Interchange Weekend 1

A few months ago I announced my plans to join a school and was too timid to even name the school for fear someone would look it up, judge me up one side and down the other, then burst my bubble that the school was a fly-by-night scam and that I was an idiot. Then I quit worrying about what people would think and asked the Internet for FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

The Internet gave me $5,150. Someone must’ve told the Internet my Sammy vs. Dave beliefs

And last weekend I started that school: Interchange Counseling Institute

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Later tonight (I started this post on Thursday night) I will trade practice sessions with a classmate, which sounded daunting until late Sunday afternoon came around. 

At the end of the first training weekend I felt a bit overwhelmed and under skilled. So many of my classmates are currently counselors or have extensive experience in talking with people on a personal level. I couldn’t give myself the credit I needed of being perfectly apt at carrying a classmate through a conversation for 30 minutes. I was overthinking it, like I do. And my ‘not good enough’ were having a raging good time up there in my head. 

Fortunately, fate paired me off with a gifted counselor who cleared me out of my own way. I grasped a sliver of confidence like a relay baton and took my turn as counselor. What happened in the next 30 minutes was personally astonishing. Of course I won’t share any details about our talk but there was this moment where things clicked inside. I was all the way with this wonderful human and I heard a clue. I took a risk and asked a question. I hit pay dirt. My client had an immediate, visceral, positive reaction and I physically felt the bullseye in my own body.

I COUNSELED SOMEONE. I didn’t give advice, I didn’t pat their head and say ‘There, there…it’ll all be ok”. I took all the pieces given to me, looked at them closely and snapped them together. Then handed them back and said, “Look. There’s that thing you’re looking for. It’s right here.” Or something. I’m sort of terrible at analogies. 

That was the biggest moment, knowing that I was a counselor. There were plenty of other cool observances and happenings. So many. And I didn’t live tweet it, either. In fact, I mostly left my phone with my stuff on the side of the room — ignored for hours on end. At one point my son was frustrated I hadn’t answered his first 30 texts that said “Mom”. So he sent 17 more in various form, called 15 times and left 5 voicemails ranging from angry to tearful. But he lived and so did Twitter. (His phone wasn’t charging. That was the big, ironic emergency.)

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My classmates range in age from early 20s to, uh, 70ish? Ethnically and socially diverse, soccer moms mixed in with Burning Man regulars. Loud, bright men mixed in with quiet and shy women. And vice versa. All good-hearted. All highly emotionally intelligent. When I realized I was in a room with 150 of ‘my people’ my eyes filled with happy tears. 

The meeting facility is at Ft. Mason and when we look out the window there’s a view of a marina. Beyond that, was the Golden Gate Bridge. Mostly the weekend weather was completely and totally perfect with just enough fog to be charming. 

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I uncovered things about myself that surprised me. Did you know that I have some places where I’m closed off and protected? I hope to work on that in a gentle, purposeful way. I also hope to find more places that need light and fresh air. I’m ready to really flourish. 

Choosing the Mighty Life

For about a year I’ve been thinking about pursuing life coach training, a path to which I seem pretty drawn, but I just can’t seem to make the commitment. There are a lot of programs out there that provide various depths of education and range from a 2-day weekend seminar all the way up to a 4-year degree and beyond. I already have one of those 4-year degrees and wasn’t eager to embark upon that massive feat, nor did I see the value in traipsing to a 2-day seminar to hand over my money in exchange for some official designation as a Life Coach. 

If you are anywhere near responsible for coaching lives, it should take more than a seminar. 

So, to procrastinate in my classic pattern, I bought books. For a year I bought books. And I even read most of them. They are books I was and still am excited about. Loving What Is by Byron Katie. The Power of Now and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. This was in addition to all my Brene Brown work. And I told myself that once I got through 4 specific Martha Beck books that were pre-requirements for enrolling in her training, that’d I’d enroll. That was the training that my own life coach completed before she began practicing. Good enough for her, good enough for me. 

Except I haven’t finished the Martha books and didn’t enroll in her perfectly lovely training. It never felt all the way right. There were no signs. 

About 10 days ago I got a clear-as-a-bell sign. Or series of them, if you will. 

Lately I’ve been downright obsessed with a dating app called Tinder. My friends have, too. We have been meeting guys and whatnot–lots of matches. Lots of mismatches. Lots of creepers. Lots of amazeball guys. Several instances of bad timing. But, all in all, it’s been fun and a nice little crutch for this lady as she entered the dating world from a long break. However, I recently claimed I was shutting it all down — it was just too distracting. Too frustrating. The bad was outweighing the good. 

Then I matched with This One Guy from Tulsa. His profile caught my attention because, unlike the majority of the hundreds of profiles I’d scanned before his, he actually seemed like a happy guy. What struck me in particular was the phrase, “I live an incredible life”. When he introduced himself and started interviewing me he asked why my profile said, “Advisor to many and love figuring out how to hep people live more fully, myself included.” I told him about Brene Brown and Eckhart Tolle and my many epiphanies. 

Soon he mentioned he had just completed about a year of life coach training. 

I honest-to-god gasped at my phone. Then my soul giggled that deep, knowing kind of chuckle when I realize I’ve stumbled onto something important. 

The next day I began googling all of the things and discovered that his school was in San Francisco. For those playing along, I am psychotically in love with the Bay Area. I also learned that the program is 10 weekend sessions over the course of 9 months with lots of reading and peer calls in between. For those playing along, I love people. In-person people. See up there at the top of my blog where it talks about the people? 

The tuition was a lot less but with plane tickets, it’s going to be about the same as Martha’s program. 

But with real-life people! And in San Francisco! I could revolutionize my heart and gain professional training on something I naturally practice every day with friends in view of the Golden Gate Bridge. No shit. I had no idea such a place existed.

The Universe finally got my attention for a coaching program by delivering it to me via a hot guy then placed it in San Francisco. I call these little serendipitous elements, Trail Markers. Sheri, you’re on the right path. See? I marked the trail with things you pay attention to just to be sure you see what I see. It suddenly seemed like a no-brainer. 

Except I wasn’t sure how the money would work out. Of course Fear had to make an appearance. 

I hemmed. I hawed. I flipped and flipped through my calendar. I scoured their website. I made phone calls and texted Team Sheri. To one friend I said, “I should be a life coach, right? I’m not just imagining this?” To which this person replied, 

I believe your life experiences have led you to become a person who sees life in a way most people don’t. You’ve helped get my head together, and over the last two years you’ve been unbelievably patient with me as I’ve banged my head against the same wall over and over. You never passed judgement on me. You only offered sympathy and objective advice whether it was something I wanted to hear or not. You led the proverbial horse to water and sat patiently until I decided to drink. You’ve been my life-coach for the last two years, so yes, I think it’s something you should pursue.

The money will sort itself out, it always does. The time investment will sort itself out, too.

In October I board a plane bound for my favorite city. I’m enrolled in a SCHOOL FOR FEELINGS!

It’s like Camp Mighty once a month! But with more heart work and less palm trees.  And probably not a pool. I was bummed when I learned that Camp Mighty was discontinued but now that turn of events is just another Trail Marker.

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A love note from me to you, pretty lady.

Do you need a love note? Here you go. I found this lovey quote online this afternoon and decided to turn it into a quick graphic. 

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