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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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The Mindfulness Coaching School has been an amazing resource for me on many levels. I took S-T-R-E-T-C-H! when Ann Marie suggested it would be a great addition to what we’d been working on in our coaching sessions. The class was so inspiring I decided to become a coach myself! I’ve taken 6 classes already and plan to take more. I love Ann Marie’s style of teaching; the academic aspect, the mindful/spiritual piece and the opportunity to work with other like-minded people during homework sessions. Ann Marie is a bottomless source of knowledge and inspiration and I am forever grateful!
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