On Queendom & Building Your World (Plus a Gift!!!)


Not so very long ago I felt like there was a rent in the fabric of my world.

I was uprooted…



A lot of paradigms shifted for me last year. I was so unraveled that I actually wrote out everything that happened in that 12-month period and sent it to my dear friend and fellow coach, Lisa Hayes, and she wrote an obituary for me for 2014. (I highly recommend this process. Boy, was it super powerful.)

Most folks usually feel pretty firmly planted in their worlds. Normally I do too, but what had seemed like old hat stuff to me, was now new hat stuff and I needed a different hat. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure what kind of hat I liked anymore. I knew it wasn’t a baseball cap that says I ♥ Bieber in tiny diamond rhinestones. It wasn’t a black felt fedora either. It most definitely wasn’t one of those Little House on the Prairie bonnets that Laura Ingalls wore. I felt fairly clear on what kind of hat it wasn’t and that was good. Oftentimes we gain clarity by figuring out what we don’t want.

But, while I was über clear on what I didn’t want, I was struggling mightily to get clear on what I did want, let alone being able to catch the tiniest glimpse of how I wanted to feel in my life. Surgery, deaths, anxiety, a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis – I’m telling you, it was a rough 2014, to say the least.

I figured I couldn’t possibly be alone in feeling so lost. Surely there were others like me who had trouble getting to that quiet place of contemplation surrounding their desires after an uprooted time in their life. Undoubtedly, there were at least a couple someones who weren’t sure what it was they were looking for. And… one thing I knew for sure? I wasn’t the only one who’d had one helluva tough year.

So… I dove into the core of my savage geekery and pulled out a little writing tool called Worldbuilding. Using my knowledge of deliberate creation and bits and pieces of my Story Shape Shifting program, I began a process of rebuilding my world from the ground up. Suffice it to say, I found my hat.

It’s a crown.

And when I wear it, I remember that I get to build and rule my world.

The journey I took was so powerful, I decided to write up the process and reached out to my favorite designer (Shannon Kaiser of Play With The World) to build it out for me all pretty-like.

And it’s my gift to you.  

If you’ve had a rough year, or even if it was only mildly annoying, and you’re looking to change some things up, feel free to download it by opting in here. When you sign up for Worldbuilding: Create Your Life & CLAIM Your Crown, you’ll be automatically re-routed to a page where you can download the PDF document. You’ll also be subscribed to my blog which goes out once or twice a month in newsletter format.

Opt-In Cover

Enjoy! And please let me know here in the comments about your experiences in doing this powerful process.

Donning my diadem,


The Sick Guy – Shoot Him, Tend to Him or Learn from Him?


I want to talk about something that just hit me like an anvil upside the head the other day.

If you’ve ever been in relationship with a man, trust me, you’ve experienced this:

The Sick Guy…


Perhaps your hackles are already raised. You’re envisioning your man, lying in bed, moaning, asking for soup, and lozenges, and a heating pad, and a glass of water, and a large slice of your very soul. And he’s asking for all of it in that voice that clearly demonstrates his eminent demise.

Here’s the play-by-play:

His voice, a raspy whisper: “Sweets?”

Me, working downstairs, “Yeah?”

“Can you bring me some soup?”

“Yeah, we have Lipton Chicken Noodle or Cream of Celery.”

“Don’t we have any homemade soup?”

“You know we don’t. Are you wanting homemade soup, love?”

“Would you mind? With homemade noodles.”

(Sure, shall I mill the flour too, head on over to Europe and pluck the non-modified wheat? Track down John of God and ask him to bless it? Slit my wrists and add 1.5 drops of my own blood?)

“Sweets, I need some water. No ice.”

“Can you bring me a hot water bottle? Extra hot. With a soft towel wrapped around it?”

Am I exaggerating? Only slightly. Is this an amalgamation of every man I’ve ever been in relationship with? Pretty much.

After a couple days of this you may be wondering if you can ever sleep with your guy again since you’ve suddenly become his mother.

Or… maybe this is all me, but if you can relate at all then you understand how much this used to drive me batshit crazy.

Notice I said “used to.”

I had a revelation a few weeks ago, when I was feeling under the weather myself and pushing through, forcing myself to work, making myself fix dinner, pulling myself this way and that to get things done despite my low energy. I realized that my guy doesn’t do this. When men are sick they literally stop. Everything.

Work stops.

Chores stop.

Obligations stop.

He stops.

Why don’t I simply just stop? And… when I make that choice not to, because believe me it’s my choice, how am I justified in feeling resentful (the silent killer of relationships everywhere) toward my guy for not allowing me to stop. He didn’t tell me not to. Why am I too prideful to say “Can you bring me some soup with homemade noodles?” Nope, instead I throw on my martyr cloak, snot rolling down my upper lip, eyes bloodshot, and limp around, head lolling on my chest and say things like, “I’ll be okay,” and “I’m fine.”

The world isn’t going to end if I stay in bed for a few days. If I had kids I’m sure I’d even have enough strength to dial the phone to order a pizza for them. Or, holy hell, I could ask my guy to do it.

I’ve come to believe, when that anvil hit me, that guys have been getting a bad rap. We could learn a thing or two about self-care from them if we stopped long enough to pay attention, shed our martyr cloaks, wipe our noses and go to bed.

What’s your experience with The Sick Guy? Do you don or shed your martyr cloak when you’re under the weather?

9 Things I’d Rather Do Than Shop on Black Friday – 2014 Edition


Boy are you in for a treat, folks. It’s time for my annual list of things I’d rather do than shop on Black Friday. For those who know me well, shopping isn’t in my joy any day of the year, but Black Friday?… Gah! I’d rather:

1. Meet Bill Cosby, alone, in an elevator wearing loose pants and a faulty belt after dry swallowing 12 roofies and shooting a dose of Krokodil. (Too soon?)

2. Drink 50 gallons of colonoscopy cleanse sprinkled with baking soda and topped with a stiff meringue.

3. Contract ebola while moving to Detroit.

4. Ask Jennifer Lawrence to remove my gallbladder with only her Mockingjay pin.

5. Have my stomach stapled to the size of a single grain of uncooked white rice.

6. Take a deep breath while having a hot flash and have the backdraft consume me in fiery flames.

7. Have a nudie photo shoot after eating Mexican food every day for three years and store said photos in the cloud.

8. “Eat a steady diet of government cheese and live in a van down by the river.”

9. Buy another PC.  This time with Windows 8.

If you missed 2012 you can find it here. And 2013 here.

If it’s in your joy to shop on Black Friday do be safe, my friends.

Till next year.

The 4 Commandments of Launching a Program


I have been seriously pushing my edge as of late. I’m no longer drafting along behind (if you’ve read my Copycat, Copycat blog you’ll know of what I speak, but… essentially it means I’ve stepped out fully on my own.)

Pushing edges is damn scary. In fact, I’ve had moments of such utter terror that it’s hard to put into words. (Or to breathe.)  I recently launched a piece of my soul and heart’s work out in to the Big U(niverse) in my Story Shape Shifting & Memoir Writing Program. “Hallelujah, Holy Shit… Where’s the Tylenol?” I’ve felt nauseous with elation and anticipation and, of course, a sprinkling of fear and a whole lot of self-doubt. I’ve also felt moments of such intense connection as I’ve interviewed candidates and have felt as if nothing I’ve ever written or offered has felt so divinely inspired or so in line with everything I believe and in how I see the world.

I promised that I would write a blog about how to launch an offering in more depth, but what I’ve realized is: I DON’T KNOW and IT DEPENDS. I’ve come to understand that launching is no different than anything else. It’s not about following a bunch of rules – send 3-4 emails to your list offering a preview call, ask affiliate partners to mail for the preview call, get people who sign up for the call into the “bucket”, send 8-10 emails to said bucket, blah, blah, blah… My tribe isn’t a frothy liquid sloshing around out there.

Rather, launching is about following my intuition and my feel good.

I know how to market, it’s what I did for many years, but when I started asking the question “Does that feel good?” The answer was a resounding “no.”  Bear in mind, this is no judgement on folks who follow the traditional methods of marketing – the traditional methods feel good for some, they’ve felt good for me at times, but in this precise moment they just don’t.

This blog isn’t intended to give you a five-part plan on how to launch. Instead, I want to share the psychology of launching your heart’s work into the world through a series of analogies.

I recently had a catch-up call with my dear friend, Amy Ahlers, and was whining about how unbelievably hard it is to launch. After a deep belly howl of true understanding, she apologized for laughing and listened to my fears. You see, I’ve helped Amy to launch Visionary Ignition Switch with Lissa Rankin, Find Your Calling with Lissa & Martha Beck, TWICE, not to mention helping dozens of other clients launch their big offerings out into the world. I’ve been on the back end many times – creating squeeze and sales pages, inputting bucket emails, building campaigns in Infusion Soft, noodling launch strategy and managing the customer experience. I know this process like the back of my freckled hand.

What I didn’t know, and the reason for Amy’s conspiratorial guffaws, was how tender it feels when it’s something you yourself have created and is something that is so near and dear to your heart. I imagine it’s akin to what a young guy must feel when he’s pined after a girl for years and finally gets the nerve up to ask her for coffee. Well, okay, maybe these days he texts her, but that doesn’t work for my analogy because it’s not as scary. No, in my analogy he’s loved her since they were two, he’s never had a single thought of another girl in his entire life and he has to ask her out, in person, just hours after a particularly grievous bout of acne and an outbreak of herpes simplex 1 on his lower lip.

That’s about how vulnerable I think one feels when they launch. Or… at least, that’s how I feel.

If the by-now-pockmarked-boy-asking-his-love-to-coffee analogy doesn’t work for you, how about this one: Project Runway! If you’ve seen the show then you’ve watched the designers running through Mood, jumping over Swatch the dog, sewing like the wind back in the work room, being snarky with their peers, trying to “Make it Work,” and showing their work to Heidi, Zac & Nina.  Well, I’ve done that behind the scenes work in terms of launching. I’ve shown up and sketched, found my fabric, pieced it together into something I believe is beautiful and shown it to a few people. Upon launching, however, it feels as if I’ve made it to New York Fashion Week and now I have to show it to the masses.  So, here’s what I’ve learned along the way; my commandments, if you will:

  1. Be Willing to Be Authentic: Listen to that Inner Voice, the one that never steers you wrong. Listen to the signs from your body, that’s your true north. From creation to debut, allow yourself to be completely 1000% authentically you. Let your offering come from your soul – tell us what you believe, tell us story, speak to us, and follow your feel good and intuition. Create something that you would sign up for in a nanosecond. If it doesn’t set you on fire and feel joyful, you likely haven’t hit the mark yet.
  2. Be Willing to Play: If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know if you’ll succeed or not. My amazeballs friend, Mike Robbins, who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals wrote about this in his book Nothing Changes Until  You Do in an essay called “Swing Hard (Just in Case You Hit It)”.  In this piece Mike writes about a peer, Geoff, who went on to play professionally who “never stopped swinging hard, and throughout his very successful major league career, he got quite a few hits (1,293 total) and hit a lot of home runs (221 total). He also struck out 1,186 times.”  Geoff never would have hit 1,293 balls without being willing to strike out 1,186 times. You have to be willing to put yourself in the game and play.
  3. Be Willing to Listen & Tweak:  When I first launched my Story Shape Shifting program, I’d given folks a ridiculously short span of time to sign up. It’s a high-end, platinum program that requires commitment and I barely gave folks time to tap in to feel whether it was right for them. After a bit of feedback and listening on my end, I moved the start date a month forward to November 20th, which gave both me and my clients space. It felt so good to listen to that feedback and make a decision I knew was right.
  4. Be Willing to Let Go: This is a tough one. There’s a lot of attachment that comes when you’re putting your heart out there. You’ve likely invested months of blood, sweat and tears into something you believe in infinitely more than Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Don’t intend to fail, but be willing to let go if it’s just not working. If it no longer feels fun and you’re finding yourself longing to drink Jim Beam out of a Dixie cup every night, it may be time to let go and try something else. Or… it may be time to look at the energy you have around your program. Or… it may be timing.  Allow yourself to really tap in and feel into what you know is true, whatever that may be. And… letting go isn’t just about letting go of your launch, it’s letting go of attachment to outcome. You’ve likely done everything you can do, allow yourself to sit back and enjoy the ride. (I’m so thoroughly enjoying this ride now that I’ve released my attachment.)

I’d love to hear your experience with launching a product or program. How did it feel for you? What were your results? Did you enjoy the process or is there something you would have done differently if given the chance? Any tips for our launchers out there?

With love & Black Pearl Oolong in my Dixie Cup,


Are Your Current Stories Serving You?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been telling a story that doesn’t serve me.

At least not any longer.

The story is this: I’m a behind-the-scenes type of gal who gets her kicks from supporting others. In other words, I’m not a leader.


In high school my best friend decided to try out for cheerleading and, being like any other teenage girl, I followed my friends like a good little lemming. I showed up to tryout practice every day with my 80’s hair swept up in a banana clip and yet I. just. wasn’t. getting. it. I’ve blocked out most of this memory, mainly the fact that I looked like Steve Martin in The Jerk trying to snap his fingers, yelling “Grandma, I got it!” when he clearly didn’t have “it” = an ounce of rhythm. Here’s what I do remember: a feeling of abject dread as I stood in the very back and watched the girls doing herkies and pikes. I promptly left the gymnasium and cried. For days. And I never went back. My friend made the team.

The next year my friends tried out for Drill Team and went on to become President and Vice President of that squad. During games I would show up in the locker room and help them with their costumes, pinning their Elvis hair with bobby pins and shaking the wrinkles from their spandex. I truly felt in my element – valued, of service and appreciated.

I could tell you a million other stories just like that one that occurred over the years, but let’s fast forward to 2009 when I took a job managing Lissa Rankin’s first book tour for What’s Up Down There? Over a period of a year or so I began to manage the behind-the-scenes of her entire online empire and in 2011 she referred me to another client Mike Robbins. On our first phone call he asked me why I wanted to work with him and I said something along the lines of “My passion is to support and lift up online business visionaries.” Mike never told me in that moment, but he didn’t quite believe me. We’ve talked about this a number of times over the past few years and each time he’s told me that he knew that there was something more for me than being behind the scenes supporting others. Truth be told, when I helped him with his third book Nothing Changes Until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way, he’s the one who gave me the initial inkling for my Book Shaman practice.

Just last week I was hiking with my dear friend & Good Vibe Coach, Jeannette Maw, and we were having a conversation about my experience on Martha Beck’s ranch with horse whispering. I told her of how I had just instinctively taken charge and rounded up some wild horses and we got to talking about support roles versus leadership roles. In that short chat, Jeannette had given me permission to look for evidence of where my old story was no longer true and that there was plenty of evidence of my own leadership over the years – in college, in work situations and in my own business.

Ever since I started noodling my Story Shape Shifting & Memoir Writing program, I’ve been questioning every story I’ve ever told; every story that comes up for me through my thoughts and my future-tripping and I’ve realized that I can find evidence on either side of every story. The question is which one will serve me in my life for my highest good?

I’ll tell you… right now it feels a lot more scrumptious to find all my evidence of leadership over the years, than to look at all the support I’ve given. Don’t get me wrong, being of support to others certainly served me for a long while and now, as I step out onto a bigger entrepreneurial stage, it doesn’t any longer. Just like that. I get to choose which story to tell now.

New Story:

I’m an amazing leader.

Which stories are you digging around looking for evidence to support? Is your current story truly serving you? And… if you’re longing to become a master storyteller, do check out my new program, applications are piling in since I’ve extended the deadline and I’m so excited for myself and the women who are saying YES! I could pee my pants.

P.S. If you’d like to hear me and Kristine Carlson, of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff fame, dish on the power of story and legacy, click here. It was such a power hour and a deep and beautiful conversation.

Shape-Shifting Your Story


I have an invitation for you.  But, first…

Whether we realize it or not, our lives revolve around stories and have done so since our cave painting days.

Picture it: Cave peeps hunkered down around a blazing fire situated in the middle of the dirt floor, gesticulating wildly about the day’s hunt while gnawing on cave lion drumsticks and wiping their greasy fingers on their loincloths.  The Shaman crouches alone in the corner capturing the story with images on the cave wall.

We are a people who exists by story.

I believe that story is everything. I believe that story shapes us – our past, our present and our future. I believe that story is integral to every aspect of our lives and there isn’t a moment in “time” when we’re not telling story. We relate to others through their stories as well.

Even our present thought in this moment is a story that we’re telling ourselves, albeit a short one. Perhaps back 30,000 years ago or so, one cave boy’s story was, “Me be trampled by mammoth if I leave my furs.” Was he a bit of an agoraphobe? Yes. Did the other cave kids sprinkle guano in his gruel when he wasn’t looking? Probably. Was he telling himself a story? Absolutely. Was it true? Likely not. 

The story you tell can make or break you and it determines the course of your life, as well as your level of happiness or unhappiness, as the case may be.

The Stories of Our Past:

We are constantly retelling our past stories – whether to ourselves, to those we’ve just met, or to those who’ve experienced them with us (or… to those who’ve already heard them a hundred times before.) Oftentimes, they morph into something that may not even be real. I once had a step-dad who was a tad warped. When I was in 7th grade or so I brought my report card home – all A’s and one B. I was so proud that the miniature frogs on my white turtleneck sleeve were all a blur from my frantically waving it through the air in front of him. His reaction wasn’t exactly what I had anticipated and he scoffed and berated me for that lone B. From that morning forward, he would grab up our vinyl soundtrack to the Wizard of Oz and play “If I Only Had a Brain”, on repeat,  until I left for school. Suffice it to say, I worked REALLY hard in school and still I felt dumb. I worried my grades like a starving cave bear must have worried a hive full of honey back in the day. And for many, many years I told that story to anyone who would listen. Fast forward thirty years to a pizzeria when I met my ex step-dad for dinner with the rest of the family. About ten minutes into our grub, he proceeded to tell the folks at the table how whip smart I was as a kid and what good grades I received. I sat there flabbergasted and choking on my slice of pepperoni pie. What different stories each of us told, though we had lived in the same time and space together. I’m sure you can imagine my shock in realizing that the story I’d been telling for the past thirty-odd years was a myth. While I had gotten over that experience many years before through deep forgiveness work and twisting it toward the positive ( hey, I was nominated for Valedictorian at the age of forty due to my tenacity, which I firmly believe was gained from this experience ), it shaped my reality for a long time in ways I wasn’t even aware of. It reminds me of Mark Twain’s brilliant words, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

If we become stuck in that painful story of our past we suffer and that is made manifest through troubles in our relationships, our health, our finances, our mental well-being and… Every. Other. Area. Of our lives. It colors the world around us and it most definitely shapes our current reality.

The Stories of Our Present:

There are a couple different present stories that we tell. Certainly we relay story when someone asks, “How was your day?” or when we describe our loathsome trip to the DMV where we had to sacrifice our first born to renew our driver’s license. But we also tell stories of our present through our thoughts. Our thoughts are simply a microcosm of story. Mini-stories, if you will. No so long ago I was running the story, “I’m never going to meet friends like me in Utah.” I played that story like Pa Ingalls played his fiddle = often, in the dark of the night, and to the rousing applause and rhythmic feet-stomping of my inner critic. And for three years I sat in my beautiful house every evening, eating buttered noodles and asparagus and watching, you guessed it, Little House on the Prairie. It took me rewriting my story, leaving the noodles and getting out of the  house before I did indeed meet some very like-minded, lovely people here – folks that have become dear to me.

The Stories of Our Future:

We tell stories of our future too and these are often told through our imagination, daydreaming, and… the ever-evil future-tripping. The stories we tell of our future can be told in only two ways: through the filter of love or through the filter of fear. I have such a vibrant story written in my head about when the first novel of my trilogy is published.

A synopsis: My publisher brings me to New York and I go down to the newsstand the morning of my book’s release and there is a raving review in the New York Times. Within weeks the book hits #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for fiction and stays there for forty-two weeks. It quickly becomes an international bestseller and the foreign rights sell like hotcakes. My second and third book come out within two years and are even more successful than the first. Millions of dollars flow to me from book deals and Guillermo del Toro reaches out about making a movie. Philip Pullman invites me to tea to discuss the work and we get into an in depth philosophical conversation about writing, the role of religion and the history of story. YUM!

Future stories can be so luscious, so expansive, and so full of joy that they make your toes curl.

Or they can feel absolutely dreadful…

When we choose to tell future stories from a place of fear we experience the opposite of joy and we often feel extreme anxiety as we tell them. In fact, I believe anxiety disorders are, in part, a future story set on repeat that includes doom and devastation and we’re playing the star role in the impending catastrophe. Let’s say I am telling a story about tornadoes. Mainly that I will die every time a strong gust comes. Each time the wind blows I am miles into the future picturing my home swooped up in a funnel, less elegantly than Dorothy’s, for sure. My mind quickly spirals into a horror story where I am maimed and pulled fifty thousand feet into the air and dropped. On a wooden picket fence. In Africa. Scary, no?

Can you feel the difference between these two future stories?

  • It’s super hard to get a book published traditionally these days. Writers definitely can’t quit their day jobs. Most writers suffer hundreds of rejections. The only chance I have is to self-publish and give copies to my five closest friends and my family members who are still walking this earth.
  • When I publish my memoir with Random House, I’m going to hit the New York Times bestseller list, win a Pulitzer and I will be offered multiple book deals.

Which story feels better to you? Do you notice what types of stories you’re typically telling? It takes but a moment on Facebook for me to tell what types of present and future stories my friends are telling. Those friends that are talking about how tired they are, how awful their day was, how miserable everything is, those are horror stories for sure. And, daily, there’s usually lots of evidence to support their stories.

And… we all have stories around money, around health, around relationships, around our work, etc… – past, present and future – and, unfortunately, we don’t often spend much time examining the stories we’re telling in each of these areas of our lives.

The Illusion of Time and Rewriting Your Story

But we can rewrite our story – past, present and future – at any time. I believe, like Albert Einstein, that time is an illusion. Einstein said that the “psychological origin of the concept of time… is undoubtedly associated with the fact of ‘calling to mind,’ as well as with the differentiation between sense experiences and the recollection of these.”‘ And, to boot, Einstein thought that, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”  Further, he said, “…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” Bear with my here, lest you think I’m nuts. My theory is that time is an illusion because we can alter our past, present and future based on the stories we tell. Mix in deliberate creation too – if our thoughts are mini-stories informing our lives, if thoughts become things, as they say – then we can simply change our stories. THAT, for me, is what makes time an illusion or makes time malleable because we can change the past, present and future just based on the stories we tell about them. We can “call to mind” something different.

Stories can and do change. In fact, fables, myths, fairy tales, even ancient texts – all have changed in their retelling. Some were altered through translation error, while others were just flat out altered to fit the times. Still others have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, think of the fisherman’s famed story of how big his catch was and how it increases over time. Even the bible has changed as translations altered it and new authors contributed to the work hundreds of years later. As it is with our stories, we ourselves are translators and often we don’t quite know how to speak the language for our highest good or we just aren’t sure how to tell a better story of ourselves or we’re just flat out stuck in the old stories that no longer serve us.

The Call to Adventure

The words that you’ve just read are the culmination of the past eight months of my life, my heart and my soul. I’m officially launching my Story Shape Shifting & Memoir Writing Program today, so if you found yourself lit up and a bit tingly, please read my full invitation here. Perhaps you’ll join me in writing your memoir and rewriting your past, present and future stories in order to create a whole, happy and thriving next chapter.

The Sucker Punch of Anxiety, Depression & PTSD


Years ago I ran screaming from Corporate America  after a scene eerily similar to that moment in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls when Ace walks into the room with all of the taxidermied animals on the wall and commences to freaking out before he utters, “…this is a lovely room of death.” I kid you not, I left my corporate job over “a lovely room of death.” (You can read the fuller story here, lest you think I jest.)

I moped around for a couple of years before I walked into a government mental health agency one day and asked for a job. It was strange. I had no qualifications in social work and yet somehow I was led down the hall to speak to the guy in charge and, in a fit of transparency, I told him I really needed a job, that I was whip smart, could learn anything, and that I would love to work for their organization and make a difference in the world. I explained that corporate life was not for me and I wanted to be of service. We discussed my background and after a few quiet moments he said, “You know, we’ve been considering hiring a Representative Payee and it sounds like you’d be the perfect fit.” Voila! I had a job in the mental health arena.

A Representative Payee (also known as a Protective Payee) is someone who manages the finances of those who receive Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have difficulty managing their money. I was to work with those clients who were chronically mentally ill and lived on site at one of our assisted living centers. I was stoked.

On my first day I donned my khakis, tucked in my polo shirt, slipped on my loafers, grabbed my briefcase (I don’t even want to hear it, thanks…) and drove the six miles to meet with my first client, we’ll call her Joan.

Me: “Hi, Joan, it’s great to meet you.”

[We both sit down at the gray specked formica table in a drafty kitchen of sorts.]

Joan: “I’m Pocahontas.”

I froze. I didn’t know what to say. I had no experience in dealing with this. Should I acknowledge that she is indeed Pocahontas or should I remind her that she is Joan? If I made the wrong choice would I set back her mental health? Quickly I decided that if she believed she was Pocahontas then I needed to let her be Pocahontas.  It didn’t really matter in the end, because in that 1/2 hour conversation she was also Janis Joplin and some dude named Bob.

As I drove home in my pickup that day I remember, very strongly, having the feeling that perhaps Joan, and all the others I met that day, were somehow more connected than I; that the veil was just thinner for them and they had direct access to something I couldn’t even glean.

I worked for that mental health agency for seven years, went to school for two years for psychology, and Joan was many, many different people over the years (my personal favorite was Dorothy Gale.) I always maintained that theory and feeling that I had on the first day – that those clients were special and that they had  more direct access than most of us.

Fast forward to today and I’m in the throes of dealing with mental illness right here at home. Anxiety, depression and PTSD have their deep claws in my boyfriend and I no longer have the distance, the khakis or the briefcase to buffer between the two of us.

His is not my story to share but, with his permission, I can share how this is affecting me.

Namely, I’m scared shitless and I loathe not being able to help. I’m a life coach, for hell’s sake, with all of these amazing tools in my bag and I can’t use a single one. Mainly due to the fact that I’m too close to this situation, but also because this is a job for therapists and I know the difference between life coaching and therapy. My guy is sick and our life has taken a big blow, one that I believe will heal, but that is still mighty painful and yellowing from the bruise.

What I know more than anything is that this is not my process. I can’t experience this for him. I have to let him feel what he feels and navigate his process, but let me tell you – when it’s someone you love this is excruciating. Sure, I can hold space, offer support, give my opinion, offer unconditional love, but I can’t change this or speed it up or make it go away. And mostly I’m okay with that fact. In the main, I feel calm and peaceful knowing that this is not my journey and though I’m walking alongside, I’m not walking through the storm itself, as he is. I have to say that does feel a lot more empowering than sobbing, beating my thighs and screaming, “Why us?”

I remember when I was suffering from pretty severe depression ten plus years ago. I think folks thought I should just suck it up and get out of bed. In fact, if memory serves, a few did utter words close to those. I would just look at them with droopy eyelids, rub my pasty cheeks and lie back down. I think we believe that mental illness isn’t a physical ailment. No one told me to get my ass out of bed post hysterectomy. In fact, people told me to rest, to take the time to heal, to not climb the stairs. Why don’t we do this when our brain needs healing? Shamefully, I believe all of this and then have the thought, “But there is something within you that needs to waken and fight.” Maybe it’s the survivor in us. Maybe it’s that we’re too scared from being in a situation outside of our control. Maybe it’s that we’re ignoramuses. I dunno.

If I’ve learned anything through all this it’s that I know nothing, though I have had one deep realization and that is that if I don’t take care of myself, there is no way I’m going to be able to be of support to him. So I’m being super kind to myself – reading lots of fiction, eating Cheetos Puffs (hey, that’s kind sometimes), and moving super slow (hence my long delay in writing this blog post.)

I’d be super grateful for some love sent our way through the ethers, but I’d also love to hear your experiences with mental illness, whether you’ve suffered yourself or you’ve loved someone who suffers. What are your thoughts on mental illness?

Sugar: Little White Devil & A Post Op Update


Well I went and did it.  For those who read my Hysterectomy? Or No? blog, I said, “yes, please,” and went under the knife on April 10th. I’m in love with my surgeon, he did an amazing job. Apparently, because of my Stage IV endometriosis, he spent a fair amount of time chiseling what he described as a “brick” out of my lower back.  I don’t know the medical term, but I haven’t had a single instance of the sciatica or the lower back pain that had been plaguing me for years. Phew! My very basic understanding, for those of you who don’t know (I certainly didn’t), is that new endometriosis is soft, pliable and often red, “middle-aged” endometriosis is more the color of chocolate and acts like super-glue which can bind shit together (literally), and “crone” endometriosis can “calcify” into a brick. Obviously, I’m not a doc and when I was listening to my surgeon describe this I was higher than an old redwood in Muir Woods so I may not have all the medical terminology down.

I’ve been recovering nicely. I spent some time counting the invisible bugs on my skin while popping Percocet, listening to Joseph Campbell’s Mythos video series and eating Jell-O. Ya know, healing kind of stuff. I’ve also been experiencing hot flashes. All. Day. Long. Oh, and at night, I wake up and my bed has been mysteriously transported into the fiery depths of Hades and even my knuckles are covered in a sheen of sweat. I’ve also lost half the hair on my head, luckily I have a lot so I’m not bald. Yet.

Before the surgery my doc gave me cleansing orders by way of a little product called GoLYTELY. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that this is the most misguided name of a product that I have ever heard in the history of products. It’s even more misleading than Grape Nuts® which contain no grapes or nuts or Bac’n Bits® which contain zero bacon.  GoHEAVILY… GoUNTILtheENDofTIME… GoUNTILyouHAVEnothingLEFTtoGIVE – those are more apt names.  Just sayin’. After my bowels were so sparkling clean that you could eat off of them, I went in for my surgery. I cried, I contemplated my mortality, I fussed with my compression socks, I talked about the weather with my anestiseoligist in a drafty hallway and then I remember notta until I received my first meal.

As you may remember from my Ode to Sugar post, I had been on a functional doctor-ordered diet of cray-cray: no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no fun. I had advised the hospital pre-surgery about the restrictions and when they placed my first meal before me I was confused.  There were three items: apple juice, orange Italian ice, and strawberry Jell-O.  The apple juice was fine, no sugar there, aside from what’s in the fruit, but the icy thingie and the Jell-O both listed sugar as their second ingredient on the labels.  Hmmm… I may have been on morphine, but I could still read. My next meal looked the same. And my next after that.  Even when I was switched to soft foods, they continued to give me the Italian ice full of sugar.

Here’s the thing many of you already know about me, I have absolutely no moderation censor in my body. It had taken months to wean me off of sugar and here it was before me, glistening, beckoning, and I ate all of it, every single time. Plus I was “sick” and felt I deserved a treat. I had been hoping to stay clean for at least for a week or two, but alas.

And now that I’ve started on the white stuff, I just can’t seem to say no. When I do claw my way through a day without some kind of glaringly obvious sweet stuff, I’m eating potato chips, crackers and bread which, let me shoot straight here, act just like sugar on the glycemic index chart so they’re just as bad.

The more I learn about the little white devil, the more I realize that it’s everywhere. EVERYWHERE – even so called “health food” sold at grocery stores nowadays, which boasts “All Natural”, “Gluten-Free”, Non-GMO; even foods that are chock full of quinoa, buckwheat and flax seed, still contain the little white devil. Despite the fact that it takes me four hours to shop, I’ve started reading labels and learning some of the hidden names for sugar: sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, dextrose, just to name a few, and cane, maltodextrin, corn syrup, and diatase. Frankly, I can’t even keep track. Just believe me when I say it’s everywhere. That yogurt you’re eating, yup. That soup you’re slurping, yup. You’re not gonna believe this one… that Stevia in the Raw® you just dumped in your coffee… contains dextrose.  Yup, there’s sugar in your sugar alternative.

I’ve heard some rave reviews of the documentary Fed Up (trailer clip below) and I can’t wait to see it, but in the interim, I’m going to prolly just have to go through withdrawals once again. I’m going to have to start  using bananas in lieu of the white stuff. I’m gonna have to spend even longer amounts of time in the grocery store reading labels and purchasing my groceries on the outer periphery of the store. And… I’m going to have to spend more time cooking my own meals with ingredients that don’t come in a box, jar or can.

I’d love to hear your personal story around the white stuff.  Are you as addicted as I am? Do you read labels? Cook at home? Or is this info new to you too?


How to Launch an Offering


I recognize that this post may tick some people off. And… I’m going to write it anyway.

I had a moment yesterday on Facebook, as I was scrolling through my feed, when I literally wanted to fling my precious iPhone across the room. Post after post after post was an offering for an online course, a teleseminar, a retreat, a telesummit, a training…  I couldn’t get away from them. Where were the folks bitching cryptically about something that happened which they were never actually going to share the details of? I’d have much rather seen that or a meme about Justin Bieber or one of those sad puppy rescue videos that pipe Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” throughout and make me bawl until snot is running down my chin.

My reaction got me thinking.  First of all, with full transparency, I will say that I’m noodling a new offering myself. I’m waiting for more info from the Big U(niverse) and I’m immersing myself in the works of Joseph Campbell and Lewis Mehl-Madrona as I await further instruction, but the thought of “launching” or doing it in the same ‘ole way makes me want to swallow an anvil.  (No, not an Advil, an actual anvil.)

I further wondered to myself: why are some programs working and selling like proverbial hotcakes while others flop? My hypothesis is that it’s the person who’s holding said retreat, telesummit, program, blah, blah, blah. When you launch something, it’s YOU people are buying. Martha Beck could hold a course on learning to crochet with chicken intestines and I’d be there brandishing an aluminum hook. Anne Lamott could hold a retreat in the sewers of London on a warm, sunny day in August and I’d be there wearing my purple galoshes. If Philip Pullman invited me to an event where I’d be required to eat pickled baby diarrhea on rye I would bring my own forks.

When I read through the sales page of an offering or I see all these promotional things strewn all over Facebook land, I think what’s irking me is a sense of not feeling the person holding it; not feeling their pure passion around their subject matter. In my years of work in the online entrepreneurial world I’ve seen clients who’ve launched programs they’re not really hyped about but they feel that they’ll make money. A great example of this is the “diet program.” You know the ones – “Lose 5 LBS in 5 Seconds.” Most folks know diet programs are money makers and, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE money. I have a great relationship with money, I think money is awesome and money is just energy after all. But if you’re not passionate about it, well, that’s going to come through energetically. There are plenty of peeps out there running very successful weight loss programs, Susan Hyatt and Brooke Castillo come to mind, the difference is that they’re crazy passionate about it and that shines through like a beacon in the sewers of that Anne Lamott retreat I’d sign up for.

Here’s the thing. There is SO much out there, so many offerings, so many people, so many programs, so much information. And I’m guessing 90% of the folks making an offering really have their full hearts in them and they’re most likely chock full of AMAZE.  So why wouldn’t they do well?  Is it over consumption? Is it inundation? Or could it be that we don’t see you?

When I search “Make More Money”, a common program I see, I find 2,900,000,000 results on Google.  When I look for “Grow Your Business”, another big theme of offerings, I would have to wade through 571,000,000 results.  ACK!  What differentiates you from the herd? What makes your program special? What’s your personal story around your offering and why are you so passionate about it? What unique part of YOU can only you provide to the world? What about you is different?  What do you truly love and what lights you up like nothing else? What one (or two… or five… or twenty) things do you absolutely feel that you MUST share with the world? Those are the questions I think we should be asking before we put something out onto the net.

At the same time I also want to allow for the magic to appear around my offerings without my usual pushiness and anal attention to detail. When I launched my coaching business I had no clue whatsoever that it would morph into my Book Shaman work as well. The Big U delivered that with a large red bow and it’s been one of the greatest gifts of my life (and a dream come true to boot.)  So, as I ponder my own next big thing, I’m giving myself lots of space to nap, to read, to find the perfect pen (a quest I’ve been on since I was eleven), and to consider what would make me squeal with joy to put out into the world. In fact, I’m just trying to follow the joy, period, and if the joy involves peanut butter and apricot jam, I’m out shopping for bread. I’m considering what I’m about, what uniqueness I can bring, including being able to eat a whole bag of Almond Joy pieces in one sitting. It’s all important, and it’s all me taking every one of my traits, pains, experience, lessons and each ounce of knowledge I’ve gleaned and mixing them up, adding in spice, and seeing how it tastes and then letting it simmer some more. Not to mention, leaving space for the magic might also mean that my offering looks like nothing that exists in my limited brain.

One thing I know for sure: Launching, for me, will look different than all the launches I’ve personally been involved with before, but that’s a post for another time – I have much to say about launches.

I am curious though… since this is just my hypothesis and I’m still batting it about, what pieces am I missing? What do you think makes for a successful offering? Why do you buy one program over another? What is it that compels you to say “yes?” What makes you say “hell no?”

Copycat, Copycat


I’m not sure who learns more when I’m coaching a client – me or my client.  Perhaps it’s how a teacher feels when a genius kid shows up in their classroom and starts to school them. Either that or they mix up a stiff vodka cranberry, eat the ends of their pencils and curse their fate, I’m not sure.

I’ve been pondering the occurrence of copycatting as of late.  You know what I mean, right? When someone close to you, or even those not so close, try to either become you or they do every single thing that you do, just one or two steps behind. Most of us do this as teenagers. If I had been given a hunk of gold every time my mom told me, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, you would follow them,” I’d not only have a golden palace, I’d probably have a golden kingdom. The answer then was, yes, of course I would have. I was fifteen, indestructible and my friends were my life.

But I see it today too, and I still do this.  When I first met Martha Beck at her ranch in California I wanted to crawl right into her and wear her skin like a little meat tuxedo. There was such a peaceful presence within her and an inner power that felt palpable. I felt as if she were talking to me without saying a single spoken word. It was quite dizzying. I so admired the life she had built, I loved the inner tribe of spiritual seekers that she surrounded herself with and I too wanted a life where I was enveloped by horses, mountain lions and bears, oh my. It’s likely, in part, why I signed up and completed her Life Coach training. Not to mention the fact that I felt like I had come home and was able to see that there was a term for someone doing what I was doing in the world – Life Coach.

I’ve had people try to replicate my life as well. Folks who have wanted to become a coach like me. Peeps who have modeled their businesses after mine. Women who wanted to write in a similar voice. Girls who have gone back to college later in life because I did. Some have even copied my signature hair-do (which is the most egregious of all because, most of the time, my hair looks like an errant Q-Tip that has been shuffled around in a travel bag for the past twenty years or so.)

The thing is I never really understood why, until a few days ago on a coaching call with one of my dearest clients.  Jill Dryer, (who has graciously given me permission to write about her and our conversation) is probably one of the most creative women I know. Her energy is that of hummingbird meets eagle and you can literally feel her creative juice crackling through the phone line on our weekly calls. As we began to talk about copycatting which, by the way, is how it goes in coaching – if you’re noodling something in your own life, invariably your client will bring it up. (Is it collective consciousness? I don’t know, but it’s sometimes just flat out eerie.)

Anyhoo… as we were discussing this phenom, Jill said, “Think of the Tour de France.  If you’re trying to find your rhythm or you don’t know your way, it’s okay to ride behind the person in front of you, it gives you momentum and helps you to see where you’re going. It’s called drafting.”

My jaw dropped to the floor as this lil’ gem sunk into my bones. That’s why we do this.  I don’t want to be Martha and wear her meat suit. Truly I don’t, plus it would be completely psychotic and gross. I just needed to draft along behind her for a bit to test my speed, the wind, the climb and the terrain until I had the gumption to push out on my own and let the wind hit me straight in the face without buffer.

And all these peeps who are trying to replicate me, well, I don’t know why they’d ever want to, for one, but I get it.  It’s because they haven’t quite figured out what they are supposed to do so they’re riding along behind, using the momentum of the path I’m forging to test their own paths.

The best part of figuring all of this out was later realizing that no one is ever in the lead, really.  Even though some folks may be further down the path, (like Oprah or J.K. Rowling,) it’s not a race.  There’s not a first place or a second place or even a last place because we all have a different finish line that is as individual as we are.  Not only that, our paths are wholly different. While I have started out drafting behind some amazing women throughout my life, my course has veered and each time I’ve found my own way. (But… boy am I thankful they were peddling before me.)  However, just as certain as I am in this moment that I’m going it “alone”, invariably I will ride up behind someone who models something else for me, and I’ll rest a spell in her draft, getting a sense for the speed and route, before I forge on “alone” again. And so the “race” goes.

This is dedicated to all those trailblazers and all those fierce peddlers who have gone before me, gracious, amigas.  I’d love to hear who you would like to thank for allowing you to draft behind them. Tell me about your copycat stories.

With burning thighs,


P.S. For those of you who read my Hysterectomy? Or No? blog, I’ve gone and done it… I’ll be having the surgery next Thursday, 4/10/14. Prayers and healinig juju welcome. This means I’ll be off my blog for a bit eating sugar-free JELL-O and counting the number of invisible bugs on my skin.  But… rest assured, I’ll be back.