Colorado Life Coach: Philip Seymour Hoffman and the rest of us

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 5.04.08 PM


It’s been around forever, but now we’re talking about it.

Philip Seymour Hoffman died on Super Bowl Sunday with a syringe of heroin still in his arm. Do you think this is how he planned his life? Is this the way any of us plan our lives?

I used to think addicts were the scary looking guys shooting up behind the dumpsters. And they were.

But it’s much more than that.

~It’s the young girl who cuts because she can’t bear her life, and at least she can control the pain when it’s self-inflicted.

~It’s the woman who eats because it brings comfort, or because it hides her from people who might abuse her sexually, like they did in the past.

~It’s the CEO who works 24/7 and can’t seem to relate to his family.

~It’s the person (not only men) who looks at porn, because it shoots great hormones through their brain and kills the pain. It’s easier than dealing with real people and their flaws.

~It’s the mom who takes her kid’s ADD medication so she can focus and feel like super mom.

It’s everywhere!

People are dying everywhere!

Some of these addictions can kill quickly, like after trying a drug the first time.

Others kill slowly:

*Porn kills when the addict can’t get the high with just movies anymore. Now they meet people in chat rooms and start acting out with dangerous behavior.

*Food doesn’t kill overnight. For anorexics or bulimics, it can take years, but if untreated, it kills. For over eaters, it could take decades, but make no mistake, it will kill: Heart disease, diabetes, organ failure, etc. Our bodies are made to run on healthy fuel and lots of oxygen. When this doesn’t happen, life is cut short.

*Alcohol is needed in larger and larger quantities to continue to numb the pain. Sometimes people die from alcohol poisoning, or car accidents, or drowning, or…

So what’s the point?

Let’s deal with it! There is another way!

You don’t have to stay trapped!

My favorite bible passage is Isaiah 61:1-4 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

This is the big plan–God can and will set you free if you let him.

Here are the picky little details–He needs you to ask for help and then do the work.

He won’t force you, so you have to ask. Tell him you’re dying and you know it. Tell him you’re willing to do anything to change how you’re living. Tell him you believe he can and will heal you, if you’ll slow down long enough to let him.

Now get some help!

Google AA, SA, NA, Al-Anon, Over Eater’s Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery. Get a sponsor-they’re free! Now work the program. You can’t just go to meetings and think you’ll find a new way to live. You have to do the personal work, and it’s hard.

Find a counselor or Life Coach who understands addiction and work through the emotional issues that caused you to hurt in the first place. You can’t take away the medication without healing the pain, if you want to stay clean.

Check yourself into rehab and stay until they say you’re ready to transition back into life. If you leave early, you will not recover.

I know you’re hurting. The thing is, the longer you do things to keep from feeling, the more things you’ll have to work through.

How about you just start now.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


Colorado Life Coach: God will hit you with a frying pan

frying pan

“If you don’t do what God wants, He’ll hit you over the head with a 2X4 to get your attention.”

“God used that “frying pan” logic to get hold of me.”

“God might strike you down with a lightning bolt!”

Have you head any of these common threats, I mean quotes?

I have.

And they’ve scared me to death. What kind of God do you worship anyway? I don’t have a degree in theology (although I’ve thought of earning one). I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about the bible. It’s hard to understand sometimes! Even the simple things can be difficult.

I remember leaving a bible study and telling a friend I was absolutely terrified of making a move–any move. I had been hurt enough in life, I didn’t want to get pummeled by God, too. I was so concerned about angering God that I would rather just not think about him than risk doing something to make him mad. If I just stayed quiet, maybe he’d be OK with me and leave me alone.

It’s so sad when I think about it. I was hurting. And I was scared of God, the only being in the Universe capable of healing me!

It happens so often! I see this all the time. People are hurt by life, or by other people. Then well-meaning (sometimes) Christians come along and spout off some cliche or scripture they memorized for a sticker 20 years ago (sometimes they don’t know if it’s a cliche or a scripture-have you ever heard that God will never give you more than you can handle?). Sometimes the scripture is totally valid, but their timing stinks! Take Romans 8:28 for instance: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It’s all true! But think how it may sound to the mom who just lost her unborn baby, or the family that just lost their job for the 3rd time this year, or the alcoholic who’s wife just left him because he can’t stop drinking. It will all work out for the best because you love God.

It’s true, but really…can you wait until they aren’t quite so raw emotionally to quote this?

Someone gets into trouble and is really hurting. Is this the best time to tell them God is trying to get their attention? I went through a period where I didn’t sleep for 5 months, at all. I asked people to pray for me. Several people told me that if I’d listen to God during the day, He wouldn’t have to keep me up at night. How do they know I wasn’t listening to him during the day? Do they know their words actually added to my pain and suffering?


We had to relinquish our adopted son to another family due to extreme Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Our family was falling apart and my health was failing. Another family came alongside us and we watched our son transition into their family. It wasn’t what we wanted. It was horribly painful, but it happened. Was it helpful when a friend told me that “God would NEVER tell me to give up my son!”? Not really. I lost a friend as well as my son that day.

Can we just stop pretending we know it all? Can we meet people in their pain, instead of screaming at them to stop their behavior? Can we understand that it must have taken a whole lot of craziness in that person’s life to cause them to seek numbness the way they do? Can we stop thinking we’re perfect and it’s everyone else who is “the least of these?”

Yes, God sometimes uses hard times to draw us close to him, because he loves us and we need him.

Does he cause the hard times? Maybe. Maybe it’s just part of living in a broken world with broken people who do dumb or hateful things. Either way, God absolutely can, and does use these times in our lives to hold us close and speak gently into our hearts. We get to choose to listen or spit in his face. I’ve done both.

He’s never hit me with a 2X4, a frying pan, or struck me with lightning. Thank you God, that you understand how difficult this world is, and you choose to meet the hurting with outstretched arms, and a huge chest to lay against!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


Colorado Life Coach: My Left BLINKBLINKBLINKer

mustang blinker

Has your blinker ever gone haywire?

My left blinker started blinking double time about 6 weeks ago. No big deal, right?

I took it to the auto parts store and the guy even came out to check it for me. I thought my bulb might be out. That wasn’t it. Front and back left blinkers worked, just double time.

Every time I turn right…blink, blink, blink, blink…that normal rhythm I’m so used to.

Turn left? BLINKBLINKBLINKBLINKBLINKBLINKBLINKBLINK! Whoa! Slow down, buddy! It’s OK, you don’t need to blow a gasket.

I think this would bug lots of people, but let me speak to those with an ear for music, momentarily. Do you feel my pain? Do you get me? It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard, right?

I went to a repair shop and asked what they thought it might be. Without looking, the guy said it was a minimum of $75 and was probably something electrical going into the steering column (don’t quote me on that, cause I’m definitely NOT a car person).

Anyway, I didn’t want to pay that, or deal with it, so I decided to wait.

Turn right? Blink, blink, blink


On and on it goes.

It doesn’t effect my safety, or how the car drives, so I just put up with it.  Anyone relate?

I’ve been working on some emotional baggage (sort of never-ending for me). A friend told me about her prayer ministry and asked if I’d like to pray with her and her partner. I did! We set it up for yesterday. I’ll write more on that awesome experience later!

We looked at some painful stuff from my past and prayed. I felt Jesus say he healed it all.

Out to my car and into the left turn lane: Blink, blink, blink, blink…are you kidding me? I burst out laughing and felt the face of God light up with a huge smile.

I’ve driven several times since then and changed lanes, just to put on my left blinker: Blink, blink, blink, blink.

Just like clockwork.

And God and I just keep laughing!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.



Colorado Life Coach: Stop Helping People!

Good Samaritan

Several years ago, I heard a sermon called: Get off Your Donkey.

It was a great message based on the Good Samaritan from the Bible. In the story, a man is beaten by robbers and left to die. A priest and a rabbi saw him, but passed right by on the other side of the street. Neither helped.

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10: 33-34).

It’s a great message.

Something happened inside me as I looked around the church that day. I saw young moms with small children fidgeting (the moms, not the kids). I watched people with addictions (not just alcohol and drugs) squirm. Those out of work looked mighty uncomfortable. Sometimes this is good! Sometimes we need to be called out of our comfortable lives to help other people.

This wasn’t the feeling I had that day.

I was in the middle of leading 2 groups of women through a process designed to help them heal from deep issues in their pasts. They were really struggling with things that had happened to them, how it impacted their entire lives, and how they could heal and change. They wanted to be healthy. They wanted to help others.

They couldn’t even help themselves, yet.

I hear this so often.

How many times do we try to help others when we’re a mess ourselves.

I think it happens for many reasons:

1. Guilt. I’m told to help others. What kind of a person am I if I don’t help. I’m not worth much anyway, maybe by helping others I’ll feel better.

2. Can’t say “no.” I know so many people-pleasers who fit in this category! They don’t want to help in this particular situation. It’s not even something they are good at. They just can’t say “no.” They say “yes” so the other person won’t be mad at them, so they won’t feel bad, so they’ll look good, so they’ll appear spiritual. The problem is this: They are angry about it. They don’t really want to help. They are exhausted themselves. They say “yes,” and then carry around resentment and bitterness.

3. They are in denial of their own situation. Some people are such a mess, but they don’t want to deal with it. If they stopped to deal with themselves, they wouldn’t have time or energy (for awhile) to help others. Rather than deal with themselves, they continue to “help” others.

Here’s the problem: We’re called to help others out of the overflow of our own lives, with a grateful heart.

~If we respond out of guilt, this is not the case.

~If we respond only because we can’t say “no,” this is selfish. We’re so afraid of upsetting anyone, we don’t speak truthfully. What if we said, “I can’t help you this time, ” or “I’m really not good at that,” or “Normally I’d be the first to volunteer, but I’m working on my boundaries and can’t do it this time.”

~If we respond as a way to avoid working on ourselves, we’re helping no one.

Have you ever needed good counsel from someone? Have you ever asked for help from someone, and half-way through your discussion, you realized they’re in worse shape than you are?

It is not helpful. They cannot offer what they don’t have themselves.

My suggestion? Get help for yourself first! Deal with your own stuff and get healthy. Then you’ll be able to respond to others out of love, not fear.

Sometimes we need to take time out and deal with our own issues. Then we’ll be ready to help others.

What if you’re the one who needs to be put on a donkey and nursed back to health?

The bible doesn’t say the beaten man jumped up and tried to help others. He let others help him.

I bet after he was healthy again, he helped others.

If you’d like help dealing with your own stuff, so you can finally be healthy and truly help others, click here.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

Colorado Life Coach: God Showed Off The Whales


We’re on a cruise!

Before I left, I wrote this blog about the last few cruises I experienced. On two different occasions, we went on Alaskan cruises. Each time, I prayed that God would show us how great He is.

The first cruise was right after our family had gone through a horrible experience, and we needed time to be together to heal.

One gorgeous day, we took a whale watching cruise. The guides knew how to track the whales, and they talked back and forth between the different boats, helping each other find the great beasts.

Our family was grieving. We were on edge. We needed to have fun together, desperately.

I prayed.

As the boat started from the dock, I prayed that God would show off. I prayed He’d have mercy on our family and bless us with this gift. I prayed that He would give this to us, just because He loved us. I knew we didn’t earn it, or deserve it.

I had been reading a book by John Eldredge where he talked about how much God loved him. He suggested we pray and ask God to show us how much He loved us.

I prayed. Hard.

And then it happened! The whales started to surface. The pod we found was one of only a few in the entire world that performs a remarkable feeding ritual called “Bubble-net fishing.” It’s an amazing sight! The whole pod dives at once. We learned to watch the surface of the water. When the seagulls started to circle, everyone on the boat looked in that direction. Soon, we saw a huge bubble of air that alerted us to the whales, ready to surface. The queen humpback would guide the whole pod to the school of fish. They blew bubbles in a circle that confused the fish, so they could only swim up. The pod encircled the queen as they all popped through the surface of the ocean. They went up about 10 feet in the air, and it was a spectacular sight. The guides said they have only seen it happen a few times. We watched it about 8 times that day.

When we went on our next Alaskan cruise a few years later, I prayed again. How could God possibly bet the last show?

On this whale watching cruise, we saw humpback whales perform “Bubble-net fishing” about 18 times, right next to our boat. We saw bald eagles, sea lions, and even Orcas.

Both times, the guides were astonished! they said it was the best show they had seen all year.

I’m learning how much God really does love me. He likes me to see what He’s created. Those whales are swimming around everywhere. God can certainly tell them where to surface. He can actually have them surface at just the right time and place so I can see.

I know God’s not my personal genie. He doesn’t always do what I want Him too.

But, sometimes He does way more than I ever thought He would.

He really loves me!

I’m so excited to see what He’ll show us on this vacation! I’ll let you know when I get back.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


Colorado Life Coach: This eagle and my new computer

Eagle in Alaska

I bought a new computer. I’m an adult and run a ministry. I have the money, I’m a smart person, and I’m responsible for my own decisions.

As I picked up the computer, I sensed something telling me I made the wrong choice, it wouldn’t work for me, and I messed it all up.

When I got home, I opened the box and turned on the computer. The screen was smaller than I remembered, and I couldn’t think of a password to set up the computer. I suddenly felt like I was in trouble. The feeling is so familiar to me.

My anxiety started again.

I logically know that no matter what happens with this new computer, I will be OK. I didn’t kill anyone. I won’t die if my computer doesn’t work perfectly. I paid with my debit card and didn’t go into debt. Even if I can’t figure out how to use some of the functions, I bought the Apple One-on-One classes, so I can find someone to help me.

I know all of this logically.

And yet, something inside me still feels like a little kid who did something wrong and is about to get in trouble.

It really is ridiculous!

I’m tired of it!

I’ve been working with a counselor to help me figure out where these triggers come from and how to stop them from messing with me. I do get it. I understand why I feel this way. When I spend a little time processing, it makes sense. I still wish I didn’t get triggered in the first place.

Does anyone relate?

Do you ever have those moments when you’re just going about your own business and something hits you out of the blue? You’re not doing anything wrong, but you certainly feel triggered by something.

I am so very thankful for God. He gets me. He isn’t the one whispering the negative comments into my ear. He’s not beating me up for buying the wrong computer (or spending too much, or buying at the wrong time, or…). Even if I totally screw it up, he’s the one waiting for me. He’s the one telling me he loves me no matter what I do. He’s the only one who will always love me no matter what. He’ll help me fix it if I do mess up. He takes my blunders and creates something awesome out of them!

God is the one who gave this crazy, anxious, rage-filled, judgmental, driven woman, who was totally broken, the new name, “Brilliant.”

So after I cried because I felt like I was in trouble, I found the dumb password. Then God calmed my anxious heart.

Here’s my first blog on my new MacBook Air.

Thank you for it, God. Thank you that even if I had screwed everything up, you still allow me to write and others to read my words.

So what’s an eagle have to do with any of this? Not much without a stretch, so here goes: I feel like I can really soar sometimes, but my landings aren’t always pretty. My son took this picture in Alaska last year. It’s so majestic! I love how the eagle can catch the tree from whatever angle it approaches. And here’s the big stretch: God catches me no matter what my approach looks like. He makes me look really good sometimes, just like this awesome eagle!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


Colorado Life Coach: God Really Likes Me!

Had some more intensive therapy last weekend! Welcome to my life.

In a weird way, I kinda like digging around, figuring it out, and trying new things.

I also kind of hate it. It’s hard work changing things I’ve done, or ways I’ve looked at things my whole life.

Well anyway, one of the things I need to change is how I fill myself up emotionally. I’ve known this is my responsibility in my head for a long time. I teach it, for goodness sake! For some reason, it hasn’t gotten all the way in–you know, like the layer of an onion, or something like that.

I’ve felt sad since the weekend. I think I’ve been grieving for that little girl inside me who really wanted people to take care of her little heart. I’m all grown up now, physically, but she’s still in there begging to be loved in just the right way.

Is it only me?

So, I’ve been talking to God about this. Sometimes I just think about it, and know he’s listening. Sometimes I write about it (some people call it journaling). It goes something like this: God, why is it so hard to change? Why do I still feel so needy? Why does it have to be so hard to change? Why can’t you just change_____(fill in the blank), and then I’d feel better?

I know God hears me. Sometimes I even hear him talking back to me. I have to watch who I say that too, because in the world of counseling and psychology, some people might think I’m Schizophrenic! Through the years, I’ve learned how to tell if it’s God talking to me. Click here, if you’d like to read more about that!

In the last few days, I’ve mainly been telling him how sad I am. I’m sad that some people don’t want as deep of a relationship with me as I want with them (or at least in the same way). I realize I need some more girlfriends–can I still use that term at age 49? I need people who will give me a big “yahoo!” when I have exciting news! I need several people to whoop and holler with me! That fills me up, and I can’t always get it from my husband (especially when he’s at work…with people in his office).

So, on goes the grieving, the praying, the recognizing I need some more friends.

And then…

I went to vote.

I went to the place I voted last year, but it’s not there anymore. I went to the post office, and a lady told me where to go (I get told where to go quite often). I thought I knew the place. I drove over and parked, but the place looked empty. Then this one lady walked out. I started to ask her if this was the right place and realized it was an old friend.

And here’s where God showed me how much he really likes me!!!

She said, “Oh my gosh, I was just going to call you today!”

You see, a small group of my friends have been meeting for a book club for a long time and I couldn’t do it while I was in school. They lost a few members and were just talking about inviting ME last night. She said they all wanted me to join!

Do you know how badly my heart needed to be invited?

Has your heart ever longed to be invited?

Do you know how much I needed this right at this very time?

I told her what I’ve been dealing with and how thrilled I was to be wanted!

Does God really like me, or what?

As a wise young man once told me, there are no positive coincidences!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

Colorado Life Coach: Using God as a Weapon

“God told me…”

“God’s reason for this is…”

“You’re not in God’s will.”

Christians I know use these phrases a lot.

I used to…

An old friend of mine told me I should never say that God told me something unless I was really sure. Later, she used what she believed God “told” her to beat me up, spiritually.

I’ve had a tendency to be pretty black and white in my thinking. It’s either right or it’s wrong. There’s good and there’s bad. There is an answer to things.

And this is true, to a certain extent. There is a right and and a wrong, but sometimes there’s a whole lot of sensitivity in between.

Spiritual abuse occurs when people use God to control others. This happens when a husband quotes Ephesians 5:22 to get his wife to do what he wants (“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”). The previous verse, “submitting to one another in the fear of God” isn’t mentioned.


When a mom tells her children they “should” want to go to church.


When we judge others by what we view as their lack of spiritual growth. We may believe they don’t put God first in their lives. We may think they don’t pray enough. We may suggest their hearts aren’t pure.

The big question is, how do we know what’s in their heart? How do we know what God is doing in their lives? Who made us judge?

Last night, I was the guest speaker at an event. My topic was distorted thinking. Through some discussion, a question was raised about our responsibility to evangelize our friends and family. The woman asking was clearly distressed. Her church taught that this was her responsibility and when she didn’t consistently talk to others about their need for God, she felt guilty.

I’ve done it! I preached at people. I tried to get them to see how detrimental their actions were to themselves and those around them. I wanted them to see their need for God.

Instead I pushed them away.

Isn’t this the real issue? We want people to see things the way we do, and we can’t make them.

So we use God.

If they won’t listen to me, surely they’ll listen to God!

~A friend’s daughter is making some really bad decisions. She’s mad at God and thinks He’s against her. Instead of truly listening to her daughter’s heart and connecting with her, she quotes scripture and blames the devil.

~A client’s girlfriend doesn’t engage emotionally. Instead of talking to her directly, telling her he needs more connection and asking to get some help together, he says that God told him she’s not right for him.

~A pastor counseled a hurting wife and they both determined that God told them to end their current marriages and marry each other. I wonder if their former spouses and children were so sure this was God’s will.

~Many of my clients have been hurt by someone who broke up with them because “God told me you aren’t the one for me.” How must they feel about God after hearing that?

Why don’t we just accept responsibility for our decisions? Why do we have to put the blame on God?

I absolutely believe God speaks to his people. I believe he warns us, guides us, and shows us the direction he wants us to go.

Jesus is our example. How did he treat people?

He was most kind to those who didn’t know him.

He was harsh with those who said they knew him, but used religion to control others.

What if we live our lives by example, and share with those who want to know how we made it through some tough situation, or how we continue to have peace, or how we wake up everyday in the midst of hardship?

Then we could let God be God. He’s better at it anyway.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


Colorado Life Coach: Is Perception Reality?

Is this forest healthy, or suffering from years of Pine Beetle?


We all have them. Have you heard the term Perception is reality? It’s not really reality, you know. I mean, you might perceive that 2+2=5, but that doesn’t make it so. Some things are just true and we all know it.

Other things aren’t black and white.

Like perceptions.

Maybe you’ve heard stories of witnesses to a crime. They were in the same place at the same time, but remember events differently.


4 kids living in the same home, at the same time, have very different memories of their childhood.

Perception is reality.

Several years ago, Bob and I attended a group for several weeks. We listened to some teaching, followed by an experiential exercise. That particular night, we talked about Moses and the burning bush.

3Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

There was a time in my life when God just plain scared me. I had heard so many stories from friends who said God “had to use a frying pan to get my attention,” or “God will knock you upside the head with a 2 x 4 if you don’t do what he wants.” This God terrified me. I’ve always been anxious and wanted to do well. The thought that I would try to do the right thing and still get nailed if it wasn’t exactly what God wanted made me afraid to get close to him.

My perception was that God was just waiting for me to make a mistake so he could level me.

Back to that night. They asked us to take off our shoes and walk through the sandbox, like God asked Moses to do.


I didn’t see God asking Moses to take off his shoes, feel the sand between his toes, and experience a closeness with God. Here’s what I read,

“What the *^#! are you doing, stupid Moses? Don’t you know I’m holy and you’re not? Get your stinking feet out of my sand. This ground is holy!”

Perception is reality.

For me, I had been so afraid to come close to God because I thought he would wipe me out. Even though my desire was to be close to him and do what he wanted, I thought it would never be enough. Most people in my life lived that way as well. It didn’t matter what your intentions were, you’d never be good enough, but you’d better keep trying.

I took off my shoes and slid my feet into the sand. God met me there. I felt him whisper, “Can you feel me? Just like this sand, I want to be in every part of your life. Let me cover you. Let me surround you. You’re safe here. I’m not going to hurt you, I love you! Wiggle your toes and be free!”

My perception changed that night!

I believe it’s more in line with actual reality. God loves me. He died for me. It’s all about him and the grace he offers to me every day. I’ll never measure up to his standards, but I don’t need too. He doesn’t expect me too. He just wants to love me and have me love him.

That’s all.

What do you think? Is perception reality? How have your perceptions changed through the years?

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


Colorado Life Coach: Coasting Toward Home

I like to go uphill first.

I’ve been biking a lot this summer, and find I like to go on the path uphill for the first part of the ride, so I can coast downhill at the end when I’m tired.

All summer I’ve been thinking about this picture and how it relates to life.

Bob and I talked today about being 50 (he is a little past, but I’ve got a whole year left in my 40’s). Many people don’t live to be 100, but I’m working on my health, so I hope to get close, all while being totally functional!

If my life is about half over, I hope I took the uphill path during the first part of my ride.

I know so many people who took the downhill path first. Some of them did it on purpose, because they didn’t want to deal with hard things. Instead, they ignored issues, or took the easy way. Others didn’t know there was another option.

I didn’t know there was another option for many years. In fact, life was pretty easy for a long time. I worked hard and it paid off. Kind of like the easy bike trails. They start off simply, with a few hills here and there, but they don’t really take much out of you.

It wasn’t until I started hitting the bigger hills in life that I realized how out of shape I was emotionally, relationally, spiritually, mentally, and even physically. I couldn’t handle the hills. They were too steep and they came one right after the other. There were no straightaways or hills going down for a long time. It was all uphill for about a decade.

I hated it. I protested. I cried. I blamed others. It wasn’t fair! Why was my life all uphill, when other people seemed to be coasting?

We lived out in the country during some of these hard times. It took me 1/2 hour each way to pick up my kids from school. I listened to New Life Live (a Christian Call-in Counseling program) on the radio for several years. The more I listened, the more I realized that many people struggled with similar issues, and there were answers to these problems. It dawned on me that I had some responsibility for my life circumstances, and even if I hadn’t caused them, I was the one responsible for making things better.

I started the long trek uphill toward health. It began with the knowledge that I needed help. I didn’t know how to handle life very well. I didn’t have the right tools. It was like trying to ride uphill with only one speed.

I sought counseling and gained more tools:


*Understanding what healthy relationships looked like

*Healing hurts from my past

*Growing closer to God

*Creating healthy friendships

*Taking responsibility for my decisions and actions

*Putting on my “big girl panties” (padded ones, of course)

After doing all this internal growth work, I found life to be a little easier. I still hit some hills, but my training has paid off and I can handle it. I have the tools I need now.

My hope is that I took the uphill path and trained hard, so in the later part of my life, I’ll be able to coast a little more as I approach Home.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


Contact Carrie O’Toole to schedule a confidential telephone call or appointment for coaching.