Tag Archives: rescue

Hidden Treasure

If everything happens for a purpose then Mira Kirshenbaum offers a fifth reason– the ability to discover buried talents within ourselves which will change our lives for the better. She writes that when we look carefully at the bad things that happen to us, we oftentimes find that a “…talent exists just waiting to be discovered.”

I agree with Kirshenbaum, that is, sometimes, after suffering loss we do become aware of a hidden talent. It’s not the only way to have a special ability come to our attention but there does seem to be a connection between personal loss and the use of a new ability according to experts in the fields of sociology, health, and psychology seem to agree.

For example, the ARTC (pronounced artsy) is a program funded by the Franklin County Children and Families Community Resource Board in Wisconsin. The program offers creative art workshops and seminars to help those with drug addiction. In comparison, the Center for Grief Recovery and Creativity in Wisconsin quote Robert Fulghum, author and Unitarian minister, as one of their guiding principles to recovery. He writes: “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief… that love is stronger than death.”

Further, the American Psychology Association (APA) found in a recent study that creativity and creative endeavors are part of sustaining a purposeful, wholesome, and balanced life. They also found that creative endeavors are a key or important part of recovery.

SeekLifeOne of the things that I’ve learned over the last 25 years of study about creative endeavors and children’s stories is that stories are powerful because they prepare our hearts to receive a truth. Life truths help us to make sense of things that are perplexing which is extremely valuable for healthy and wholesome living. For example, think of the story that Jesus told his disciples of a hidden treasure that a trespasser had stumbled upon in a field (Matthew 13:44).

In the hidden treasure story, we learn an important life truth: there are times that we feel emotionally, mentally, or spiritually like trespassers, interlopers, or uninvited guests. The familiarity and comforts of home are suddenly gone. Because of loss or grief, we find ourselves traveling through an unfamiliar place; we’ve lost that which is comforting like a family member, job, position, or anything else that had previously helped to define us and who we are; we feel like we are stumbling along without a plan or purpose.

Interestingly, what the hidden treasure story tells us, like Kirshenbaum, is that it is highly likely that despite the feelings of loss and anxiety there is secret wealth placed inside of you by God–waiting to be accidentally discovered. This treasure will redefine who you are (from trespasser to titleholder). And, perhaps most importantly, because it is not a mere distraction, your hidden treasure will redirect your life interests and activities toward recovery and life.

Living Life’s Way in 2014,



Leave a comment

Filed under Art and Artistry, book reviews, Change and Transformatiom, stories and values

True Meanings

SeekLifeIn my last post, I mentioned Mira Kirshenbaum’s belief that everything in our lives, everything that happens to us, happens–for a reason. And, in her book, she further explains among the ten reasons, her readers might find one or more that will quench our natural desire to answer the question: Why me?

I’d like to share her list in addition to noting that her answers are 10 among many others. They are an excellent starting point as we begin to make sense of life, understanding, and love. We are individuals, however, that don’t fit into a rigid life perspective. So I invite you to read her list and then add to them as your experience and wisdom gives you understanding.

The Ten Meanings of the Events in Our Lives (Kirshenbaum, 2004, p. 20)

1. To help you feel at home in the world.

2. To help you totally accept yourself.

3. To show you that you can let go of fear.

4. To bring you to a place where you can feel forgiveness.

5. To help you uncover your true hidden nature.

6. To give you what you need to find true love.

7. To help you become stronger.

8. To help you discover the play in life.

9. To show you how to live with a sense of mission.

10. To help you become a truly good person.

Helen Keller once said that life’s purpose was to experience the invisible and to gain wisdom and understanding:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touch. They must be felt with the heart.”

Living life in 2014,

M Buck

Leave a comment

Filed under book reviews, Change and Transformatiom, stories and values

The Case of a Dismissed Dog Lover

NOTE: (Client permission was received to discuss case details. However, names and places have been changed and a degree of dramatic exaggeration added to protect client identity).

Life coaching falls within the category of caring professional counseling services. A life coach focuses specifically on people, their purpose, and their mission. A good life coach intentionally provides a safe space and supporting activities in which a person’s strengths and potential are acknowledged, appreciated, and challenged toward greater self-awareness. A high-quality or well-seasoned coach handles a wide range of life’s challenges with humor, wisdom, much care, and insight.

In the process of developing my professional life coaching practice, I’ve learned that the range of life’s challenges can never be fully anicipated in any textbook or course handouts. Perhaps more importantly, I discovered that new methods and unique approaches must be carefully tested when interacting with clients concerns and their life’s situations. Selected coaching techniques must be thoughtfully employed when assisting a client in making sense of paradoxical situations. Recently, one such case, which tested my life coaching ability, involved the adoption of a rescue dog.

“ I don’t know what to do,” said Marscilla. Her aging eyes filled with painful, personal despair. “Dogs are suppose to be our best friends, right?”

My client knew her facts. According to some canine proponents such as the SPCA and small animal adoption centers, dogs provide important life services for the blind, police, children, old people, farmers, even, hunters. Moreover, dogs of various breeds, sizes, ages, and abilities have been known to display amazing premonitory abilities. Newspaper accounts abound describing how these animals sense coming danger, defy deathly circumstances, and save their human masters from harm. So, it didn’t surprise me when I felt a strong emotion of empathy rise quickly as I continued to listen to Marscilla‘s story.

“Bones is the dog for me, I just know it.” Her lips pursed with deep resolved belief.

Earlier during the conversation, I learned that Marscilla had just lost her devoted Jethro—an oversized 13-year-old pacifist Irish Wolf Hound. His passing was a topic she seldom talked about or let her emotions show. She had begun the process of dog adoption and visiting nearby rescue centers. It was at one of these centers that she found “Bones.” The sadness in her voice however remained–I knew how she felt. Two years prior, I had lost my beloved Australian Shepherd companion.

“And, I can’t believe that I was rejected!” She blurted angrily. I wondered if her change in pitch and volume weren’t a telling sign of misplaced priorities? Then she continued, “Do you think anyone would suspect me if Bones, ummm…turned up missing?”

Rejection as a potential dog-adopter can certainly challenge one’s core life values. From a communication perspective, the change in my client’s voice implied that a variety of heated negative emotions may have attached themselves to her desire for a new canine family member. The adoption center’s refusal of her application appeared to have resulted in a critical intrapersonal downward spiral. The inevitable had to be faced—how do I challenge Marscilla to a greater sense of self-awareness and a return to her traditional cherished values and good citizenry?

I decided to employ my new coaching technique using a direct interrogative approach, “Marscilla, may I ask you a question?”

Then thoughtfully, steadily, sometimes painfully, the next 45-minutes were spent re-discovering Marscilla’s values that had led her successfully through previous emotional trials and storms. She ended our coaching session acknowledging that dog nabbing was not a viable solution for her situation, and, perhaps more importantly, revenge was better left to–an independent and more objective–higher source. Marscilla also chose to write (but not send) several drafts of a letter to the rescue center expressing her concern, grief, and outrage. She thought the writings would help release her negative pent up emotions. She also hoped that sharing her story would make it easier for others who had experienced a similar plight.

CLOSING NOTE: Although Marscilla decided not to proceed with legally challenging the rescue center’s decision to reject her adoption application, she did locate and received approval to adopt a large hunting dog, Perseus, who last week ate the right shoe of her husband’s new $200 pair of cowboy boots–a follow up life coaching session is anticipated.

Living life in 2011,

Mary Buck, PhD
Executive Program Director, Wholeheartedly
A family literacy outreach program using storytelling, art, and life coaching
–where stories change the heart for life–

Leave a comment

Filed under Change and Transformatiom