We are all in a state of becoming.
I like to remind myself of this often. It’s easy to look at someone’s life and think, “They have it all figured out…” The truth is, we are always evolving, always becoming. We often do not see the steps in between the old and the new. Coaching found me somewhere in the middle of all these steps and at the time it felt like the dead end of another old familiar road…
I’m sure everyone reading this knows what it feels like to crash. To pick yourself up. To start over again. You can probably relate to feeling exhausted, frustrated, maybe even a bit hopeless. There are so many stories I could tell you where I was left feeling empty, broken, ashamed, scared, confused… Thoughts often crossed my mind like, “Why do I keep repeating harmful patterns? What’s wrong with me?” I was harboring some deeply painful beliefs about myself…including one that started at a very young age, that I had to “do everything on my own.”
Our old habits serve a purpose. And mine had been serving me for a very long time… I would overwork myself so I didn’t have to feel my feelings. I would attract men who were emotionally unavailable so that I didn’t have to be emotionally open either. I had a hard time being fully honest with myself and others. I would reach for the extra drink so I could ‘let go’ and not really feel anything. I thought I could contain all this pain and shame inside of me. And while I was suppressing all of this emotion and truth…my body was giving me signals.
I had a long stretch of constant panic attacks, I thought I would never be “normal” again. Anxiety felt more consuming in my body, like holding a beach ball underwater. When my little sister was diagnosed with cancer and we both found out we carried a mutation in our BRCA1 gene, I went into my usual pattern of shoving all my feelings away and wanting to avoid it all. Around this same time, I was reeling from the pain of another relationship ending. Each experience that brought me to my knees also brought me one step closer to opening up; to finally being honest about how unhappy and shut down I was. I couldn’t hide from myself anymore. I was finally ready to talk to someone.
I remember getting on a call with a coach who was so compassionate, yet she pushed me. “Hot yoga isn’t going to cut it, Nicole.” I laughed. She encouraged me to be gentle with myself, “nothing drastic” she said. Hmmm, that would be new for me. I was REALLY good at beating myself up…
Over time, various coaches taught me practices to release old emotions that were still lodged in my body. Emotions stuck from a young age when I protected myself from a chaotic environment by holding it all in (cue beach ball reference.) Emotions stuck from shame that I still carried around past experiences and behaviors. With support, I learned how to express myself through talk, breathwork, tears, dance, movement, listening to my body, examining my thoughts, journaling, and so much more.
This work left me feeling more alive and free than I had ever experienced before. I knew I wanted to continue exploring my own growth and learn how to give back to others. We have all the answers we could ever need inside of us, sometimes we just need someone to help us clear away the debris that has gotten in the way of us shining our light. Martha Beck’s curated tools and Wayfinder Coach training program helped me do just that.
Life looks a bit different for me now. I have more awareness, understanding and compassion for myself. I am getting better at listening to messages from my body before those messages are screaming at me. I use simple breathing and mindfulness tools to regulate my nervous system to create safety within myself. Being in a calm, safe state helps me respond to situations rather than react out of emotion. I have learned how to observe my thoughts without believing them all to be true. Most importantly, I am human so mistakes and messiness are inevitable. The difference is now I am able to forgive myself when I slip into old ways of thinking and being. From this gentle place, I coach myself through the lows with love rather than allow my inner-critic to have her way with me.
This work is simple but it’s not always easy. With practice, self-compassion, and support we are ALL able to shift and change toward living our lives the way we were meant to. No one is broken beyond repair.
I will never claim to be healed, fixed, or enlightened. I will make sure I always have support through this journey. I practice every tool I use on myself and I know they work.
One thing I now know for certain is that growth and change are accelerated with support and that’s why I’m drawn to this work. Having someone hold safe, loving space, reflect your inner knowing back to you, and shine a light on your blind spots can be life changing. This is a gift that is so worth giving to yourself.
We are all in a state of becoming…who do you want to become?