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Tuesday
Sep172013

Life Stories

As a child, I first experienced the joy of reading when a teacher suggested I explore biographies, and even today find my favorite books are memoirs.  My passion for learning from the "life stories" of older adults drew me toward my work in nursing and geriatrics.  

As a health coach, I have an opportunity to help clients listen deeply to their own stories.  They often discover important values or elements just below the surface of their storyline that provide fresh perspectives on ways they can move forward in their lives.  

Sometimes clients realize that if they don't change the plot of their story, the final chapters will not be pleasant.  This often provides a powerful motivation to make lifestyle changes that have eluded them in the past. 

Often life stories highlight aspects of our lives we have lost touch with but wish to again cultivate.   Stories also uncover unrecognized passions, values or assets that can be used to strengthen the desire and capacity to make changes that will enhance health and happiness.  

I often ask clients to relay a story that embodies who they are.  If I were asked this question myself, I might share that I walk my cats on a leash.   

If you aren't a cat lover, you might think this is a bit bizarre.  But on a deeper level, it illustrates one of the things that gives my life meaning and purpose. My cats love to be outside and I believe that fresh air and exercise is important to their wellbeing and mine.  Letting them roam freely is a dangerous proposition where I live, so I walk my cats on a leash (or more accurately, they walk me).  To some, this would be an arduous chore but to me it is pure pleasure.  This is because I find meaning in my own life by helping cultivate health, healing and happiness in my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, clients, garden, home, and yes, even my beloved cats. 

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