Courage for career women blog

with Vanessa May

Courage Unfolding

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Unfolding a new chapter

On a beautiful Spring day in March, three weeks before lockdown had begun, I arrived for my counselling session. Just outside the counsellor’s office was a beautiful cherry tree. It felt divinely feminine with its pale pink blossom and softness and there was a constant buzzing from a glorious, hardworking bumble bee on its purposeful mission.

I remember feeling a renewed sense of hope because the evening before I had said how I hadn’t seen many bees yet. The bee’s presence gave me a sense of peace and calm that all was right in the world.

It was my fourth session out of six. I had gone to counselling because I had this deep sadness that I wanted to process about the ending of my marriage. My husband and I had met when I was 18 in college and now 34 years later, aged 52 I felt discombobulated, spinning in a cycle of emotions. My brain wanted to understand what had happened, my heart wanted to spill out and break free from this effort to keep everything together and carry on.

I sought a counsellor because I realised there were very few people in my life that could hold where I was without trying to fix me, find a solution for me, fill me up with platitudes or tell me what they thought I should do or how strong I was. That in itself was deeply shocking and irritating to me. Was it not ok for me to be sad? Why did that sadness make others so uncomfortable that they couldn’t sit with me in it? Why did this feel such a deeply familiar part of my life story?

How witnessing helped me

The conversations with my counsellor were deeply surprising to me. I didn’t break down and cry. There wasn’t lots of processing of emotion in the room. Instead there was a meeting of like-minded souls.  I discovered that we shared a love of writing: his poetry, mine stories and a longing to publish our work. We both had an intuitive way of being and because of that our sessions were like butterflies moving everywhere and then coming to rest in an important place.

In this particular session he drew out Marianne Williamson’s quote and read it to me. It was not the first time he had done this. He had read it at our first session. I wondered if he had forgotten. He hadn’t. It was intentional.  The words hung in the air ….

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us. 

What held me stuck

Shame was the emotion that held my frustration in place. A deep sense that something was wrong with me, that I was different, not enough and that I didn’t fit or belong. A lifetime of feeling and then turning to people who were doing the best that they could but weren’t able to respond to me in strength or calm. Those responses always left me feeling alone, on the outside, like it must just be me that felt this way.

My counsellor and I were mirrors for each other, and our sessions were in some way therapeutic for both of us. We were equals in this relationship, two souls on a journey to express themselves fully and be who they were born to be. As he invited me to read the poem again and accept my light, he was being called to do the same for himself. I discovered that he, like me, had a familiar experience of holding back.

The gift in lockdown

Lockdown was my chance to retreat and put the pieces together on all the years of personal development work I had done. It was a time of withdrawing, allowing, still and quiet. This is not a natural place for my Aries energy. During this time, I have listened deeply to my heart, found courage in the pain and allowed clarity and discernment to flourish. I have had to ask my inner warrior to be patient and to hold off driving forward.  I knew I wanted to create a new kind of coaching business and I was held beautifully in this process by the brand agency that I had hired, Because Stories. They supported me to develop the essence and manifestation of my brand.

I am proud to say I have arrived or as my youngest daughter would say, “Mum you’re coming out of your cave.” When Mia and Tina presented my branding, I cried. I felt like they saw me the way I see my clients. They just got me, and they showed me the potential for what I want to create through my lived experience.

What to expect from Courage Unfolding

Courage unfolding a place to share real stories about the light and dark of being brave and being yourself.

It’s where people who are stuck and wanting to break free can see aspects of themselves and learn how to unfold their own potential.

Courage isn’t something that is given to you. It’s there in the shadows. It’s about being deeply honest with yourself, allowing yourself to want what you want even though you’re afraid you can’t have it or be it.

This is a place to deepen, widen, lift, release and take up space for yourself because you are unique and you matter.

I hope you’ll join me in this place.