Most people don’t wake up one day and simply decide to become more resilient. At least I didn’t. However, I’m able to lead you into the darkest parts of your life to retrieve what’s been lost – your truest self – since I took that journey myself.
In 1995, I worked at a camp for youth in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was a healthy and vivacious young woman with a bright future. A junior in college, I was studying radio, TV, and film; with aspiration to work both behind and in front of the camera. An avid runner, I spent some afternoons working with inner city kids, and evenings with my nose in a textbook. My life was vibrant and full of potential.
When I returned to university that Fall, I began experiencing pain in my joints and in a few short months could barely walk. I saw many doctors but received no answers, and even got a few misdiagnoses. My life had turned in a drastic new direction and I felt blindsided by my new reality — constant and chronic pain, and the despair and disappointment that came with it.
Faced with a debilitating disease, I felt as though my life was disintegrating. I began to lose hope. I could no longer do the things I enjoyed, and routine activities like grocery shopping, sapped all my energy. While friends worried about who to ask to the Homecoming dance, I wondered whether I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. To survive, I had to brace against the pain, disappointment and fear and push my way forward. But, part of me was lost in the process.
I was faced with a decision: Would I be held captive by my life circumstances, or would I choose to see this as an opportunity? I learned every moment of every hour of every day in every situation I had a choice: Become a Victim or Embrace Opportunity.
Being a victim meant feeling stuck, uncertain about my future, and overwhelmed by my circumstances. Embracing opportunity meant taking the next step, not giving up and strengthening my mind through what I chose to focus on – what I chose to believe.
Receiving the gift of this opportunity allowed my faith to become resilient and my trust in God to become secure. Hopeful, I believed there was a higher purpose in it all, for the greater good. Learning how to live a complete, free and fulfilling life was a hard-fought process.
My story is one of resilience and courage that takes place in the context of physical limitation. Dealing with chronic pain and health issues doesn’t limit my work to individuals with the same circumstance, but connects me to the collective human experience: Life doesn’t always go the way we might hope and plan.
I believe we are never powerless to choose how we are going to respond to our reality. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, said that: “Man’s last freedom is the freedom to choose how he will react in any given situation.” We all have circumstances in our lives that convince us that our dreams are just too much, too hard, too far out of our reach. But, I believe that each event in our life is there to teach us, to increase our capacity for life, and strengthen us in the pursuit of a meaningful, joyful life.
Today, I help others journey through the process of becoming fully alive.
I combine my life experiences and my training as a certified Life Coach, Spiritual Director, Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, and over a decade of experience as a licensed Massage Therapist, to help others clear their path and move through the things they fear the most. They learn how to practically, and strategically, turn their dreams and goals into reality.
To find out more about Sarah’s events where she shares practical strategies for using the mind-body-spirit connection for living a full, authentic life – click here.