Learning to Fly: How to Navigate Life’s Challenge’s With Pat Wetzel

by | May 23, 2024 | Podcasts




SPEAKER_1: You’re listening to She Grabs The Mic, and I’m your host, Cole Baker-Bagwell.

SPEAKER_1: Every week, we’ll explore what it means to be happy, present and whole.

SPEAKER_1: You’ll hear from courageous women who are kicking ass in their lives, and leave with actionable tips that you can apply to reset from toxicity, tune into your gold, and live powerfully from the bedroom to the boardroom.

SPEAKER_2: Right now, it’s time to grab your headphones, kick back and relax, and get ready to be inspired.

SPEAKER_1: Welcome, Amazing Ones!

SPEAKER_1 Thank you for choosing to tune in today.

SPEAKER_1: I am so damn glad that you made it, because that means you are curious about what’s possible for yourself and for your life, and that is a beautiful thing.

SPEAKER_1: I have another inspirational show lined up for you today, one that I know will fuel your mind, find a nook in your heart, and remind you that no matter where you are right now, everything truly is possible.

SPEAKER_1: This week, we’re talking about how to navigate life’s challenges into transformational, enriching opportunities that lead you to discover your strongest, most badass and beautiful self from a woman who has been there, done that, and is literally soaring.

SPEAKER_1: Our guest this week is the fabulously courageous and wise Pat Wetzel, speaker, storyteller, fellow podcaster, world traveler, and author of the soulful book, Bump In the Road, 15 Stories of Courage, Hope and Resilience.

SPEAKER_1: Pat’s journeys so far, have taken her from Wall Street to 30,000 feet, flying her sailplane over the Sierras. Can you imagine?

SPEAKER_1: When I first learned about Pat’s tragedy to triumph story, I knew we had to invite her here to join us on She Grabs The Mic.

SPEAKER_1: Today you will learn about not one, not two, but the series of unexpected life challenges Pat has navigated.

SPEAKER_1: You’ll learn how meditation mindset and her sheer will to live changed her life and led her to endless possibilities.

SPEAKER_1: And you’ll learn three tips from Pat that will help you soar in the face of challenge.

SPEAKER_1: Pat is an amazing woman, and I know that you are absolutely going to love, love, love getting to know her.

SPEAKER_1: So without further ado, welcome, Pat. I am so thrilled that you are here with us!

SPEAKER_2: Oh, I’m thrilled to be here, thank you.

SPEAKER_1: It’s always a joy and my  good fortune for me to meet an amazing woman who has so much depth, so many stories to share that will inspire other women.

SPEAKER_1: From the first time that I learned about your story, I was blown away. The first time we had a conversation, I had the same feeling.

SPEAKER_1: I have really been looking forward to having you on the show today.

SPEAKER_2: Well, thank you. It’s really nice to be here.

SPEAKER_1: All right, before we dive into your inspirational series of life-challenging stories, let’s talk about flying your sailplane over the Sierras.

SPEAKER_1: What is a sailplane, Pat?
SPEAKER_2: Most people would refer to a sailplane as a glider.

SPEAKER_2: They’re very high-performance airplanes, usually with no engine, and they depend upon the energy in the air to navigate a course.

SPEAKER_2: So you might find thermal energy.

SPEAKER_2: For example, a cloud usually has some energy underneath it because the hot air is rising to the dew point.

SPEAKER_2: So clouds can be a marker.
SPEAKER_2: You might be the wind against a bridge or against a mountain range.

SPEAKER_1: It might be a blue street, a totally inexplicable street of rising air that just goes across the sky.

SPEAKER_2: There are all sorts of different types of lift, and the challenge is to find these invisible sources of air and navigate your flight.

SPEAKER_2: It’s kind of a metaphor, if you will, for life.

SPEAKER_1: It absolutely is. I was just thinking that same thing.

SPEAKER_1: All right, so describe what it feels like to fly in a sailplane. Are you with another person? Are you on your own? What is the experience like?

SPEAKER_2: Well, you start flying with an instructor in a two-seat ship.

SPEAKER_2: In my case, from there, I went to a low-performance plane, a 126, and then from there to an ASW 20A, which is a higher-performing plane and a single-seat plane.

SPEAKER_2: I think for many people who really get involved in soaring, they end up in single-seat planes.

SPEAKER_1: How do you take off in a sailplane?
SPEAKER_2: Carefully.
SPEAKER_1: Is it from being on top of something like a mountain?  Is it on a runway? How does it work?

SPEAKER_2: There are two ways.

SPEAKER_2: A winch, which I’ve never done, and being towed from a runway.

SPEAKER_2: These are big planes, 15 to 20 some odd meter planes.

SPEAKER_2: So you have an enormous amount of wingspan to deal with.

SPEAKER_2: And typically, what you’ll find is you’ll have a rope that attaches the hook of the sailplane to the tail of the tow plane, and you climb together.

SPEAKER_2: The sailplane usually takes off first, so you have to be able to fly low, consistently, safely, until the tow plane gets off, and then you fly in formation in the air up to your agreed upon release altitude.

SPEAKER_1: How do you land?

SPEAKER_2: Carefully.

SPEAKER_1: I had a feeling you were going to say that.

SPEAKER_1: What’s the most thrilling part for you about flying in a sailplane?

SPEAKER_2: Oh, there are several things.

SPEAKER_2: First, a bit of a joke.

SPEAKER_2: There are in aviation, flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind. Landing is the first.

SPEAKER_2: With that as a preface, I think soaring is magic.

SPEAKER_2: It’s amazing to be able to fly through the air, fly long distances, fly high heights with no engine and just relying on the energy of the earth.

SPEAKER_2: It’s a very humbling experience.

SPEAKER_2: It’s a very exhilarating experience.

SPEAKER_2: It is an experience that certainly left me with an enormous amount of appreciation for the power and the beauty of the earth and a great deal of appreciation for man’s very small place in it all.

SPEAKER_1: As you’re describing this, Pat, it seems to me that it would require a heck of a lot of courage to be sailing and relying on the energy of the earth.

SPEAKER_1: And I know that that courage has been a persistent theme for you across your life because you have faced some really hard stuff and you have so many stories to tell about navigating those unexpected life challenges and choosing to be a victor instead of a victim.

SPEAKER_1:  would love it if you would kind of give us the 30,000 view, no pun intended, view into your road to here, like the stories in your life that led you to where you are right now.

SPEAKER_2: Well, it’s a really long and somewhat complicated story, but let me divide it into three pieces.

SPEAKER_2: The first part, I was in New York in the bond market working on multi-billion-dollar deals back when a billion dollars was a lot of money, and doing really interesting things.

SPEAKER_2: I was getting very tired, I couldn’t swallow, I was losing weight.

SPEAKER_2: And it turned out I had a rare neurologic disease, which totally sidelined my life for a little over a decade.

SPEAKER_2: So I had a decade of maybe focusing on other qualities within myself and of not really knowing where I was going, not knowing what my health would do.

SPEAKER_2: It was very difficult.
SPEAKER_2: My ex-husband decided to run off with his nurse and kind of left me stranded.

SPEAKER_2: That opened the door to a really new piece of life because my disease, which was my Asthenia Gravis, was fairly stable.

SPEAKER_2: I was tired, but it was stable.

SPEAKER_2: I went cross-country to visit some friends, wondering what am I going to do?

SPEAKER_2: I mean, this is not an ideal set of circumstances.

SPEAKER_1: And when I was out in Calistoga, this would have been around 1989 or so, I went up for a ride in a glider.

SPEAKER_2: Now, it didn’t really wow me.
SPEAKER_2: It wasn’t that remarkable or anything.
SPEAKER_2: It was just an experience.
SPEAKER_2: And I put it aside.
SPEAKER_2: I went back east where I was living, and I heard about a group of lawyers that were flying sailplanes out of a local airport, a private airfield, actually.

SPEAKER_2: And I invited myself out for a three-day weekend.

SPEAKER_2: I was hooked, absolutely hooked!

SPEAKER_2: So, that kind of entered this very adventuresome stage of my life that is a 180 degree contrast to the previous decade.

SPEAKER_2: None of this was smooth or perfect or easy.

SPEAKER_2: It was a little ugly at times.

SPEAKER_2: But all of a sudden, my world really opened up.

SPEAKER_2: And one day, I showed up at the airfield, and Sam, who was a World War II Navy pilot, had been my instructor.

SPEAKER_2: He had a small 126, an airplane, weighed and balanced just for me, because at the time I was so much smaller than all the guys.

SPEAKER_2: So I could show up at the airfield and fairly quickly be up in the air.

SPEAKER_2: Well, I showed up on this beautiful Saturday with the clouds puffing in the sky, and my plane, my, quote unquote, my plane wasn’t there.

SPEAKER_2: He had offered it to an air show. I was furious, absolutely furious.

SPEAKER_2: And I remembered hearing about some people flying sailplanes on the radio, and they flew out of a field about an hour south.

SPEAKER_2: So I got in the car and I headed south. I was gonna find this other group, and I did.

SPEAKER_2: I pulled up and there’s a big sign saying, private property, go away, do not enter, we don’t want you here.

SPEAKER_2: I pulled in.  And I saw this grid of like 20 beautiful, beautiful white fiberglass sailplanes just ready to launch.

SPEAKER_2: It was incredible!
SPEAKER_1: I’d never really seen anything like this before.

SPEAKER_2: So I joined on the spot, and then I realized that the plane situation there was no better than it was at my other field.

SPEAKER_2: I essentially had to buy a plane to fly with this group.

SPEAKER_2: So that started another adventure.

SPEAKER_2: It led to me going cross country with my sailplane and relocating to the Tahoe area.

SPEAKER_2: That’s kind of stage two.

SPEAKER_2: Let’s see. Stage three would be being diagnosed with supposedly incurable cancer.

SPEAKER_2: And that led to my getting involved in the web. I was diagnosed in 2009.

SPEAKER_2: So this was around 2011 or so.

SPEAKER_2: I started a website and it did very, very well.

SPEAKER_2: And all this was, I hadn’t done anything like this before.

SPEAKER_2: But as a result of my cancer experience, I realized that one of the predominant emotions and experiences of cancer was severe social isolation.

SPEAKER_2: So, I created an app that dealt with that and some other aspects of cancer.

SPEAKER_2: I went down to Silicon Valley to raise money.
SPEAKER_2: I had some potential interests, but I needed a beta in order to provide some data on it. SPEAKER_1: I hired a group to do all the tech stuff.

SPEAKER_2: I’m not a tech person.

SPEAKER_2: And I waited. And I waited. And I waited.

SPEAKER_2: I phoned. I emailed. No response.

SPEAKER_2: I got my lawyer, my very expensive lawyer involved, and they informed me they had registered all my intellectual property with the US. Patent Office as their own.

SPEAKER_2: And my only option was to sue them.

SPEAKER_2: Oh my God.

SPEAKER_2: A suit would cost in increments of half a million dollars, take at least three years, and there’s no guaranteed outcome.

SPEAKER_2: So we’re going to enter the next stage of life.

SPEAKER_1: My God.

SPEAKER_2: At this point, I am so stressed, as you can imagine.

SPEAKER_2: I mean, I’ve been through six years of on-again, off-again cancer treatments and trying to do something really good.

SPEAKER_2: And this happens.

SPEAKER_2: It was just beyond my comprehension.

SPEAKER_2: My hair is falling out from stress, not from chemo.

SPEAKER_2: I’m vomiting blood.

SPEAKER_2: I go to see my oncologist, who’s sure he can find something wrong with me if he racks up another $50,000 worth of tests.

SPEAKER_2: And I just left that office thinking, you know, this is not my life.

SPEAKER_2: If indeed my cancer is back and I’d already been through three reoccurrences, I probably have 18 to 24 months to live before it’s just all over my body.

SPEAKER_2: And I just never followed up.
SPEAKER_2: I left, I left down this gray corridor past the billing office into this gray elevator that sunk down ever so slowly.

SPEAKER_2: And I thought, you know, this is not my life.

SPEAKER_2: I decided to just sell my house and put everything in storage and go travel for a while.

SPEAKER_2: That turned out to be a really interesting decision on many levels because it really brought me back to my original love.

SPEAKER_2: I went to business school and majored in finance, but everybody always thought I would write, and I always enjoyed writing.

SPEAKER_2: As I hit the road, I started a blog called Cancer Road Trip.

SPEAKER_2: I won some awards for both writing and photography. and it started to ease me into what I’m doing now.

SPEAKER_2: As I was traveling around the world with Cancer Road Trip, I got a little bit, oh, I don’t know, homesick.

SPEAKER_2: So I decided to spend Christmas in Santa Fe. I always loved Santa Fe.
SPEAKER_2: I got stuck there during COVID. So what do you do?

SPEAKER_2: I decided to start a podcast, and that is how Bump in the Road came to be.

SPEAKER_2: Because I was truly personally interested in how people navigate these bumps. Obviously I needed to learn something.
SPEAKER_1: And obviously you had so much to teach.

SPEAKER_1:  want to just pause here for a second, because you’re stating everything so matter of factly, right?

SPEAKER_1: You went through some really hard things. SPEAKER_1: An incredible career shift. I mean, it was like from one extreme to the other.

SPEAKER_1: And I wonder if now, in the way that you’ve described it, if it was not returning home to the truest version of yourself, you know, sinking into your writing and flying and living in the way that you chose to live.

SPEAKER_1: You had this divorce from somebody who chose someone else.

SPEAKER_1: And then you also had this incredible professional betrayal, you know, as you were trying to build something to serve the world.

SPEAKER_2: Then, somebody made a nefarious decision and stole that right out from under you.

SPEAKER_1: But there was something inside of you that day in the elevator. And that’s what I really want to understand.

SPEAKER_1: Looking back now at that moment in time, traveling down in the gray elevator, down through the gray corridors, and making that choice for yourself to say, this is not my life.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to go find my life.

SPEAKER_1: What made that possible for you?

SPEAKER_2: I think it was a combination of many things, but I think there were a few factors.

SPEAKER_12 One, it was a shift that took place over many years from being externally oriented to internally oriented.

SPEAKER_2: What is right for me?
SPEAKER_2: What resonates with me?
SPEAKER_12 I think there’s a piece of me that just loves adventure. SPEAKER_2: I’m one of those people who loves to be outside their comfort zone. I know that makes people cringe, but I really do.

SPEAKER_2: I think that’s where there’s possibility and creativity.
SPEAKER_2: So I’m a little more inclined to put myself in that type of position. And that’s where you learn.
SPEAKER_2: I think learning is such an important part of life.

SPEAKER_2: I think it’s too easy to get into a rut, into this is the way things are done, this is who I am, and stay there for decades.

SPEAKER_2: And I think we do ourselves a disservice by not investigating ourselves more. SPEAKER_2: I agree with you.

SPEAKER_1: I’m still wanting to go a little deeper on this question with you, because I know that there are people listening right now who are navigating difficult challenges in their life, maybe none quite as difficult, maybe some even more difficult, it’s all relative, right?

SPEAKER_1: Maybe they’re scratching their heads thinking “How do I make that pivot?”

SPEAKER_1: How do I move from a place where I really just kind of want to give in to the difficulty and sink?

SPEAKER_1: How do I move from that place mentally?

SPEAKER_1: How do I move myself from that place, from a soul, on a soul level, to this place of saying, no, I’m going to choose my life?

SPEAKER_1: Because Pat, you had heartbreak, you had anger, you had disappointment, you had frustration, you had potentially fear from the cancer diagnosis, all of these things.

SPEAKER_1: And even though I hear that it took time to get there, and there was this intrinsic orientation, that was part of the shift.

SPEAKER_1: What would you say if you could tell the self that was navigating all of that, what would you say to her in this moment based on what you’ve learned about yourself and your life now?

SPEAKER_2: Trust yourself and look within.

SPEAKER_2: Meditation was a real game changer for me, because it allowed me to still my mind and to become an observer of my thoughts.

SPEAKER_2: And when you observe your thoughts, you become conscious of them, and when you become conscious, you have choice.

SPEAKER_2: So I think that’s a big part of the journey.
SPEAKER_2: I don’t think any of us navigate these things very gracefully, quite honestly. They’re difficult, and they invoke a range of emotions, and all those emotions are okay. But you don’t want to stay stuck in any of the negative energy.

SPEAKER_2: Anger might be great to get you motivated initially, but it’s not a long-term emotion to stay rooted in.

SPEAKER_2: I think as you find peace, in my case, through meditation, and I found, strangely, enormous joy going through cancer.

SPEAKER_2: I know that sounds very strange to many people, but I just experienced joy, such joy, in my everyday life.

SPEAKER_2: That is one thing that certainly empowers me to move forward, is that I know the joy is always there, and I can plug into that.

SPEAKER_2: I think that’s a choice in terms of how you live your life. SPEAKER_2: You can live your life in difficulty, in unhappiness.
SPEAKER_2: You can choose to live in a more positive place.
SPEAKER_2: And I think that cultivating the ability to do that is really important.

SPEAKER_2: And I say cultivating the ability, because let’s take meditation, for example. It’s a practice.

SPEAKER_2: You have to do it.
SPEAKER_2: It’s imperfect.
SPEAKER_2: But the more you do it, the better you get at it.
SPEAKER_2: And the more, the deeper and richer your experiences are.
SPEAKER_2: So I think that learning to be present, learning to cultivate these abilities is very important.

SPEAKER_2: Martha McSally in my podcast once said that courage is a muscle.
SPEAKER_2: I think that applies to any attribute.
SPEAKER_2: The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.
SPEAKER_1: Yeah, I agree with you.
SPEAKER_1: And I have had a very similar experience with the power of meditation in my own life.

SPEAKER_1:  so appreciate what you said. Sometimes it’s messy.

SPEAKER_1: Going through these things, we feel all of these emotions.

SPEAKER_1: And that beautiful reminder that you just shared, and I’ll paraphrase, maybe inject a couple of my own extrapolations from what you just shared, is that, we might not like them, but they all serve a purpose.

SPEAKER_1: And then we have a choice whether we let them sink us or whether we, you know, sort of say, okay, this is what is here for me in this present moment, and let me see what I can do with that.

SPEAKER_1: Let me explore what is possible.

SPEAKER_1: Let me look for joy.

SPEAKER_1: I think that’s so incredible.

SPEAKER_1: And that is one thing I really want to emphasize here for anyone who is unfamiliar to meditation.

SPEAKER_1: It’s not always pretty. Mindfulness is not always peaceful.

SPEAKER_1: We’re not always going to like what we see, but it is important to remember that we have a choice all the time to decide what we do with what we discover.

SPEAKER_1: I think that’s what I really hear you saying, Pat. SPEAKER_2: I have a mantra these days.
SPEAKER_2: It’s, what can I learn?
SPEAKER_2: And it really is, what can I learn about myself? SPEAKER_1: Yeah, that’s awesome.

SPEAKER_1: You have a quote that just has taken up this little space in my heart, and it’s one of the reflections that you shared on your website.

SPEAKER_2: You said, “I have come to see life as a road trip full of bumps, potholes and extraordinary views.Sometimes you get lost.
Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s not. it’s all about the journey and what we learn along the way.”

SPEAKER_1: What have you learned so far that has been most significant for you about yourself?

SPEAKER_2: I think to always be internally oriented, not externally oriented.
SPEAKER_2: By that, I mean turn off your phone, ignore social media, turn off the TV.

SPEAKER_2: Find deeper, richer, more meaningful, more educational, more interesting things to do.

SPEAKER_2: And pay attention to your internal landscape, your internal voice and what it’s saying to you, because it’s within yourself that you will find peace and possibility and anything else you’re looking for.

SPEAKER_2: It’s not outside of you, it’s inside of you.

SPEAKER_1: Indeed, that’s beautiful.

SPEAKER_1: I am hearing that mindset has played a significant role in your life and not only managing all of the emotions that came up with across the series of challenges that you navigated, but mindset has also led you to this place of what’s possible, to this place of learning, growing, literally soaring through the air, discovering so many amazing truths about yourself and your life, so many possibilities.

SPEAKER_1: Could you have imagined back then that your life would be what it is right now?

SPEAKER_2: Oh my gosh, no.

SPEAKER_2: No one could have scripted this.

SPEAKER_2: But that’s something I throw out there for people, in that you actually don’t know what’s going to happen in your life.

SPEAKER_2: And nobody, what’s the old saying, man plans, God laughs. And I think that’s so true.

SPEAKER_2: I think what you need to do, and I would tell my younger self at every step of the way, is glean as much personal experience as you can from any interaction, from anything you do.

SPEAKER_2: Own it, examine it, keep it with you, and move on.
SPEAKER_2: And over time, you build a rich tapestry of experience.
SPEAKER_2: And I tend to think the wider our range of experiences, the more interesting life is.

SPEAKER_2: And on the one hand, I hate to say that because you don’t want to go really negative, but it’s nice to go really positive.

SPEAKER_2: But by knowing both, you better appreciate the whole range of things in between.

SPEAKER_2: It’s like you don’t know light until you know dark.

SPEAKER_2: You don’t know hot until you know cold.

SPEAKER_2: And I think by having a wide range of emotional, physical, practical experiences, you come to appreciate life ever more.

SPEAKER_1: I agree with you. I completely agree with you.

SPEAKER_1: There is so much wisdom that we can draw from ourselves because the truth is everything that we need to know is inside of us.

SPEAKER_1: If we allow ourselves to access that place, we are expansive.

SPEAKER_1: Brain science shows us that.
SPEAKER_1: We know we can learn new things.
SPEAKER_1: We know that we can integrate what we learn into ourselves, into our lives.

SPEAKER_1: And you have been masterful at weaving your tapestry.

SPEAKER_1: I love that expression.

SPEAKER_1: Okay. We’ve talked about the challenges.

SPEAKER_1: We’ve talked about, you know, the really hard stuff that you went through.

SPEAKER_1: Let’s shift gears into joy.

SPEAKER_1: I think that this is really important, Pat, because joy is something that so many of us miss because we’re hustling through our days.

SPEAKER_1: We’re dedicating a lot of time and energy on the outside world and what it thinks we should be or what we think we need to be or accomplish, you know, to be, quote, unquote, successful in our lives.

SPEAKER_1: Placing attention there creates a lot of fear and worry and distraction.

SPEAKER_1: So my question for you is this.
SPEAKER_1: How do you know when you feel joy?

SPEAKER_12: Oh, it comes from within.

SPEAKER_2: It’s boundless.

SPEAKER_2: It’s just a wonderful feeling.

SPEAKER_2: And I think it’s accessible to all of us.

SPEAKER_2: I think the key to accessing our own joy is to slow down and to be present.

SPEAKER_2: I can vividly remember being very sick after chemo and seeing a butterfly fly.

SPEAKER_2: I mean, this sounds corny, but a butterfly fly through my garden.

SPEAKER_2: I remember lying in a hammock and the warm spring sun on my skin and a light breeze just blowing me back and forth.

SPEAKER_2: Being quiet, slowing down, being still, I think allows you to access those higher levels of awareness within yourself.

SPEAKER_1: I’m a butterfly watcher too.

SPEAKER_1: I was planting Coreopsis a few weeks ago. A couple days later, I went outside and I was going to water the little plants that I had put in the ground, and I saw these monarchs flying around.

SPEAKER_1: And I just stopped. I sat down on the hillside next to the flowers, these bright orange flowers and I just watched them, and I was like, wow, how many times have I missed this beauty in my life?

SPEAKER_1: And how lucky and joyful I am in this moment to be able to experience that. So I’m right there with you.

SPEAKER_1: What’s bringing you the most joy these days, aside from the butterflies and the sunshine on your skin, the breeze?

SPEAKER_1: What else have you got?

SPEAKER_2: I’m a pretty happy camper.  I have a book series.

SPEAKER_2: I’m moving this fall up to Idaho, where there’s a very active soaring community.

SPEAKER_2: I’m looking forward to that.
SPEAKER_2: I think what brings me joy most of all is sharing the stories of my guests on my podcast.I truly love my guests.

SPEAKER_2: And I love their stories.

SPEAKER_2: There is so much wisdom in story.

SPEAKER_2: Story is important because it engages us on an emotional level.

SPEAKER_2: And that’s experiential.

SPEAKER_2: So when you feel somebody’s path, when you feel their uncertainty, when you feel their pain, you’re really relating to them.

SPEAKER_2: And that’s something that stays with you and can help you guide your own life.

SPEAKER_2: So I think story and the wisdom in story is so incredibly important.

SPEAKER_2: We all need to communicate a little bit more in that way in a way that is not dictated by being Instagram perfect, but is much more real about the challenges we all face and how we find a path through them.

SPEAKER_1: Right, the depth, the depth of those human stories. SPEAKER_1: Yes!

SPEAKER_1: And I think they also remind us, Pat, when we’re going through some really hard stuff, we’re not alone.

SPEAKER_1: There are other people out there navigating things that, you know, maybe they’re similar or dissimilar, but, as I mentioned before, it’s all relative.

SPEAKER_1: The challenges that we face are relative.
SPEAKER_1: I remember this one time when I was 35.

SPEAKER_1: My son was almost five at the time, and I had to be rushed in for emergency surgery because I had this bacterial infection that had gotten into my system from this crack I had in my collarbone.

SPEAKER_1: I had been working with horses and got kicked in the collarbone. Six months later, I was in emergency surgery with the doctor saying, You have sepsis, and we’re going to try to save you.

SPEAKER_1: Those were the words.

SPEAKER_1: I remember coming out of that surgery, and my life in that moment became very different temporarily.

SPEAKER_1: It was hard for me to see that at the time, but I couldn’t pick my son up anymore.

SPEAKER_1: I was focusing on the things I could not do and felt pretty sorry for myself, truth be told.

SPEAKER_1: I had to go every week to get this pick line flushed because I had an IV that threaded from my subclavian artery down to my heart for eight weeks, where I gave myself IV antibiotics daily.

SPEAKER_1: So I had to go get the line flushed out.
SPEAKER_1: I remember this one morning, I walked in, and I was feeling so sorry for myself, Pat.

SPEAKER_1: I was feeling, you know, despondent, not like my usual self.
SPEAKER_1: It was very difficult for me to see to the other side of what I was navigating.

SPEAKER_1: And, I remember that I had this, the incredible fortune of meeting this nurse who looked at me and she said, Dear one, this is just a window in time, and you can choose to see it or you can choose to ignore it, but that is simply what it is.

SPEAKER_1: I remember seeing other people in that office who were going through what I would consider to be much worse than I was.

SPEAKER_1: And I remember thinking, I need to hear one of their stories.

SPEAKER_1: I sat down with one of them and had the good fortune of them being willing to share a story with me.

SPEAKER_1: There was so much the power in that. I no longer felt that I was alone, that I was the only one suffering in that moment.

SPEAKER 1: But there were other people going through, you know, things that were just as hard for them.

SPEAKER_1: Just that feeling of not being alone, of being seen and understood by someone else gave me so much strength.

SPEAKER_1: So I can totally appreciate what you’re saying about the community we build in story, the humanity we build in story, and the depth.

SPEAKER_1: It’s not just a sound bite, is it?

SPEAKER_1: It’s the willingness to be vulnerable and go to that depth and provide that color.

SPEAKER_1: You are so masterful at doing that in your stories and in your podcast and through your book.

SPEAKER_1: Just absolutely amazing storyteller, Pat!

SPEAKER_1: Thank you. Thank you for choosing to share those stories with the world!

SPEAKER_2: Well, thank you.

SPEAKER_2: And I have to thank all my guests who are just amazing.

SPEAKER_1: I think that as you meet people, you need to have compassion.

SPEAKER_2: And if you knew their stories, you would never be judgmental.

SPEAKER_2: You would always have compassion.

SPEAKER_2: That’s something we can also cultivate, is recognizing everything’s not perfect.

SPEAKER_2: I interviewed a very attractive man the other day on my podcast.

SPEAKER_2: He’s a male model.

SPEAKER_2: And his life looks so perfect. I mean, just so perfect.

SPEAKER_2: Traveling the world, exotic locations, four-star hotels, you know, on the cover of this and that.

SPEAKER_2: But underneath it all, for many years, his life was utterly wretched and falling apart. SPEAKER_1: And I think that that’s true for all of us in one way or the other.
SPEAKER_2: Nobody has a perfect life.

SPEAKER_2: I think that you need to cultivate whatever the lesson is in what you perceive to be those imperfections.

SPEAKER1: Yes. I agree with you.

SPEAKER_1: We never know what the other person is going through until we take the time to understand.

SPEAKER_1: And sometimes I think it’s just enough to say, I see you, I accept you, I love you.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to love you right through whatever you’re dealing with because we do all indeed have a story.

SPEAKER_1: I want to talk a little bit about your travels because you have traveled all over the place.

SPEAKER_1: What has traveling taught you about yourself and about others that has been most meaningful for you?

SPEAKER_2: I think travel is often a mirror to yourself.

SPEAKER_1: And the thing that’s magical about travel is its very present moment.

SPEAKER_2: You’re outside your comfort zone, in most cases.

SPEAKER_2: You’re in a new environment.

SPEAKER_2: You may have new smells, new foods, new languages.

SPEAKER_1: It’s a moment of being very present.

SPEAKER_2: And I think that’s part of the allure of travel, particularly if you can follow the smell of wafting garlic down a cobblestone road.

SPEAKER_2: I’m not a big group person, so for me, wandering and seeing whatever I stumble upon is very intriguing for me.

SPEAKER_2: You always learn something.
SPEAKER_2: I know when I travel, I always look for something I really enjoy about a particular location.

SPEAKER_2: For example, I lived in New Orleans for a year, and during that year, I really cultivated a taste for chicory coffee with milk and sugar.

SPEAKER_2: And for years, I ordered chicory coffee and had it delivered to wherever I was living. SPEAKER_1: Those are little things.
SPEAKER_2: I do that now with pinion coffee, actually, out of New Mexico.

SPEAKER_2: I’ve developed a real taste for that.

SPEAKER_2: But I think that part of the joy of travel is challenging your world, your worldview, and realizing people live very differently in different parts of the world.

SPEAKER_2: And I hope that fosters a lack of arrogance, if you will, because the world is not necessarily the way we think it is.

SPEAKER_2: It’s actually far more interesting than that. SPEAKER_1: I love that.
SPEAKER_1: What’s your favorite place that you’ve been to so far? SPEAKER_2: Oh, no one favorite.

SPEAKER_2: I grew up traveling a lot as a child.
SPEAKER_2: My uncle was in the Navy when it was stationed in the south of France.

SPEAKER_2: They had a villa, and we’d go over there for summers, and we’d go down to Greece, into Italy.

SPEAKER_2: I knew Paris better than New York growing up.

SPEAKER_2: I come by my comfort with Wanderlust, kind of honestly.

SPEAKER_1: There is a lot of perceived divisiveness amongst cultures of people, right?

SPEAKER_1: This culture is better than that culture, this race is better than this race.

SPEAKER_1: What sort of wisdom do you have to share on that based on what you’ve learned?

SPEAKER_1: What do you see as a possibility for cultivating a new mindset about other cultures, other people that are different from the people that we are?

SPEAKER_2: I would actually say we’re all the same.

SPEAKER_2: We have the same hopes and aspirations.

SPEAKER_2: We have the same emotions.

SPEAKER_2: The thing I would say is slow down, talk to people, try to understand, be open- minded, be willing to let go of some of your rigid beliefs.

SPEAKER_2: You might just find something more interesting to replace them.

SPEAKER_1: I love that, Pat!

SPEAKER_1: Let’s talk about your fabulous book, Bump in the Road, 15 Stories of Courage, Hope and Resilience.

SPEAKER_1: What is your greatest hope for this body of work that you’ve created?

SPEAKER_2: I hope it touches people.

SPEAKER_2: When they’re feeling down and they feel like they just can’t go forward and they’re really stuck, I hope in these stories, there is wisdom that you can glean onto and have it impact your life in a positive way.

SPEAKER_2: This is the first book in a series.

SPEAKER_2: The next book is Bump in the Road, Strong Women.

SPEAKER_2: I’m looking at Bump in the Road Business.

SPEAKER_1: Trying to choose just 15 people is very hard.

SPEAKER_2: I started the book about a year and a half into the podcast when I realized I had so much wisdom here that it had to be shared.

SPEAKER_2: One of the people in the book is Eric Blinemayer.

SPEAKER_2: He is a mountain climber, a famous mountain climber.

SPEAKER_2: At the age of 16, he went blind.

SPEAKER_2: He went on to climb Everest, the Seven Summits, and he spent eight years training to kayak the Colorado River Rapids.

SPEAKER_2: He’s just amazing!
SPEAKER_2: And really, he has a not-for-profit, No Barriers USA.

SPEAKER_2: If you’re looking for a great group to support, he focuses mostly on the disability community and veterans and runs not only inspirational programs, but kind of like outward-bound programs.

SPEAKER_2: Anyway, Eric tells a story, and I like to tell this story because I think that it’s one that we can all relate to.

SPEAKER_2: It’s his story.

SPEAKER_2: He divides the world into three groups.

SPEAKER_2: Now, the groups are fluid.

SPEAKER_2: We’ve all been in each of these groups, and we all move between these groups.

SPEAKER_2: The first group are quitters.They’re self-evident.

SPEAKER_2: The vast majority of people are campers.

SPEAKER_2: Campers want to stay in their comfort zone, and in all fairness, they may be so beaten up by life, they don’t want to put their head outside the foxhole anymore.

SPEAKER_2: And then very few people are climbers.

SPEAKER_2: And the reason I do my podcast is I, and write the books and everything, I am fascinated by what it takes to go from being a camper to a climber, because we all have it within us.

SPEAKER_2: And when you’re a climber, you’re living a realized life, and that’s where you want to be.

SPEAKER_1: Yes!.

SPEAKER_1: That’s amazing.

SPEAKER_1: I have a friend of mine with a very similar story, Chad Foster, who lost his sight when he was 21.

SPEAKER_1: They might have suffered from the same thing. SPEAKER_1: And Chad has gone on to do incredible things in his life as well.

SPEAKER_1: I share your fascination with what is it, you know, what is that, the difference in our intrinsic meter, that will that we have to move from camper, I love that phrase, camper to climber.

SPEAKER_1: It’s fascinating.

SPEAKER_2: And how do we cultivate it?

SPEAKER_1: Right, right.

SPEAKER_1: How do we cultivate that in ourselves and then inspire that in other people?

SPEAKER_1: Amazing Ones, this is an incredible book for you to pick up.
SPEAKER_1: I will include links to Pat’s book in the show notes as well, so you all can pick that up.

SPEAKER_1: So Pat, as we’ve talked about, life will throw us curveballs.

SPEAKER_1: And sometimes when those babies fly, it can feel almost impossible to pull ourselves up and keep going, to believe that what we’re experiencing will ever end or improve.

SPEAKER_1: What three tips in your infinite wisdom up until now can you offer to anyone who is facing big challenges and walking through their own version of hell to help them get to the other side and fly?

SPEAKER_2: I call it when you hit these roadblocks that just seem endless, I call it being stuck in the muck.
SPEAKER_2: Know that the muck does not last forever.
SPEAKER_2: There is another side.

SPEAKER_2: And that is so important to absolutely believe with every fiber of your being, because it’s very, very easy to just descend into darkness when really tough things happen.

SPEAKER_2: I would say, you also, I would urge anybody to reach out for help if you really hit a bad bump.

SPEAKER_2: Being able to talk through things in a non-judgmental way, I think can be very, very valuable.

SPEAKER_2: Thirdly, look within.

SPEAKER_2: Everything you need is within you, but you have to cultivate those strengths.

SPEAKER_2: You have to see them in yourself, first and foremost, and cultivate them.

SPEAKER_2: And you have to be present.

SPEAKER_2: If you’re present and you’re internally aligned, things will work out step by step.

SPEAKER_2: It is not instantaneous, but you can come to the other side of a bump in the road in a much better place than where you started.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you.

SPEAKER_1: I hear, know the muck won’t last forever, to reach out for help, talk it through with someone, find support.

SPEAKER_1: Number three, look within, because everything that you have is inside of you. SPEAKER_2: That’s beautiful.
SPEAKER_1: Thank you for those.
SPEAKER_1: All right, Amazing Ones.Here’s the big aha this week that we’ve gleaned from Pat.

SPEAKER_1: On those dark days when the challenges in your life feel hard or even impossible to navigate, remember this, you can choose to sink or you can choose to soar.

SPEAKER_1: That’s the beautiful truth, because at the start and end of every day, we all have the power to choose our mindset, which means that we can choose how we meet every moment of our lives.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for joining us today, Pat, and for sharing your highlights of your stories with us for the bodies of work that you are putting into the world through your book and your podcast, your books and your podcast.

SPEAKER_1: If our listeners would like to learn more about you or anything that you’re up to, how to fly a sailplane, how to listen to your podcast, what’s the best way for them to find you?

SPEAKER_2: The best place to start is bumpintheroad.us

SPEAKER_2: That’s the website, and it will link you to everything else out there.

SPEAKER_1: That’s awesome.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much.

SPEAKER_1: Again, I deeply appreciate the human that you are, the way that you are choosing to show up and live your big, fabulous life.

SPEAKER_1: It is great!

SPEAKER_1: I would love to see videos of you flying your sailplane.
SPEAKER_1: If you have any of those, send them my way, so I can put those in the show notes too.

SPEAKER_1: It’s just would be an incredible thing to witness.
SPEAKER_1: As we sign off today, I want everyone listening to remember that we have all experienced really difficult times.

SPEAKER_1: Some of us are going through them right now.

SPEAKER_1: And when we share our stories and community, as Pat has mentioned, we remember that we’re not alone and we gain strength because we connect with each other on the most human level and that allows us to grow.

SPEAKER_1: I want you to remember this.

SPEAKER_1: There is only one you in this big, beautiful world. And in case no one’s told you yet today, that is the thing that makes you amazing.

SPEAKER_1: Big love, babe.

SPEAKER_1: I’ll see you next week.

SPEAKER_1: And that’s the end of the show today, everybody.

SPEAKER_1: I hope it has served you well.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for tuning in.

SPEAKER_1: If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please drop a review wherever you grab your favorite podcast.

SPEAKER_1: Please subscribe so you never miss an episode.
SPEAKER_1: And please be sure to share this podcast with another woman that you love.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about me or my work, check out my website, colebakerbagwell.com.

SPEAKER_1: Until next time, remember to be super kind to yourself and do your very best to leave everyone and everything just a little bit better.

Are you ready to develop a mindset of clarity and confidence that helps you create your most kick ass life? If you’re nodding head to my contact form and send me a note. Let’s explore how taming your mind with mindfulness based empowerment coaching can help you get there.

Cole Baker-Bagwell

Master Certified Professional Coach

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