As I sailed along the beautiful North Queensland coast, I sat on the toilet staring blankly at a bottle of shower gel.
The toilet can be a great place to contemplate life don’t you agree? Palmolive say that if I rub this mixture of Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine over my skin they promise it will help me “Rediscover my well-being and inner harmony as it is inspired by Ayurvedic traditions”
This made me giggle, and as I washed my hands using this elixir of life wondering what on earth an “Ayurvedic tradition” could be, I couldn’t even pronounce the word as I walked back up on deck feeling very relaxed, calm, harmonious and at peace with the world, I wondered if Palmolive really had the answers after all! What great value, to rediscover my inner well being and harmony with a $6 bottle of shower gel
Then I thought back to my life just 2 years ago, far removed from my life right now when I was feeling very frustrated, sad, insecure and unfulfilled and considered how and why things have changed to where I am now.
I live in a beautiful part of the world, and enjoy a wonderful life. I have many lovely friends who enrich my life, here are just a few –
and enjoy most of my time on or in the ocean, sailing and scuba diving.
I don’t own a car, cycle everywhere I need, rent a room to live when I’m not traveling, have few personal possessions, keeping my outgoings low so I can just work when I have to and travel and take adventures when I want.
I work on as casual basis either as a dive instructor
But mainly, as the pay is far better, as a midwife!
Some may say I’m lucky (click here and have a read about that one…), but this huge transition didn’t happen by accident or by sheer luck. It happened through taking a deep breath, trusting in the universe, being courageous but not least of all to the skills of a dear friend! A wonderful woman called Sandra who works as a life coach, I would like to tell you about her work with me now.
Before I start, I would like to share with you that I felt very hesitant about this, and didn’t really discuss it with anyone. It felt akin to agreeing to go to counseling or take antidepressants, as if there should be a stigma to taking on some “outside help” This may sound silly but I’m a very independent (some may say stubborn!) person, and I felt very reluctant to open myself up to someone about how I was feeling. However, I already knew Sandra and aware that not only was bright, insightful and easy to talk to but I could be assured of absolute confidentiality.
I entered into an agreement to engage with Sandra for 8 sessions. We “met” using Skype which gave us both greater flexibility as it didn’t matter where in the world each of us were, so long as we had access to a computer or smart phone we could talk. We both entered into a contract and I completed a pro forma which gave Sandra some guidance as to the direction she would take. We agreed to a time to Skype, something that was flexible for both of our busy lives, and after each session Sandra would email me a summary and my “homework” – not as bad as it sounds, but she would ask me questions for me to ponder as well as suggested reading materials and activities.
At her suggestion, I downloaded an App called “Take Ten” which guided me through short meditations which I found really helpful (give it a go!)and read some books among which were Gary Chapmans “The Five Love Languages” and books on “Mindfullness”
Mindfullness is something I try to engage with as much as I can. Next time you are going for a walk, try to engage with your surroundings, smell the air, how the wind feels on your face, the colours of the leaves, shape of the bark on the trees, the sounds of individual birds around you. If you’re not keen on going for walks, then next time you do the washing up, do the same – feel the water as it flows around your hands, the shapes that form as you wipe the warm water around the food remains on the plates and the satisfaction that is gained when the dishes become shiny. It all sounds very basic doesn’t it, we are all too busy rushing around and easily miss or take for granted many of the simple things in life that can give us such joy.
The life coaching sessions gave me an opportunity to explore my thoughts and feelings, to try to see what I wanted out of life and how I could achieve my dream. It was a chance to look at where I was and examine why I had made the decisions that had brought me there and look at the changes I had to make to get where I needed to be. Sandra believed in my ability and capacity to make changes in my life and watched and listened as I gained the strength I needed to do so. She reminded me that what I gave energy to grows and expands and I could follow a dream.
It wasn’t always easy, she didn’t give me the answers, but helped me find my own. At times I felt a mixture of anger and frustration as Sandra challenged me, and it took some time for me to appreciate she occasionally acted as a devils advocate and provoking me into thought and action – it worked!
The biggest surprise for me was the realisation of the huge impact the experiences of my childhood were still making on my thoughts and emotions. Sandra pointed out how much I used the word “secure” and “safe” – things that were sadly deficient for me as a child. During one of our sessions, she took me right back to me as an 8 year old, I found this very difficult, almost disturbing at the time, but it prompted me to face the past once more and try to lay it to rest at last. Gradually, through the sessions I felt more in control of my life, started to trust in the universe once more and start to follow my dream.
I hadn’t appreciated how much my energy has been directed into pleasing and helping others throughout my life, and I realised I didnt need to do this any longer as the time had come for me to do what was right for me, to make the very best of my own life.
Sandra asked me to provide her with feedback following our last session, this was 19 months ago, and I promised her I would do so, but I have procrastinated. In truth, I didn’t do it at first as I didn’t really know how I felt about it, and it is only over time as I have settled into my life that I can fully appreciate the contribution life coaching with Sandra has made.
I would like to thank Sandra for all her hard work, and her continued support since. I would highly recommend anyone to contact her, (click here and find out more) she should be available on the NHS!