Beyond the Obvious



There are big surprises wrapped up in joy, because carrying a joyful heart means you've chosen to see things differently. You've chosen to see beyond the obvious into another realm. In fact, in my assessment, realms of glory couldn't be incased in anything other that the Father's joy.  

Joy then is a kind of portal that awakens the hallowed within, allowing us to laugh when the world's dark prognosis is pronounced, because of a supernatural interpretation of God's unending goodness.  Some might think this is foolishness, but I rather think of it as other worldly.

It takes no special skill to be fearful, but being at peace and carrying joy takes a sight and perspective adjustment. It takes a faith that is divine rather than human. Our greatest defense is joy! But this is quite different that the insincere, inauthentic saccharin off-loading behavior Brenè Brown calls, The Umbridge. This nice southern, church going behavior, also exhibited in cultures other than the south, is often deflecting a greater truth. Brown writes about this behavior in, Rising Strong

"It's present when light and dark are not integrated at all. There's almost something foreboding about overly sweet and accommodating ways. All that niceness feels inauthentic and a little like a ticking bomb." Brown named The Umbridge after the J.K. Rowling character Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix who wears sweet pink suits, cutesy pillbox hats and tortures children. Brown tells us that those that claim to never feel angry or upset, and are always positive, are often masking true pain and hurt. These are red flags.

It's taken me a darn long time to recognize that their is always more beyond the words that might appear lovely, but whose behavior defies it. There is always more beyond the obvious. Getting curious about our real emotion is where we reckon with it, rather than off-loading it. This is where we give ourselves permission to feel, get curious about what we are feeling and be uncomfortable with it until we see what it wants us to know.

A few years ago I awoke to the New Year hearing the word, Incongruent in my spirit. The next two years that followed introduced wave after wave of discovery, unearthing "good girl" behavior that greatly conflicted with what I knew to be true for myself. As if I was a bystander watching my behavior for the first time, I was astounded at the things I found myself doing and participating in that my heart was protesting against, but the disconnect and off-loading of emotion had allowed me to continually betray myself.

After the initial heartbreak of realizing how much I had dishonored my own wellbeing in rote, approval seeking behavior (definite joy robber) I began to experience absolute joy and bliss at the awakening and freedom of choosing how I would best care for myself.

Last night as I launched a new Rising StrongTM Group, as a certified facilitator of Brenè Brown's work, amazing women shared about present hardships and rough realities in their lives. I was struck by the fact that they had courageously chosen to show up, be seen and learn new ways of speaking about their emotions and pain, so that instead of coping they could learn to truly care for themselves. We each wrote permission slips that helped us begin the journey of defining for ourselves what we needed to feel safe and successful in the group and practicing wholeheartedness to move beyond the swampy ground known as the Delta to rise strong.

It's only when we get curious about our inner world, own our pain and darkness that we can truly and authentically experience joy.  Joy is not something we put on, but a deep living reality available when we choose to be courageous. The more we honestly acknowledge the truth about where we are and get curious in the discovery, we can return to joy.

There is much discovery hidden beyond the obvious. While many coaches focus on goal setting, every goal winds its way back to a deeper inner reality. Every disappointment, expectation, relationship difficulty, and career launch, though often seeming to be outer issues, interesting leads its way back to how we handle life and the illusive stuff beyond the obvious. 

Day 7 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days is entitled: Beyond the Obvious. To follow daily posts by artist around the world visit . And come back for this months daily posts right here!

Day 12 Webbles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down

Day 19 Webbles 2

Being a person generally perceived as strong and hopeful, I am always surprised at the surprise of others when I have the occasional off day. You know how it is; sometimes you seem to be spinning in a different frequency from your normal, your vision is blurred, causing an inability to see through the here and now to a greater reality.


It’s always in those times that I expand and discover more (I hope you do to.) The light comes to illuminate my darkness and I see better than before. I discover yet another illusion camouflaged as reality.


It’s easy to panic in that wobbly space before the dawn, as if the dawn isn’t coming! But when I think over my life, I realize that even in times of wobble, I have never landed on my backside without the grace to go on. I have an anchor living in me. This anchor of hope is what consistently keeps me afloat and steady even with my occasional wobbles.


Sometimes all we see is the struggle and so we fret, or those around us wring their hands in helplessness to assist. What we forget is that the occasional gap that may cause momentary trashing, results in greater expansion of vision and perspective. We can best support others when trusting and resting in the process, as we ourselves are carried into a greater grace. When we see others and ourselves through the lens of fullness instead of preoccupation with the struggle, we find ourselves aligning with this reality.


To pretend that we never wobble is hogwash! The more we are transparent about our wobbles the more permission we give others to be real about their own. No one lives without occasional wobbles. The question is whether in the times of wobble and lack of clarity, do we grasp that hope is the anchor that does the steadying?



Day 3 Joy Unspeakable


Step into your freedom

I really don’t like it when people of faith shove their faith like a bitter cold slap in the face of others. I don’t like it when rather than love; there seems a need to prove something or to win an argument. When faith is expressed in mere words, instead of through love in action I find the reality incongruent and lacking.


That’s probably why I don’t generally push my faith outwardly onto others. I’ve been stung by religious pontificating as much as the rest of the world. I’ve disliked the faith community’s elitism that harmed my family and often continues to be threated by our lack of interest in rule keeping and many things that fly in the face of everything about Christ and the Trinity’s love for mankind.


And yet how do I live from a place that is authentic to me, my faith reality, my often struggle with this community and my love for the world in or out of my faith inclination? That has been the dilemma for sometime and so in 2015 I hope to embrace more love for myself in this space and for others who are willing to stand with open hands declaring that they do not know it all, or have the corner on the market. In my book, relationship is paramount (yes messy and imperfect) but without it I am not interested in any gymnastics that may seem spiritual but lacks the reality of love. Activities without relationship are usually counterfeit, or lacking depth at the very least.

The fact still remains that some thirty years ago I had a life encountering, rearranging divine appointment that took me from a suicidal mess, overcome by bulimia and uncontrollable binging, to being instantly healed of a six-year eating disorder that controlled and almost stole my life. Its one of those encounters that really can’t be explained and most certainly can never be stolen, because I know the impact of this divine intervention in my life. I also know the reality of the continuous daily divine intervention I receive, not to mention after being a 36-year-old widow with four small beautiful children carried through the difficult transition with love and grace. And then after seven years of single parenting miraculous being given a brave man to love my children and me when at the time it seemed like an impossibility, because most men ran for their lives. 


I know the miraculously reality of coming through many a devastation with a settled sense of worth and identity and more love and joy than I could have ever anticipated. And I know that the joy in my life is no longer contingent on my successes, my circumstances, others opinion of me, or anything other than God’s faith and outrageous love that carries me and is alive within me. This bountiful love is still constantly being demonstrated toward mankind.  


Having had such experiences has altered the way I live and see life. It's the reason I experience life as a joyous celebration. So as I look to 2015 from a place of belief, and a joyful and exuberant creative welcome to the new, I'd say its time to step into the abundance of freedom! Today's art journaling image above is not new, but I felt it calling to me, reminding me of the freedom and joy available to us should we choose to recognize it. Day 3 unspeakable joy is on my mind. What does unspeakable joy (even in hard times) mean to you?



Do You Ever Suffer From A Vulnerability Hangover?

DW_HeavyQuoteImages5Do you ever find yourself hiding out? You share or express a part of yourself and feel over exposed and want to duck out of sight.

In my line of work I experience this all the time. A client or a friend shares intimate parts of their life and then suddenly pulls back and hides.

Some people live in this perpetual state of incongruence and self-betrayal, flip flopping from one attempt to protect and project an image to another. Never settling into the comfort of their beautiful true-blue selves.

Why does this get triggered?

The reason is: Shame Triggers.

Shame is a powerful emotion and when it gets triggered we want to hide, rewind and protect.

We all experience this whether we recognize it or not. Shame is universal and we all have learned behaviors that attempt to protect us when we experience shame's messages of, "I'm not enough" or "I'm not lovable." It's these triggers that keep us from being real, authentic, and vulnerable.

Shame is what has taught us to adapt "good girl" or overly responsible behavior even when we're betraying ourselves at the core. It's taught us to strive for perfection, bully, alienate, perform and hide, just to name a few shame induced shields.

I never knew I had shame, but researcher Brenè Brown tells us in her body of work and best selling book, Daring Greatly, that we’ve all got it. It doesn’t have to come from a traumatic experience, although shame is experienced as trauma.

Shame robs us of what we really want

We were made for love and belonging and the only way we can experience the kind of connection we crave is through vulnerability, showing up, being seen and living bravely. Sometimes this is downright hard, because we're afraid if we show up we wont be accepted. But we must continue showing up, being seen, learning to ask for what we need, being authentic, vulnerable, courageous and circling back around when we blow it, if we want community, connection, and true relationship.

We won't ever do this perfectly. In fact, the desire to be perfect is shame driven in itself! Chew on that a while! The thing is we can always come back around and say, “You know what? That wasn’t what I wanted to say” or “That wasn’t really me.” “This is how I truly feel” or “I wasn’t really there for you, because I was afraid you’d judge me. Can we start again?”

Showing up and being seen doesn’t mean we just blab our deepest, darkest secrets with the stranger in the grocery store. It means we share ourselves with trusted sources. Trust is a two way street. It’s hard to build it from one side. It takes two people willing to show up, be authentic, empathetic, non-judgmental, and present. Where there is a lack of trust there is some sort of empathic failure and we all fail at empathetically walking in another's shoes. A willingness to show up, be seen authentically and truthfully is a great start on our part, but we can't make someone show up who doesn't want to.

I sure am tired of putting myself in places that are void of transparency, vulnerability and authenticity, but instead are filled with empty niceties that further facilitate confused messages and incongruence, aren’t you? That is why we need to understand shame, stop running from it and claim our true identity. Isn't it time to break the shame barrier in your life? Isn’t it time to dare greatly, show up, be seen and live bravely?

If you share the vision of being a woman who is known for authenticity, courage, transparency and love (beginning with the woman in the mirror) and you'd like to dare greatly and live whole heartedly, I invite you to participate in the upcoming Daring Way™ retreat. Make wholehearted living your priority. Hurry to register! Space is limited. Join us this September! Find information here!

Are You A Jonah?

Whale freeI am a Jonah. I’ve been a runner most of life. You’d think Asthma would have slowed me down, but I’ve always kept my track shoes primed and ready for an exit.  I’m darn skilled with an exit plan. We moved thirteen times before I graduated from high school, so I’m well trained.

I imagine most of us at some time or another have been some kind of Jonah, taking off in our own direction despite what’s best for us and despite true north flashing the way home. I sure have taken many a detour, not always intentionally, but blindly boarded ships heading in the wrong direction until I awoke from my confusion and received tutelage in the belly of my own whale!

It would be nice if I could read a story like Jonah and not have to live it, but truth be told, I learn from life experience. I usually have to “live it to learn it.” I have to be so wrapped up in seaweed; ready to surrender, before I can come up for air, stand beachside, soggy but liberated with a new handful of gold. 

Some of you might be thinking,

“Boy, she’s come through a lot, but why is she always talking about this inner work? Doesn’t she know that will kill her business? Why did she stop dead in her tracks during that expensive mastermind, chirping about incongruence? Or why is she always focusing on authenticity, vulnerability, getting clear of shame and finding your true Creator made identity? What a buzz kill! Give me that fast ship heading to blitz town!”

In which case I would say,

“Did you miss the part where Jonah was heading in the opposite direction from where God told him to go and was intercepted by an appointment with a whale?”

Been there done that!

Those, like me, that are tenacious and have heard all the brave “Never Give Up” anthems might think you only need apply a little more stick-to-itiveness and voila your in business. You might be thinking, “I got this doing-it-my-way-success-thing”, while you count your coins on the way to the bank. But your counterfeit deposit will prove meaningless later, while an awkward and uncomfortable course correction now, will result in a lasting deposit in the future.

When you’ve been in the dark belly of a whale long enough, suddenly like Jonah you recognize your captivity, misalignment and the blindness you couldn’t previously perceive.  Suddenly your whale becomes an immense gift when you discover that those with the most toys don’t win. In fact, they end up empty and bankrupt.

Most people get wrapped up in plenty of seaweed at sometime or another in search of the right fit and a deep sense of love and belonging. Researcher Brenè Brown tells us that the difference between those that abide in the sweet pocket of love and belonging and those that struggle for it, is simply that they believe they’re worthy of it. That’s it!

So running out of town to avoid disapproval, or sailing on a ship named “hustle for acceptance” or sporting some ill-fitting mask to gain what you think is missing is actually like taking a huge detour on the slow boat to China. I’ve tried it! Every feel like you’re on the slow bus, while everyone else is sailing through? Ever feel like you can’t compromise the slightest or you end up, well, compromised and you can’t figure out how others get away with it. The truth is they don’t!

When Deciding Which Ship to Board, Remember:

The ramification of surrendering to true identity fidelity, purpose and value congruence that arrests your appetite from the superfluous is entirely different than giving up due to a lack of faith and discouragement. In truth, it takes huge faith to pass on the shinny carrot of “You-can-have-it-all-now-Mardi-Gras-style,” for a less blingy internal upgrade of peace, congruence and true worth without ever lifting your skirt.

If you’ve had a belly of a whale (slow boat to China) encounter it’s probably dawned on you that you just can’t out run God. There’s no hiding place, mantra, program, or strategy that will outwit the upstairs team, or change the results of a misdirected route or unrealized true identity.

Are you feeling a little squirmy in your gut, because these words are hitting their mark? It’s hard to dismiss or shift the blame when the personal-application-finger is pointing straight at you. Believe me I know!

If you’ve been chasing after all the quick fix, blitz makers, while your insides feel conflicted and betrayed, I challenge you to stop dead in your tracks, get quiet and ask for the eyes of your heart to be opened so that you can truly see. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been avoiding, or running or shuffling or hustling. Today you can turn the ship around, head back to port for the start of something true!

If you want support in getting the seaweed untangled, to experience a new sense of love and belonging, congruence with your inner values and focus on what truly matters, contact me about personal coaching or hosting a workshop for your small group with the same intent.

Join us for The Daring Way™ Retreat May 2nd and 3rd near beautiful Asheville, NC and start the journey to live brave, find congruence and celebrate whole hearted living.

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Debunking Cool

Debunk CoolDuring the mornings radio program I do with life coach Nicole Greer entitled, A Little Bit Vibrant and A Little Bit Moxie discussing the trap of perfectionism, I shared about an experience I had when I belonged to a support group for widows that ranged in age from a woman in her eighties to me, the youngest, in my mid thirties. This lively, engaging group supported one another in re-configuring life amidst widowhood.


Robin Hood had his band of mighty men, and I had a band of widows that helped me rediscover my passion and gusto for life. With one foul swoop all of my neatly ordered ducks had fallen out of a row and any idea of a magazine ready life had ended up on its backside.


This precious band of warriors met regularly for lunch and once attended a Friday night party at an Arthur Murray Dance Studio. The way these parties worked was that while guest we’re drinking the liberally poured champagne, dance instructors moseyed around the room with an invitation for a spin on the dance floor in hopes of enticing us into dance lessons.As each dashing instructor took the hand of an unsuspecting assailant giggles combusted. With a hand to the hip and a tug to pull each fledgling dancer closer into an instructor’s chest, bashful excitement erupted.


Not one gloomy wildflower sat off to the side, as this ruckus band of rosy-cheeked widows laughed and spun the night away. Little attention was given to Downton Abbey propriety as each of us was swept into the exuberance of the gut splitting time of our lives.


Retelling this story during the radio broadcast awakened a spark of remembrance that had my insides twirling and my cool factor disarmed. There’s a beautiful synchronicity that occurs when we welcome our vulnerability, rather than our feeble attempts to avoid its presence.


Letting Go go of the Secrecy Code

Although much of the effort given to the cool factor of perfectionism is manifested on the outside in attempts to “look good”, its really an attempt to cover over the “not enough” feelings that nag at us on the inside. Changing this tendency can’t be reversed merely by rules, or behavior modification, but requires a willingness to be seen as we truly are and a deeper internal rewiring and transformation. Openness to speak about your story and let go of secrecy is an important step in practicing authenticity and vulnerability.


When those fear driven scarcity feelings cause us to armor up through performance, perfectionism, and striving, the greatest thing we can do for ourselves is let go, laugh at our need to be cool, (remember a funny personal story to break the intensity, like my toilet paper story that I talk about in my book, Untamed Heart  ;-) ,  show self-compassion and joyfully practice gratitude and authenticity.


In waving good-bye to perfectionism, we’re accepting the invitation to show up to life, get out on the dance floor and live in all of our messy exuberance, which is by far a superior reality than a half lived life.


Join us for The Daring Way™ Retreat May 2nd and 3rd and celebrate your messiness and willingness to show up, practice being bold and being seen. Register today, space is limited. For information find us at:

Duped By Shortsightedness

Get raw signedIt’s said that only those who know they’re blind can begin to see.


If we all stood naked, no designer clothes, no big houses, no fancy cars or exotic spreads to add to our importance, I imagine we’d view each other differently. Suddenly, we’d see each other in a new light. Judgments would disintegrate, superiority and inferiority would find their balance and we’d each be a lot more alike than we imagined.


I don’t like the idea of being shortsighted or duped by illusion, but the fact is none of us can see our own blind spots or what’s hiding in the dark below the surface. We each have veils that cause distortion and keep us from seeing clearly, veiled by our experiences, opinions and general shortsightedness. It’s sad, but we’ve judged each other based on our limited beliefs or perceptions. We’ve fallen for the illusion of what we think we see, when we’re actually blind.If we put ourselves across the table from one other maybe we’d see our own fear hiding beneath our finger pointing and indignation. Maybe we’d have compassion for our neighbor. It’s compassion that allows the veil over our heart and eyes to fall off.


It’s a hallowed experience when life gives us a reality-jarring look at the garb we’ve chased after to hide our own emptiness and darkness. Truth, however, is never found hiding in the darkness. It always seeks to remain in the light. It’s only when we allow who we are to be exposed that we can come into the light.


The life I am determined to live is one where I am free from the compulsion to hide, or posture, but where I courageously continue showing up with compassion and love for others and myself. This is not a life of perfection, but one where the more I acknowledge my limitations; the more grace I open myself up to receive. The more shame I bring out of hiding, the more freedom I partake of.


It’s a life where instead of seeking approval from the crowd, I find God’s love and acceptance. When I walk in the reality of divine love, the need to veil myself with armor, reject or disassociate from another becomes an increasingly bitter taste in my mouth.


If you want to refocus your sight, grow your self and other compassion, courageously show up, celebrate your imperfections and learn to live wholeheartedly join professional life coaches Nicole Greer and myself for, The Daring Way™ Retreat, based on the work of Brenè Brown. Hosted near beautiful Asheville, North Carolina on May 2nd and 3rd. Do it for yourself! Space is limited, so register today at



Are You a Creative Incubator?

1975107_10151931338397121_1841359881_nSome people have a natural gift that brings order to the world, others are gifted at overseeing aspects of life, and then there are those who actually create and walk out new ways of seeing, thinking, being and living. I think of these as Creative Incubators.

I am a Creative Incubator.  I began seeing the world in this unique fashion during childhood when I took odd broken pieces of jewelry, watches and gadgets and reconfigured them into jewelry and art. This was long before the steam punk movement emerged, or I recognized that life design happens in a similar fashion.

This way of seeing things calls for a second look, evokes a new question or causes one to consider the possibilities, but it’s only visible to those who are willing to pull aside and explore beyond the beaten path. The beaten path is not usually where Creative Incubators thrive.

Being a Creative Incubator requires the ability to grow comfortable with the unknown. It’s not that I’ve actually ever been comfortable with the unknown, but I’ve gained a willingness to sit with the unknown while letting it morph, speak, gain shape and move through my open hands. Sometimes I resist this. Sometimes I ignore the promptings, busying myself, or simply disengaging and devaluing the rays of inspiration I allow to flitter out of reach.

Laurie Beth Jones wrote in The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for life, “Most of us are still caught in the past. Few of us can see beyond the present. Each of us must see into the future, and thus help create it, if we are to successfully accomplish our mission.”

Just yesterday morning after having previously begun this blog post I awoke from a dream where I was creating art, shaped like a church building. When I awoke I somehow I knew that I was to engage in a new series entitled: Faith Redefined. Because of my own personal journey with faith and faith culture I knew that the dream was speaking about creating something new, something authentic, raw, and beautifully redefined. I knew that boldly standing in the place of speaking truth and life through my art was an act of releasing aspects of shame, fear and judgment that have been trapped in faith cultures for eons and hindering the true reflection of beauty.

The creative process is not only a way of processing life, but also a way of giving birth to new life. Not all Creative Incubators are artists in the traditional sense, but are in some fashion bringing forth change and newness.

Are you a Creative Incubator? Do you struggle to articulate or understand what flutters within your being until you begin to walk it out, expressing and formulating inspiration as if through the beating of your wings against your own inner walls? Then suddenly a freed butterfly emerges, or a grounded bird takes flight. Are you amazed to see the stirring you struggle to identify morphing into a threshold of possibility?

What Creative Incubators Need

Caring for a Creative Incubator is paramount, because these are the ones that are easily trampled under foot or wrapped in the very bob wire they're meant to release. When this happens the world looses a fragrance like no other, a beauty that can’t be seen through muddled waters, a sound so stirring that only those listening have the privilege to hear.

These beat to a unique sound. Though they can lead the procession they’re often unseen, constrained from running with the pack or building castles.

If you’re a Creative Incubator you know when your soul is thirsty and your spirit longs to be quenched. You know that you can’t keep up with others that seem unaffected by what you sense in the atmosphere, threatening your peace and resolve. It's important to learn tips to care for yourself or other Creative Incubators you may know.

 10 Self-Care Tips for Creative Incubators:

  1. Give Creative Incubators space to process, be it in the garden, the kitchen, the studio or the study. Incubators are deeply intuitive and often process things going on in the spiritual realm. It’s only when they recognize this and find peace in the process, that they'll truly be free.
  2. Incubators need rest and quiet even if they’re social beings.
  3. Creative Incubators need to beware of getting caught in the comparison trap. Help them honor and value their uniqueness, because not everyone can wear this hat.
  4. Fun is a necessity to round out a Creative Incubator's intensity. Support them in taking time to skip a while.
  5. The environment is a Creative Incubator's laboratory; so allow them to make it ascetically beautiful, and well organized. Staying organized will help them process what they're feeling, even if they're not natural organizers (most likely not) solicit help from others.
  6. Support them in self-care with simple nourishment like fresh flowers, a spa date, a walk in the country, regular music playing in the background, or other rejuvenating activities. 
  7.        What goes in is what comes out. It's vital to keep oneself well watered, physically and spiritually, growing a relationship with God, so the stream is not muddied or stagnant.Being an empathetic “feeler,” doesn’t mean one should let their emotions drive them. Support them in learning to dwell on what is good, true and right, by taking stray thoughts captive and using their creative, intuitive nature positively. Dealing with unforgiveness, fear and shame are absolute necessities to stay clear and open, an integral part of self-care.
  8. It's important for Creative Incubators to find like-minded souls who value their beauty and support their uniqueness.
  9. A Creative Incubator must learn to deal with shame around their unique sensitivity, because shame is the all time life zapper.
  10. Giving self-permission to recharge regularly through classes, retreats, workshops, or inspired activities that strengthen and affirm one's true identity is paramount to a Creative Incubator. One must recognize the necessity of refilling the tank. Those who create, pour out, feel and sense, need extra attention to self-care. Don't expect others to suggest this. It won’t happen! This is the gift Creative Incubators must give themselves before they've nothing left to give others. Those that struggle with this need to consider doing shame work.

Soul Thirsty Graphic 

Join us for our fabulous upcoming art, Untamed Heart and Daring Way™ retreats, starting May 2nd and 3rd with the Daring Way™ Retreat in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Stroll along a nearby waterfall, visit Asheville for some great shopping and dining. Do something you've never done. Do it for yourself. Give yourself a spring time present, or mother's day gift for this transformational retreat based on Brenè Brown's  ground breaking work on whole hearted living. Join us, we dare you! For information find us at:


The Naked Truth

DW_HeavyQuoteImages5I am convinced the reason we so often get stuck in life is because of shame. Shame is not often identified, or recognized, hidden underneath the recesses of our well-armored and perfected shields that work hard to deflect our fear of not being enough. Shame is a dirty word we’d rather skip over. We’d rather numb shame’s association, so we can avoid further threat of exposure even though it causes us to live at half-mast.

Shame has repeatedly taken me down, kept me in hiding, appeasing or defending even though I didn’t recognize that I danced with shame. The fact is we all do! I had almost convinced myself that I was as strong as my shields of protection expressed. I had it down until it bit me in the butt and my inauthenticity erupted in an unsettled incongruence, a deep soul thirst that no cloak of “spirituality” do-gooding, or meeting attendance could fix.


Raised by a mom with mental illness and an absent father, I’ve acquired some strong survival techniques. Losing my dear younger brother who took his own life at twenty-five serves as a constant reminder that though things might look tidy on the outside, they rarely are.

The thing is, my well-established armor that helped me survive my childhood, stopped serving me any longer. The hustle of striving to be a “good girl” and showing up perfect was a heavy weight to bear. So I’ve been learning to lay down this twenty-ton shield and learn a better way, a new language that is core to healing and allowing me to move beyond survival into whole-hearted living. This language of authenticity includes speaking about my experiences, and speaking about shame.


As long as we think we have to achieve some measure of acceptance, love, success or worthiness through our own efforts, we will always be hustling and toting a twenty-ton shield and we’ll never know rest. We will forever be churning out our best attempts at making ourselves acceptable.


Striving is an exhausting attempt at working to be enough. None of the self-help, church attending, “do gooding,” mojo will keep us off the treadmill of lack unless we get a true identity makeover.


It’s only when we acknowledge our inability apart from God to experience completeness that we come back into experiencing the acceptance that already exists. Our attempt to make ourselves worthy thwarts our ability to receive the acceptance that is readily available and that says we are already enough.


No perception of being an insider or outsider could ever separate us from the fact that we are already defined as fully loved by God. No higher degree, having raised picture perfect children, obtaining the perfect waistline, a hefty bank account, or popularity. No resounding rhetoric, no amount of church attendance, martyrdom, grandstanding, entrepreneurial success, or high acclaim among the masses can add to our intrinsic worth, nothing!

 So how do we retrain our tendency to measure ourselves from the outside in, while shame and “not enough” track at our heels?


We keep ourselves in love, in the “I am loved” reality, because we are love branded! No posturing, or shadow dancing will ever suffice to earn what’s already ours.


By letting this perfect love soak into every fiber of our being, and saturate us to the core, we can slough off and counter every strong-armed shame lie, every “not enough” chorus with the knowledge that we are love marked. We can grow shame resilience with awareness that God’s love makes us enough.


The fact that we are imperfect mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends and the likes is a reality simply stirring in its beauty. We were loved before and after we ever failed at anything, or before we even existed. We are enough because God loves us and thought enough to create us. We can reframe our shame of “I’m not enough” to “I am fully loved and enough as I am.”


Do you ever feel out of sync and don’t know why? Do you ever feel things aren’t working and you can’t get a grasp on how to make the shift?


If you want to love yourself beyond shame shields, broken down fences and your personal boarder patrols, disappointment, outsider/insider mentality, feeling unloveable, not hip enough, not young enough, not sexy enough, not Christian/spiritual enough, not funny enough, not favored enough, or high-profile enough and if you want to get filled and anchored in love and whole-hearted living, join us for the Women’s Daring Way™ Retreat this Oct. I am a Professional Life Coach and Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator-Candidate (CDWF-Candidate.) Join a small, intimate group of imperfect women, in a cozy, safe environment, as I lead you through a transformative, creative, laughter provoking, love filling, liberty-getting weekend. :)

Get rid of that twenty-ton shield and live in the overflow of being fully loved!  Reserve your spot now. Space is limited.

For further info. email me at: or

What's Love Got To Do With It?



What's love got to do with it?

Love has everything to do with everything!

We were hard wired for love and belonging. Love is what we were made for, and love is who we are, our true love identity. We may have lost sight of it for a time. We may have stumbled on jagged turns and aching highways, but we will always find our way back to love, because we were made by love, for love and through love. We are love carriers; so we can’t deny ourselves the love that sustains us.

 The problem is our own internal filter and pollution has affected our original design. Junk has clogged our pipes and things don’t always flow, as they should. And because of this we often struggle and seek to hide the rawness of our vulnerability that is actually core to returning and connecting to love and belonging.

We each were raised to believe powerful cultural myths about vulnerability. The biggest is that vulnerability is synonymous with weakness and to avoid the idea of weakness we avoid vulnerability at all cost. Many of us have learned coping and survival tools that help us soldier on, but not the courage to be vulnerable and show up beautifully imperfect. The problem is that most of us aren’t even away of our default behaviors.

In fact, you might be thinking “vulnerability looks good on you, but not on me, because I don’t do vulnerability!” Guess what, there is no way to avoid vulnerability! To be alive is to be vulnerable. Sorry but, whether we like it or not life is full of vulnerability and risk. The truth is most every day we wake up to a real sense of vulnerability.Just thinking about the reality of raw vulnerability can make me want to armor up and hold on for dear life. It’s uncomfortable and risky navigating the vulnerable territory of whatever arena we are in, be it parenting, relationships, the work environment or taking on a new project requiring presenting oneself publicly. It’s all risky and laden with vulnerability.

Most people choose to armor up with coping mechanisms that cover over real authenticity and vulnerability. Who wants to be exposed and shamed publically? The truth is that no matter how we show up we risk the reality of being exposed, but when we disconnect and hide beneath our numbing and coping defenses, we loose the ability to truly be seen and we forfeit the sense of love and connection we desire. We think numbing and hiding defenses shield us from the pain and discomfort of exposure, but in truth they shield us from love too.

We can’t have it both ways, to experience love and connection we must courageously practice vulnerability and authenticity.

DW_HeavyQuoteImages9When we choose to live whole-heartedly by courageously showing up imperfectly as we are, we can learn to speak about our vulnerabilities, and we can dare greatly. We can learn to build a kind of shame resilience that helps us stay connected to love and belonging.

That’s been my journey. Having grown up like most of us without tools for navigating the jagged edges of this shame riddled world, I’ve done and am doing the hard work of greater shame resilience and wholeness. But if someone asked me years ago if I struggled with shame, I would truly have thought I did not. Now I understand that shame is universal and we all experience it.

 After being thrown into the arena of widowhood and having no idea how to navigate that kind of raw vulnerability, I armored up in my attempt to hide my exposure. I used built in strategies I didn’t know I had that let me disconnect from the affects of shame and helped me stay small and hidden.

And it’s taken me years to unpack the shame and scarcity that immobilized me through various cultural rough spots. Shame is secretive and shame is a silencer and there are cultures that greatly honor and uphold silence and secrecy. If you are in such a culture understand that it’s laced with shame.

It takes great courage to choose vulnerability and the authenticity of unpacking shame, to learn to speak shame and identify the elephant of scarcity, “not enough”, comparison and judgment, in the room, and to practice the courageous antidote of self-compassion and empathy that disengages the affects of shames.

The beautiful, hopeful news is that as we can learn to show up and be seen. We can reconnect to love, clean out the clutter, and get back to the whole-hearted living we were made for.

If you believe love has everything to do with everything and if a whole-hearted life is what you desire, I invite you to join us for The Daring Way™ Weekend Intensive in May, based on the work of Brené Brown. As a certified Daring Way™ facilitator CDWF-Candidate and professional life coach, along with my co-facilitator and life coach Nicole Greer, we will be lead on a powerful journey of love and belonging.

More information coming! To inquire and express interest in attending or hosting an event for your group, church, or workplace please contact me at:

Changing Culture

DW_HeavyQuoteImagesScientific research describes two kinds of energy, one anabolic and the other catabolic energy. Anabolic energy is that which is restorative, builds up and gives life, while catabolic energy is destructive, tears down, is conflict, anger and shaming driven.

Catabolic energy can be seen through the perspective “I win, screw you!” While anabolic energy seeks for all to succeed and win. Catabolic energy manifests through a victim reference point, a blame reference point, judgment, or the fight and flight mode, which releases toxic adrenaline.

Did you know that most of society lives at this lower level of catabolic energy, although anyone can learn to shift and raise their awareness. Awareness begins the process of returning to one's true state of anabolic energy living from peace, joy, and love. First we must recognize the gap.

We all desire love and connection, but when operating from a catabolic state connection and belonging are impossible. It’s not hard to look around and see the havoc this creates in institutions, families, faith cultures and the like.Imagine if instead of feeling victim to the effects of this destructive shaming energy or being a perpetrator of toxic catabolic energy, we actually began to turn this around and gain tools to create safe environments for others and ourselves. What if we each became vehicles that shifted culture?

DW_HeavyQuoteImages5That was my intention when deciding to attend the recent Brené Brown, Daring Way Training. Already coaching around the principles of True Identity, Authenticity and Spiritual Life, I felt Brené’s work on vulnerability and courage a perfect fit. This powerful body of work has earned Brown the New York Times Best Seller Statues, including her most recent book, Daring Greatly; the most watched TedX and much global attention including Amazon’s list of 100 books you should read in a lifetime! If you haven’t read Daring Greatly, you need too!

My experience of the training was being in one of the safest communities I have been a part of in a long time, I imagine related to the high awareness around what builds love and connection and what disengages it. 

The small group I was assigned to for the duration of the training couldn’t have been a more diverse group, consisting of several faith and non-faith persuasions. However, what we experienced was amazing acceptance, connection, respect and love for one another. In fact, one of the pastor’s attending the training landed in our group and was adored and accepted by Buddhist, Jew and non-faith folks alike. In my experience this kind of connection is rare. 

It’s wonderful to see organizations, churches and individuals opening themselves up to shift often toxic environments into places where people can truly connect, feel loved and accepted.

My vision around this work is to actually shift culture, predominantly in the faith community, as I practice and facilitate training around wholehearted living, vulnerability, authenticity and courage to dare greatly. Let's be honest, the faith community hasn't always been know for its love. This has precipitated several responses. 1. Stay in denial, hustle to win approval and please. Been there done that! 2. Become antagonistic toward this community. We can see plenty living out this option and at times I have landed here too. 3. Move away from the environment to heal, protect one's self and grow personally. Been there done that! 4. Remain in some conflict about the state of the faith community, but continue to cultivate one's faith, as well as life giving relationships that grow and increase in love despite affiliation. I can live with this one!

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” and “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

DW_HeavyQuoteImages7How about you? Are you ready to Show Up. Be Seen. Live Brave™ ?

Do you desire to change culture, shape personal, corporate or a faith centered environments through love, belonging, and connection?

Do you desire to grow in empathy, courage, and shame resilience?

If so, contact me about attending a Daring Way™ Weekend Intensive, or helping to host one at your church, organization or small group?  The first available Intensive will be the weekend of May 2nd in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Stay in touch for more information.

If you relate with this message, I would love your support in spreading the word to your community. For more info. contact me at:

Isn't it time we dared greatly!




Day 29, Intimacy, 30 Days of Creative Expression

Day 29 Intimacy2JPGLance Secretan wrote about the Intimacy SPIRIT@WORK® Card,

“Organizations are potential meeting places where we can tell our stories, comfort each other in our sorrows, and celebrate each other in our joys. They are organizations of humans who need to laugh, cry-and, yes, hug-together. We are all vulnerable, hungry for love and intimacy, filled with more questions than answers and, therefore, above all, very human. At our core, personality gives way to soul. Intimacy means “into-me-see.”

I like that Secretan brings core values into the work place. Many institutions would not dare talk about intimacy, vulnerability or other core factors that make-up our very human existence, yet why not?

Intimacy or the resistance to it seems to be a driving force in our lives. Intimacy is established over time where trust is developed. A betrayal of trust can easily debacle all sense of closeness and intimacy.

Like most people, over the years I’ve experienced many relationships where a sense of trust was breached. Although there remains no guarantee, choosing to love and put oneself out there is what life and relationship is all about.

However, intimacy can’t be forced and in fact needs well-tended soil for it to thrive. Relationships with skin in the game develop intimacy through vulnerability and authenticity. The most sacred parts of oneself might best be reserved for those counted trustworthy, rather than those with no skin in the game.

Many of us have opened ourselves up or laid ourselves down physically, emotionally, or spiritually to those who are a mere blip on the radar of our lives. Why would we do such a thing?  There can be no real intimacy without each person owning authority and sacredness over his or her own life.

True intimacy wins the place of respect, honor and authenticity like no pseudo emotionalism, mere words, or the bearing of one’s soul ever can.

How well do you nurture and honor the building of trust and intimacy in your relationships?

Day 20, Communication, 30 Days of Creative Expression

communicationToday’s SPIRIT@WORK® Card is: Communication.

Lance Secretan wrote about the Communication card,

“Those who inspire communicate with each other authentically, truthfully, and deeply, and in a way that serves a higher purpose because if we limit our dialogue to the secular and the material, our relationships will be brittle and barren.”

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I can’t handle a lot of discussion around the weather, or other drone, meaningless chatter that fills up space. I am comfortable going deep rather quickly. I enjoy the ins and outs of heart related topics that help me connect and understand others. This is probably because Communication is one of my top five strengths through Strength Finders.

Communication is a natural desire. I believe we all want to be known and heard at the deepest level. Communication is the sort of gift that when we show up, are present and give of ourselves all parties benefit. I’ve spent enough of my life dumbing down and remaining quiet not to offend others who would prefer not to communicate. Communication is important to me and that is why it comes out in so many expressions, whether through art, writing, coaching or teaching, I simply must communicate.

If we truly want to connect we have to be willing to communicate, authentically share ourselves and ask questions, because questions are a vital part of dialogue and communication. Communication is more than a one sided monologue. We need each other for real communication.

So join in the dialog with me: How important is communication to you?

Day 17, Authenticity, 30 Days of Creative Expression

Blue chair watermarkTodays SPIRIT@WORK® Card is: Authenticity. Like the sheer covering over the chair in my drawing today, Authenticity is about willingness to be vulnerable and to be seen.

Lance Secretan wrote, “It is not until we acquire courage that we can become real and being real is not about hiding our truth, or our emotions and vulnerabilities. On the contrary it is about revealing them-being authentic.”

Authenticity is a beautiful thing when we courageously choose to be seen, as we truly are, no camouflage, no pretense, just showing up with our cheer veil of imperfect humanity and beauty. 

I imagine most people would prefer the real deal to a counterfeit, but it takes courage to expose what others might judge or not understand. However, if we are to live at peace with ourselves, we must practice mustering the courage to show up authentically

The best role we could have in this life is the one where we get to be ourselves. It is an honor and a privilege and there is no way to improve on that! 

How are you showing up courageously authentic in your present circumstances?

Day 7 Authenticity- 30 Days of Creative Expression

Day 7Oh, how much hiding we do cloaked in ego’s garb, covering and pretending, until we experience wholeness through the power of love. Love in its truest nature can be nothing but authentic and whole. Anything short of that is not love at all. Love is based entirely on different metrics,

 “…the whole matter is now on a different plane-believing instead of achieving.” (Acts 17:11, Phillips Translation)

 Today the SPIRIT@WORK ® Card is: AUTHENTICITY. I am writing about love here too; because it takes love to live authentically.

Authenticity is not a journey for the faint of heart. To truly live authentically I believe we must believe in and experience the Love that has always existed. Through the experience of love, we can armor down our defenses and coping mechanisms and live authentically, as we come face to face with our truest identity: being fully loved by God.

Thankfully we have a lifetime of discovery to help us realize the love that’s encased us through difficulty and calm.

Walter Lanyon tell us, “When the chastening is recognized as the wonderful GUIDING LIGHT it is, then in this effulgence the passing of things is seen as the dropping off of so much excess baggage. The NEW-old action as compared with the former as it passes away, is like the action of electricity as compared to the labored movement of the untrained, unskilled muscular power of man.

All the questions will go-the “WHY?”, the “HOW?”, the “What have I done to deserve this?” And the comparing of patterns with another-all of it, the moment you transfer the POWER from punishment to LOVE. A welling up of Joy within takes place; your surrender, plus the integrity to follow through, causes the miracle to take place-the miracle of Love.”    

How does Love’s permission help you come out of hiding into living authentically?

Paradox Not Parabox!

BoxRecently I read a post on Facebook stating that we can’t trust what we feel. The post caused me to reflect on the amazing paradoxes that exist in life. While I certainly have identified many feelings that have proven to be: False Evidence Appearing Real, (most recently the notion that the bristliness I have experienced in some settings was a reflection of my lovability), I have also experienced the converse.

My biggest ah ha this year has been around my need for increased authenticity and self-care in listening to what my gut is instinctually telling me. In so doing, I allow myself to show up more present and truthful.

Another current day paradox is the notion that resistance is equivalent to fear and so one must bulldoze ahead through fear, but I have discovered that resistance is often a messenger telling me that something within is out of alignment with what I’m trying to do. I have discovered that my resistance is often beckoning me to take a deeper look at what my gut is broadcasting.

The key here is determining if you are a type that struggles to move forward and take action, hence the tendency to stay buried beneath fear; an action oriented person with a tendency to hide behind activity; or a combination of the two.

Life is a paradox. What might be positive in some situations can conversely be harmful at other times, or to other people. Living in life’s contradictions takes both awareness and willingness to let go of what ego likes to perceive as control, or a prescription for the “one way” route.

Once we are aware of any given paradox, we can allow others and ourselves the grace to live outside of the box.

What You Can Learn For the Wrong Mentor

no accessI’m not a quick fix person. It took me a long time (most of my life) to recognize that I'm wired as an "innie" rather than an "outie." What does that mean? As much as I've tried to go after the bling, the moneymaking, hot selling stuff; it's never been a natural fit. I'm passionate about heart connection, authenticity and what's going on below the surface rather than merely outer drivers.

Sure, I ‘ve fallen for the dangling carrot of wanting a business a kin to the latest, greatest, best-est thing on the market, the thing that makes you thinner, smarter, sexier and comes with a sports car, but alas, that's not me. I even tried to turn my inner wiring into a well-oiled ministry gig until I discovered I had fallen for yet another heart-betraying trap.

It took a long time; I mean a long time following the "wrong fit" to actually awaken to the "right fit". The good news is that the money I’ve spent on my “what not to do” education landed me right in my “what's right for me” reality.

Although I’ve been involved with some lovely well-meaning people and programs, I’ve followed some “couldn’t be more obviously a wrong fit” mentors that ultimately helped me realize I needed to get the heck out of OZ and head back to the beautiful place called home.

There’s no fast or perfect time frame for hitting ones stride. The journey is what it is, not the destination, or the thing held up as, “when this happens I will consider myself a success.” Success is a many-layered sandwich, unique as the combined flavors.

The important thing is to own the journey without judgment. That means looking at the list of training programs, mentors and life experiences as powerful investments in becoming the person you truly are. If you're still investing in your growth and development, that makes you even more remarkable.

In Untamed Heart, Releasing Your Creative Genius I wrote, “Authenticity is the new lingerie!” Authenticity has sure sexy’d up my life; my heart and my ability to sniff out an ill fitting detour set to side road me away from my natural bent. 

How about you? Have you been led down side roads in search of bling, only to find yourself knee deep in mud? Are you longing for something more enduring than sparkle? Then allow your seasons of ill-matched mentors and experiences to expand your perspective and lead you back home to yourself. For investing in your inner world, check out the programs at, set up a session to find out about one-on-one coaching, or start by reading, Untamed Heart, Releasing Your Creative Genius here![product id="2047" sku=""]

Want It Real?

True Color 1 This week I shared a vulnerable part of myself with a new friend and immediately felt the need to nail up boards of protection around my heart. As raw emotions surfaced so did the recognition of a normal human longing to be loved and accepted. My fortress of defense had been a natural response to previous environments where I didn’t feel loved, protected or treasured.

I believe most women want it real. Yet some may not realize the defenses they've established that keep them anything but real. Beneath those defenses lies a longing to be accepted for who we truly are.

Ego has a way of setting up camp to defend and protect, while awareness offers the opportunity to risk vulnerability, greater authenticity and ultimately freedom. When we are willing to risk the vulnerability of truly being ourselves we are living from an untamed authentic heart. To truly live from an untamed heart means living it real and not settling for a counterfeit! 

When you feel the need to recoil into safety try checking in with your heart. Identify the buttons being triggered and then determine how your authentic self (outside of ego) chooses to respond and care for itself.

What barricades of defense have you identified in your life?   Want help on getting untamed? Order Untamed Heart: Releasing Your Creative Genius here [product id="2047" sku=""]




She brings her offering

Uncovered, stripped bare

God unwinding

Eyes wide open to forward seeing


Uncovered, stripped bare


Awkwardly hesitating

I welcome her in, she’s not alone

Bliss raps her in love

Tickles her toes and pours out uncontainable


It’s raining

She opens wide to receive


Welcome nakedness

Time of creation in this now

Moment to moment embraced

Bird chirps in the distance

Black and white winter sky

Threats of ice

Welcoming Eucharesteo

Grace, thanksgiving, joy


© Kimber Britner 2013

Heart Authenticity

Sometimes it’s a long road to one's heart. You think you see your heart and are living from your beauty only to discover it’s only partially lit. The heart is the journey and one day or another we will all be challenged to recognize and become fully acquainted with her.


This is no drive through acquisition, no lunch hour fix. This is the push and pull and tearing of colliding worlds. The loudest or most demanding make think they have a leg up, but they never win. Vibrato and ego is no match for the heart. She will only speak to those listening, who cease striving and who will enter into rest.
I am in a season when I am returning to my heart, recognizing that something had died and needed to be reawakened, realizing that I couldn’t sing and I’ve always sung.


Disappointment forged walls of protection that I wasn’t even aware were there. Yet, as I’ve given my heart attention, I marvel to see the unhinging and unbolting of the beams that held up those walls, those grabs for non-sustaining joy. That’s why I took this year off, and why I am just now beginning to hear what my heart is telling me.


Last night I had a dream about a beautiful pastors wife, lovely in every way. I’ve often thought how I did not envy her position and imagined her reticence of one more person tugging at her, and taking from her. Hearts grow weary from that kind of wear.


In the dream she was showing me a drawer filled with her beautiful jewelry collection. I noticed however, that amidst the few fine pieces of jewelry there were many imitations and cheap trinkets. This surprised me.


When I woke up I realized how much we all resemble this woman. We possess beauty, but we also smear on makeup, and in many ways fill our lives with cheap imitations. We betray our heart every time we fill our internal drawer with them.


Whether we over expose our heart and dash to make adjustments, pull back and cover up, wall her in when she wants out, banish her, put her in awkward situations where she is not honored, dance a jig, bow to tradition and rituals, or ideas that leave her empty, all she really wants is relationship and love. We know very little about caring for her, and so we often try to satisfy her with cheap imitations of the real thing.


Ego strives to fill up, while the heart remains empty. She is the one calling out, “ego will never satisfy you!” She groans. I feel her groaning and I am listening.


She is the one that knows the truth if we will be still long enough to listen. Walls will come down, new pathways will emerge and the sense of singing will begin to reawaken, as we cease to betray her with imitations of real love.


© Copyright 2011 Moxie Me Institute, BE U LLC. All Rights Reserved