When I started the blog: Just Breathe- Slow Deep Breaths in February 2012, my goal was to use the blog as a venue to share the insights that I gained during my healing journey . During that process, I realized that even though it is unlikely that my physical symptoms will completely diminish I still had control over my emotional self. One of the tougher things that I learned was that my mind was still filled with knowledge and it was constantly nudging me to share that knowledge with others just like I did prior to having a chronic condition. This caused a tremendous emotional struggle.
To illustrate what I mean – picture a seasoned ballerina who starts to do a beautiful leap across the stage, only to be thwarted mid-air, feeling as if she were running into a brick wall. She continued to practice the leap over & over again but the result was always the same. Feeling frustrated and full of bruises, the ballerina suddenly realizes that maybe her days of leaping across the stage have ended or at least put off for a bit. Sadly, she leaves the stage feeling hopeless, and thinking that her life is over. After a brief period of self- indulgence, the ballerina realizes she has 2 choices:
- one (the easiest), is to continue her current behavior – staying in bed all day with the remote control until her body becomes so weak & tired that she can barely walk, let alone leap or
- two (the harder, but better choice) is to spend her days focusing on what she can do both physically and emotionally to live the best life possible. Most importantly, she needs to be patient by not to expecting things to change overnight – it will take time, but it can happen!
I used the metaphor about the ballerina because I have always loved to dance. I often tell myself that I will know I am better when I can dance, any kind of dance except maybe for ballet – I gave up the ballerina dream long ago! Anyways, I have come a long way emotionally since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2007 and winning the battle against breast cancer in 2010. It wasn’t easy – especially during the time I was still working as an Instructor at a technical college. Everyday was a struggle. I felt like in order to fulfill my duties I had to work every waking hour. There were more days than not that I drove home with tears running down my face. I loved my job and I was pretty good at it if I do say so myself. I always felt that I would still be working long after retirement age – that’s how much I loved my job! Unfortunately, after a year off on a sick leave I accepted the fact that it was time for me to retire (at age 55) . Retiring early was bittersweet. It was hard to end a great career, yet it was a relief not to have to push myself to tears.
Fortunately for me, my skills and talents did not need to be showcased on a stage like a ballerina’s, (although teaching can be like being on stage). I have accomplished a lot throughout my career. I have amassed a great deal of knowledge & skills. The problem is that I could no longer showcase my attributes in the manner I was accustomed to. I needed a different venue to use and share what I have learned. A venue that would work with my physical limitations rather than against them. The blog has helped me to accomplish this. I have learned a lot in the process. it has allowed be to share my insights and gave me the chance to hone my writing skills – something I have wanted to do for a long time. Writing for the blog has been very cathartic for me, but I still needed more. I needed to feel needed.
This past year, I was given the opportunity of working with two different coaches who offered complimentary coaching sessions After working with them I realized that Life Coaching was a career that I would love and could manage despite my physical limitations. It took me a while to find a school to get my life coach training, but it wasn’t because there is a shortage of colleges. The problem was that the programs are not designed for people with chronic pain and fatigue. It was frustrating for me to learn that many of the training programs were either conducted as monthly marathon sessions (F, Sat,Su) or were offered only in the evening. You may be asking yourself – why is that an issue? It is an issue because I would consider myself lucky if I could sit through one full day of class without exacerbating my symptoms and because I avoid night driving as my ability to focus wanes as the day progresses due to chronic fatigue. With alot of patience and persistence, I eventually found a program that is perfect for my needs http://www.coachtrainingalliance.com/ – the classes are all taught over the phone! I didn’t have to go anywhere & I wouldn’t have to sit for long periods of time .
In my capacity as a Life Coach, I am able to conduct my coaching sessions by phone. Being my own boss will allow me to take care of my health by working only a few hours a week and only a couple of hours at a time. This is so important because it’s difficult for me and most people with chronic pain to commit to an employer. We can’t predict how much pain, fatigue or other symptoms will influence our performance. Unfortunately, people with chronic illness often get fired because of poor performance and/or excessive sick days.
I am excited to embark on this new chapter in my life. It is even more exciting to be able to share with my readers. To learn more about A Balancing Act Life Coaching – visit my chronic condiiton blog @ www,justbreatheslowdeepbreathes.com and don’t forget to like ABA on facebook.