I didn’t really think anyone would notice. Actually, it took me a while for myself to notice…that I have changed. Recently, my husband, son and I lived in Europe for nearly four months. Saying that I have a lot to catch up writing about would be an understatement. Besides a couple dozen or so Instagram posts, I really haven’t made the time to put many of the my thoughts down on paper. In a nutshell we lived in a country house in Italy for a two months, in a town of 2,000 people, then traveled through England a bit, next backpacked for a month to complete the 490 km Road to Santiago in Spain, and then traveled back to Italy to say our farewells (for now) to Europe. All.With.A.Toddler. And though I would LOVE to travel down those memory lanes right now I have something I want to say. It changed me. It changed me parenting, my marriage, my outlook on my daily life and somewhat surprising to me, my teaching.
I knew I felt different, but I didn’t think people would notice. It wasn’t until client stopped me in my tracks in the middle of a Pilates session and said, “Can I tell you something?” Of course, he could. He knew he could. “You’re different.” he said. “But in a good way.” I can imagine that my former self would have giggled slyly, or quickly said, I know, or tried to move the conversation along. But I didn’t dare skirt this moment. I stopped, smiled, looked at him dead on and asked him to articulate what he meant. And you know, it was pretty cool to hear.
The following week another conversation with a client unfolded in a very similar way. And again, swallowing pride and allow vulnerability to step in, I asked her to elaborate. And I’ll admit to you, it was profound for me to hear these trusted clients whom I have worked with for over five years say things like “you are more focused” “our sessions are more intense” “you are pushing us more” and the one that nearly brought me to my knees “you have an aura of confidence.”
Maybe it’s my new European short hair cut. (Initiated in Italy, but perfected in Spain;-) Maybe it’s my commitment to communicate, to listen, to be present. To be mindful. Yup, I think it’s that. As my clients finished off saying, “It’s all good! Really good!” Yes, I have to agree. I have changed. And though the paths of changing were sometimes rough and uncomfortable, the outcome has had a decidedly positive impact. And as I cling to this feeling I hope there really isn’t any turning back.
Can you recall a time in your life when a conversation has made a profound impact on you? Maybe it was with a friend, mentor, or client. Think back on that conversation and ask yourself, “What did I do with that information? Did it encourage me to grow, was it scary? Was it a turning point in my career, relationship, health? Take moment to free write (journal) for five minutes and see what comes through. Reflect on this for the following week, be open to what conversations, doors, dreams or insights occur from this exercise.