First You Crawl

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Sometimes it's hard to sit out, while the other kids look like they're having a blast on the playground. Sometimes it's hard to give ourselves the rest or reconfiguring that we need, but truly we are the only ones who can. 

I've spent some long seasons of rest where there simply was no grace to push and strive and make things happen. I had dents in my forehead to prove the futility of pushing against the wall. After a while I learned to flow with the river and to let things happen organically. This really drove the strong willed, 'take action' types crazy!

I could hear the voices saying, "Just get up and do it!" But my heart knew the utter betrayal it would have produced, because there was another kind of work that needed to be done. It was stilling myself to listen. The work was below the surface, hidden from sight, but I knew it none the less. 

This is the work that most of us avoid for as long as possible. We might not know that we are avoiding it, until you get called up to sit! Although I kicked and screamed and threw tantrums, because I couldn't get out on the playground of seeming "importance" this gift that I didn't understand for a long time was truly one of the best gifts I've ever received. 

It brought me to discoveries I would not have uncovered otherwise. It brought me to a kind of ease and rest and grace and peace that I had not encountered to this degree, previously. It realigned so many things and brought me to a rumble with identity. Masks, gold metals and even gold stars that we like to wave around and plaster on ourselves began to fall off. It brought me to the reckoning of the beauty I possess without adding one outside voice of praise or commendation to validate me.

When all of the folks that didn't know how to stay, couldn't handle the vulnerability of looking themselves in the mirror faded away, I found within myself an undeniable fully adored identity, apart from anything I will ever do.

So if you get called up to sit awhile, remember you must crawl before you can walk and you must surely walk before you can run. Give yourself the gift of being loved-on-complete, in your solitude, because when the time is right, you will not only run, you will fly. You will have a clear voice and it will be seasoned with love.

The piece above is: First You Crawl for Day 9 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days.



You have to crawl before you can walk. 

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. 



Befriending Your Emotions


“What’s in the cave?” asks Luke. Yoda responded, “Only what you take with you.”


What one of us doesn’t enter the vulnerable dark cave of isolation, disappointment, anger, hurt and fear, alone? While standing face to face with the screeching shrill of our imaginings and italicized stories, we only truly face ourselves.


Many of us have spent a life time trying to out run the vulnerable darkness, redirect through pointed fingers, or flailing our way out of a deep resting look within, through busyness, perfection, attempting to control everything around us, acting out, or the sugary sweet niceness of denial.


As a child it was modeled and I was taught not to give voice, attention, or credence to feelings. Ever been told not to cry? It demonstrates weakness, or ineptness. Children don't understand that the admonition is purely sourced in the adult's discomfort of vulnerability.


Even as an adult I found environments that supported this kind of inner disconnection, therefore, I spent must of my life being a packer, tucking and stowing feelings and emotions, as if they were the enemy in hiding, best to ignore than stir up.


It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that society at large is uncomfortable with emotions and uses every means to avoid them. Take a quick look at addiction and you witness an emotionally stunted culture.


While most folks are working hard to avoid their inner world, there is nothing so freeing as to sit down with our stories, loosening the load of heavy-laden feelings that accompany them like a workhorse’s pack. When we say, “yes” to feeling what is without judgment, the grit and dust of emotion clouding our eyes falls away. In the end, emotions only have the power over us that we give them.


It’s only when we refuse to take the easiest and must comfortable route of packing and stowing feelings like the indomitable tick beneath the skin, that we can be at peace with what is right in front of us. As we bravely choose to sit with our emotions, recognizing and unpacking what we are experiencing, we will begin the empowering work of owning our stories and ourselves.


However, when our emotions have been shut down, we may be surprised to uncover the depth of incongruences that exist within us. It can be utterly alarming to discover the ways we’ve betrayed our inner world by complying with egocentric outer demands. To shut off our emotion is to attempt to compartmentalize our lives, yet as whole human beings we cannot cut off one part of ourselves without another part being severely affected and thrown off center. Sadly, many have never allowed the exposure of raw vulnerability to uncover their deepest, truest feelings.


I remember a time when I had convinced myself that it would be a good idea to attend an event, meet new people and build relationships. And so I spent the good part of the day rehearsing these points in my mind. Then all of a sudden a question arose from within, “Do you really want to attend this event?”


Suddenly I became aware of the fact that I actually did not want to attend the event though I had tried to convince my unsuspecting mind otherwise. When I gave myself permission to feel what I didn’t even know I felt, I instantaneously became elated with joy and the prospect of freely doing what was in my heart. I coached myself through the process!


Although this is a small matter, should I have denied this fact, or more likely been oblivious to the truth of my feelings, I would have acted from complete incongruence. Imagine the number of people that have entered into marriage, job positions, or a host of other situations without ever determining the truth of their feelings.


Feelings are not the enemy. We have them because they are powerful tools if we will recognize and listen to the information they are giving us. Instead of running from the cave of our emotions, what if we learned to befriend them and ourselves? 


Through life coaching and the various upcoming creative retreats we will be offering, you can find the space to befriend yourself, your emotions and your story and walk in the beauty of personal ownership.





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.






Painting In My Nightgown

Painting in gownsigned

Loss always carries with it gifts packaged and parceled out in unexpected places. Some of the greatest gifts I have received have come through the backdoor. They weren’t delivered with the spongy sweetness of cake or the sparkling enticement of frosting, but rather crept in when I least expected them, disguised by the darkness of night.


Loss is a natural catalyst, like lighter fluid applied to charcoal briquettes before the flame is ignited. Loss has away of being the accelerator to the kindling about to catch fire. And so now I find that my mother has left behind some of those precious accelerator gifts that weren’t readily available when she was here.


It’s only now that I am free to catch fire, for previously the tussled sea threatened to capsize my attempts at steadying our wobbly craft, dousing my flame with every breaking wave. It’s only now that I can ride the waves of color, become a torch upon the bow, free to stand without fear that the pirates have taken over the ship.


It’s the ebb and flow of releasing the struggle to button down the hatches. It’s finding a package of freedom ready to be opened, so I can release every do-good-adulting, because suddenly painting in my nightgown is liberating. When before it meant a two year old was left in charge.


Now I open every fuchsia and lime green present, rent to the rafters with see through connection, no separation or confusion about who’s the mom, and who’s the child. I reclaim those forgot years and now I get to paint whenever I want in my nightgown. Apparently you can paint your way into freedom if your mom was an artist that gifted you untold colorful backdoor gifts. Thanks mom for all of your color.

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:

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

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?

Covered In Armor

ID-100159496Unchanging stance, feet sure and armor high describes “vulnerability armor.”  Brene’ Brown writes about this armor in her book, Daring Greatly, as something we use to shield ourselves from feeling vulnerable and exposed.

She goes on to describes what many of us have felt when we’ve vulnerably stepped out from our own armor and someone else’s protective covering turned into a weapon of “cruelty,” “cool” or “criticism” used to keep “vulnerability at a distance” and injure us for making them uncomfortable.

Brown says, “If we are the kind of people who “don’t do vulnerability,” there’s nothing that makes us feel more threatened and more incited to attack and shame people than to see someone daring greatly. Someone else’s daring provides an uncomfortable mirror that reflects back our own fears about showing up, creating, and letting ourselves be seen.”

I used to be a black and white thinker protected behind my armor. I used to be certain about everything I believed and thought. I guess you could say I was certain to be judgmental and opinionated!

Over the last few years, the way I think and see expands regularly. I am constantly confounded, glimpsing a more expansive reality than I ever imagined. My opinions (I still have them) are held loosely. My judgments are more often passed on to the man upstairs to handle. I have definitive values, beliefs and practices, but I choose to see them enlarge, rather than remain stagnant, closed off, or brittle like an old wineskin.Photo: freedigitalphotos 

I am comfortable with the fact that my perceptions and opinions may change from day to day. I am comfortable with the fact that I have previously written things I no longer agree with, or at least would communicate differently. I no longer need to live in an “either”, “or”, “good guy”, “bad guy” reality. I happily live in a more inclusive world of “and.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to reduce life to my ability to comprehend it. In the grand scheme of things, it’s clear there’s little any of us fully comprehends. I find it liberating to let go of the armor and the misperceived weight on my shoulders, thinking I need to be managing, fixing or micro-managing the world. This lighter perspective keeps me open and growing in new ways. It keeps me out of dogma and rhetoric and in childlike, wide-eyed wonder and discovery. It keeps me living in the present willing to reveal my imperfections. 

With this frame of reference I clue into my intuition faster. When rhetoric and pontification begin to spout, my awareness quickly signals. I understand that I have a choice to engage in an inflexible argument or reserve energy for those open and desiring true relationship and authenticity.

What about you? Do you hide behind your dogma-armor? Do you find yourself staying open to discussion, discovery and valuing relationship above all, or are you entrenched and hell bent on winning the game point?

If you want to move into the world of expansive possibility and opportunity, choose to come out from behind your armor. Practice vulnerably. Experience life through the eyes and heart of a child. A good place to start is by reading Untamed Heart, Releasing Your Creative Genius. Order here now![product id="2047" sku=""]

I Care About What the Neighbors Think

Abundance 1Most of us long to be loved and accepted. In an attempt to gain acceptance we often concern ourselves with the opinion of others. It’s quite human to care about what people think. The problem is when rather than gaining awareness around this tendency, we shame others or ourselves for it. When we disassociate from our humanity we create the problem of disconnecting from our personhood.

Maybe you've heard the message that the “a fear of man” is a bad quality to possess, when in reality it is a very human trait. It would certainly be helpful to take note when we're focusing outwardly on others opinions, wondering, “What will the neighbors, the relatives, or those folks think?” However, when we demonstrate compassion toward this very human tendency we free ourselves from trying to hide it, so we can get clear about the internal wealth that we actually possess.

Acceptance allows us to be real, vulnerable and own that, “Yes, I care about what you might think of me, because I want to be loved and accepted, but I will give myself the self nurture I need by looking within for my value.” Shaming this behavior prolongs it and maintains the need to appear above it.

 If you are like me and occasionally take the temperature of the room to see what others are thinking, give yourself a break. Recognize that you already have the best approval around by the mere fact that you exist. Ease into acceptance, let go and don’t shame yourself for being human.

Are You Doing Church?


It definitely felt like an over share. You know those times you feel exposed, raw and regret what you said and wish you could take it back? Brene Brown calls it a “vulnerability hangover!”

I think my over share was a part of me that I had tried to ignore  that was screaming to be heard, so I wouldn’t squeeze myself in one more time “to play nice and make friends.” 

So I blurted out that going to church made me feel like a prostitute. There was a trade off for a service, show up, act appropriately and receive the non-relational pat on the head and group acceptance for performing adequately.

I further explained about the deep pain I felt when I opened myself up intimately and deeply during worship to have no contact with others, or real connection. Then I'd have to pick myself up, clean myself off and go home with the lingering affects that remained throughout the week until I did it again the following Sunday. 

Once I mentioned this concern about lack of relationship in church to a woman whose response was, "I've learned to accept it and move on years ago." I thought to myself, "Why do I have to accept this? I can't accept it. Its killing me!"

I feel life deeply. I see life in pictures and allegories, so often something as simple as a tragic movie plot can take me weeks to rebound from. I am empathic. I've always been this way though I’ve tried to bury, shelve and disassociate with this part of myself. The truth is this tendency is tender, beautiful and perceptive. Why would I reject this to merely fit in?

Although this intense sensory knack has existed from childhood, it wasn't until my early twenties that I first became aware of it. My husband Bill and I stopped to pick up a friend of Bill’s I’d I never met.  As soon as he got in the car my heart started breaking. I’d never felt such deep and sudden pain. I knew it wasn’t my pain, so I blurted out, “My heart is breaking and I don’t know why!" The passenger immediately yelled out, “It’s me! It’s me! I just bought a pound of pot and I shouldn’t have! You’re heart is breaking because of me!”

I've often wished that I came with an operating manual, but that would eliminate the very thing I am set up for: RELATIONSHIP! You and I are made for relationship, relationship with God and each other. Its a life long journey of learning how to understand our inner world and relationships beyond textbook theology and "how to's."

So when I over shared it was as if my insides where screaming, “Listen to me! It’s killing me to be in another setting where the focus is about  an agenda and not relationship, about doing and not being. You are spreading your legs one more time for a payoff, to be loved and liked. You shouldn’t have to work to be loved!”

It hit me square in the face. I was a working girl and my own John at the same time! I continued to send myself out looking for love, pulling up my skirt and coming home alone.

Sad. Humiliating. Embarrassing. Nevertheless, what happened was this:

  • I began to own it and I began to get free.
  • I began to stop working and started loving myself whole.
  • I began to stop busying myself to avoid feeling (like so many do.)
  • I began to comprehend that there was no separation from the love of God, period!
  • I began to let go of space holders, not chasing after anyone's love, but leaving space for the real thing.
  • I began to value myself even if others couldn’t.
  • I began to set boundaries and not let others trudge through my heart.
  • I began to have relationships where I didn't have to perform and I wasn't harmed.
  • I began to define church differently: relationally; a meal; lives shared; conversation and trust.
  • I began to comprehend being the church and not doing the church!

Are you giving yourself permission to love yourself and be well-loved in return?

If this resonated with you and you'd like help creating a healthier life, contact me for a complementary coaching session via teleconferencing to discover what coaching could do for you. Only those seriously interested in coaching apply. Email me at:


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!



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=""]