This is our group before the run- fresh and clean.
Yesterday, I participated in the Sacramento Color Run with my daughter and life-long bestie (and her daughter too). It was magnificent. The vibe, the creative approach people took to create unique outfits and the route were all really cool. It was exhilarating in a lot of ways. The run/walk began in the morning when it was still a bit chilly, but nice enough to run in without the blaze of Nor Cal heat. My group was in the first wave of runners and it was awesome to run with people I know and love. I was somewhere behind my daughter, a collegiate athlete, who was ahead of me and able to run the whole event. I managed a run/walk combo and to be honest, though the concept of the dye is awesome, the reality is that some of the volunteers who spray the colored dust, aim straight for your mouth and face and for whoever was running the “blue” station I have a message for your team “you sort of suck” and “your team made the trek through the blue zone sort of like being hazed into a sorority.”
During the run, I was keeping my mind on the moment. That’s something I have been really trying to do nowadays. You see, my life has taken some really shitty turns the last few years. So much so that I nearly gave up on my dream to make a lasting impact on the world. Because of circumstances outside of my control and the bevy of emotions and self-doubt it all caused, I nearly walked away from what I know God has called me to do. I nearly threw up my hands and said there is no way I can survive this emotional holocaust. There is no way for me out of this pit. My only hope is terminal illness or perhaps suicide. Literally death seemed the only way out, initially.
I am not sure if you can totally fathom the depths of my despair. The utter hopelessness and helplessness I felt. The sense of overwhelming doom and the shame that I lived with. Not something you’d expect from a life coach.
Yet, here I was, running the color run and looking for the good and desperately wanting to feel whole and confident that I am worthy of the dreams that are in my heart. Padding along at a slow and steady pace, I took in the venue. I appreciated the sky, the tress, the homes that were being revitalized down town and thought to myself “I’d LOVE to remodel a home like that” I found that I was thinking in terms of the future. Of a life way out in front of me, sort of like the finish line of the race.
All of a sudden, the race became a living metaphor in my mind. The slow and steady pace I was keeping. The labored breath that was lessened by stopping a moment to walk and collect myself. Life is like this. It is hard at times, but we have to keep going- one foot in front of the other until we reach the finish line. When it gets too hard, we need to stop and breathe and collect ourselves before moving on. I found myself coming to the color stations and seeing the metaphors there. How people with bottles full of colored dye, throw their “stuff” on you as you run by and it sticks to you and marks you. There you are, sweaty and tired from your race, covered in the stuff they throw on you as you go by, just doing the best you can. Yet, in the midst of that stuff, you control your mindsest. You control the reaction you have to their stuff. The color run is fun. It is full of joy and the metaphorical dye can either make you want to punch a baby or make you smile at the absurdity of it all. The choice is yours.
By the time I reached the last mile, I recognized that under the most duress, my mind has some of it’s greatest epiphanies. During the last mile, God bared down and showed me a vision that really helped me gather my courage.
but first, a bit of back story….
I am pretty well known as America’s Divorce Coach and in being “her” I help others cope with the headaches and heartaches associated with divorce. I have authored six books, including a children’s series and I can’t tell you how much blood, sweat and tears have gone into my brand. Well, nearly two years ago I suffered a giant set back in life that rocked me to the core. My identity was shattered and the weight and enormity of it all crushed my chest as if a two ton white elephant were sitting on me.
It has taken every ounce of courage and coping skill sets I could find to overcome. I have had to dig deeper than I ever imagined to climb out of that pit. It has not been easy and I guess I will let you know if it is worth it, although I believe with every ounce of optimism I have it will be.
What God has shown me is that I need to expand my brand. I need to change who I am from America’s Divorce Coach® to America’s Crisis Coach™. Long before I knew this was God’s will, I heard from my readership it was their will. I can’t tell you how many times people said to me, “I love you and love what you do, but I am not getting a divorce”
So I am making the change….
I have known for some time that there was no way I could move forward with my career until I was willing to be open and honest about who I am as it relates to the issues I live with. What is scary is that who I am, feels like it has nothing to do with what I live with. Who I am feels separate from the issue that blocks me every time I want to step out and be me. Who I am feels worlds away from the reality I manage every day.
Who I am is Faydra, a God-loving, hope-filled mom of three, lover of iced tea and my dogs. Who I am is Faydra, a writer, speaker, podcaster and secret fashionista. Who I am is Faydra, a loyal friend, defender of the shamed and eater of ice cream. Who I am is so much more….
What I live with is the reality that my husband was sent to prison for the rest of his life for something he was accused of doing long before I ever knew him.
That leaves me a widow, without the death. A woman left with questions about his guilt and innocence without first hand knowledge. A woman hated by many, yet loved equally by many more. A woman affected by outcomes I have no control over.
I can’t tell you how incredibly hard it is to be both of those women. I can’t tell you how hard it is to tell this story and not know what the blow back might be. All I can tell you is what happened the last mile of the race…..
On the last mile, I noticed people sitting alongside the road watching as people ran by. As clear as day God showed me two possible futures. God showed me myself sitting on the curb. In my vision, I was about 87-ish (and looking pretty damn good I might add) and sitting with what must have been my great-grandchildren. He showed me watching a parade. Each of the floats and exhibits represented really cool opportunities that life has to offer. Places to be seen, activities to participate in, adventures to be had. Imagine seeing vivid floats going by that represented the most magnificent things you could do in your lifetime, whatever that is for you.
As I sat there with my great-grandchildren, God showed me two entirely different reactions I could have. It is amazing how God can make his point in a way that seems so clear in your mind, yet so hard to describe in a blog post. Nonetheless, I am going to do my best to give you a vivid understanding.
My options were like this:
1. I could watch every float go by and I could shout out with glee “Hey kids, I remember when I did that! It was so much fun!” “ohhhh, look kids, I remember when I went there, it was so beautiful!” “OMG Kids! do you see that experience, I did that and oh boy, you have to do that too!” “Life is so hard, but if you keep your mind set right and overcome anything that comes your way, you can do everything I did and more!”
2. I could watch every float go by and I could say “Wow, that looks so fun, I wish I had done that.” “hey kids, do you see that? I had the opportunity to do that, but I was too scared so I didn’t.” Oh no! do you see that place? I always wanted to go there, but I just didn’t think it was possible” “Life’s so hard kids, bad things happen and it’s not fair. Here I am at the end of the line and I missed out on so much.”
God showed me that I had two choices. He is prepared to give me either one. My free will is what determines what I will think when I am sitting at life’s parade. I can either step out in faith or I can stay in the pit. It’s one of the many choices He has given me.
I’m not going to say it has been easy. I am not going to say I am not scared that I will be rejected, hated and judged as I rebrand and tell my story. I am not going to say that I don’t fear. I am human and with my humanness comes the flaws of the flesh.
What I am going to say is that I feel called and I believe that God will spare me the pain that won’t help me grow and He will continue to provide the resources and the people who will walk beside me through the color stations of this life. I know, like I know, like I know that I am here to help others survive cataclysmic crisis. I know that my enduring strength and my ability to laugh and love and shine in spite of my whole world disintegrating equips me to be a light on the hill for others. The connections I have to amazing men and women who have suffered immense losses and refuse to sink will be made available to my audience. My podcast will morph into a show that features courageous people like me who have been to hell, yet still know heaven.
At the end of my run, I crossed the finish line and met my daughter and friends. Together we celebrated our race, covered in blue, yellow, pink and purple dye. For them the feeling of accomplishment was palpable. For me, the gift God gave me in that vision of my life’s choices, left me filled with courage and hope.
I hope you come with me on this journey and hear what I have to say about living in shame and overcoming it’s hold. I hope you share your pain and expose the demons to the light, for they have no power when you come together with people who understand, support and encourage you.
I am that person. I am creating that community and I am America’s Crisis Coach.
Here we are after the race!