When it hurts to write by Angela Giles KlockeThree hundred words. In just under an hour, I only manage to write 300 new words on my book. I should be annoyed. But instead, I hit save and close my laptop, content, happy with those mere 300. It was a hard scene, a memory that I rarely talk about. I sit with the emotions, tasting the memory, breathing in the safety of now as I visited the danger of yesterday.

Sometimes people talk of writing in terms of how hard it is: it’s hard to find the time, or it’s hard to get the words to come out right, or it’s hard to meet deadlines. But sometimes the writing just flat out hurts the heart. The memories are heavy, whether they happened 20 years ago or last week.

Confession: The amount of time I spend watching shows on Netflix is directly related to how hard the writing was that day.

{I watch a lot of TV these days.}

I’m writing really, really hard things. I dig deep into dark places I rarely (if ever) talk about. I’m cleaning out wounds that have scabbed over but never truly healed. Shadows that need light. Words that need release. Pieces of me that are still broken.

My shoulders slowly rise up to my ears, my teeth dig into my tongue, and my whole body goes rigid. It’s as much a physical journey as an emotional one.

It truly hurts to write.

It hurts more not to write. To keep silent. To gloss over it all with a smile, pretending I should not use what was meant for bad for good instead.

So I write through tears, through memories that weave in and out of my heart like they are the now of my life, and I sit at 300 words, happy for the steps forward, content with the progress on the project as well as my healing. I give myself grace, that every day doesn’t need to be a 2,000-word day.

When it hurts to write, give yourself space to feel. Allow yourself time to grieve the memories and the pain and the you that you were then. Write as much as you can and then let it go and move on with your day. Wind down again however you need to, be it with a visit with friends, in watching TV (sometimes it’s easier to live in someone else’s story for a while), reading for fun, walking, or whatever gives you release from the tension and pain that you dug at to bring life to your work.

When it hurts, don’t shove it away — use it.

When it hurts, do as much as you can and then let it go again.

When it hurts to write, honor your pain with acknowledgement. It’s OK to feel it, but it’s not OK to live there. Close the work and move on.

When it hurts, know you are doing valuable, good work. You are changing lives, even if it’s your own.

Previously appeared elsewhere.

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Many of you may know this already, but in 2012 I had what I have come to see as a breakthrough. I used to call it The Great Breakdown of 2012, but I have since renamed it to The Great Breakthrough of 2012. Long story short, I became paralyzed with fear. I could not convince myself to go to class one day. I was overwhelmed, scared, and just plain messed up. I had been playing Just Fine for years…really for all my life.

Turns out, you can totally shove everything down and try to never deal with your anger and pain, but I promise you, it will come out one day. Somehow. Never likely will it exhibit in the healthiest of ways. For me, I had been sabotaging my own success for over a decade. I had pushed people away, never trusting their intentions. I was lonely, scared, broke, and continuing to spiral. On the surface, no one really knew anything was wrong. But just one layer down, I was what we call “a hot mess.”

I’m a very self-aware person. My ability to be aware, however, never stopped me from getting in my own way. I would recognize sabotage when I was committing it, but I felt powerless to stop. Thus entered Liz, my amazing counselor. Because of my self-awareness, I finally did call for help. Though I felt incapable of stopping myself from sabotage, I had at least enough insight to know I could try to take control by calling for help. And Liz delivered. She helped save me. Not until my time with her did I know how badly I was doing. I will sing of her praises as long as I’m alive.

We ended our sessions the same year we began. I do know I’m a strong, resilient person, so once we pealed back the layers of pain and anger, I could easily work on them. I just needed that permission, that guidance. So, about a year ago, my long-time friend Toni invited me to join a new group coaching program she was starting. I really felt like I was just fine because I’d done so much great work already. But I like Toni and I was curious to help fill out her group and see what she had to offer.

I went into coaching with Toni not really having a clue about what she could help me with, if anything (I seriously felt like I had fixed a lot of the broken pieces about myself already), but I knew I could at least benefit from her encouragement.

I had no idea what I was in for.

From the very first questionnaire, I was already sold. Toni asked questions that I hadn’t even thought of, and that provoked self-reflection beyond what I had previously experienced. Still, I had no idea how much freedom I was going to have in making changes in my life as Toni walked with me through tough decisions.

Because of the ugly leftovers from my painful past (self-sabotage and the fear of letting others down), I was still struggling with allowing myself to succeed. Toni helped me speak out loud the confusion I was feeling about all of this as I sought to change negative behaviors that led to repeat disappointments and regrets with myself. From walking away from a job that was making me miserable, to stepping into my true artist and advocate self, Toni helped me see that it’s OK to want these things and to work for them. To walk away from the safety of the shore (the job I hated) and believe more in myself.

Additionally, Toni pointed out things I would say that alarmed her, deeply ingrained ideas I had no clue I was carrying and living by — about success and money, specifically. By gently guiding me to see these flawed ways of thinking, Toni helped me begin to work on my internal dialogue, as well as how I speak out loud and with my husband. Her guidance has opened me up to possibilities I had previously dismissed.

When we began, I had no idea how much a coach — how much Toni — could do for me. But in this one short year, I feel like I have changed and grown so much. Liz helped me with the broken parts of my soul, and Toni has helped me see how worthy and talented I am so that I can be the best version of me possible. The journey continues, but the distance I’ve traveled with her at my side has been amazing and successful. I believe in myself more now than ever.

Working with Toni builds upon the foundation that counseling had already put into place. It is not a replacement but rather the next step for me.

Like with Liz, I will forever be grateful for Toni. It takes a really tuned in person to pick up on things you’re saying that are harmful to your own growth. Not once have I ever felt like our friendship got in the way of me sharing or her speaking truth to me. Toni’s heart coupled with her skills for coaching are amazing, and I highly recommend her. If you’ve been considering whether you should look into working with a coach, you must get in touch with Toni.

Toni McLellan Coaching

Click Here to Read More About Toni’s Coaching

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Don’t miss your life by Angela Giles Klocke

“Ah man, there’s a fence around those flowers. I’m going over! No, wait, the fence is down over there…”

“You make me laugh,” my husband said from the driver’s seat.

We were out for a Saturday drive with the dogs. I assume it has to be a little annoying sometimes to ride with me because I turn into a two-year-old: “Oooh, look at that! Check out the sky! Did you see that? Deer! Oh, the water is high! Look at how the clouds are swirling over the mountaintop! That lighting is GORGEOUS over there!” And on and on I go.

“Why do I make you laugh?”

“Because you go crazy about a field of flowers. Every. Time.”

“Well,” I said, “just look at that yellow against the blue. Isn’t it amazing?”

“It IS pretty. But you really see it. I see that stuff so often, I don’t really pay attention.”

That bit of conversation left me thinking. Yes, yes I do go crazy over fields of flowers, and looking at Pikes Peak never gets old. I can stand at my kitchen window and stare at the sky or watch deer play across the street for the longest time, day after day, without getting bored.

I love life. I love all the beautiful, wonderful delights that every day is full of. My past was truly ugly, so I look for nothing but beauty even while working amidst the ugly others are dealing with. I never want to stop noticing flowers and clouds and animals and how the wind sounds when it weaves its way through tall grass. I want to embrace each day, each precious moment of life given to me.

Don’t miss the flowers. Don’t miss the trees. Don’t miss the wind. Don’t miss the sky. Don’t miss your life.

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