I’ve been having nightmares. Not the kind that are irrational and scare the crap out of you, but full cinematic pictures that mirror real life, deep-seated psychological thrillers. The kind where you wake and you question if it was real.

This election has really done a number on me. My childhood memories of a bullying Father who knew no boundaries has me wrapped in a child-like coma, rocking in the corner of my mind repeating “I want Momma, I want Momma,” creating nightmares underneath all the outer wrappings of adulthood. I know that that little girl from way back then needs me more than ever and this is my time to help her, to help myself, and in turn to collectively help all of us.

It’s also a time for great anger and whenever I see anger, I know that anger comes from fear and behind fear is something missing, some longing. So, for me it’s a chance to look back and see why this is causing such a deep fear and deep mourning for myself. That’s how you get out of anger, fear, loathing and into elation, wonder and curiosity.

When I was 17, in May of 1988, I graduated from high school.

In April, I had come home from school to find my Mother sitting in her rocking chair on our screened in porch next to the washer and dryer.


She looks very serious, which is not unusual for her. She’s like that and I’m like her, I can switch my mood from serious to hilarious in a moment’s notice and so can she. There is something different this time though. I don’t want to talk to her, because I can sense it underneath, something is very wrong. This is something I’ve always done and we can all do, if we pay attention, we can feel what someone else is feeling.

“Mom – what’s wrong?”

“I’ve got cancer” she says in a whisper “Gaaaaddamnit.” she says, always drawing out that  sound in the front and saying it like it’s one word.

I look into her eyes and all of her suffering, all of her pain, all the light that brightens her eyes is gone. She is very serious.

I hold my fists tight and start to cry and then I’m out the door and I run, down the street, around the corner and into the woods until my lungs are heaving and my legs won’t go anymore. I bend over, hands on knees, tears rushing, mind racing, heart pounding. Giant long pine straw needles cover the ground and a tree is down on the ground next to me. I put my hands on the trunk of a pine tree, look up and scream, because there is nothing else to do. My life is beginning and hers – is ending.

I am going off to the College of Charleston, on a shoe-string volleyball scholarship, a pell grant (which is government money for poor people to go to college), and no cash. I have no idea what is in store for me, but I am going, it is the only way out.

My brother Jim’s wife Tina just had a baby and I’m going to stay with them for the summer in Florida before I start school in August. I’ll watch the baby while they work. My parents are moving back to Michigan because of my Mother’s cancer. Most of my brothers and sisters live there and I guess they’ll help out while Mom is sick.

My high school graduation is a few days away and no one from my family is going to it except for me and I don’t even want to go, but Mr. Bobby Whitehead, the high school principal tells me if I don’t go to graduation I can’t get my diploma and I need that diploma to get to college.

I don’t have anything to wear and I’m definitely not wearing a dress, which is what is required for “young ladies.” I don’t have any shoes to wear either, but a friend of mine had a pair of old ugly white flats, with a diamond cut-out pattern on them that she gave me, so those are what I’ll have on my feet.

I decide that no one will know if I wear my cap and gown without anything under it except my bra and underwear. They will all think I am wearing a dress, because technically my red graduation gown will be my dress.

So, I go to graduation in my gown, we are told we cannot throw our hats a the end because it’s inappropriate and that if anyone does throw their hat they will not get their diploma. I want to throw my hat anyway, but I don’t risk it. My graduating class is 89 people, we had 93, but 4 didn’t pass, so we’re 89 now and I’m near the end of the graduation order and it feels like all day long sitting in this heat, by the dirt track in back of the school.

I finally graduate and catch a ride with someone who is “going that way.” Everyone else is going to lunch with their families or doing something to celebrate. I’m going home to pack and get the hell out of this country town.

At home, I have a bunch of journals that I wonder if I should keep, but decide that I don’t want to hold the memories in those too closely to myself. I want the freedom to become someone new, so I throw them in the trash bin.

My boxes are packed. My room is empty. Jim and my Dad take the trash up to the green boxes, where country folk take their trash, because there is no weekly trash service in the country. When they come back,  Jim comes into my room and tells me “Dad took your journals out of the trash and kept them.”

“You let him?”

“What was I supposed to do, he said you were wasting good paper.”

He’s still trying to do this thing to me, to have power over me, from the time he moved in to now, it’s always a struggle to decide who is in charge. He wants me to come talk to him or challenge him, so he can prove something. That’s what guys like him do. They try to control you. They invade your privacy. They say things that cross the line of inappropriate about you. He wants to stop me from going and he’s not going to do it.

“He can have my stupid journals. There are a lot of thoughts about how much I hate him”

What I don’t say is there are love letters to girls that I have a crush on, poetry, and private thoughts that are not private now. He wants me to feel shame and in this moment – I do –but I won’t forever.

On Sunday, I get in the car with Jim, Tina, their 6-month-old baby and we drive away. Forever.


What I didn’t know then was that I was angry. I felt slighted. I felt terrible about myself and I went on that way for years. Slowly though, those things fell away. That small girl inside of me saw a way out and she took it. She couldn’t stand up to her Father, but she could get away. She didn’t know that leaving all that behind was about curiosity. She could have stayed, but she didn’t. She was curious about the world. We have a chance to stay curious, we have a chance to wonder and through curiosity and wonder, we can find elation. They are on the opposite side of anger.

I only wish I could breakthrough to the other side of this anger I feel about the election faster than I am. It took me 13 years last time. I’m hopeful that it will take much less.

Fear forever or never

I cannot live in fear forever. It never wins. no fear, know fear, NO FEAR.

Someone once told me that I shouldn’t check-in anywhere on Facebook because people would know I’m not home and then go break into my house. Yeah – they could drive by and see I’m not home and break in – should I never leave my house? All of us have our own fears for our own reasons.

I’m going to challenge myself to ask the questions about fear.

Am I in imminent danger?

Is it a real rational fear? Or am I making it up? (Spiders are going to kill me? – Really? We don’t have poisonous spiders where I live.)

Is it a what if? Where I think of all the bad things that could happen, what if this, what if that? If it is – what’s the worst thing that could happen? Would I die?

If I’m afraid, I can be afraid without being terrorized. Okay, I’m scared, what do I do now?

I started writing this prior to hurricane Sandy hitting New York but realized the timing of this  question in fear was right on. I experienced the power of hurricane Hugo in South Carolina in 1989 and I can say that, that was REAL fear. It brings you to a place where you have nothing left except for fear and the reality of that kind of fear is surrender. There is nothing you can do.

I look back on that time in my life and it taught me a valuable lesson, when fears are real you don’t stress about them, you don’t think about them, you are with them in the moment and you have no choice but to not be overwhelmed. You have to keep living. 

We create a lot of our own fears, which doesn’t mean they don’t feel real, but when we’ve made something up in our heads, we dwell, we stress, we develop anxiety. Those fears aren’t truly real, but made up and in that moment.

I have compassion for what scares me, but I’m not going to let it drive me. I’m scared, now what? Live! GO!


I was listening to an interview with Danielle Laporte the other day – I know I keep mentioning her, but if you become obsessed, you gotta go with it.

She said something that sent me off unraveling threads of information in my head.  FEAR = ADVICE. FEAR=ADVICE.

I am certain she went on to say something brilliant about this statement, but all the same FEAR=ADVICE had me caught up and I went no further in the interview.

Fear is powerful, fear if taken as advice can be equally as powerful. Sometimes fear is necessary to get you moving – when there is danger involved. But many times fear paralyzes us into inaction when it might not be necessary.

Sometimes fear will guide us to turn away and that’s exactly what we should do, but what about when fear stops us because we’re afraid of something that’s not real, some story we tell ourselves?  Instead of shrinking from fear, what if we stood in front of it and asked it the question – What am I actually afraid of?

I’m afraid of not being true to myself.

I’m afraid of not being able to do it.

I’m afraid that I’ll fail – correction I’m afraid that I’ll look stupid.

Why try? I’ve tried so many times and nothing works.

All messages from FEAR that are so not cool.  By answering my own question for fear – What am I afraid of?  The answers seem meaningless when I write them down. REALLY? That’s all it takes for me to GIVE UP?

FEAR, I’ve got your number and in the future, I’m going to ask for your advice instead of shrinking away from you.

We don’t have to be small, we don’t have to shrink ourselves to fit in. We can ask FEAR for advice and either take that advice or choose to turn away from it.  It’s all ours to choose.

I question myself most days right now – What if I’ve made a terrible mistake taking this job? What if it’s not what’s right for me right now? And the what if is the problem. Time will tell.

Before Danielle Laporte mentioned fear she also mentioned mistakes and how it’s a learning experience yes, but sometimes you just make BIG ASS mistakes and you can still move on from them. They are yours and do you wish they didn’t happen? YES. But you can move on from them. If you are too afraid that you’ll repeat your mistake though, you might not move on at all.  You won’t make the same mistake and even if you do, it’s yours, own it, learn from it, GO!


This morning I was ready to give up the dream and go back to NOT doing what I want to do, but just doing something, anything – someone please give me a job and tell me what I should be doing with my life, instead of leaving me here to figure it out on my own.




There’s no one there.

Here’s what making your life the way you want it looks like.

1 part LOVE, 1 part PAIN, 1 part AGONY – the outcome is delicious, at least I think it will be, which makes it all worthwhile, but there is no easy way. The ease is in letting go and trusting that it’s all going to work.

In the moments of soaring courage and devotion to making IT happen, you gotta stay, be present, be alive, don’t give up, have courage, go with IT.

In the moments of desperation, the I can’t, I don’t want to, I won’t, it’s not going to work.  That’s when you need to give up.  Give up thinking about those things, they have their place – let them come in and go back right where they came from.

I heard recently that a high school acquaintance died – poof.  Gone.

It reinforces my thinking that today is the only day we have – and today – I’m going to love my life, whether it is good or bad.  Today, I’m going to work on making my life the way I want it. To allow PASSION to drive me and not FEAR.

TODAY is the only day we HAVE.

Today – Love Your Life. Don’t give up – everything you were hoping for can come true.

What’s your passion? What one thing can you do today that will move you toward what you want?


Ever feel like you are on the verge of something big – revolutionary?

I’ve felt it before and a few times have followed it and trusted it, but I’ve never felt like I really honored it and WENT for it.  I always held back a little, the what if was too much for me.

Now, I’m standing at the edge, right there at the edge. Options, choices, I’m flailing about a bit. But I know I’m on the verge.  THE verge of something fantastic. The question is – can I wait, can I hold out for what the next thing is, or will I fall back into a trap of grasping onto the next shiny thing, job, or idea that appears? 

On January 1, 2012, I posted on Facebook (which makes it true)

instead of a new year’s resolution, i’m starting a new year’s revolution. dream big, be big, believe everything will come true. 2012 you’re the start of a beautiful future.

So far this year, I lost my job and started a blog and found new freedom in just being me.

I started a 6 week fitness challenge that is kicking my ass and I am loving it. I want to feel better about me and I know this is one sure way to feel better.

I’ve recommitted to my personal projects and am putting high priority on what I WANT and believe.

I am happy in the present and looking forward to what comes next and that is a good feeling.

The revolution has started – But can I dream big and be big and believe everything can come true?  Can I pull it off?

Here’s how I’m trying it. I’m putting thoughtful and big dream intentions out there and then following where the energy goes.

If I send a query to 10 people and none call back – I’m not frustrated. I know – the energy is not there. If I send out 10 and one calls me back – the energy is there. I don’t go overboard and think this must be it, it’s the one.  What I do think, is let’s find out more.  The more information I have the better decision I can make. It’s MY decision to go or not. I’m not saying I don’t have moments where I freak out and worry and over-think things, but I don’t let myself get too consumed by it most days.

I use this simple tool in everything, writing my memoir, these writing sessions I post, contacting potential clients, relationships, friendships, all things, follow the energy. Write what feels right, connect with people who want to connect.  There is no need to force, pry or wiggle through anything.

If you don’t feel like doing something, why do it? If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

The things you don’t want to do will still be there tomorrow.

Where is your energy taking you?

What tools are you using to pull of your next big dreamy dream?


Whenever beginning a new journey, feeling out of sorts, not sure of where I’m going, or that I’m not enough – I begin to stock up. In my mind, MORE = SAFETY. 

It is not only about food – toilet paper, paper towels, emotions – they all fall in the same category.

I know, rationally, that I don’t need things in large quantities to make me feel safe. But there’s a part of me that wants that – however unnecessary it might be. My psyche wants to feel safe and this is how it knows how.

I have learned to watch patiently as I go through what I must go through, but I also have the ability to coach myself and remind myself of what’s important to me and how different my life is at this point in time compared to how it used to be. What’s now is not what was then.

Coming from poverty, we didn’t always have enough – money, food, light, electricity, hot water, love – I understand that this is what I’m feeling when I feel out of sorts. Rationally, I know I’m going to be fine, I’ve always been fine. But my pure animal instincts* do not understand that I am going to be fine.  So in my case I stock up. I get ready for the other shoe to drop, for the lights to go out, or the barn to burn down.

I used to think if I had a house, money in the bank, and a decent car, I’d feel safe.  It was always the struggle to get them.  Then when I had those things – what? – nothing had changed. I still didn’t feel safe. I had to go deeper to find what I really needed and that was to know myself a bit better, to understand what I was doing when I was stocking up and how there might not be the same need now.

A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth ~ Marion Woodman

By going deeper, asking myself what it really takes for me to feel safe, I’ve learned safety is something I carry with me, inside me.  I had to drop the illusion that more was making me safe.  I don’t need anything else to make me feel safe but me.
Me = Safe.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that if I need to stock up, I will. I’m not denying myself the right to feel safe, only questioning my own motives about what safety means. Old habits and the old stories we tell ourselves die hard.

Be easy on yourself when you need to, but there is something powerful in asking the question – What illusions are holding you back from truly living?

What makes you feel safe?  What old stories are you telling yourself?

*animal instincts reference from Peter Levine’s – Waking the Tiger

RELAX into the drowning

People die from drowning because they fight it. Who wants to die choking on water?  I’d fight it too. But if you relax into the drowning, you are more likely to survive.


I was talking to a client on the phone one day.  We were both buried in work, so much so that it felt like we were drinking out of fire hoses all day.  Having been through many weeks of this – I paused for a moment and said “Relax into the drowning, it’s easier that way. We both began to laugh, because it was a crazy time, a time when you lose yourself because there is too much to do, think about, be. But if we could relax into it, check off the boxes, do whatever we had to get done and leave the rest for tomorrow, we knew it would be easier. In that moment – we relaxed.

After I was “let go”, “terminated”, “fired” she emailed me and said here are some things that remind me of you.

Relax into the drowning

Don’t harsh my mellow – this was stolen from The Secret, although I didn’t know it at the time.

The mood inside my head is really bright

This is better than dead

If you don’t stand for something – you fall for everything!

I’m thankful for this memory and for her being willing to share it with me. I’ll admit I cried realizing that she wrote my words down and knowing that I made a difference in those crazy moments.

A few years ago I decided that I was going to align who I was in my life with who I was in my work life and this email from her was a great gift – letting me know that I did it! That I really was me at work, maybe not every time, but sometimes. I was true to myself and brought my authentic voice, even in hard times. It wasn’t about doing a job, but was about a real human connection.

Ultimately, we can only be responsible for ourselves and our own decisions, the actions of others are not ours, but if we can stop acting and start being real with each other we may find that sometimes we have an effect on people when we didn’t realize we could.

This is the future of everything, real human connection, not just getting the job done, but making it meaningful. Opening to honest conversations, instead of fighting them, relaxing into it.

What’s drowning you? Call on your authentic voice, to avoid drowning. Relax into it. Make it meaningful.