I've never been "skinny" or lithe Well, maybe I shouldn't say "never." There are two times in my life, once in my teens and once in my twenties, when I can say that I probably would have been considered to be. Unfortunately, both were times when I had anorexia.
It's been a journey to come to a place where I can accept myself for who I am and my body for what it is and love it. I remember when I was in fourth grade and the girls decided to weigh themselves because Sister had left us alone in the classroom during a rainy lunch period. I was horrified at the prospect. Growing up in Rhode Island, I was a bit of a tomboy and very athletic -- playing football and baseball with the neighborhood boys until sundown when the lights came on. I was riding my bike and walking every day. Then, there was the beach and the ocean and all the fun festivals and activities during the summer. I was really fit, but I also knew that I weighted a bit more than they did. I cringed as they read off their weights, praying for Sister to come back before they got to me. Thankfully, she did.
Throughout high school, I was a tennis player, and I continued to maintain a high activity level. I've always had a passion for health and wellness. It just got put on a back burner while I navigated college and emerged with a degree in psychology and interdisciplinary linguistics. There were no exercise science programs back then, and the best I could have done was become a physical education teacher like my Aunt Dot. I didn't think a career of teaching a subject that most kids hated was for me.
So, after working a while as an editorial and research assistant, I went back to school to get an MBA in Innovation Management and Marketing, and later a PhD in Information Science and Technology, both of which I still use in consulting. Once again, my passion for health and wellness was put on the back burner. I was now teaching and conducting research at a small college, working 60-70 hour weeks between preparation, grading, teaching 3-4 classes a semester, committee meetings, research, and service commitments. I was in extreme danger of burning out, and I kind of knew it. I was keeping up with my health and wellness most of the time, but the stress of having to juggle so many different responsibilities and doing more with less was getting to me.
For a variety of reasons, life intervened. I was looking for a new position when my Dad had heart attack and my Aunt, who was more like a mother to me, took sick. All of the position openings that I had been offered were either in the Midwest or Southwest. With aging family members in poor health, I really didn't want to move west. I wanted to stay on the East coast "just in case." The problem was, there were no academic position openings in my area.
My coach at the time coached me around the issue. She asked me what I wanted -- Flexiblity in case something happened, a reasonable income, the ability to do what I do from anywhere in case I had to return to Rhode Island, something that was intellectually stimulating, something where I was always learning, something where I could possibly teach were all items on the list. Then she suggested coaching, and asked whether I would be interested in trying it out. So, I enrolled in coach training looking to become an Executive or Business coach given my academic background. Once, agian, a passion for health and wellness were put on the back burner while I let my head make the decisions.
As I began doing more and more coaching, I began to notice that many of my clients had health and wellness issues intertwined in the issues that they were coming to me for. I was enjoying what I did as a coach, but still kind of living in my head. Coaching had given me all that was on my list, but I felt there was something missing.
One day, I was sitting in my kitchen drinking a cup of coffee and preparing to go to the gym for my cardio boxing one-on-one; I go to the gym for cardio boxing one-on-one once a week, strength training twice a week, and one-on-one reformer Pilates (now) twice a week. I'm not thin, but I am very fit (As Dr. Sears likes to say, "Skinny isn't healthy."). I guess the Universe decided to give me a nudge, because I began to think about my passions and whether I was really living in my heart. I finally had to admit to myself that I wasn't. Sport, fitness, wellness, athletics.... THESE are my passions... and a pattern began to emerge.... without my knowledge, my passions had slowly and patiently been drawing me closer to them. Heck, I was even teaching coaching at a university of Integrative Health! "THUNK!," said the Universe, "This is the piece that has been missing."
THUNK!, said the Universe, "This is the piece that has been missing."