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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.

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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Taking the Cake

“It’ll keep for a few days, won’t it?” they ask.  My eyes get big. I smile nervously.  “What’s wrong?” they ask.  “I’m not sure I can be trusted with it,” I say.  The last quarter of the delicious dense spice cake with thick buttercream frosting sat on the pink stand with a pedestal.  If it stayed within my sight, I knew that in a matter of a few days —or possibly a few hours—-I could polish it off with ease. With a hot cup of chai or a cool glass of milk, it would be my perfect breakfast, snack, or
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Locked Out, Not Alone

I pull on the car door handle. Locked. I try the passenger door. Locked, too. I peer inside and see the small red purse containing my keys sitting right beside my bag of frozen fish and bunch of fuchsia tulips. I feel the familiar ache in my gut— the one I get when I can’t solve my problem alone and I’m to blame for the cause of it. Someone was about to be inconvenienced because of. my thoughtlessness, carelessness, or sheer stupidity. My loathing of being a bother is so great that I once walked for miles in my party
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If I Called ICE

 She leapt up from the bleacher in a giant cheer. The star of her alma mater’s basketball team made the winning shot.  But as Victoria shuffled out the gym door amidst the crowd of smiling students, I saw seriousness rather than celebration on her face. “How are you, Victoria?” I asked as we walked down the hall of the high school that once was mine. “I’m stressed.” “What’s up?” “I’m behind in paying for my classes,” she said, looking down at her sneakers. After graduation, Victoria had enrolled in community college. “That’s gotta be tough.” We were both silent for
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International Women’s Day

She didn’t talk about her past. Not about her early innocent farm life. Not about being a child in a refugee camp, making toys from mud and sticks. Not about the girls next door who died when their tent caught fire. Laila’s focus was on the women in another continent. Laila’s family was Yazidi, a religious minority in northern Iraq. In 2014, Isis militants attacked the Yazidis in the Sinjar region. For two weeks, Isis inflicted an unrelenting terror of genocide upon the Yazidis. Thousands of women and girls were assaulted and sold into sex slavery. By the time I
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When Does It Get Easier?

 “One last question.” She paused. “When does it get easier?”    For a good hour we’d reviewed her goals, timelines, and action steps. An energetic entrepreneur, she’d left her lucrative but grueling job at the insurance company to strike out on her own. She’d managed to get a steady stream of clients, pay down debt, and develop a reputation as a brilliantly insightful consultant.   But life wasn’t any easier. She recently recovered from surgery, had a niece now diagnosed with cancer, and was implementing new software for her business. She was worn out and overwhelmed.   I resisted the hollow words of
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Let’s Talk

Cozy on the sofa under the heavy throw, a thick stack of Sunday newsprint sat on my lap and my small pot of tea joined us on the coffee table nearby. Bliss.  I relished the precious hours of the week when neither the calendar nor calls threatened interruption. Church-going was history and meditation not yet my practice. My outstretched arms leisurely turned pages from headlines about war to highlights about fashion.  I sat up in a start. One story struck my spine like a minister warning me of burning in hell: an analysis of millions of books had revealed not
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Out of My League

Portland Marathon on the back of her shirt hit me like a billboard shouting EXIT HERE!  Six weeks earlier, inspired by the scale displaying the upper end of my annual winter weight, I’d signed up to run a 10k.   I’d no sooner put my plan in place when headlines read Spring Fails to Start in the Midwest. Shivering sleet and snow substituted for the hoped-for season of cool mornings and sunny afternoons.  Respite from the weather came during a beach week with friends. I pledged a daily run.  Chill and rain followed me to the coast, but persistence meant progress.
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Coffee Redemption

“Ohhhh!” she cried.  I turned to see her mouth open in amazed confusion and her arms outstretched, a cup in one hand. She’d selected a cup from the shelf for her morning tea. She didn’t expect it to shower her with coffee.  Her coral shirt, beautiful against her pale skin, was soaked. I grabbed a cloth from the sink. She went for the paper towels. My apologies were met with her assurances that the coffee wasn’t hot and there was no harm. Together we knelt silently to wipe the puddle on the tiled floor.  “I was trying to find the
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DECEMBER DUALITY 

Happy December! I proclaimed, evidencing both my December delight and my ingrained enthusiasm for beginnings.  Each December day is like opening the tiny cardboard panel on my advent calendar to discover some unknown surprise. A card with glittery red cardinals from a longtime friend. The scent of pine upon entering an office. The smoothness of the delicate handle on china cup covered with holly, reserved for use solely during these 31 days.  It is the month I celebrate my birth, and the world lights up to celebrate with me.  I will ooh and aah over colorful lights strung across porches of
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