A simple story about shifting work and family balance

I was cruising along with a singular focus on my professional development when BOOM my soul reminded me to pay attention to a deeper idea.  I heard:

Wake up, lady! This year isn't JUST about professional development.  

You've embarked on a Master Class in Heart Awakening too. 

What? A Master Class in Heart Awakening?

Haven't I been caregiving with compassionate focus?  Haven't I made strides as a mother, as a friend, and as a humble soul making its way on the planet?  I really hate to appear overconfident, I argued in my head, but since I just earned Professional Health Coaching credentials from Duke Integrative Medicine, I really want to capture the momentum and get to work.  But now you're saying that it's Master Class time?  Sheesh.

Hold on now.  You will take the next steps with ease.  In fact, we envision great adventures and a wonderful health coaching career for you, given your capacity for compassion and healing.  But advancing to your fullest expression will still require you to embody what we call, "self-fullness".

Oh good, I thought, at least I don't have to stop this momentum!

Then I asked about self-fullness.  Is it similar to #gratitude? 

No, it is not gratitude.  It is about acceptance and taking steps towards big goals without striving.

Self-fullness is a state of being; a state that energizes and activates a rewarding professional life while also protecting you during challenging times.  Do you understand?

Yes, so I kept listening: 

We think you have the courage and influence to make a difference supporting the lives of others but we want you to start by giving yourself much more support. Unconditional support.


You must learn to make commitments from your heart, health and soul, not from your head.

That made sense to me since my head is often ahead of my heart.  What's the first step?

We want you to practice saying No to people you care about when saying Yes hurts your heart, health and soul.  It's simple but it is not easy for most women.  Especially women like you.

You mean it isn't easy for women like me to disappoint people?  And that we often say yes when we mean no?  Guilty.  But won't it be selfish to practice saying No to people I care about?  

A long time ago when we valued groups over individuals we viewed a No from a woman as selfish or as some kind of violation of the social order. Now we know better.

We understand and teach that it is only a woman who is self-full that is able to contribute to the health of a group (a marriage, a family, a community, a nation, planet, etc.).  

That sounded true to me so I kept listening: 

Self-fullness is not selfish, it leads to a greater awareness that all of life is precious and worthy: yours, others', the world's.

Self-fullness is that quiet, subtle shift in energy; a stance with roots underneath that support and grow the blooms up above. 

 . . . As you learn how to experience self-fullness you will be growing the muscle of compassion and the strength of a rooted soul. 

And that's when I realized that this Master Class in Heart Awakening was going to be both exciting and highly challenging at times.   There would be a need to stay connected to gifted teachers and friends as I worked through professional goals with an open heart. This gentle reminder brought a lovely sensation of alignment and I realized with an Aha! that I had been preparing to be invited into this master class my whole life.  I knew that there would be no turning back, so  I exhaled then heard the teacher say:

Well done with the first lesson ... now for Lesson Two. 


  1. A great article. What a well-written reminder to us to take care of ourselves- but not in the self-serving, overly self-focused ways we see implemented. I look forward to watching your journey, and perhaps joining you as well. Thank you.

    1. Hi Debra! Thank you for reading the post and for your wise comment. I hope our paths do cross on the journey.