Some of us are slow processors. I am one of these people.
I did an intense life coaching session the other day with a coach I completely respect. At one point during the coaching call, he asked me to imagine standing on a cliff and picture a meandering river below. I was to look at the river, imagining that the river represented the last three years of my life. He asked me what I had done in the last three years of my life.
My mind froze.
I didn’t remember a thing, except for a big cross country move. More on that in a moment. The move filled my brain.
I am not one to think about the past (usually) — I tend to keep trying to push ahead and I tend to forget what I’ve done. I forget my accomplishments. I blurted out some kind of an answer about moving, publishing my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th book, and spending a lot of time on book promotion.
A few days after the coaching call, I find myself wanting and needing to honor and capture what I have done over the last three years, both big and mundane. We humans are capable of so much. We power through the days — with or without direction. The bigger question might be: What can I learn from what I’d done? What does this tell me about myself?
In the last three years, I:
- Moved from a state where I’d spent 45 years of my life, to a completely different state.
- Learned, and am still learning, where things are, how to make things happen in a new place, and how to interpret different social nuances.
- Gave hospice to and helped two beloved cats and a beloved dog pass on.
- Rescued/trapped, tamed, and adopted a formerly feral (alleged) Ragdoll cat, who is now a happy part of the family. Brought him across the country from MN to VT during our move, even though we weren’t completely sure he would tame. (I couldn’t leave him behind and acted solely on intuition.)
- Experience my first Vermont winter, which was nicer than a MN winter, but brings new challenges of heavy wet snow, and ice.
- Learned to drive icy mountain roads, and to breathe away the fear.
- Gasped happily at mountain views everywhere.
- Attended my first Blogpaws Conference and seriously began a cat blog.
- Had three more books published (short story collection, memoir, and cat fantasy fiction novel).
- Promoted my books at readings and signings that I set up myself, in many locations in MN, Iowa, California, and New York, and at professional conferences.
- Won an award for the cat fantasy fiction novel (The Great Purr).
- Missed old friends terribly.
- Began to make a lot of new acquaintances, and came to a new knowledge that new true friends will take time to make. (I’m the type of person that has a few trusted close friends.)
- Spent a lot of time finding new hiking and skiing trails in the mountains.
- Discovered that I am Crazy about mountains. I think they are my religion.
- Bumped up against a lot of edgy edges — the kind that great change brings.
- Finished a literary novel set in North Dakota.
- Began memoir #2 — inspired by much of the change of the past three years.
- Did a daily yoga and meditation practice — and on the occasional day when I don’t do this, I feel it.
- Continued to meet COOL and impressive people in the pet blogging world.
- Watched doors close, and doors open. This is a good thing.
- Began reshaping my business.
- Helped make an informal family reunion happen — first time we’d all been together in many years.
- Volunteered at a humane organization in Vermont, and loved the kitties.
- Became a member of an artist collaborative in my new state, and performed and read in a great space with great people.
- Attended theater at a cool opera house that straddles the border of Quebec and Vermont.
- Tried poutine for the first time (not my favorite).
- Had my first maple creamie (YUM).
- Had raw littleneck clams (pretty good) on the RI coast.
- Felt like a stranger in a strange land. AND felt as if I was born to be here.
- Taught yoga to a brand new bunch of people. Gave yoga workshops to more new people.
- Loved my cats, and wrote about them. Continued to be fascinated by the amazing bond we have with out companion animals.
There’s likely more. A lot more.
This is why some people journal. It’s a process I’ve never adopted, but I’m beginning to wonder if it has merit. Not to hang onto the past, necessarily, but to honor and acknowledge one’s life path, and to learn from it.
Some of us are slow processors. It’s important to recognize, and honor that, within ourselves. If you’re one who needs to take time to figure out where you are, then give yourself that time. You do not need to move in the same way that everyone else does — you have your own way of “moving” that works best for you.
Life Coach and writer Catherine Holm is the award-winning author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, and transformation. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.