In the midst of a global pandemic, wildfires and too many more horrible things to list, babies are being born. The despair, sadness and fear are opposed by emotions of joy, hope and beauty. Both can exist. 

“Both, and” is an expression I learned many long years ago in my Co-Active Coaching Training. It was a life ring tossed to me, well actually, gently and lovingly shown/modeled to me for me to grab when I was certain it was not possible to have immense sadness and joy at the same time. Learning that it is indeed possible to have joy and sorrow, that our brilliant brains can do this cool thing, was more than a life ring for me. It was an endless oxygen tank (tiny and weightless no less) that I have carried with me to this day. 

When I was lovingly and firmly asked to practice this new skill along with all of the other mind-blowing coaching skills, the possibilities in my world opened up like having a giant telescope showing the vastness of the universe instead of the few stars we can see with our bare eyes. And, I got to actually STEP INTO it instead of JUST looking through a giant telescope. That’s how world expanding coaching has been for me. 

Being coached by some of the worlds most experienced coaches, practicing and getting feedback on my coaching shifted me from wanting to rock in a corner (literally looking at the corner of my bedroom floor and thinking it was quite appealing to crawl over there from my bed and rock forever) to choosing to rock my life. Having those big shifts happen in my perspective on my capacity to hold opposing emotions was life changing. 

This past week teaching these magical tools for shifting perspectives, gaining hope and shining light for loved ones with eating disorders to participants in my caregiver coaching training course, reminded me of all the times clients who are caregivers of those with eating disorders have said to me, “Becky you helped save me. Our work together gave me my life back.. It helped me help my child who is now getting to live the life they deserve to live, free of the eating disorder.”

Hearing clients tell me that there are so many ripple effects as a result of the work we’ve done together makes me smile. Many have shared with me the things they have brought to their community  now that they know the view expanding power of this work. 

It’s exciting to know that by teaching family caregivers how to love themselves, care for themselves and have enough left over to care for their loved ones, they are able to not only help their person recover, they also create ripples in their communities. The ripples are now going to multiply with these new eating disorder caregiver coaches doing this powerful work. 

In the midst of all of this sadness, loss, pain, suffering and uncertainty it is really encouraging and hope growing to know that one person can indeed make a difference. Even practicing extreme self care can increase our capacity to have compassion. 

We are all becoming fatigued by the pandemic and additional tragedies. What if we all were able to grow our compassion? Dr. Richard Davidson’s TED Talk inspired me this morning to really ponder ways to grow my own compassion and challenge others to consider exploring it as well. What if compassion is the antidote to pandemic fatigue? Even if it is not, it creates new neural pathways in our brains so we don’t have to default to suffering. 

How might you change your narrative? What would you like your ripple effect to be? What might be different this week if we all asked ourselves before speaking, “What is the ripple I would like this comment to produce?” And if it creates negative energy, maybe we can choose to let it go.