I Was Going To Die Yesterday...

…or at least I seriously thought so. It is impossible to understand how earth-shattering a few seconds and a handful of words can be if you haven’t experienced it yourself.

I had an episode during a yoga class where I may have lost consciousness and lost all feeling and control in my left arm. I’ve never been as disoriented as I was then, looking down at a limb connected to my body but unable to control it.

As I drove home I become more disturbed about what happened. Not enough to go to the hospital, of course, but shaken nonetheless. I told my husband what happened and he insisted I go to the doctor. I said I would in the morning. And I did.

I did what any “I’m too busy to deal with health issues” woman would do. I contacted a doctor through a tele-doc service. I HIGHLY recommend using these services (my was through the UW). They are very helpful and keep you from having to drive to an office with other sick folk. HOWEVER, there are only certain things they can diagnose over video.

In setting up the video you must describe why you’re contacting the doctor. I wrote up my story and off-handedly said, “I suppose it could have been a mini stroke.” I was trying to be adult but I didn’t really believe that…or didn’t want to.

The nurse practitioner joined the video chat. She looked serious. I didn’t like that look. Not one bit. Then she said it. She said, “I agree with what you wrote. You may have had a mini stroke (a.k.a. TIA). You need to go to the emergency room right now.”

My whole world changed in a matter of seconds. I went from “that was weird” to “am I going to die?” I got my wallet, grabbed my car keys and drove myself to the emergency room. I do NOT recommend this to anyone. I should have taken a Lyft. As I drove I wondered if I’d ever see my house again. I wondered if I’d see my husband or my dog or my parents or my friends or my clients or, or, or… I know this sounds dramatic but you didn’t see that nurse’s face.

During the drive I called my step-mom (hands-free, of course) to tell her what was going on. I felt like someone needed to know. As she asked questions and I tried to answer, a huge rush of energy bloomed across my back and down the back of my arms. I didn’t know if I was having another episode or if I was just freaking out. I kept thinking, “I should pull over.” And then I’d think, “Yeah, what then? Just get to the damn hospital. You can do it.”

I got off the phone as fast as I could because I thought I might pass out if I kept talking. Talking about it made it even more real and I felt bad that I was worrying my step-mom.

I made it to the Emergency department without incident. My concerns about the seriousness of the situation skyrocketed as I finished telling the admitting attendant why I was there. He told me to take a seat and someone would be with me immediately. I’ve been to emergency rooms before. Unless you’re bleeding profusely from a gunshot or a limb is hanging on by only a tendon you do not get seen “immediately.”

True to their word, my butt had barely had time to hit the seat in the waiting room then my name was called. All I could think was “Fuck me. This is bad.” They had me in a gown and covered in stickers (for all the monitoring) in less than 3 minutes. The machines started beeping and humming. They left me a lone for a hot minute so I grabbed my phone and texted my husband. LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO! is what I wanted to text but instead I just took a picture (was it the last one I’d send?) and sent it with a note to say I was at the doctor and I’d keep him posted. I also texted a couple friends. I let them know where I was and asked them to take care of my dog in case they didn’t hear from me again.

As I write this I realize how dramatic this all seems now. At the time I fully believed I was in serious trouble.

And then like that, it was over. The doctor came in, asked a few questions, did a few neurological tests and pronounced me fine. I learned TIA (mini strokes) symptoms typically last many minutes, like 30 minutes to an hour, not seconds as happened with me. Given all of my other vitals they declared me healthy. Their working theory is dehydration and/or a pinched nerve. They even gave me the all clear to return to yoga.

I am still unsettled by all this. As I type tears are welling up in my eyes. I love my life and I love all the people in it. I am not ready to leave yet. And yet…how quickly our wants and desires do not make a damn bit of difference.

The moral of this story? What if you lived every day like it was your last?

I know, so cliché, but that was me yesterday for about two hours. I truly believed I might not see my husband again, play with my dog again, see my family again, hang out with my friends again, coach my fabulous clients again, partner with my leadership tribe again, and so much more.

Don’t play small – give it everything you’ve got. Don’t put off saying “I love you’ – tackle your loved ones with gusto. Be weird. Call you mom and dad. Play with your dog. You’ve got one life. Live it like you give a damn. 

Integrity

Reminders of integrity have been showing up in many different ways lately. Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day I offer his quote:

 

“The time is always right to do what’s right.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In today’s world it is sometimes difficult to sort out what is “right.” Our global society is struggling with so many challenges from immigration to poverty, disease to military aggression. In the United States we have seen a decline in civility and integrity by our leaders.

If the most visible American leader does not (and seems can not) represent the principles of personal and professional integrity, how can we possibility do so?

We can, simply, because we have too. Our leader's behavior is not an excuse for us to fall short. We are all leaders responsible for our own world despite what is going on around us. Being a leader, to oneself as well as to others, requires consistent practice, reflection and self-awareness. To support your practice I offer the Eight-Limb Path from the Yoga Sutras.

The Yoga Sutras introduce the eight-limb path and “act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.”

The first limb is Yama, which provides guidance on how we can live our life with integrity, and is made up of five parts:

1.     Ahimsa – practice of non-violence toward others and self in “one’s deeds, words and thoughts.”

2.     Satya – practice of truthfulness in “one’s thought, speech and action.”

3.     Asteya  – practice of non-stealing, not taking what is not freely given in “one’s thought, speech and action.”

4.     Brahmacharya – the practice of moderation, self-management or self-control (especially in regard to sexual relations).

5.     Aparigraha – the practice of non-coveting, non-grasping, non-greediness.

After reading through the above list, consider how each item shows up in your life to support your personal and professional integrity. Do you notice any resistance to one or more of the items? Where could you take your practice of integrity deeper?

I’m working to deepen my practice of Satya – practice truthfulness. I know that I overcommit myself and then back out of these commitments when I become overwhelmed. This is unfair to those I’ve committed to and undermines my integrity - to myself and to others.

Thanks for reading today! Yoga is on my brain due to my commitment to (at least) 30 classes of Yoga in 30 days. I’ve completed 20 classes so far (3 days of two classes and 1 day of 3 classes!) and am committed to doing at least one class every day. The experience so far has been amazingly rewarding not only physically but mentally too. This challenge is something I’ve been longing to do for years and it feels amazing to finally tackle it! #virago

What the Hell Did You Do Today…

This past weekend I was honored to serve as a back of room leader (a.k.a. assistant) for my coaching program, CTI. It was the final course of a series of five. At the end of the weekend 24 coaches graduated into the world of coaching.  The best part was that I was lucky enough to be with the same group for their second course roughly four months ago.

The growth I witnessed this weekend brought me to tears…tears of gratitude, respect and hope. These people have dedicated five months of their lives to becoming champions of others, to demand others live their fullest lives and to stop playing small. Most of these students will continue on to coaching certification to deepen their practice and honor their profession. They will dedicate additional time (6 months of weekly calls, readings, lectures, discussions, etc.) and financial investment to pursue their passion of calling forth the greatness in all people.

Why am I telling you this? To show what can be accomplished when dedication, passion and commitment come together.

So…what dream are you sitting on? What desire have you been hiding behind the curtain called “I’m too busy” or “I’m too old” or, the most insidious, “I’m ok where I am?”

 

What would you do today if you knew you could not fail?

 

If you have an idea or, even more importantly, if you don’t but wish you did, hire a coach and let them help you excavate that desire, that dream, that purpose.

I just happen to know 24 fabulous, newly trained coaches who are chomping at the bit to serve you! If you have any interest in exploring a coaching relationship with these folks as they go through certification please contact me. Working with a coach going through certification can often be an economical opportunity. They need clients for certification and you get a great deal!

So…what the hell did you do today…that inspired you and made you proud? If you can’t answer that question it may be the perfect time to find a coach!

 

Janice

PS: I am also enrolling new clients if you are interested in working with me. AND…I just love these brand spanking new coaches and want the world for them. #payitforward #virago

2018 - The Year of Virago

Happy New Year friends! I am excited to launch the Virago Blog (more about Virago below). As the picture above indicates, this will be a place to find irreverent, sassy and ‘giving-no-fucks’ information and opinions about living a full and satisfying life. Warning: there will be lots of bad words (sorry Pam & Dad). I hope you enjoy the content and look forward to hearing from you!

 

NEW YEARS DAY 2018 - THE YEAR OF VIRAGO!

I’ve heard many people say how happy they are to be rid of 2017. It was a trying year, no doubt. And yet… so many good things came from this dumpster fire of a year.

The three things I'm really excited about are:

1. More women than ever are stepping up to run for public office

2. Many men (and a few women) are finally being publicly called out and held accountable for their disgusting abuse of power.

3. We now have young women looking at us, their elders, and saying, “How could you let someone treat you like that?

Yes, our grandmothers, mothers and other amazingly brave women paved the way for our generation (I’m speaking to you, Gen X) to have it better they did and we have done the same for the next generation. And this is EXACTLY how it should be. These young ladies should be looking at us in disbelief and shaking their heads. And more power to them for saying, “fuck that noise.” Isn’t this what we fought and endured for? So that our daughters wouldn’t have to deal with pinched asses, dismissive comments and demeaning behavior?

In that spirit I have a goal for 2018 and am asking the world to help me. Today the word virago is used as a derogatory term for strong, loud and agressive women. It wasn’t always so. In ancient Rome, a woman who demonstrated valor, heroism, morality and physical strength could earn the title of Virago, conveying respect and admiration. I think that sounds awesome and I want that for all women. 

I am taking back the meaning of Virago as a badge of honor and respect for my ladies. Please join me! Be honorable. Be brave. Be strong. Be fierce. In the immortal words of Bill & Ted, "Be excellent to each other.

Hash tag the shit out of #virago my friends.