I didn’t have a great childhood. I can count on one hand the positive memories I have of my mother. Now, I find myself a parent of a teenager, and as I raise him into adulthood I find that I am rewriting my own childhood story. At this time in my life, as I rewrite my past, I also find myself safe enough to process the emotions of my past that were previously unavailable to me. That’s one of the amazing things about us as humans; our animal-selves will protect us from things we cannot handle. This is why actively creating a life where we feel safe and carving out time for healing is so important.
By the time I was my son’s age, I had already been cast off. I had a history of days and nights alone. I didn’t have a stable home or parent figure in my life. I have no memories of an adult helping me learn boundaries and right from wrong, I was never grounded for coming home late, there was no consequences for bad choices, I never got help with homework or had to eat my vegetables. I have no memories of an adult listening to my troubles with friends or boys, guiding me emotionally, telling me that I mattered, sharing joy in my accomplishments, or making sure I was safe.
I do have memories of my mom coming home to our one bedroom apartment and waking me up and telling me to go from the one bed we had to the couch so that she and her boyfriend could have the bed, and then trying to fall back asleep on the couch to the loud noises of them having sex. I remember stealing toilet paper from the public bathrooms in town because we had none in the house for weeks. I remember lonely meals of weak coffee made from re-used grounds, and grits from the food kitchen.
As I watch my son at this age, I see how much he needs and thrives with a strong family and strong parenting. For a long time my story about my past was that what happened to me didn’t really matter because I was “mostly an adult anyways” when my mom checked out. That is just flat-out not true. Teenagers aren’t mentally and biologically developed to handle adult issues.
Now, my life is filled with meals together as a family, homework together at the table, my husband and I cheering on the sidelines of every single thing my son is involved with, afternoons of just listening to him share his life, troubles, successes, worries and hopes, play and laughter with his friends their families, strong community, clear boundaries, and evenings when my son, husband and I are just snuggled together on the couch. I can’t tell you the exquisite cocktail of emotions within me. Joy at my current life, pride in myself as a parent, grief and heartache for the injustices my younger self suffered, and compassion for my own mother. It is all there.
The more I parent my own child, the more I understand certain aspects of my story, and the more compassion I have for some of the choices I made early in my adulthood (like my first marriage to a drug addict). I even have tenderness for who I am now, the mental and emotional hurdles I have, and the healing work that I am still doing. This isn’t about blame or excuses – it’s about understanding. Trauma, abandonment…these things stay with us and become a part of our story. As I learn to have compassion for myself, my compassion for others grows as well. It really is true that if you could walk a mile in another person’s shoes, you would understand why they are the way that they are.
I have committed my life to healing and to helping others heal. It’s a courageous journey, my friends. It is vulnerable to have compassion for others. It is brave to re-write your story. It is valiant to go after your dreams and goals and become the person you want to be.
I am so proud and grateful for the person I am, the coaching and mediation work I do, and the life I’ve created. I’m also incredibly proud of you and what you’ve achieved. I might not know your entire story – but I know it took resilience and courage. I’m grateful for you. For the courage you’ve had to show up everyday. You are pretty incredible.
The greatest power we have to heal the world is to heal ourselves. To create peace in the world, we must first create it within our own hearts. This isn’t about finding the ‘silver lining’, it’s not an abstract idea, or a mental thought – and it’s definitely not about sweeping the unsavory parts of your story under the rug or pretending everything is rainbows and unicorns. This is an invitation to come into the light, to see the plain truth of your story and to accept all of it with open arms.
Do you have a desire to make a difference in the world, but you find that you are just too busy? Sometimes it can feel like changing the world is just too much effort. Here are 6 simple ways that you can make a difference today (with hardly any effort at all).
1. Smile. Be Positive.
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing" - Mother Teresa
When you choose to be the most positive person you know, the world will begin to transform around you. Positivity is a choice, and you can make it at any time.
2. Make Eye Contact.
“Eye contact is way more intimate than words will ever be.” - Faraaz Kazi
Every human on this planet is yearning for a deeper connection with other humans. It is part of our humanness. Give yourself (and another) the gift of a simple connection through eye contact. Try this with your cashier next time you are at the store, with another mom when you pick your kid up at school, or with the person at the cubicle next to yours. Add #1 (a smile) and you're on fire!
3. Slow Down.
"Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer." – William S. Burroughs
Slowing down is a gift to the world because when you slow down and become more centered, you have more wisdom to offer the world. Allow your wisdom to bubble to the surface by slowing down your life.
4. Live Authentically.
"You change the world by being yourself." -Yoko Ono
I would argue that this is the biggest way that you can make a difference in the world. Investing the time and money to discover who you really are and what you need to thrive, and then committing to living that courageously has a lasting impact on the world around you.
5. Be Curious.
"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't." -Bill Nye
Curiosity is one of the most valuable tools in your Emotional Intelligence tool belt! When you lead with curiosity you have the power to see people and situations in ways that you never have before. This, in turn, allows you to have an impact that you've never had before.
6. Simply Show Up.
"Just put your soul into it. If you show up physically with the soles of your feet, the heart, mind, and soul will have a chance to follow or catch up. You may not want to be there in the beginning, but showing up allows a committed chance at making a difference everyday for the people you love, the people you will meet, and the eventual person you will become. Show up." ~Holli Gran
Showing up is about being brave enough to be 100% present in any situation, to fail with style, to laugh until your belly hurts, to give freely, to love fiercely. When you do this, you give other people permission to do the same. This makes the world a brighter place to live. <3
The first thing to understand about conflict is that it's okay. It's a normal, natural part of life. Conflict is the birthplace of freedom, innovation & change. Conflict helps us better understand ourselves, and invites us to grow and to understand others.
How we respond to conflict shows our character, shapes our outcomes, and defines our relationships. In fact, how we respond to conflict is one of the primary ways that each of us shape our lives. Conflict can open you up to experiencing more of the richness of life, or it can wither and close you. It can bring you closer to people, or it can distance you from others.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself the next time that you have the opportunity to respond to conflict:
Am I curious about you?
The second step to navigating conflict is being curious about the other person. Each of us operates from our own (very unique) 'story' about the world and the way things work. When you are able to understand the situation from another's point of view, it will help get you closer to a resolution that will work for both of you. Remember, understanding another person's perspective doesn't mean that you have to give up your own.
What do I want for you? for me? for this relationship?
Being clear on what you want for yourself, what you want for the other person, and what you want for the relationship is key to solving conflict. So many times we are hijacked by our emotions that we say we want one thing and then we do an action that is guaranteed to take us further from what we want! For example, we say we want to be closer to our neighbor, but then we get angry about something they did, and we post a nasty story about it on Facebook. Or, we say we want to have a more trusting, intimate relationship with our spouse, and then our feelings are hurt so we make a snide comment to cut them down. Aligning what you want with the actions you take (and not being a slave to your emotions) will transform conflict in your life. Note: if you think something like "Well I want the other person to suffer until they know how much they hurt me" - go back to step one .
for someone to do some specific action you've set out for them in your mind; you might want to double check that you are doing the exact behavior that you are expecting from them.
What action can I take to get what I want for you, me, & this relationship?
Now here is the final step: action. This is your opportunity to manage your emotions, and choose the path that will get you more of what you ultimately want. This is a time for you to align yourself with the person you really want to be. You get choose how to respond rather than just reacting.
You can choose to allow conflict to open you up, or let it close you down in fear of further pain.
Here are some book recommendations on this subject:
Life Coaching is an amazing process. I established my business in 2010, and since that time I have worked with hundreds of clients. 100% of the people I have worked with have achieved positive results. This is not because of me, the reason for this success rate is because of MY CLIENTS! Everyone has inside of them the answers, wisdom and drive that they need to lead the life they were born to live. The process of life coaching is specifically designed to "unveil" the clients' greatness (because it's already there!).
Here is how life coaching works:
First time sessions are usually given for free. This session usually is 45-60 minutes long, and can take place in-person, over the phone or over video chat. This first-time session allows the coach to evaluate if the client is ready for life coaching, and the client to determine if the coach is a good fit. If the coach feels like the client is ready, and the client feels comfortable with the coach, yea!! A good match has been made and you move to step two.
If the coach discovers that the client is not ready for coaching, the coach will explain what would have to change in order to move forward. If the client feels like the coach is not a good fit, another coach can be recommend. The coach/client relationship is where the power is, so discovering a good fit is imperative. I usually suggest that clients interview 2-3 coaches before selecting one to work with. Some coaches also offer sessions for groups or couples.
Pricing and Scheduling
Some life coaches require time commitments (usually one session per week for 12 weeks), some coaches require payment of the entire contract in full, and other coaches operate on a flexible session-to-session basis. There are lots of variables. Life coaches usually charge $50 to $350 per hour. Occasionally, coaches will charge more, and that is discussed in my blog here.
Usually, emails and text messages in-between sessions are included in that cost, but not always. Life coaches also keep different hours, and have varying policies on cancellations. It is important to remember that this is another part of the coaching relationship that you need to feel comfortable with, so ask the questions you need to ask during your first-time intake/free session.
Beginning a relationship with a life coach should never feel like a high-pressure sale, so if you feel like you're being sold a used car, that should be a red flag. Working with a coach should feel safe and positive. It can sometimes be uncomfortable as you face the things blocking you - but it should always feel safe and positive.
Now that you've created an agreement with your coach about session scheduling and payments, the coaching relationship begins!! In Coaching, there are several main aspects:
Life coaches are excellent listeners and can offer you a safe place to talk about all of the things that are trapped in your head. Life Coaching is completely confidential, so you can be sure that what you say during your session will stay in session. Do you have things that you've been afraid or ashamed to share? Your life coach can provide a safe space for you to bring these things out into the light. It is amazing how sometimes just getting it out can heal what has been previously in the dark.
This includes strategies and tactics and doing what I call the “inner work”. This includes identifying and updating the core beliefs and habits currently creating your life experiences. It also includes investigating and discovering just what makes you, YOU. This includes identifying your values and aligning your thoughts and actions with them. This self-awareness will allow you to clearly understand your needs & tap into your unlimited creativity to meet these needs (meaning you no longer have to wait for someone/something to be different so that you can be happy).
This is about expanding your tool chest. This includes learning new "tools" to put in your EQ (emotional intelligence) tool-belt. This includes things like learning compassionate communication skills, conflict resolution, not taking things personally, self-awareness, and learning to respond rather than react.
Planning and Action
This is where you go out into the world and take action! These actions can include making phone calls, doing research, having a courageous conversation, committing to a fitness, gratitude, or self care practice designed during your session, -- or any number of positive actions that will bring your goals closer. Your coach is also there to hold you accountable for taking the actions you commit to. Often these actions require you moving through fear and discomfort to do things you haven't done before. That's great! Your coach will be there to support you through the entire process.
Support and Investigation
Your coach can help support you in taking action, hold you accountable for your actions, or send you reminders to do the actions you've committed to. In this way, your coach is like your own personal assistant to help you to reach your goals.
This is the fun part! Your coach will acknowledge your brilliance, and celebrate with you all your amazing accomplishments.
Please Note: Coaching should NEVER include advice or judgment.
Finally, let's talk certification. There is a governing body that assures that life coaches have the required number of education and client hours for certification, this organization is called the International Coaching Federation (ICF). If certification is important to you, ask your coach if they are ICF certified. I am ICF certified, and I believe in Coaching Certification. However, I have met many life coaches who do amazing work who have no ICF certification. Define what is important to you and ask the questions you need to feel comfortable with the coach you hire.
Mindy Amita Aisling
ICF Life Coach,
NFPT Fitness Trainer,
OMA Certified Mediator
Mindy Aisling is a certified life and business coach in Bend, OR, exceeding all of the educational requirements & training set forth by the ICF.
She has worked with such organizations as St. Charles Hospital, Soroptimists, The Dispute Resolution Center, Olympic Medical Center, Americorps, and Juvenile and Family Services.
Mindy has been featured in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Bend Bulletin, The Peninsula Daily News, KOMO 4 TV, The Oregonian and many more. You can learn more about Mindy here.
Mindy offers professional, affordable online coaching to clients around the world, and local coaching to clients in Bend, Oregon.
Licensed and Insured