Life from Essence

It’s so funny… a year ago when I engaged the services of a Life Coach I didn’t see this coming.  Who would know that I could become a Life Coach?

In this new space I work with individuals who are looking to make a shift in their lives (friendships, romance, work, money, family, dreams). What I do is partner with them to make it happen by providing them with tools, reflection and accountability to have them get out of their own way. This has them get past their obstacles and step into an authentic and empowered reality of their own design.

The beautiful thing about this is, I get to practice what I preach.  In order to walk with others as they get their lives together, I need to be getting my life together.  I too have a coach.  In order to work with others to get real, I too must get real.

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In the beginning of the coaching relationship we have the Essence Conversation.  It is a place where we examine our automatic ways of being, our fears, our survival mechanisms and our comfort zone – all instruments of a fear-driven life.  The foundation of coaching is partnering to design and to live an authentic life.  But in order for you to be authentic, you have to first know who you are, right?  This is part of the purpose of the conversation – to mine our essence from the hills of our lives.

Today, in celebration of who I am, I introduce to you my Essence:

JOY : a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.

PRESENCE: the state or fact of being present, as with others… Stately or distinguished bearing… The impressive manner or appearance of a person.

PURPOSE: a person’s sense of resolve or determination.

MAGNET: a person or thing that has a powerful attraction.

GODDESS: a woman whose great charm and beauty arouses adoration.

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When I began this journey I was given two warnings.

1. You will struggle in essence.  Living from essence strips you naked of your armor and puts you in a place of great vulnerability.  It will make you very sensitive to rejection because what is being rejected is the authentic you.  It’s OK when our survival mechanism is rejected!  It was never really us to begin with!

2. There are people in your life who will reject you from essence.  They have been friends with your ego.  They are attached to the image they have of you.  They do not understand your journey or your struggle.  Not only will you struggle, but life around you will resist the change.

This can look like a major adjustment with struggles through emotions that get dredged up or it can be a gentle realization.  I’ve always been more of an epiphany-learner and so the consequences of this new consciousness has slammed into me like a train. I never understood either of these things until this month.  I am raw and naked and there are a few (thankfully very few) people in my life who are in resistance to the changes.

By the grace of God as I grow into someone who works with others to get their lives together, my life will be working itself together too.

… when you decide it’s time to live

… when you decide it’s time to live.

This is a post by one of my favourite bloggers about one of the most relevant topics in my life today – getting past what others think and getting past the hurts their smallness and inability to understand can place on your soul and REALLY LIVING.  There is a don’t-care element to confidence that I battle to maintain.  It isn’t the ugly defiance of arrogance but the calm and unthinking indifference or polite inattention to the complexes of others.  This poem captures the truth about a few things –

  1. Growth is a personal thing.  You alone determine how much your person grows.
  2. Growth attracts jealousy, resistence, and challenge from unexpected places.
  3. Those unexpected places DO NOT MATTER.  Growth is still priority over them.
  4. There is nothing wrong with cutting loose the anchors that certain friendships place on your growth.

Love it Hank.  Keeping an eye out for more of your poetic inspirations!

Skipping Stars

Today she found out who she was
and what a fool you are
to waste the dream you chanced upon
when you stumbled on a star.
You picked it up with awe
figured… nah… it couldn’t be
and like a common pebble
you skipped it out to sea.

Out on the open ocean
the ball of flame still burned
shining further from your reach
you felt your stomach turn.
The damage is now done-
too late you realize
the best thing ever in your hand
just vanished from your eyes.

But the star burns on and brightly
as it floats out on the sea
and shores and boundaries give way to
endless possibility…
The star inside her thanks you
for throwing her away
to a place where she could grow
to the SUN she is today.

Found some of my scribbles that I’d tucked away somewhere.  Will probably post them here and there as they come to me.  Not to worry, I have not gone back on The Resolution!  Just a few reminders here and there why I made it in the first place. 

Pieces of Sunshine for Aunty

Aunty J had a stroke.  She’s in the hospital.  Daddy was so upset he sent it to me on blackberry messenger and my blood went cold.

You know the piece of sunshine in the family, the woman who is always doing something, always taking care of others with never a moment for herself.  Always cooking, ironing even my undershirts, scolding me for not dressing for the weather.  Her house always smelled of ripe plantains and was as warm as Jamaica even with the snow falling outside.

Grandma died when my dad was a toddler and Aunty J, even from a distance, has done her very best to fill the gap.  She is the grandmother I know.  Her home was my home when I moved north for university.  She cooked countless Sunday dinners and sent monthly care packages full of her special banana bread, chocolates, coconut cream, ackee and salt fish.  Always ackee and salt fish.  In a brown shoe box.  I would get a slip in my mailbox saying to please collect the large package at the porter’s desk.  Where Aunty got all those shoe boxes I have never thought to ask but there they were in a steady, reliable stream, one for every month of four years.

The cake would last from month to month with the new one arriving just as the last crumb of the old one disappeared.  The rice and peas didn’t come out right the first few times but soon I was a professional.  But the major hit was the ackee and salt fish…

Aunty would be on the phone on a Sunday – we always spoke on Sundays – and walk me through every step of ackee and salt fish until I got it right.  And if I were to take the train ride down to her for the weekend she would have the fish soaking in the kitchen as she boiled the water for my hot water bottle on cold nights.  I would wake to ackee and salt fish on the table with fried dumplings and fresh fruit with coffee and orange juice every morning that I woke up in that house.

Some people light candles.  I, like Aunty, prefer to cook as I pray.  Yesterday while she was in the Intensive Care Unit I was picking fresh ackee out of the red shell. This evening after hearing of her improvement and her move out of the ICU I poured hot water over the golden ackee flesh, boiled the salt fish and shredded it, and threw them together in a pot with thyme, onion, a spoon of oil and family secret pepper sauce.  I will send up savory steam rather than smoke, heavy with the smells of our shared experiences and a bond like no other.

I pray Aunty will soon be back on her feet and taking care of everyone again.  Cooking delicious tropical delights in a grey wintry northern city, ironing, sending birthday cards (never does she forget a date), cooking, walking to the post office, taking the bus to the grocery store, cooking and being the rock that so many of our family have been built on.  And cooking.  But today I am doing her cooking for her.

Get well!

Mango Dreams

© Brent Mclennon, 2011

What woke me three minutes before my alarm was the taste of mango in my mouth and the smell of star apple in the air.  The senses were so overwhelmed that I stretched in bliss, hit the bed-head, and woke up smiling.  Actually smiling.  Three minutes before my alarm.  Small miracle.

I was with a group of friends on a visit to Jamaica and we were being driven cross-country.  I had six weeks off from work and had left the work blackberry at home so the little red dot wouldn’t drive me insane.  We had driven from Kingston through St. Catherine, ever climbing, through Manchester’s mountains, and down the corkscrew of Spur Tree Hill into St. Elizabeth.  In the mountains of St. Bess we stopped at a road-side fruit stand.  None of this actually happened in the dream, but isn’t it strange how dreams come with their own memories and knowledge like a zip file?

In the dream my friends were negotiating with the language of Yorkshire and of Kent over bananas and sliced pineapples with an wide-eyed-with-awe country-man and tasting sugar-dense naseberries for the first time when a car pulled up.  I was called away by name and turned to find an old friend from my high-school days.  He was holding the biggest mango I had ever seen and looking very handsome.  (Probably because of the mango.)  He pulled off the road to speak to me and I remember lamenting to him that it wasn’t star apple season.  He laughed and pointed up to the tree above my head and, as if commanded by his finger, ripening star apples appeared and filled the air with a heady syrup that hit the tongue through the nose.

My magical friend gave the vendor his mango, asked him to slice it in half.  The mango had no seed! He then reached up to pick the nearest star apple.  When my teeth sank into the mango I woke up.

Smiling.  Three minutes before my alarm.

Love my l-i-f-eee until it leff meee

This morning I love my life.  Last night I had sushi with “the V” in it – did I tell you my best friend is a Nutter with a capital N?  Then a lightning storm came and the lights went out.  Right before I woke up this morning I dreamed I was in Jamaica.  And now, coffee cup in hand, I am fresh back from the twice-daily walk with Lola and Julius, a constant and regularly scheduled reminder that my mess really doesn’t stink – at least not like theirs. What more could a girl need?