Susan Ortolano, M.A., CMRC, PCC
Intuitive Life & Relationship Coach

Archive for August, 2009

Moving Forward

bigstockphoto_Tranquil_Garden__833329When one is living with chronic illness, it often seems like life is just about managing the illness, getting through the day, doc appointments, medications, rest. There were times when I wondered what I was getting out of bed for as managing my illness was essential, but not necessarily fun, nor did it feel like I was progressing.

 After having been bed-bound for about a year, I remember the first time I was able to go to the grocery store by myself. (I know, I sound like a 10-year-old, but it was a big deal!) I walked in and marveled at the fact that I was there. I strolled down the bread and bakery aisle taking in the magnificent scent of the baked goods. I just stood there in appreciation that I was able to do something that just a few weeks earlier seemed impossible. The new found freedom of being able to do my own grocery shopping filled me with such joy. I imagined what might come next….Target?  The Mall???

 Appreciating my small movements forward was the first step to being able to take larger leaps.  One of the things that made a difference for me was having a vision of what I wanted my life to look like and exploring what my “new purpose” was all about. In my coaching practice, that step is essential. It is like having a strong compass to help navigate a clear intentional direction. It also has helped me stay inspired, motivated, and empowered, even during my darkest days.

My vision and new sense of purpose helped me build a thriving coaching practice, have more money, do some travelling, and feel like I actually have a life worth getting out of bed for.

What Can I Love Today?


There are many days where it has been extremely tempting to focus on what hurts. I have always been an early riser (I know…crazy, right?) even when I don’t have any appointments. I love waking up in the morning when it is still and silent as the sun is barely coming into view and embracing a new day. Soon after, the reality of my physical circumstances sets in and depending on what that reality is on any given day, my accompanying thoughts and feelings about it tend to follow.

Most days I have successfully embraced with joy even in spite of what hurts. On the other hand, there certainly have been days where I felt truly challenged by what physical condition I’m in and have found it even more challenging to not focus on the amount of pain I’m feeling. Pain can be really loud and suck the joy out of the air. There have been days where, quite frankly, I absolutely let it get to me and went over to the “dark side”.

As I look back on those days I realize that there was some stuck energy trying to bubble up to the surface, emotionally and mentally, that were trying to clear. I can now look back with gratitude at the opportunity that came forward and the releasing and healing that occurred. I certainly always felt better afterwards and could get through the physical aspects of the day and I even noticed that the physical pain would at times subside as well.

One of the questions that I have learned to ask myself on days where I have felt down, frustrated, sad or fed up, (after doing the clearing ) is what can I love about my life today?

Some days the answer to that has been “well, it appears I’m still breathing” or “Hmmm, I can love that American Idol is on tonight”. I‘m grateful that I have been able to say I have an amazing husband, a job I love, awesome friends and money in the bank. These are not small ticket items!! I certainly have a longer list such as “there is a sugar free vegan chocolate bar in my drawer”, “my nails look good”, “I have health insurance” and “I have a lot of cable channels to choose from”. When I look at what I can love about my life, I really do have a long list. Spending time focusing on that list after clearing the gloom and doom list always reminds me that, regardless of my physical circumstances, I can create a really awesome day!