I recently signed up for an online, zoom-style writing course.

I am attempting to learn more about how to write with purpose and structure.

This past session, which was an hour long, focused on letting go of an outcome or agenda. I did not really understand what that meant in its entirety when applying it to writing.

As students, we heard the topic from the moderator and then began writing, without stopping, for 10 minutes. The goal is to listen to our minds, keep the pen moving and not focusing on perfection. We were instructed to focus only on what our mind was saying. Then, she reads a second topic, and we repeat the process. Just keep moving the pen and listen.

So, that is what I did or so I thought.

After the first ten minutes, we took a minute or two to finish our thoughts and get ready for the second topic.

This time, the moderator repeated the first topic, word for word, and then said, “Go.”

I sat there for at LEAST 2 minutes. Did she forget she already read this topic? Do I type her error in the chat to let her know? There are over three hundred people on this Zoom, didn’t anyone else catch that? What the heck is going on?

And then…the AHA moment.

I already had it in my head, we were doing this session the same way we had done it before.

I was attached to the outcome.

I expected a second topic.

The moderator ignored the chat comments (from all the participants) and continued forward. After the second ten-minute writing session, the moderator told us she repeated the first topic on purpose.

She gave us a live experience of what it is like to be attached to an outcome. Man, That. Was. Good!

Looking back, I recalled several ways I had been “attached!” I thought for sure I would be married at least five years before I had a child. I was pregnant within six months of my wedding. I thought for sure I would work in the medical field my entire life. I changed careers at age 34 to law enforcement. I thought for sure I would work in law enforcement for at least 20 years. I retired after 13.5 years.

The change and flow of my life… has been like a wave. Some days the waters are rough, Some days my life looks like a calm and peaceful lake without anything stirring.

I am learning, although at a three-toed sloth of a pace, I am learning.

Being attached can lead to disappointment and anxiety. Letting go of what I think “should” be, is difficult (especially for an ex-cop).

May I say, though, how freeing it is to just… be.


Article by CopsAlive Contributor:
Sgt. Tammy Featherstone (Ret)
Founder of Frame of Reference Coaching LLC
CTA Certified Life Coach
Empowering all women through Coaching and Mentoring
to be their own fiercest ally!

Photo Credit: “Chain Link Fence” by You As A Machine is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 thru flickr

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About Tammy Featherstone

Sgt. Tammy Featherstone began working in law enforcement in 2007 with the Sarasota Police Department in Sarasota, FL. During her career, she served her community in multiple roles within the department which included: Patrol officer, Sexual Battery Liaison, Community Policing Officer, Bicycle and Foot Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, FDLE General Instructor, Assistant Team Leader/ Team Leader of the Hostage Negotiation Team, and Patrol Sergeant. As an avid reader and perpetual learner, Ms. Featherstone continued learning throughout her career. She attended FBI LEEDA’S Supervisor, Command and Executive Leadership courses and earned the Trilogy Award in 2019. She received the Certificate of Proficiency through IPTM (University of N. Florida) in Hostage Negotiations in 2015. She became a FDLE General Instructor and Driving Instructor in 2015 and 2017 respectively and maintained her Emergency Medical Technician Certification in the State of Florida from 1991 to 2017. Volunteering in her community has been an integral part of her life and career. Ms. Featherstone believes in starting young when instilling the qualities of service and giving back. She volunteered with Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota, Badges for Baseball (Cal Ripken Jr Foundation), Camp XRAYD (Teen Court of Sarasota), Resilient Retreat (Supporting frontline workers experiencing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma) and Brotherhood of Men Mentor Group. During her tenure, Ms. Featherstone has been honored to receive multiple awards that included: Meritorious Service Medal (2014, 2018 & 2019), Sworn Employee of the 2nd Quarter (2016), Officer of the Year (2016), Captain’s Award of Excellence (2019), Life Saving Medal (2019) and Co-Supervisor of the Year (2019). She also represented her department in the Florida Police and Fire Games in the Cross-Country event bringing home the Bronze medal in her age group (2009). Upon retirement, Ms. Featherstone knew her life was headed down a quite different path. She founded Frame of Reference Coaching, LLC and is a Certified Life Coach focusing on all areas of wellness. She continues helping and serving women in her community and beyond with curriculum she has created to help empower women to be their own fiercest ally!
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