transformation

Super Bloom

Grace Kim - Ezer + Co.

Grace Kim

Guest Post

First, a word from April.

Grace is a warrior. The transformation journey inevitably includes pain. I wish it didn’t, but it does.

Sometimes that pain guts you. Sometimes that pain looks like a caterpillar liquifying in a cocoon and coming out an entirely different thing. Sometimes pain is a guide toward more wholeness. This has been Grace’s story.

I humbly asked if she’d be willing to share about the deepest pain of her story because 1) our whole story matters and 2) pain is often the process where our power is transformed into something supernatural.

May her pain guide you toward increasing wholeness.


We had never taken a vacation with one child and not with the other. To go somewhere just the three of us seemed awkward, foreign, incomplete. We had been a family of four, reduced to a broken family of three. If Dragon couldn’t be there, I didn’t want to see beauty. I didn’t want to acknowledge sunshine. I knew that going anywhere would be painful, that it would be hard to make new memories without our son.

I thought back to the last time we had all left home together. It was in late August two years ago earlier. We had gone camping after a busy summer during which Dragon had spent mostly away -- summer school at Johns Hopkins, summer camp in the Angeles Mountains, water polo qualifiers. Now, we were finally together as a family, on a camping trip to Yosemite, a place our family had visited many times and that we loved. Dragon had invited his friend Justin to join us -- the first vacation for which we had allowed him to invite a friend. The two boys pitched their tent next to our big family tent. That first night in Yosemite, after a dinner of barbecued steaks and salads and s'mores, we said our goodnights and the boys went to bed. At 4:45 that morning, while we were sound asleep, a massive branch from the Black Oak next to their tent broke off and dropped 1,000 feet and crashed into the boys' tent. Dragon and Justin were killed instantly.

My Dragon. My first born child. My son, and my sun. My funny, smart, sarcastic, handsome, sweet 14-year old son. Gone.

To keep living felt unbearable. During the following days and months, I faced the seemingly impossible task of relearning how to wake up, and stay up, in a world that no longer included Dragon.

Every place had become forbidden: if we had been there before with Dragon, then all I could think about was what it was like when we had been there with him. If we hadn’t been there before with Dragon, I didn’t want to experience it without him. Why should I get to go on living, experiencing new things, seeing beautiful places, I asked myself, when my son could not? It was easier to stay at home, where the stabs of pain passing by his room were predictable and familiar. Plus, if we didn’t leave home, maybe no one would be killed.

The wildflowers in the desert love the water, but because of the drought, the spring bloom has been sparse. This year, the rains finally came. This year, they said, it would be a Super Bloom.

I’d always wanted to see the desert wildflowers. I live only two and a half hours away from Anza Borrego, a wide and shallow desert valley surrounded by mountains, and one of the best spots in California to see this springtime spectacle. But I’ve never made it out there, never made the time to step away from work or the kids’ sports schedules or even my homebody laziness. Even last March, hearing that the wildflowers were on their way, I thought about it for a moment, then remembered that Dragon wouldn’t be with us. I refused to think about it again. So, when I heard this year that Anza Borrego was expecting its biggest bloom in a decade, I didn’t expect to be tempted. I thought I had put away my adventure hat. But for some reason, this year, when the desert called, something within me responded.

I convinced my husband, Daniel, and our daughter, Hannah, to go with me. We left home early in the morning. When we got out to the desert, we were met with fields of yellow, purple, and white. We admired the teddy bear cholla. We wandered among the sand verbena. We hunted for magenta cactus flowers. I brought my camera and Hannah brought hers, and we photographed first the landscape and then one another. Awed by the desert in her beautiful dress, I sat down among the flowers. Daniel came and sat down behind me. Yellow desert sunflowers carpeted the entire valley and nibbled the bottom edge of the distant foothills. Together, we marveled at the abundance and beauty bursting forth from this dusty land. Together, we missed our dead son while enjoying the wonder of our living daughter.

Ezer + Co. - Anza Hannah
Ezer + Co. - Anza Hannah

Later that afternoon, driving around the little town of Borrego Springs, we stumbled upon a meadow of gigantic, wrought-iron statues. We found ourselves face to face with a fire-breathing dragon who had made his home in the desert sand. And here, standing in front of this iron dragon, I felt our Dragon with us, in spirit if not in person. New memories started melding with old memories in this once-barren land. When I later texted my friend Mary a photo, she texted back, “Perfection. A Dragon rising up out of the earth. So meant to be.” It was a magical day -- elemental, full of heat and sun, fire and water, sky and life.

Driving home, we passed grazing cows in a grassy field. Their black and white bodies beckoned. I instantly thought of Dragon, how, during our road trips, he never failed to open his car window when we passed by a field of cows. He’d pop his head out and moo at the top of his lungs at the grazing bovines: MOO! MOO! MOOOOO!

He did it for years. It made me laugh every time.

Ezer + Co. - Anza Dragon

How to Find Guides on Your Journey (+ 4 Reasons You Need Them)

The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.’ And so it starts.
— Joseph Campbell
How to Find Guides on Your Journey - Ezer + Co.

We look for a guide when we’ve been awakened to our status quo. When we can no longer tolerate our current reality, we search for a guide. When we are ready to go to the next level, we look for who can help. We never live into our full potential and experience wholeness without a collection of guides. No one is self-made, including you and me.

The transformation journey is a beautiful mess.

You were designed for transformation because it’s about becoming more you. It begins internally but shows up externally. But transformation is optional; you have to choose it. Life presents opportunities every day to become more whole.

Most of my guides haven’t been formal or official. We haven’t had weekly meetings or much structure. Some I have paid a lot of money, others I have paid for their meal, but I have been mindful to add value somehow in each relationship. 

  • Mindy accidentally became my spiritual director because I kept inviting her out for lunch and asking her pressing questions about soul care and God’s presence in my life. That was over 15 years ago, but we are still connected. Our family hasn’t made a major life decision without her. 

  • Dr. Henslin mentored me as my therapist and I paid him for it. I’ve been in and out of his office when I’m stuck since 2007.

  • Hendre has coached me at different points of transition so I could build a bridge toward the future I want to create. 

  • My favorite two Nancys are on speed dial when I need their voices of leadership. 

  • Middle school students have mentored me in curiosity, wonder, and honoring doubt.

  • My Girl Gang are friends who have been my entrepreneurial buddies and cheerleaders as I navigate starting this company of warriors.

Each of them have been critical in my journey toward fullness and wholeness.

4 REASONS YOU NEED GUIDES.

+     Guides call you forward. Unless you want to stay stuck, stagnant, and stale, you need outside voices to move you toward where you want to be.

+     Guides push you into who you really are, even when you don’t want it or aren’t living fully into your truth. External voices guide you toward transformation even when you don’t willingly choose it.

+     Comfort is in opposition to your transformation. Character is more important than your comfort if you want to be transformed. Inviting guides to call you out is an act of bravery. 

+     You don’t know what you don’t know. Ask guides to point out your blind spots. When you’re doing what you need to do but it’s not working like it used to, a guide will unveil new levels of growth. 

 

4 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU CHOOSE YOUR GUIDES.

+     What do I need? Transformation requires that you know your needs, so you know who to ask for help.

+     Do I want to be like them when I grow up? You become who you surround yourself with. Choose wisely.

+     Do they have something that I want more of in my life? They can guide you toward your preferred future even if they aren’t the expert in that area.

+     Will they tell me the truth no matter what? Invite them to speak what they’re seeing that you need to be more aware of.

The fun part is that guides can be older, younger, and peers. Throw out old models of mentors. 

Final word of encouragement: Collect guides before you really need them. When you are in a dark or hard place, it’s much more difficult to reach out for help. Of course, there will be seasons when you reach out to a new therapist, spiritual director, or coach when life has kicked the crap out of you. But it’s far easier to say “YES” to transformation when you already have trusted voices. 

As you consider the guides to walk with you, may you say “YES” to this invitation to transformation:

When you are breathing your last breath, what do you want to be true of who you are and what you’ve done with your life? 

Commit yourself, Warrior, to the journey of transformation, no matter how difficult and ugly it may be.

And may know that you are enough. We need all of you in this world. So no hiding, no holding back, no half-ass version, no partial participation. We need all of you. And that’s enough.


I talked all about finding guides and mentors on my friend, Tash McGill’s fabulous podcast, The Transformationist. Each of her guests tell stories of transformation that can help shape you’re own. You can hear the full episode with these thoughts and more on The Transformationist podcastBONUS: Tash is my favorite Kiwi so her New Zealand accent makes listening to the conversation even more fun.

Introducing! A Coaching Group for Women in Leadership

Coaching Group-Lead Yourself

IT’S TIME. 

More than ever, women with leadership and teaching gifts must be at the table, in meetings, on stages, and fully showing up in all areas of life.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve walked with thousands of teenagers and women. The most important thing to fully show up in your whole life is self-leadership. If something isn’t working in your life, I guarantee you, it’s related to self-leadership. This area of leadership determines your success and health in every other area of your life. Full stop.

Over and over and over again, I’ve seen women struggle to lead themselves to the next level effectively and it shows up all over their lives and leadership. How do you…

+     Manage your inner conversations

+     Live from your unique wiring – personality, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, spiritual pathways

+     Manage your energy and recovery

+     Powerfully use your voice

+     Build a team for your life and leadership

+     Lead your boss, co-workers, and followers

Here’s the problem: There’s a gap.

There’s a gap between where you are now and where you want to be. There’s a gap between who you are and who you’ve been created to be. The gap is in your unrealized potential. As an Ezer, you are created to live and lead wholeheartedly. This coaching group will guide you to close the gap.

This 6-month coaching group is intentionally designed for ten women in spiritual leadership. I’m committed to guide you in the company of these warrior women through: 

+     Two in-person coaching retreats

+     Four 3-hour webinars

+     Four 30-minute 1-on-1 coaching sessions

+     One guided personal retreat 

Each month, you will read a book specifically selected to catalyze growth and customize action steps to produce transformation. 

A guide and a company of warrior women will catalyze your growth unlike anything else. 

The magic ingredient in this group is YOU. It’s the brilliance of ten women from different walks of life and leadership contributing their experiences, ideas, courage, wisdom, vulnerability, and friendship. There's something powerful about the mixture of a group of like-minded women, walking together with the accountability of a trained coach. Journeying with a safe group of peers cultivates fertile soil for long-lasting change. 

Conferences and social media groups can be helpful, but they rarely produce the kind of customized transformation that next-level leaders require. This group will catalyze you further in six months than you could go in five years on your own.

Want to talk about it with me? Let’s talk.


TRANSFORMATIONAL RHYTHM.

+     PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER: Complete assessments and read assigned book

+     SEPTEMBER 24-26th: 48-hour Coaching Retreat in Orange County, CA

+     OCTOBER: 3-hour Webinar and 1on1 Coaching

+     NOVEMBER: 3-hour Webinar, 1on1 Coaching, and Guided Personal Retreat

+     DECEMBER: 3-hour Webinar and 1on1 Coaching

+     JANUARY: 3-hour Webinar and 1on1 Coaching

+     FEBRUARY/MARCH: 48-hour Coaching Retreat in Orange County, CA 

+     ONGOING ONLINE CONNECTION: Private Facebook group for the purpose of ongoing encouragement, interaction, resource sharing, and ideas

< October - February dates will be chosen by participants >

INVESTMENT.

$1500 (plus travel and resources expenses). Payments available, if needed.

Coaching Group - Value Yourself

You are worth it.

These six months can be immeasurably more than anything you could ask or imagine. What will you gain by saying YES? 

You are loved, Ezer Warrior.

You are an Ezer