Chasing Shawna

Shawna Oliver RN/NBC-HWC
3 min readOct 24, 2021

No I am not challenging you to a race…. well at least not with me.

I recently took a class examining the three stages of adult development and it left me both melancholy and clear eyed. Since then it has served as a touchstone when petty things on social media are especially annoying or when I am overly relying on my titles and education for a false sense of security or confidence. Fully and only being Shawna guides me ( sometimes drags me) away from these comfortable habitual trappings.

Following this class I had the pleasure of coaching an amazing client. An insightful one, and we got around to discussing her long ago forsaken hobby. Put to the wayside in practicalities of motherhood, working, and time. I have heard this many times from the women I coach. This common occurrence has echoed in my head and heart for days.

You see I have been working on my hanging bar strength. No reason. No competitions. My husband gets it though. Even though we are 8 years apart and did not know each other as children, we attended the same elementary school and had the same physical education teacher( Mr Wayne Dickson). We both carry this self challenge endeavor in our DNA. Memories of the folding metal chair placed underneath our feet, the feel the cold bar in our grips and the sound of our classmates cheering us on. Trying to make it for 60 long seconds.

It occurred to me suddenly, but with complete certainty, that my style of coaching for women is often not about having them change into someone else, but back to themselves.

Before the titles, expectations and filters of others opinions. Before hurts, disappointments and doubt faded dreams. When we had only present moments and the sense of being alive. The sounds of friends laughter. The smell of Mom’s Jean Nate perfume. The texture of Gram’s sweater when she hugged us. Music. The sound of the of the jump rope rhythmically hitting the pavement. The anticipation of a new book.

Then we grow up and think and do purely out of perceived necessity. Never being for no other reason but joy or trying a grand experiment JUST to see what might happen.

Or finding ourselves past time travelling to the negative. A perceived slight, a string of words, an uncomfortable situation… Boom there we are . Perfect recall, as after all we are so very practiced.

But do we ever CHASE the good with purpose or intention? The smell of a soccer field in the fall. The swoosh of the basketball or shrill of a whistle. The feel of a good book under our fingers. Water rippling as we jump in. The first brush stroke hitting the canvas. Dancing for no reason, without music. Fingers gripping a musical instrument. The feel of a swing set under our bottoms. The taste of hot coco while watching the snow.

This happens for me when I run. I think what I am trying to do is go back. Foolish, I know. But if I do it correctly, paying close attention, I feel and hear the crunching of gravel under my feet and I am 12. I see the church steps I ran up repeatedly in my hometown. In the woods I touch trees. I am back up on top of one with my friend Terri, hiding out to talk about boys. When I pull up my hair in a certain way I feel my Mom’s hands doing it for me.

It used to be when younger Shawna showed up I pushed her away. She was silly and ineffectual. Powerless. But now I can view her as nothing but innocence , hope and a believer in magical possibilities. She wants to run, jump rope, read books, dance and laugh with people she loves who love her back. So I make sure she gets to play. Not all day. I can’t. But everyday, for even a few moments. Because she is me. And you my friend, in the memory of your very cells … are you.

Say your name. Just your name. Who is she? Find her. Chase her.

With everything you have.

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Shawna Oliver RN/NBC-HWC

Shawna Oliver is an RN as well as a Board-Certified Well-being Coach and recent author of The Makings of a Powerful Bitch. She has her own coaching practice