Hold Your Fire, Please

My chest aches. I’m not finding much comfort in my furious friends who are ready to fight back. Which is odd because generally I’m the first person to fight for the underdog.

But as I listen to the anger, projected on the people who didn’t vote, the people who did but voted for Trump, I don’t feel good. I feel icky.

When I watch the American flag being burned by people in one of our ally countries – I feel sad.

I want to write my international friends be they in Canada, UK or Mexico and ask that they hold their fire, please.

Yes, we are a country in deep conflict right now. The full extend of the division of our united people is easily seen through the election where Trump won as a self-proclaimed racist, xenophobic, sexist white male by getting the electoral vote. However, Hillary won the majority vote of the people. One a neo-nationalist, Trump and one a neo-liberalist, Hillary.

I like Hillary. Where I may have failed my neighbor is not going below the vicious hate I saw being directed at her. I didn’t like the delivery and so just dismissed it without speaking up.

With Trump, I haven’t been able to get beyond the vile presentation – the bullying, child-like behavior whenever there’s negative feedback and a general lack of respect for the job is being asked to take on, the Presidency of the United States.

As a result, I did not hear the real pain of half of my country.
That’s on me.

I am getting an understanding of it now. There are people who sit in the middle of our country who don’t believe their opinions and views are being heard. They believe government is focused on programs for people other than themselves, and they are being asked to pay for those programs when frankly, they are not making enough money to do it.

There are people who carry guns and use them well and don’t want gun controls that will infringe upon their rights to responsibly bare arms.

There are people who live on the border of Mexico that have had to face and deal with challenges due to illegal immigrants, and worry that if they say anything they’ll be called a racist.

I think white men and yes, some white women, feel threatened by being told they’re privileged. These people are told to shut up, it’s no longer your turn and they just don’t understand the impact of their so-called privilege.

These are just some of the issues I think Trump spoke to and as a result this LARGE group of people felt heard.

Do I agree? Well, that is not the important point.
The real question for me to be asking is, “Did I even listen?” and “Will I listen now?”

We all want to be heard. Often we can live without getting our way if we believe someone has truly heard us and considered our point of view with real interest and regard.

I am not sure I have done that to those people, which is why my heart aches.

Because now I will be living with a President that did listen. I’m not really sure I believe he has good intent for those that he stirred up, but he did listen and did it better than most of us.

So for all my desire for equality and freedom for all – I failed.

I don’t want to keep failing. I also don’t want to see us lose the ground we have gained because we have made progress. I will still speak up to racism. I will speak up to sexism.

But I want you to know, if you don’t realize already, that racism, sexism is within each of us. It’s not relegated to privileged, the rednecks, or Trump.

In my opinion, we’ve got to start really listening to each other and not just fighting back and continuing the cycle of winning and fighting again.

Yes, be angry and find ways to express that anger responsibly and then get back up and relate to each other! Because “We The People” are ALL people – not just the ones who agree with me and even those people who hate me because of who I am. I know that is painful.

I’m not great at listening without defending myself especially when someone is attacking. It is hard to stay open and be curious. However, I can’t just keep saying my own point over and over again. Or run the people I hate out of town.

Frankly, I think the only way to break out of this hell we are now in is to actually try to listen. Not to the press, not to the media but to my neighbor, your neighbor who very well might have voted for Trump.

Working to Live From My Heart Not My Hate & Fear

heartcrackedI am sitting pondering what to say after reading the headlines about where we are as a country.

I don’t want this to be a political post about who you should vote for or why.  Sure I have a opinion and I have voted.  Probably so have many of you.  Plus a lot of my regular readers are Canadian so just watching and wondering – what they hell are we up to!

It seems people around the world are watching and mostly either laughing, crying or fearful that somehow democracy has failed in a country that was founded on the idea and stood strong in defending those noble roots.

Have we lost it?

It would be so easy to just make this mess all about the names on the ticket – Hillary and Trump.  To make the issue about how they are such poor options.

But really?

That is such a cop-out.

Whatever, is surfacing is something each of us is participating in.

I am a believer in using conflict and this situation is putting that belief to a very strong test.

I work with individuals, couples, leaders and teams.  I speak to the importance of being willing to be vulnerable and curious.  Yet, I admit I have struggled to stay open and when people ask me what I am doing to make a difference.  I admit I have many times remained hidden in my opinion because of my fear of rage, retort and the venom that comes back.

So I have to ask myself, what will I do and who will I be on Wednesday if the elections results reflect something I don’t like or fear.

So much of this election has been about fear and hate.  I am not  talking about the candidates,  I am talking about us, the people.  

I’d like to say – not me.

But I can not say that.  I have moments of rage, hate and fear.  I have protected myself from owning my own shadow by projecting it out on people I thought were far worse.  But if I am honest and do the only work I have any control, I most look at my own part in this crazy process.

Maybe I am not standing on some political stage where everything I do is reviewed.  Maybe I don’t have the power to let my own fear and hate change the state of the world.  No, I don’t have control over armies, bombs or people’s right to seek refuge.  No, I don’t have that kind of reach.

But I would be kidding myself if I didn’t know my interactions matter.  I do and can make a difference.  Maybe not on the world stage but how I could I possibly know if that one person I screamed at in hate or recoiled from in fear won’t have the power to self-destruct or destruct a family, a community or country some day.

How could I not know that one kind and honest conversation made someone else do the same.

Don’t get me wrong I am actually not suggesting that making all my interactions positive is the solution.  Because frankly, I think that approach is just as damaging.

I mean show up real, raw, vulnerable.  Owning what I am thinking without just projecting it out without awareness and choice.  That is not an easy task.  But I do think one worth living. I think it is the only real path towards intimacy and connection.  I also believe that to be human does mean we will  make mistakes.  But we can recover if we are willing to look at our own part and not make it something outside of ourselves.

I have spent years working with couples and so often couples arrive in a crisis because of a big event – an affair or some type of event that seems to crack instantly the foundation of trust and possibility.  However, over and over in working with these couples I see that it isn’t the big events that ripped at the foundation but the little things that never got talked or addressed.

I think that is the issue in our country.  Our politics are simply a reflection of not dealing directly and honestly and with each.

This hate didn’t just surface because of Hillary and Trump.  We have been on this trajectory for a long time.

Now we have surfaced the beast inside.  Will we embrace, look at and own it?  Or will we try to kill?

The challenge is not an easy one.  It is one that can only take place in the hearts and minds of each of us as people.  This isn’t just a political problem.

We all have work to do.

Will we?

I want to wake up Wednesday and have my person win.  I admit it.  I think the world will be a better place.

But I do not know that I am right.  It’s my story – a story – not truth.

What I do know is that whatever happens, I want to wake up on Wednesday (actually every morning)  with a renewed commitment to not point the finger outward but to turn 180 and ask myself how will I participate in the interactions where I can have an impact? Will I live from my heart or from my fear and hate.

That my friend is the only thing any of us can do – including Hillary and Trump!

I have faith that all people have that as a choice!

I even have faith in Hillary and Trump.

I have faith in my ability and yours to make a difference one interaction at time.

I really don’t even need to wait until Wednesday, neither do you.

We can change the trajectory now!  Yes, we are cracked – but I don’t believe we are broken!

 

 

 

 

Meet Polly, My Procrastinator

I am not good at finishing!  As a very immediate person, I get myself distracted easily.  The strength of this personality trait some might say is adaptability.  Although I am not so convinced this trait is a strength.  There are too many signs of unfinished failure that haunt designme to think otherwise.  My book, scattered pieces on countless computers.  My closet, always piled with clothes. You might think I never do laundry!

These are just some current day indicators of this ‘strength”.

No, I think there is something else all together at work here.  Myself, I have come to believe, Polly, my procrastinator is the real instigator of my unfinished mastery!

Polly, has been an important protector of me over the years.  Believe or not, her amazing efforts have kept me from humiliation and criticism many times. Her ability to stall, distract and avoid detection has been valuable but may be a bit over done these days.  At other times in my life, writing and sharing my story was dangerous.  My messy, chaotic presentation kept me well under any radar and able to avoid getting too far out into the world where I might create problems for myself.  Yes, there was a time in my life where Polly served me – but not so anymore!

The problem is Polly remains on high alert!

Let me give you a bit of a day to day look at how Polly shows up in my world now.

I decide I want to write this quick post about procrastination.  I start typing and decide it would be good to look up the word procrastinate.  As I am googling the various definitions and diving into the root of the word, I discover a variety of interesting headlines about procrastination.

One,  Two Harvard Professors Reveal One Reason Our Brains Love To Procrastinate (I take a quick look but find it boring).

Two, I find  Later, a New Yorker article about a Nobel-prize winner’s relationship to procrastination (which I find much more engaging of course it starts with a cool story.  Plus, who doesn’t want to be compared to a Nobel Prize winner?!) and finally, a TED Talk by a known pre-crastinator who took on the task of learning to procrastinate because he missed out on a big investment opportunity by quite harshly judging a couple of his students who he wrote off as losers due to their procrastination who in the end made millions.

While Polly has found relevant information thus far, she doesn’t stop there.  Soon I am reading political headlines about our upcoming presidential election, which reminds me that I need to call someone about our upcoming weekend program Find Your Mojo In Montana.  So I get on the phone. Then I realize I’m hungry, and we have nothing for dinner. So I get ready to head out the door to the store and think,  why not take Rosie to the dog park? She needs the exercise.  I better grab a snack before I go. So I wind up making a shake. Needless to say I am soon far, far away from finishing the post and focused in a totally different direction!

Why is Polly protecting and procrastinating this time?!

Polly means well.  She loves the rapid intake of information, with a preference for quick reads and engaging activity.  She loves gathering random bits of information and finding common threads.  She is also very immediate, meaning if she gets bored she’s moves on – thus the inability to read through the Harvard article and get some tips on how to be any different!!

This is not an uncommon course of events for me and Polly!  Sometimes I love the variations and distractions.  But Polly and I have had  to develop a better working relationship.  This day’s activity though demonstrates relationships aren’t about being perfect!

However, I have  worked on this relationship with Polly for a while now.  I have now discovered a path to keep Polly engaged and entertained, while getting things done. (Don’t tell Polly!)

My relational efforts with Polly are the foundation for my new Building Your Mojo program is designed to help people like me develop their own working relationships with parts of themselves that are stopping them from reaching their fullest potential.

See Building Your Mojo Program!  is the outcome of how I have learned to relate and develop a much better working relationship with Polly.  I am putting her various skills into practice so that instead of stalling and never crossing the finish line, I am moving and making progress!

Not everyone has a Polly, but most of us do get stalled along the path to some of our most important goals.  That doesn’t have to happen!  There is a way through!

I ran the beta test last month with a fabulous group of folks and got some great feedback.

I have been on shut down for four years due to several traumas. I was suffering from depression, anxiety and I suspect some PTSD. I participated in Susan’s ‘Build your Mojo and Accomplish Your Dreams’ for a few weeks and found it to be really inspiring and I did actually put my foot back in the water. The whole idea is about living the best life you can and this experience has opened my mind up to possibilities I thought were no longer available. I am currently volunteering and thinking about spending a few months in Mexico. A huge step for me and all due to Susan’s leadership and suggestions.

Jude

I am now launching a new program starting November 17. Click this link to learn more.

I love the group sessions because these sessions are interactive and engaging.  But I also get that there isn’t always time to dive in and work more individually with someone when things come up. I found people really got value out of having some one-on-one time to help them work through their Polly issues.  So I am offering a coaching package alongside the four week group sessions to give you personalized support. You can find it on the same page.

I love that I’m finding a new job for Polly!  What better way than to use all of her ample skills than to help others transform their procrastination and tap into and build their own Mojo to move through blocks and stalls. She’ll be answering emails, coaching people, and prepping and delivering the live classes, or running the store or checking Facebook!

Want to learn more?  Well we are offering a FREE training November 2:  Get Unstuck!!  It’s tomorrow and now you can see just how Polly and I got a bit distracted on that day this post was due to go out! – but it is not to late to signup!

If you already know you have your own inner Polly to work with – well check out Building Your Mojo on our thrive! site!  Don’t procrastinate – sign up now!

I’d love to play and engage in online learning and relating with you!

 

Find Your Mojo In Montana

You know I love living, laughing and hanging out in Montana!  I also love that I am bringing more of thrive! to Montana.

Our thrive! focus started with our six week Be Brave program. What we’ve heard is that many of you were very attracted to the 3 Day In Person Retreat rather than the six weeks. So we listened.

So we have adjusted and created: Finding Your Mojo in Montana with you in mind. It is for you if you are:14715633_1330130983666130_7704171479520731284_o

  • Procrastinating on what you want most
  • Unable to move forward on an important project
  • Struggling to take action on your heart-centered goal
  • Hesitating because you think you can’t be successful
  • Wanting to hang out with us!

We’ll take you through the steps to see your situation, goal or project in a new light giving you the inspiration and support to move forward. We are incorporating the horses, mi14666096_1330131053666123_5571803453701076254_n1nd-body, creativity, yoga, gourmet food, luxury accommodations and much more. Just get yo14695589_1330131060332789_7915947341387174241_nurself to Whitefish and we’ll take care of the rest.

We wanted this to be intimate so this All-Inclusive 3 Day Retreat in Whitefish is limited to just 8 people.14711621_1330138010332094_8586158324706217639_o14542424_1330145196998042_865427924870034475_o

Dates are: November 11-13th, 2016
It is coming up fast! Hey we are last minute planners!

Good News:

Bring Your Friend Discount

      for you and your friend, making it just $1500 USD

 

 

How To Build Your Mojo and Accomplish Your Dreams

14355106_1447679188581726_6618664619152362553_nI get incredibly excited when I get the opportunity to help someone shift from “I must be doing this wrong,” or “I’m broken,”  to engaged, embodied living!

It’s what I am passionate about – because PEOPLE – YOU ARE NOT BROKEN nor are you doing everything wrong! This is simply a crazy story line that you have somehow gotten stuck believing.

Sure, sometimes the outside results are not indicating the success you imagined, and maybe there are some ways to tip things in the your preferred direction.

Building Your Mojo is for you if you:

  • Keep procrastinating on something that means a lot to you
  • Go forward then stop and give up on your dreams
  • Self-sabotage your success
  • Long for the ability to bring your great ideas to fruition

Let’s be clear, with my clients it’s not about a lack of competence or some fatal flaw that stops them from moving forward and succeeding.

No, most of the time it’s got a more to do with owning and opening to your increasing velocity and using your own brand of genius (or as I call it Mojo) to get to the next level.

Let’s face it – many of us are wary and afraid of abundance, unlimited possibilities, loving and shining brightly, thinking thoughts like —

  • OMG if I shine, I may leave people behind
  • if I succeed, I will fall harder later
  • I’ll become too full of myself
  • I’ll become one of those obnoxious happy, positive people

These are all tapes I have running through my mind. I haven’t gotten rid of them. I know there are some folks that have, but not me.  I have discovered ways, however, of letting the tapes run without losing my larger connection to source, magic and my mojo!

If you struggle with your own version of “I must be doing this wrong!” Or “I’m broken” and you want to try something different – Mojo Coaching might just be for you!

So let’ s talk about what Mojo Coaching has to offer right now!

Right now I am test-driving a new 3 part online Building Your Mojo Group, and I want you to sign up to try this out with me!

What’s in it for you:
• Practical tools you can use to build your Mojo immediately!
• Feedback and support as you take Mojo action in your life!
• Fun learning and relating with me and other Mojo seekers!

This will be a one hour group meeting on October 5, 12 and 19 at 1:30 PM PST

This one will be FREE!!! What have you got to lose?

  • What I am looking for from you:
  • That you can identify an area in your life where you are stalling and know you want to explore how to take action.
  • That you are game for test-driving a new online group process on Zoom. You will need computer access and a willingness to ride the waves of a new medium.
  • A willingness to practice some new tools, meaning homework!
  • You are open and willing to share your experience with others as a way of learning and supporting each other.
  • Plus, you’ll give me straight feedback about what works and what doesn’t for you as we go!

If this is you, email me right now at susan@thriveinc.com. Tell me why you want to try Build Your Mojo. I would love to work with you!  I will let you know if there are open spots.
Let’s do this!

One of My Favorite — Mojo Magic Stories:

My body is a problem

Sally’s initial reason for stepping into Mojo Coaching was around her slower than desired launch of her new service line in her coaching business. I know you are probably wondering what her launch success has to do with her body being a problem.

Well that’s the cool thing about Mojo Coaching. Finding your Mojo to move to a new, uncharted possibility, rarely comes from where you think it will. Most often it comes from tapping into unknown, or exiled parts of yourself, and bringing new breath and life to what has been shutdown or unconsidered.

In looking at her focus area, the launch, it was clear that she had everything in place, yet she was stalling. She had a strong belief that the slow movement was due to her incompetence in one of the business target areas. However, I am a strong believer that often it is important too not get too focused on just the surface but go deeper and broader.

So I asked Sally, “When you think about the launch what do you notice in your body?” Sally shot back quickly, “My body isn’t a resource. It’s a problem.”

She and I both noticed the amount of energy she had in that statement. Sally was curious about the belief and also about how that might actually be related to the launch success.

The big shift came during a ten-minute session. On a call she had scheduled, right when she was packing and heading out on an important trip. Being the responsible person she was, she had given some thought to canceling but did not want to inconvenience me.

About five minutes into the call, I asked, “Would it be better to cancel?”

“Well, I thought about that yesterday…and decided “No, I can not do that.”

I commented, “Instead of thinking about it – how about feeling about it right now.”

She laughed, “Of course, I did not do the breath, feel and check in with my body.” She did and decided to finish the session right then.

Later she shared how powerful that one shift had been. Not thinking, but breathing and using her body as a resource, was not only useful to make the best decision regarding our session, but as result, she was more regularly stopping the habitual – think it through – and instead started taking a breath and listening to her body.

It didn’t have to be a big deal and she was amazed at the quick and valuable input offered!!! She had more energy and vitality as a result!

Dear Donald Trump

Dear Donald,

I have been wrestling with the best way to handle the mix of emotions I have coming up related to November’s election.  I doubt that writing and sending a letter directly to you would have any impact.  However, trying to have dialogue and debate with people supporting your ticket has not proven to be particularly productive either.

I am a believer in using dialogue to talk about difficult issues in order to avoid getting into right/wrong positions, working towards understanding people who live by different values than me.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I come into a dialogue quite heated and very unhappy with what I think is another person’s ‘deplorable’ position.

However, I have found that when I listen and make space for someone’s opposing views, I learn something.  Also, I don’t generally walk away thinking they are evil, narcissistic or a sociopath.  I have more space, compassion and even if I still disagree have confidence we can live together with our differences.

The problem currently is that I am having a very hard time thinking of you as anything other than militantly ignorant (In case you are not familiar with that term, read Scott Peck’s, People of the Lie where he provides his definition of evil), narcissistic and more recently have wondered about the label sociopath.

I must be wrong.

I hope I’m wrong.

I must be missing something.

At parties and dinner conversations I have attempted to make a case for where you might be coming from.  I admit most of my friends, family and colleagues, who are Democrats, Republicans or Canadian, are very put off by your bullying, ranting, raving style and your need to incite violence in a crowd of people who are already revved up.  So the conversations have been one sided, and people have at times been upset with me for even attempting to understand your position.

I can’t say I blame them.  The things you say you stand for make very little sense to me.  Building a wall along the border of Mexico, getting rid of all Muslims are just two that seem frankly, crazy.  If not crazy at least anti-social, mean and considering Mexico is a neighboring country and most Muslims are not terrorist, militantly ignorant on your part!  Around other issues such as foreign policy, taxes, the economy, I hear you say, I quote, “I am very, very flexible on many issues.”

Really?! What does that even mean!

I don’t know your position or believe you have one. In other elections, I might disagree with a Republican point of view, but this time, I don’t know your position, other than to inflame.  That really concerns me.

When I read the paper or watch the news, I am left thinking, you seem to like being overly aggressive, you cut people off when they are talking so you can make your own point,  you yell and scream frequently, and you say mean things about almost every race, sex or opponent who has crossed your path.

So I am left thinking…maybe you are a sociopath.

Definition of a sociopath: someone who can be defined as a person with markers of Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is characterized by a disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals.

I sort hate to agree with what I have heard others say about you, but it fits what I see, hear and read regarding your run for President.

So what gives?  I think you must be a sociopath? Or tell me what you do stand for?

I don’t want a sociopath as a President.  But the biggest problem is a sociopath makes for a very difficult opponent to beat.  Because underneath, I don’t really think you care and you will lie and manipulate to achieve your goals.

What is worse is I believe you are very good at using the fear of people to get their vote.  That is what bothers me the most, because I don’t really believe you are on their side.  You just know that you can use their fears about the state of the world to get a vote and put yourself in office.

Maybe all politicians do this.  I hope not.

I know this letter sounds mean, but I don’t know what else to do.  I have not heard any information to refute this conclusion, and I’m looking for it.  When I listen to your strong supporters they are either screaming or also saying something  hateful about another group of people. That just doesn’t fit for me.

Okay you people out there who are voting for Donald, maybe you can help.  But I will just say up front, screaming back at me won’t be very effective. I want to hear something genuine, real and heartfelt.   Something other than a hateful reason for wanting to put this man in office.

I will listen to the debates, but unfortunately I doubt it will be any different than the ones I have already seen.  I am actually concerned these will be worse.

I can only hope I am wrong or that others will decide having a sociopath for a President is not helpful.

Hate and anger will never make America strong and those are the most consistent messages I have heard from you, Donald.

America or Donald yourself, please stop this madness.

 

The Secrets About Boundaries and Me

I consider myself someone who is quite good at speaking up for myself in general.  As a result, I have spent years working with clients, supporting and encouraging them to find their own voice and risk speaking up even if it may create conflict in their most important relationships.

Truth is, surfacing conflict really did save my life.  So I have been passionate about it.  It’s not that I love conflict.  I don’t.  However, a lack of conflict and overly nice and calm is way more of a safety issue for me than loud and messy.

Why?

The easy answer is simple.  Not speaking up can and does lead to health issues.

Stay silent long enough and your body talks, in the form of headaches, backaches, joint pain, and even cancer.  If you want references check out Dr. Gabor Mate’s book, When the Body Says No.

My personal experience is that my cancer began to resolve when I found my voice and spoke up.  I believe staying silent creates ‘dis-ease’ in you, negatively impacting your health.

But please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying if your are ill you must not be saying something.  It is not that simple!  However, speaking up and speaking your truth does help your sense of well-being and life energy.

But there’s more to it.

I’ve been in relationship now for over 16 years with a classic Conflict Avoider, CrisMarie. Yes, she has good reasons for having developed a super power in navigating and defusing conflict.  In many ways, it has served her well.  However, there has been a tremendous cost to her.  You can hear her story in our TED Talk, Conflict Use It, Don’t Defuse It.   It’s also been hard for me and our relationship.

See I do not pick up on her subtle cues. I am also the first to own up to being blunt, persistent and persuasive about my ideas.

As a result, I have gotten upset when I learned later that CrisMarie was quite uncomfortable with my strong debate style, but didn’t say anything at the time.

I am sad when I realize she was asking me questions and working to meet my needs without ever bringing up what she wanted.

I feel blindsided and betrayed  when she has addressed her unhappiness and even once thought she might want to end our relationship because she wasn’t sure there was room for her.

Wow!

That particular situation was a horrible moment for me.  In my past, I would have quickly tried to change and  stopped speaking up.  Although, having done that before and knowing it did not work,  I chose I different path.

I stayed with me and my style, and I also encouraged her to do whatever it took to find her voice even if it might meant leaving me.

So far, that has not happened.  She’s been working on her own track for a while now and yes, it has impacted our relationship.  She is speaking up. We fight more or at least differently.

Things get tense we sometimes separate and each take space to settle ourselves.  When we’re with others she doesn’t often come to my defense when I get into my own reactive style. No, instead, she usually tells me what she really thinks.  Sometimes that stings.  Yet, I know I am getting straight feedback from her these days, and I like that – even when I hurt myself with it.

As a result, I have also discovered my own issues with boundaries.  For me, it’s not so much saying something I don’t like or think differently about. No. It’s often more about saying, “Ouch! That hurts.”

I tend to have a protective layer that can be more like a wall than a boundary.  I have a fight style that served me well in my past and now can be hard to dissolve.  So people may not know that they are having quite a significant impact on me, and my angry face or silence is a mask.  Underneath, I may be swimming in uncertainty or worse hurting myself with something they’ve said.

When I am at my best I drop the wall and stand forward in my vulnerability.  However, that’s at my best, and I am far from perfect.  I do still wrestle with my walls when I interpret an attack. It is often worse when I am blindsided by a situation where I thought someone was standing beside me, and later learned they were just too afraid to speak and tell me they didn’t like what, or how, I said something.

That moment.

When someone finally finds their voice after long time, and I didn’t know they were being silent to avoid conflict with me.

That moment.

When that truth surfaces, is the most painful for me and yet, the most valuable. It’s the reason I believe surfacing conflict, speaking your truth in real time and hanging in through the messy is so worth it.

I also know I have my own work to do.  Because when I don’t say, “Ouch!” or own up my wobbly vulnerability,  I am really just as dishonest and in avoidance for being real in that moment.

Walls are not boundaries.

Boundaries are not about defense but about self-definition.

Boundaries are for defining me and showing up – not about changing you.

When, and if, me and you ever learn that lesson – well may be then we can live in a more self-responsible relational world!

Do you recognize yourself in any of the above?

CrisMarie and I started Be BRAVE, a six week virtual program, because we believe that speaking up, learning to self-define and stay in your own shoes is critical for aliveness, health, success in business and in any significant relationship or partnership.

If you want to learn more join us for our FREE Training, September 14, How To Set Boundaries that Stick!

Also, we are so excited because we have added a 3-Day In Person Retreat for Be BRAVE!! It is right here in in our charming town of Whitefish Montana.

I’ll be working with you on boundaries using a horse in an arena! You’ll meet a real life cowgirl, horse whisperer, there will be a photo shoot with you and the horses, and mind-body work to help you settle your nervous system in the midst of conflict!

Plus you’ll be eating organic and gourmet food, staying in luxurious accommodations!

You just get yourself to Whitefish and we take care of the rest! Sign up now there are only 6 spots left!!

Check out our three options for Be BRAVE if you are ready to find your voice and speak up!

 

 

Why I Work With Horses

IMG_0198I was listening to a webinar by the awesome Susan Hyatt, on getting people to say yes.

I suck at promoting myself.  Yes, I can promote The Haven, CrisMarie, Be BRAVE, thrive! – but when it comes to my work – well I just – don’t!  Okay may be that is a bit to universal.  I don’t think I do it well.

Here’s the deal.  I do enjoy working with people and introducing them to Mojo Coaching with the horses.  I have put it out a little online and with a local card rack offering.  I’ve had some great sessions, but I would not say I am gaining the traction I want.

So as I listened to Susan, I came to the conclusion that I have not yet really landed on my message and passion for doing this work.

I know I love it.

I know my heart opens when I am working with the horses.

But I am not yet communicating why you might really want to work with the horses!

So I decided to work on my message through just doing something else I love writing.

Why do I love Equus coaching and why might I be just the perfect person for you to come and give it a go?

What you need to know about me is that I have many layers of protection.  I have some great reasons for all that protection.  I have done 10,000 hours of working on my reactivity and learning how to clean up the messes I make, and I am still a work in progress.

However, when I started working with the horses, something new and profound happened.  I discovered just how quickly I could drop those protective walls and relax.  I can’t totally explain why, but when I step into an arena with a horse or horses.  I settle.

I don’t have to explain my face, my intensity, my reasons for being nervous or fidgety.  All I have to do is be me, fully and freely.  I get that a horse isn’t asking for anything more.IMG_0196

There’s an acceptance – as though that horse knows the inside of me not all the packaging or protecting I may attempt to do on the outside to keep myself safe.

I am invited to feel when I am scared, when I am angry, sad or upset.  The horses have the capacity to handle all of my energy as long as I am not pretending to be something I am not.

That acceptance has been profound for me.  Horses seem to genuinely want the company of someone who is fully themselves. They love it and they live it themselves.

I actually think that is one quality I share with horses. I can and love holding a space for people to bring all of themselves.  I don’t shy away from BIG feelings – be they happy glad, sad or mad.  I also haven’t yet heard a story I couldn’t hold when someone is sharing their truth.  But unlike a horse I am not without my flaws.  Sometimes my face isn’t easy to understand, or I do feel deeply and with intensity.  But like a horse, I relax when someone drops the walls and stands forward – scars and all.

I think that is what my Equus coaching practice offers.  A moment and a space where you really have a felt sense of being received and accepted for all of who you are. You really don’t have to do or be anything more.  Having that experience is life changing because being able to accept yourself and be yourself is what creates happiness and fulfillment. I don’t know about you, but I could always use more self-acceptance!

 

 

 

Living It! Bring Haven Home!

imageI love leading, teaching and learning in groups whether it’s a Haven program, or our Be BRAVE Women’s group, leading a team transformation offsite with a business team, or speaking to an entire organization. I love the live, face-to-face contact.

For a majority of my career, I have been a firm believer in face-to-face interactions as the best way to create transformational experiences and learning. However, times have changed and much of life these days takes place online and with people miles (may be even countries) apart. This is true in organizations, on teams, in families and even for couples. Life happens from a distance. Sure I love my face time and that is no longer required for developing trust, intimacy and transformation.

Having now participated in a number of online learning programs, I have developed friendships and connections that are as life enhancing has those that came from face-to face group experiences. As a member of a working team, I have found I can stay up-to-date and clear with colleagues moving significant projects forward and never or rarely getting together in person.

This week, CrisMarie have been delivering week four of our Be BRAVE class to a great group of women,  coaching sessions, webinars and radio programs, all from our home in Montana. That’s been great because not only have we gotten feedback that the work as been solid and powerful – we get to hang out at home with our dog, Rosie!

Why am I writing about this? Because in about six weeks, Haven’s Living It program is due to start with a weekend intensive on Gabriola. Living It! Is the first and only blended, meaning in person and online program,  Haven has offered.  It kicks off with the Haven magic of engaging in a circle on Gabriola with an awesome staff creating a great container for transformational learning and then continues for two months after online through webinars, groups and an online community site. Last year was our pioneer group. We were small but dedicated and worked our way through the challenges of technology and being the first!

Over the many years I have been at Haven, I have heard people speak of the challenges they face going home. Having had an intensive experience with deep connections and trying to figure out how to maintain that aliveness and engagement once back home in their ‘real’ world. I know it can be a challenge. In part it is why I am so committed to Living It! I know there are other paths at Haven like Staying Alive and Haven Coaching that can and do support the integration process. But I love the idea of meeting the challenge of integration while still in a program. In other words, taking Haven back home for a period of time and really having the support to try things, check in and try again!

So this blog is a really an ad! If you know that Haven has been an awesome transformational path for you and you have been challenged or want to bring more of that Haven magic back to your ‘real’ life, then consider signing up for Living It! It is powerfully helpful whether you have done just a Come Alive or the entire phase series.

Click here to learn more and sign up.

I do believe this is the next level of self-responsible relational living – being able to relate and create intimacy in person and online!

Join us! You’ll be amazed at how your life improves!

The Silence Isn’t Quiet

There’s this knot that aches in my chest.

It goes away when I see my dog play at the dog park or listen to a piece of music, but it doesn’t take long to come back.

susie2When I turn inward that knot belongs to a little girl inside. I promised her I’d take some time to write. To see if words or telling her stories would help heal, or at least allow, the grief.

There is so much about my life now that I love! I love my relationship. I love our dog Rosie who thinks life is all about play. I love living in Montana.

It’s true, lots of my life is good! Very good. So where does the deep ache come from?

Maybe it’s hard to be happy when I see so many people suffering. There is so much that goes on inside as I watch the news, read about the shootings of black men, and of white policemen, listening as people around me talk about racism, sexism, homophobia, politics, being white, being black, being young, being old, just being human. I often stay silent. But I am not quiet inside.

Maybe it is about how all lives should matter, not just white ones, and how some people have to work harder to get that point across.

The thing is, I am part of all this. I am racist, sexist, homophobic.  I probably don’t know the half of it. The events of my life color how I put my world together, and I make judgments in a heartbeat. Sometimes I’m conscious of it, sometimes not. I believe it is how we humans are wired. It is the best of us and the worst of us.

And so, I can certainly educate myself about cultural diversity and learn about the history of systemic white privilege. It’s important to know. But unless I pay attention also to the very personal and emotional filter of my life, it’s not going to make much difference.

And so, when I hear that little girl screaming inside, I must pay attention.

She asked me to tell her story, to write my book, and I keep getting stuck.

Stuck living in this moment or that next one, and the book goes background.

Until a day like today, when she feels so angry because she hears that she was privileged.

My little girl doesn’t get it.

I tell my little girl there’s truth to that – that white privilege is real, and that my life really could have been worse.

She does not agree.
It’s not that simple.

She remembers how it felt when she was raped at four (and again over and over). She remembers how it felt when she spoke up about his horrible acts and was called imaginative.
She remembers that overly liked camp director who preached goodness and for years chose to do whatever he damn well pleased after dark.
She knew. She tried to tell. No one listened.
She screams, “It’s not fair!”
It isn’t.

He wanted her silenced.
She got angry and punched a hole in the wall.
The doctor said she had an anger problem and gave her drugs.

Life moved on.

There was school and the dyslexic issue. But being laughed at for misspellings and not being able to read – that was nothing. You know – sticks and stones and rape and broken bones – that at least had passed – words would really never hurt her.

Except they did.

Then there was fifth grade, where she was at a predominately black school.
Charlotte bullied her regularly.
She spoke up. No one did anything.
So she ran for Student Counsel President on the platform to stop bullying.
She got one vote – hers, which got broadcasted over the public speakers in homeroom.
She wanted to cry and ran to the bathroom.
Charlotte was in the bathroom.
Needless to say tears were not going to help.
But what are a few more bruises and bumps when you are privileged – or will be some day?

She moved on and found a path playing tennis, hockey and basketball. She had loved little league but you know – girls couldn’t play baseball once they hit age 9 – even if they were much better than the boys.

But she was fortunate to be athletic. Baseball may be out, but there were other games to play and ways to run, run, and run from feeling the ache beneath her white skin.

Ugly and athletic. That worked once she hit high school and was the only white girl in an inner city black school. Sure there are some down sides. Like being the poster white kid during the two weeks the TV Series Roots was on and getting beaten up each day for that great honor of being white and privileged.

She was a survivor, and really I think amazingly creative and resilient.

Of course, when being white might have finally been a benefit heading to college at University of Virginia, by this time she was, I’ll just say, different.

She tried to fit in and she did some things really well.

But still there was a lot about life that just kept hammering away at that creative spirit.

After a number of years of fighting cancer in her 20s, she did find a home, a place that welcomed her and made it okay for her to be different. She started learning to be self-responsible and relational.

Not that being self-responsible and relational were easy. Taking responsibility for her life was hard, lonely, hellish at times. But she found her way and finally found a way to integrate – not get rid of – her past.

She found her loving. She didn’t think that it much mattered that it was with a woman.  And it really didn’t, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one more thing that made her different.

So back to me and today and my ache in my chest. Yes, on the outside I stand looking white, gray haired, and privileged. I get it. I am that white woman, who made it out of my past.

And I am privileged to still be walking this earth. But let me just say walking on this earth has not been easy. I haven’t often felt privileged and now that I do have a little taste of privilege, I guess I am not willing to make it wrong. I don’t have any desire to say my life matters more or less than anyone else.

My best friends in high school were black and when I needed people to stand by me when hate was running wild in a crowd – it was my high school basketball team that did. They circled me and the riot police circled them and we walked out of a crazy auditorium of people who wanted me dead. My all black team did not hesitate. We stood together, and I would stand with any one of them again.

I will stand with anyone for a while who thinks they stand alone. Sometimes that is enough to help someone find their own voice. People need to find their voice and legs again – to know they matter.

So back to my little girl, because, the heart of this story is for her – because she really didn’t think she was privileged.

And now it’s me that has to make sure she knows she matters.

When I do that I know that other people matter too. I don’t have an answer to all this pain, but I do believe that it starts by remembering that we are all much more than the color of our skin, our sex or sexuality. We each come with our stories.

The stories won’t go away, but we can take responsibility for what we do with our stories – and I think when we do that we can and will be much more curious, interested and loving when we listen to the story of another!