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One Headlight

“That’s a big deal and you’re incredibly stupid for standing in the middle of a dark road,” she said as she laughed hard and flashed me a pretty smile.

“Who is the lovely lady who called you stupid, Jackie?” you may ask. A: My health coach, Meg Poe.

(*Meg is absolutely amazing and awesome, as I’ll explain if you keep reading. We have a great relationship and she knew I would laugh along, because I had already noted that it wasn’t super bright of me to be standing in the middle of a dark, rural highway. Stay with me here – it’s all good.)

I’ve been working with Meg on a weekly basis after I was asked to join a cohort for the “Refuel You” Pilot Project through the AE Alliance. I was told that she was awesome and that my sessions were free, so I thought, why not? I had no idea what it meant to work with a health coach, but told myself to go in with willing thoughts and an open mind.

I can’t lie, I was skeptical. I assumed we’d sit together and go through silly exercises where we’d talk about eating kale and doing more yoga (I happily do both, don’t get me wrong). What stopped my skepticism immediately were Meg’s credentials. (*When you look her up on her website after reading this, as I’ll know you’ll do, you’ll see that she’s super legit.) What changed the experience was not only how great she is, but how willing I was to give one last thing a chance on my way to a new and better me (the new me that never needs the midnight power charge to update software and change the look of your text messages).

During Session One, I told her that I loved to learn and that I was open to new ideas. And then I secretly thought, There’s no way I’m going to hear anything new.

On my journey that I like to call the past 42 months of my life, I thought I had seen it all. Neurologists, Mayo Clinic, Family Practice, Gastroenterology, OB/GYN, x-rays, infusions, Endocrinology, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, EEGs, EKGs, lung tests, heart tests, pharmacies, dentist, chiropractor, masseuse, exterminator (are you still paying attention?), priests, counselor, dietician, Podiatrist, Rheumatologist, hairdresser, and Santa Claus (gotcha!). The only person left for me in the entire universe, was a health coach.

God, did I need a health coach.

In hindsight, I was struggling to believe that I had rebuilt my life. That I really did it. When I came to in 2018, I knew that I’d eventually have to try to rebuild my shattered life. But I never really thought I’d have a day with an AHA! moment where I’d say, I did it.

Meg helped me believe I had that AHA! moment, when I only sort of believed that I did.

Meg doesn’t tell me how to be healthy. She doesn’t tell me what to do or not to do. Meg and I have conversations about dreams and goals. We visualize me in the best health I can be. On a guided meditation, I walked through the woods and I met healthy me three years from now. And you know what? I liked her. I want to be her.

My work with Meg gave me new thoughts and ideas on the best way to arrive at impending me: standing outside in bright sunlight, around baskets of apples and fallen leaves, where I’m in my blue blazer. The me who knows her growing children are fine and her husband is happy. The future me who smiled back at the now me and said, “Just you wait. You’re going to make it through every step on the way here.”

Meg told me that I can do anything I want to do. Anything. That was great to hear, but it meant even more when she said, “You know that, Jackie.”

She believed in me.

She knew I could go past the rebuilding stage and start living fully. She showed me that I’m already there.

And then I started to believe.

In one of our exercises, I said that I hoped to gain more confidence, independence, and bravery.

With her gentle nudging, I began to notice that I’m still confident, independent, and brave. I’m doing everything that I did before, but I’m not pushing to get there.

She helped me find value in the small ways I persist. And then she challenged me to dream and set goals based upon my values.

And I told her that for the love of God, I’ve finally stopped setting goals and dreaming impractical dreams. (*And then we both laughed, knowing full well that I suck at that, so I agreed to keep dreaming big.)

We looked at the Wheel of Health and found my strengths, my weaknesses, and we even created an “Other” category on my own personal health wheel. We took an abstract idea and answered it with undefinable, vague terms, and then we had multiple sessions on our novel and ambiguous creation of my “Other.” But it made sense to us when we were together for that one hour a week.

Through health coaching, I learned about my “Other.” Something I didn’t even know that I wanted to work on.

In the corkboards of our minds, we tacked up a picture of the lady in the blue blazer in her model health. Then we wrote little thoughts and ideas of what it would take to get there on brightly colored Post It notes. (*Metaphorically speaking, of course.)

We decided that I needed to complete my “Other,” in order to be healed.

Yet we circled back. We agreed that I’m the new old Jackie, and that that’s okay. I’m not trying to be brand new, and I’m not ever going to be completely away from the old. I’m just finding my flow. (*She didn’t know about #JustKeepSwimming, so how apropos.)

And from there, I discovered that I have rebuilt me. I’m just letting things come to me at a smarter pace, because I’ve finally learned how to get out of the way of myself. I heard myself saying what I can do, and not what I can’t. I stopped to notice the small things, that really weren’t even that small by a normal person’s standards. I noticed when I was proving to myself that I am already doing the things in my “Other.” I admitted that I’ve worked tirelessly back towards my “Other” through anxiety, uncertainty, and exhaustion. And on the days when one of those icky things win, I give myself grace and compassion. I ground myself, and I breathe. Learning how to get out of my way.

And on the final day, Meg stood back and watched me have another AHA! moment, when she reminded me that I still have high highs and really low lows, that hasn’t changed. What has changed is my ability to swim through them at a steady pace. By staying positive and retraining my thinking, I’ve just kept swimming in the more temperate waters. And it feels great!

I told myself that driving alone at night, on the dimly lit highway near the quiet town where I grew up, would show confidence, independence, and bravery. It was something that I hadn’t done since I got sick, so it scared me. It was something that probably seemed “small,” but to me, represented something big.

So I did it.

I felt the muse hit me to write about it when I saw the way the headlights shone on the blacktop. The way the dashed, yellow line climbed up the hills ahead of me on that sparsely lit North Dakota highway. The way I was creating brightness out of the darkness.

When I parked my car on the road’s shoulder and stood in the middle of the black deserted night to attempt to get a picture, I thought, Man, Meg’s gonna like this story.

And she did.

I have rebuilt my life. And I have Meg to thank for being a big part of my new story. I can’t wait to let her meet the me in three years: who has life and health all figured out, in her blue blazer.

Cheers to end of 2021! And Cheers to what awaits us all in 2022! Peace to you in your days and travels. Know that I’m always traveling along with you, in the light and in darkness.

And if you’re interested in working with Meg, check her out at: I can’t recommend her enough!

Godspeed to you,



Come on try a little

Nothing is forever

Got to be something better than in the middle

“But me and Cinderella

We put it all together

We can drive it home

With one headlight” ~ One Headlight by The Wallflowers

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