Three years ago, everything fell apart.
It wasn’t cancer. It wasn’t a broken limb. It was not a clearly labeled disease.
It was complicated and confusing.
I was afraid it was the end of living a life I loved.
It was the end, actually. It was the end of that life I loved.
I want to tell you the story of my new life. To be honest, it’s not an easy story to tell.
It’s time to tell it, because I know other people face similar things and have to rebuild and recreate their lives, too. I know it can be terribly lonely and scary.
I’m in a place, now, where I can help and support others who are rebuilding or creating in their lives but feel alone – maybe even embarrassed – about vulnerabilities or limitations.
I know what that’s like, and I have both tools and empathy that were born from experience.
Here’s the story:
I had a thriving coaching practice. I was training mind-body coaches, I was coaching 1-1 clients, and I was contracting for another company to help them train coaches. I was thriving. I love coaching, and I LOVE training coaches. Especially around mind-body tools!
I had already been through a health crisis in my twenties, which is when I discovered mind-body healing. I had developed my own system of mind-body-spirit tools and created my programs and training around them. I had done all this original work and was helping hundreds of people all over the world. It was so much fun.
Then, everything turned upside-down.
A prescription I’d been prescribed caused constant nausea. I felt sick 24/7, and I couldn’t eat without feeling sicker. I lost weight rapidly. The medicine had to work its way out of my system, and that took an entire year. I felt sick the whole time.
Then, I started noticing another set of symptoms, and again, these were a mystery. My elimination systems were not functioning properly, and it was causing a lot of pain. I was terrified to eat – now for a new reason – because my body seemed to have some kind of terrible kink in the works. I went to doctor after doctor. I was called crazy, told I was fixated on my issues, and was misunderstood at every turn in the road. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew it was real.
Finally, through research and inner wisdom’s guidance, I figured out what was wrong. I was facing pelvic organ prolapse, an issue common among women but rarely discussed. My internal organs were collapsing into themselves and literally falling out of my body.
I had heard of bladder issues that can strike any woman postpartum or later in life. However, I had no idea prolapse could extend to so many other organs or wreak so much havoc in the digestive and eliminative systems. I would have gladly settled for just a bladder issue. This was, instead, a full system, widespread failure.
I’ll save you the gory details, but the end result was that I could no longer live a normal life. The debilitating pain and dysfunction made all my favorite things impossible and I was stripped down to just surviving.
Finally, inner wisdom led me to a surgeon who could help. After much deliberation and inner-wisdom listening, I chose to have surgery.
With the help of the surgeon and several fantastic pelvic physical therapists, I have now recovered from the surgery and regained nearly all my normal pelvic functions. Thanks to family and some incredible friends, I made it through the year-long recovery. It’s still a process. I still have to be gentle with my body, kind, and aware. I still need physical therapy weekly. I still can’t do a lot of the things I loved, but I am able to do so, so much more than I could two years ago. (And, I’m hopeful I’ll regain more freedom over time!)
I tell this story, because now I am back to coaching, teaching, and thriving. But how I live my life and how I do business now is different. It has to be. I’ve been through a war, and my body has suffered. I do have what amounts to a disability, at least for now. I have no idea what will happen as time goes on, but I have to honor and respect where my body is. I’m grateful to have as much normalcy as I do.
I also don’t want to hide behind a facade or pretend to live a life I don’t live. I’d rather be honest, while still positive and hopeful, about the limitations that are here right now. That’s the kindest way to honor me and my body.
At the same time, I also grieve the missing pieces. I grieve on the days that everything is harder and I have to face a limitation. I grieve when others ask me to join them on adventures that aren’t yet possible. I grieve when I accidentally offend people by being late or unable to join them.
I do my best to be open and communicate, but these are symptoms one doesn’t necessarily discuss. They’re hidden. They’re kind of embarrassing. It’s not easy to live with an invisible thing, and I know so, so many people do.
I tell this story because I know there are other people who are going through similar things, or who have gone through similar things. The world becomes a different place when a crisis like this hits.
I tell this story because I came back to my work with a new appreciation for how much I love it and new ways to work, even though I’m not as physically able as I was before.
I tell this story because I hope to inspire anyone who wants to create a thriving mind-body coaching practice or other business in the face of difficult obstacles.
I tell this story because, in the worst moments, I thought I’d lost the work I love.
Instead, the work I love saved me. This is what happens when our businesses are aligned with our souls.
In the weeks before my surgery, everything seemed pretty bleak. I had no idea if the surgery would work, but I was focusing on positive visualization and affirming. I had no idea if I’d ever work again, and it seemed pretty far away.
Then, one day, Carmen Schreffler sent me a text.
Carmen was my marketing and business strategist when this all hit, but we’d also become fast friends.
“We need to meet and talk about your business,” she wrote.
I thought she’d lost her mind. This was not a time to be rebuilding my business. I wasn’t even sure I could rebuild me!
She’s pretty persuasive, though, so I ended up on the phone with her.
It was the conversation that gave me my life back. I credit Carmen with saving my soul.
As we talked about business ideas, something magical happened.
I told her the obstacles I saw and the reasons I couldn’t do what I loved anymore.
Carmen gently explained why they weren’t obstacles at all. For every concern I tossed out, she explained how I could still do what I loved.
We started talking about collaborating and helping people as a team, and my heart soared.
I could see new possibilities. I could see how I could still take care of my very different body and be a coach, again.
The doors to a new life creaked slowly open.
Now, I have my thriving coaching practice back.
Only – here’s the funny part – it’s better than it ever was.
I connect even more with my people. I know what it’s like to be sidelined, and now the passion for connecting and engaging with everyone is so much larger. I have more empathy than ever.
I don’t let physical limitations stop me from doing my work. There’s no need for them to when I have a business that allows me to take great care of myself and still show up for others.
Instead, I embrace working in a feminine, nurturing way; both for me and my clients.
I know so many people face similar things, and I hope to be a source of relief to those who are building and creating while facing struggles of any kind.
Even if you’re in a place where you really can’t “crush it” – because that’s just not an option for your body or your spirit – you can absolutely create it, whatever it is you are meant to do.
What I’ve learned is this:
There’s no shame in vulnerability.
It’s not a weakness to have limitations. It’s part of being human. We don’t have to hide limitations in order to be successful.
There are people who don’t get what I’m going through or don’t believe me. They aren’t my focus, because the people I’m meant to connect with and serve are all around me.
When I listen to my inner wisdom, I find healing around every corner. My creative work and connecting with others is a source of joy. (That’s how Slacker Magic was born!)
My spirit is unstoppable, and I can create a life that gives my body the support it needs so my spirit can thrive.
Love is always guiding me.
Thank you, so much, for reading this story and being one of those lovely people I’m meant to connect with in this human and very magical life.
(If you suffer from pelvic pain syndromes like vulvodynia or interstitial cystitis and have followed my past work around mind-body-spirit tools and healing pelvic pain syndromes, read this important post. You’ll understand the connection between the story I’m sharing here and why mind-body-spirit tools help you heal from many types of mind-body syndromes.)
P.S. All of this – this experience, what I’ve learned, and the healing force of collaboration – is why I’m excited for the upcoming Mind-Body Magic Coach Training and for my Mind-Body Magic for Business program. I know some of you face similar things every day and I’m so excited to help you and your spirit thrive and create.