I’ve written a couple of forum posts for my classes recently that I wanted to share. The first was for my Mind Body Science course, during the module in which we explored the role of spirit and spirituality in the mind-body connection. We were directed to write our “spiritual autobiography” and to discuss the influences that have helped make us who we are. Here is what I posted:
This has been a very difficult assignment for me, as I don’t really consider myself to be a very spiritual person, and I couldn’t really identify any creative works, events, people that have influenced me in a spiritual way. After days of thinking it over, I finally just asked myself, “What do I believe in?” and decided to free-write. That made it a little bit easier to start, but we’ll see what the outcome is.
I believe in interconnection between people, animals, and nature. I believe that everything we do affects others, even people we’ve never met before or will never meet. I believe in the power of a strong sense of belonging, although that is something that’s currently missing in my life. I believe in love, compassion, shared experience, and affection.
The idea of shared experience, in particular, is something that has cropped up in my life at various points, mostly since my late teens. I’ve experienced trauma, mental illness, and loss, and I’ve discovered the importance of knowing that there are other people in the world who have been in my shoes. Even if I never meet or speak to those people and only read or hear their stories, just knowing that we have that connection of a shared experience is important to my sense of self and my understanding of the world. I believe that everyone has some kind of connection or shared interest/experience with everyone else, something that can create a bond on some level.
Even with 7 billion people on this earth, it truly is a small world, and I’ve discovered that through my travels. I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I spent 3 months in Ireland as an exchange student in 2006. During those three months, I met another person from Pittsburgh at a pub; I took a weekend trip with a group that included a young woman from Germany who had been an exchange student at a high school 20 minutes away from my own high school; and I met a guy from the Czech Republic who did not speak English, but as soon as I said I was from Pittsburgh, his eyes lit up and he said the name of a Czech hockey player who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The human connection is something that fascinates me and that I hold in very high regard. Whether I’m reading something on PostSecret and saying, “hey, me, too!”, reminiscing about my time as a volunteer with children in Romania as I look at a stranger’s pictures of their own time there, empathizing with someone who has lost a loved one, or reading a story about a random act of kindness—each experience of that interconnection, no matter how simple or small, has me awestruck at the Oneness of humanity and the idea that I share something powerful, wonderful—and yes, sometimes painful—with people I will never meet. In that moment, I know them. I am them.
The second post comes from this week in my Applied Healing Strategies course. We’re into the professional development segment of this course, when we learn how to really explore our visions for our practices and how to begin to bring the vision into reality.
Why Do I Serve?
Prompt: Why do you feel called to do the work that you do? What is your vision in terms of how you are helping facilitate transformation in the lives of others through coaching? This is about connecting to your purpose. Connect to the spirit of your work, where energy comes through to serve others and ground this in the world.
I’ve been thinking about this question, “why do I serve?” for several days, and my absolute simplest answer is, “because I can.”
I thought of Mister Rogers’ quote about looking for the “helpers,” and I thought about how I’ve always gravitated towards that role–in school and extracurriculars, in college, in travel. It’s why I studied social work. I always knew that I would end up in some kind of helping professional because I’ve always had the mindset of, “If I have something to offer that somebody else can use, why shouldn’t I share it?” Whether it’s money, food, fun, material goods, knowledge…I’m willing to share it with whomever needs it.
In the case of coaching, change is difficult, and it’s extra difficult when we try to navigate it alone. Potential clients need help in order to help themselves, and I plan to serve in that helping role once again by sharing my knowledge, expertise, and skills.