What would it mean for you to thrive?
For me, it means waking up feeling aligned. I know everything I am going to do that day has purpose and meaning that is in sync with my values of passion balanced by playfulness and growth balanced by rest. It means my spiritual misfit self will spend the day cultivating abundance as I rattle cages and drop keys.
But since most people I meet don’t have clearly defined core values or a deep attunement with purpose, let’s start at the other end of the day.
Have you ever found yourself getting ready for bed and thought, “That was an incredible day?”
For many of you, the only answers you might be able to come up with are those rare days when you did something epic. For others, your only thoughts are memories of vacations where you got away from it all.
Those are both huge signs that your everyday life is out of alignment with your being. It means that you should stop right now and sign up for my newsletter filled with complementary bits of wisdom and special offers. Here’s a link to do just that:
Moving to Intentional Alignment
A few of you out there have some of those experiences in your everyday. Have you ever thought about what made those days so special?
More often than not, people will start pointing to external factors. Maybe it was the person they were with, the completion of a project, or a job they did that just made them feel good.
What we rarely do is stop to examine what it was about those experiences, be it the epic or every day, that prompted us to respond that way. So we go to bed occasionally and think, “What a day!” but we never get to why that day was so amazing.
Because we don’t know what it was about those days, we are never able to create a life that enables more of them.
Your Alignment Coach
That is where I come in. I am a holistic life coach who helps people move from coping to healing to thriving by inviting them to reflect on their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
While that sounds like a lot, we do it by repeating a simple three-part cycle where you:
- examine life as it is
- envision what life could be like
- embodying your vision (one action at a time)
As you do that, I stand with you as a non-judgmental presence who helps you get curious about yourself and, when invited, shares from my journey. Sound good? Subscribe to my newsletter for more!
Speaking of my journey, here’s a bit of my story that will also help make sense of the movement from coping to healing to thriving.
For a long time, I felt like I was engaged in this constant effort to manage the world around me. At times it worked and life felt ok. Far more often, I found myself overwhelmed and life thrust me into a space somewhere between deeply discontent and downright depressed.
Sometimes this came from living the life I thought I was supposed to live, even as it felt suffocating.
Even as a pastor I felt trapped in my religious tradition and battered by the shame it amplified, but simultaneously found myself so afraid of what would happen if I left.
When I did finally get out or more accurately kicked out for moral failure, there was this void in my life, both from the loss of community and the lack of structure that faith once seemed to provide.
Then of course there were those compulsive destructive behaviors that I desperately wanted to cast off, but couldn’t seem to leave behind even after they cost me my career.
I also couldn’t seem to escape a past I desperately want to forget, but every time I managed to stuff the pain down it found another way to come to the surface.
Coping Joe spent his life trying to get through the day. Despite the show I put on for the world, I was angry, depressed, addicted, anxious, and miserable.
Even worse, I had no idea how to change it. When someone would confront me, I would defend, excuse, explain, and rationalize away, turning myself into a victim of circumstance. It was everyone’s fault but mine.
In December 2010, my first wife left me. I don’t blame her, after all, who would want to be with the guy I just described? Of course, being that guy, I concluded that all of my issues were really her fault, and if I just changed my environment and the people in my life, then I would be just fine.
Shortly after the divorce I met the exact opposite woman and 13 months later, we were married. While some of my old self would appear here and there while dating, I honestly thought things were better. But about two months into the marriage, I found my inner world right back to that dark familiar place. That was the moment I realized that the problem was me.
For me, the core healing journey took about eight years. Partially because I struggled to commit to the process. I wanted a quick and painless transformation and healing is never quick or painless.
I also confused progress with accomplishment. Today, I envision this as a bike ride from LA to NYC. When you’ve reached Las Vegas you’ve gone a long way, but there’s still a long way to go. I used to get to Palm Springs and think, “I’m almost there!”
But most importantly, much of what I tried along the way was not helpful. While therapy was valuable at points, it ultimately kept me stuck in the past which only nurtured my identity as a victim. Accountability groups kept me sober for a time but I couldn’t find a path to sanity. And as a person of faith, I discovered all of the “pray and God will take it away” is pure bull shit.
For me, real healing began in October of 2015 when I realized that faith as I understood it was killing me, and I needed to tear it apart and reconstruct my spirituality. Once I did that, I found some solid ground to stand on.
In the years that followed I took up fitness as a means to connect with my body and help it release stored-up trauma. This allowed me to finally get in touch with and address my emotions. From there I focused on my mind, shifting my thought patterns and stepping into alignment.
That brings us to today where everyday I seek to wake up knowing I will live in alignment. I am excited when the alarm goes off because I know my day will be a beautiful mix of passion balanced by play and growth balanced by rest.
Moreover I get to spend my time walking with others on the road to thriving (cultivating abundance) by helping expand their perspective (rattling cages) and finding their path to an aligned life (dropping keys).
Yes, getting to where I am was a journey to hell and back, but I can see beauty interwoven throughout those decades and I am thankful that all of it shaped me into who I am today.
This in no way limits the deep regret I hurt people over the years, my kid, the two women I married, other women I used as coping mechanisms, and those harmed by my moral failings as a pastor. I grieve the scorched earth I left in my wake and want to do everything I can to not only help others on their journey but to limit the collateral damage.
That desire drives my work as a Holistic Life Coach. It is also why I am studying Cosmic Sexuality, a modality that takes the two most destructive forces in my life, spirituality and sexuality, and uses them to bring healing and vitality.
So that’s me. Now the question is, what will we do together?
Joe Burnham is a holistic life coach and founder of THRIV3 Holistic Life Coaching. As a spiritual misfit and abundance cultivator Joe believes every person carries the wisdom needed to thrive and he is here to help them find their way.
While Joe is open to working with anyone, because of his life experiences, he is particularly drawn to coaching those wrestling with their spirituality, men wanting to explore a richer masculinity, those who struggle with addictive/compulsive behavior, survivors of childhood abuse, and male survivors of domestic violence.
When talking about Joe, the first thing most people comment on is his comforting and non-judgmental presence followed by the wisdom he shares that weds knowledge gained from books with life experience.
Joe’s personal journey to thriving launched in October of 2015 when, while writing his doctoral dissertation in spiritual formation, he realized faith as he knew it was shredding his soul. This prompted Joe to deconstruct faith as he knew it and reimagine not only God but himself, setting the stage for him to move from coping to healing to thriving.
Joe is based in Denver, CO and enjoys being dad to his 16-year old, working out (HIIT, running, and yoga), getting out in nature, reading, traveling, and connecting with good friends. Once his nest is empty he plans to embrace life as a digital nomad, using the freedom that comes with online coaching to travel the world.
Joe is currently pursuing certification in both holistic coaching from the Holistic Coaching Training Institute and in Cosmic Sexuality.