This is an excerpt from Navigating 5 Life Changes, An Odyssey of Resiliency and
Hope, which is available at

Preface to the Book

A major life change has “an effect that is strong enough to change someone’s life.”
(Cambridge dictionary). I have experienced five major life changes in a five-year period
and all changed my life in ways I could not have imagined. First was the sudden death
of my husband; second the selling of our home; third a corporate downsizing; fourth
relocating to a new state, and fifth being diagnosed with a major life illness – cancer.
These events catapulted me on a personal odyssey through love, loss and renewal over
a five year period and culminated in finding my own way and creating a new life for
myself in a new place.

My book, Navigating 5 Life Changes, An Odyssey of Resiliency and Hope, is about my
journey through these major changes in five years. I started writing it for myself, to help
me cope by capturing my thoughts and feelings at a particular point in time. Through my
writing, I began to release old ways of being and started to allow myself to imagine very
different ways of coping and acceptance. I hoped that writing about my journey would
give me perspective on living, loving and being fully awake to my life. Pain – emotional
and physical – tends to draw us inward, and push people away, thus isolating us. I
may have initially felt this, but I was always buoyed up by family and friends. Yes, there
were lonely days and nights, angst and tears, but pushing through all that seemed
compelling to me. I always had a guiding light pulling me out of my despair and pointing
me towards my own true north.

In talking about my experiences with others, I realized all of us who have been through
loss, grief, or illness share some commonalities. I was encouraged to share my story as
a way to help those also coping with day-to-day living in the midst of uncertainty. Thus
my journey, which is now captured in this book, may resonate with others or be a
comfort for those who are dealing with their own real life setbacks. It helps to know
someone else has walked in their shoes.

Everyone’s timeline for dealing with life’s challenges is different, and there is no “right
way” or “right amount of time.” My odyssey took five years. At one level, the steps of
an odyssey are the same no matter the timeline – a sudden change, a desire to move
forward, a belief in yourself and wanting to get unstuck, finding helpful people to guide
you on your journey, and creating a new life you love.

My odyssey was written to inspire others in the midst of major life change to believe in
themselves. It is written as a “companion” to be picked up at any time, in any part in the
journey and meant to provide comfort and hope.

Mary Lou Meddaugh

Mary Lou Meddaugh is a Certified Life Coach and founder of Creative Coaching Methods. Her vision is to empower others to achieve their goals and dreams and embrace change. She founded Creative Coaching Methods based on her own personal experience with major life changes in a short period of time and the lack of one central resource to help her navigate those changes. By combining her personal and professional experience, Mary Lou coaches clients to visualize important changes and to manifest them For more than 13 years, Mary Lou worked as a Senior Marketing Manager in the US for an international company headquartered in Europe. She mentored and coached her staff and colleagues around the globe on how to manage organizational change, set goals and achieve success. With her knowledge and life experience, she is committed to helping her clients achieve their vision and objectives for personal and professional development. She is a member of the Western Mass Coaching Alliance (WMCA) ( She has taught workshops on marketing strategies and embracing change. She has also been a Cancer Coach with the Cancer Wellness organization in Western New York. She is the author of What’s Next: New Beginnings, a 6-step process for change. She currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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