As I sit on my couch, realizing I procrastinated this announcement, part of me wonders why, yet also isn’t surprised. I think most of us avoid change; it’s kind of how the human brain functions. It takes work to grow, expand, and it definitely takes a lot of work to heal. Especially from one of the biggest losses of your entire life.
Tomorrow marks four months since my childhood best friend took his life. And no, four months is not that long when it comes to something like this. If you’ve ever experienced the loss of someone close to you, you can probably attest to the fact that the pain comes and goes… potentially forever. And unfortunately, our culture tends to avoid grief and resist the pain and sorrow that comes along with it. When you add the pain of watching someone suffer for a decade and then make this final choice, the pain tends to lay on a bit thicker…
First off, here’s a tip if you know someone healing from a loss: offer to help them, but only if you mean it. I was saddened by how it felt like people were almost avoiding me, perhaps because seeing my pain made their pain worse…? I can only assume, but I did ask a close friend why she didn’t show up for me during one of the darkest times of my life. Her response: “I didn’t know how.”
Here are my thoughts on “how”: Text the person that’s grieving and let them know that you love them. Offer to come over for a visit, but respect their wishes if they decline. Keep doing this as long as you can- not just the first week. And the biggest tip I have from my experience: offer practical help. Meaning, offer to bring them food, go grocery shopping, help them clean their house, etc. This was the biggest thing for me- I was so paralyzed that almost everything overwhelmed me. One day a friend came over and I mustered up some bravery and asked her if she could help me clean and shared how overwhelmed I was just looking at my living room. It literally took her less than 5 minutes to put my mail in a pile, put random items in a basket, and straighten out my decorative stuff. I couldn’t believe how “simple it was,” and it showed me just how much a little help from different people would have made a huge difference those few weeks I was the most paralyzed. And it showed me what I didn’t know I needed or what could help me feel even just a little bit better.
So now I have a story to share, that may test your faith, or deepen it. My friend passed April 21st, and I ended up organizing and leading his memorial service on May 21st. It went well and added some completion, but I was still destroyed. I had said for years that losing him was one of the things I could “never” get through if it ever happened… and here I was, having to figure out how to survive.
He’d been my first bully, my first boyfriend, and my first best friend, all in the course of a year when we were the mature ages of eight or nine. Wasn’t 4th grade an adventure for all of us? The following 22 years were a whirlwind of ups and downs as both of our substance use and mental health faced some intense challenges. I was fortunate and got support at 17 and then again at 20, and have been engaged in coaching and therapy and other personal growth ever since.
I really do attribute a lot of my good fortune to working with counselors at those times. Unfortunately, my friend did not get much professional help, and things worsened over the next ten years. I won’t share too much of his story, but the bottom line is he was constantly tormented by what was happening inside of him, and in my opinion, he was also influenced by the cultural stigma that it’s “weak” to get help, or even worse, that he was “crazy” and messed up. The truth was, he was extremely intelligent, hilarious, and very intuitive- but I don’t think he ever realized or admitted that last part. And in my opinion and experience, not understanding your intuition can be very scary and overwhelming- especially if you don’t seek help in understanding it.
If you’ve been following my work, you know that intuitive development is one of my main focuses. Being tuned into Spirit, whatever that means for you, and trusting in “the bigger plan.” Well, it sure is hard to keep the faith when this kind of horrible crap happens. But then, things like this happen…
As I mentioned above, I led his services on May 21st. Well, on May 23rd I was contacted about an opportunity that I was NOT looking for. In fact, I said I’d never do this kind of thing again, on many levels.
I was notified that a position was opening at the local high school where I had just moved three months prior. (The person contacting me had no idea I lived here. They still thought I lived over an hour away.) As I humored them and listened to them describe this position, I was like: NO way. No way. I said I’d “never” work with youth again (I’d burned out bad from working with severely traumatized youth in my early 20’s), I’d “never” work in the California school system, and I’d “never” take a full-time job again. Nope. No way. Never. So naturally, after looking at the position, my response was: nope. Thanks, but no thanks.
Until I realized what was happening…
When did my best friend’s issues and my issues really worsen? In high school. The biggest difference? I got help and he didn’t. I talked to my high school counselor and had the extra support that helped get me through some of my dark times. And now, two days after I led his memorial service I’m being asked if I want to be a Social/Emotional Counselor at the high school five minutes from my new house?? What if I could make an impact on a child that was struggling… just like we had been?
I said I’d think about it. And in the next week, something happened in my business that had never happened before. A few things in fact. I had someone cancel an initial consultation, another choose not to move forward in a new contract with me, and two current clients say they were ready to complete their work with me. I knew I was getting signs, and I was starting to listen. The few people I shared the opportunity with were excited and encouraged me to do it, reminding me I could still run my business at a lesser pace. After mulling it over, I decided to apply, and long story short, on June 21st, I was formally offered the position, even after I freestyle rapped during the interview and reminded the panel how funny I am. 🙂
So these past two months have been a whirlwind as I have been reminded to “never say never,” and am preparing to embark on this new journey.
What is happening with my coaching business and Conscious Choice for Change? We are just slowing down a tad. I will still be doing select workshops and speaking engagements, and I will drop my caseload to working with only four clients at a time. The Boss Goddess line is still alive, and I’m still committed to being part of the healing of the world! I even have an online course launching soon (a collaborative project with four other awesome coaches!) that’s secretly been in the works for over a year- if you’re an entrepreneur that often feels “crazy” and like you limit your own success, especially when you’re navigating times of expansion- stay tuned.
And now I realize that school starts on August 21st, which is also the day of a second Leo New Moon, and an incredible eclipse. So I will release my fears of this big change, and set the intentions that I will help teach the critical tools that have saved and supported me and so many of my clients, to these youth that may not have the opportunity to learn these skills anywhere else. I don’t know what’s to come, but I’m willing to give it a try and have faith that everything will be ok.
Sometimes, that’s all we can really do.
And I believe that when we lead with love and hold tight to faith, miracles can happen. I’ve seen them.
Thank you for being part of my (miraculous) journey. 🙂