I'm Back, and I Bring So Much More
finding the flow
Direct quotation from the last blog I posted here:
I still need to tell the story on this blog of how being thrown in the deep end as chef and health coach has been transforming my sense of self and with it my self-care.
It's time. I've been baptized, immersed, had my face rubbed in the mirror of old beliefs that kept me small, and I emerge shining with the conviction that I deserve to express my gifts and be valued for doing so, and that there are so many people out there who deserve to benefit from my gifted help.
From January all the way up until four days ago, I've been working at the clinic I was originally attending as a patient. I was there for over 14 hours a day most days, every day. And doing the grocery shopping outside of those hours, at 7am (or 9.30pm if I got away early enough). For some of that period, I was running the show singlehandedly.
For some of it, I was coaching and preparing the food for patients who came to the clinic through "my" health coach but also ended up working with patients who came in through the doctor who owns the practice, working with up to five individuals simultaneously, with their different nutritional needs and supplement schedules.
For this whole unplanned, unsupervised, mostly unpaid apprenticeship, I continued to work on myself. Some way into it, I signed myself up as my own patient, and that may turn out to be the most valuable and fruitful development of the entire experience. Above and beyond all the ways that I've proved to myself that I should be working in the field of holistic health, my trust in myself as my own primary care-provider (including knowing when to outsource, of course) will undergird all the confidence I have in offering my services to others going forward.
I learned some new things about what I have to offer, and I was reminded of some things I already know. I was reminded that:
- I'm a great chef, with a special gift for making "healthy" food taste good.
- I love making food for people.
- I love tailoring the food to the person.
- I love responding to special requests.
- I love caring for someone's nutrition through cleansing periods and health crises.
- I love sourcing the food and creating relationships with farmers and produce managers (and they always seem to love me back!)
- I don't get bored or burn out; chopping vegetables, cleaning the juicer, are meditation.
- When I'm making food for people, I get into a flow state, timeless and source-ful.
That's probably why I was happy to step in: initially, I thought I was just making the food/health drinks. But there were treatments to put patients on and supervise. And people would be asking me what the benefits of this or that food/supplement/nutrient/treatment were, why I was feeding them that, how this treatment might help them--and, increasingly, what would I suggest to help them with this or that specific issue.
Initially, I responded to all these questions from a position that I was just standing in for my health coach, that I was substituting. I would do my best to say what I thought he would say. If he was available to consult with, I would confer with him before responding fully. But as time went on, and as real situations with real people I worked with in real time continued to arise, I began to answer from my own intuition and knowledge and heart, just as I had already taken autonomous initiative in the kitchen.
And here's what I learned in the process:
- I'm able to respond to people's questions about their health and nutrition in ways they can understand and are satisfied by.
- I'm able to make the nutrition/biology piece interesting for people.
- I learn new things from every patient I work with, through observing their bodies and listening to their words.
- When my answer is "I don't know," the depth and receptiveness of my listening actually gives the patient the answer they're seeking, on an energetic level.
- My no-matter-what self-care and spiritual practices enabled me to sustain this rigorous schedule without burning out.
- My spiritual practice combined with listening to the patients so that I would receive clear messages on how to care for them that went beyond linear thought.
- My heart is in the right place. When my feelings were hurt by hierarchical stuff/people drama, my first conscious thoughts and energetic transmissions upon waking were to check in with the wellbeing of all at the clinic; only after that did the thoughts about this slight or that hurtful comment come in.
- In the context of the clinic, none of the patients I worked with minded that I don't (yet?) have an official degree in nutrition.
Further learnings: of course I still know so much less than I would need or like to know, but I learn so much by working with patients, and at this point it seems that those interactions are beneficial to the patients as well, so the path ahead is clear. During this time, a couple of private clients have also manifested (along with friends and family for whom I've been doing this informally for a long time), confirming that it's time for me to be offering this service.
Of course, I'm still a writer/editor/translator. I made ends meet while working like this unpaid by translating and editing in quiet moments. And I received some wonderful validation of my writing recently, which I'll share in the next post.
But I'm now proud to add these other services to my palette of offerings too! Details to come on my website.