I hate the “life coach” industry. In theory, I support the idea of accreditation, training, and certification because there’s a lot of opportunity in life coaching for charlatans who aren’t actually helping people. But does every site you get to by Googling “life coach” have to be so sales-y? So “sign up for FREE Stuff and get $100 off coach training“? So often leading with the financial rewards of coaching? Does it have to read like multi-level marketing, that you should GET a life coach to decide if you want to BE a life coach? Or, pay thousands of dollars to get credentialed because you aren’t GOOD ENOUGH if you don’t have a specialized credential. It makes never want to be a life coach when I read these sites.
I want to help people. My friends have been coming to me for years for help with the life transitions, dealing with difficult people, and needing to make sense of their lives. I even have friends of friends seek me out for support. However, I don’t want to turn into some flashy marketing & sales person who spends thousands of dollars to have someone else tell me I’m good enough to do this. I just need to find the people in the market for a life coach who hate this side of the industry as much as I do.
Am I just doomed to be around dysfunctional addicts all my life? No. I want to be around, to love people who question the “functional” world we live in, but are willing to create new ways to be functional in a dysfunctional world. I want to be around creative, courageous people how are willing to face their overwhelming feelings, not always dealing with the perfectly, but having the courage to face them, not run from them.
– journal entry from September 10, 2003
Clarity in Chaos
I’m always a little shocked how insightful I was early in my waking up, how little my desires have changed in the past 6 years. My memory of that time period was that I was completely confused and lost. I don’t remember having any capacity to know what my feelings or desires were, much less any ability to express them with clarity in the first 20 pages of ever keeping a journal in my life. I remember fumbling through work with my first therapist, catching a glimmer even then that I needed more space in my workaholic life and more attention to my disordered eating patterns. Yet I remember resisting even the smallest changes, like taking a full year to put pen to paper after my therapist gave me a journal. I don’t remember anything resembling the clarity I obviously had. Confirmation of clarity only comes when we have some hindsight that yes, even 6 years later this is still what I want.
Picture credit: Graffiti Research Lab
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Head west, young (wo)man. What else is there to do when everything you believe in is disintegrating under your acidic gaze, slipping through your grubby fingers even as you try to grab on to the fading tendrils of reality? When life gets so convoluted that the only thing that gets you excited anymore is the thought of living out of your car for three months … that’s when you head west.
Unfortunately, once you start the journey you realize that heading west is more of a placebo than a panacea. It doesn’t actually fix whatever problems underlie the desire to head west, but it does make your head think things are better, if just for a bit.
The idea of heading west is a better pill than the actual western experience. As long as it all stays in your head, you can believe that the enormous sky and snow-capped Rockies can engulf your emotional anxiety and wash it clean away.
Maybe there was a time when heading west wasn’t just a placebo, when Route 66 wasn’t just a few dilapidated Main Streets now called Business I-40, when the road was brand new and not cracked from disuse and disrepair, when the road was more important than the destination itself. Maybe there was a time when the asphalt/concrete of Route 66 itself seeped miracle cures for heartache, loneliness, and the quiet desperation bred by a consuming consumer lifestyle. Maybe those times are just the stories we like to tell ourselves about how things used to be, hoping against hope that at some point in the history of the world there must have been an easy pill to pop, an obvious action to take, a simple road to drive on to pull our lives back together.
– journal entry from my move to Durango, March 4, 2004