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Gifts from the Desert: Musings on the Gift of Graduating from the Mindfulness Coaching School

Dec 2, 2019

By Gretchen Larsen (Hochstatt, France), MCS Senior Student

I have graduated twice now, once from high school and again from college. Both times, I was handed a book, the same one each time: Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (another A.M., hmmm). So, as I get ready to graduate a bit more by completing my training hours at the Mindfulness Coaching School in Santa Fe, NM, I wanted to share some thoughts on the gifts I have received from this school in the desert, much like Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her gifts from the sea.

For any of those who have lived or traveled in the Southwestern U.S., particularly N.M., you know that there is a special quality to the light there. I call it long light. Objects and mountains seem to be lit from far away by seemingly long, full, mature beams of light. It illumines trees and rocks, sand and adobe walls so you feel you can see them well from a distance. I feel like I have been given some of this long light, that illuminates my future as a coach out in front of me, keeping it warm and ready for me until arrive in it.

In this light so many worries and concerns seem to melt away, and I am left with “just this.” Another gift, in the form of a meditation, from Ann Marie. Just this: my knowledge, my skills, my enthusiasm and my curiosity, all bubbling together as I connects me, back to myself and back to the earth. It keeps me steady as I step start my business. This meditation, like a rock from the desert, grounds me, forward into my future.

Lastly, there is the cactus, with all its prickly bits, it wakes you up, brings you to the present, and can surprise you. I continue to be surprised by all the small bits I learned at the school, that similarly prick me into awareness: laughing meditation, “getting the wiggle out,” being called on to be lean and lasered, butterfly hugs and the flash technique. I used to think we had to go through everything, slowly plodding to unearth the past and that all the answers were in understanding ourselves up until now. Now with the prick of the cactus I awaken in a place where we can flash past it, leap frog over it, and act in the present to build our futures.

Thank you to Ann Marie, all my teachers at the school, and all my fellow students who were also my teachers – for shining the long light, reminding me of the rock of meditation and for all the surprising cactus pricks that continue to bring me awake and alive.

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[Right Speech] highly resonated with me and my current needs for growth. I cannot be more thankful for the support of this community, and our instructor Meg…With the guidance and support of the Mindfulness Coaching School I can see that I am closer to a life of purpose and meaning. Thank you Ann-Marie, instructors and fellow coaching students for creating this wonderful community.
Ruby OrcuttStudent CoachDerby, NY
The course [S-T-R-E-T-C-H!] allowed me to ‘stretch’ my ability to practice what I preach. Philip was very competent and helpful to all of us. It was a great experience. Thank you Ann-Marie, Philip, and Brittany!
ElKhansa KaicerStudent CoachLos Angeles, California
Business Alchemy helped me grow into and clarify my purpose in coaching. I was able to create the story of me that brought me to where I am and my passion to inspire others on their journey. Ann-Marie’s guidance through understanding service marketing was heartening, powerful and inspiring. Sarah’s encouragement and gentle way of pulling the essence of us to the surface was spectacular! Thank you both, as well as my fellow students, for an incredible experience! And I’m getting clients!
Brenda FaganStudent CoachNew Orleans, LA
Fabulous course to get you into or back into writing fearlessly and joyfully! [Writing, Creativity, and the Mindful Coach]
Lara AbreuStudent CoachPleasanton, CA
This class will give you a coaching community in just a few short months. I now feel that I have colleagues and a support system that I can reach out to in times of need. So grateful for having the chance to know these remarkable individuals.
Alicia UpchurchStudent CoachBrooklyn, New York
I’ve been a therapist for years now, but still get the jitters every time I begin to work with a new client (probably the “fixer” in me). It was a joy to watch Ann-Marie in action [during Skillful Means: The Coaching Skill Set] and realize that we don’t need to feel like we have all the answers for the client!
Jeanna SmithStudent CoachPhoenix, AZ
I highly recommend Business Alchemy if you want to learn practical and specific advice and tools to establish and grow your coaching business! This course helped me go from skeptical and uncertain to energized and equipped to create the thriving coaching business that I want for myself and my clients!
Matt WaldschmidtStudent CoachBruce Township, MI
More than just a class to help us eat more mindfully, Mindful Eating, Mindful Life is a great class for anyone interested in the topic, anyone with a desire to practice mindfulness in a new way and for anyone wanting to dust off or deepen their meditation practice. The course and materials may seem small, but they are so expansive. Thanks to Brittany for bringing this topic alive and for the school for providing such an amazing course in mindfulness.
Gretchen LarsenMCS GraduateBirmingham, AL
The Dynamic Trio: EMDR, Positive Psychology and Coaching, is a wonderful opportunity for professionals to learn varied techniques and practical applications for including an integrative approach into both their professional practices and personal lives. As a behavioral health therapist, LADAC, EMDR practitioner, yoga instructor, and health educator I found this class and Ann-Marie’s expertise and teaching methods both inspirational and mindfully practical. I look forward to further classes with Ann-Marie. Thank you!  
Misty Gay McArthurMSW, LCSW, LADAC, EMDR Trained
This course [Skillful Means] is life changing personally and professionally. Skills are not only learned, but internalized so that the coach can be an effective listener. I would highly recommend this to any coach — experienced or a beginner.
Sandy Wright, M.A.Student CoachFayetteville, AR