Ellen initially came to Curt for career passion coaching. But over the course of working with him, she came to realize that her work dissatisfaction was a symptom of something much deeper and more extensive.
As she describes it, “I had some areas of my life that were majorly out of alignment. My relationships, and my job, and just my living in general had become sort of dark and heavy and almost burdensome in my soul.”
She also struggled with an excruciating chronic hip pain. In hindsight, she realized how much of the way she was shutting down around the pain had been negatively impacting her life.
Benefits from working with Curt
Greater ability to cope with her chronic pain
Lowered level of pain
More centered in her body
Less resistance and a greater sense of allowing
Greater ability to hold her center in the face of challenges
Asked to describe what was different in her life after working with Curt, Ellen said, “I think in two words, I’m more peaceful and joyful in my days. I’m giving myself permission to show up and belly laugh, even if nobody else is belly laughing around me. I just feel happier overall.”
She also experienced a big change in her ability to deal with her pain, stemming from a combination of being more present and a greater sense of allowance.
Before working with Curt, she dealt with the pain by checking out of her body. “I was in complete denial and judgment of having the pain. Through reconnecting with meditation, and experimenting with different kinds of body movement, it’s gotten better. Just releasing the judgment of it has helped immensely.”
Another big change is that she’s also more present, something that has helped with the pain, but has also had a positive impact at a broader level. “Now, whatever the situation is, I can be in more of a peaceful presence, no matter what is going on around me. I have that ability to hold center, which is so much less stressful. Being in my body and being present.
“That’s sort of a spiritual aspect. Just showing up and whatever comes, being in allowance of it. Allowance is a big word. Instead of rejecting or judging things that might be uncomfortable, I can be more in allowance.”
While she originally contacted Curt because of dissatisfaction at work, she discovered that the growth that came out of the process changed her experience at work (and the rest of her life) significantly.
“Everything just feels lighter, which is a big deal. It’s a huge deal.” Part of that has come from allowing herself to show up more fully. “And I have friends that reflect that back to me. ‘Ellen, just the way that you show up is expansive and comprehensive and wonderful and joyful.’
“That’s part of the work Curt does too. How do you feel more energized wherever you are? I’m able to do that more readily and easily.”
For Ellen, the power of the process lay in the questions and the insights and explorations they opened up. “Along the way I had many aha moments. Curt had a way of prodding and asking questions that to me felt like alarm bells sounding. So many times he would just ask the question and I would sort of break wide open.”
It wasn’t just the questions, but their timing and context. “For example, he asked a simple question, ‘where are you spiritually?’ And to my being the question translated into a resounding question like, you need to go within, find your space, and connect to your inner self. The higher self, the God self, the Divine within.
“I hadn’t realized I had gotten as far away from those aspects of myself as I had. And that was a huge moment for me. And from there, I reclaimed my journey to those places.”
Another high-impact question had to do with her chronic pain. “He asked, ‘Where’s the gift in the pain?’ And that one just blew my socks off.” With a new perspective primed by that question, she read the book, The Gift of Fire, which opened the door to a new way of seeing it.
“My pain always felt like a burden to me, and I carried that burden as I walked through my days. When he said, where’s the gift in the pain, I wanted to say ‘Fuck. Off. Fuck straight off. There is no gift. I reject it. It’s bad, and I am unfortunate to have it. Period.’ And that’s what I was walking around with. For years and years and years.
“And to look at it as where’s the gift, and to read that book and how he could turn his life into a gift, to be in extreme measures of pain and turn those into a gift, was life changing for me. Nobody had ever asked me that question before. I had never heard it like that before. That was pretty life changing.”
It wasn’t just the questions Curt asked. It was also the resources he pointed her to. “Curt had this way, during our sessions he’d listen to my words and then he’d be doing a scan in his extensive library and sift out just the right suggestion for me to explore for myself, based on where I was at the time.”
The book suggestions added a personalized dimension that allowed her to dig deeper into the topics and issues she was exploring in her sessions.
A big part of the change Ellen experienced had to do with recognizing and changing her story. “I was so embedded in my story,” she remembers. “The story of things not as they should be, and if they would change – the situation, the people around me – if they would change, then my life would change. I never even knew I was in my story, but I was telling it over and over and over again.
A light look at the dark and heavy
Ellen’s exploration with Curt took her face-to-face with some aspects of her life that felt dark and heavy. She credits Curt with helping her be able to look at them without feeling defensive. “I think some of the things he underscored for me, for some people would be maybe difficult to hear. But the way he is able to draw those things out felt almost light and breezy, where they could have felt catastrophic and depressing and hard.
“So I was able to lightly look at that and go, ‘Huh. OK. I can do this. I can take a look.’ And once I understood what was going on, some of the heaviness I was carrying around, it became pretty light pretty quickly. And that itself was a gift.
That in turn became an energizing cycle, where she would come away from sessions with insights, go away and explore and apply them, and then in turn get re-energized by talking about what came out of it. “It wasn’t like, Oh God, what else do I have to fix? It was more like, what aspects can I help myself into in a lighter, more joyful, loving way?”
Part of the value of working with Curt was getting a more accurate picture. “Curt held a mirror up to me to reflect upon myself, to reflect and look more deeply into my past, my present, and my potential. And in areas where I might be foggy and not necessarily be seeing myself in my best light, he would adjust the mirror through words and questions and gentle prodding to get me to better see who I am, and who I can truly be.”
Asked what made Curt so effective in his coaching, Ellen said, “He has a gentle yet powerful way of asking questions to uncover, and discover, and look at those areas in need of improvement.
“He’s really a wonderful balance of the intellect and intuition. He offers great insights. He has a keen ability to listen and garner from what I say and make recommendations. And then make it light and breezy and fun.
She appreciated Curt’s multi-dimensional and tailored approach. “I know other people who have hired coaches and they come at it from more of an intellectual perspective and more of a dry sense of isolating your goals, writing them down, and following them, take a chunk and walk down that path. They don’t have the layers that Curt does, the passion, the excitement, the fun, the enthusiasm, the lightness.”
She also appreciated Curt’s obvious investment in helping her, right from the beginning. “I sent him an email saying, if I was going to hire you what would you say about this, I’ve got this one issue. And he wrote me like three paragraphs. Really thoughtful, like he was coaching me before I even paid him to coach me.
“And then after our sessions together, he would send me suggestions. Things like a couple CDs for meditation with pain, and recommendations for things I might find helpful. Even now, he recommendations. So it’s not just an isolated, you write a check and he gives his service for that duration of time. It was before, during, after.”