Time for a confession. This is hard.
Here’s the situation. It’s been just about four months since my mom was first diagnosed with lung cancer. Since then, a new term has come into my life, “elderly care” – I’ve now switched positions from cancer patient, myself, to caregiver.
So, you think it would be easier, right? But more and more I find myself out of the flow. It was getting worse and worse, until my coach helped me have a clarifying ah ha moment. (And just in time for my birthday, thank goodness!)
We’ve shared about ‘being in the flow’ before. In terms of our Self-awareness Intrapersonal Smart theme, it is to act, think and be aligned with our environment, behaviours, capabilities, beliefs and values, identity and purpose in life. It means to live accordingly in calm, peace, in tune with the vibrations, frequencies, and energies of our existence where everything flows easily.
But what happens when you step out of the flow?
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s my privilege to help my mother in this challenging time. She’s doing well with her treatment, and while caregiving is a new world to navigate – that’s not actually what has knocked me over sideways emotionally.
So what is it?
Now that Mom is unwell, tensions are up. I had my first all-out argument with a family member the other day, and it didn’t end well. Shaken from the encounter, I took all this to my own coach, MC Lessard. (If anyone knows the value of a good coach, it’s another coach!)
In talking with MC, she helped me arrive at that ah ha moment: This horrible feeling, it’s not about other people, it’s about my need – it’s about my flow.
Fact: I love to help others as much as I can. I try and live in a way that supports joy, and encouragement, and warmth. In giving that love forward, inevitably it means that I need, in some ways, to receive that love in response. When that doesn’t happen, my world gets way off balance. While in a professional position, I can wear my “coaching” hat which makes me far more neutral to emotional explosions; within family life, I have been, instead, wearing my “take it personally” hat.
What I realized with MC was that I’d forgotten to get permission.
Permission, Cam? You may be asking. What do you mean by that?
In the world of coaching, we’re encouraged to receive permission before challenging our clients. I may say to someone during a coaching meeting, “Do you mind if I push you a little on that point and see where it goes?” When the client is onboard for the challenge, powerful results can take place. It’s so important to get people securely on board before rocking their boat.
But when it comes to family, and high stakes, and volatile emotional situations… I’m giving, and trying to guide and fix, and I’ve been doing it all without permission!
No wonder it’s not going over well! And no wonder my environment is totally incongruent wih my personal needs and flow. It’s been such a hard four (plus) months in terms of family dynamics. I’m beginning to realize that my relationship with that individual may truly be over, at least for the time being.
Is that okay?
Perhaps it has to be okay. Until there’s permission for reconciliation, my approaches to healing are not going to work. I need to release that obligation – because it’s not in my hands. It is okay to let this relationship go. Actually, not only is it okay, it’s just plain necessary until – hopefully – things change down the road. There is really nothing in this moment that can be done.
Step away from that environment, Cam, I’m telling myself. Get back into your groove. Focus on what is working, focus on who is giving you permission to help, to support, to challenge, and is able to reciprocate that giving in one way or another. Realize this mess isn’t all about you, so don’t make it all about you.
Thinking over this realization, I feel lighter. I feel back in my flow – and that’s exactly where I’d like to stay.
Have you had similar challenges when navigating family dynamics? I’d love to hear your own stories too, and how you have been caring for your own flow.
Till next week,
Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.
Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!