It started with Joe. Joe is what my Pop describes as his “best friend”. I never knew Joe existed until a few years ago. Think “Meet Joe Black” movie with Brad Pitt where this guy comes out of nowhere and embeds himself in this other guys life? Yeah, it is sort of like that. Except Joe and my Pop have been friends for some time. In my opinion, Joe is like a boy me. He is single, rides motorcycles, loves the out doors, raised a same gender child, and is close to my dad. Hell, he even plays guitar!! Joe and I have been Facebook friends, met a couple times, but not really been friends in real life. So, Joe posted all over Facebook that he made this huge change in his life so that he can be a life coach. Fulfilling his dream, workin his passion, etc. He put out an offer about having a free initial consultation. Well, nothing I was doing or had tried was working, so I took him up on it. I was stuck as fuck and needed to change something in someway that I was not clear about. Also, Joe is close to my Dad, so I trust him with this process.
We scheduled our 30 minute phone consult and it went on for nearly two hours, with a combination of friendly chatter and actual coaching stuff. I learned some things, which was helpful. However, I am no stranger to training programs or behavior change, and I spotted the tag lines right away. I have trained and been trained in all sorts of behavior change modalities, theory and curriculum. Then came the sales pitch. Yuck. I hate sales pitches! It feels like I am prey and they always on the hunt.
Joe went on about his program and, of course, wanted me to sign up. He extolled all of the benefits and then outlined what a deal he would make for me. Holy hell, even with the discount, that was still more money that I would spend on anything except home repair or emergency travel. Let’s be honest, or a good tattoo. But, dammit, I needed to change something!
I agreed, reluctantly at first, and started in. It was rough, to say the least. Remember all those training programs I had been part of? Well, I was no stranger to how this stuff worked and at first, this program was not working for me. Not at all! In fact, Joe and I spent time actually arguing during the coaching calls. I warned him I would be difficult and this was terribly true. To his credit, and a little of mine as well, we both reached down deep to find our most honest and true self, and got over the hump. Let the life changing begin!
It was around this time, and well before coaching began, I had planned a brewery vacation. My idea of paradise – camp, hike, drink good beer. I chose to take the program with me and continue down this new path. May as well get my money out of it, right? I had every intention of sticking to the program, doing the exercises and even brought with me chapters to work on. That quickly went to shit as my vacation unfolded before me.
By the time I was on my way back and staying with a friend, I had not looked at one part of the coaching program nor had I given it any thought or attention. I was in my happy place, having hiked, camped, drank good beer and now was with good company. Truth be told, I did not want to go home! I did not want to go to the job I did not like in a house that was sucking all of my time and money (love you house) trying to feel part of a community that feels like a revolving door. So, I did the wrong thing and stayed an extra day with my buddy, having not cracked a lesson the entire time.
Eventually I returned home, as I had done hundreds of times before having traveled thousands of previous vacation miles. While never easy to re-enter, this was different. This time it sucked. I mean sucked big. I can only compare it to what a baby must feel when birthed. Here’s the baby, minding it’s own business perfectly happy and comfortable in the womb, warm and sated, safe and sound. Just as I was in my happy place while on vacation, camping and hiking and exploring. I get why babies just cry and cry and cry. In time, they adjust and learn to be a human. However, and unlike the baby, the feeling of discourse, angst, and tension I had upon my return never left. In fact, it grew like a ravenous beast in my soul. Never had I struggled like this to return to my life, never before had the beast within roared so loud and paced so furiously. Imagine a hungry tiger trapped in a very small cage, like a 1920 circus animal. This call, this desire, this upset never left. In fact, it grew louder and louder as the days drew on.
I lamented that I wanted to “run away” and said so out loud. Reverting to a very old, and previously unrealistic fantasy where I would just walk out of my life. The angst never left, and it grew….. louder….. more pronounced. I tried to swim it away, walk it away, heck even drink it away and nothing worked. In fact, the desires of the beast got stronger, more pronounced, more defined. I tried everything and still the beast roared. By the time my work week was at an end, the beast showed me that I must leave my life.
Ok, not just the beast. I was mowing the lawn, minding my own business with tunes blasting in my ears and it struck me. Struck like a brick to the brain. The burden of the house, yard, all of my current responsibilities, the job I did not like, the community I felt outside of, it all felt like a huge weight on my shoulders. I asked myself, while pushing my mower back and forth and back and forth – Is this it? Is this all? Is my joy, my happiness, my satisfaction in life inextricably tied to my yard? My career or job? The items I own???? Is this my legacy? IS THIS ALL THERE IS???? Surely there has to be more. There MUST be more. I have to find more. I shall find more. It was in those moments that I decided to leave my life.
I had a coaching call already scheduled for later that day. I figured Joe would flip his lid when I shared that I wanted to leave this life, that I wanted to run away and start anew. The more I thought about it, the better that felt. This notion of leaving it all, shedding the skin I was in, it started to grow on me. The beast started to quiet. I started to calm down.
With excitement and emotion, I shared all of this with Joe. What I did not expect was his response – “That is great Michelle!” so exclaims coach Joe. What???? Did he really just support me leaving the safety and security of my life?? Walking away from what seems to be the pinnacle of achievement? Why, yes! Yes he did! It was during the coaching call that it became more clear and I realized that I can run away. Well, not actually run away. I can leave my life in a smart and calculated way. Now, that is an epiphany!!! I finally identified my dream. I finally found that thing that sets my soul on fire. I found a way to feed that beast.