Answering the call to heal the healers

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This is me in Sydney with my gorgeous friend 7 years ago today. You wouldn’t know it but behind my big dazzling smile lurked the Black Dog of depression.I didn't know I was depressed yet I did know that this was not my normal way of being and that somewhere between 2007 & 2011 I was slowly being consumed by a heaviness I couldn't shake regardless of the healthy eating, frequent exercise, active social life and stable family connections.

What this photo doesn’t show is that after it was taken I had a short nap that turned into a 5 hr sleep, and I still felt exhausted when I woke up. I was sinking slowly into darkness and gloom and sleeping it off wasn't a solution.

I hated where my life had taken me. My career path in health research was paved by unconscious bias & publish or perish incentives which created more distance between myself & those I wanted to help heal from their health crises. I was burned out by an institution who cared little for the wellbeing of their employees & enabled abusive behaviour to persist throughout. An institution that wanted innovative thinking only if it fit within the pre-existing models that were getting funded. It wasn’t just the institution - it’s a problem within the industry much like any other. I was no longer stimulated by that type of intellectual pursuit alongside the abuse I witnessed were deafening signs that I no longer belonged there and needed out of the Ivory Tower. But what’s a burned out scientist to do when it’s the only path I knew?

So rather than remain another day, I hung up my lab coat for good. Then I sank into the depths of darkness & depression.

It remained until I stood up and shouted to the heavens that I'd had enough of this life and demanded that the life I'm here for to show itself. I shook my fist repeatedly at invisible forces in the air making endless demands until a text message (from the beautiful woman on the right) made me stop. Within 24 hours I was with two physicians who took me to a meditation class that they facilitated. When I opened my eyes at the end of that class, the heaviness, density & exhaustion were gone, replaced by clarity, lightness, hope and a knowing that life part 2 had begun.

Nothing magical happened. I wasn’t cured, rather I woke up and found a different path that was waiting for me all along, I just didn’t listen or trust my intuition enough to see or pursue it any sooner. I know now that what I believed was depression might have also been a prolonged existential crisis that created a lot of suffering for me.

Having the veil of delusion lifted from my eyes meant that I became open to infinite possibilities for my career path. I wanted to learn about meditation, healing emotional & spiritual issues that influence physical & mental wellbeing, spiritual philosophies and ancient practices, discovering the characteristics of therapeutic relationships that facilitate healing for both practitioner and patient, and see where that would take me.

I would discover that my skills & qualities were needed to support physicians, other healthcare professionals & hospital administrative staff to recognise & get real about the toll their relationship with work, distress & human suffering was having on their satisfaction. I would shadow oncologists, surgeons, multidisciplinary teams, nurses, genetic counselors, scientists and hospital executives and discover the behaviours, assumptions & workplace conditions that were harming their wellbeing.

I would learn about Ballint groups, reflective practice and supervision, mentoring, coaching, group facilitation, public speaking, Schwartz rounds, designing workshops, qualitative research, best practice evidence, outcomes-based therapy, ethical practice and adult learning principles. I would learn how to help people rewrite the stories of themselves to include their strengths, triumphs, capabilities and power to continually learn from life, increase their ability to love & transform themselves.

Most importantly, I learned that I could help many many professionals in healthcare settings to become more free to be themselves and lift them out of the fog of their own existential crises so they too could see clearly & feel joy again.

Looking back on this photo of myself 7 years today, I'm reminded that we never know what's beyond the moment. We could be in darkest depths of our own hell and a request declaring readiness for a different reality along with the right action & support can be the catalyst to change the trajectory of life. I can chuckle now at how ignorant I was to the realities that exist beyond what we currently see as truth.

My message to you all who have read this far: keep going but don’t keep going in the same place in the same way expecting something different to happen. Try something different daily - a new route to work, a new topic to learn about, learn something handy you can’t yet do, create a community or join a community. Something, anything. Just do something else even if it means walking away from a career path to preserve your wellbeing. Don't do it alone. Arm yourself with solid and stable people who will escort you from your old way of seeing yourself across the chasm of the unknown into the new world that feels more right for you.

If this resonates with you and you've been entertaining thoughts about trying something new to get you out of a rut, I'm running a 31 day meditation experience using the style of meditation that pulled me out of my own personal hell.

10-20 minute guided, themed meditations that are easy to follow and participate in every single day for 31 days. You'll receive a new recording everyday along with tips on how to apply the principles into your daily life to create a new healthy habit.

Book in and discover what else is possible.

Blessings to you all for a peaceful & joyful life,

Nathalie

How to not set up clients, and yourself, to fail

As a scientist, communication coach and partnership-centred healing practitioner, I do my best to bridge the gifts of our left and right brain hemispheres. Intuition can partner beautifully with logic, and as we have these faculties we should be using them optimally.

Clients can have have amazing healing experiences with me that unfold for weeks and months and I always give each client homework in the form of a specific practice, communication skill or technique to use in between sessions.

BUT after doing my research, I discovered only a percentage follow through on using the strategies I gave them.

Why?

I was making an assumption that my clients could IMPLEMENT those strategies easily, even after we practiced them together.

The art and science of implementation is a missing ingredient in the many healthcare, coaching, therapeutic and healing services who aim to empower their clients or patients.

If you're a practitioner who provides a service to help anyone, the strategies you give your clients might be AWESOME, be grounded in research evidence, follow clinical guidelines or practice wisdom or sound GENIUS but unless they fit into the routine of your client's life and their bigger picture beyond their immediate need (besides emergency situations that require urgent medical attention), the homework won't get done and new healthy habits don't develop.

That's because once a strategy is suggested or even better, co-developed based on complementary expertise, it needs to be implemented. Implementation needs its own planning process.

Together, you'll want to discover what resources your client has to support the successful implementation of this strategy. You'd look at things like: when it will happen, what time of day, how often, who else needs to be involved, who can support this change, what can be removed to add it in and what are the risks of that. Etc. Like setting goals, implementation plans can benefit from being SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & time bound) so your client can report back on the results.

So how do you do that with your client?

Reality test it!

Role play with your client to discover the risks that could derail its execution aka playing devil's advocate until you have a SMART implementation plan to support your SMART strategy.

By walking through a process with your client to help them see how the plan looks in reality, the more likely the plan will succeed. And if it doesn't succeed, there will be some amazing learning and possibly other beneficial outcomes. Which is also why reviewing outcomes at the beginning of the next session is so important in order to learn together and course correct.

This is also why you can't create an implementation plan for your client. They need to be involved in the process. In fact, they should probably be involved in setting strategies and goals to ensure they're meaningful for them as it's the client who has to take action and experience the outcomes.

So rather than wondering why your clients aren't taking their prescription, not doing meditation at home, going to the gym, eating more healthy food or standing up for themselves when facing adversity, realise that perhaps the course of action was doomed from the start.  As helping practitioners, one of our roles is to help our clients try the new skills out & plan where to fit them in their full lives before we send them off on their own lives with blind optimism & assumption that they know what to do, why and how to do it.

If you're looking for a coach, healer or healthcare practitioner to help you change something significantly, ask them if they can help you implement the strategies they suggest from your consultations. If not, ask them for a referral to someone they work with closely who do that.

Educating people on what you think they need to know isn't enough. Being an effective practitioner who can facilitate meaningful change in someone's life requires that you take an interest in their life, their supports, barriers, cultural beliefs, strengths and problems before considering suggesting a course of action.

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This falls into the realm of coaching communication skills and personal qualities that are enhanced through programs that train people to unlearn from the expert model and discover the rewards of working as partners in care.

Working with clients in this way has helped me and them stay on track with supporting them to achieve the goals that take them closer to fulfilling their vision.

I teach practitioners how to unlearn and rediscover the power of uncertainty, not knowing, curiosity, wonder and awe in facilitating meaningful change for themselves and their clients. These qualities improve connection to intuitive and practical wisdom, enhance therapeutic partnerships with clients and prevent burnout and compassion fatigue. Contact me for more information.

Blessings,

Nats

A Reflective practitioner is an evolving practitioner

A Reflective practitioner is an evolving practitioner

Reflective practice is an essential tool for ALL healthcare workers. It helps us to look at what we're doing and honestly asking ourselves if we're achieving the desired effect that aligns with our vision, values and ethics for practice. It's not a one-off process and requires continuous practice, to prevent perpetuating practices and processes that are ineffective, harmful or less effective than we think.

Understanding uncomfortable emotions

Sorrow, grief, sadness, anger, jealousy, discomfort, fear and shame are all GORGEOUS emotions.

Yes, you read correctly.

They're part of the beautiful spectrum of existence and life. They have messages for each of us about our desires and where we'd like to be in our lives.

Resisting them, shaming others for feeling them, shaming ourselves for experiencing them after healings/inner work/positive thinking/insert any spiritual bypass tools here, avoiding them for fear they'll drop your vibration and negatively effect your business or relationships are ironically, what will drop your vibration and get you stuck.

We also get stuck when we're trying to understand the story behind the emotion. We ask 'why am I feeling like this?'. We need a reason! Why? Do we ask happiness for its reason? Joy? Contentment? Or are we more accepting of these and wish to feel them forever?

Negative emotions are no different and looking for a rationale to justify their presence or not allowing ourselves to experience the full depth of those emotions only prolongs their presence. This creates pain and suffering.

Don't give your power away to creating a story to justify that emotion.

Don't put your emotions in boxes labelled 'FEEL' 'DON'T FEEL'. They're big loads to keep carrying.

It's draining and pointless because there is no story. It's just a neutral & natural emotion that can feel great or feel like we're in the pit of hell. This is not failure - this is being human.

Who do you work for?

What if I were to tell you that your real job has nothing to do with what you do for income?

That the things you're striving for like success, material wealth, love, approval are getting in the way of doing your job?

Consider who you are underneath the veneer of professional labels and identities. What if your ability to perform in your job disappeared?

What if all your clients and work dried up, the requests to see you stopped coming- would you suddenly feel like you couldn't live purposefully or would you become free to be who you actually are?

My tip is to spend time off the radar doing nothing, no retreats, no studying, no human
contact, no FB scrolling and notice the emotions that emerge, the fear, anger, indifference, bliss.

I call this the achievement detox.

It's important to come back to yourself and remember why you matter - not for what you produce, but because you exist.

Overcoming Approval Addiction

Needing approval or external validation is one of the greatest sources of fatigue and energetic drain in health care workers, academics, researchers and private practitioners.

It's because APPROVAL is one of our basic needs, like love, security, sleep, acceptance and list of others.

Needing approval manifests as our inner critic and our external critics telling us that we're wrong, misguided, incompetent and never going to be good enough. And we believe it.

We can get so invested in doing and saying things that don't rock the boat and maintain status quo. We can follow rules and formulas of perceived success that go against our creative ideas and expression because we fear failure and disapproval from others.

Here's the thing -no amount of external validation, props, love and attention will ever quench that need for approval.

It's an inside job. WE are the only ones who can fulfill this need and doing so regularly when the critics get loud can save us from the exhaustion that accompanies this unfulfilled need.

You can do this by allowing your Inner Mentor to speak to the part of you that doesn't feel validated, heard or good enough. Validate yourself and remind yourself that your ideas are great, you're doing a great job, even if no one else thinks so. If you're scoffing at this idea, consider this an invitation to try something new for a few days and notice the effect.

If you feel you have to earn approval in order to receive it, you'll tire yourself out waiting for that evidence to appear. The more you approve of yourself because you're already enough, the less you care about what others think or expect of you. This is so freeing and attracts more approval and positivity in your life. When you trust that you're already doing your best and believe your best is good enough, you become a magnet for experiences that reinforce this belief, along with the energy you need to keep going.

It's your choice.

My best is good enough,

Nathalie

Judgement as a teacher

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We can get triggered by the way people relate to us or others -through what they say and do, when they do things so differently than how we would.

Behaviours like aggressive sales tactics or health care workers who don't listen can really get on our nerves once we've had the luxury of experiencing other ways of doing business or empathic approaches to care that are more aligned with our vision and how we might behave.

Personally, I would get annoyed when I notice healers, therapists, health professionals and spiritual types speaking and acting from their ego, expressing concrete beliefs as truth under the guise of guidance, cherry-picked evidence and spiritual wisdom. I have a good BS meter for this so when it goes off, I feel triggered.

But this is the thing: if we're triggered by those behaviours then it's OUR issue. There's something we're being shown about ourselves. Something we're judging harshly or disowning that no amount of positive thinking is placating.

Perhaps, once upon a time, it was a way we needed to conduct ourselves to build confidence and feel successful before we were ready to consider other methods. That approach or information was our truth at the time and it worked for us then.

Judging someone's method of relating is as ridiculous as the butterfly judging the larva, when the butterfly could not exist without having gone through its larval stages.

Next time you get triggered by whatever behaviour you judge as inappropriate or primitive:

DO have GRATITUDE for that person for showing you how much you've changed and that you no longer need to use those methods to achieve your goals.

DON'T go into superiority or believe that you're more evolved than that person. That keeps you in judgement, arrogance and blocks compassion.

DO revel in the fact that the person is showing you how much you've developed your virtues like: patience, wisdom, humility, self-love, acceptance and so on. These are the qualities of your soul that you've embodied.

DO send love to that old version of you for helping you get to where you are today.

Most importantly - the person is NOT the behaviour. We are each the sun with some dark spots. Zoom out of the dark spots to view the sun. As you do this for others, you're helping yourself and able to tap into compassion.

Blessings of self-love to you all,

Nathalie