Bool Review: 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed

January 29, 2018

In my work as a coach, I find that suppressed emotions often surface for the coachee.  I’m drawn to working with the coachee’s shadow side as I know that powerful learning and healing is to be found here so I welcome these emotions to my coaching sessions.  When it’s appropriate, I’ll recommend a relevant book for the coachee to read in their own time.  This is a good way for them to continue to explore and reflect on their emotions; I’ve since learned that this is sometimes called ‘bibliotherapy’.  One of the most powerful emotions is grief and I’ve found ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed to be helpful when clients feel lost and disconnected from life by grief.  I share this review of ‘Wild’ to provide a glimpse of the learning I gained from this wonderful book.  I hope you, and maybe your coachees’ as well, find it useful.

‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed is the story of a young American woman who went off the rails after losing her mother to lung cancer at the young age of 45.  It’s a courageous book written with great honesty: Strayed has bared her soul to herself and her readers, sparing nothing.  It’s about grief and loss and being lost when our anchor gives way.  It’s also about ‘the journey from lost to found’ (the book’s sub title) through recognising the need for solitude and the healing power of nature.  As a way of working out her grief, Strayed walked over 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in North America.  In my head I walked every step of the way with her, such was the resonance of her exploration of her grief and the parallels between her journey of self-discovery and healing, and my own experience.  A pivotal moment in the story is when Strayed arrives at a volcanic lake of the deepest colour of blue, formed when a mountain ‘had its heart ripped out’ millennia ago.  The void was then gradually filled up by nature to become the lake, which serves as a wonderful metaphor for Strayed’s journey.  While contemplating the lake at length, Strayed realises she is finally at peace.  Her previous self-harming behaviours, including intravenous heroin use and risky casual sex, were her looking for a way out; on the Pacific Crest Trail, she comes to understand that what she needs is a way in – to herself.  With nature’s help and spending time alone, she is healed, no longer needing answers to everything, content simply to be.  Crossing the river near her destination, The Bridge of the Gods, she feels the weight of her dead mother as a burden.  She trusts her intuition and somehow releases this burden, which allows her dead mother to ‘cross to the other side’ in keeping with native American tradition.  This book is a journey on many levels: a physical, emotional and spiritual journey, and a leap of faith that solitude and wilderness can help us to heal.  It is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and our capacity to heal ourselves when we allow ourselves to follow our own path.  It is beautifully written and moving.  I highly recommend it as a helpful resource for those feeling lost and disconnected from life by grief.

Ross Nichols


Diary of a Business Accelerator: 1 of 7

January 26, 2018

In early 2016, I was dissatisfied with my business.  I wanted to ‘make the boat go faster’, have more clients, grow my revenues and make progress towards my goals.  Business seemed to have flat-lined and I needed to do something to kick start growth. I’d done lots of business training previously so I was wary of signing up for another programme – I knew I was the problem so it was as much about my attitude and motivation as a lack of knowledge. After a conversation with Tom at Dent (a...

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Cancer Coaching Community

January 19, 2017

CCC (Cancer Coaching Community) is a new community of UK based coaches who wish to work with those affected by cancer: patients, relatives and friends.  The majority of our coaches have direct personal experience of cancer.  It’s early days for CCC however the plan is to soft launch on World Cancer Day on 04 February 2017, followed by an in-person launch event in London on 04 April 2017.

CCC would like to send invitations to its launch events to anyone who may be interested in learning mor...

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Wellbeing For You Workshops in Salisbury

January 9, 2017

Are you dissatisfied with your life, your career or your health?  Do you want more out of life or simply feel that something isn’t quite right?  If you answered ‘yes’, you could improve your wellbeing by taking part in this series of 3 workshops.

The World Health Organisation’s description of health is,

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease.”

 The integrated approach to wellness recognises 6 dimensions of wellnes...

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Diary of a Business Accelerator - 1 of 6

November 25, 2016
I recently completed a 6 month business accelerator programme in London - the photo shows those of us who attended the final session in October 2016.  I wanted to share my learning so here is my first post of 6 on my experience, which I'm calling, 'Diary of a Business Accelerator'.  I hope you find it useful.

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Group Coaching with Homestart (South Wilts)

October 4, 2016
I was delighted to be invited back to do more group coaching with Homestart South Wilts today. The focus was on 'Wellbeing' and there were some beautiful insights and awareness arising. Everyone mapped their individual wellbeing over time and we noticed that everyone's wellbeing goes up and down in response to a whole range of factors. We explored these through the 'Integrated Wellness' approach, which resonated with the group. Within this, social wellness came up as being important for t...

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Abstract Expression

September 27, 2016
My first experience of an art coaching workshop resulted in this piece of abstract expression.  It's growing on me and is now on display in the kitchen of my house, rather like we used to display our childrens' art work.  I think I'll be doing more of this and I'm looking forward to experimenting with art in my coaching practice.
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Poem: I Go to Meet the Day

September 9, 2016
This poem came to me via the 'Unconference' on Clean language, which is a growing approach used in coaching and the helping professions.  I Go to Meet the Day captures the essence of how I want to live my life with authenticity in the present moment.  I hope it inspires you as much as it does me.

I go to meet the day,
With love in my heart.
I go to meet the day,
With hope in my heart.
I go to meet the day,
And whatever it may hold,
And whomever I may meet.
I go to meet the day,
To show up as wh...
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Beginner's Luck or Beginner's Mind?

February 2, 2016
I had the pleasure of being interviewed recently by Sarah Brandis of Animas Coaching Centre on the subject of 'beginner's mind', which is one of the 7 attitudes of Mindfulness.  The more I think about it, the more it seems to explain 'beginner's luck', at least in my experience as a coach and maybe in other areas of our lives and work when we try something for the first time.  You can read the full interview here
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Mental Health Day 10 October 2015

October 7, 2015

I'd like to share this podcast from the CIPD in support of Mental Health Awareness Day on 10 October 2015.  The key message is: seek help early if you are struggling with stress, decision making or a gloomy outlook - symptoms to which high achievers are prone.  Contact me if you'd like to be coached on integrated wellness, mindfulness or emotional intelligence to improve your well-being and personal resilience.

CIPD research shows that over two-fifths of organisations have reported...

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