Archive for March 23rd, 2008

Beth Griffith – Surrendering powerfully

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Spring is here and so is Beth! A native New Yorker, now residing in California, Beth has over 20 years of business experience in the health, medical, and non-profit fields. Trained in the “Co-Active Coaching Model” through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), she is proud to say she is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). Beth believes in coaching the client’s whole life, with the client setting the agenda. She has her bachelor’s degree in sociology and has extensive experience in personal growth education. Her expertise is in joining with her clients at the heart level, using her intuitive ability ‘to get’ to the heart of the matter, and bringing forth each client’s truth. Beth is also Publications Director of The International Coaches Federation – Orange County Chapter and has the honor and privilege to be the chief editor of their monthly newsletter, Insights. Today we are acknowledging that Beth is also living with cancer.

Beth, there tends to be a vocabulary that is used around Cancer that includes ‘battling’ it and ‘fighting’ it, what is your unique perspective on your relationship with Cancer?

There is a powerful quote in ‘A Course in Miracles’ that states “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.” I believe this holds true in my perception of dealing with the breast cancer in my body. I cannot change the fact that this has happened to me but I can change my perspective on what it means. I do not do ‘battle’ with the cancer nor do I ‘fight’ it; I allow my doctors to handle this part for me. I use my mind to embrace what is happening to me now and learn how to use this cancer for my healing, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. To me, it is a wake up call to my life, my purpose on the planet, to my very existence. Is it scary? “Yes!” Does it have my attention? “Yes!” But, I do not ‘war’ with it. Rather I am vigilant in asking myself, “What can I learn from this now?” and see where it takes me.

There is a real sense of ‘opportunity’ in your answer. What are you learning about your purpose?

I have been clear for quite some time about my purpose; “to be truly helpful to others.” However, after living with breast cancer for several months, I now have a better understanding of the ways in which I express my helpfulness. I seem to come more from a place of vulnerability, compassion and a letting go of control. I now allow the side of me that is ‘naked’ to show forth and it affords me the opportunity to be at a whole new level with others, a healing level I was missing before. It’s scary for me and exciting at the same time. I am more willing to come from a place of ‘a blank canvas’ when someone asks for my help and be more in the moment rather than deciding what is best for them and acting accordingly.

Living in the moment can indeed be very beneficial – what else have you taken notice of in regard to your own well being? What have you had to adapt in your life?

If it’s okay with you, I’d like to change the word “adapt” to “surrender” so the question becomes, “What have I had to surrender to in my life?” This is a powerful question for me. What comes to mind first is “control.” Over the past few months I have had to learn what it feels like to have no control over my body when it wants to do something different than what I want it to. For example, when undergoing chemotherapy, the body goes through all kinds of changes as it heals. When I look in the mirror, I see myself with no hair on my head, including my eyebrows, and eyelashes. At times my mind gets foggy, my body is tired and needs to rest quite a bit, insomnia plagues me during the darkest of nights, and I have had to let most of my coaching practice go because I can’t concentrate. I have moments when all of this infuriates me, and I get so exasperated that I want to scream and cry. It has taken a while for me to learn to stop, breathe, and let go. I have learned to give the gifts of compassion and appreciation to myself and to others. I appreciate that the chemo is healing my body and that I have excellent doctors working on my behalf to help heal me. I appreciate my garden, the place where I live near the ocean, and, most especially, the relationships I choose to have in my life. My friends don’t care that I am bald; they just want to love me, and now I let them. I have had such happy moments lately by surrendering to “what is” in my life. Now I feel more compassion for others and what they might be experiencing, more love through giving and receiving, and more inner peace by developing a closer relationship with God. I am discovering an inner strength I truly didn’t know that I possess.

Beth, you present a beautiful new perspective on surrendering. What other wisdom do you want to share?

Hmmm, wisdom is a word that I do not feel I have earned just yet in my life. Here is something I have learned by experiencing breast cancer. When you see or meet someone who has something going on with them physically (it’s usually pretty easy to tell) look them right in the eye and acknowledge them with a nod, smile, or even a simple “hello.” That simple connection may keep the person going on the planet just a little bit longer and a little bit happier. I know of which I speak.

Beth, even though I may have trouble matching one of your gorgeous smiles I will make sure to honor the sentiment. Thank you so much for your vibrancy, strength and openness to sharing. C

© The Red Barn Cooperative
www.theredbarncooperative.com

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