I found myself in a place I didn’t want to be…transition. While at times I welcomed it, most of the time I fought it.
It was uncomfortable not knowing what was next when for the previous six years I had been on top of the world. I had found my purpose. Life was fulfilling and exciting, and making a difference brought me immense joy.
But then everything tied to that purpose, died.
All those years I had built my life around sharing the story of my disabled dachshund, Frankie, who was in a wheelchair. I published two children’s books about her and a memoir chronicling our journey. We visited over 400 schools and libraries inspiring children and adults to see their challenges in a positive way.
With Frankie’s death came what felt like losing my sense of identity. So many knew me as “Frankie’s Mom” and the woman who advocated for dogs in wheelchairs bringing positive awareness that disabled animals can live a quality of life if given a chance.
I grieved deeply not only the loss of Frankie, but a life I had come to love.
The next three years were a time of learning and accepting that transition is vital to one’s growth and to trust that it is all for a divine reason.
I often reminded myself that honoring this time of in-between was just as important as all the work I’d done with Frankie all those years. I needed to take this time for me. And I had to trust that I would be guided to that next “thing” when the time was right.
In late summer 2014, I was at a colleague’s home helping plan a young girl’s retreat for a non-profit I was volunteering for at the time. I noticed two intriguing cards on her bookshelf that drew me right to them. When I asked what they were she said, “Oh, those are just my SoulCollage® cards.”
We didn’t have much time to chat more about it being that we had to discuss the retreat plans. But it lit a curious spark inside me.
When I got home that evening I did a Google search and found SoulCollage.com. For the next three evenings I read everything on the website and watched every video on the process that I could find. I ordered Seena Frosts book, SoulCollage® Evolving and read it cover to cover in two nights. I was especially fascinated by the chapter on the Companion suit because of my love of animals and how they had changed my life for the better.
I knew I wanted to explore this more. I tried to find a workshop to attend in my area, but there weren’t any at the time. But there was a training taking place in November, two hours from where I live. Though I was nervous about spending the money, hoping this was the right thing, and that it would lead me to the next leg of my journey, I decided I had to take the risk.
I left after that deeply enriching weekend having trained with Audrey Chowdhury, knowing that even if I did nothing else but continued the process just for me, it was well worth the time and money invested.
But Spirit had other plans for me and began to nudge me slowly in the direction of sharing the process with others. The first workshop I facilitated was at a local arts center six months later. Five women, all in transition, took part. It was the boost of confidence I needed to know this could make a difference in the lives of others.
While setting my sights on facilitating from my home and online, I offered another workshop at the art center, and in a few homes of friends to get the word out. I also co-facilitated a workshop online with an animal communicator to help people grieving the loss of a pet.
I watched as participants took delight in the process and had unexpected breakthroughs. A welcome familiar feeling returned—I was making a difference. I wanted more and trusted that Spirit would continue to guide me.
In January 2016 I opened a studio in the lower level of my home and dubbed it, “Joyful Pause Studio.” I want to continue to encourage women to pause, listen, capture, and open to the many facets of themselves.
I think SoulCollage® is a gentle, enriching, intuitive, inviting and creative process to do just that. I’m honored to have discovered it and even more honored to share it with others.
~Barbara Techel, SoulCollage® facilitator and award-winning author of two children’s books and two memoirs