I am on a mission to champion unconditional listening and hope. Hope. Not as in optimism, but as Václav Havel writes, “hope is…not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
I am on a mission to be a leader of our planet’s return to balance and harmony, using a phrase inspired by Lynne Twist in her sharing of the wisdom of indigenous tribes predicting our world would be experiencing what we currently are. Lynne described our current times as a most intense birthing process to bring new life into being. I like to think of it as the world cracking open, like a butterfly preparing to unfold its wings as it gets its bearings from having been a caterpillar in a cocoon. Or an ugly duckling before it discovers it is a beautiful, graceful swan.
I am answering a call. To teach people how to more deeply listen. Within. To each other. Through space virtually when people are not able to be together physically and when a loved one – human or fur – has crossed to the other side. To one’s body. And to Spirit, which for me, I connect to largely when I am immersed in Nature, as you may have just learned if you listened to the video with the image of my dear Ginger.
How? As teacher. Author. Coach. Writer. Speaker. Through workshops, courses, 1×1 coaching, written life stories, published books, monthly blogs, speaking engagements.
How? By being present and listening to you. By being present and seeing you. For people just want to be seen and heard. And, as Cheryl Richardson once wrote “people start to heal the moment they feel heard”.
How? By unconditionally listening to then offer a framing or reframing of one’s life stories from self-judgment to self-worthy, from uncertain to hope-fully, from grieving to embracing, from shame to dignity, from separated to a sense of whole. This includes sharing from the daily practice with my own, for it is a lifetime journey the framing – and re-framing – of our life story.
How, by starting from a centering within that joy and suffering are the circles of life, and that we keep life moving forward in the choosing of which wolf we feed.
Who I am in service to? It includes all ages from elementary children to individuals in the “winter season” (aging in their 80’s / 90’s), individuals on a healing journey with P.T.S.D., and leaders who find themselves experiencing a significant transition such as onboarding into a new role in a new location or questioning if it is time for a career change.
I am in service to those who seek emotional healing and who feel a longing to not just go through the motions of living life, but to thrive. Joyfully, peacefully, hopefully.
I anticipate your first thought is to search for my credentialing. Maybe you think of
Professionalism. How, if you are a leader in an organization or in community, I can relate through having leadership experience and expertise on various boards and through twenty-six years in a corporate environment in sixteen distinct roles of ever-increasing responsibility and diverse global experiences.
Or certifications or degrees. Like how I added to my experiences and expertise through earning a MA in Organizational Leadership. Or the months long certification programs I continue to take to enhance my expertise in walking beside others on their inner journey to wholeness.
Or my writing. Such as life story writer for hospice, for survivors of domestic violence, for those with early-stage Alzheimer’s, for elementary-aged children, as well as being a published author of two books. My memoir and a compilation of military veteran life stories who have found hope and healing with the aid of their service dogs on their journeys with P.T.S.D. Or as I like to reframe it, pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, for each of us as human beings have known at least one of those elements in the stories of our lives.
May I now share some of my “real” credentialing?
There is a story of my life from childhood when I would crawl under the TV to get to my bedroom so that I would not be seen, nor heard. There are the additional chapters of childhood where I wrote with certainty the repeated sentences of “not worthy” and “be ashamed”. I also added paragraphs to each chapter with the theme of “don’t let them see you cry”.
Perhaps you have similar chapters in your story.
I am someone who believes that we learn best through opposites, and that our souls enter a lifetime in human form with intentions for what we want to learn in our life. Yet, because our souls do not remember what we wanted to learn as human beings when we are born, we first need to learn the opposite of our intentions so that we can then spend the remainder of our life working to realize what we most wanted to achieve.
I will use my story as an example. These are words I wrote for my leadership philosophy when I was completing my MA.
Because I once was seeking hope and faith in the painful ebbs of life, I hold compassion for those who seek purpose in what they currently cannot explain. Because I have experienced self-worthlessness, I empathize with others who are searching for self-worth. Because I know the feeling that my voice is not worthy of being heard, I can hear the voices of others that are not able to find their own voice to speak. And I know the transformational journey from a sense of loss to finding hope, faith, healing, purpose, and most of all love.
There is an awakening that begins to happen. That cracking open like a swan egg or like a butterfly that starts to emerge from a cocoon. A point in time when we start to question the chapters of our story. When our soul is trying to get our attention that we have done well learning the opposite of our intentions and now it is time to start shifting. To start reframing.
To make it matter that it happened as it did.
These words my cracking open.
I have shared this story in many forums, and I will share it here for those who haven’t heard it or read it. At a certain point near a Christmas holiday, I had heard about a tragic car accident. I could not shake this story from my consciousness. It was with me like clothes I could wear, sitting heavier on me than the warmest winter coat. All five of these individuals were strangers – random names in a media story; yet a sorrow within me as if they were people I knew.
Recognizing my grief, a friend spoke these words to me. Christine, everything that happens – good, as well as tragic – is planned. If you make a positive change in your life because of this accident – perhaps you drive slower when the roads are icy, or you express love more frequently – you will give purpose to why this accident happened. You will make it matter that it did.
Following my friend’s words, I read what would become three life-shifting books for me. One was Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz. The second was The Little Soul and the Sun by Neale Donald Walsch. And the third was The Journey Home: A Kryon Parable by Lee Carroll. These three books, along with mentors I was blessed to have intersect with my path, brought me to an understanding that life is not lived just of the mind. Nor the body. A whole life also includes the soul.
It was what I refer to as that inner whisper (my soul) that led me to the MA program, a holistic leadership program whose foundation is that leadership is of the mind, body, soul, and a spiritual connection whatever that Source may be. A program that also taught me leadership is not just in an organization; it is how we lead in the choices we make every day of our lives. And how we frame our life stories as we do. Leading. Living. Thriving. Begins with an inner walk.
My calling to utilize my gifts of seeing and hearing the voices that may not feel seen and heard or who may feel their story is not worthy of being heard also led me to writing life stories. First, at Hospice after two profound personal experiences writing my grandma’s eulogy and a letter for a friend whose son had tragically passed away that would teach me the power of using the listening, reframing, and writing gifts I have been given to help someone else heal the painful sentence or chapter of their story. People at the end of their life did not “just” receive a legacy life story for their loved ones; they received grace and dignity to leave this Earth feeling the extraordinariness of their story. For every story is.
On the journey of writing my first published book, I further developed my gift to see and hear others even when physical space separates. I learned how to look grief in the eye, and I affirmed what I had come to believe; death is not goodbye. If we choose to see. When my path was led to a veteran and his service dog, learning that twenty-two lives per day reach the end of hope, Hope Has a Cold Nose would become my second publication. The words a friend said to me nearly thirty years ago fueling every page of the manuscript, through every story I had the sacred honor of hearing as the storytellers shared their chapters of pain, trauma, sorrow, despair. And grief.
Make it matter that it did.
And then there are the experiences in which my soul utilized my body to communicate what needed to heal internally. That on the pathway to whole, it is not just the mind. Nor the soul. Nor a connection only to Spirit, whoever Spirit may be for you (God, Universe, Source, Nature, and so forth). It is an integration of these and the body. The body is an incredible communicator of where we are not whole. Just ask my legs. And my skin.
I can tell you sometime if our paths further cross. I would welcome our paths doing so!
If you have read this far, thank YOU for listening! Please continue to explore. You will find my monthly email communications under the tab “Messages of Hope”. Feel free to subscribe to receive future messages. You will find a variety of ways I would be glad to walk beside you on your inner path journey under the tab “Serving Stories of Life”. (Note: subscribing to emails will also provide notifications when courses and other events are scheduled.). You will find a link to the books I have published, as well as a couple of books I was blessed to be a contributor for. (You can also explore past interviews and media events featuring Hope Has a Cold Nose.) And of course, you can reach out to me using the “Contact” tab with any questions or simply to say Hi.
I will leave you with this. You matter. Your story matters. You are worthy of being seen and heard.
Every day, in whatever ways you show up doing the best you can to lead your life through the day, you are also narrating your story and how you narrate your story is you starting place in how you are hearing and seeing the stories that include other individuals. For example, if your starting place includes self-doubt, the lens through which you hear and see will be doubtful of others.
Every day, in whatever ways you show up doing the best you can to lead your life through each day, you are narrating your story and that story has a purpose. At the very deepest part of you, there is an inner whisper that wants you to thrive. No matter what your story has been, or is, you are meant to make it matter that your story has happened exactly as it has. I know, because I found a way to make my story matter for happening exactly as it has.
When we can listen not from a place of what we want to know but from a place of what others wish to share, we are providing that nonjudgmental, compassionate space for healing – Hope Has a Cold Nose
It would be my honor to hold that nonjudgmental, compassionate space for you to find that
Hope Is in the extraordinary story of YOU.