FIGT member Sarah Kobrus shares how FIGT’s online conferences have helped her CRAFT* a thriving life through the pandemic
By Sarah Kobrus
“Resilience is not innate, it is built.”
-Laura Wells FIGT 22.
I was blessed to have attend FIGT conference live, in Amsterdam (2016). But, physically and financially, this is no longer an option for me. In the two weeks preceding FIGT 22, I thought I might not be able to attend even virtually because of an intense flare up of the Fibromyalgia that I suffer with. This cruel, invisible disability includes chronic fatigue and pain, as well as adversely affecting my ability to speak and think. I survived cancer but don’t have a thyroid, which regulates the body’s energy production and immune system at a cell level; potentially lethal combinations of hidden health hazards in these Covid times.
Fibromyalgia flares are often triggered by stress. So, what was I thinking when I signing up to facilitate a Kitchen Table Conversation about Emotional Logic and resilience? I’m a public speaking phobic. How could I talk about resilience, when I was struggling to even get out of bed?
But, I’m also passionate about helping others, which is why I’m a social worker and coach. I was determined to do what I could, joined the second day of the conference from my bed, resting between sessions and still in my PJs. First stop was a Deep Dive with Marilyn Gardiner, which transformed my “ambiguous loss,” my disability struggles, into the CRAFT that I needed to thrive at FIGT 22.
Crisis management, safety first.
Forging ahead with baby steps.
Marilyn’s wisdom became my FIGT 22 rallying cry. “It’s not about closure, it’s about resilience.” Resilience is my superpower, after all.
Let me take you on a journey through some Mother’s Day resilience building–all from the safety and comfort of my kitchen table to yours. Spoiler alert! I thoroughly enjoyed sharing Emotional Logic with FIGT folks from literally my kitchen table–that has lived in France, Holland and Qatar and is now my work desk in Cumbria, England.
Mother’s day March 22nd 2020
The day before the first UK lockdown. I was on a video call with my oldest ATCK, Beth (then 25). “Don’t worry poppet! I miss you, but understand? Did I tell you how my job interview went?”
She’s a primary school teacher in London, 300 miles away–our first mother’s day apart. “Mum! You’re just not getting it! You’re at serious risk from Covid.”
I was in denial about my looming isolation, thinking about my plans to get back to work now that my nest was empty. “Surely the government can’t expect us to stay in until they’ve got a vaccine? God knows how long that’ll be.”
“MUM, YES!” She shouted. “If you want to stay alive!”
Mother’s day March 14th 2021
My first mother’s day with none of my three ATCKs at home, because they’re now pandemic front-line workers in London. I’m counting my open nest blessings:
- Still alive and had my first vaccination!
- Entered and won a writing competition; the prize being publication of my expat memoir with Summertime Publishing.
- Refreshed my training and skills with many online courses and taken my coaching business online.
- Reconnected with my international self and family.
I celebrated British Mother’s day 2021 by joining in FIGT’s conference, which was now financially and physically accessible for me because it was online.
Mother’s day March 27th 2022
No more self-isolating because I’m double vaccinated, had my booster and research has proved that they work. I’ve almost finished a second book; helping globally mobile folks cope with loss, grief and trauma the Emotional Logic way. I honoured my commitment to run a Kitchen Table, thanks to wonderfully helpful sessions during the conference.
A few of my connecting, innovating and thriving highlights of FIGT 22 were:
Dr. Krish Kandiah’s compassionate keynote reminded me of my other superpower–empathy. The joy in the realisation that we can get Emotional Logic translated into Ukrainian to help refugees–as we did with Arabic for Syrian refugees. Connecting with my Polish family, currently helping Ukrainians in Warsaw, to get this done ASAP.
Being moved to tears by Sa-Eun’s cheerleading, to give voice to our hidden, broken, hushed, oppressed parts. To celebrate and love my disabled but unique ‘body suit!’ It’s the only one I’ve got, this side of heaven, so I might as well let it SHINE!
I’m casting my vote early for keeping FIGT conference virtual, so that it continues to be financially and physically accessible–not just for disabled folks but also those forced to be globally mobile; for refugees. Our beloved Ruth van Reken summed up all the connecting, innovating and thriving blessings that FIGT conferences have given, in just one word. “Unbelievable!”
Sarah is a UK registered social worker, certified counsellor and Emotional Logic coach, specialising in loss, grief, trauma and resilience. She loves working with accompanying partners, teen TCK’s and ATCKs. Her book Good Grief: The Emotional Logic way to Hope, Healing and Wholeness after loss. For the Globally Mobile and her memoir Count Only Sunny Hours; my Journey to Hope will be published this year. https://sarahkobrus.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org