When you have no choice

A client I’ve been working with has an amazing story I think you’ll want to hear. I’ll call her Lydia. We had been working together a short while when she had one of the most uplifting experiences of her life. She went hang gliding.  hang-gliders-in-manitoba

Here’s what she said about it. “I'm currently in southern California right now on vacation learning to hang glide. Today is my second day of training, and it is beyond words, aMAZing! I'm feeling a pride about myself building. And I'm so practicing some of your advice. I'm not my thoughts or feelings. My brain/instincts like to think I'm going to die, fear when I surge up in a thermal, is just a feeling. I'm separate from these and in control of my glider. These thoughts help me relax and maintain steady control.”

She felt on top of the world. Brimming with confidence. She was so excited to move forward from this place within herself to the next step in her life.

And then…

She broke her arm on another hang gliding outing. But it wasn’t just an oh you’re arm is broken--put you in a cast for 6-8 weeks--have it removed--then you’re good to go kind of broken arm.


Think surgery.

Pins to hold her broken bones together.

And an external fixator (a metal device that surrounds the outside of her arm 24/7) to hold her arm stable. Pain pills. Doctors visits. Physical Therapy visits.

Now let’s add a loss of independence. She’s in her 30’s. She had to be bathed, dressed, and driven around. Cared for by someone else (her boyfriend) because she couldn’t do it for herself.

Let’s also add a diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder which left her with low energy, anxiety, wanting to sleep, depression, and brain fog.

AND she decided to take pre-requisite classes to get into nursing school during all of this.


This can’t be real right?

Yes it can be and it is. Welcome to Lydia’s real life.

I spoke with her recently about all of this and was incredibly curious about how she has managed to do so well and keep her great attitude through this. It’s not over by the way. She still has a lot more work to go with her arm.

Her words of wisdom were excellent. They are worth sharing.

First, she cried. A LOT. She allowed herself to cry. When life gets hard, we feel a lot of emotion. We need to feel that emotion. It’s important, because when we cry, we allow that energy to flow through us and pass on. When Lydia cried, she eventually got tired of crying, then was ready to move forward and take the next step. Crying allowed her to do that. I would even say that releasing energy that needs to be released actually propels us forward.

She said that looking forward too far in the future was depressing. If she was supposed to start physical therapy on a certain date and her arm wasn’t healed enough, it burst her hope bubble. Instead, she would look at where she was now compared to two weeks ago. She focused on the present. The little victories of the progress she’d made. She could finally put her own hair in a pony tail and swim one whole lap without a kickboard. She learned to be in the present moment and grateful for what she had now.

She talked about slowing down. She said, “I’ve made the decision to slow down, mainly in an effort not to be stressed. I’ve always had problems talking/communicating. But if I allow myself to be slow, and not make my brain try to whirl with every thought imaginable, I do a lot better. I’m slowing down when doing tasks, thus preventing a whole lot of stress.  And doing things with more quality, connecting with what I’m doing, and oddly more efficiently. I’m not able to do this 100% yet, but when I do remember to slow down, it is SO much better.”

She said she couldn’t multi task with one hand. Not only did this affect her physically, she decided to let things change in her mind. Lydia said she was tired of juggling all the thoughts in her head, analyzing every conversation with people, and she just didn’t have the energy. She was stressed by rushing all the time.

So what did she do?

She started giving herself extra time to wake up in the morning, actually enjoying breakfast, and talking to her dog. She applied this slowing down to conversations too. She could actually take a breath and listen to what others were saying. To really hear them better.

By slowing down, she felt more calm and less stressed. She enjoys being present, here, right now. She’s feeling more confident and secure in herself because of all the time it has taken to heal. Even other emotional wounds she had from earlier in her life have healed in this process as well.

Pure inspiration this woman is!

Let’s recap because this is gold!

~ Hard shit happens in life (to everyone)

~ It’s okay to let someone else take care of you

~ It’s important to feel and get your emotions out

~ Stay present and appreciate what you have right now

~ Multi-tasking is stressful

~ Slowing down makes you more efficient and present with yourself and others

I told her what a gift her experience has been.

I know, I know. Coming from a person who hasn’t been through anything like this, I sound arrogant.

But I’m looking through the eyes and heart of a human being who gets how this seemingly horrendous time has given her so much. She’s more present, less stressed, more calm, able to listen, not rushing or multi-tasking, more efficient, and more confident and secure in herself.

Our hardest times can so be our greatest gifts. If we are willing to get that.

How many qualities do you see in her that you’d like to possess?

Her circumstances forced her learning. And sometimes that’s what it takes. The proverbial 2X4 smack on the head. Or the arm.

I think the universe knew she needed this. I know she’ll be a different person from now on.

What will it take for you to start feeling your emotions, slow down, stop multi-tasking, be more present with others and yourself, and feel grateful for all you have in your life?

You can start to make changes anytime you know. Or you could wait until you break your arm and have no choice.

Thank you Lydia for being willing to share your experience. I am now a more thoughtful person because of it.

What will you do with the choice you now have? Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

susan small sig 05:14

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life