My dear blog readers. For 3 and 1/2 years you have followed my life and my career. You have been inspired by where I am strong and felt compassion for where I am weak. I have shared private moments of struggle and the glorious rays of victory.
But I must admit to you that increasingly, I held out on you. I put up a screen and hid behind it. I knew that this was not serving you. I understand that we are mirrors for one another. In my blocks you can see your own and my victories help you push toward yours. For that reason I share this very personal story. My hope is that it will help you move out of any fear or stuckness you may be feeling yourself.
Last night I redeemed a gift I had been given – a free coaching session with one of my heroes, the world-famous chef and health coach, Andrea Beaman. Andrea, a published author, TV show host, Top Chef contestant, and overall big shot in my world, was one of the lecturers at my nutrition school, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
When I saw her face pop up on the skype screen last night I almost fainted dead away. Am I really going to lay open my soul to Andrea-freaking-Beaman?? Well, in about 30 seconds Andrea zeroed right in on the thing I have been hung up on. The next 59 minutes were spent figuring my way through it.
Here’s the deal: When I first went into health coaching I was so on fire with excitement and inspiration you couldn’t have held me back with a team of Clydesdales. As my business grew, more people began reading my articles and coming to me for advice, the good AND the bad happened, and instead of growing with it all, I hit my ceiling of comfort and started to contract.
I created all sorts of reasons for why I was contracting: mean clients, crazy blog commenters, people so blocked and frightened of change that they lashed out at me instead of themselves. I put up walls to protect myself. I stopped speaking so loudly and soon I found that I couldn’t even remember what it was I had wanted to say!
“Be moderate. Don’t offend. Speak and write in a way that people can hear your message rather than be offended and turn away.” These were the things other people were saying to me all the time, and I mistook those thoughts for my own. Last night Andrea helped me to see that when people give you advice like that, they are speaking from their own fears. The only thing I should be listening to is my own heart and the message that G-d put in it for me to share.
Today I was in a class at the gym. The other women were moaning about high cholesterol. The teacher – who I happen to know is also vegan but I never spoke to before even though I have wanted to – said “How about changing your diet instead of taking all those meds that don’t even help.” Everyone rushed to attack her because they know she is vegan and people get very defensive about that and the thought of the magnitude of change they would have to make to be like her. They were saying “Diet can’t help hereditary high cholesterol” and all the other myths people believe.
People are dying because they don’t eat well. People are DYING because they don’t eat well. People. Are. Dying.
It is true that some people don’t want to change the way they eat. They would rather suffer the consequences and in order to defend that decision, they will convince themselves – and everyone around them – that change wouldn’t help anyway. Sadly, the Western medical system is only too happy to push their drugs and their surgeries and placate the unwilling-to-change folks.
But who the heck am I to shrink back because I am afraid of people’s resistance? What about all the people who DO want to change and need my help? Isn’t my job to serve with the gifts I was given?
From now on, I am going to trust that if I have something to say it is because someone needs to hear. If you catch me shrinking again, call me on it please! And if you have the desire to tell me (or anyone else) to shrink, look within yourself first and see what you are afraid of.
What message are YOU here to deliver? People are dying. We don’t have the luxury of being scared to speak.