I recently spent a weekend with coaches from all over the world. We spent three intense days learning new coaching techniques and being coached. We ended the weekend with a fun exercise. Each person taped a white piece of paper to their back and everyone had to write something on it for them or about them.
I pulled my sheet off and looked at it quickly and thought, “aww that’s so nice.” Mostly excited that someone called me “Brene” Brown. I mean, who wouldn’t like that! It wasn’t until a few days later that I sat down and really looked at everything on the sheet.
There were words on it like calm, grounding presence, visionary, strength, courageous, and peaceful spirit. Huh. Is this who they see when they are with me?
Here’s the big deal about this small piece of paper with words all over it. This small piece of paper symbolized how far I had come in a year. The worst of K’s symptoms had occurred in the summer of 2018 and I was reading these comments exactly a year later.
That’s how much I’ve changed.
I wonder what it would have said one year prior? Something like anxious, sad, emotional, angry, shaking, and just a mess. I also suspect they would have left Brene out of it.
How did I get from out-of-control emotional wreck to grounded presence? Working with a coach that didn’t let me sit in a victim space. Oh, I could have easily stayed there. I felt like my life pretty much sucked. I was anxious, sad, emotional, angry, shaking, and just a mess. That was me. She wouldn’t stand for it. Instead, she shared different tools with me. Practices like gratitude mentioned in last week’s blog also moved me forward. Meditation. Reiki. Spiritual work. Journaling. Community support.
I recognized the difference in my ability to care for K during psychosis after experimenting with different self-care practices. You might call me a self-care virgin. I always came last. It just wasn’t a habit that I had. With four kids, I always took care of everyone else first and was usually so tired that it wasn’t worth it to me. I knew that I couldn’t exist anymore in the way that I was. I had to find a way to prepare for the day ahead because I never knew what was waiting for me!
It started with just a few minutes every morning. A deep breath. Sitting with my morning coffee instead of “getting something accomplished.” Walking around outside so that I could listen to the birds. Turtle steps.
The paper on my back after that long weekend represented a report card of sorts for me. It showed me what one year of working on myself had translated into. I also know that by focusing on myself before taking care of others helped me to contribute to a more stable outcome for my daughter and her illness.
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