I’ve been thinking about the concept of coaching in the game of life. The position of a coach is to give guidance, support, inspiration, motivation, and push. I remember the coaches I had growing up that pushed me through moments of physical exertion that I know I wouldn’t have mustered on my own. There was just something about having this external guide, someone outside of myself, my internal world, to knock down walls of my own making. When I find myself training for a race now, I often wonder – what would a coach tell me? What kind of workouts would they have me focus on after observing my strengths and weaknesses? What will make me stronger?
Now what if we apply this same concept of a coach to our day to day life? Supposedly, this is what a life coach does and I’m wondering if this is something I would benefit from (undoubtedly), but also – could I do this for others? When I hosted a small gathering of women at my home last weekend, I felt the exhilaration of listening and guiding them through monumental points in their life and reframing and uncovering underlying emotions and resulting behaviors. In addition, I led a short mindfulness exercise that felt so good. The feedback from the group was glowingly positive and has nourished my desire to continue to do more of this and hone this skill set of coaching.
However, I am now unexpectedly feeling a place in my life in which I could use some coaching. Grief is the topic and it is not one that I am very good at or comfortable exploring. Our family dog passed away this week and it was very sudden and jarring. He was healthy up until the moment he was extremely ill. The vet informed us that he had a large cancerous tumor on his heart and a sac of fluid surrounding his heart was making it difficult for him to engage in any activity. He was extremely lethargic and would not eat. There was nothing that could be done other than drain the fluid (a temporary and brief solution) so that we could take him home so that our children could say goodbye. It was so. so. hard. Everything that ensued and the decisions we needed to make on ending his life were ugly. I hated the whole thing and felt like my insides were being torn apart and misshapen.
Time to process
It has been less than 48 hours since we said goodbye, so I feel it justified that I am still quite sad. We all are. He was a very important part of our family and he was just here! Now he is gone. Death is a subject that makes me very uneasy. I know this is not something that we talk about often, but some people out there are much better at being okay with it than others (like myself). Someone that has the level headedness to coach someone through their grief is truly lifesaving. I know we can say that about individuals that coach people out of any dire circumstance or situation, but in my mind, grief is something very different. Yet, grief can be experienced outside of death so perhaps it is just as unique as any other experience or stressor that benefits from that external guide of a coach.
Finding each other
The fact of the matter is – we benefit from each other. Humans are social beings and need each other to survive this world. Perhaps you’ve had coaches in your life that have provided you directions to navigate your journey, whether it being in a game, a specific event, or daily stressors. This sort of counsel is necessary and doesn’t indicate that you are weak or need fixing. Our whole mess is our wholeness. We can’t always see the best or most beneficial ways to work through hard times whether it’s our physical or mental game. Our individual pieces are unique to ourselves, but the pieces themselves are something we share as humans. I have greatly appreciated the cards, hugs, texts, and emails that I’ve received in the last few days sharing condolences for our loss. It helps immensely to have others open their arms, either literally or figuratively, to our pain and share in our grief with us. I know time will heal these deep wounds and that my heartache is to be expected.
Who have been the coaches in your life? Do you also find that you continue to seek guidance to traverse the landscape of life no matter how old you are? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! In peace, my friends.