Last night I gave a talk at a community center for a small group of people - a support group called RAPP (Relatives Acting as Parents Program.) I had been asked to give the talk a few months ago, back when I was working at my other job and had readily agreed. All week long I'd been dragging my feet on prepping for it, and was really just not feeling it. It'd been a hectic week, and I was mentally drained from work and the last thing I wanted to do was put on my happy face and my high heels and talk.
However, as soon as my PowerPoint flashed up I felt it - the little butterflies I get in my stomach whenever I start talking about something I'm passionate about. In this case, I was giving a talk I've given a few other times - about how people who are caretakers often neglect themselves. It's a talk I gave about a year ago at the NC Association of Volunteer Coordinators - that time I was in a ballroom with 50 people behind a podium with a microphone and oh, man I was digging giving that talk. I was on fire. But, I felt the same thing last night though - even though I was in a community center with an aluminum table, my PowerPoint flashed on a cement wall with maybe a dozen people, expectantly looking at me.
When I first started working in wellness, I was really in touch (as my life coach self would say) with the reason why I wanted to do this. It's a complex bundle of my past experiences - my own struggle with my weight and eating through high school and college, mixed with the experience of becoming suddenly aware of how easy it is to take health for granted when I was diagnosed with colitis - that provide the kindling for my passion for wellness. I know that for me, if I'm not healthy, I'm not anything else. I'm not a good wife, I'm not a good sister, a good friend, a good doggy-momma, a good person when I don't feel well. Being healthy - for me - gets the junk out of the way so that I can be my best self.
There's a quote - cleanliness is next to Godliness – and whenever I hear that, I think “no, scratch that… healthiness is next to Godliness.” Being clean is lovely, but being healthy – feeling your best, feeling unlimited by your physical state – is so powerful. I really feel that being healthy allows you to be your best self – and allows you to fulfill whatever purpose it is that you’ve been called to.
Teaching people about wellness feels like something bigger than myself – it feels like I’m giving people a tool to get closer to being their best self, and ultimately, to find their own purpose. I know that sounds a little lofty, but on the days that I’m “feeling” it, I know it’s because I’m doing something greater than myself. I consider my understanding of motivation of behavior, my complete lack of competitive nature (which allows me to be a good coach, slowly easing people along to their goals), and my ability to inantely hear things that people don’t say out loud to be gifts that I’ve been blessed with. There’s some days I don’t want to do my job. Honestly, it’s hard. It’s hard and it’s exhausting sometimes, to encourage and lift up people who are entrenched in unhealthy patterns. But every now and then, I get one of those blessed moments when I realize it’s not about me – doing this job is not something I chose to do, it’s something I was chosen to do.
I didn't feel like going to that talk last night, but sometimes it's the things that you don't feel like doing that you need to do. I left feeling reconnected to my work and grateful that I have a purpose I feel passionate about.