It’s so easy to “feed the bad wolf” during this pandemic. There is so much fear and anxiety and resentment in the world right now. This course will help you honor and acknowledge the emotions you’re experiencing as part of the human condition. But it will also help you feed your good wolf, by teaching you simple tools that allow you to access more peace, joy, love, hope, empathy, and compassion even in the midst of chaos.
I have been guiding clients in these tools for nearly a decade, and I’d be honored if you’d allow me to guide you through this time.
I believe I was put here on earth to hold space for the part of you that yearns to unite your desire to belong with your ache to be authentically you, and to help you define, own, express and be appreciated for the gifts you bring to the world.
The world needs your strength and your gifts NOW more than ever.
Yet it’s hard to hold it together when you’re anxious and scared of what’s coming next in this unpredictable world we’ve all been tossed into.
I opened Charles Eisenstein’s book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, this morning to find the best quote for my live meditation. I opened to the chapter on naivete. He quotes Goethe in the opening: “I love those who yearn for the impossible.”
Maybe I AM naive, but I believe that we can create from this pandemic a better world. Unlike 9/11, which pitted country against country and forced “sides”, this pandemic is sweeping the entire world. We are ALL affected, which means we are all in it together.
It feels like an opportunity like the one during WWI when everyone stopped fighting for 24 hours on Christmas night to listen to the song Silent Night.
So what can we do as a collective? Not just you, although I am talking to you, but what can we all do together to create the change we wish to see in the world rather than just going back to business as usual when it’s over?
I’m sure you are pondering this along with me when the immediate stress of our wellness, and our loved ones’ wellness, and our economic future, (and whether or not we’ll have enough toilet paper to survive this apocalypse) fades into the background. 💖
So this is just a note to say thank you. Thank you for your support of me and my work. Thank you for supporting your families. Thank you for supporting good in the world. Thank you for “pondering this in your heart” as we all keep tiptoeing our way into the unknown.
All this social distancing has affected each of us in different ways. For me, it’s a little like the time I was learning the HeartMath Stop Emotional Eating program to teach to clients … I’d been in control of my own emotional eating for years. But as soon as I was told I couldn’t do it, I started craving Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream, (NY Super Fudge Chunk or Coffee Heath Bar Crunch are my favorites, but sometimes Chubby Hubby when I’m feeling super indulgent. Or mmmm, they used to have Creme Brulee. Yum!)
But I digress …
My point is that my ordinary life is rather socially distant … I work from home, see my family, and have friends I occasionally talk to on the phone or via text or even more rarely see in person. (I know … it’s my introverted side. It’s an area I’m working to change.) But now that we’re all supposed to social distance, I find myself wanting to talk to other people every day! (So I’ve been reaching out to friends all over the place.) I know that’s a normal response to crisis … to want to reach out and connect and make sure everyone else is okay.
But I also found myself standing in front of the refrigerator much more frequently than usual. And THAT I know is not the same as reaching out to friends. So I used my tools.
I’ve heard from other contacts that urges like impulse shopping (on-line,) or emotionally eating, or binge whatevering are suddenly omnipresent.
There’s nothing wrong with that of course. Unless you really can’t control yourself when you want to.
If none of this is a struggle for you, good for you! Please consider forwarding this blog to friends who might be struggling.
PS) I got a chance to get to the lake yesterday. My partner and I care for a home near my mom’s. Mom and I were shouting to one another across the water from separate docks until I remembered we could use our phones. So I called her and we chatted across several hundred feet of water. I love technology. Imagine what boat we’d all be in now without it!
But I’m also watching this whole thing unfold with a growing level of concern. This is definitely one of those situations where we have to surrender what we can’t control, and take action on the things we can.
Every morning I wake up with a fire hose of ideas both around how I can be of service, and (truthfully,) how I can also earn a living in the midst of it all.
Both my partner and I are self-employed, so it’s not like we’ll be collecting unemployment or picking up a government check when this is over. My sister and her husband are local farmers, so they are also affected. Another brother owns a chiropractic business, which is pretty hands on. No patients = no money. My mom’s primary income is a rental cabin.
I’m sure at least some of you are also in this boat, and even if you will continue to get a paycheck, you probably have other concerns … about staying healthy, figuring out how you’ll handle your kids all day when they’re home, parents or grandparents or other loved ones who are in the “danger zone” … the list goes on.
As I said, I wake up every morning with a fire hose of ideas … but only so much time in my day to execute on them.
I’m putting together new programs focused specifically around this pandemic –one offering a fun challenge to virtually combat the very real effects of loneliness as we are required to socially isolate, and another offering practical tips to move through the very real effects of stress and anxiety. More details coming soon! (Both mini-courses will be in the $27 price range, which I hope will be affordable to most. If these sound like exactly what you need, but you can’t afford $27, shoot me an e-mail or give me a call and we can work something out.)
One thing I can offer right now, is a link to piles of guided meditations designed to help calm your nervous system. These are my Transformation Tuesday recordings from prior years. I think you can access these even if you don’t use Facebook, but if not, I’ll try to put a few of them on my youtube channel soon. (I have limited bandwidth from my home office, so each takes a long time.)
I can also offer 1:1 coaching at sliding-scale “Pay What You Will” pricing for those who may be experiencing anxiety or other pandemic related unwanted emotions. (Sliding scale starts at $75 & runs through my “normal” price of $225 for a 45 – 60 minute session.) To schedule a session, click here to be taken to my booking calendar.
Here are three simple tools I always use to handle an upsurge in stress:
Get outside. If you live in close quarters in a city, try to get to a park or wildland. Take a walk. Look for bulbs and buds, listen to birdsong, watch the clouds. Anything that takes your mind off your troubles for a little while and allows you to experience the emotions of wonder, awe, peace, contentment.
Breathe. Count in for the count of four. Hold it. Then out for the count of four. Do this three times, then drop your awareness to your heart. Continue to breathe. In. Hold. Out. Try to breathe a little gratitude or compassion or awe into your heart. (All my Transformation Tuesday meditations guide you through this process.)
Dance. Put on your favorite dancing music, and dance in your living room. (Btw, did you see this one of Kermit? I joked with my friend that I do this even without the wine. Shhh. I wasn’t really joking. (If you don’t have Facebook and can’t watch this, imagine Kermit the Frog dancing to Fleetwood Mac’s song “Dreams” and the caption says “when you’re on day 2 of your quarantine, but your 8th bottle of wine.)
I’ll be back in a few days with more love and details on the two programs.
It’s pretty nuts out there, isn’t it? I’m with you. Shaking my head. They are calling this the worst public health crisis of a century.
[And WHY are people hoarding toilet paper? I can see grabbing one of those Costco bundles, but …?]
Right now, as far as I know, all my loved ones are safe. But I know that’s not true of everyone, and quite a few people I know are immune challenged.
I’m not really sure HOW to respond … with prudence, certainly. And Grace. Kindness and Love, obviously.
The important thing is that we all work together to flatten the curve, though, so we don’t overwhelm our health system.
However, this pandemic also provides a few opportunities for us.
One of the potential benefits is an opening of precious time, a chance to take a collective pause. An opportunity to slow down, listen to the birds, take naps, and take care of a few things on your to-do list without the stress of all-the-things that have to be done in any given day..
What have YOU been saying you don’t have time for, for far too long?
Why not use this time to …
☑️Go for long walks in nature. ☑️ Read. ☑️ Draw. ☑️ Paint. ☑️ Write letters. ☑️ Sing. ☑️ Dance in your kitchen. ☑️ Rest. ☑️ Renew. ☑️ Take long hot baths. ☑️ Do sit-ups. ☑️ Organize. ☑️ Declutter. ☑️ Video chat with old friends. ☑️ Clean out the your closet. ☑️ Meditate. ☑️ Pet your dog. ☑️ Fist bump the children in your life. … or hug them if they’re your own. ☑️ Give your lover a massage. ☑️ Binge watch stand-up comedy. ☑️ Have leisurely dinners. ☑️ Nourish your body. ☑️ Drink wine. ☑️ Journal. ☑️ Reflect. ☑️ Learn something new.
Schedule a 1:1 call with me (50% off through March)
This is the universe giving you time to step into the saying “be the change you wish to see” so you re-emerge renewed, refreshed, clear and ready to participate more fully in a better, simpler, more joyful world.
Use this precious time to connect to the truth of your deepest desires, make new discoveries, and grow into “being” the amazing women you are.
I’m also loving the poetry that is arising, and the beauty that is being shared.
Lockdown Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way All over the world people are waking up to a new reality To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To Love. So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing. – Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFMMarch 13th 2020
Where else have you seen beauty arising out of this time?
I just read an email from Michelle Obama, celebrating International Women’s Day. It starts out: “When I was growing up, my parents made it very clear: I could do anything my brother could do, from playing sports to going to college. That was one of the greatest gifts my family gave to me—a belief that, as a girl, my voice and my talents mattered.”
I have to say, that wasn’t my experience when I was growing up. My parents loved me, no doubt about that. But my sister and I were the ones who educated THEM about what girls could do. They “matured nicely” (as my dad would’ve said) as we proved to them over and over that women could do things that weren’t as … accepted … when they were growing up. And my nieces are reaping the rewards today.
For example, we played sports, but my coach had to talk my parents into allowing me to play basketball as a freshman, because when I begged as a 7th grader –and again as an 8th grader– they thought it was “too rough a sport for their little girl.” (Our team made it to state when I was a sophomore, and I was scoring 30 points / game by the time I was a senior.)
We were expected to go to college, but the “reason” was so that we could meet an eligible man to marry. (Neither my sister nor I met our partners in college.)
As a woman who was raised Catholic, I was taught in subtle ways over and over that my voice and my talents weren’t as important as those of men.
[“But what about honoring Mary!” (That’s my mom’s voice in my head. –I love you mom … she’s a subscriber and a huge supporter of my work.) That’s one of the best parts about Catholicism over other Christian faiths in my opinion, but I’ll leave that whole topic for another day. Forget the president, my mom wanted to be Pope when she was little, and is a fiercely strong feminist role model in her own way, although she might not call herself that. She still water-skis at 80, for example. And the times we missed mass when I was a kid, she played the role of priest. When my niece, Lily, was in 7th grade and racing the 800 meter relay against a boy’s team, her voice was right with me yelling, “BEAT THAT BOY!” and almost crying in pride as Lily did.]
I’ve been thinking about this whole women empowerment thing particularly over the past week as I’ve been finalizing my self-judgment detox and writing about the inner scripts that hold us back from becoming the amazing women we are born to be.
Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race, leaving us with two old white men to choose from. (No offense to Bernie and Joe, both are WAY better choices than the godawful mysogynist dude in the office today.) But wouldn’t it be nice to have a woman president? Wouldn’t it be nice to show our daughters / granddaughters / nieces that it can happen in our country in our lifetime?
I learned about the awful sticker some Canadian oil company created “as a joke” that depicted Greta Thunberg being forcibly raped. (!!)
I read a statistic that said that 90% of the world still holds a sexist viewpoint (57% in the US!)
And read that the # of witches (mostly girl children) being burned in the world is on the rise.
And then there is the on-going devastation of the planet, Mother Earth
Each of these topics bears more attention than I have time for this morning. And all of them bring me to tears.
As a woman dedicated to helping change the story of women and the planet, on this International Women’s Day my call to you is this:
I am extremely grateful to all the women who have come before us, and done some amazing things to pave the way. But WE need to be the change we wish to see, and we haven’t yet done enough.
We need YOU to step into your full potential and take a stand for women and the planet.
I believe we women are uniquely positioned to shape the world’s future through our influence on our family, our community, our workplace and beyond. For most of us, to do this to our full potential we need deep transformation in the areas of self-belief, relationships, wellness, and purpose.
I believe I was put here on Earth to hold space for the part of you that yearns to unite your desire to belong with your ache to be authentically you, and to help you define, own, express and be appreciated for the gifts you bring to the world. My goal is to help you find your OWN way back to the part of you that knows EXACTLY what to do, and to listen to that wise inner voice that I call your Wild & Wise Heart.
I’ve dedicated the past twenty years of my life to learning about deep transformation, and spent the past twelve guiding women on this journey to step into their potential.
What’s holding YOU back from becoming the influential woman you were born to be?
If it’s that inner script than runs your thoughts, it’s not too late to join my 30-Day Self-Judgment Detox Challenge.
It’s so important that we ditch these inner critical voices, so that we can step into the most capable empowered versions of ourselves.
So I decided to open up the Self-Judgment Detox challenge throughout the month of March.
“My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. … Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but in stretching out to mend the part of the world within our reach. … Any small calm thing you do makes a difference, but the most calming and powerful action you can take is to stand up and show your soul.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
We need YOUR voice and YOUR heart and YOUR passion and YOUR most capable amazing self to STAND UP and SHOW YOUR SOUL.
“If you want to clean a house, you have to see the dirt.”
Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to see the dirt in other people’s houses (or establishments) than it is your own?
In fact, when I’m super busy –like lately– I don’t even look around me much to notice the clutter, the dirt, and the dog hair. Well, I sorta do. But I can ignore it for awhile. Until I’m expecting company. Then I ask myself how in the world the house got INTO this shape to begin with and begin the mega cleaning process.
Our critical inner voice is a little like this … only we aren’t usually expecting company inside our heads. So it’s a little more like if what happened inside our head was the junk drawer … or that one closet that nobody EVER looks into. Our negative self talk is allowed to build up and build up and build up.
Around Valentine’s Day, I shared the story of my 4th grade crush, and its sad Valentine’s Day ending. Well, partially sad. Sherry, my best friend at the time, was amazing.
But have you ever heard of the negativity bias?
Essentially, it is a phenomenon whereby we humans are wired to not only NOTICE negative stimuli more frequently, but also to fixate on it. Fun, right?
What that means is we tend to:
Remember traumatic experiences more than good ones
Recall insults significantly more than praise
Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones (and let them run through our brains over and over and over again)
Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones
I have thousands of examples of how Sherry was a good friend to me. But that boy was only in our school for a year or two. Why do I even remember him?
What negativity bias ALSO means is that these seemingly uneventful events –like not getting a valentine’s day card from your boy crush– get stored away in our brains. But not just as “some little thing that happened in the 4th grade.” Instead, we make MEANING out of these events …. And the meaning we make of something as a nine year old is NOT the same meaning we might make as an adult. At least logically.
The meanings we make are going to be different depending on our own life experiences. But some possible meanings a nine year old could make of that event are:
I’m not good enough
I’m not lovable
I don’t matter
I’m not wanted
I’m not important
And more … you get the idea.
Now I’m just using this experience as an example. To be honest, when I penned the piece, I wrote details into the story that I don’t actually remember. I DO remember feeling crappy though. And I’ve NEVER liked valentine’s day. More on that in a bit.
We ALL have stories like my 4th grade valentine’s day in our lives. Some of them seem like they could be trivial … as grown ups, we logically know that it’s not the end of the world to not get that valentine, or to be chosen last for the spelling bee or the sports team, or whatever. But as kids, we assign them meaning … AND THEN THAT MEANING INFLUENCES EVERY OTHER EVENT IN OUR LIVES.
What happens next is that the negativity bias can lead to the confirmation bias. This is “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or strengthens one’s prior personal beliefs or hypotheses.*” (*Wikipedia)
So let’s take this same example again. From that day forward, some small part of me expected to be hurt on valentine’s day again. So what did I do the following year? I bet I didn’t risk giving a boy a super special valentine again. And even if I did, I probably put some defense mechanisms on so that I wouldn’t be AS hurt or disappointed. Do you see how this works?
One question I often get asked when I’m presenting at our local college is: “why do I have these random weird phobias … like public speaking for example.” My answer: it’s probably not random and weird at all. If you trace it back, you can probably find the source from your childhood. (And don’t even get me started about the fears we inherit!)
Over time, the meanings we made of something become beliefs. And then we start living our lives as if these beliefs were true. And then we get them confirmed, because we show up in a certain way, and etc. AND, more and more research shows that your BODY holds onto this stuff, not just your mind (which is why it’s so hard to get rid of these things.)
No wonder we need to go in and detox our self-judgments every once in awhile!!
Are you in?
This Four-Step Self-Judgment Detox challenge will:
Help you identify the most common messages you receive from your critical voice
Teach you four + practices to honor and release old wounds from your emotions, mind and body
Provide guided meditations and creative exercises to heal old stories
Guide you in a practice of surrender and self forgiveness
Teach the six principles of self-compassion
Reconnect you with your Spirit Self (or what I call your Wild and Wise Heart)
Bi-weekly emails for four weeks, (approximate value, $50 / week)
Made for you matrixes and journal prompts to help you track your journey and ask yourself deep reflective questions; (value, $97)
Inspiration, Knowledge and Motivational check-ins; (value, $900)
Optional Bonus: Individual answers and encouragement from me via email or text; value $75 / week)
Deep life transformation and tools you can use forever, priceless
All this can be yours for $27, for a limited time.
I bet when you think of all the things that might be holding you back from attaining the life you desire –career, relationship, love, friendships, support, health, creativity, finances, etc.– you don’t automatically put self judgment at the top of your list.
In fact, many high achieving people, perfectionists included, think that negative self talk is beneficial.
But the research shows a different story:
“The #1 barrier [to a willingness to learn how to release self judgment and learn] self-compassion is fear of being complacent and losing your edge. And all the research shows that’s not true. It’s just the opposite,”
Dr. Kristin Neff, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin
In fact, according to Dr. Neff, there are five myths about self-compassion that keep us stuck in the negative mindset loop.
Self-compassion is a form of self pity. ➡️ The research shows that compassion and pity are actually near enemies. Pity is a form of separation, while compassion allows us to see ourselves and all of humanity as imperfect evolving beings.
Self-compassion is a sign of weakness. ➡️ The research shows that self-compassion leads to higher levels of resilience, inner strength, and achievement.
Self-compassion will lead to self-indulgence. ➡️ The research shows that replacing self-judgment with self-compassion is actually linked to healthier behaviors.
Self-compassion is selfish. ➡️ Research shows that self-compassionate people have more concern for and are more caring and supportive and forgiving … and that this is reciprocated in their relationships.
Self-compassion will undermine my motivation ➡️ The research shows that self-compassion is actually linked to higher motivation. Our personal standards remain high but we have less fear of failure and more grit and determination to succeed.
Let’s look at another researcher:
“Self-criticism can take a toll on our minds and bodies. It can lead to ruminative thoughts that interfere with our productivity, and it can impact our bodies by stimulating inflammatory mechanisms that lead to chronic illness and accelerate aging.”
–Dr. Richard Davidson, founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Does that sound like something you want in your life?
Choose to interrupt those negative patterns and replace them with a new soundtrack.
If you’re anything like me, it’s more often than you realize.
Last Lent, I chose to give up judgment. Going in, I didn’t think I was a very judgmental person. But I figured it was a good thing to do anyway. “Even a little judgment goes a long way, and the world is a better place without it,” I said to myself smugly, (unaware that I was already judging those people I know who are always judging others.)
The challenge induced me to pay attention to all the different ways I judged. I was blown away by how often I really did judge other people, especially loved ones, and even more amazed by how often I judged myself!
Of course, judging in its principle form is neutral. You’ve just formed an opinion of something. “Judgment is a good thing, really,” I can hear you saying to yourself. “Without good judgment, people make poor decisions.” (I’m imagining a finger wagging lecture here.)
But (without going into the difference between judgment and discernment,) many times our opinions are toxic and mean, and they contribute to the toxicity of the world (even if we don’t mean for them to.)
We get a fix of self righteousness for judging others. And for a minute, it makes us feel better than them.
But what about what it’s doing to us after that first minute? What’s causing us to feel those feelings that come before we judge another anyway? Perhaps we feel hurt, or betrayed, insecure, disappointed, or vulnerable. After all, we’ve probably been judging ourselves all day.
According to research, all that negative self talk is the root of many of our other struggles.
“Self judgment leads to feelings of shame and unworthiness, and is the basis of many problems we experience with our relationships, careers, and creative endeavors.” –Clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Tara Brach
Hmmm. Self judgment could be the root cause of those areas where I’m still feeling stuck?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself …
Have you done tons of personal growth work, yet still feel like you’re hitting a brick wall in an area (or two?)
Are you tired of being single, but have trouble finding the trust you require in a relationship?
Or are you married but your relationship isn’t giving you the strength and joy you need?
Do you have an idea for the next phase of your life but feel afraid of letting go of the known to make that next leap into the unknown?
Maybe you’ve been thinking about trying something new FOR FOREVER, but stay frozen in indecision, unable to be sure it is right for you.
Do you want to feel supported, but struggle to ask for and accept help?
Do you have good solid friendships and a full life, but still feel alone?
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
See, here’s the thing: all these negative thoughts running through your mind turn into beliefs when they’re repeated often enough. And beliefs are the hidden scripts that run our lives.
“Your beliefs are THE master commanders of your behavior and your results. Beliefs control our bodies and how we respond to crises, criticisms and opportunities. They tell us what to notice, what to focus on, what it means, and what to do about it. “–Marie Forleo, entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist
And on top of that, beliefs beget behavior.
Which is a fancy alliterative way of saying that the script running through your mind all day long can keep you stuck …
OR you can choose to interrupt those negative patterns and replace them with a new soundtrack.
I found the detox process so valuable, I put together a 30-Day Challenge so I could offer it to you this year.
I’d love to hear from you … when are you at your most self-judgmental? What have you noticed about how you feel inside just before you snap a judgment about someone else? What practice(s) have you found most valuable to curb your natural judgmental tendencies? Do you –like I did– think of yourself as a mostly non-judgmental person?