Couldn’t add words to what already speaks through song.
Here are a few tunes. I call the list Empowerment. Enjoy.
Couldn’t add words to what already speaks through song.
Here are a few tunes. I call the list Empowerment. Enjoy.
Breath is a free, all natural, totally organic resource.
Science endorses breathing as an evidence-based pathway for increased health and vitality.
Meditation and mindfulness are also ‘proven’ to help with anxiety, stress, depression and many more ailments. Of which breathwork is a significant part of these practices.
I am glad to see breathing getting some solid press and marketing.
My current concern though is that breathing will so be trademarked, patented, or crowded with techniques and experts that make a lot of noise interfering with the simple act of just breathing and listening.
It’s not rocket science or complicated.
It’s been around – literally forever.
Your life started with a breath and will end with an exhale. At least the from a biological body perspective.
I’ve studied breathing. Well not through books, articles or research – but through practicing, learning from teachers and firsthand experimenting with what works for me and what doesn’t.
I have been introduced to pathways to breathing. I passed along the lessons and supported people in doing their own experiential learning and studies on the art of breathing.
I think what I most appreciate about breathing is that it is the most powerful path for deep listening.
Listening to my body. Listening to the world around me. And as a result, knowing we are indeed all connected.
Trauma is one of the biggest human pain points. Basically, trauma is separation.
There’s tons of research and helpful work being done to help people deal with trauma and live beyond their points of separation.
I believe the best place to start is simply learning to listen and be with you body, mind and spirit.
Breathing will do that.
If it’s too uncomfortable, find a coach, a therapist or simply a friend and breathe together.
It’s possible the simple gift of breath is just too easy.
I guarantee you though if you take it up as a project to self-discovery, health, and vitality, you will be taking an amazing journey.
I am going to include with this post a very simple 14-minute breathing recording.
I’m also going to encourage you to download a playlist of your own making. I encourage pieces that are flowing, angry, sad, fun – a mix, a variety – and just lay down and breath.
This meditation stuff is having a good effect on me.
I was out on the Flathead River for what was going to be a whitewater rafting trip. However, the water levels are low and when offered the choice to go for whitewater or float – I was all for FLOAT.
You need to know that is not usually my style. I like a little adrenline rush or at least a way to actively participate. I had a wonderful time. No issues just socializing with old friends and new friends; letting our guide, Luke, take us down the river.
This is not a one off experience. I find, be it golfing or biking, I’m much more interested in enjoying the whole exerience and not getting caught up my score or hitting my move goal.
Also I don’t get as tight and cranky about traffic or summer season challenges, no place to sit outside or a long line to get into the park.
These changes may not seem huge but really they are.
As someone who has operated with a lot of hyper-vigilance and tension around time and space, these shifts are very significant.
So is it meditating that’s creating the shift?
When I made my decision to dive into the Dr Joe work so I could be set up well for our Advance Retreat in Cancun, I did commit to daily meditating, anywhere from an hour to three hours a day.
Now back I am still doing Dr Joe work and integrating in breathing and other forms of dealing with stress. Primarily to gain greater conciousness and awareness of my habits and unconcious behaviors.
It’s that last piece that really seems to be helping. The idea that 95% of my life is habitual and unconcious really hit me.
I learned about presence and being real a long time ago. It’s definately a concious muscle I’ve been building day to day ever since I realized how easy it is to creat dis-ease without a concious commitment to breathing, communicating, being curious and connecting.
I, also, think the mediation has helped me appreciate an expanded energetic connection to the world around me and mostly it has helped me notice where I still go to reaction.
Sometimes when I read the paper or hear about another tragic accident, I do falter. It is really hard to understand murder, suicide or drunk driving that takes the life of a mother, a child or anyone. Hate crimes and attitudes towards choices and differences in religion, sexuality or life style – I don’t get.
I also believe that much of the reactivity, pain and hatred in today’s world is due to stress. Our world keeps speeding up and without awareness and undertsanding of trauma, pain of isolation. loneliness and separation, we do crazy things.
I often think fewer drugs, medical interventions & recreatioanl) and more space to pause, breath and be together would help AND it would be very uncomfortable.
It’s not easy to slow down and sit with myself, without expectation, some mutual mission or some outcome as a reward. Yet, that’s what meditation and presence really is all about.
There’s no promise I’ll be healthier, wealthier or live longer – just a moment of fullness and peace.
I do think there’s another bonus. I live more moments in gratitude and awe, even in the uncertainty.
That’s a pretty neat perk.
Wow! Being here in Cancun and a part of an event involving 2000 people interested in energy and evolving collectively is amazing.
Some key take aways for me:
It’s my work to take care of my consciousness and well-being. I am always connected and when I forget, it’s me that has to re-member. No one else is going to do it for me.
Not new and yet as a non-enlightened being having this journey on earth, I forget. I get nudges and whispers when I am losing my way. Usually, I return to familiar paths for reconnecting – Haven, horses, breathe, communication.
However, CrisMarie wanted to give Dr Joe a try. I was not as in as she was, but I got on board, and I am glad I did.
I am now sitting poolside after an amazing morning.
Back in Montana, planning our post Dr Joe days, I wanted to find a way to swim with dolphins. I confess I was invested in this awesome wild, open water swim, encircled by dolphins. So, when I saw the options nearby our Cancun resort, I was judgmental and convinced that was not for me.
Then I spend a glorious seven days getting my energy right. The Advanced Retreat with Dr Joe was quite wonderful. I would never have believed I was going to be okay in a ballroom of 1800plus people, mediating basically 8 to 12 hours a day.
I was wrong. I willingly, and with excitement, got myself up at 3:00AM to do a 4.5hr meditation. I had no idea we were mediating for 4.5 hours and honestly would have come back and done it again.
There was much I loved about the weeklong and I am not going to write about all that. That’s for me to live forward and embrace.
I do though want to share the last day. In one of the last mediations, I had a magical moment with dolphins (energetically). I shared my experience with the man next me and he shared his connection to dolphins as well. He was also very excited that he had signed up for a swim with the dolphins before coming. He was so thrilled about the chance. In that moment, I was so openhearted and full, I went right back to my room and signed us up.
Of course, the next morning the meditating guy was there in our small group. Magic! Remember 1800 people, the odds we’d be in the same group of five – not that great.
I LOVED the energy of the people that were the dolphin guides. The woman trainer was so connected to her dolphins. I wasn’t in her group and our guide didn’t speak a lot of english – but he too had such a big heart.
The package I had signed up for included having two dolphins giving us a ride. However, the magic of simply giving them belly rubs, clapping and getting kisses – was so sweet. Our pod of eight people was perfect – young, old (me), international. Our youngest, did not successfully get his ride on his first try. But our guide let him go again and the joy on his face when he met success – priceless.
I got my instructions on how to let the dolphins give me a ride. I had to surrender control by putting my legs behind me, ensuring they stayed straight, the dolphins pushed me up from the bottom of my feet, through the pool. The energy just shot through my body. So much joy.
I am glad I said yes! That I didn’t let my judgements or doubts stop me from that experience.
I will have judgements and doubts continue to surface. However, I do believe I am even more committed to taking responsibility for my energy.
I got the tools, the upgrade and more than a little nudge from the dolphins; living this forward is totally up to me.
The last day in January I was out for a beautiful walk in woods near our house with Rosie and ZuZu. Walking in the state lands is pretty much a daily, if not twice daily experience.
This evening walk had been awesome and as I was close to finished we walked towards another gentleman and his dog. All seemed well, until his dog went after ZuZu – not once but three times.
I was trying my best interupt. However, even when I got ZuZu, he was not able to get his dog and the dog would come after ZuZu again.
It was horrible. I felt horrible.
End result ZuZu had surgery that very evening, got a drain tube and stitches.
I guess I was fortunate I did not get bitten but I had a super hard time getting both dogs back to the car.
Here’s the deal. ZuZu slept, rested – slept more, rested. Handled her recovery exceptional well. No cone – only dog hoodies and sweaters. Rosie was pretty great as well. She started wanting to apply her own healing energy but once we ask her to stop licking, she did.
I, on the other hand, have taken a longer route to recovery.
I probably needed to sleep, rest and drop out of stress mode. Feel.
I still avoid walking the trail I was on. Even after a few weeks I get anxious when other dogs are coming to say hello.
ZuZu, she’s good. Seems to have her own inner guidance on who to approach, who is open to play and when to let the big dogs do a few run arounds.
It just reminds me how animals are so much better at allowing their systems to heal from a traumatic event. How us humans, or at least this human, tends to armor up and think that’s the best otpion.
I know better. I am slowly doing my own work. But the event has just reminded me how inportant it is to rest, sleep and allow for recovery.
Things happen. Sometimes bad things. It’s important to allow our nervous system to regulate and heal.
Just take a lesson from the animal world.
Animals shake. Animals sleep – a lot. Animals heal. We can too. But not until we drop in and feel.
Also check out my new programs link: Susan Program and Events
I am back in Wednesday Ladies Ski Class. Enjoying another season on the mountain.
This year it’s skiing the bumps or moguls.
I am often surprised by how what I am learning in ski class seems to also apply to life and relating.
What stands out to me in skiing bumps is how it’s important to not let a bump become it’s own mountain.
On a good day, I am looking ahead and anticipating the next bump further down the hill. I ski into the bump and around, focused on the next pole placement and letting the mountain pull me in the right direction, down the hill.
However, I am also very familar with getting a touch nervous about my choices. Instead of moving down the mounatin, suddenly I am going across the mountain or worse I lean back on skiies and the skies fly forward and down I go.
In those moments the bumps become their own little mountains. They seem huge and the troughs around them make them loom even larger.
My focus becomes narrow and I am working super hard.
That same thing happens in life. Life can be like a mogul run. You might even be the type that likes the challenges. Indeed, it can be fun. When you can see further ahead and down the path and stay with your line, it can even seem easy. But if you get to focused on one bump or the obstacle right in front of you , it might overwhelm any forward momentum.
Often when I am engaged in a writing project I can get stalled staring at a plank page or trying to think of the right word. The one idea I am trying to articulate or get across becomes like one of those bumps, a mountain.
It’s best when I can pull my focus out and see that one concept or piece of a story has become way to important, it’s own mountain.
Often in those moments, I just need to stop and take a moment to see the bigger picture. Usually, I can find a line and my flow comes back.
Be it skiing, writing or just dealing with life – don’t let a bump become it’s own mountain.
My 2023 Mantra, from a song introduced to me on a Christine D’Ercole (Peloton playlist) – Maginificent (She Says). However, I knew it was my 2023 mantra after taking part in a recent Passionate Ease workshop. I had a profound openning in the weekend. I knew IT IS ALL GOING TO BE MAGIFICENT and with my arms open to the world I was ready to live that forward.
This isn’t about perfection or super wonderful, awesome and positive. It’s about embracing and having complete experiences. Sometimes that is finding or living the exquiste in grief, pain, rage, conflict.
Ultimately it is about trusting in the universe and in being as fully in whatever is unfolding.
As I move into 2023, I find myself wanting to be much more present, openhearted and at ease with myself and the world.
Some 2022 Highlights
Last year was an amazing year. I finally got my book out into the world. Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep got it’s wings and legs.
We had some incrediable work experiences and loved being able to get back out to work in person with teams. We had some great times in Austin, San Franisco, Chiacgo, Seattle, DC (well actually the team was together in DC, I was on the screen in our office and CMC had Covid), San Diego and Boulder. Even did some rowing!
We also found we could do some great work right here in Montana. Lots of coaching, working with Glacier National Park, Leadership Flathead and enjoying the mountains, the trails, the lakes, the theater, music, dancing and much, much more.
There were magical moments with family. My sister calls and book club with my mom. Celebrating Bill and Julia Campbell’s 70 wedding aniversary.
We had a couple weeks up at The Haven, I was eading a Come Alive with Carole (it’s been a couple years) and another great Couples Alive. followed with CrisMarie.
We did some solid podcsting and the best part was producing our brain series. It was so fun interviewing Dr Jill Bolte Taylor (twice), Annie Hopper, Annie Thoe, Irene Lyon and Jenifer Fraser and Dr Lawrence Conlon. That was special and I do hope you got to enjoy their wisdom. (You can use the link if you want to give it listen now)
There was much to be grateful for in 2022.
Now moving into 2023, I want to continue to embrace the moments.
I’ll be kicking things off this week with a webinar for Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep. On Jan 5, a one hour introduction to how you can live and apply Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep to your life. If you are interested let me know.
We’ll both speakers at a great event outside of Calgary, New Year, New You. This is an amazing day of inspiring women speakers – available in person or online. Shifting from people pleaser to cowboy confident!
We’ll be doing an in-person event for 24 women on day two. Want more information here’s a link and share!
We have a few other public events lined up. I am scheduled for a Come Alive in April and both of us will be up at Haven just after that for Couples Alive.
Out biggest launch for 2023 will be coming later as we work with Rali to release our journey on The Beauty of Conflict for teams. Right now we are in the script writing process and will be filming in late March with a release hopefully by June. It’s exciting. This is an amazing group to be joining and partnering with as we continue to work to get the message out that there is BEAUTY in conflict.
So much is in the works and on this first day of the year, I wanted to reach out. I could have gone to the mountain but it seemed more important write and share.
A Little Gift for You
I’m sharing a link to my year end Spotify playlist: 2022 Favorite Tunes. These tunes were the ones I listened to most and not all new releases mostly ongoing favorites.
I do hope this finds you embracing life as we start 2023. I encourage you wake up each more with some breathing and if you don’t have a mantra – try mine: It’s All Going To Be Maginificent!
I love to stack up books and when an opportunity presents itself; read. Recently, I found myself reading two different books. One, The Myth of Normal the other, Scaling Up
For a taste of the former, here’s paragraph in the opening chapter:
Much of what passes for normal is neither healthy or natural… to meet the criteria of society is to conform to requirements that are profoundly abnormal for our natural needs – which means unhealthy and harmful on a physiological mental and even spiritually level.
This is a physician speaking, Gabor Mate, who has spent years in a medical model that paradoxically advances our ability to eliminate illness while doing it in a way that is compartmentalized and potentially causes more harm than good.
Then there’s Scaling Up which is a book about how companies must manage the four major decision areas every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash.
I sort of feel as a jump back and forth in these books I am swimming in the paradox that Gabor Mate is referring to in the The Myth of Normal.
It’s true as a therapist and business consultant I often feel like I am torn between worlds and caught in a paradox within both.
As a therapist, I have gathered a deep understanding of the impact of stress, trauma, neglect, pressure, perfectionism, absent parenting, bullying, abuse and systemic ‘isms’ on us humans trying to survive.
As a business consultant and executive coach, I also have a deep appreciation for people who focus their lives on rising their family, acquiring wealth, keeping thousands of employees paid during challenging times and coming up with new gadgets, widgets, and toys of all sorts. Some that thrill, some that save, some that connect and bring people moments of joy.
I have seen the best and worse in both systems: healthcare and business. I may have been the best and worse at times over the years in both worlds.
Sometimes I feel crazy and I admit I rarely feel ‘normal’ these days. I’m okay with that.
Yet it is hard.
In business, I often find the drive and need for cash, execution, and market share exhausting. If I am honest that rarely motivates me. However, I know these people are impacting the lives of so many and often are motivated by success, market share as well as the people that are doing the work that makes that possible.
I want their conversation to be relational and real. I want them to see themselves and others as humans that are messy, vulnerable and make mistakes. That part of my work is rewarding.
Of course, there times when I lose it with a client and we may choose to go our separate ways.
When I am working with individuals, couples, or teams I am deeply motivated to stop the blame and shame and move people towards experiencing their agency, compassion, and kindness for others, which generally has to start with oneself.
That is not always easy.
Truth be told my own journey from victim to human (being) took years (decades) and frankly I am still on that journey.
I sometimes act like I think people should get it at one team off site or on personal/professional development program.
It’s not really that I expect that of them or me. It’s that I feel helpless when that doesn’t happen and blame and shame runs the room.
It’s a capacity issue.
I don’t like feeling helpless.
However, sometimes it’s just the way it is.
Reading and gaining new tools and perspective does help. However, the bigger challenge for me is how to take the lesson and live them day-to-day.
How to build my capacity for feeling helpless AND still carrying and loving on.
That’s where breathing, moving, and dropping the words for sounds and music comes in handy.
I do enjoy and am grateful for my mind AND I know it’s my body, breath and energy that truly connects me to the wonder of the world around me.
I prefer to live in wonder than just in knowledge or answers. What about you?
Ernie McNally was a wonderful human being. He was friend, a colleague, an amazing musician, a great Haven facilitator and much, much more. He left the planet too soon and had a remarkable final year in how he decided to live knowing that he was dying.
I know Cathy McNally, has for years wanted to share more of the message and wisdom that Ernie continued to offer right up until he died.
That’s not easy to do. Pulling together those words, messages, and wisdom after losing your soul mate and partner.
But what I think was even more amazing was being alongside Cathy’s journey to not just keep Ernie’s loving alive but to also live fully in the new journey she was taking.
At one point, she had plans to put all this wisdom together shortly after Ernie left. A book of sorts. Well, that might have made living just too damn hard.
I know her desire in sharing Ernie’s Final Gift is to highlight the spirit and thirst he had for life, connection and loving and how he embraced all that through his final 17 months. I have no doubt that storyline will be powerful and profound for anyone facing uncertainty (or in his case terminal certainty).
I know Ernie and enough about his journey that he did what is so very hard to do – lived fully and lovingly through each moment. I also know Haven was the foundation on which that journey was possible. He knew it too. He loved the Haven and lived the Haven. I do believe his Final Gift is a wonderful invitation to anyone who hasn’t heard of the Haven or hasn’t made it a priority yet to go.
I’d say to any of you reading this, join Cathy McNally, Jane Geesman (Another amazing human). and the spirit of Ernie’s passion for life and loving. Listen and then sign up for your own Haven experience.
Life is way to short not to. I’d also say don’t wait for a crisis to make that happen.
I’d also encourage you to join on November 1 to listen to Cathy’s journey for another reason. Of course, it’s not easy to live fully knowing you are dying AND it is also not easy to be the one who is tasked with living fully well after you are gone.
That too is a journey with loads of wisdom.
Want to learn and discover what I believe Haven offers best: – Relational tools for loving and living through uncertainty. This lunch time talk will be a great window into that magic. Don’t miss it: Ernie’s Final Gift – November 1, 2022 Noon PT.
Your boots sink into the rich, moist soil as you walk through the trees.
The spongy feel is uplifting as it supports your movement.
You can smell that fresh hay, grass and the earthy, healing smell of horses.
Overhead, the big, blue, cloudless Montana sky stretches.
Far away, the whinny of a horse punctuates the beauty of the moment.
Every ounce of tension and stress slips away as the horse next to you sighs deeply. The feel of their soft, fuzzy nose on the back of your hand is grounding. The crisp, clear October breeze caresses Montana’s vast land and brushes against your cheek.
Tonight, you’ll sit by the firepit, surrounded by the women who have been part of your reconnection experience. The air might have a chill, but you’ll be warm as you enjoy the smoky smell and crackling of fire.
This. Here in nature.
This is good for your soul.
This is Find Your Mojo in Montana.
This is where you belong.
Science has proven dirt and fresh air :
Sometimes the best medicine comes in a very natural package.
Let nature take care of your soul so you can take care of those who depend on you!