This week’s Share Your Story is a woman of resilience, determination, and spunk.
Kasey is a two-time kidney transplant recipient and has her fair share of health issues. And, like so many of us, Kasey is way too busy to slow down. Reinvention, we see it all the time in our Kuel Life Community, is a tenant in Kasey’s life.
At 60, Kasey embarks on her next professional journey. Her mission, like so many of our Kuel Life Members, is to inspire and help other women. Please help me welcome Kasey Bergh to our Community and our Share Your Story series.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
KASEY: Lol there’s not much about what I get myself into that surprises me or the people who know me. But, I am working right now on becoming a transformational/mindset coach, writer, and inspirational speaker. Lol that’s a lot, isn’t it? And I also promote the crazy love story of how I met my husband, Henry. On 6/29/12 I sent a text, got a wrong number, we met a week later, fell in love, got married and last year he gave me a kidney. And, I”m 60 and he’s 31 :-). You can find out all about me and us on my website.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
KASEY: I get up any time between 5:30-7 and feed our 5 cats. And, then get coffee and go sit on our third floor balcony where I check social media. I write every morning. I recently did a 21 day writing challenge with Mike Dooley, the guy who sends out emails from The Universe every day. It was super inspiring. I’m currently writing the story of my mom. She’s 90 and we’re not sure how long we get to have her, so I’m interviewing her, doing lots of investigating, and getting archival photos to include. It’s been so amazing!!
Then, I typically start researching…something. I’m super into health and nutrition and have autoimmune issues & leaky gut so I research the best foods to eat to heal those. I’ve been led down some interesting paths to discover other things about myself, like I also have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. Read up on that! Fascinating and annoying at the same time. No more red wine for me 🙁
I’ve just started Claire Zammit’s Feminine Power Coaching Program so I’m typically doing homework, on a call or doing research for that. It’s the most inspired I’ve been in a long time, or maybe, ever!!
A lot of times I watch Young and Restless @ 11. I’ve been watching it off and on since 1974. It’s hilarious to me that there are still about four actors who’ve been on since at least 1980. I do my stretching and exercises while that’s on.
Afternoon is typically virtual coffees or Zoom meetings and blog writing. My focus is the challenges I’ve faced in my life and how I not only overcame them but thrived as a result. I have a philosophy about Kicking and Screaming…it’s a waste of time. We, as humans, react to what we think “shouldn’t” be happening to us. If we spend too long in that place, it perpetuates more bad feelings. I’ve always been able to pull myself out of my doldrums to actually find the joy on the other side of heartache. I’m always learning a lesson from challenge.
Oh and there’s always some sort of house work or rearranging going on. We moved in February and there’s still always something to do. And then dinner with Henry – maybe fresh mushrooms, cheese and scrambled eggs. That’s one of our favs or my take on a buffalo cauliflower casserole. And then maybe we watch a movie or a favorite TV show or play a game. Or we might each work on writing or something.
Bed can be at 10 or 11:30!
Morning comes and I start all over again 🙂
“Giving up sugar is the first thing that occurs to me.”
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
KASEY: Giving up sugar is the first thing that occurs to me. It’s been something I’ve been addicted to since I was about 10. I’ve quit and gone back to eating it so often, it’s really sooo hard! I also struggle with the “voice in my head” who likes to tell me not to strive for this new career.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
KASEY: Wow, that’s good. Hmm…I have an internal drive to express myself, pursue self-awareness. and growth so reading, writing, researching is like breathing for me. LOL and then it’s not! Sometimes I can piddle away a whole day!
But in the end, really it’s self-talk. I have learned to recognize when the voice in my head is telling me to just give up on this next phase of my world, that no one really wants to read my writing, that there are already so many other successful coaches out there, and that I won’t make a difference. That voice in my head can be relentless! But, I’ve been working on mastering it for so long now, that when it starts up, I kindly tell it “thank you for sharing” and I go on my way. I might have to redirect the negative thoughts over and over, but once again, I’ve gotten so aware of them, that I can pretty easily redirect them and get back to work!
In full transparency, it’s not always as easy to shut off the negative talk when I get in a fight with my husband. But, I’m getting better all the time.It’s a huge effort though for sure!
I would highly recommend reading “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer to really learn about that voice and how to stop it!!
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
KASEY: Love yourself. It’s the most essential thing for all of us to do. It’s the ONLY thing. Louise Hay has the best strategy, Mirror work. Look in the mirror and say “I love you.” It’s also the hardest thing to do. I hated myself for most of my life. And, I knew it. So I went to therapy, I read every self help book and yet I continued to hate myself.
It took me until I was 57 years old to decide to love myself. To accomplish this, I read the books “Awareness”, “The Power of Intention”, “Self Compassion”, I read the book, “Loving What Is”, and did “The Work” of Byron Katie and I did the mirror work. My focus is loving my aging skin, my loss of some mobility, and anything else about me that I could say I don’t like. Also, loving my wisdom, my love for other women, my new life with a second kidney, it’s not always easy to work on loving myself for sure but it’s the MOST necessary thing! Otherwise, it’s like putting a bandaid on a cancer wound.
“Vulnerability to me is not being afraid to show your inner pain”
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
KASEY: Vulnerability to me is not being afraid to show your inner pain, insecurities, self-talk, self-hate, fights with your husband. When I was a kid, I was super tall and felt so awkward and unlike the other kids. By junior high I started cultivating my exterior to be perfect, thereby shielding myself from criticisms shared so easily by classmates. I continued to perfect that exterior forever. All along, I was quaking on the inside but no one would ever know from my outside.
Now at 60, and now, with what might look like a perfect life, when I write, I share. I share that I fight with my husband. I share that I freak out about quitting sugar. I share my wounds and joys. Social media is all about perfection and the last thing I want to do is appear perfect. The outside already looks like it. I prefer to show my vulnerabilities so that the world knows I’m super real!!!
“Having a kidney transplant at 34, a devastating divorce at 46, and giving up my job of a lifetime at Purina at 57”
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
KASEY: Having a kidney transplant at 34, a devastating divorce at 46, and giving up my job of a lifetime at Purina at 57 when I had to go on dialysis after my first transplant failed. With each one I had to face debilitating fear and paralyzing self-doubt. With each one I had to face all of it though in order to keep moving. It amazes me how we’re able to move forward through unimaginable circumstances. We are a resilient species! So I found my inner strength after each period of kicking and screaming that inevitably followed the tragedy. Losing my first kidney opened the door for me to work at Purina. Losing my first husband opened the door for me to have six incredible years alone for the first time ever, ultimately meeting Henry. Losing my corporate job opened the door for me to realize what I was called to do all along…inspire other women to move through their painful circumstances and come out whole and HUGE on the other side.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
KASEY: My mom. She opened my eyes to the power within me and that of the Universe. My whole young life she’d talk about “small world stories.” She experienced synchronicity more than anyone I’ve ever known and then it started happening with me. We share our stories at least every week! I love feeling tapped into The Universe and knowing we have a strong connection. She always told me I could do anything I wanted and at 90 she only stopped volunteering at the local hospital due to quarantine, so at 60, embarking on a new career seems only natural, and it’s all because of her!
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
KASEY: That would have to be what Byron Katie espouses…to Love What Is.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
KASEY: I’m inspired by so many women!! Like Michelle Obama for sure but I’m actually going to talk about my dear friend, Lisa.
Lisa Loyet Schmitz and I have been friends since she was 18 and I was 24; 36 years.
She’s been a force since the beginning. She’s an incredible artist, mom, wife, friend, business owner and community volunteer. Her passions know no end. What I’d like to bring to this piece, though, is her fierce dedication to the Walking Cradles Company where she’s working. Lisa has an extensive history of working in the shoe industry from shoe modeling in the early 90’s to owning her own business working in the shoe industry for years. She was hired at WC to make a difference there but as anyone might guess, she’s come up against some crazy road blocks, coming face to face with how things “used to be done.” I’m here to tell you that she and her side-kick Jamie, are taking on those challenges like nobody’s business! Jamie’s shoe designs and Lisa smart ideas for marketing and branding are taking WC to new heights. Their long days and weeks are spent pushing huge boulders up steep hills and slowly but surely the boulders are going higher and higher.
Lisa takes everything in stride! She balances work, friends, family/children, personal achievements and community service without blinking an eye. AND, she’s making a significant difference in The Walking Cradles Company which is just SO exciting!!!
She’s definitely an inspiration to me!!
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
KASEY: Nope!! I love to still be 25. I love playing dress up, like fancy and I also love to wear tie dye or fringe or bell bottoms or all three! I love going to rock concerts. Or did, before Covid. I love the wisdom I have from 22 years in a corporate role plus 60 years of a life lived in constant seeking and growing. Since I’ve been with Henry for the last 8 years, I truly feel ageless. I never think of myself as 60. And we have so much fun together. No, I’m not grown up 🙂
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
KASEY: I listen to YouTube daily.vIt knows what I like now so it’s constantly feeding me Ted talks, inspirational people, meditations, all geared towards self growth and awareness. I have a personal coach who I work with on learning more and more about my Enneagram type (I’m a four) and about Henry’s five. Our house has 54 stairs in it and I’m up and down therm every day, many times. Henry and I also walk nearly daily, getting to know our new neighborhood. I eat really well, especially now that I’m getting sugar out of my diet. Henry’s vegetarian so I’m almost one…and I spend time on the phone or Zoom with friends or family. I’m also rigorous about skin care. I tanned excessively until I was probably almost 50 and my skin has taken a beating!
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
KASEY: I don’t have them prioritized but here goes: Go to Denmark, where my grandpa and grandma were from. Become a successful coach, writer and speaker. And, meet Def Leppard!!! 🙂