Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Great change is always preceded by chaos and confusion, yet our darkest moments can serve a great purpose
It has happened to all of us — an illness, an event, or an uncomfortable truth engulfs our life like a rogue wave, and we are thrown ass over tea kettle onto the beach. Not only is there sand in our bikini bottoms, but we are rattled and forced to evolve or stay stuck in the limbo that is unfolding. We need a way not to just cope, but to shift our perspective so we can take back our power: To NAME our emotional state, CLAIM resonant actions that align with our core beliefs and then REFRAME our mindset so we can move ahead with strategic and visionary optimism.
For me and many women, this transition happens slowly over time, like an ache or a longing. While for others it feels more like a collision that clears the way for a new beginning that they never saw coming. Whether a single dramatic event or a series of them, it is an awakening that forces us to claim something of our very own and finally ‘gives us permission’ to start a business, begin a big project, earn that degree we never finished, leave a marriage, or even to fall in love all over again.
Like a personal check-in, this is the point when women realize that it is time to take up more space and build energetic boundaries that will fill them instead of deplete them.
Although one traumatic incident is often the passageway to enlightenment, we may be afraid to admit to our stories and the pain we endured as a result. It’s certainly easier to bury them than stare at them. Yet struggle is often the portal to a vast reservoir of inner resourcefulness. Not only are we gifted great wisdom, but we learn of the internal strength that we possess, enabling us to boldly rise again. If we allow ourselves to dig into the truth behind our darkest moments, we will find an authentic spirit within that has the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and courage to guide us back home to our truth.
What does all this mean? Let me share a little bit of my story behind the inception of the Name, Claim and Reframe® structure.
My collision with this new way of thinking happened in my mid-fifties —with a financial reset that forced me to realize that if I was to survive the impact, I needed to upgrade the frequency of who I was and how I approached my life going forward. My priorities shifted, causing false identities and uncomfortable truths to rise to the surface.
I knew that if I didn’t evolve, I would stay stuck, reacting to life instead of responding to it.
One afternoon, my husband and I discovered that an investment that we believed was ‘safe’ had been lost. We were in the red and needed to liquidate assets quickly to raise capital. Throughout our marriage, my husband and I had both contributed to our household and been prudent investors, but I see now in hindsight that I had checked out of the financial conversation, choosing to ignore the details, and leaving my husband to do all the worrying and problem solving. Now that we were in a more tenuous position, I needed to look at the cold hard truth of what we were facing. My husband was building a consulting practice and we were very simply spending more than we were making. We had a fairly high cost of living that included a vacation home, and if things kept going the way they had been we were in danger of losing it all.
I was angry and afraid and I wanted to point fingers, but truthfully, I was at fault too. Because I had been in denial, and not in the conversation with my partner about our finances, I had willingly surrendered not only my power but my sovereignty. This is a common mistake that many women make, turning the finances over to their spouse without question, despite contributing to the annual income.
To face this situation, I had to look at what frightened me most, talking about where we were in the red and taking ownership of my part in my family’s financial state of affairs. A woman who chooses to be the sovereign of her own life asks hard questions, shares difficult truths, and is never afraid to reveal her deepest fears. She takes a seat at the table. My partner and I were forced to have a courageous conversation; Do we take on more debt to continue to live a life we clearly couldn’t afford, or do we sell our second home and release a false identity that no longer served the life we hoped to save?
I cannot begin to find the words to express the emotion conjured by this financial challenge. Humility, shame, and regret only scratch the surface, but I knew that this wave of truth had come to save us from ourselves — and serve us.
Our financial shock, as scary as it seemed, was not life threatening. It was instead the jolt of reality that would set us free so we could chart a new and more visionary course for the future. I Named the terror of us losing what we had worked so hard to build then I got onto the other side of it so, together we could Claim a solution to navigate our next steps.
Selling our vacation home so suddenly felt like a fire sale and sharing this news with others was steeped in shame and regret. Yet as people’s bewildered and patronizing glances washed over me, I dug into the reality of the situation: we were lucky to have a second home to sell. In changing my perspective, I Reframed my thinking. It was time for us to write a new story and leave behind the false life (and identities) we had been living and labeling.
When you intentionally wake up, serendipity reigns and circumstances fall into place. Our vacation property sold for more than we expected, and we were able to straighten out our finances and curate a lifestyle that better fit the goals we had for the life we hoped to rebuild. Instead of anger at my situation, I took ownership for my part, reframing my mindset by choosing to feel compassion for my husband (who had been navigating this situation alone) and for myself (for hiding from it).
This experience brought us back together as equal partners, restoring trust within our marriage so we could stand together to see a way forward. I saw our situation not so much as a crisis, but rather an opportunity to get creative and scrappy — more raw and real. By accepting the mess, we were in as a blessed portal to salvation, we had taken control of our lives, Claiming the autonomy that was essential to forge a future of our choosing.
As I began to accept the situation that we found ourselves in, I mentally Reframed it for what it was, merely a hiccup in my bigger life story — and a powerful life lesson. When we stop running from our truths, we can begin to instead look for and Claim the hidden treasure within them.
While these may seem like mere words and constructs, when put into motion they hold enormous power. I had the ability to shed the shame of my story and use it as an opportunity to reinvent myself, Reframe my identity. I no longer wanted to hide from the things in my life that I felt like I wasn’t capable of handling. I wanted to face it all, but without the panic I had experienced through our days in the financial mire.
I felt a strong pull from within to rise, stronger and more enlightened with a clearer vision and sense of purpose. The experience of being lost presented me with a golden opportunity to take my power back in a way I never had before. In a bold decision I made a transformational leap, pivoting from an over thirty-year career in education to become what had been calling all along, a certified Life and Leadership Coach. Using my past pain to model, teach and guide, I yearned to be a beacon of hope for others who had lost their way.
In all chaos, there is a secret order that breeds curiosity, versatility, and resourcefulness. The best guides have traveled the path, understand the obstacles, and can share humbly from their scars of enlightenment. The experience of being lost myself offered me the road map to develop Name, Claim and Reframe®, or the way of the Gentle Warrior. I understood that anyone could use these three steps at any point in their life, whether with dramatic events of upheaval like mine, or with a minor micro life mess.
Anyone who has been knocked to their knees needs to believe that they have the power to rise again and the framework to do so. Whatever disrupts ‘the who’ you thought you were and ‘the what’ you thought was sacred (marriage, health, financial stability), the power to recover lies within you. Maybe your disaster is calling you to become something better than you were before.
Great change is always preceded by chaos and confusion, and our darkest moments have a great purpose.
No one ever wants to hear this in the heat of the moment, but it’s true. The unexpected storm that collided with your life is bringing you the circumstances to emerge into a more authentic version of yourself…if you allow it. Isn’t it empowering to realize that you have the choice to start embracing adverse experiences instead of resisting them or being taken down by them?
We all know a woman who, despite life’s challenges, has curated a well-lived life. Instead of leading with a sword and shield, she elegantly draws upon her own inner resources to guide and direct her actions. Standing resolutely in her truths, she is one with the most authentic and essential parts of herself. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t faced off with her own life adversity — it means that she stood in her humanness and grace while doing it. As we observe her graceful sovereignty, we wonder to ourselves, how can I achieve that?
I started the journey towards building the framework for Name, Claim and Reframe®, or what I call living life like a Gentle Warrior because I am a warrior in recovery, having made the intentional choice to align with a more feminine approach to life. Although I have always been a straight shooter, my actions or shall I say, ‘reactions’ were fueled by emotional triggers, core wounds, and deep seeded insecurities. I had armored up like a warrior to protect my essential self and often felt emotionally depleted, resentful, and very unbalanced.
I would venture to guess that you wear your own suit of metaphorical armor. You’ve likely got your ways, patterns and belief systems to take shelter beneath.
This armor hides your unseen truths, your false identities, and most importantly, the pain that you have stuffed away and never acknowledged. You have learned to cope, sometimes reverting to the same old stale behaviors of the past that leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled.
The overarching message of, Name, Claim & Reframe-Your Path to a Well-Lived Life, is to illustrate how the suit of armor that we have built over our essential selves has inhibited us from our most potent power and skewed the balance of the divine masculine and feminine ingenuity that exists within all human beings, regardless of their gender identity. It is embodying both, we are all of it — and we can use all of it to our benefit. I’ve learned to call forth a more attuned approach to life when I speak of “living in the way of the Gentle Warrior.”
What are the key traits of a woman who has put down her metaphorical cloak of armor to walk in the way of a Gentle Warrior?
She has learned to Name uncomfortable emotions and has an acute awareness around the stability of each side of her wholeness, both the feminine and masculine gifts that she offers the world. She understands how to recalibrate these dualities, especially when she is triggered into reacting instead of responding to adverse situations.
She asks herself, what is going on here and what is underneath this feeling?
She has the tools and resources to Claim resonant actions, because she is conscious that her core beliefs and energetic boundaries are the gatekeepers to her inner resourcefulness. The Reframe comes when she slows down, realigning her thinking around a triggering situation and choosing to respond with new ownership.
She knows how to take ownership, calm herself and process as she moves through the experience.
This intentional act of separating her ego from the situation allows her to proceed with a more optimistic, strategic, and visionary mindset. In other words, while we (you and me) may not be able to change what life throws our way, we can choose to shift the meaning we give to it in a more positive perspective that will better serve the boundaries of the life we are choosing to live.
She asks, what does this have to teach me and how can I use it?
Name, Claim & Reframe presents you with the ability to choose — to rewrite the outdated internal narratives that drag you down, so you can rediscover who you really are and take aligned action from there, in service of the greater good of YOU. And by doing so, not only are you gifted great wisdom, but you learn of the internal strength that is conjured when you make the choice to boldly rise again. Life’s bruising is inevitable, but enlightenment from the bruising is optional. If we allow ourselves to dig into the truth behind our darkest moments, we will find that we are closer to the spirit of a Gentle Warrior than we might think. Doesn’t that sound like a better path? A life well-lived isn’t a path without twists and turns and bumps in the road. It is one of meaning. Which are you going to choose?
You may also enjoy reading Interview: Jonathan Fields | The Good Life, by Kristen Noel.