Monday, September 21st, will be the first anniversary of my wife Sandy's passing. The first six months went by so slowly and the last six months so fast.The first three months were really hard. I am so glad I had our dog as a companion. His unconditional love, enthusiasm and goofiness kept me going. I am doing all right thanks to loving care of Sandy's mother, three sisters and four of Sandy's dear friends, Willow Sibert, Priscilla Misner, John and Laurel Elders. They check in with me often and I call them my "angels."
OUR FOREVER HOME
I am living at the same address on Salt Cedar Dr, Oro Valley, AZ. The house is a little big, 1900 sq feet, for one person but I insisted with our children to continue to live here. After 8 years of renting, being at the mercy of a landlord, we decided to buy a house. It was going to be our "forever" home. We started looking for a home in April 2019 when Sandy first started having back and stomach pains and was seeing her doctor. We closed escrow and moved in June 1st. On July 1st her oncologist told us Sandy's cancer was treatable, not curable. July 31st, Sandy was admitted to the hospital because she was having trouble breathing. Sandy was in the hospital 3 weeks, then in rehab for 3 weeks trying to get strong enough to come home. She passed on September 21st. She never made it back to her" forever" home after living there for only 2 months.
I wanted to live in the" forever home" to fulfill our wish. I am very happy because I am living in a home that Sandy decorated in her style with her things and art work, some of which bring pleasant memories. In the great room, I have Sandy's urn, with a vase of fresh flowers, surrounded by pictures of her family. I talk to her in my thoughts and every night before I go to bed, I pat the top of her urn and say "goodnight sweetheart, I'll see you in my dreams." Since Sandy's passing I dream of her much more often than when she was alive... at least three or four nights a week. I think of it as her way of telling me she is with me.
SANDY AND PETER - A LOVE STORY
After Sandy passed, I went through boxes of family pictures looking for pictures of Sandy for a photo scrapbook that her sister, Janet Luzzi was making for showing at Sandy's Celebration of Life
Because of the corona virus, we never got that celebration.
I was reminded just how beautiful a woman she was and I was smitten the first moment I saw her. In her later years she did not look like a woman her age. In the scrapbook there is a picture of Sandy in a clown suit. That was taken on Halloween day 1976, the day I met her. I was a Sergeant with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department and I came to the junior high school to give a talk to the students. The principal put me in Sandy's English class. He introduced her as Miss Luzzi. I definitely caught the Miss. What an attractive teacher!! I talked to three classes and between classes I am trying to get to know more about her. She is having none of it. It was the down to business side of Sandy that some of you have seen.
In the afternoon, I was going to talk to a class at the high school across the road. The principal put me in the teacher's lounge for lunch. It was crowded with teachers most of them in Halloween costumes. During that time I am sitting by myself. I hear someone say Miss Luzzi and they were talking to this person dressed as a clown. I thought to myself how can she go from a gorgeous woman to Bozo the clown. Because I was so embarrassed that I acted like an ass that morning, I made sure she wouldn't see me by crawling under the seat cushions.
I knew I was coming back to the high school the next week to talk to 2 classes. During that time, I got the bright idea to send her a bouquet of flowers to apologize for my behavior. I was able to get her home address. The next week at the high school, I had just started my talk when this stunningly beautiful woman comes in the classroom, walks up real close to me and almost in a whisper thanks me for the flowers and invites me to share her lunch in her classroom.. That's It! I am hooked.
It was a long time later that I realized I was set up. Why would a teacher come to school in a dress, with high heels, wearing earrings and a necklace? Why would said teacher pack TWO tuna fish sandwiches that particular day? I was hooked, yes I was smitten from that day until September 21, 2019. Sandy is the love of my life!!
Sandy passed before all the turmoil and crisis in our country with the corona virus, unemployment, kids out of school, racism and climate change has made a country she would not recognize. Fortunately her dream ticket of Biden/Harris became a reality. I miss Sandy for what she brought to all of you and me and her community.
Sandy was the most positive person in a real way, that I ever met. She was non judgmental, kind, generous, caring and always giving of herself and time for others. Most of all she was a good listener. With people being scared, fearful, and the continuing crisis by the president and his followers that certainly will get worse, Sandy is not here when we most need her.
The day after Sandy passed, her family and my brother's family had dinner together prior to their leaving back to California. At that time, I announced to the family that I was going to establish a Sandy Hogan Memorial Scholarship fund at the Institute for Integrative Coach Training. It had been noodling in my head since I knew Sandy was terminal. This school started out several years ago as a Coaching program through Prescott College by Sandy and Laurel Elders. When Prescott College cancelled the program, Sandy and Laurel continued it on their own with Laurel being the backbone devoting her full time and Sandy being the advisor and one of the instructors Laurel is an early protege and student of Sandy's. It evolved into the Institute for Integrative Coach Training.
The Institute and the Enneagram were Sandy's two great passions. It is my dream that the scholarship will assist future coaches to learn and apply Sandy's coaching philosophy and to make it a perpetual scholarship after I have passed. I have started making a quarterly contribution.
If you want to continue to honor the legacy of Sandy's coaching work, please consider donating to this scholarship fund named in Sandy's honor. Visit:
www.integrativecoachtraining.com/sandylegacyscholarships.html and https://www.integrativecoachtraining.com/sandy.html.
In the Sandy thanks you address, there is a booklet you can download Called "Follow Your Calling". It is interviews Laurel had with Sandy in the last three weeks of her life.
Thank you all for being in Sandy's life. We are forever grateful that she was in ours.
In coaching, we believe that we all have our own answers within and we are the experts of our own life. Coaching rests on the premise that each person is whole, complete and does not need fixing or advice to reach their full potential.
If we are whole and complete, and if we have our own answers, then this naturally begs the question, “If I have all of my own answers, then why do I feel lost? If I am whole and complete, then why do I feel so fragmented today?”
Coaching provides powerful answers to these questions. These are the five teachings found in coaching:
The Course in Miracles teaches that our true-self carries wisdom's that are born from our wholeness. Yet, the fears of the ego block that wisdom and so we look to others for solutions. Furthermore it teaches that the ego is loud, judgmental and quick to cause panic. The true self will never panic, or yell. It's answers lead only to peace and empowerment.
A skilled coach helps us step into the true-self and shed the false. Being coached is a powerful and transformative process, rooting us deeper into our potential through our own wisdom.
Coaching unlocks new possibilities showing us that we do indeed have our own answers, we did all along, even when it didn't seem like it. We are indeed whole and complete, we have been our entire lives, even when it didn't feel like it.
This is why coaching feels magical, yet is also so practical. Coaching illuminates new possibilities, yet is grounding. Coaching captures the essence of potential.
When I was around 4 years old I had a phobia. I was really panicked about swimming and water.
My extreme fear of water landed me in swimming lessons. This was an attempt to lessen my fright and eventually learn how to swim.
I remember the day of my first lesson very clearly.
The swim instructor was very outgoing and friendly. There were a lot of kids splashing around, which felt intimidating. I refused to get off that first step. Anxiety pumped through my veins. I was perfectly intent on staying securely on the pool’s edge.
My instructor came over and asked me to come with her. I eventually agreed and grabbed onto her for dear life as she peeled me off of the pool’s edge.
She walked with me on her hip, bouncing us gently, into deeper and deeper waters. She reassured me every step of the way, “You are safe. You are ok. It’s ok, you can trust me. See, you are ok.”
I clung to her petrified. Then slowly gave in and began to trust that everything was actually ok and I was safe.
The game changed.
She grabbed me tight. She pulled me under the water without any warning.
Seconds felt like an eternity.. I wanted out, I couldn't breath, the rug had been pulled, anxiety turned into panic. I was horrified, stuck and helpless. I held my breath in the sheer terror, I squirmed trying to free myself to breath again.
Finally, she let me up.
I think I screamed. Probably for my mother’s arms. The nightmare was over. Or was it?
I look back and realize this woman had the fully fledged intention of showing me I could survive going under water. However, what was accomplished was the opposite. My fear and panic were now anchored in for life.
Without knowing it, my perception of the world shifted that day too.
“Adults are not trustworthy.”
“Just when I feel safe, the rug gets pulled.”
“Life is chaotic and unpredictable.”
“I’m not safe especially when someone tells me I am.”
These perceptions become the filters we see the world through. These perceptions often live beneath our awareness, until we unearth them.
“Adults are not trustworthy.” Not only does not serve me, it is not true. This unconscious belief wrecked havoc throughout my teenage years until I became aware of it and could heal it.
We take these with us, consciously or not, to keep us safe. The limit of them is that they eventually keep us small, keep us from blooming fully and keep us looping in predictable patterns.
Thinking back to a fearful experience you remember (one that is not overwhelming to recall), what beliefs did you take away from that moment?
Are these beliefs true today? Do you they serve you? What is the truth?
This is not only a process of pulling out the weeds in our unconscious beliefs. It is about planting new seeds. The truth does set us free.
Human potential is a journey…
On the first stretch of this journey, we can be shown the way. This guidance can be found in books, mentoring, advising, counseling, or anytime we need to look to others for the answers that will guide us to a new understanding.
Yet, there is a time in our life when the answers provided to us may become the very box of our limitation. In this moment, we realize we are at a crossroads; to continue the way we've been shown or to pave the remainder of our life through our own wisdom.
To truly reach our human potential, one must journey beyond the walls of external provision and begin to journey among the answers embedded within.
The second stretch of this journey is accessed from going within to explore the depths of the wisdom embedded within the heart of knowing.
To support our client’s second journey and masterfully coach we must show up as a completely neutral vessel to hold a potentiated space for our client’s unfolding.
As a coach, we are the lantern to the client's true Essence, to the seeds of potential embedded within aching to be born. We are the Sherpa's journeying with our clients to their unique personal apex.
What is their truth? What is their wisdom? What jewels are buried within their heart? What gifts are hidden within?
In masterful coaching we must sit in the unknowing
to be of service to the client’s knowing.
Laurel Elders, PCC, CEC is the founder and CEO of the ICF Accredited, Institute for Integrative Coach Training (IICT), headquartered in Tucson, AZ. Laurel began her career as a coach in 2005 after noticing that we are living in pivotal times and that coaching is powerfully tapping into the next phase of human potential in ways never before experienced.
IICT is invested in bringing the highest levels of coaching, training and mentoring into a world that needs people's gifts, talents, purpose and heart, now more than ever. IICT coaches are successful torch holders for positive impact, locally and globally, in service to the generations ahead.
Learn more about becoming a Certified Professional Integrative Coach (CPIC) Program www.integrativecoachtraining.com/training.htm
I invite you to consider a buoy. It floats atop the water, despite storms it remains in its spot. It is a boundary of safety to communities of ships, surfers and swimmers.
Buoys are tethered, anchored and grounded. If they weren't they would float away being tossed aside and turned around wherever the current was going that day.
It is one thing to float above, but without a tether to ground the buoy, it loses all purpose.
To ponder: Are you feeling ungrounded and is life throwing you about? Are you tethered, but to false beliefs? To what are you tethered?
As human beings when we tether to the ego out of fear, we become limited in our capacity and life feels overwhelming.
However, when we tether to a greater purpose, through our own inner wisdom we can rise above and thrive. When life feels enriched by meaning we can go to bed with a happy heart even if times are stressful.
The next question is: What is your medicine in this lifetime?
I learned that some Native American traditions believe that everyone and everything has a medicine to it. This medicine benefits those around it, or needing it.
Becoming a coach, I learned that each human being has gifts within. This is our medicine for the world. When we live in our gifts we help others. Each gift is unique. Each gift can serve a greater purpose.
Sadly, many people do not realize their gifts, life calling, or their medicine because the ego harbors fearful messages like, “Stay safe!” “Don’t follow your heart.” “It is dangerous out there." "You have to fend for yourself after you fail.” "You are all alone." These will absolutely keep anyone small.
Fortunately, your heart has the answers to dispel all of the fears your ego can conjure up.
~ Are you listening to the heart or the ego?
~ Do you know what your medicine is in this lifetime?
~ Are you following your calling?
I double-dog dare you to follow your calling, give your gifts to the people who need them, and amplify what life has in store for you!
By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty