I have never felt in less of a rush to complete something. I have no attachment to outcome, nor do I know what I want to do with the certification when I am done, other than to qualify for more certifications and challenges. I am accessing my soul through this work, and developing an understanding to a degree I never dreamed possible of the extent of our interconnectedness. I have become softer, more compassionate, less attached to my emotions, and MUCH less critical of the world around me. I am now living in the back of my body – a patient and eternal space. I feel no need to rush, and because I’m not feeling the same pressures anymore to DO thanks to my age, experience, and privilege, I am much more able to engage in a consistent level of meaningful productivity.
I understand now how everything that went before converged in this moment. And that this is the way of things. And that while our world is built on a simplistic Cartesian logic that very few have within them to question, the truth is that there is so much we will never know with our intellectual minds, that we can’t understand with our rational brains, and that people such as myself, with innate capacities to see beyond the rhetoric, have a duty to find this kind of pleasure in the process of becoming.