Shaky Ground, Clear Heart

The epicenter in Mineral, Virginia, of where the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck on August 23, 2011, was less than 30 miles from me. With telephone lines down, it looked like the 4th of July with people over 300 miles away immediately posting updates on their Facebook pages to let friends and family know what happened and that they were okay. Life is always full of uncertainties. Sometimes it takes a natural occurrence like an earthquake not near a fault line or a tornado in an uncommon location to make us stop for a second and check in with our priorities.

I grew up in Alaska with daily earthquakes throughout the state. Earthquake drills are common practice at school, and watching blinds shake or being rolled out of bed was the norm. When things began creaking and shaking I instinctively scooped up dog and kid and found myself waiting out the groaning, rattling, rumblings in our nearest, sturdiest doorframe. I was calmly explaining to my soon to be preschooler that the earth was shaking like big dinosaurs stomping around outside.

I figured why not relate this to one of his beloved books so it was a fun adventure, rather than a potential disaster? He asked if we should put our shoes on, and I said—“sure honey, when the chandelier stops swinging and the trees outside stop their staccato swaying.” Using big vocabulary, made me stay in the logical part of my brain so I would stay calm rather than let my monkey brain create panic for us. Like all kids, he easily picks up the emotional nuances in our voices and faces to tell him how he should react—the shaking stopped and he was excited to put on his shoes and explore outside as we checked for cracks. With my military background my mind was also assessing the situation and hoping it was only an earthquake, and not another attack like 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon inflicted by human beings angry at other human beings.

As I checked in with family and friends, I also found clients checking in with me. This brings me to my point: relationships. I created my business so I could spread and share unconditional love with as many people as possible. I believe we can all learn more life resiliency skills so are relationships are healthier, and we’re able to stay more focused on the present and attaining our goals—which often correlate to cultivating and sharing our talents with others.

Mars Venus Coaching based on John Gray’s, Ph.D., wide-body of male/female relationship dynamics is different from other coaching systems, because it focuses on helping people to understand how to communicate with different types of people so they are valued, respected, and heard. Coaching is also different from traditional forms of therapy, because the focus is on the present and creating 90-day action plans that daily step clients’ closer to their life purpose and goals.

I believe we’re only here on Earth for a blink of an eye, and if we have our priorities straight, then we’re engaging with other people and making their lives a little easier to live and bear. There is a lot of potential to be self-involved, greedy, evil, judgmental, and close-minded. When we focus our attention in this direction, then we take our energy away from what I believe is our main purpose: relationships. Having successful relationships professionally and personally is a life well-lived. Your daily interactions with others, and how many close, quality relationships you have are indicators of whether or not you’re making a difference in the world.

Where were you and what were you thinking about when the 2.8, 2.2, 4.2, and 3.4 aftershocks in Central Virginia occurred in the ensuing hours? Did you even feel them? If you were nearby and felt any of the shaking—did you check in with family and friends? If you were further away and new of loved ones somewhere along the affected eastern coast of America did you check on them? At the end of each day, regardless if there has been a life event that makes you wonder if you have your priorities straight—are you doing ALL you can do to express your gratitude and love for the people that make a difference in your life? Boot anger and low self-confidence out, and focus on what makes your relationships richer and more fulfilling—engage in the now, every day. Achieve your life goals.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

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