“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” - Epictetus
This month’s BOOM huddle is going to be different. Normally this is when I would share pictures of my progress along with my current weight and measurements. I would share tips on maintaining your nutrition and the many insights I’ve gotten from Coach Lance’s LG1 Nutrition Program.
But I can’t bring myself to do that today. There is something important I want to talk about.
I thought long and hard about how I would write this post because I am bursting at the seams to be vulnerable, candid and completely transparent with whoever reads this blog. It’s hard for me to write any other way. I teetered back and forth between convincing myself to forget about it and keeping it upbeat and fitness related...to going totally off script and baring my soul. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is no better way to help people than to dig deep and be completely authentic.
When I was training to become a coach at LFT they suggested I find a word that would represent me as a coach. My word immediately popped into my head, without hesitation…”connection”. My highest priority as a coach is to connect with people. It is through connection that we can open up and accept help. Connection is how we build trust with each other. When it all comes down to it, connection is what we all long for. To be seen, heard and understood.
If my word is connection, why on earth would I disconnect during these blogs?
So here goes.
Today is my daughter Aisley’s 6th birthday. What most of you aren’t aware of is that she died on this day 6 years ago during childbirth at 41 weeks. The day I met her was the same day I had to say goodbye.
Why am I sharing this? This is a blog about achieving goals, getting fit and finding health right?
This is where I’m going to pivot.
If simply exercising and eating well was the key to a healthy, happy life we would all be set. It would be easy. However, life has a way of hijacking your plans and knocking you out whenever it wants to. If we can’t cope with our emotions, we get lost. If our minds and hearts aren’t as well tended to as our bodies…our efforts will repeatedly fail.
We are constantly forgetting about our minds and hearts.
I know I am not alone in my pain. Many, if not most of you have also experienced a tragic loss or a trauma that hovers over your life like a dark cloud. Most of us carry our pain around like a secret, letting it weigh us down day after day. When asked how we are doing, no matter what the true answer is we say, “fine” with a smile. I’m guilty of that as well as I even said it this morning. It feels strange to respond, “I’m devastated. How are you?”
I wanted to share a couple of the most important things I’ve learned about life that have helped me slowly recover. These are key ways you can care for your hearts and minds, especially if you are suffering from a trauma.
Connect through our pain
One of the most important things I’ve learned after losing my daughter is that the deepest way we connect is by sharing our struggles and our pain. When someone tells me they achieved something amazing I am so thrilled for them, but nothing connects me to another person like hearing them share something from that secret box of pain that barely sees the light of day. Don’t get me wrong I feel connected to others through joy and happiness, but the pain often needs attention even more.
There is something very powerful that happens when we share our pain. Even writing it down on paper (even if no one ever reads it) there is a liberation or unburdening that occurs. I encourage you to share your pain with others and encourage them to do the same. Speak with a therapist, a friend, talk to me or as I said write about it, just get it out in the open.
Go through it, not around it
This is something I recommend you do with a certified trauma therapist (I have an amazing one I’m happy to share). Many of you probably already know this but pretending you aren’t in pain might work temporarily, but it won’t work forever. Much like a physical injury, we can dance around it but it will only worsen over time. That is why when we are caught off guard with something that reminds us of our trauma, like a song or a smell or a person...we lose it. It was there all along even though you scrambled around it like the elephant in the room. Now for those of you that haven’t experienced a specific loss or trauma, this can be anything that causes you to struggle. Issues with family or friends, struggles at work, depression, a low self-image…whatever eats away at you, you can’t ignore it. You have to look at it. You have to examine it. Break it down into pieces, find out its source. As scary as this is, it’s the only way to move through it. If you do this work you will realize it doesn’t have as much power over you as you thought.
Find the beauty
This is where I may initially lose some of you and frankly this is why I felt I needed to share my loss with you. If you didn’t know that I’ve had to rebuild myself from the lowest of lows you might not trust what I’m saying.
I had to find the beauty in what happened to me. I had to turn my pain into power. I couldn’t do it right away. There is a purpose for all your emotions even the seemingly negative ones. There is also often a need to retreat, lick your wounds, and/or be furious at how unfair it is that you’ve had to endure what you did. This is all part of it and in my opinion, you can go back to that place any time you need to.
Just don’t live there.
When you are ready, you need to step back into the world and see it with new eyes. It’s clear to see what is horrible and painful, but finding the beauty takes a bit more effort.
For example. One of the terrible things that has come with my loss (aside from the obvious - never seeing my daughter again) is that I sometimes get overwhelmingly terrified that I will lose her brothers as well. The slap in the face of how short life truly is has left a mark that will never fade. What I’ve come to realize is that this awareness also allows me to be more present and love my family even more intensely than I ever could have before. I soak my boys up completely (husband included) as often as I can. When I’m not being present and experiencing the moment it doesn’t take long before my radar goes off and I quickly reprioritize. In all reality it’s nearly impossible to live in a state of being fully present, "in the moment" every second of the day...but a healthy perspective will allow you to be there much more often.
Another example of finding the beauty is realizing that you can help others who are like you. There are so many volunteer opportunities for so many amazing causes. Causes that help people with post-traumatic stress disorder, victims of abuse and/or rape, families who have lost children or loved ones, people struggling with anxiety, depression…you name it. And if it doesn’t exist yet you can create it. Start a fundraiser and donate the money to a worthy cause. Start your own nonprofit. Bring people together. Join or create a group for people who have gone through something similar…connect through that pain. This is how you can get that power back.
I know so many of you have pain you don’t know what to do with. I see you. I hope this completely off script, yet completely necessary blog post will help many of you. If it helps even one of you it was worth writing. Please don’t forget about your hearts and your minds. Until you break apart that pain you won’t be able to focus on the goals in front of you. Remember that no matter how low you might be you can start rebuilding today, and just as importantly, even when you reach “the top” you must tend to that heart and mind just the same.
That's our talk for today. Bring it in for the biggest virtual hug I could ever give. Chins up. See you in the Boom Room.
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Coach Loni also runs the LFT blog, bringing you informative, uplifting and motivating articles and videos to help you achieve your goals and live your best life.