What I have learned in the last 8 years from following my Joy path…

had a bit of an anniversary last week though I wouldn’t have remembered it unless Facebook reminded me. People can complain all they want about FB, but it does keep me in the know…I can now stay on top of birthdays, stay in touch with long lost friends, get regular reminders about past events and special moments in my life all while swinging between envy, laughter, and the love of humans and animals.  And of course we can’t forget what a great distractor it is….but I digress.
So what is this anniversary I speak of?
Eight years ago, I launched my first website and shared with the world that I was now a life coach and no longer an elementary school teacher.
This was HUGE in my world. I gave up on the path I thought was my future from a very young age, the path I had studied for, the path I was good at and had many fond memories of. The path both my parents had taken and benefit from even today. The smart, sensible path.
My shift in careers came after one pebble presented itself  on my original path (a free intro meeting with my first life coach who completely opened my eyes to a new perspective), to the enormous rock that blocked my way (a relapse of a chronic illness that made teaching feel impossible),  to the synchronicities that lead me (and my sister) to train to be a Martha Beck Life Coach.
So eight years later, I am still moving forward on this path, though some times it feels like I am going backwards or standing still enjoying the scenery or struggling to get past another obstacle that has presented itself. And, I am still just as committed to it as I was when I started.
It was Martha Beck’s book ~ The Joy Diet ~ with its menu of ten daily practices that kept me enhancing my every day’s journey.  Here’s what I learned from each of them:
1. Nothing:  I learned how to become the compassionate observer of my myself (check out these videos)  to notice what was happening in my mind and realized that I was the person watching myself thinking all those spiralling thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves.
2. Truth:  This was a big one for me.  I slowly but surely challenged so many beliefs I had never before questioned and found many of them were just not true.  I was truly hiding from myself and from others for most of my life due to lies I was believing. I realized how exhausting and painful it was to live that way and more importantly I didn’t have to choose that way anymore.
3. Desire:  Freeing myself from focusing on all the lies in my mind allowed me to notice what I desired.  This is still hard for me, but one of the first huge realizations was that life coaching lit me up in a way I had never felt before. Watching myself observe with pure delight how people relate to one another turned into a relationship focus. Then a desire to live a simpler life resulted in moving to Mexico.  Desires have become my inner GPS, I pay attention to and follow its lead.
4. Creativity: I always thought I wasn’t creative…my stick people and lack of interest in (aka…belief I was hopeless at) creating any art piece resulted in me closing off the reality that I was the creator of my life, my relationships and all that I do.  It was with a few tweaks and some breaking of rules that freed me up to allow my creativity to flow.   I love what I have created for myself in the last 8 years and am excited to see where this area is going to take me moving forward.
5. Risk: I love adventure and doing new things.  It is super easy for me to change everything in my life and start over again (I’ve done it five times now) but in actual fact, learning to risk emotionally (admitting fear rather than hiding) or to risk socially (going into a situation where I could be judged by others) is what took the most courage.  Only the other day, I realized I had a huge fear of not being cool and just how much that has been stopping me from living loudly in my own life since I was a teenager.
6. Treats:  I still suck at giving myself treats.  I’m not great at giving others treats either (aka…afraid they won’t like what I choose…the “not cool enough” fear again).  Recently though, with a commitment to acknowledge mine and my families brave moments each day, I am choosing to offer special things to change this.  We all deserve to acknowledge the bravery required to take risks or even to just keep on keeping on every day.
7. Play: I love this one and it was a big lesson for me.  When I began to see that I have always played at life’s work even when I didn’t know it, it helped me to let go of how it was meant to look and to instead choose to play the game that was most fun for me as long as it was in line with my life’s work.  My first career choice, teaching, was just as in line with my life’s work as is life coaching, parenting and being conscious in all my relationships.
8. Laughter: I have a friend who is hilarious. I choose to learn from her.  I look forward to her Facebook posts everyday. They are my go to for a good laugh. Thank you, Kim!
9. Connection:  This is my life’s work, my biggest passion and the need that must be met in my own life.  I know that now and have made sure to put connection first in all areas of my life. I also know how not meeting this need/desire turns me into my own worst fear.  I’m thankful that I am now conscious on when & how I want to fill up my connection glass, rather than my old method of diving in Drama Triangle.
10. Feasting: As I get older, I am choosing to feast more and more.  I want to nourish myself and others AND I want to celebrate times of nourishment and to give thanks for all that is offered to me.  My gratitude jar, started by my daughter, is not used everyday but as we take the time to love up our special times, gratitude flows out of us all more and more.
So THANK YOU to all that have joined me on my journey over these last 8 years, my teachers who have shown me a new way, all my clients for connecting with me as I connect with you, my group members for risking being judged by others modelling how worth it it is to open up anyway, for those who read what I share even though I’m a newbie at owning my voice especially in writing, for my family for always standing by me even through the tantrums still occasionally occur.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU!


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