Certified Life Coach
Certified Weight loss Coach
Having gone through my own struggles,with sexual abuse, drug use, bullying, and suicidal issues, helps in understanding the struggles we all face everyday. Whether the struggles are dramatic or not so much.
There is a reason and a solution to our struggles. I love helping people figure out how to overcome their struggles and use them to thrive and be who they are created to be.
As you know, Life doesn't always go the way we expect it to.
While working as a Finance Director on a Navajo Reservation, I helped a new Substance Abuse Prevention Program for Youth get started. After hiring the program director, she noticed how I worked with teens and said I had a gift for working with people.
She suggested I look into working with youth and gave me information for a Crisis Shelter for teens. I took her advice and started volunteering at the Shelter in the evenings.
THEN . . . THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENED
I was in a rollover accident that left me unable to walk for a few weeks, with casts and bandages and all that comes with it.
While in recovery from the accident, a position opened up at the Shelter. I was asked if I was interested.
I had about 6 months of volunteer experience and no official training??? It would be a huge cut in salary...
But, I loved working with youth. I loved helping people. I had found my passion.
So, I applied.
I WENT TO THE INTERVIEW IN CRUTCHES
I didn't think I was qualified for the position so I didn't think I would be hired. But at least I tried.
A couple of days later, to my surprise, I was offered the position.
I took it, and never looked back.
That was the beginning of a life time of helping people in various ways.
I worked at the Crisis Shelter for a few years then helped start various programs in the areas of: Transitional Living for young adults; Independent Living for young people aging out of State Custody; Street Outreach; Reintegration Programs for Adults coming out of the prison setting; Employment training and assistance for teens and young adults; Reintegration for Adults on Probation or Parole, and more.
This also involved supervising employees, creating employee positions, developing hiring criteria, supervising multilevel staffing structures and employees, as well as, developing and implementing programs for staff development, training, and retention.
All of this work involved coaching people, from staff to youth to married couples.
. . . I FELT CALLED TO DO MORE.
After years of working in this field, I felt called to do more.
I started searching. While attending a retreat at the Spiritual Renewal Center I was talking with one of the sisters who ran the retreat center. She gave me a book listing all the religious orders in the United States.
I researched. I contacted a few of them. I did not feel called to become a religious nun but I did feel called to follow the call to take this journey and learn.
There are so many thoughts and feelings that get stirred up when making life changing decisions. There are so many things to take into consideration. Many times these are thoughts and feelings we didn't know were in there.
TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH. . .
After a few months of looking into it, I decided to take a leap of faith.
I traveled through 13 states pulling a 5th Wheel RV, and visited various religious communities.
It was an amazing learning experience.
While at a convent in Indiana, I was introduced to one of the sisters, who was the Mother Superior at a Benedictine Monastery in Morropón, Piura, Peru in South America. After we talked for a little while, she invited me to go visit their convent in South America.
I told her I would contact her when I got home a few weeks later.
Once I returned, I started looking into costs and arrangements, etc.
I applied for a passport.
A month later I was on a flight to Peru.
I was in Peru for 2 months. The awareness and experience of living for 2 months in a third world country setting, was life changing.
I visited people in their homes and hospitals (not like hospitals in the US).
I spent time with many children, young adults and adults. The sisters ran a parochial school. Who would have known right!
Photo by Geri Salazar
I had the privilege of helping with children of all ages in a totally different world from what I knew.
It was interesting interacting with the students, teachers/sisters, parents, and the elderly.
People are people regardless of our backgrounds or culture.
We all have desires and we all have struggles in varying degrees.
BACK IN THE U.S. . . .
After returning home, it took some time to make sense of everything that had happened and to process all the experiences. I knew that it had all happened for a purpose. After a while there was a family crisis that shook us all. I was in a position where I could offer to help and use all my professional experience in a different way.
All the experience I had with working with youth and adults came into play. It was a honor and a pleasure to be able to help my own family through a tough period.
Helping youth and adults again...
Once things settled down, I returned home to figure out what was next.
Didn't take long and I was back to working with people.
I worked with the elderly. Met some amazing people and shared some amazing stories. Spent time with people and helped with life situations.
Then I worked with youth and young adults again in career and employment coaching.
Photo by Geri Salazar
A few years later, we learned that my father had developed heart problems. Long story .... here's the short version.
Knowing Dad needed a project, it made me speed things up and pursue a long time dream of building a home built partly underground, using used tires with rammed earth for walls.
Spending time with Dad as he went through the end of life journey was an amazing experience. Learned so much more about life and people and the value of each human person.
Such a valuable experience which has lead to helping many people.
PRICESLESS . . .
The journey of working on the house with my dad as we shared his experience, was amazing, PRICELESS!
A few years after Dad died, the call to do something more stirred up again.
In an effort to spend time with my great niece, I started hiking. She didn't continue, but I did. One thing lead to another and soon I found myself called to walk the Camino de Santiago.
FEELING THE CALL
To make a long story short...
I prepared to follow the call to go on pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
A 500 mile walking pilgrimage from the foot of the Pyrenees mountains in France, through Spain to the remains of St. James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostela, then on to Finisterre and Muxia, Spain.
My daily goal was getting up and walking. It was amazing. The whole mindset changes when we free up our mind to contemplate, process and pray.
I met amazing people of all ages from all over the world. We enjoyed meals together, shared stories and experiences, and so much more.
People are amazing.
We all have our own story. We all have our unique experience.
Every person matters.
Every human being has a purpose.
Photo by Geri Salazar
After returning from Spain, I knew there had to be a purpose for the journey and I set out to discover what that was.
With all that's going on in the world and the struggles people are going through, people living in fear, the increase in suicide rates, the violence, etc., I decided to look into what I could do to help.
There is definitely a war going on. We are created to be warriors. We all have gifts and talents that were given to us for a reason.
My goal is to light a fire under us to rise to our calling.
We are created to live life in true love, joy and peace. Let's do this!