A former professional hockey player is teaming up with an internationally-acclaimed therapist to write a new book about healing.
Theoren Fleury and Kim Barthel are working on a book titled As the Story Goes: Conversations with the Rattlesnake to be released in October.
As the Story Goes: Conversations with the Rattlesnake is about healing conversations.
“What we want people to experience is the process of transforming yourself — healing yourself,” Barthel said. “It’s through our conversation that we help people.”
Barthel led a conference earlier this month at Trinity United Church in Fort Macleod titled “Raising Healthy Minds.”
The conference attracted about 100 people in the field of supporting children and families, including teachers, early childhood educators, therapists and social workers.
“The essence of our message is that there is always hope for change — always,” Barthel said. “That’s why Theo and I work together.”
Fleury, who turns 46 this month, played in the National Hockey League with the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks.
Fleury played in 1,084 regular season NHL games, scoring 455 goals and 1,088 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the Flames and an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada.
Fleury detailed in his autobiography Fire On Ice the sexual abuse he suffered from coach Graham James while a member of the junior Moose Jaw Warriors and its impact on his life.
Barthel, who has more than 30 years of experience as a therapist, is something of a superstar in her field.
Barthel integrates the science of occupational therapy and neurobiology with cutting edge practice to support the conscious evolution of the human spirit.
Fleury and Barthel connected at a conference about resiliency held at Winnipeg.
“It is where I discovered the concept of attachment,” Fleury said. “I had focused so much of my pain and suffering to the sexual abuse that I suffered as an adolescent.”
Barthel helped Fleury understand it was his parents who set the stage for his struggle.
“It was spiritual,” Fleury said of that realization. “It was like a spiritual awakening and allowed me the opportunity to take a look at it for the first time.”
“(Barthel) helped me make sense of it all which then allowed me to get rid of the majority of the shame that was attached to my experience.”
Fleury and Barthel now lead conferences such as the one at Trinity United Church for professionals who support families and children.
“What I always say is what is shareable is bearable,” Barthel said. “When you can share something, that makes it bearable.”
“I felt lighter,” Fleury said. “I was grateful, I was motivated. What I learned, I teach.”
Sharing that knowledge is incredibly satisfying for Fleury.
“I’m a hockey player,” Fleury said. “That’s essentially what everybody thinks I still am, but I’m so much more than that. I’ve evolved beyond the 200 ft. by 85 ft. container that I used to play my trade in.”
“Now, my space is the universe.”
As the Story Goes: Conversations with the Rattlesnake is about stories that Fleury shared with Barthel, and experiences they shared with each other.
There will be a chapter about pain.
Another chapter is titled “The god of my understanding,” which deals with the force of spirit and purpose in healing.
“It’s the one thing everybody leaves out,” Fleury said.
Barthel said that is because people think they’re talking about religion.
“We’re not talking about religion,” Fleury said. “We’re talking about spirit.”
Fleury said it is important people nurture their spirit.
“If you do not nurture it, if you do not help it, you cannot help anybody else,” Fleury said. “It makes you become closed in. It’s the body, the mind and the spirit that all have to live together in harmony.”
Fleury said life is a journey of self discovery and as he finds out things about himself and shares them with his audiences, they have their own Aha moments.
As the Story Goes: Conversations with the Rattlesnake is true to its title, as Fleury and Barthel did not set out to write an academic textbook.
“It’s very much normal conversation,” Barthel said. “It’s written for the Joe on the street.”