After teaching on the college level for 12 years, I came to learn that what holds most adult learners back from achieving their true potential is not a lack of skills or ambition. It is usually chains from their past or present life that keep them anchored, like a dog on a chain, getting pulled back with every leap forward.
I spent most of those years teaching primarily anatomy and physiology, as well as a variety of other biology courses. As a biologist at heart, I could not help but tie in my love of science and nature when carefully selecting a word that most people have probably never heard of before to go into my business name. Serotinous. You are probably thinking, “What on Earth does that even mean”?! Serotinous cones only release their seeds when exposed to an environmental trigger, such as fire or death of the parent plant. Hence the use of a pine cone in my logo.
I feel such a connection to this word because I feel that serotiny is analogous to our lives in many ways. People often only look at how destructive fires can be. They only look at what died as a result. The devastation that was left behind. Most people do not realize that fires are very important in natural environments. They allow for new growth and new opportunities.
I like to compare us and our traumas to the endangered Giant Sequoias in California, which have serotinous cones. Humans almost protected the largest trees on Earth into extinction. In an effort to protect these beautiful giants, conservationists prevented naturally occurring forest fires from moving through national parks like Yosemite in order to preserve these iconic trees. What we didn’t previously know was that the trees required fire to open their cones and release their seeds. So, without fires, their seeds were never released, and new sequoias weren’t allowed to germinate and replace the older generations that eventually started to die off like all organisms eventually do.
I have a long history of personal trauma in my past (See Full Story Here) and for many years it held me back. But, now I live the most spectacular life. I travel the world and climb really big mountains and I do most of it without knowing anyone in the country I am traveling to. Whenever I am getting ready to embark on another journey, without fail, I am always asked questions like, “aren’t you afraid that you will become disabled or even die on one of these climbs? Aren’t you afraid you are going to get hurt traveling to all of these places by yourself?” Of course I am scared. Of course I worry about something terrible happening. But, if I try to keep protecting myself from harm like we protected the sequoias, then I could be missing out on opportunities to create new life, new opportunities, new skills, new ways to bring value to the universe and those around me. Not that I welcome more traumas in my life, but I know that even though the fires in my past left devastation behind, they also allowed my seeds to open. Without my traumas, some of my skills, ideas, and opportunities might not have ever been allowed to germinate and they would end up dying with me someday.
I believe we all have greatness within us. My mission is to help others realize that the fires of their past did not destroy them. Those fires just caused their seeds to crack, allowing for massive growth to follow.
I am the author of Transformation After Trauma: Embracing Post-Traumatic Growth. I am a Certified Life Coach, Stress Management Coach, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner, and Yoga Instructor.