When Our Body Says No
We’d Be Wise to Listen
I’ve heard it said our soul speaks to us in soft whispers. And my mind certainly has no problem communicating to me through that nagging little voice that says, “You probably shouldn’t do that…”
Now I’m learning to listen to what my body is trying to tell me.
Last October, I went back to Calgary for Thanksgiving – and to give a workplace safety presentation at a company.
The presentation itself went fine. I’ve done an awful lot of them now.
But I do remember thinking, “Hmmm…I wonder how healthy this is for me, telling people over and over again about the circumstances that led to John’s (my husband) death?”
The next day I had my answer, delivered to me through my body. I was sick as a dog with the flu.
The presentation itself didn’t make me sick. The actual flu bug came courtesy of the female passenger hacking up a lung next to me on the plane to Calgary. But I bet it was my body’s weakened immune system that let the bug go to town, once the stress of the presentation was over.
I did a lot of thinking that lousy Thanksgiving weekend, spent entirely on my mom’s couch. And what did I suspect my body was telling me?
ENOUGH! STOP GIVING PRESENTATIONS ABOUT JOHN’S DEATH – IT IS MAKING YOU SICK!
The soft whispers and nagging little voice hadn’t done the trick. But sickness sure did.
And so, I promised myself that weekend to ease up on giving presentations. I would commit to giving one or two a year. In fact, I’m presenting at a Victim Services Conference in April. But that presentation is a personal one about the emotional and psychological effects of grief, so it is best delivered by me.
The workplace safety presentation, on the other hand, does not have to be delivered by me.
But the presentations themselves do still need to be delivered…because they work. People in the audience are impacted by the story of Johns’ death – and get the message loud and clear: make your workplace safe for everyone, including emergency responders who may have to attend.
Other members of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF) also give these workplace safety presentations – but they can only give so many, due to their work schedules.
So…we did some brainstorming and came up with the idea of hiring a professional speaker to deliver the safety presentations. Then we pitched the idea, of setting up a professional speaker program, to a potential funding source and voila! Within a week, we got our first round of funding to hire our main speaker.
And we found a perfect gal for the job…someone whose passion is, strangely enough, public speaking! She is chomping at the bit to do her first presentation on March 7th. She’s even married to a police officer.
So what I’ve learned is this: it’s almost as if the universe was just waiting for me to a) say the word (NO!) and then b) take the next step of asking for help.
For it was only when I got out of the way and stopped doing something I didn’t enjoy doing, wasn’t particularly good at, and took a tremendous amount of time and energy away from the things I do enjoy doing (and am better at, such as writing) that the right person – and the funds – could fall into place.
And here’s the best part: the professional speaker program means the JPMF will now be able to deliver hundreds of powerful workplace safety presentations in communities throughout Alberta – versus the handful we were doing before.
Is there anything you are doing in your life that is no longer healthy for you? If so, what would happen if you stopped doing it…and let someone else give it a try?
We can’t do it all. We’re not supposed to.
And as I’ve learned, sometimes it is only when we finally admit we are not necessarily the best person for the task or job that the right person gets a chance to step up and get it done – with passion, purpose…and a profound appreciation for the opportunity 🙂
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. The Fund is currently seeking corporate & industry sponsors for the professional speaker program. Please contact Ian Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org – and help us get the number of preventable workplace injuries and fatalities down.