• Chris Budde-Petch

Life Lessons from Reading .......Part 4

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

This blog is the fourth in the series, entitled "Life Lessons from Reading ......." This blog is taken from our Life Coaching course's second assignment; reading Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck


I have found the exercises in this book, by Martha Beck, useful, easy to complete and insightful in what they have revealed.


As I started doing these exercises, a thought occurred to me; I had been less than honest when opening up about myself during group sessions on the life coaching course. I had sat in silence while others had bared their deepest angst and pain; openly talking about issues that were private and evoked such raw emotions.


One exercise in particular made me really stop and think. It is in the chapter entitled Soul Shrapnel. There is a short exercise early in the chapter that asks a series of innocent looking questions. As I quickly read through them, I felt certain I would answer them in such a way as to indicate that I had no real issues to resolve. I was so sure of myself. However, by the end of the quiz, I realised I did indeed have a lot of emotional wounds that required my attention. I took a deep breath, and thought back over the experiences and encounters that make up my life to date.


During my years of working overseas in humanitarian aid, I spent quite a lot of time in very hostile, uncomfortable and unsafe environments. There are things I did that I still feel bad about; things that happened that I feel guilty about. I have buried a lot and have not really allowed it all to come out. As my thoughts traveled back to revisit these troubling times, I felt the emotions getting stronger.


I once sat with a therapist as I recounted some of these painful stories from my past; issues that had not been properly dealt with. We were part way through the session when we were interrupted by a serious security incident. An incident that still sits in my memory, alongside the other emotionally wounding recollections. That was 15 years ago and since then, I have not sought to continue that conversation.


Marlies, my wife, and I were walking the dogs across the fields at the weekend. As we walked I asked if I had ever talked to her about some of these things, these places and what had happened to me. I was sure I had mentioned it to her; I was sure that we had talked about it. So imagine my surprise when Marlies said I had not.


In Finding Your Own North Star, Martha Beck recommends talking about repressed issues that have left emotional scars; preferably consulting a trained psychotherapist or somebody that knows you, and whom you trust; someone who will empathise.


I asked Marlies if she would sit and talk with me about it. She said she would and we have made a plan that, over the next few days and weeks, we will take time to sit down and start talking about some of this buried baggage.


It is strange to admit, but merely agreeing to talk more openly about such issues, has had a very positive effect on me. I think I have begun the healing process.

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Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland

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