I hit a rocky patch in the road at the end of 2014 when I found myself having to contend with the consequences of being made redundant from a well paying job that I’d held for over 15 years. This coincided with the fact that my daughter was going into adolescence, and I was going into menopause at the same time. I felt like I was in the middle of a perfect storm with both my own and my daughter’s hormones going crazy, and unemployment stretching out in front of me.
After going through all of the emotions triggered by my redundancy, I decided to make use of the time I had on my hands by writing a book about my experience of menopause. My thinking was that I could put the struggles I’d been having to good use by writing about the improvements I’d achieved by focusing on the fundamentals of diet, exercise, stress management, and mindset.
The thing I didn’t realise at the time was that I was going to have to build a business around my book to keep my family’s finances afloat. The long and the short of it is that after applying for over 30 jobs that I didn’t get, I decided to bite the bullet and save my energy for more fruitful endeavours. One of the unexpected consequences of this was that I experienced two incredibly powerful pieces of healing as a result of writing my story down for the book that became “Thrive in Midlife”.
One of these came about when I was considering the options I had for handling menopause in 2014, compared with the options my mother had when she was facing the same scenario in the mid 1970s. The stark reality here was that in my mother’s day synthetic hormones were prescribed without a second thought, and sadly she was one of the many women who paid the price in terms of contracting breast cancer in her late 60s.
I’m grateful to Tamoxifen which is still the drug of choice for treating breast cancer, because it bought my mother some extra time, and that gave her a chance to get to know my daughter Lucy. It also gave Lucy a chance to get to know her grandmother.
I share this part of my story with you because I felt my heart split open when I wrote about the beautiful (and all too brief) relationship that my daughter had with my mother. This changed the course of my life completely because I learnt how to engage in a whole other level of love and connection, and subsequently became so engrossed in the power of story telling that I developed a book-writing wing in my coaching practice.
An exercise for you:
I’d like to invite you to get a taste of the potential for writing to open you up to a place of healing by answering the following questions. It is best if you print the questions out and hand write your answers.
1.What is the one thing you feel most shame around, and have never told anyone about?
2.How does writing this down make you feel?
3.If you had a choice, how would you prefer to feel?
4.What prevents you from feeling that way?
5.If someone you dearly love told you that they had done something every similar to what you wrote down for question 1, what would you say to them?
Now I want you to record yourself saying your own name and the thing that you wrote as your answer to question 5, and listen to this recording before going to bed in the evening and immediately on waking in the morning for at least one month.
NB:The image above is of my mother, Jean Turner 1920-2002