Coaching Moments

“Coaching Moments” takes a thoughtful look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives. 

May the sun bring you new energy by day; may the moon softly restore you by night; may the rain wash away your worries; may the breeze blow new strength into your being. ~ An Apache blessing

What does Christmas mean to you?
by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC

Is it a festival celebrated by folk of another faith? Is it the brightest light in a glowing season of gift giving and gratitude that stretches from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day? Or one special day that begins with a family feast of fish on Christmas Eve and the opening of a few gifts before you crunch through the snow to church on an icy cold day?

Do you barbecue at the beach under the sweltering midsummer sun or shop till you drop in a city full of towering skyscrapers?

Does the hype leave you feeling lonely and unloved, despite the dedication you lavish on others all year?

Or maybe the credit crunch has crushed the cheer from your spirit?

Which values shine and resonate most with you at this time of the year?

For me, it’s all about love, hope and home. It’s about making the world a bit warmer and brighter, about cherishing children and taking the time to honour the spirit of childhood, family and community.

My friend Maria is a very strong, passionate, life-loving person, a wife and mum, grandma and active member of our community. She spent most of last December in excruciating pain, waiting for blood test results. When she learned she had cancer, she spent Christmas week praying for a cancellation so her surgery could be scheduled as soon as possible.

While fairy lights twinkled on frosty trees, and glittering Christmas trees glowed in the windows of cosy homes, her house sat dark and undecorated, shrouded in shock and fear.

Every time I was tempted to snap at my kids or succumb to Christmas stressing, I thought of Maria, of how she longed to have many more Christmases with her husband and children and of how the only gift she longed for was life itself—life and more time to enjoy life’s simple daily pleasures.

The love of her husband, friends and grown-up family kept her strong throughout her surgery and treatments, and months later she was climbing hills, campaigning for awareness groups and giving thanks for the all-clear she’d been given.

I had planned to write a piece about how Maria’s courage, strength and fortitude have inspired me this year, but just as I was about to light a few candles and submerge myself in festive writing, Maria’s husband came to tell me the cancer was back.

She’s having treatment right now and there are no Ho! Ho! Ho!’s and sleighbells in my Christmas yet. There is only faith in an unfolding universe that I have no control over, and a heart full of love.

Wherever you are, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, please send Maria—and others like her all over the world—some silent prayers and wishes as she faces months of chemotherapy.

A friend of mine asked me today what a perfect Christmas Day feels like; I told her it feels like my heart has come safely home. I wish the same for you.

May you have a season filled with vibrant health, strength of spirit and a heart brimming over with love, compassion and empathy.

May you find hope in every twinkling light, warmth in the smile of strangers and a chance to share your gifts every day.

May you have the chance to create magical memories that money can’t buy.

No matter who you are or where you live, I hope you go to sleep each night with a grateful, peaceful heart.

Wishing you everything you’d wish for yourself…

As an extra gift for Christmas, I thought I’d leave you with Max Ehrman’s famous Desiderata, which is Latin for “desired things.” I’ve carried a handwritten version of this poem around with me since I first heard it in the early seventies.

There are always passages that stand out a bit more brightly for me when I need guidance, lines that resonate with my needs. Try letting this beautiful piece of work guide you the next time you feel overwhelmed or need answers. Just read it silently to your soul and listen for the answers.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Janice Hunter is an IAC certified homelife coach who lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She created and co-wrote Sharing the Certification Journey: Six IAC Coaches Talk About Their Journeys, and her blogsite,, provides soul food and support for coaches, writers, parents and home-based workers.

Janice has compiled all of her Coaching Moments pieces from the last two years into a free 46-page ebook, ‘Coaching Moments: A Collection of Articles about Coaching in Everyday Life’ which can be downloaded here or from her site.

1 thought on “Coaching Moments”

  1. Dear Janice,
    With all my heart I pray for your friend Maria, her family, you, and all who love her. Your story serves as a poignant reminder of what truly matters most. Thank you also for sharing Desiderata with us. I have been touched by the beautiful words at various times throughout my life. With a warm heart, Judy

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