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 Stronger at the Broken Places 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Coaching Ruminations by . View all columns in series
February 2012

These are some personal reflections from my life that keep me moving forward on my wellness journey. It’s with small steps that I travel toward the successful completion of my goals. Here, I begin with a simple coaching question that may assist you on your wellness journey. I suggest that you reflect on the question and notice anything that comes up with acceptance, interest, and curiosity.

Coaching Question
How are you stronger at your broken places?

Wellness Inventory Bobbie’s Ruminations
Today, February 19th, is the fifth anniversary of my mother's passing.

This morning after doing my daily breathing and gratefulness meditation, while still sitting on my meditation bench, I picked up from my altar a small statue of Mary and Jesus that I had given my mother when I was about 7 years old. It's a pretty thing. I'd saved my allowance for quite some time. In 1954 that was only 50¢ a week, plus maybe a little birthday money. I went to the hardware store in our tiny mountain town that also served as a gift shop. I saw the statue and I knew immediately that I wanted to give it to my mother. My funds were a little shy of the total cost, but the kindly clerk gave it to me anyway. I think it was a Mother's Day present. She kept that statue in a prominent place in her house for 53 years. When she passed I took it back and have kept it on my altar since.

I've seen it all those years, in her care and in mine, even looking at it fairly closely. Today when I picked it up, I noticed for the first time that it had been broken and glued back together. I thought about what Ernest Hemingway said, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."

"How fitting," I said to my mother as I gazed at that newfound crack under the Madonna's chin with only a hint of glue peeking through. "We have been broken as well ... and healed. And it did indeed make us stronger at those broken places."

My mother's illness and dying process was painful, for her and for the rest of us. Her body was weak and crumbling, but there was something powerful and strong about her at the same time.

In December of 2006, the doctors told us that she would probably be passing any time, but she had other ideas. She told us that she would be here for her wedding anniversary on February 14th. And indeed, she was. Even though the final days were primarily unconscious, she had a smile on her face most of that time. As conventional and proper as my mother was in so many ways, there was also a strong warrior spirit in that woman. She had said she would do it and she did it with days to spare.

One of the proudest accomplishments of my life has been my healing with my mother in the last 15 years of her life. In the weeks before she passed, we bathed ourselves in love. All the disagreements from a lifetime of two strong, independent women trying to find their individual, and often divergent, paths melted in the pure truth of how much we loved each other. All of those unmet needs and differences of opinion were irrelevant. They burned away and were healed, leaving, like on her Madonna, only the faintest history.

I can’t help but think of my many clients who have overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties as they steadfastly, in small steps, find their way to their goals.

First they get very clear about what they want – right down in their bones, what they want. Just sorting through the dross, finding the gold, and telling the truth of it is an amazing thing to behold. No matter how many times I’ve done it myself or assisted others, it’s always awe-inspiring. The truth does set you free.

From the truth of it brings more clarity about what is next. If we just have the right environment to excavate through the fears, expectations, and obstacles and we have some effective tools, guidance, and resources, the answers are always there.

When I train coaches, the first instruction is that the client is creative, resourceful, whole, and is the only expert on their own life. There are many experts about the body, mind, and spirit, but in terms of a person’s own life, there is just one expert and that expertise needs to come from the inside of the individual. With a well-travelled partner on the journey who can create a safe structure for exploration, it’s so often surprising what emerges in the way of the possible, from the inside out for those who are ready for the journey.

If you’d like a seasoned traveling partner who can support you in the accomplishment of your goals, contact me and let’s see if we are well-suited companions.

If you are a helping professional and would like to learn how to be a Wellness Inventory Coach, please check out what we do in our Wellness Inventory Certification Training.

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 About The Author
Bobbie Burdett, Director of Training for HealthWorld Online, was a co-creator of The Wellness Resource Center in 1975 with John W. Travis, MD., which was the first wellness center in the U.S. She co-developed the......moreBobbie  Burdett, BCC, PCC (candidate)
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