What journey led Linda to found Chatoyant Living?

I grew up on a small farm in the Midwest with 5 brothers and sisters.

My parents struggled to do their best and make a better life for us. Their lives became all about sacrifice; however, neither of them was taught how to cope with the level of stress such a life required. Overall chaos led to daily arguments and emotional drama which occasionally escalated to physical abuse.

Nature was my refuge. This is where spirit first moved, danced, and spoke joy into my awareness. Holding this wisdom deep within my heart ultimately sustained me through the darkest moments of my life.

My mother was a Christian Fundamentalist whose religious beliefs included the Bible being the literal and only source of truth. To save her children in this world and the next, she took us to church several days every week to receive proper training.

Of course I had never heard of intuition or psychic phenomenon when I was preschool age, but I knew they were a natural part of being- until I told my mother. She feared the devil was coming after me and warned me that I would burn in Hell without end unless I stopped thinking such things and asked God for forgiveness. I never spoke of these experiences again until well into my adult life.

I was an excellent student and learned quickly that excelling at school was the best way to make my parents proud and allow me to share brief moments of happiness with them.

My first love was a kind boy I knew from church who also had a lot of family drama.We became best friends, shared our deepest thoughts, and supported each other. I felt safe and understood in a way I had never known.

My father heard negative talk about the church and insisted my mother find a new one to attend. Without being able to say goodbye, my first love was derailed. Eventually I learned that he had joined the Air Force and married.

By the time I was 16, I was emotionally and mentally exhausted from our family drama, and I desperately craved love and affection. I ran away from home with a street-wise 18 year old. This began the darkest period of my life and would prove to be far worse than anything that occurred within my family.

A year later when I was 7 months pregnant, he physically abused me for the first time.
By the time I was 21, I had 4 children under the age of 5.

I was controlled by physical means if I didn’t comply freely, but it was the unseen bruises- the emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse that enslaved me to my abuser.

After 6 years, I felt all the words inside me begin to fall silent. The love for my children propelled me to finally risk saying “no more”. I called my uncle and confessed through my fear and humiliation that I was in danger and I needed help.

Then through cunning and deceit my abuser was granted emergency custody of our children. Most people are not aware that an abuser who files for custody will frequently win, as he has numerous advantages over an abused wife in custody litigation.

Our initial custody case was in 1979 (the year Kramer vs Kramer was released in theaters).That decade the number of fathers with custody in the US more than doubled.

Abusive men seeking custody often immediately become involved with a new partner whom he treats very well. She generally cares for the children, and he can use this relationship to create the impression that the mother is being dishonest or is unstable. My abuser followed this pattern, remarried, and had more children.

An abuser frequently finds ways to involve the children in the abuse of the mother. My abuser would deny me visitation and phone calls and then psychologically abuse the children by telling them I didn’t love them and I didn’t want to see or talk to them.

No words can adequately describe the intensity of the agony and heartbreak a mother feels when she is separated and then alienated from her children. I wanted to die but I wanted my children more, so I kept on going. Every day I took baby steps toward survival and building a life, struggling in an environment that held harsh judgments against any woman without her children. Our society is still entrenched in this social stigma.

My first love had returned from the military and his first marriage had ended. We reunited and we married. We loved each other’s children as if they were our own.

I felt and understood unconditional love and kindness in ways I had never imagined one could experience within daily family life. Slowly, love began to heal my brokenness. Together my husband and I spent the next eight years building a beautiful home and life while also spending thousands of dollars in attorney fees trying to get the court to reverse custody.

But, life began to unravel further when my father and my father-in-law both died in less than a year.

Then the inconceivable happened, my husband died in an accident.

At first I was so overwhelmed I simply couldn’t move. My sorrow was so consuming it felt like my heart was pulled from my chest and the world slowed down until it seemed to stand eerily still. Every day I looked to Spirit for strength just to be able to breath.

Then, I got angry. Angry with an anger I had never felt before and didn’t realize I was capable of. Once this anger set in, I still looked to Spirit every day, but what I wanted was answers. I cried and shouted and shook my fist at God…

This began my journey of questioning and evaluating everything I had ever been taught about who I am, how I am supposed to live, and who or what God is or isn’t; a “loving creator” but the subject of so much war and hatred? This raw and painfully honest self-evaluation and diligent seeking within and beyond what I was trained to think and feared to disbelieve began connecting me with my inner voice and my words broke free, but my heart was still shattered and my mind was simply incapable of comprehending and dealing with so much loss and pain in any immediate way.

I didn’t think I would survive. I didn’t think I could survive.

One morning I had an epiphany. I was shown that what I needed was a space where I could give my heart and mind periodic breaks; a counterbalance from the intense work of healing. I became aware that focusing my mind on an area of study with some semblance of organization and logic would give me that space and would be therapeutic. I was also shown that my heart would heal as I learned how to care for myself and others. This was the way; a calling, that would lead me to wholeness and to my life path and purpose.

Just months after my husband died, I enrolled at the university and began study toward my bachelor’s degree in nursing.

As my healing progressed, I remembered once again the Spirit that moves, dances, and speaks joy into my awareness. I knocked and doors opened resulting in an almost continuous natural flow in which it isn’t so obvious which comes first anymore, the door or the knocking. These opening doors have taken me on a journey that has resulted in the rebuilding of a life once thought to be crushed beyond repair.

I never got to have all my children live with me and share a home together, but each of them has individually lived with me throughout some period of “life beyond custody”. There are still after-effects of the alienation; our relationships are not as close as I would like, but I am grateful for the love I share with them and with my grandchildren.

I made my share of mistakes along the road to recovery. Like a child finding the way, I scooted, crawled, fell down, stood up, and finally walked with a steady gait. For many years I carried justifiable animosity toward the man who abused me, but that man is also the father of my children. They love him. I am happy that they feel and know love. I am happy that he feels and knows love. Having forgiven him, myself, and everyone involved, I have profound peace and I wish peace for everyone.

My first love died 30 years ago. I am married again, and to a wonderful man. Every marriage is labor intensive, but it is a labor of love when you are half of a relationship built on respect and admiration, supportive of each other’s personal journey.

I didn’t fully “come out of the spiritual closet” until about 12 years ago. Recovering from the post traumatic effects of literalism and fear-driven religious training has been an extended process, but the wisdom gained has healed my mind and heart and opened me to wholeness, authenticity, and joy. This spiritual journey never “ends”; there are infinite moments of increased awareness and vision, understanding, forgiveness, grace and thankfulness. I will always be the student, but I am also happy and honored to share wisdom and support other women finding their way on their own paths.

There is vulnerability required when you live an authentic life. Speaking the truth about who you are comes with risk to personal and professional relationships. But it’s worth the risk. I’ve crossed the abyss and I stand here in wonder, filled with immense love, joy, and eternal gratitude for the privilege to just be the woman I am: coloring outside the lines and venturing outside the box in the freedom of living the life I find worth living.

Freedom is the journey. Love is the pathway.
Wisdom is the light. Peace is the prize.

Linda

Read about where my journey has taken me and what I do today on the About Page

How should I prepare for a coaching session?

Generally speaking, the most important part is showing up.
Then just relax. Be comfortable and be yourself.

If you have any spiritual practices that help center and ground you, you may want to do these before you come into the session, if you have the time to do so.

Please avoid using any alcohol or drugs, other than medications prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Make sure you are in a place that’s private, quiet, and free of interruption or distraction.
It's a good idea to have water and tissues nearby.

Have a pen and pad of paper for taking notes and for jotting down anything you may want to remember or meditate on after the session.
If you keep a journal you may want to have it with you as it may help you to refer to what you have written about something that is on your mind.

Try not to have set expectations.

Trust yourself. Trust the process.

Is my coaching session confidential?

Yes. I honor your privacy and I protect your confidentiality completely. My coaching relationships are built on mutual respect and trust. I create a safe and sacred space for my clients where they are able to share openly without any judgement or concern that anyone else will ever know what is shared unless the client tells someone themselves. Your words are exactly that- they are yours. They are not mine to repeat.

There are two situations in which it would be ethically required, and I would discuss a client and even then only with a professional and only concerning information that would be directly relevant to the situation:
-If the client threatened to do harm to themselves and was therefore in danger of bodily harm or suicide.
-If the client threatened to do harm to another person and was therefore a danger of committing bodily harm to another person.

How does Spiritual Coaching work with my religious beliefs?

Coaching is not about me and my beliefs. Coaching is about you and your needs and desires which we approach non-judgmentally.

Your beliefs are always respected, and you will never be intimidated or coerced in any way, nor will you ever be asked to change your religion at any point during our coaching relationship.

However, if your reason for Spiritual Coaching is because you feel your current beliefs are not comforting and are not working for you, and you are interested in exploring spiritual beliefs other than those you currently hold, I will respectfully assist you in the endeavor to expand your awareness in other areas.

What Is Grounding?

Basically, grounding is balancing out the psychic, spiritual, and physical energy in your body by connecting with the earth.

When you are grounded you feel like you are present, here, in the awareness of your surroundings, in the physical.

When you are not grounded you may feel one or more of the following:*

• Shaky
• Like you’re floating
• Disconnected
• Tired
• Out of touch with the body
• Flighty
• Lightheaded

The following grounding techniques help get rid of excess energy and getting you back in touch with your physical body and reconnected to Mother Earth.

• Eating- “Earthy” food like root vegetables, chocolate or cacao are good choices, but experiment with different foods and see what works best for you. The digestive process of its self is grounding and pulls energy down from the higher chakras.
• Meditate- Watch your breath
• Connect with Nature- Walk. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot. Feel the earth beneath your feet. Gardening is a fantastic grounding activity.
• Salt Bath or Salt Rub- Salts have natural healing properties.
• Scents-add essential oil in your bath or use as an anointing oil
• Crystals and Stones-Jasper, Black or Blue Kyanite, are very grounding. You can carry a stone in your pocket or purse or wear in jewelry.
• Exercise is great because not only are you connecting with your body but you are expending extra energy. Yoga is extremely grounding because it balances and centers you physically, energetically, and spiritually.

Grounding is especially important for healers and energy workers to remain balanced.

*The sensations described above are characteristic of the need to be grounded; however, if intense or reoccurring they should be discussed with your physician to rule out illness.