“I've rarely experienced a 'training' program that so effectively combines rigorous methodology with generous heart. I now have a living compendium of precise, relevant practices.”
“Working with Joanne and Laura has been transformational at many levels of my life. Through their Integral Coaching® training, I have come to understand what “being human” means.”
“Integral Coaching Canada provides what we believe is the most complete and comprehensive coaching program available. ”
In These Times
I haven’t written for a quite a few months. Sometimes it is so damn hard to set pen to paper. Facing a blank page means having to face yourself, your life. You know? No barriers. No editing. My open notebook does that. I meet the moment with equal parts curiosity and dread!
These months have been unprecedented on so many levels. I don’t know about you, but it has been—and continues to be—a wild and relentless ride. There have been such moments of deep humanity as essential workers take care of all of us during this pandemic. Moments of care and love as families feel time slow down. Moments of fear and sadness as loved ones face hospital stays and doctor visits alone. Moments of horror as we watched George Floyd murdered by a police officer in the USA, and then witnessing hope and “this has got to stop NOW” determination trying to find a path through marches and action around the world as people respond to such brutality.
The extremes in these times are almost too much to bear. And life goes on. You wake up to another day. Integral Coaching Canada adjusts and moves with what these times need. Resilience, flex, flow, new steps, new moves. Necessary skills now more than ever.
We ran our first MCM Final Certification week through ZOOM and everyone had such an incredible and intimate time. A full class of Master Coaches became certified through two deeply embodied committees! Through ZOOM we also launched an ACM class in the Amsterdam time zone in May and an ACM class in the Ottawa time zone in June. Both to wild acclaim. We had people participate from countries from which we have never had students because they previously couldn’t travel to come join our in-person kick-off weeks.
I can’t tell you how thrilled Laura and I were to find out that the course design, architecture, intimate delivery, and student connection worked in this medium for all three offerings. Of course, we have conducted the 5-month ACM, 6-month PCM, and 7-month MCM class using ZOOM for years with just the opening week delivered in person. But to find out that the opening week on ZOOM still allowed people to drop in fully and deeply to this work... well, that was just beyond amazing. Our “this shit works” phrase has never rung so true.
We will continue offering our programs online over our next school year. Who knows when the world will get vaccinated and it will be safe for people to travel? We are so glad that ICC can continue to be of service during the waves that will come in the years ahead.
On a personal note, amidst the pandemic and civil unrest and business changes, we have also been dealing with heart-breaking circumstances: Laura’s breast cancer has returned and metastasized to her lungs, liver and lymph system. Stage 4. It is hard to write those words. Tears immediately spring to my eyes. We have been in a harsh new reality since late February. Our ICC team has been so supportive, as has our whole faculty team. Thank you for your many kindnesses—they are too numerous to list. Not a lot has changed at ICC as a result of this latest news since Val has been running the company for the last few years already. She and the whole team and faculty continue to do amazing things together.
Laura is undergoing targeted therapy that will hopefully buy her as much time as possible. If it works, there are good years ahead for her. We will know more by the end of August. But if you have any extra prayers hanging around or wishes on new moons or thoughts to send out to the universe or Metta practices that you engage in, please send a few in our direction. Thank you.
I have often talked about death with students and colleagues and friends. It has never been a topic I have shied away from. I have talked about death because life is so precious, so finite. Living and dying are two sides of the same coin. You can’t talk about a fully lived life without always being aware that it is finite. We all die. The death rate is 100%.
And still, when it comes close and whispers the name of your one true love, that is another thing altogether. Laura and I have been married for over fourteen years. When we wrote our wedding vows, this was the final one:
Either I will die before you and break your heart
Or you will die before me and break mine
In this knowing, I vow to love you courageously.
We have discovered over the last few months that this vow is not accurately written. I thought I would share this new learning with you. If we could re-write it, it would say:
Either I will die before you and both our hearts will break
Or you will die before me and both our hearts will break
In this knowing, I vow to love you courageously.
Our hearts are broken in four ways. My heart breaks for Laura’s loss of a long life and for the future that awaits me alone. Her heart is broken as she grieves the loss of a long next chapter and aches for my future without her right next to me. Four different ways that we are grieving already.
As you know, if you read my blog from last September, we have been building our new cottage. Go back and read what I wrote in September 2019, One Wild And Precious Life. It is prescient in many ways. We had hoped that this new home would hold both of us in the decades ahead. That dream has been shattered. Instead it will hold us for a shorter time, for whatever time we have. And, I guess that was always the truth for none of us truly knows how much time we have.
Laura plans to keep playing in the MCM space as long as possible, though not in the lead role. She will go out teaching or doing tai chi! And I will go out writing! What will you go out doing? How long any of us has on this planet is truly the great mystery.
You may be wondering how Laura and I are doing. We are doing our best to be with each moment of joy and devastation; they walk hand in hand now. We laugh and cry. We are okay and we are not okay. We love each other fiercely. We are in each day as fully as possible. What is that quote from Robert Frost? I think it goes something like, “In three words, I can sum up everything I have learned about life: It goes on.”
In these times, may you be holding your own burdens and joys tenderly. May you know that death comes for you too... so keep on waking up and living fully, laughing when you can, crying when you need to. In these times, may you love and be loved.
In these times, I am loving you from over here. Laura is too.
© 2020 Joanne Hunt