Ann Rouse had been a professional firefighter for most of her married life. However, her path to healing after the divorce lead her in a new and unexpected direction.
I was a firefighter for 18 years and the last three years especially I had grown to hate it. I wanted out. It just became more and more trying to be around the kind of people we have to go help, getting up in the middle of the night and all the baby games at the station. So I decided wanted to do something more – I learned Reiki and toe reading and thought I was being lead to be a life coach or something.
Then through Colorado Free University I took a course on small business marketing and the person who taught that course, David, developed this Advanced Conscious System. It’s a process that helps you get in touch with your core fears and beliefs by writing and introspection. It helps you figure out why you keep doing the same pattern. He does muscle-testing, so we muscle-tested me with life coach, toe-reading, Reiki, and fire-fighting and life coach was the weakest. Toe-reading was a little bit stronger and Reiki was a little bit stronger but fire-fighting was still pretty strong.
Then I said, ‘well, just for the heck of it how about writing?’ He asked me what particular writing and I said maybe about feelings. So he tested me on that and he couldn’t even budge my arm. We determined that was what my truth was. It made total sense. In the Beginning Experience program I’d been writing and I’d already gotten so much enjoyment out of it.
I had been working on a book and actually had someone who was interested in publishing it but I thought I need to stick with the firefighting until I could get the book written and published before I just quit. But I was miserable. Miserable enough that through a promotion process I came out flat and didn’t get promoted. One of the guys I vowed not to work for ended up being my boss and that was hell.
David and I talked about it a few times and he said, ‘You need to quit’ because he could see that my creativity was being stifled. But I kept telling myself, ‘You can’t just quit. That’s insane. You’ve got a mortgage and a kid.’ With a publisher lined up I already had a light at the end of the tunnel which made it even worse, harder to stay. I decided I would stay until the end of the year and the book would probably be out by then and I would see how it went.
Then my boss went ballistic two weekends in a row, just yelling, screaming at me, carrying on so I thought, ‘I get the picture, I’ll quit.’ I put my ducks in a row and gave two weeks notice.
I was almost giddy for a week and I still struggle with the whole notion that you’ve got to work eight hours a day. It’s really helped me to see how much I can write in a short amount of time and how easy it comes because I still have time to take care of my son and everything else. I was afraid I’d end up isolated but I’ve had more time to spend with people and still get a lot of writing done. So that can’t be right – I’m not supposed to love life!
Ann and I met for this interview at the Folsom Street Coffee in Boulder, Colorado. Soon after she arrived, we could heard the sirens of an approaching fire engine and since we were sitting outside, we had to pause while it went by. I thought that was an odd coincidence given her background. She shared the plot of her book with me – it’s a historical mystery set in Colorado. As she told me the plot and described the characters, she smiled and her eyes sparkled. This is a book that’s chosen her and I know she’s going to do it justice. Can’t wait to read it !