Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012.

These are my priceless jewels. Contained between these pages are my memories, realizations, dreams, resolutions, inspirations, loss, love, emotions and wisdom. They house my life - my one and only life. I have my favorites but together, together they make up who I am and where I've come from.

They all represent different times in my life. Times that have changed. 

The leather book with the twine around it was my year of firsts after losing Ryan. Next to it, the green hemp book of acceptance. Then to their far left, journals from the past two years. Page after page filled with ah ha moments, sorrows, great loves and dreams. Benjamin graces a lot of those pages.

It's the last day of 2012. I'm looking back over the past year, and found myself looking back over the past two decades. Countless resolutions: weight loss, Spanish learning, fingernail biting, self improvement, to name a few. As I browse through the pages, being whisked through time and space, I notice a theme: year long resolutions and ones that are created in every month of the year. Thank goodness for that! Can you imagine if you only had one chance a year to change something about yourself? To create a lasting, year long resolution only once?

That's a scary thought.

My little books of wisdom - the ones that I've gained through the steady passage of time - all contain agents of change. I'm so glad I recorded what I wanted - between relationships, self love, healthy lifestyle, finding love again and living in a sunny location. And guess what? Over time they came true. Maybe not in their original intention or even in the same journal, but they came to realization.

So much strength, love and wisdom. It's nice to reminisce the past. To affirm that your decision to live in the now and enjoy this moment is a life well spent. That the future is in the future, the past is in the past and all we have now is the now.

May 2013 bring a lifetime filled of living in the now. And more journals to fill your shelves.

Friday, December 28, 2012

First Tracks

My legs burn from today's effort. The kind of effort leaving me drained. The one that seizes my legs after 2,000+ lunges down the steep, snowy and mogul back bowls of Keystone. The couch has since swallowed me whole.

Hello, telemark skiing. Hello, 9 degrees. BURRR! Hello, I love living in ColoRADo!

Muscle memory amazes me. I only skied 4 days last year, but the past 15 years on teleskis has stayed with me. I'm leaping and bounding and pushing my body. Telling my sticks where to float - on top of the moguls, not in their icy troughs. My hands defrost from the hard effort. My head pounds from the lack of oxygen from exerting at over 10,000 feet.

Scarce coverage requires agile movements between unmarked obstacles. My quads scream after the fourth run, and I begin the traverse back toward the base. Not bad for a first day on the slopes. Yes, my body remembers the motions. It's aging and requires more rest and less punishment. Tomorrow brings another opportunity. Come on deep powder! Snow baby, snow!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thank God Seattle is rainy.

The rain has stopped, but the wind blows. It sinks into my bones, this cold, damp air. It prevents me from wanting to be outside, to fight the couch potato default and commit to myself. How did I do this before? How did I truly enjoy being out in the cold, gray, wet and soggy Northwest? Riding my bike through the puddles and steady downpour. Where the sun comes up at 8am and sets before 4pm. And for multiple years in a row. Scratch that - all my life!
Knowing what I know now - going for life with gusto and moving to a sunnier climate makes me wonder why I didn't do it earlier. Why I settled for anything less than extraordinary. Why didn't I pursue the life of my dreams? What took me so long?

We've all been there. Maybe you're there right now. Something in your life just doesn't fit. Job, career, relationship, environment, climate, etc. And yet we get comfortable being unhappy. Change seems too scary. It's easy to come up with a list of because, buts, the problem is....

The problem with saying the problem is is that it has become so habitual, we say it without even thinking. It's become a muscle memory reaction to change. In retrospect, we know better. It's easy to look back and say, yep! I did it again. What about your awareness of it happening in the moment? Can  you catch yourself before your automated response passes your lips? A pause, a conscious decision to change. Ah! There I go again with that saying!

Even if it's just for a fleeting moment, you can hear yourself making excuses. You are becoming aware that you're doing it. And that's pretty huge! Especially if it's so programed that you had no idea it was happening before. Take it a step further - substitute other wording. Try and instead of but; the beautiful thing is instead of the problem is; the I will instead of because. Commit to a different vocabulary.

Two July's ago, I had had it with the rain in Seattle. Flying home from Colorado into the rain made up my mind. That's it. Enough talk. I'm ready to take action and move to a sunnier climate. My excuse barrel tipped over and my action/adventure taker jumped up to take charge. It makes me wonder - do we all have to reach a tipping point before we are truly ready to make the change we want? Does something need to happen before we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?!?!

I set a date to move: August 19, 2010. It felt so empowering to take action. To create change and follow my heart and dreams. When I put myself out there, and I mean truly out there, the world opened up. Things in my life started showing up. Massive opportunities unveiled themselves and I was really stepping into the person I want to be. The person I am. The adventurous, brave, courageous, authentic, beautiful woman I am.

I was scared shitless. Honestly. When I put my mind to it, and really got in touch with whether this felt like the right thing to do - I knew it was. And I had to trust myself. Completely. I just knew things would work out. And you know what? They did. And the continue to. Benjamin and I are celebrating our first year of owning our home together. I am meeting his family for the first time over Christmas. Our love has deepened and blossomed beyond any expectations or hope. And I've found my life's work and passion: inspiring others to live the life of their dreams.

All of this was made possible by not settling. By not trying to fit myself into a mold. By believing in myself and my values: chasing my dreams and passions. For reaching a tipping point with the climate, environment and trusting myself to go for it. And thankfully having a strong, loving and supportive network of people cheering me on, coaching and mentoring me along the way. And last but certainly not least - I thank Seattle for being rainy.

If you're curious about coaching and the multiple benefits it can bring to your life, I encourage you to reach out and try it. It's where commitment to change happens. It's where living the life of your dreams becomes reality.

Thursday, December 13, 2012



What's the biggest positive impact you can have in your life? What's an impact you can have on the community at large? How can you impact loved ones, family and friends? To really make a difference in their lives.

It's simple.

It's as simple as bringing your true authentic self. Of setting aside fears and damaging assumptions. Getting back to the root of your true self. Expressing that love you have for yourself and others around you.

To lead by example.

I gave a speech this morning on creating more balance in your life. I brought my true authentic self, shedding any attachment to any results. I wanted to share with them how I choose to live my life, from my heart.  Facing any fears and stepping into me. And it felt GOOD!

Afterward, Sue came up and told me I inspired her. It wasn't exactly what I specifically said, rather it's how I show up in the world. And when I truly shed those layers of fears, when I step into me, it's beyond measure. I feel grounded and connected to my life purpose. And that's what fills me up.

I'm aligning my life with the actions I choose. It's powerful and extraordinary and I'm finding my way to express it and share it with the world.

That's having an impact. An impact in my own life and rippling to others. It fuels my inspiration.

So get out there and have your impact. Bring your true authentic self and realize your life purpose.

Monday, December 10, 2012


What an amazing weekend. I feel like I can't do it justice by putting what I experienced this weekend into words. I'll try and preface it with until you truly experience something like this for yourself, words won't do it justice.

As many of you know, I'm in getting my professional co-active coaching certification through the Coaches Training Institute. Starting in October, I've now attended four weekend long workshops on the nuts and bolts of coaching the coach. Their training model is best taught through experience and each gathering of 25 or so people result in organic and life changing moments. What I'm going to share with you is my experience and how the power of coaching is changing my life.

It's day one of the three day weekend. There's a buzz in the room: part excitement, anxiousness, openness, caution. The focus of the weekend is process. How we process and be with emotion, and how we can in turn be with the emotions of a client. Earlier that morning I had met with Gary, Ryan's dad and he shared with me some very personal health concerns and estate planning. A heavy, yet necessary, topic over a cup of coffee. I love the connection Gary and I have. We've grown very close since Ryan's death and I reach out every time I'm in town. Naturally, Ryan comes up often in conversation and talking with Gary about Ryan is healing, for both of us. I see Ryan in so many things that Gary does, and I'm sure he sees Ryan in me.

Being in LA, working in my new found profession and following my passion is good for Gary to see, and it's good for me to show him. He encourages me and supports me 100%. And our relationship is absolutely open enough so I can share with him my love for Benjamin. He gets that it doesn't take away from my love for Ryan and expresses his genuine joy in that my life is continuing on. Having that love fills me up inside.

Fifteen minutes before class, Gary shares with me that he's ready to take what I consider a major step in his healing process. He expresses his wishes for his ashes and the spreading of Ryan's at the same time in a very specific spot. I have to go - time presses for me to start class.

I enter in the room and that buzz is there. My earlier conversation with Gary momentarily forgotten. Our leaders begin introductions and when it's my time to share what I feel, I tell the room that I am in the presence of my tribe. There's a lot of trust, love, compassion and no judgement. It feels safe. We start talking about the process of process and I can feel my emotions starting to bubble. My ears are getting hot, I feel a building. Something I can't stop and it's coming. I'm not going to be able to suppress it and they are looking for a volunteer to be coached in front of the class with one of the master coaches. I raise my hand immediately and float to the front of the room, knowing a tidal wave of emotion is coming. It's erupting out of me.

Sam looks at me. He doesn't need to say anything and I start bawling. Grief, sadness, emotion washes over me. I can't keep my eyes open. I want to feel this, I don't want to push it away. I know if I push it away it'll come back stronger. I courageously face it and although scared, I know I have a guide in the process. And a room full of people who love me and support me.

I share a few details. I share Ryan's death 4 years ago, my relationship with Gary. The ashes and his request for spreading them. Sam asks me what I feel. We go deeper into my emotions. I close my eyes and as hard as it is to imagine, I picture myself carrying out those wishes in years to come. Of being in a boat, in Bellingham Bay between Lumi Island and Marine Park. On a clear day you can see both Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainer. I visualize myself standing at the gunnel, feeling the sway of the boat supported by the bay. Feeling the weight of their remains - Ryan in my left hand, Gary in my right. I know I should release them. I know this is the spot. And I have a choice: disperse them or put them back in my pocket. I carefully tuck them back in my pocket. This is not the right time for me. Not yet. And it feels right to do that. To hold on a while longer. I trust myself to find the right time. The right time to sprinkle them into the ocean, together.

We carefully wrap up the coaching. Sam has done a masterful job of letting me feel the depths of my emotions. And some where, some how in the midst of going really deep into that vortex, a little release happens. A shift. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to miss someone and express that longing. And it's okay to feel healing happening too.

The room is shocked. They had no idea that I have gone through the loss of a spouse, despite having three previous weekends of intense learning. That beneath my positivity and optimism was a tragic, life altering event. That it takes courage, great courage to face what I did in the manner I did it. That I'm wise, wise beyond my years. And for those that didn't share in front of the rest of the room, they came up afterward and shared how touched they were. How it helped them in some way face what's going on in their lives. They thanked me.

Leslie, the other master coach, likened me to a volcano. One whose power could be felt in the room and ready to erupt. There was no stopping me, it was coming out no matter what. And what a gift it is to be able to face my grief and really look at it. To examine it and trust myself on when to come up for air. To be willing to feel it and know that at any time I could stop, yet there's something down there. Something within that could be unlocked.

It unlocked my belief in myself and my life purpose. The one that became clearer when Ryan died. The one that I'm aligning my life with. The one I feel passionate about and that I want to spend my life doing. I want to inspire others to live the life of their dreams. And I'm doing it. As I go along, as I examine what's inside, I'm strengthening. I'm building muscle to spread my message. To help others uncover what's preventing them from their dreams and empowering them to choose.

As exhausting as it can be, for as many tears as I shed and layers I peeled off, I feel energized. I feel alive. I am living the life of my dreams so you in turn can live yours.

That's the power of coaching. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing. I wish you all the best in your life journey and when you're ready for help along the way, I'm here for you.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Reptile Explanation

Silly me, I thought you could read my mind! That when I mentioned the reptile brain, you would automatically know what I was referring to. But after a couple nights of interrupted sleep and telling Benjamin this morning about how my lizard brain was waking me up in the middle of the night and he in turn gave me that look, I thought I better explain.

"Reptile brain? What are you talking about?"

Oh right. I've been so engrossed in my books and thinking, that relating it to the outside and unknowing world slipped my mind.

So to summarize: the reptile brain is what we are all born with. It's our innate fight or flight thinking. It's the primitive thinking that enabled mankind to run if a sense of danger popped up to avoid being eaten.  The voice that dominoes our fears when we're walking in the woods, alone. The one that reasons there's a bear or mountain lion around the next bend. It amplifies our fears, no matter how rational or irrational they are and takes things to the extreme. The one that keeps us comfortable in what we know and the one that gets uncomfortable when we attempt the unknown.

Then there's the other part of your brain. The one where you get to choose your perspective. You get to choose how you react to things and make the most out of life. The one who stands out in the face of fear and boldly tries new things, regardless of how likely or unlikely an outcome is. The one that keeps you walking down the path in the middle of the woods and has you following your dreams.

Funny how when you get closer to those dreams, the reptile brain starts a full charge to get you to run the other way. An automatic opposition to stepping outside of the box. In many ways it's predictable. And when you can recognize the difference between the two modes of thinking, you can choose which one to listen to.

I've noticed when I listen to my other brain, the one where dreams are created and realized, doors and opportunities open up. Answers to questions I haven't even thought to ask become apparent. I am able to choose how to align myself with my life purpose despite fear of failure or the unknown. It takes courage, honesty, repetition and above all trust in yourself. And having a good coach or two along the way certainly helps.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Embrace the chaos.

Contrary to this blog, my journal is filled to the brim with writing. My pens are running out of ink, page after page full of observations and personal perspectives. Thoughts jotted down, inspirations noted and action steps ready to be followed. If I'm not frantically writing, my nose is buried in a book.

Sure those pesky thoughts of self doubt creep into my head. What I'm attempting to do, what I am doing, is new and challenging. I'm claiming my own life - the one of my dreams and when I step out of that lens, if just for a second, I get dizzy. What if?! WHAT IF!!! Why are you challenging the status quo? Why are you drawing attention to yourself?!? STOP!!! My reptilian brain screams. The one who is "trying" to protect me.

Why? Because I might be eaten? Sure that was a reality for our ancestors. But I realized, and thankfully long ago, that I can choose not to listen solely to my reptile brain. That life is about choices and I get to be who I want to be. I had a choice when Ryan died. A choice between letting grief get the better of me or getting the better of grief. And as hard as it was, and at times continues to be, I choose to turn it into a gift. A gift that clarified my life purpose. A gift that showed me to stop settling. A gift to step boldly into who I am and who I want to be.

Sure there's a small truth to those warning signals but rather than let them fuel how I live my life, I've learned to go in the other direction. To face my fears. To take risks. To move beyond what I can see and what I so comfortably know.

And guess what?

Looking and living beyond that frame work opened up a whole new way of thinking. A whole new way of being. I embrace chaos theory. I step into the unknown with open expectations and wonderful, beautiful and unsuspecting meanings show up.

My ship is navigating uncharted waters. But I'm willing to risk it. I'm willing to fall off the end of a flat earth to discover that it's indeed round. It's my gift I am sharing with the world.