Mentorship: Pass it On.

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

Written by: Kirsten Frey; Transitions Life Coaching

“What is mine to learn I eagerly absorb. What is mine to teach, I willingly share.”

As a life-long learner, I love to share what I have discovered along the journey of my life. I think most of us are like this. When we discover something that excites us, inspires us, delights us, or somehow transforms us, we want to share with the world!

Physical fitness has always been a part of my life. Unlike my husband—whose passion is rugby and who played at a highly competitive level—I never excelled in any one sport or activity. I am a generalist. I like to try many things and then settle on those that resonate for me, that excite me, or just plain feel good!

Throughout my career as a police officer, strength training helped me manage the rotating shift schedule and the stress of the job. Running became a way to keep fit and clear my mind. I often ran 5-10km as part of my regular routine but started to feel the desire for a bigger goal. I began to train for a half marathon and enjoyed the training and race day so much I did several over the next couple of years. After that came a bigger goal—the marathon! I thought I knew my body. After all, I knew my way around the gym, I had had a baby, and I had completed six half marathons.

This was a whole new story.

I quickly learned that the routine and training for a half wouldn’t serve me for a full marathon. On the first longer training run, the small breakfast that normally served me well wasn’t enough and I was empty. Painfully so—it felt like my stomach was gnawing on itself. As training continued, I learned to adapt my whole eating, training and recovery practice. In October 2003, I completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. It was the most physically demanding event I have ever done. It taught me to have great respect for my body, what it was capable of and how important it was to take care of it.

All this knowledge and experience helped me when I transitioned to a career as a personal trainer and holistic nutritionist. Helping others discover for themselves what they are physically capable of and how to take care of themselves through nutrition and fitness was a tremendous privilege. When one of my clients decided she needed a big, audacious goal we created a walking group and trained to walk a marathon. I was the coach with the training plan but they were the warriors. Each week those ladies showed up for the “long walk” and built their own special community. While training their bodies, they shared stories, recipes, tears and laughter. On race day those women crossed that line. Each one of them overcoming something individual to them in the process. Marathoners. Proud, happy and strong.

At the beginning of this year, I began a journey to heal my heart. The journey truly began three years ago when I discovered I was adopted. The moment I heard those words I felt something inside me shift. I’ve always referred to it as a soul-shifting moment but now I know it was my heart breaking. Of course, it was an emotional moment. I took several weeks to understand what I could from the information I had available, came to accept it and moved on. Or so I thought.

My parents’ decision to keep the adoption secret created a barrier in our family to true openness, connection and love, and the awareness of that was a devastating loss.

I went on with my life but began to feel a restlessness. An inner prompting to make a change which put me on the path to becoming a life and health coach and Reiki practitioner. I followed the promptings, but the restlessness was still there. There was more to learn. I had begun to feel an ongoing discomfort in my chest. A deep ache that couldn’t be relieved through discussion, energy work, journaling or many of the other tools I had in my toolbox. I developed a habit of physically tapping or rubbing my chest to soothe the ache.

Early this year I met a wonderful woman who introduced me to grief recovery. She mentored me through my own healing of what was unresolved grief around the adoption and several other losses I had experienced in life. I had been using my head to heal my heart and it was the wrong tool for the job! I grew up believing that I had to be strong and if I was feeling vulnerable, I had to grieve alone. Ironically, these beliefs had me creating my own barriers to love, connection and compassion. It was transformative work. It allowed me to complete what was incomplete for me in several relationships. The resentment and judgement I carried for my parents is gone. I resolved the regret I had around our lovely dog dying. And I was able to shift the emotions I had with my son becoming an independent, self-reliant young man. The ache in my chest is no longer there. My heart feels liberated!

Now, I share this work with others. To open the discussion on grief so people don’t feel isolated and lonely. To help them discover and recover for themselves what is incomplete so they can move forward in their lives, fully expressed and free.

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