Phoenix Rising. How do you find strength?

A group of kids at a baseball game.

Hello reader,

I was listening to the radio the other day when I heard a commercial. At the end they joked, “My life coach doesn’t have a very good life.”
Made me wonder what people look for in a coach, and the many different definitions of the good life.

As far as I can tell, life is a series of experiences. You run, fall, ascend a mountain, get smashed down by a wave. You play on the wave, develop surfing skills, get stung by a jellyfish. And so on.

There’s linear and non-linear growth; you shoot up like a weed, your teeth come in all crooked. You build, trip and fall. Stay down, get up, the way you approach life’s challenges and opportunities are up to you. You will grow, you will get stronger and more powerful, and when your body weakens hopefully…hopefully…your spirit grows and you trade physical strength for wisdom.

I like being a life coach who has had her successes, made her pivots, and taken her knocks. My clients come to me on the brink of transition, mental, physical, career, spiritual. You are likely emotional about what’s ahead, yet more afraid of stagnating where you are. It’s good to have a navigator who has fallen and got up again.

Resilience and grit are the keys to the metaphorical phoenix rising. Digging deep and finding your strength. Sometimes it’s too much and you ask for help while you build that determination. But the strength that comes with surviving — turning it into spiritual thriving — is powerful.

And you can’t do that without challenges. Big fat ones. What doesn’t kill you builds your power.

Example. Two weeks ago my son was hit by a car. He’s OK. Some permanent physical damage, a lot of emotional trauma (for Mom too) but all fixable. Bones will heal, teeth will be replaced, abrasions heal miraculously fast in youthful bodies. The process of repair will make us more beautiful, kintsugi-style.

I received the call that he had been hit mid-coaching session, excused myself and went to find my son. I cried on my drive to him and promised I’d stop before I saw him. And when I saw the ambulance pull away without me I cried harder.

When I hugged his siblings standing on the street I found  strength and we hugged. Then we went home, called some parents for playdate support and went to the hospital.

The gatekeepers wouldn’t let me back to see him because my husband was there so I called my husband and him to have someone escort me back. Two orderlies came out and led me to him.

When you’re a mom and your cub has been hurt, everyone treats you like you’re about to lose your shit. They’ve seen the strength and power of mothers and they know that I have a superpower at this time which I can use at any moment. Take me to my kid, we’re good. Get in my way, Mother Nature’s power will be unleashed. It’s called fierce compassion, if you’d like to learn more.

Everyone was very, very nice to the mother whose kid got hit by a car. And luckily my kid was doped up on painkillers so he was OK too.

A boy in a hospital bed holding a bottle of krups.

I efficiently got him what he needed, arm in a cast, the whole thing. The dental resident was able to find some (not all) of my son’s teeth in his nasal cavity, push them into place, glue them to one another and stitch him up.

The painkillers had worn off and the doctor refused to give my son additional sedatives. There wasn’t so much as a cotton ball. Not exaggerating here. I had to use tissues I found in my purse to address his bleeding. My son was spitting blood onto the floor because, no supplies. No nurse. That became my job. I held my son’s swollen lip and this doctor worked on him.

The doctor looked up at me and said, “I know, it’s barbaric.” The next day the doctors referred to it as battlefield medicine.

This was my son. There’s a reason doctor’s don’t work on their children. I saw more than I should have, but it was the best option I had so I rose to it. It was traumatic for both of us and we went through it together. Mother and son, with the help of an under-resourced hospital. It was what we had at the time, and we pushed through it to make it work. The dentist kept telling my son “I need you to be 25 years old and strong right now.” He was ten and he had been hit by a car and thrown across a street face first. And he dug down and found his strength.

As awful as it was, and I don’t wish for a replay, we grew. We dug down deep, found our strength, locked eyes, appreciated the help of the dental resident who was practicing his craft on my child’s body, and moved forward.

My son’s football team all signed a card and got him a bag of snacks. Grandparents sent legos and games and teachers sent some word search books. Other parents gave me a lot of love and hugs and care. And possibly best part…we had Yankees tickets last weekend (big Chanukah present). He brought his baseball glove and shoved it right over that cast. Dontcha know the catcher eyeballed him and threw him a game ball?

A group of kids at a baseball game.

Resilience, power, strength. Wisdom earned from experiences you didn’t seek out, but accept and use to grow.

Phoenix rising.

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