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Category: NEXT: An Empowerment Series

Attorney and life coach Susan Koenig guides, supports, and inspires you on the journey of creating a life you love.

NEXT: An Empowerment Series

Attorney and life coach Susan Koenig guides, supports, and inspires you on the journey of creating a life you love.

Beautiful View

I peeked in and saw her framed diplomas sat stacked, patiently awaiting to be hung. I felt a slight wave of nostalgia as I looked floor to ceiling around the office that star litigator Lindsay was about to make her own. 22 years ago that room first became mine. She would be the fourth of us to call it hers.  In 2000, after 17 years of working in humble suites across the street from the courthouse, the firm made its big move to Little Bohemia. That same season, my husband John got his diagnosis.  After years of him defying the
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Pudge

I can’t remember when we met, but no doubt he would. Pudge’s memory is legendary. On Friday nights Pudge would saunter from his bar stool to our table with his beer in hand. The Cozy Corner was the lone spot in Irwin for a bite to eat. John and I often stopped in before heading to the rundown farmhouse just outside of town that served as our retreat from city life. Pudge a consummate cosmopolitan living in a community of a few hundred. He could connect current events with detailed knowledge of presidents from Roosevelt to Reagan while eliciting a
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It’s Not For You

“I don’t need another award,” I said softly. It was a feeble protest about my nomination for an upcoming honor.   ‘It’s not for you,” she said, looking me straight in the eyes. Despite not a scintilla of judgment in her voice, I immediately felt a gentle punch in my gut followed by a warm flush in my face.   Clearly I’d thought it was.   “Awards are not for us,’ she explained with the gentleness of a parent revealing to a child that Santa wasn’t real. I was silent, confused by both her words and my shame upon hearing them.  “They’re for
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Watchful Waiting

“Would you be willing to talk to them?” Bob asked.  I was on a weekend retreat at Bob and Gerry’s, enjoying the perpetually sunny skies of San Diego when he made the ask.  Bob had just run into Sue in the laundry room, and she’d tearfully told him her husband’s devastating diagnosis.  Prostate cancer is so slow growing at the start that the recommendation is often merely “watchful waiting”. But when the words “metastasized to bone” are included, the fear of death looms instantly.  “Of course,” I said. Bob thought I might be helpful, and I hoped I could be. 
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Garden Goodbye

It was my high school and his. Mine as alma mater. His as drama teacher. When the pandemic arrived, a beautiful but sorely neglected garden at the school became our daily refuge. Day after day we arrived in the late afternoon when the heat was less and the sun was a beautiful glow from the west.  Two years later I sat on the boulder he’d rolled into a shady spot under the fragrant June blossoms. I need a moment alone. The sun dappled the leaves where an ant climbed upside down and a bee passed by. It was Kevin’s last day
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Glorious Graduation Goal

Re: End of Life read the subject line. We were six months into the pandemic when Brian emailed Things are changing with my cancer.  Brian had been living with the spreading tumors for a couple of years. We’d met when he was the head of a Montessori school where I was leading a workshop. I’d mentioned in passing my aspiration to become an end-of-life doula one day. Now he was inviting me to not wait for my certification.  When asked what was most important to him, there was no hesitation. “My girls”. His beloved spouse and his teenage daughter were the
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FLOWERING FOCUS 

I awoke at sunrise to slip out the door with my gloves, sheers, and bucket of water. The summer temperatures on the 1st of April meant I didn’t have a day to lose. One Monday morning each spring my co-workers walk into the office to the sweet scent of newly cut lilac blooms filling the air, and today was the day.    I had a sense of purpose. I remembered the many years my small act                  made others smile and me joy filled. No matter how long my to-do list,          today this was at the top.   Spring 2012 
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Blooming Where Planted

I offered to go to Afghanistan, planned to go to Albania, and went to South Africa. For decades a small global call whispered.  Following plights of the suffering has consumed countless hours of my life, refugees being a common Sunday morning coffee read. In 2009, when Syrian innocents were forced to flee Assaad’s terror, I could have told you the number of refugees worldwide was 20 million. War correspondents fall among my favorite heroes.  When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in the ‘90s, girls could not go to school, women were forbidden to work, and neither could leave their homes
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Absent Excuses

He was unemployed. Fired in fact. He acted as though he could be successful in a field where he had zero experience and it was said he wasn’t smart.  Got himself arrested, too.  This week Chris Smalls made history. Under his leadership, nearly 6000 workers voted to unionize at the very Amazon warehouses where he’d been terminated two years prior after staging a walkout over safety concerns at the start of the pandemic. Amazon later had him arrested for being in the parking lot organizing. Smalls spent two years trying everything from TikTok to taking tacos to the workers while
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All Mine

“This day is mine,” I heard myself say aloud. No errands to run. No parties to attend. No plays to see. Even the kitchen floor and the rugs were generously silent. No one to listen to, attend to, or do for. The absence of responsibility brought a lightness to my limbs and a slight smile to my lips as I looked in the mirror and repeated, “All mine.”  I did a few Sunday morning usuals. Meditate. Dance for my workout. Take in an inspirational podcast. I didn’t rush as I read two newspapers while sipping a pot of tea.   An
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