Thoughts From My Quarantine

As I sit here working form my computer on some editing before the next Zoom call – ZuZu, my miniature AussieDoodle, is racing back in forth in front of the office door – tossing one of my gloves up into the air. She makes sure the glove is easily sighted by me and then runs to to the other side of the room. Back and forth she goes. Totally entertaining and also committed to finding a partner in her play!

My dogs are in so many ways my sanity these days. Really their world has not changed other than they have much more of me around! Mine has!

So many structures have been cracked. We humans are no longer separate – this Covid-19 pandemic is traveling across all the borders and points of separation.

So much death and destruction. Yet outside spring is still coming. My dogs are still wanting to play and go for walks. The horses are not nervous or showing signs of something to fear and flee. I have moments during these days of physical separating of reaching and connecting like never before. I have to listen deeper and feel deeper to find that place of connection.

What was normal just a few weeks ago – isn’t anymore. I don’t think that normal is ever coming back and honestly that might be a really good thing.

I am sad about the loss of life that is happening. I am anxious, maybe more than a little nervous about losing the shell of security I had with my bank accounts, retirement funds and monthly emails tracking my invested funds. I am angry that big businesses are bailed out and hospitals don’t have supplies.

The landscape for us two-legged beings is not so pretty in this moment. But there are bright spots. Moments and signs that small groups of people and communities are weaving together the fabric of our planet earth by doing what is natural. Reaching out, helping out, asking for help, pausing, separating as requested – yet not disconnecting.

Yes – opening windows and sharing music. Taking hoarded supplies of mask and dropping them at the hospital door. Sticking a teddy in the window for small children to see and have some joy. There are businesses dropping everything to do something they don’t even know how to do – but are finding a way.

My heart beats stronger when I read stories about people not just trying to survive but finding a new way to thrive – beyond the armor, control and shells that have been built to devide us.

I want a new normal. I don’t want to go back to what was – where heartbeats got lost and people were so busy doing what was deemed so important that play, pleasure and connection were lost except maybe at times on weekends – or after business hours. I don’t want to go back to nationalism and wars between people.

I know we’d have to stay in quarantine a long time for all those structures to fall away and I don’t want that either. This time of physical distance has taught me we are so much more connected than we ever imagined. We are so much more alike than we are different and our differences just may be what we need to find a way through this. If we could just not get so caught in right/wrong.

I truly believe this virus if offering us a shared purpose. I don’t see it as a war against the virus. More like a damn good reason to work together. Learning from each other. Learning from mistakes, Learning from ideas different than our own. Recognizing ourselves within the larger natural planet. Being human and humble.

I do hear much more now. I feel much more – sensations and waves of emotional energy that I simply can’t cut off from by getting busy.

I am discovering what is most important to me. There are experiences I miss and know I that have too often taken for granted.

I was never a hugger. But I do look forward to walking through town and giving people hugs. I look forward to spending my money right here supporting a strong community. I look forward to writing at WILD and listening to all the variety of conversations happening. I look forward to going to a play, live music, pond skiing and sitting in one of our local brew spots, restaurants or bakeries!

I look forward to doing all that and remembering not to run through each day but breath into it – much like I am doing now. I want to expand and include what I am learning now – going forward.

We are better together and even better when we are the humble humans part of larger web of nature!

Zuzu is still playing – time to take her call to play!! Enought thoughts and words for today!

Human AND HUMBLED

For Them Not Much Has Changed!

Writing seems more important than ever to me right now.

All that is happening is humbling and reminds how human I am – we all are.

By the global standard I am very fortunate right now and have my needs met, supplies in my home, a place to walk easily into the woods with little or no contact or concern about unconsciously putting anyone at risk. I don’t have any symptoms. I am healthy. I have a partner to play with and fight with. I have two awesome dogs, Rosie and ZuZu that remind that life is always in the moment and really not much has changed.

Sure my illusion of what lies ahead and how my busy actions will ensure I’ll be okay has been cracked.

I must admit there is an odd familiarity to me of long ago when I was facing my cancers and dealing with all of the various ways in which my life and my reality cracked and was forever broken.

What does seem different now is that back then I did feel very alone. Today it is as though the earth has shaken the foundations of us human beings – this is NOT just one woman’s world being rattled.

Human kind seems to be at the forefront of this event. My dogs – well there world isn’t very different than two months ago. The horses are simply doing what the horses do. The tress and most of nature is carrying on.

We human beings are going through a significant reality check. Yes, there is the virus – which may or may not be the worse ever. We know it does have an impact and for some a deadly one. We also know that we don’t really know when or if we have been exposed. It’s a bit of a hidden traveler.

Then there’s the impact of the global markets and shake-up for businesses big and small. The closing of shops, sporting events, colleges, schools and even Broadway! The critical demand on our healthcare system and for those without paid leave – well life is indeed crumbling.

It’s hard to read the headlines. It’s odd to think toilet paper really is the biggest resource we are focused on losing.

We are scrambling and yet there are also some moments where our heart beats and speak louder than our fears and stories.

May be this is a time for us human beings to recalibrate. To pause, breath and re-member we are not the almighty most powerful living beings on this plant earth.

We are quite vulnerable. It is time to remember that and find our hearts. I honestly don’t think science or money is what will get us through this. May be at some point we’ll have answers to what we have been through – but that comes later.

Years ago cancer stripped away my pretense and so much of my armor. With absolutely nothing to lose I found my desire to connect, to reach out. I discovered when I cry or another cries, someone can be there to hear and hold. Not fix. Just witness and let it be known my pain, my rage and my tears matter. So do yours! That was the most healing offering! It wasn’t chemotherapy or Psychotherapy – neuroscience or religion. it was human hearts and kindness. It wasn’t answers it was someone simply witnessing and believing in me.

I did rebuild my life and in many ways I believe I have held on to what is most important – though these days – this virus – this request to socially distance – the fear and uncertainty – presents me with just how the armor can come back.

The foundation has been cracked yet again. The stories aren’t there to hold on to. I honestly don’t know what to believe.

Maybe that is okay. Breath. Have faith. Look to my four-legged friends and open my heart. Be kind to my neighbor – next door and across the globe. Tap into my vulnerability. That is where we can find peace and connection. At least in the moment and that may indeed be all there ever is and will be.

I See You!

I see you!

Shanti has this way of cutting through my veil.

Maybe it’s those eyes – large full.

Still and awake. Alert. Yet relaxed.

Out with the mares I do feel like I have entered a world where I can not hide.

Not from them and not from me.

There is intensity and compassion

I don’t feel rushed or like I have to do more than simply show up.

Out in the human world I so rarely feel like I am enough.

It is so much harder to remember this life is more about being and breathing – than marketing and money.

Out in the human play land – I often lose the balance between what I think I need to be doing and what I am doing.

With Shanti I can just stand close or far away and feel a connection. I don’t have to say the right thing or be anything other than present!

That is such a gift. We all want that – yet it is so hard to just let that be enough.

These big beings can teach us so much about how to be gentle, kind, clear and strong.

When My Mind Is Fear-Filling Me

Last year I committed to kicking off a new program: When The Body Fails: Rebuilding Trust In Your Body. This was designed for women who have or have had cancer.

The program started as a weekend event. But we were in the middle of our book launch and timing wasn’t right for putting the right level of energy into marketing a new program.

Sounds reasonable to postpone – right?

Of course there is some truth to this explanation. However, I still haven’t moved this program forward. I took the advise of one of my mentors in the Equus world and decided to not go so big but just start locally and with more one on one coaching with women dealing with cancer.

Yes, I have done little bits in moving things forward. However, I am still stalling to do the workshop.

Why?

Okay so this program is so much like my book – Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.   You probably don’t even know about this book. It’s been in files and folders on my computer for years. It’s been shared with friends, possible editors and in short pieces online. However, the moment it gets any further out into the world. I stall and the book goes background. Fear stops me in my tracks – it’s my story. It’s my life through cancer through rebuilding and reclaiming myself – body, mind and spirit. I think I am afraid of the story still even though it’s been lived. Yet in that fear I hold it tight.

The good news is that even though the book still lies under the surface, I have written many blog post, shared my story and even published two other books that are heavily influenced by the backstory.

When Your Body Fails You, Rebuilding Trust is like the book. Why?

Because I am fearful.

I could go on and on about why I am fearful.

However, that sure seems like a self-indulgent story fuddling process.

I do want to kick off this workshop so here I go! It’s now one day and it is a start!

I am going to put a link to the flyer here – I know many of my readers are not local – but I would still love to hear from you too.

Plus if you are interested – well I still plan to do a weekend version and will add opportunities to weave in the healing influence of horses. So stay tuned!

May be some day – Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep will be the book that comes along with registrations.

What’s your fear holding you back from doing? What steps can you take to move ahead? I’d love to hear from you.

Check out When The Body Fails Here

Three Types of Team Players!

Dogs are a huge part of my life. They are also great teachers.

As I got the chance to watch a series of dog agility videos today – all shared by friends. I couldn’t help but think about how each of these dogs shows up on teams.

There’s the Superstar – you know that performer – all in and intense – meet Pink!

Check Out Pink: https://youtu.be/oiySODkJbrU?t=12

There’s the Slow and Steady – no reason to get excited and sometimes slow is good!

Meet the Mastiff!

Check Out Rotti: https://youtu.be/GjqtwNUE148

And then there’s one always ready to play! Got to love the joy!

Then there’s ‘Charlie’: https://youtu.be/5iTTNRE-njM?t=50

In some ways I know I have some of each of these brilliant performers! Maybe I am dreaming that I could be like Pink. But I can be intense for sure!!

I can also relate to the Mastiff – especially when I am running along my Olympian partner in project mode!

But mostly I relate to the retriever – let there be JOY and PLAY.

Which dog are you on your team!

Happy Holidays – Finding Meaning In The Season

It’s that most wonderful time of year…..

I love the holidays. I love singing holiday tunes and walking about in our small town with the lights and families, friends and locals – all hoping that maybe we will have a white Christmas!!

It is hard to believe that we might not. Just a few days ago I was thrilled that we got a big dump of snow – opening the front side of the mountain!

Now four days into a spring-like weather pattern – the snow is gone. The mountain still has snow but it’s pretty scarce here in the valley!

CrisMarie has been away a few days visiting her sister and family. So this year our traditional night of Yuletide – ATP’s `(Alpine Theater Project) awesome holiday event) was just Paula and I. I am grateful that CrisMarie was able to have this time with her sister. I am also glad one of us (and maybe the one who appreciates musicals and the humor of Politically Incorrect Christmas Caroling) was the one here to whistle, rock and clap through the Yuletide extravaganza!!

I am so aware of the mix of emotions that come with holidays. Joy in celebrating our year and life together and tears for those not here with us this year. Smiles for the wonder and laughs that come with stories and reflecting. Fears and frustration with the pain that rolls through our life, the news and the headlines. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile the blessings and excitement that I have been fortunate to receive, knowing for many others it isn’t like that.

At times I don’t know what to make of Christmas being all about the baby Jesus. I wouldn’t call myself a religious person. It helps in year’s like this that Hanukkah will be happening right along side Christmas and there is always winter solstice and a new year to celebrate. I have always been a fan of Santa – or St. Nick – not so much because of Jesus, as savior – but the idea of sharing gifts, light and celebration even in the shortest of days. Plus I do love so many of the Christmas songs – beautifully sung and shared.

I enjoy signing off post, emails and letters with Happy Holidays – whatever the holiday may be for you.

For me, it is one that celebrates our humanity. It’s a holiday about joy and joy is an exquisite mix of love, pain, tears and sorrow.

This time of year reminds me that we all have dark nights and hopefully we all have bright spots, one’s we remember or just the light of a new day or a night sky filled with stars.

Many years ago – the holidays fell at one of the loneliest and darkness times of my life. I found myself alone on Christmas Eve and very sad and fearful about life. I traveled downtown back where I lived then and walked into a church service where I knew no one but the music pulled me in. I was welcomed even though the only white person. I wasn’t much of a church person but wanted human fellowship on a lonely Christmas eve. I remember being so moved by the welcome and the invitation to sing and dance along. I don’t recall anyone’s name. I doubt I ever saw any one of them again. I left shortly after midnight on Christmas – still singing those carols – with warmth in my heart and what seemed like a reason keep going.

That Christmas did teach me, I don’t have to know people to offer comfort and joy – a smile and song. It goes a long way to share those simple things. I seriously doubt they had any idea how they touched my life.

So this holiday may you be blessed to either be one who gets to share your joy with someone who needs that simple spark – or may you be fortunate to find what you need from someone else.

Merry and Happy Holidays and Humanity to all!

Merry and Happy Holidays & Humanity

Last Chance – Don’t Wait

There is so much good happening in my world. Our book launch experience has been quite exciting and fulfilling as our book is finding it’s words spreading out into the world.

Between the pages sold and the various podcast traveling out on the airwaves, I do think we are doing what we wanted – spreading a message that supports people have more honest, real and intimate (in-to-me-see) conversations.

All of our focus has been on the launch. I had a belief that as we launched the book, we’d also be able to get people intrigued and signing up to work in-person with us. Thus the decision to schedule and launch Couples Mojo at Apache Springs in AZ – October 25-28, 2019.

Today I am faced with the reality that even with all the good things happening – what isn’t happening is rush of couples signing up for our program.

It’s down to the wire and it is looking like we will have to cancel. Who wants to throw those words out on Facebook and into the world of social media.

I am wondering if this level of transparency and honesty is good for our marketing effort.

However, I don’t want to cancel until I have done all that I can. I think Couples Mojo is an amazing opportunity. One because I know what we bring to a Couples program.
I also know that adding and including the horses is going to be awesome.

Apache Springs Ranch is a gorgeous, luxurious retreat center that will nurture the soul, provide a safe and beautiful space for doing this most important work.

I don’t want to cancel. Not without one this last honest effort.

Maybe you have been thinking about it and just haven’t hit register.
Maybe you figure this will just happen another time so not rushing to commit.
Maybe you aren’t sure if have the time – or the money and are waiting for a sign it’s worth it.

Let me just say – don’t wait.

Big Sign here:

    YOU are Worth it and so is YOUR Relationship!

There have been times when I have thought:
• I don’t have time.
• I don’t have the money.
• This will come again and maybe it will be easier or a better time.

However, I know when it comes to ME and our WE – meaning my aliveness and health and our relationship passion, aliveness and connection – I don’t wait – I jump in and that investment has ALWAYS been worth – both for me and for us.

So let me know if you are close to committing. I am happy to talk to you about it – to you and your partner! But don’t wait.

Do it today.
This is the last chance.

The Beauty of Conflict for Couples Launches

September 15, is the day!

Our book, The Beauty of Conflict for Couples is officially launched.

This is book two and the first with a publisher, Tiny Press, which is part of Mango Press.

We’re excited. Of course if you are following you may be thinking that we are going all out to become Amazon best sellers.  You may hate Amazon or just wonder why we are so driven.

WHY Amazon?

Here’s the deal – for a book to get into book stores you need a great rating on Amazon.  Sure some large publishing houses can get their authors into the book store.  Our publisher has us on Barnes & Noble, Indie Press and is willing to go out push to bookstores where we have a following or have made a request.  But what gets books onto the shelves of book stores is online sells – and like it or not – Amazon is king.

I know a lot of writers don’t care for Amazon and I get it.  But I also want our book to get into the hands of people who could use a book that helps them ignite passion, connection and deepens intimacy.

I want that available and I believe our book offers some amazing tools, stories and wisdom that is worth getting out beyond digital land.

So yes, I am marketing and I am encouraging people to order the book through Amazon.

Shape & Great Day Hoston

Some of the marketing effort is quite fun.

We have been interviewed on 28 podcast so far AND I have loved laughing, learning and sharing with so many other people passionate about communication, couples, intimacy, growth and dealing better with our differences. 

We’ve had a couple feature stories put out into the world. The first one was about SEX – in Shape Magazine. Now I wasn’t expecting that – but you know I loved it.  Sex is one of the big challenges for couples and I’d love to generate more dialogue and conversation to broaden our cultural storylines about sex, sexuality – what’s okay and what’s not.  I have always been a believer that one of the prime reasons we have so much violence and sexual inappropriateness is because we don’t have a healthy way to talk about sex, our desires, our attractions and what works for us and doesn’t. So, no, we didn’t write this book about sexuality – we wrote to support honest and real dialogue and intimacy (in-to-me-see) between couples – AND we are thrilled that part of the launch includes some of our take on sex!

Just this best week we had our first TV appearance – on Great Day Houston!  It was a blast. The producer who reached out to us was fantastic.  She had us well prepared for the day.  Our segment was as she called it “a long one –  4-7 minutes”.  I honestly couldn’t grasp how that was long – but I soon learned just how fast a day show goes.  Probably my favorite part was being in the green room with the other folks going on.  These were the people I got to talk to and really share the message and moment.  The 4 minutes with Deborah was fun and I was grateful for the wee bit of media training we received because it does take a lot of effort to talk that fast and stay on message!

Click to see the clip

All this and the book is just set to launch on September 15.

I do hope we get the Amazon best seller banner at some point during our first few days.  No, we don’t indeed to do any crazy stuff to make that happen.  But we will ask and put ourselves and the book out there.

It’s worth it and do hope you’ll join us for some of the fun.

We’ll kick off with a FB Live on the launch day.  Our virtual launch party is happening on Monday September 16 – we’ll be on for 30 thirty minutes – share some stories and answer questions if folks are willing to join and ask.  We also have a webinar scheduled later in the week where we will do a deeper dive into the model.

Hopefully you’ll see us online and decide to join us and help spread the word.  I want our little book on the book shelves.  I also invite you to read it and write an honest review – on Goodreads, on Amazon – we’d be thrilled.

We really do need to get better at living well together and I honestly believe this book can support getting more real, honest and able to opt in to conflict/differences and hold for the tension and ambiguity it takes to get to a new possibility – one beyond right and wrong!

Let’s get relational – instead of getting righteous!

Our Book is Getting Real – So Am I

There are so many exciting things happening in my world.
This past week we got the author copies of our book, The Beauty of Conflict for Couples.
Loved opening the boxes.
Pretty cool experience.

I noticed a big exhale when there were no spelling errors on the cover. Of course there weren’t – we had editors and people watching our back.
However, I noticed until the book was in my hand I was anxious.

The book looks great and feels great.

Our days have been filled with podcast interviews. Only a couple have aired at this point. I am enjoying the process and I notice as the launch week approaches, I am feeling a touch exposed.

It’s funny I didn’t feel quite like this with our first book. Not sure why. Maybe because this one is about relationships, including our relationship! The last did tell some parts of my story and our story but it focused on our work with leaders and teams.

This one is closer to home – to me – to us.
Plus we are reaching further. We have a publisher. We have PR and marketing team.

Next week we’ll be on TV show in Houston!
We’re getting media training.
I’m saying I’m an expert in the area of relationships.

Here’s the deal.
I totally believe in what we have put out into the world.
I know this relational work as transformed my health, my relating, my world.

I know and have witnessed that same transformation happen in our programs and with couples and individuals I have worked with and I don’t doubt the work.

Still I am very uncomfortable calling myself an expert. My friend, Sherrie, tells me to redefine expert.

She ask me, “Are you confident in the work.”

“Yes!”

“Well – own it.”

She reminds me I am confident and clear that what I am saying is grounded in experience, knowledge and years of both living it and work and training.

What I am noticing is that I am standing forward. AND, on the inside I am aware of the tremble, the doubts, the dyslexic in me looking for the mis-spelled words.

Maybe I am not suppose to expose the insides as an expert.

However, for me without sharing the inside this feels incongruent.

Relating isn’t about being right or an expert. It’s about being real, sometimes raw and stepping forward.

Yes I hope people will buy our book, read it and try things out for themselves.
I want people to discover the beauty I have found in conflict.
Facing and wrestling with my own inner conflict
Learning and growing through relating with CrisMarie
Finding the beauty in our conflict.
The mess, the cleaning up and the transforming of ourselves – as individuals and as a couple.
Taking that same vulnerability and curiosity into the world around me.

I wish I could say it gets easier and maybe it does.
I don’t think I can sell that – because I am not sure it does get easier

Fuller and more alive
But not easier.

Living and loving takes courage and isn’t a pill a formula or a sure thing.

That much I do know for sure!
However – I won’t take the pill or certainty even if it was offered!
I hope you don’t either.

Mojo, Couples & MUCH MORE!!

Folks are arriving today and we kick off Find Your Mojo in Montana tomorrow!

I love this program we’ve created. I love seeing people tap into their Mojo. We have a blast getting things ready, showing off our great town, Whitefish, and getting to play and learn from the horses!

We have some new folks, some returning folks and some clients from our corporate work and some from the Haven world, coming to find their mojo!!

You can’t beat that!

Super Busy – Flowering

Right now we are super busy! Which is awesome. Some great things are brewing and flowering (our word for last year – and sometimes things take longer than expected!).

We are now working with our publisher, Mango Press, our new PR person, Cher, launching our Beauty of Conflict podcast in mid-June -all to pave the path to launch of our second book, The Beauty of Conflict for Couples coming out in September.

We also are speaking at FPA -NorCal Conference later this month and leading Couples Alive at The Haven in June!

Indeed life is full and exciting – AND at times, tense, uncomfortable and bringing up all my issues around visibility and standing forward in the world, owning my truth.

Riding The Wave

When I made my decision to step into my Montana Mojo and shift from doing what has been familiar and comfortable for me (leading Come Alive and Living Alive at The Haven) – I knew I’d be riding a wave.

It hasn’t all been easy. I have and still do deal with self-doubt and some grief. Yes, tons of good things are happening and I still miss being so much a part of something that fed my heart and soul for so long!

I do believe I made my big move at a time when I was being called to step into MY mastery and Mojo more.

Coming Back To The Island

I also see that Haven is rocking on and the core programs continue to thrive and transform people’s lives. That is cool!

In June I’ll be back up at The Haven leading Couples Alive Foundations with CrisMarie and I look forward to stepping back onto the island and leading.

So I breath every day. I feel deeply and sometimes spiral down into a hole. But overall I believe I way less reactive, much more open-hearted and for that I am truly grateful.

I don’t write here too much anymore because we are doing some much writing and programming through thrive!. Sometimes I miss just sharing the ride here – without much editing and simply celebrating life – the good, the bad the ugly and beautiful!

All Systems GO!

So it seems liked the perfect time to send out a post – stepping into Mojo and stepping out onto what seems to me like a much bigger stage. It’s not really – but it’s my stage and what I know to be true.

That is a little different. A bit more vulnerable and I am fully committed! All systems go.