The stories we tell can shape the world. They connect us, they transform us, they crack us open. Our story began back in 2010, but that’s a tale for another blog. Today I’m sharing the reason why my husband and I chose to tell our story. Back in 2018 I was laid off from my corporate job, that change set us off on a new trajectory that neither of us were expecting. I decided to transition from the corporate world into the entrepreneurial world, a brand new terrain filled with leaps of faith, big questions, thrilling opportunities and massive trust falls.
I began to work as a life coach, guiding women into creating shifts in their own lives, it’s work that I’m passionate about, it connects me to my truth and my purpose. Then in 2019, I posed the question to my honey… ‘what if we both set off and try the entrepreneur thing together?’ he looked at me with a bewildering look on his face, but a definite twinkle of possibility in his eyes. Could we shift away from the hamster wheel and create our own path? What could we lose? But more importantly, what could we gain? I allowed the energy of this possible new path to work itself out and one day after lots of conversations, he called me after work and said, with great certainty in his voice: ‘let’s do it, I’m ready’. Powerful things begin to happen when we say this kind of yes, the Universe begins to ripple and align itself in mysterious ways, it’s like we open up a new portal.
This moment led Julian and I to start The Couple Shift, a podcast that would tell the story of how we were shifting as a couple. The shifts were multi-layered; trying out this whole ‘self-employment’ thing, parenting a young child (our son was 2 at the time), exploring new things as a couple, communicating in new ways, allowing ourselves to blossom as individuals and as a unit. The Couple Shift was born as a way for us to stretch ourselves in new ways, little did we know of the massive shift to come. In March of 2020 we heard words that shook us to the core ‘this may be ALS’.
As the country went into lockdown, with uncertainty in the air, Jules and I were now facing the most significant shift of all. He was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) a couple of months after that visit. When we drove back from the doctor’s office, holding hands tightly and with tears in our eyes he looked at me and said, ‘whatever happens, I want to keep sharing our story’. And so we have.
Our podcast then became a space for us to expand into telling our ALS story. What it looks like for a man to deal with this horrific disease, what it’s like for a couple to adapt and transform in new ways, what it means when parents need to recalibrate the ways they live and the courage they have so that their son keeps growing up with love, hope and resilience. Like a dense fog, ALS has clouded over everything in our lives. Along with the dense fog we’ve grown to see the immense beauty that lies within us, the strength, the love and the compassion that can only be extracted under the harshest of circumstances. We’ve seen the most magnificent light peering through the fog, we look for it every day.
Each day is hard, each day brings a multitude of challenges, each day is emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually exhausting. We choose to always come back to telling our story, to living in the moment, to noticing the good things and appreciating the blessings around us. We also laugh, fight and get annoyed with each other, just like any couple! This makes for pretty funny podcast episodes by the way. We live ‘Right Here, Right Now’ a mantra and motto that we sometimes say with strength in our voice, sometimes in a low whisper as we cry and hold each other.
We’ve recorded The Couple Shift from Miami, San Juan, Los Angeles and New York, we’ve recorded at our dining room table, in bed, in the office and in our conversion van. Our podcast has grown with us and has been an integral part of our healing. Sharing our story in this way has stretched us and shown us the gift of authenticity, communication and self-expression.
Self-expression is at the core of who we are as individuals, the tools we use to share our stories become vessels for magic and truth to emerge. ALS can make a person's world feel incredibly small, technology can and does open up this space so that human connection can flourish in new ways. May we all keep finding ways to share our stories, may we find ways to express our deepest passions and the beautiful and messy vulnerability that makes us human. May we embrace and navigate the shifts before us with ease, grace, hope and love. May we have fun in the process! If you do listen to The Couple Shift, please drop us a note, tell us a little about your story and how it shapes the world.
With love and courage,
Maria Aleandra and Jules
Our podcast can be found on any platform. Here's a direct link that takes you to them all: https://mariaaleandra.com/tcs