She Chose Herself


"She work up every mooring with the option of being anyone she wished. How beautiful it was that she always chose herself. "

I love this quote by Tyler Kent White,

This may sound easy, but when we've learned adaptive behavior that's caused personas, we might not even be aware our what is true on the inside. Another wards, we may think we feel one way only to discover below the surface another reality.

Through the process of truly, deeply listening and owning what is being conveyed on the inside, though it may have been previously denied and pushed down, we begin to come into congruence.

We aren't a bunch of pieces walking around. We are whole beings, but until we welcome the parts of ourselves we've orphaned, we will feel fragmented. 

Practice giving yourself permission to listen and respond to the depths of what you hear. Be sure to stand in your own corner. Be sure to choose yourself!

Day 13 of 30 Painting In 30 Days, She Chose Herself

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!

Nurse Protectors


It's been some time since I've posted. This year my words have been few, allowing my paintbrush to express what words could not say. Instead of a barrage of chatter, I've only wanted to speak words of life. 

I imagine because of yesterday's routine medical procedure and today being 9/11, I've felt the strong pulse of The Muse inspiring new empathy and compassion. I am feeling the deeper invitation of the role we are all invited to partake in, the role of a tender technician and nurse protectors in a world of flaming towers.

Years ago I had encounters with Red Cross Vehicles regularly appearing in my neighborhood and surrounding areas. I received Red Cross brochures in the mail and even had a woman attend one of my home group meetings who ironically worked for the Red Cross.  I went so far as to research the Red Cross's origin and discovered that it was originally established to bring aid and relief to victims of war. Even though I am not a professional nurse, nor plan to be, the significance of that fact has spoken volumes to me through the years concerning the wars we all face in our individual lives, not to mention corporately, as human beings, thus the poem that follows.



Hooked up to wires, 

Warm blanket failing to insulate me from the flood of raw vulnerability,

Windex-clear memory.


A tender technician reads the uneasiness on my face.

Hospital lighting taking me back, unearthing tears I thought were all cried out.

Those last goodbyes and scars embedded like arrows in a families heart.


A routine IV prick and the thin veneer of a hospital gown have the ability to wobble ones demeanor.

Surrendering to the hands of strangers, skilled or otherwise takes courage. All I needed was a little tenderness.


Anesthetist erasing my awareness of my gown open wide, probing and disarming any knowledge of drool on my face.

If only the pain tape could be wiped as clean, the flames in those towers squelched, the diagnoses recalled, the wondering refugees planted in real homes.

Yet where would humanities' empathy and compassion find it's lexicon?


I applaud those nurse protectors, those soldiers with hoses dousing our flames. Those words spoken aptly in our time of need, cradling our wobble and soothing an ounce more of humanities pain. 

If not for the courage and bravery to enter another's burning building, to stop in ones tracks and enter the barrage of another's flames, we will only increase in casualties on the battlefield of life. Vulnerability would never be spoken and true connection never made. 



The Ease of Welcome

Ease of welcome

The Desert Fathers and Saint Benedict in particular held the idea that everyone should be honored and welcomed, not merely as an honored guest, but as a revelation of the Sacred. This means the poor, the traveler, those of different religions, social class, or education, offer an opportunity and a place to encounter God.


Imagine then if we held that kind of respect and hospitality for others, because we had learned to hold the same kind of hospitality for ourselves. Yet, most of us struggle with emotion. We live in a world that has taught us to suppress them and offers multiple of options for doing so when they pop up.


As I struggled and processed through a rough week of what have inwardly and outwardly often been categorized as unwelcomed emotions, I practiced the posture of welcoming all parts of myself, especially those places that have previously been rejected, labeled or ignored by others or myself.


The thing about emotion is that it causes the worst kind of vulnerability, emotional risk and exposure. Suddenly all the bobbers that had been tied down start popping up to the surface and most of us scramble to dessert until “normal” returns, yet popping emotion is actually normal!


Personally, I have never liked the randomness of excessive emotionalism, because I’ve been told my whole life by southern and religious culture to contain it! But when we stow and reject what we are feeling we cut off parts of ourselves and become people who don’t know what we are feeling. I’m learning to welcome these parts of myself instead of orphaning and resisting them.


You see acceptance gives me a choice of how I want to experience my emotion instead of reacting to it, which means I am being controlled by it. Instead of maintaining the stance of I’ll wait until the noise passes by, I am unfolding my hands from my lap of suppression, opening the door and dancing with my surprise guests, listening for the wisdom of what they have to tell me, instead of dubbing normal emotions as dirty little secrets.


What would happen if we were the friend that could sit with us in our despair or confusion, that didn’t try to quickly move us toward happiness, or oblivion do to our own discomfort? What if we were that person with sweet hospitality that could hold the line for ourselves and for others when the bobbers were popping?


By making space for those who might feel invisible and forgotten in their pain, we are saying that emotions like grief, anger, fear, are normal and not dirty little secrets that we have to stow away to make others or ourselves comfortable.


In this version of the poem, THE GUEST HOUSE, poet Rumi writes beautifully about this kind of inner hospitality.


The Guest House

Darling, the body is like a guesthouse. Every morning someone new arrives. Don’t say “oh, another weight around my neck”, or your guest will fly back to nothingness.


Whatever enters your heart is a guest from the invisible world. Entertain it well. Everyday and every moment a thought comes like an honored guest into your heart.


My soul, regard each thought as a person. For every person’s true value is in the quality of the thought they hold.


If a sorrowful thought stands in the way, it is also preparing the way for joy. It furiously sweeps your house clean in order that some new joy may appear from the Source. It scatters the withered leaves from the bow of the heart in order that fresh green leaves might grow. It uproots the old joy so that a new joy may enter from beyond.


Sorrow pulls up the rotten root that was hidden from sight.






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.

Photo credit:












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 30, Courage, 30 Days of Creative Expression

Courage-soul-thirsty-latestToday I drew Lance Secretan's COURAGE SPIRIT@WORK® Card.

I wrote within today's first art journaling piece, “Thrashing about with untamed soul thirstiness until your whisper brings release.” It takes courage to listen and acknowledge when our soul is thirsty and the easily ignored whisper of Spirit tells us there is more.

It’s easy to remain seeing the world through our natural eyes and fall for the illusion that all the outer bling our ego craves is the ticket to what truly matters. When we are duped in this capacity our restless soul thrashes about until we respond to the message the spirit is whispering. That takes courage.

It takes courage to step away from the pack to still oneself and listen. It takes courage to discover our true worth based on Love’s acknowledgment that can only be seen through spiritual eyes. Sometimes it's life circumstance that enlists us on this journey and sometimes it's a combination of choice and appointment.

It’s not a popular journey to pull aside from the hustle to nurture the spirit within when we're riding full and hard to make our way, but for those willing to take the courageous path, its rewards are vivid and magnificent. I find as I share this journey I hear this familiar comment, “I feel like I just had a cool drink of much needed water.”  

The root of the word Courage is cor-the Latin word for heart. Courage takes heart.

Speak to me kindly

Is your soul parched and thirsty feeding on unquenchables? Are you craving a deeper sense of connection to spirit? Are you tired of the noise and clamor and you know your thirsty soul needs a refreshing drink of water?

When I started to respond to what I heard deep within I knew I had taken a big gulp of refreshment, as illustrated in today's second drawing. I knew the truth in the whisper that became like a kiss,

The one with the most toys, power, recognition, and ego-thrusts doesn’t win. In fact they end up empty and wed to an unstoppable, insatiable appetite. You were made for more, so don’t settle for the lesser superfluous things to forfeit the greater.”

I've heard this message strong and loud for sometime now and it is why I pulled aside several years ago to hear my heart and feed my spirit. I discovered that "illusion traps" had clouded my sight and I've been on a journey of restoring my spiritual senses ever sense. Some of the vivid water-drinking-clarity I’ve received has come in messages, images and regular sacred conversation.

I'll be continuing on in this exploration of listening and marrying art and writing. As my 30 Days of Creative Expression comes to a close, I will move out of the Higher Ground Leadership Practicum I've participated in this month and in a few days head to Brene′ Brown's, Daring Greatly Training for credentialed coaches and counselors. I am thrilled to be learning, growing, and adding this training around shame, vulnerability and wholehearted living to my tool belt. I know this will be a great fit and benefit to my clients, since much of the coaching work I do with women is around authenticity, identity and sacred living from the inside out. 

I hope you will continue to follow along for the ride and share in the journey as new things come to life. Who knows maybe you'll find a refreshing drink of water too. If you enjoyed this series you might move onto my book packed with more full color illustrations You can purchase Untamed Heart, Releasing Your Creative Genius here![product id="2047" sku=""]

Is it time you mustered courage to listen and respond?




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?

Unveiling the Shame Cycle


me & crown 1

Brene Brown tells us that we all have shame, “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.” Courage on the other hand is derived by willingness to be vulnerable and real. Not popular in many settings especially when fear and the attempt to manage it are contained through control. 

I grew up with a single mom who got pregnant in her teens, who was shamed and rejected and carried the mark of her shame into parenting. This led to a childhood that included thirteen terrifying moves where I learned great navigating and coping skills. I learned how to disconnect, bury my pain, anger and fear, so I could start again in a new locations. 

I remember being a fourteen-year-old girl that easily looked eighteen; occasionally drug along to bars with my mom. Even though I was still a child, I developed quite the self-sufficient mask to camouflage my irregular upbringing and cover up my fear and shame. I formulated what I thought was the answer to my need for love by learning to please, keep quiet, not rock the boat, and all manner of  “good girl” control. I had little idea that I had less control of my inner world than I perceived. I had no idea that many of my responses were due to feeling out of control.

Hollywood and Love

In my early twenties, finally hitting bottom in Hollywood with an eating disorder, total desperation and no sense of myself, I encountered a collision with God that saved me from suicide, instantly healed me of the dreadful cycle of binging and purging and uncontrollable obsession with food that I had struggled with for six years.

I ran smack dab into Unconditional Love. The problem was I also moved right into a fear based culture that continued to reinforce performing, striving, working to be acceptable, earning love and covering up shame.

Sadly, church culture continued my cycle of shame with the popular weapons of control, silencing, and enforcing compliance, all within “talk” of love but propagating fear and groupthink. Although I genuinely found God and was carried through widowhood into new discoveries about myself, I was right in the middle of the familiar dynamics I learned in childhood. I thrived for a time as a successful little striver, but eventually the house of cards tumbled.

The struggle for worth, competition, and the politics of others clamoring to be seen, accepted and winner of top turf, instigated the necessary bad guy, good guy standoff. Boom the shaming and shunning began.

Overnight I experienced the loss of the community I had healed with after the death of my husband, reminiscent of the separation of my family of origin. My children lost the father figures they looked up to. This was a devastating blow that caused all of the pieces to come tumbling out and my systems to be irreparably broken. This led me on a long, painful, wonderful journey to my true self.

Fear is the fuel that drives shame. Shunning could be considered shaming. It’s actually heartbreaking to think a culture based on the love would reinforce and propagate fear. The question: How could the people who follow Love know so little about it has existed throughout the ages?

A religious mindset is what fueled the Crusades, crucified Jesus, has been known for bombing abortion clinics, bashing gays and sending airplanes of innocent people into buildings, all in the name of religion and the love of God. The truth is religion and love, are not companions.

Before you go crazy about that statement understand that my definition of religion is not the same as faith, but rather an ego and fear driven system of performance and control. In reality, a faith-based relationship with God cannot be defined by a set of values, adherence to outer rules, performance, or any quality.  In fact when my son was removed from the team captain position in basketball, it was based on the fact that someone could measure the students faith level and determine suitability. What? Really?

Shames Ambiguity

I often wondered what it was that we actually did? When the rules consistently change, it reinforces adaptive behavior that weaves and bobs to avoid the smite of rejection.

Oh Shit! That’s what we did! We broke the unspoken oath, the silent code, the one that says, “Never challenge the system, comply, and stay silent and controlled!  

Truth Telling

Through the years as I stumbled into greater "shame resilience" I have come to realize the importance and absolute freedom in telling my story. I have come to understand the absolute necessity of speaking up instead of silently banishing myself, or adhering to a system of shame. We are only as sick as out secrets.

For years I felt conflicted, and incongruent, struggling with the feeling of polarity, opposites within myself that I could not reconcile, a religious system that was terribly harmful with my belief and faith in Christ. Like so many I know who ran out under the cover of night to seek counseling and healing in a culture that disapproved, I discovered the necessity of separating myself from what became an abusive environment, so I could heal. I continued on in healing and growing in my personal relationship with God, realizing that it was and is my responsibility alone to define my relationship with God. 

This began the ferocious learning curve of pulling my head out of the sand, years of seeking what I had not found locked in an exclusive culture. I studied, I read, I trained and I encountered God in new and life altering measures. I reclaimed my smarts, my power and my own inherent God beauty and God identity that I had allowed to be measured, judged and tossed to the curb.

I've come to understand that it’s through my own vulnerability that I reconcile myself. I don’t have to fix the religiosity that confounds and often makes me ill. It has always existed and always will. It exists within me or I wouldn’t have been drawn to it. Pride exists within all of us. I no longer need to be accepted. What I need is to love myself and be myself. In that, God and I have never been on a better path, or in more agreement about me. If you didn't read my previous post, "I'm In Recovery!" you might want to check it out here

Need to get untamed and unshamed?  Contact me about coaching!



I'm In Recovery!

ID-10080991Can I tell you a little secret? I cringe when someone finishes a sentence with an exclamation mark like, “amen!” I cannot stomach Christianese! It immediately makes me feel the need to run for the door, because I smell inauthenticity like day old lobster. I question the rhetoric and parroting. The real person seems to be missing and lacks a clear sense of who they truly are. Although I am learning to see past the camouflage to the person, it’s so close to home that it still causes me to spin, like a sober drunk in a room of drinkers.

I confess I'm in recovery. I’m in recovery from institutional religion. Are you wondering what I’m talking about? I’m talking about trying to mash myself into a misshaped cookie cutter image, rather than be who I am. I am in recovery from a groupthink culture that was slowing killing me, a culture of performance, judgment, striving and preferring ritual above

The topic of missing identity that I often write about is real. It’s my story and sadly why much of my thirty-year experience with church culture has felt like a miss hit of smashing my thumb with a hammer. I will be talking more about this in future posts.

Why did it take so long? Why was I trying to be the “good girl” and please so hard? This is what you do if you were the lost child that became the family hero to survive the anguish and emotional abuse of a mom with mental illness. It was in letting go of the ghosts and those that couldn’t bring themselves to make the journey with me that I’ve gotten free. It’s in claiming my true God-image identity that sprung the cage door.

In my journey I’ve stumbled right into a grace encounter, transformation and expansiveness beyond a box sized God into a God that existed before the American church culture’s definition of who God is and who I’m supposed to be. I’ve learned to honor and listen to my inner GPS that signals when I’m betraying myself. I’ve taken up the challenge of vulnerability and authenticity instead of settling for a counterfeit of God, or myself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJesus loves me, I love him and much of the rest I leave dangling in the realm of unknowing. I choose to pass on pontificating as best I can. I hope to see and love individuals beyond ego driven, polarizing issues that separate into black and white, either or, as I am learning to live beyond the tightrope of performance. I love my friends that are gay, Buddhist, Hindu and lots of other things. 

Hear this: I am not blaming anyone for my lack of clarity around my identity, or my familiar pull to environments that were unhealthy for me. This is the very journey that led me home to myself. The crazy mixed up way that I got here, the story that reads like a Broadway play matters little (although I can imagine wonderful song and dance numbers that would fit with the movie, Saved!)

The fact that I finally found my path and my way out of the matrix of confusion is the reason I help other women claim their voice, their authentic self and their unique God relationship too.

I don’t mean to offend you, but trying not to offend has kept me small. Trying not to offend kept me on the fence, living incongruently, dishonestly, and inauthentically. Being careful to speak only “what builds up” to be silent when I was told to “keep quiet” kept me controlled and living in decline and demoralization. Now days, I am learning to give myself permission to speak things that don’t always build up, because that’s authentic and something’s need to be torn down before building can begin. That’s what getting untamed means.  It’s about risk and courage to face the gap and not shut the door in fear to those that see the world differently. I’m not writing this for debate, or needing to be right, but needing to be real (although I wouldn't mind a little cheering for standing up in my life in a greater measure.)

Heaven on earth 1I choose to live life as an act of worship and today I choose to invest in relationships over meetings and to be my part in the church all around me. I am not tearing down what you may love and thrive in. There are some awesome church expressions out there, but the truth is church is not a building, or a meeting. You in fact might be someone who sees the faith relationship differently too. This is important to say, because I am learning to care and nurture myself. Warning, please don't post a bunch of Christianese on my page or I will have to delete you! :)

Your struggle may not be with the church. It might be your family dynamics (isn’t that where it all starts anyway?) or a work environment that keeps you peddling faster and faster until you’ve peddled right over yourself. Maybe you understood long ago that the struggle was within yourself and you’ve never tried to please, but abdicated your life anyway. Maybe you’re in transition and you want to start recreating your life again.

You are not late, but right on time to start investing in yourself. The place to start is in loving yourself first.

Maybe you know that this is your time, time to invest in the only life you have! If so here are some ways to begin expanding and investing in yourself.

  • Read the following authors who write about the illusion of ego and faith: Richard Rohr books, New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton, Jim Palmer books, The Cloud of Unknowing by Elizabeth Obbard
  • Read Untamed Heart, Releasing Your Creative Genius, by me :)
  • Read Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
  • Register for my 12 Week Online Program, Untamed Joy! Discover tools to claim your voice, your identity and your joy!
  • Contact me to find out about 1-on-1 coaching

Twitter and Facebook Saved My Life

imagesI am a social bug, so I am happy to be a part of the social media revolution.

Some people dismiss and poo poo the online world going on around them. One thing is certain you can ignore it, but it isn’t going away. Social media guru Sandi Krakowski tells us there are 4.5 Billion "Likes" generated on Facebook daily!

Do you have things in your life that keep showing up even though you poo poo, ignore, or deny them? Do you stumble upon negativity despite your attempts to be positive? Do you find yourself sabotaged by fear and mindsets that derail you? Do you think your free, but then discover an area of your heart under lock and key? You’re not alone!

How are you dealing with it? Are you trying to keep your life hidden like the days before Reality TV when lives were lived in secret? Then you’re living in the wrong decade! You can stay hidden, locked up tight and watch life pass you by, or you can take steps to claim your voice, get in the game and get untamed.

You might be thinking no one cares about my life, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. People want to hear your rants, concerns and your closet secrets (without too much exposure, remember Anthony Weiner) because it gives them permission to own their own their own voice, to share and get in touch with their own humanity. That’s what platforms like Twitter, Facebook , Instagram and Pintrest have recognized and facilitated. 

Why is the world fascinated with airing its dirty laundry? Maybe you’ve heard when you bring hidden things to light they loose their power. Twitter and Facebook continue to save my life one post, one tweet and one interaction at a time as I get to be apart of a community where I share, learn and grow. Jump in the water, gain the courage to say what you need and get freer in the process. 

You have a voice. Whether you know it or not, this is the time to find it, not a copy of someone else, but the you that is true.

If this sounds too scary, like exposing yourself is the last thing you want to do, maybe you’re ready for a small step toward personal expansion. Try tweeting! :) To join me in the conversation follow me at and

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Choosing a Scandalous Life

waterwalkerI was raised in the South, and although I lived in eleven different states before I was eighteen, a southern upbringing dies hard. I come from a line of women who slid on their kid leather, pearl-buttoned gloves, perfectly- matched shoes and purse for their regular church attire. My childhood memories are packed with visions of southern niceties. Ahh! Lately I have been contemplating my kids’ obsessive love of clothes and continually fussed-over locks, but haven’t they gotten the very traits I discredit from moi? Let’s blame it on the South! Fortunately, I don’t have Darlene Real’s memory of her grandmother’s attempt to look good even when gathering eggs from the chicken coop— she wore high heels—but there is just something about a southern upbringing that constantly tries to pull you back into line with magnetic force, like a student waving a magnet in science class to collect stray iron filings.

That’s when good ole southern Pentecostal faith is needed to resist the pull—the water-walking kind of faith that sees the far-off destination and points its feet in its direction. It does what any self-respecting untamed heart must do—get out of the boat and walk on water. -Kimber Britiner, Untamed Heart: Releasing Your Creative Genius, 2013

An untamed heart is always moving boldly beyond the status quo and into the unknown. How are you moving boldly beyond your status quo? What water walking do you need to attempt?

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