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My Journey

I was raised with the standard that good behavior and high achievement was expected, not praised. As the only girl of 5 kids in a stoic household, I learned that emotions were a sign of immaturity and became ashamed of anything resembling femininity. I belonged to the LDS faith with well-meaning doctrine but damaging messaging of perfectionism and shame. The closeted girl in me spent hours alone escaping into books and writing long stories. I got involved in swing dancing even though I mostly just taught others to dance with each other rather than having a partner of my own. I longed for a companion, even though I didn’t know how to talk to anyone outside of academia, so I found myself more comfortable playing sports with neighborhood boys that didn’t require conversation. I really wanted to indulge in creative arts, but I could only justify a life of productivity and goal achievement.

​I followed the path I was expected, went to the college I didn’t choose, married a man in the temple I barely knew, and became a stay at home mom at 21. For the next 15 years, I put away my dreams and desires and became a legalistic disciple, mom, and wife.  I knew that the purpose of life was to have joy and the path was integrity through obedience.  I felt like a single mom raising 3 children, the oldest of which had Aspergers, simultaneously trying to cheer up a depressed and often unemployed spouse. But the more I tried to keep everything under control, the more I found myself stressed and resentful.  Like so many in my achievement oriented culture, I thought if I just tried harder and served more, I could fix everything. 

​Little did I know that my drive for perfection was adding to the unhappiness of my family.  As a means of coping with stress, I returned to my old passion of swing dancing.  In the juxtaposition of the misery at home and the carefree vitality of my new social world, I suddenly felt discontent.  There must be more to life than getting somewhere.  Cognitive dissonance began to emerge, and my life turned upside down as I questioned everything I valued.

​Having not been able to cry or laugh for over a decade, I became overwhelmed with torrents of conflicting emotions I could not identify. I was no longer satisfied being everyone’s servant and excusing my husband from adult responsibilities. I first started learning about codependency and boundaries from books, but the marriage counselors we went to didn’t seem to know about these concepts.  I demanded they give me a formula so I could fix us, but the counselors all told me it was my husband’s fault.

​What I didn’t find out until after divorce (and after the on-again-off-again 4 year relationship that followed) was that I was trying in all the wrong ways.  Joy wasn’t found in rescuing or performing but in connecting and living.  I had been trying to make everyone in my family happy while I was oblivious to my own lacked of self-compassion. The jolt I had initially felt when I left my traditional way of living in obedience was only the first step in a meandering journey to discover a self that I had left behind. It was during individual and group coaching that I learned how to listen, how to be present, and how to live in true alignment.  Armed with a new understanding of integrity, I now show up completely differently in parenting and partnering, and I have a warm and peaceful relationship with the world around me.

Because I felt lost for so many years going it alone to heal and find out what was missing, I hope I can help streamline your path to find real meaning and joy in your life.  I would like to be with you on your journey to discover how to reinvigorate your life and find the career, relationships, and fulfillment you've been working so hard to create.  You don't have to do it alone.

Julie, the Connection Specialist
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