Celebrating Life: The Heart Beats & Connections

Love this Client gift AND the message – Speak Freely!

I don’t want to write about my reactions to headlines and stories of the madness that seems all about.

I do though want to connect.  To find a story or subject that resonates with my heart and possibly through simply sharing will resonate with you. 

Since my birthday is approaching, June 12 is the official day, I do want to take a moment to celebrate my precious time on this planet.

I have some fun planned here in Montana, a Pride rafting trip and the Downton Abbey New Era movie with friends. 

I’ve also added an extra day on a trip to Seattle, where I’ll be with family – Penny, Rob, Melissa, Melissa’s new boyfriend, Rick,  my mom, Clarke, Carolina, Janet.  I am hoping this will be an evening of music and fun.  Between Rob, Clarke, Rick, Melissa, Carolina – there’s plenty of musical talent.  

Want To Help Me Celebrate – Here’s one way – Bobbi’s Arena

These days it’s cool to have a way for people to share in a birthday through a charity or cause.  I know there are many big global options. But this year I would love to have you offer a donation to Bobbi Halls’ new arena.  She’s a special woman and I do look forward to being back out at the ranch for Find Your Mojo in Montana, happening October 6-9, 2022.  If you are inclined to offer a birthday gift, please offer a donation towards Bobbi’s new arena.  Here’s the link: https://gofund.me/6f08327d

Gratitude Does Come with Age and I am getting OLD!

I feel incredibly grateful for my life.  My amazing wife, CrisMarie and our two four-legged family members, Rosie and Zuzu.  Life is good.  Even with all the crazy.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been 62 years – damn, I am getting old.

I don’t really feel it.  Sure, I have the odd ache or pain.  My hair is grey (and I love it).  However, over the years life has simply gotten better – richer and fuller. 

This year did mark a big milestone.  I finally got that book out.  I’m pretty proud of my book, Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.  At one time it would have been about the pain and loss. It also could have been longer and included other stories.  However, it’s short and makes the point I really think is worth making – Life really is about being relational – Not Right.

Heartbeats & Connection

As I step into year 63, I know time is limited.  However, life isn’t really measured in time. I think it is best measured in heartbeats and connections. 

I plan to make the most of those. 

I hope you do too.

Happy Birthday Lincoln – A True Bright Spot

Today’s is my great-nephew, Lincoln’s second birthday. (May 30)  This is little guy came into world at a time when things were not easy.

The world was in the throws of a global pandemic.  Our country was just day’s out from the murder of George Floyd.  There were fears, stress, hatred and much pain and grief.

In his own family, he was born not to long after his grandpa, Monte, my sister Melissa’s husband, had died after a battle with Pancreatic cancer.

However, this little guy has been nothing but a bright shining light!  Pretty much for all that get to visit and know him. 

I haven’t had that up close meeting yet.  But have stories and many pictures all showing the rays of sunshine he’s been radiating out for his first two years.

This latest birthday was celebrated with more bright spots.  I loved learning about his amazing joy in getting both a grilling tent and a small kitchen as his new favorite places to play.

Monte, his grandpa, was a great cook and griller.  No doubt some of that came through in the gene pool. 

You got love it when a little one takes to tee ball, golf, cooking and grilling.  Now that is a well rounded soul.

There is a lot of pain and sorrow in the world.  It’s hard to remember or find the bright spots.

Little Lincoln – he’s a definite bright spot.  So is all the loving and connection he and his family have shared together and via photos and Facebook with me and those of us not so close.

Happy Birthday Lincoln!!  Keep shining! 

Now What???

The book, Crazy Cracked Warm and Deep is launched. I loved both the virtual launch and the in-person launch at Unleashed Winery right here in Whitefish.

I have had some wonderful notes from people who have shared their reactions and stories to the book.

I wanted to share a few:

I just love that it’s not sequential. It powerful and impactful and also spacious and open – it’s like poetry

I am learning to find and embrace my crazy. I read this on my plane trip to AZ. Tears streamed down my cheeks….both sad for all you have lived through and happy for the strength you found to go warm and deep.

I just wanted to share that while you were reading, I saw a flood of light, the creation of all sorts of new, stronger lights (stars) in the universe! It was fantastic!! Your work has kindled that strong, light energy through the universe!! Then I heard the music!! Your process and what you have created have set in motion new sounds and new harmonies in our universe.

I love that someone is learning to embrace their crazy! I was nervous about my non-linear, fractal style – so reading open and spacious – poetry – awesome.

Ayone who knows me would know that hearing someone reporting sounds and music is special and little lights spreading – I could not ask for more. That for me is better than 5 Star Reviews. (Don’t get me wrong – I would love those too!)

I realize many of those who pre-ordered the book have had a stalled process in getting the book. I did offer to share a draft pdf version for folks so they did not have to wait. Most people did not take me up on that. They wanted to wait for the actual copy. Honestly, I think that was all Jane Geesman, one of my readers on the launch. She did such an awesome job of selling the sensual version of having the book in hand. If you missed I can share the link. I love Jane Geesman and her style.

I don’t fully understand all the reasons for the delays in delivery but when I learned that some bestselling authors were having equal challenges. I felt better or at least in good company.

Oddly folks in Europe and Australia have reported getting them before some folks here or in Canada. Very odd!

But moving on – what’s next or…

Now what?

I’d love to create some type of workshop or program around Crazy, Cracked Warm and Deep. I’m looking at how to launch something virtually or through the Haven. Keep an eye out or let me know and I’ll get you on a waitlist.

What I have loved about the responses I have gotten is that people are sharing their stories, their crazy or cracked. That is powerful and what I was hoping to create.

I also would really enjoy being able to do talks with small groups. Maybe a reading and then some discussion. If you are interested in hosting something like that or connecting me to a group or association that might be interested in having a gathering. Reach out. It could be virtual and I am traveling more these days – so I’d be open to discussing options.

I would love to create spaces where we can talk about our crazy and maybe crack enough to connect and discover that special place of warm and deep.

Crazy Cracked Warm and Deep Is About To Launch

Leading up to Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep launch day is an interesting mix of excitement, fear, doubt, excitement, fear, doubt….. excitement, joy, doubt…. I’m sure you are getting the idea.

I am not great at getting all the pieces ready early. Maybe it’s my MyersBriggs. I prefer to wait to the last minute. Now add to that all the undercurrent of publishing a memoir about my Crazy and what that brings up. You can imagine.

I have been making steps and I do have a launch party set – both virtual and in-person.

One of my favorite moments over the holidays was getting to share some stories with family. It was real. We laughed and I cried. Not because I was sad but because my sisters and mom listened and we connected.

I’m not looking for a best seller here. What I want is the book to be one people relate to and resonates with their own less than perfect process of showing up out in the world.

I know how writing and sharing stories has been the way I have journeyed on my path to becoming whole.

My writing has gotten better over the years I think. But ‘better’ isn’t really the point. The writing is how I crack my armor. Some stories are very, very old and have been held tightly. Mostly out of fear or uncertainty.

There was a time when sharing my story was about being validated or proving something. That has long since passed.

The fractures from trying to find facts was incrediably painful and creating a lot of suffering – for me and for others.

However sharing stories, listening and not getting caught in right or wrong – but listening and feeling. That is healing. That is the reason I want to share Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.

I have a vision of people sharing the book in their book club. Using the book to talk about their own crazy and cracked, warm and deep.

Right now it is just getting it’s wings.

If you want to join in the launch here’s a link to register for the virtual event. If you use in your book club – please reach out and let me know how it goes.

Stepping Out & Letting My Stories Fly

Six months ago I got invited to speak at Ignite Your Life. The invite came at the perfect time. I was wrestling with my chapters and had another calling to get the stories out into the world AND I was spinning.

So I said yes to speaking and decided my book launch would be a part of the event.

Today I am stepping out on the stage. The book is close behind. Not launched but out of my hands and in the hands of a proofreader and my publisher.

Today I’ll be standing and sharing some of the pieces. This talk is deeply personal and if I am honest has me anxious, excited and terrified.

It’s an hour talk and yes, I’d love to just have it be interactive and more of a workshop. But I also now I want to use this opportunity to share the stories – my story.

I hope these stories will inspire.
I want the women listening to be able to relate.
I want them to use my frame to support living their fractal forward.
I want to connect

Maybe I want to be Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep on the stage. (Well let’s be clear I’m in a Zoom box so stage isn’t quite the right word) )

I noticed as I was preparing and using some of the stories in the talk. I found myself not liking the way the story was written. My internal dialogue was something like this:

“This book sucks. Really? This is Velcro Shoes – I really could have done more editing”
“Maybe I should stop the press and rethink this – this is crazy – this isn’t a book”

I could feel the grip of what I call – my crazy.

It’s ever present. Holding me back from being me.

I sure can feel the pull. These stories can still suck me in. I keep wanting so desperately to rewrite them so they sound okay, not crazy, even good. As though some form of editing or grammar will make them easier, relatable, likeable…. Worth existing in the world.

I take a breath and settle into my mantra – “I’m not crazy”.

I have invited friends, readers, editors to help put the book together. The feedback was valuable. People encouraged me to keep going. So the book isn’t a best seller – that’s not my intent.

I won’t stop the press – it’s a tiny book and it is me.

So today, even though the book is not yet in my hands, I’ll be sharing my stories.

I’ll be giving the book it’s wings and letting it fly. I’ll also be setting me free. I think we both are worth fully existing out in the world.

A Trip to the Top of The world

So maybe not the only top of the world- but damn close!

Our dear friend, garden mentor and awesome playmate, Robin Kelson invited us to two nights at Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park. I admit I mostly said yes because Robin was going and how could that be anything but fun.

When Robin busted her knee cap and had to stay home I was ready to cancel. I am so glad I didn’t!

The trip to Sperry could not have been more magical and perfectly timed.

The funny thing is that I was grumbly pretty much until we stepped on to the trail. From that moment on I was smiling.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Sperry Chalet it is a favorite of many locals here in Whitefish. In 2017, the Chalet burned down in a wildfire. It got rebulit and that was quite an undertaking. I now get that this invite for two nights was pretty special and a hard reservation to get. The chalet is only open for two months!

First peek of Sperry Chalet on our way up

I loved hiking and being offline, with new friends and finding a our cadance. I had forgotten how much I enjoy being out in mountains!

The hike was steep but a great way to get to know each other. The lemonade that greeted us at The Chalet was perfect.

Each of the three days of hiking offered so many magical moments!

Going up the stairway to heaven. Another one of those pretentous names that is pretty impossible to live up to – but stepping out on that view – well it lived up to it’s name.

If that wasn’t enough, well diving into a glacier lake was super cold and inspiring! I have to say, Ivalu, was so clam and cool. Not me, I was making some sounds! So worth it!

Aside from the daily dose of lemonade, we also had amazing meals! The hotcakes were awesome and our bag lunches had more than enough to keep us hiking. Each

Plus, due to having a birthday girl with us, her amazing friend hiked up wine, special cheese, spread, crackers and great brownies (for all ten of us!)

The brownies!!

We made the decision to take the longer hike out. Another great -YES!

I learned I am not that great at goat whispering. Especially when Mommas are cuddled up to their little ones, smack in the middle of a trail without much room on either side. Glad Joe stepped in to take the lead! Here’s the link if you want to watch the goat drama: https://www.facebook.com/100000077222134/videos/552827056046942/

Towards the end of the hike we got graced with moose. Three separate sightings!

An Incrediable three days of being out in nature, with new friends, great food, offline and lots of stories to share.

Back home there have already been some challenges. I didn’t even get to finish this post before saying good bye to a family member who’s been fighting her batte with cancer for seven years.

Life goes on.

I am glad though that I took the time to hike and visit the top of world. I really did want to finish this post before getting too caught up in everything else.

Sometimes nature does call and it is important to listen.

Gratitude For Hearts & Hands

I have to say I am so grateful for the hearts and hands that have been helping me bring my writing together.

I am aiming to have Crazy, Cracked Warm and Deep released out into the world by November. That date was set to inspire me and keep me going. I was invited to speak at a cool workshop for women, Ignite Your Life. That seemed like a great point on the map for the book to make it’s release out into the world.

However, what has really kept me going has been the hearts and hands of people who have been there to hold gently this emerging manuscript.

Some literally holding the pages, reading and providing me feedback. Others listening or encouraging me to find my words and way.

There have been many.

Circles of people who have shared their stories and inspired some of my words. The writers along the way who have nudged me to find my style and voice. Experiment with showing not telling. Dropping so, just, really ,and all those extra words. The song writers who I use regularly in the background as I edit and rewrite.

This tiny book has been held so sweetly; as have I.

Not to long ago in a psychic reading the message to give this book it’s wings and legs was delivered. I set the image on my desk to remind me as I was editing. I complimented it with another special image of inspiration from a dear friend. That little girl has wanted her words shared and it seemed like the perfect combination.

This book has always been about connection. My path in finding a way out of separation, desolation, isolation and back into wholeness.

Some of these stories/fractals have been like riptides that can grab me and pull me back into the past or that place of separation. However, the hands and hearts holding the pages or the words have been gentle in bringing back to the present. Reminding me I am not alone and my why for this book

I do remember years and years ago, returning from my first Come Alive with a image of the closing circle. Those hands, hearts and the music an invitation to be relational and have faith. That circle was a place of awakening my own desire to live.

This book has a much larger circle holding for it’s flight and commitment to life and loving.

I received that loving long ago and now I hope this book will shine that loving out to others who may be caught in their riptide.

There are many hands strteched out and heartbeats calling and reminding each of us that we are not alone.

Maybe you are in your riptide and need to recieve. Maybe you are in a place to reach out with you hand and heart.

I know it’s not one or the other. We are all need a hand sometime. We all need to be the one holding out our hand sometimes as well.

Heart handprints art sign color. Vector illustration

How Horses Help Your Heart And Your Leadership

Lately I have been out working and playing with the horses more. Indeed the horses have huge part of my transition back out into world of relating and working beyond the Zoom screen.

There’s no doubt that being out at the ranch and out in the pasture with the horses is calming. Here’s a little of the science regarding horses from HeartMath that I believe is very compelling:

“Recent studies conducted by the Institute of HeartMath provide a clue to explain the bidirectional “healing” that happens when we are near horses. According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain: A magnetometer can measure the heart’s energy field radiating up to 8 to 10 feet around the human body. While this is certainly significant it is perhaps more impressive that the electromagnetic field projected by the horse’s heart is five times larger than the human one (imagine a sphere-shaped field that completely surrounds you). The horse’s electromagnetic field is also stronger than ours and can actually directly influence our own heart rhythm!

A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adjust to stressful situations very efficiently. Often times, we only need to be in a horse’s presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace. In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy.”

Taken from: https://www.taoofhorsemanship.com/heart-math
 

So that’s pretty good reason to consider getting out with some horses.

There’s more.

Leadership Benefits

To be an effective leader one of the most crucial skills is our ability to build relationships. Most of us focus that effort on building relationships with others. Of course, that’s important, but what might be even more critical is our relationships with ourselves.

Whatever we are saying, thinking, or feeling about ourselves is the filter through which we see, interpret and interact with others. Too often though, we think because those thoughts and feelings are in our heads, invisible, no one else knows what’s going on.

There are days when I walk into a situation thinking:

• “I sure hope no one knows that I don’t really know what I am doing.”

• “I am totally pissed about what’s going on, but no one can know that, it’s not the right message.”

• “I sure hope I don’t make a fool of myself today.”

Often these types of thoughts are such a common thread I may not even know it’s running. Yet these internal messages are impacting how I experience our world, how I relate, and how I make decisions and lead.

Bring in the Horses

Horses are big biofeedback machines. They are constantly sensing our breath rate, our heart rate, and arsenal and cortisol levels. They notice any changes and though they may not know what stress I am under or what that inner dialogue is, they have a keen sense when my inner critical comes online.

Usually as leaders, parents, role models we have learned to pretend that everything is just fine. We come by that naturally because we are taught to show confidence, control, be professional, strength – that’s leadership – right? Basically, though we’ve learned to be incongruent!

Maybe you can remember being told, “Never let them see you sweat, cry or rage.” That is not okay or unprofessional. Of course, you learned how to cover it up.

But here’s the deal, horse’s pick up that incongruence immediately. They know when we are incongruent or masking what is really going on for us. The horse finds that uncomfortable and awkward. They don’t trust the incongruence and move away because it doesn’t seem safe.
We are fascinated by how the horse ‘just seem to know’.

Truth is people do to. I’m sure you have had those moments with someone:

“Wow, something is up with _ I am going to stay away.”

“No way do I trust that information – something is off.”

But we human beings tend to play the social game. We do nice and polite or pretend everything is good. That ends up having a big ripple effect on all our interactions and decisions.

Going out with the horses, provides a safe space for you to go out and discover what is going on. Making shifts as you go and owning what is. Being vulnerable and really showing up. Getting that feedback from the horse that can support you in developing a stronger relationship with yourself.

Developing a better relationship with yourself is not about getting rid of that inner critic. It’s about developing a larger self and presence, or your own somatic (body-based not just story running) awareness.

When you can notice and sense what is really happening inside of you, you have choice and more influence with others.

Why?

Because people, like horses, trust and want to follow someone who knows themselves and is congruent.

Most of us keep looking outside, reading, studying, observing others – but until we get a strong somatic awareness all that knowledge hasn’t yet landed in our whole-ness.

So you see horses have a great deal to offer us. Just being around horse helps our hearts and they are great at providing compassionate, straight feedback for effective communication and leadership.

Come play!

I am encouraging my clients to get their company to sponsor a trip to Montana – big sky, horses and some awesome coaching. Check out Find Your Mojo in Montana or make date for a personal intensive.

Let’s chat!

So My Mask is off – Now What?

Mask Off

Here I sit.

Back at the coffee shop.

Last week everyone had on a mask.

Today, no one.

Now I am pretty sure everyone here in the coffee shop is not vaccinated. I might be wrong but statistics of our state support my prediction. It’s odd.

From mandatory to nothing. Overnight.

I’m comfortable enough. I am fully vaccinated and have found a table off in a corner. Plus, earlier this week I went to a evening musical event at the Great Northern. The place was BUSY. Myself and one other had on a mask. I kept mine on there partly because I just couldn’t quite shift from the all in to nothing.

Maybe it makes sense. In our state and area if you wanted to get vaccinated you could have done it by now. Plus there was already a strong segment of the population that was never going to get vaccinated, nor wear a mask.

I am working my way through the change. Bringing a mask and making my decisions as I go.

Are we heading back to normal? Is Covid now the new flu?

Then there’s all the bigger, may be even more critical issues that have surfaced. Social injustice, equity and poor public health and access to health care. What will happen with those issues?

I’d like to think we won’t just go back to the way things were. Yet if the ease at which we eliminated wearing mask is any sign – well I’m not so sure we’ll stay engaged without an ever present crisis. Let’s face for many out there – things may still be a crisis or a painful period of grief.

Am I glad that I am fortunate enough to get pick my vaccine – yes. Am I grateful I didn’t lose a family member to Covid – yes. Am I grateful if I get pulled over it is unlikely i’ll be assumed guilty or worse – yes.

Indeed I am grateful for being privileged and I believe that comes with taking some responsibility. Yes – I can take off my mask and return to some type of normal. I also want to listen and not just assume all is now right in the world. It’s not. We still have a lot of work to do.

Let’s get to it. Be grateful. Hug your grandchildren. Throw a party. Then invite the conversation that isn’t happening.

The world really could be a better place for more – not just some.

Maybe you care about the climate.

Maybe you care about equity and justice.

Maybe you care about inclusion.

Pick something and take a step to make a difference.

It doesn’t have to be loud.

It doesn’t have to be HUGE.

Just take a step and if we all do that.

Well I believe we CAN make the world better for more than just ourselves.

When I was wearing my mask over these past months – it wasn’t for me. I liked knowing there was something I could and was doing for others. The mask made that easy.

I still want to do that.

So yes – the mask is off and now comes the hard part. What will I do next?

What about you?

My Crooked Line

Not Me – BUT maybe one day!

I took up my guitar during my year of Covid. I am not a real guitar player. I think some might call me a campfire player.

However, I started some lessons and got to pick my own song. I picked Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine. I love this song.

My instructor didn’t blink and just started in with the chords and strum pattern. Within seconds, I knew it’d be years before this song would be one I included in any campfire situations.

However, I have been working my way through learning the strum pattern, developing my chops for new chords and not giving up.

Just last week, I decided that I was making no progress and just stuffed the song into my notebook of guitar songs and decided – hell I am just going back to EASY guitar songs.

Well damn – I had a blast playing those songs I love and even picking a few. I for sure was Closer To Fine – maybe not the Indigo Girls version yet – but I was a better guitar player!!!

There’s that Crooked Line!!

This is such a metaphor for my life.

I did have a plan that I might just be good enough to play the song and share – but like I said that’s a ways off. However, I am going to include alittle youtube link below so you an listen if you don’t know this great song!

My Equus work has some of the same crooked lines as I have evolved my Equus coaching and my programs. The horses come into my practice in magical ways.

Sometimes that magic is a new addition to my familar herd out at Stillwater HorseWhisper Ranch. Sometimes it’s a horse that shows up in m meditation or what I refer to as my invisable herd. Most recently it was a new offering: Re-Entry with Grace and Ease.

Sometimes there’s music involved and sometimes there’s a connection that just totally comes out of nowhere.

Definately a crooked line.

This is also very true in my writing. That book of mine has some amazing arms and legs. It’s been in the making well before the Beauty of Conflict was put out into the world. It may likely be still in it’s journey – popping into the public in little bits for while longer.

A crooked line – but as long as I don’t get to assuming that’s right or wrong. There’s many answers to those questions and none are definate – I will remain Closer To Fine!

What about you? Are there some crooked lines in your life! Just know life is NOT about getting from a A to B (or Z) – it’s about the crooked lines and not taking life too seriously! That’s what I call Closer to Fine!