I watched a short clip of a Republican Senator yelling at Dr Fauci about the timing for lifting the face mask directive. His position was clear that people’s liberties have been taken away for long enough.

Fauci responded saying for him the face mask mandate had nothing to do with people’s liberties but was related to public health.

The stand off. Different values and different perspectives.

I admit I don’t understand the liberties side of the this argument. I don’t believe asking someone to wear a mask takes away their liberties. I believe it protects our freedom. Does wearing a seat belt take away liberties? Do speed limits take away liberties?

Do I like wearing a mask? Not so much. However, I do want to protect people from the spread of disease and a virus out of control.

I am also not a vaccine fan. But I did get mine. Why? Because where I live people don’t wear mask or stay six feet a part. We have lots of tourism and we don’t seem to think it matters that we contribute to the spread of the virus by the choices we make.

I am glad that I live in a place where I can be outdoors. Lots of space. But I also realize I want to travel. I want people to visit. If this virus continues to run wildly through cities and areas where the impact is greater and there may not be the same resources – I don’t want to contribute to that spread.

I’d wear a mask anytime to protect more big outbreaks. I also though wear my seat belt and drive mostly at the speed limit.

I consider doing all three of these things very much a part of supporting freedom and the liberties of ALL PEOPLE.

What’s On My MInd & Heart

Love this quote and fits my heart – let’s stitch new garments!

A year ago the world went into shutdown. Here in Montana it didn’t really hit for another week or so. Even then it wasn’t so much Covid as trying flatten the curve. We didn’t have cases for quite a while or if we didn’t we didn’t know. 

So much has happened since.

Yes, there was Covid, then there was George Floyd, social injustice and then an election that was divided and charged. We still have people fighting about who won or if Covid is real. But somehow things are moving towards a new normal or at least the end of the Pandemic.

There’s a vaccine and some signs that soon we’ll meet in person again, hug our friends and relatives and gather for a holiday.

Personally I didn’t mind moving online. I am fortunate enough to have the resources to work from home. I also live new state lands and could walk, run and bike – easily six feet away from everyone. 

Truth be told I didn’t mind being six feet a part – my old survival skills came in handy.

CrisMarie and I found creative ways to connect through things like The New Morning Show, puzzling through Zoom with my family members or playing games House Party or Among Us. 

We offered our take on how to deal with Stress, Crisis, Conflict and Change. I loved working with Chambers, businesses and leaders to find ways to make remote working doable. Help people process the challenges.

I don’t really believe we are quite through this yet. Even with vaccines and a feeling of safety to gather won’t resolve the grieve, stress and lingering ‘trauma’ that has been created by the events over this last year.

It is amazing that we have created a vaccine and some path towards recovery so quickly. However, there is more than just the physical contagion to be dealt with. There’s loss and there’s pain that has mostly just been driven over to survive.

I want to know what we have really learned from this and that we will do things differently. That the things we discovered that mattered while locked down in our houses will still matter. That we’ll find ways to connect and deal with differences better. 

We’ll figure out how to begin to have real conversations about racism, sexism and systems that are no longer serving us and need to be modified and changed. 

But I’m not sure.

I wonder if when I get my shot I’ll feel ‘safe’ again. I sort of hope not. Sometimes being uncomfortable and vulnerable is critical to making real change. 

Of course I can practice being more vulnerable without it being driven by fear, shame or pressure. It is hard sometimes and I know so worth it. My mind wants safe. My heart wants to be open, even if it may still get broken.

I am going for the heartbeats not just the safety.

Anyway this what’s on my heart and mind. What’s on yours? 

ThE Final Chapter: Fifth Grade

I’m still working on Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.  It is slowly finding it’s wings.  As I was wrapping up what I thought was enough of the old stories and pieces – my fiftn grader rose up.  I knew this piece needed to be included.  Here’s a teaser for the book.

The Final Chapter: Fifth Grade

There are moments in life best to just forget. Right?

Often those moments don’t really go away. Instead, they lurk beneath the surface of our psyche, waiting to resurface, and play havoc.

For me one of those moments occurred when I was in fifth grade in the early 70’s in the inner city of Richmond, VA. My city school system was going through a LONG period of finding a solution to social injustice and racial segregation with the latest attempt to integrate.

The plan was to bus kids into an inner city building while a new better school was being built.

The building I was bused to held only fifth grade.

There were about 350 fifth graders, 90% black and 10% white.

Looking back, I would definitely say there were some flaws in the thinking of the people who devised the plan. I also get the intense injustice and justified anger of the disenfranchised black students.

However, at the time, I was simply one of the 10%, and determined to find a way to survive my first year of being bused out of my neighbor and into a new school district.

I struggled.  I was a young girl of 10 years, who apparently looked a lot like a boy.

Day One 

“Susie Clarke – are you here?” Ms. Childs, a tall, thin, black women standing in front of the classroom holding a clipboard, picked up her eyes to look for a raised hand as she went through the class list.

“Susie Clarke – where are you?” 

“Here!” I called out.

“No, I said Susie. Do not start off on the wrong foot young man!” She said with a stern look.

“I am Susie. I am not a boy.” I could feel a lump forming in my throat, as everyone in the class laughed, but I spoke with a determined strong voice.

No way was I going to show any tears.

Ms Childs’ looked, and finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she checked me off.

That was the start of day one.

Things got worse.

Later that day Ms. Childs told me to come with her. She took me to the girl’s bathroom. Then she asked me to pull down my pants to confirm I was indeed a girl.

I was horrified but agreed. She was finally satisfied.

Though Ms Childs created some of my initial problems with that opening day event, she also strongly encouraged me to stay positive, and not give up on my efforts to engage in making the school a better place.

Charlotte – A Girl on a Mission

Charlotte was one angry young girl. Clearly, she had good reason to be angry growing up black in Richmond, VA.

Unlike many of the other black students, Charlotte took every opportunity to let me know she had the upper hand in this school environment.

When we had to be lined up in the hall, she’d slap me across face. Then she’d remind me I should be in the back of line. I didn’t belong upfront.

In the girls bathroom, she’d push me into a stall. She’d tell her friends, “Behind this door is the boy playing a girl.” She’d make sure I stayed put by leaning against the stall door making it impossible to get out.

I wasn’t her only target.  Any light or white skinned person would attract her wrath and it really didn’t matter if a teacher was present or not. She was taking a stand against white people.

Charlotte was the ringleader of a gang of playground bullies who were relentless. Our playground was a two block walk from the school, creating ample bullying time. My hunch is this was their way of channeling their much deserved rage of being discounted in a white culture.

As a 5th grader, it was difficult to be the target. So I took Ms Child’s advice to stay positive.

I decided to run for Student Council President under the platform of “no bullying.”

We had the school event of speeches. I stepped up on that stage and said “I am running because I want to stop the bullying.”  You could hear a pin drop, then there was a rolling, rising wave of laughter.  Yet, I was committed and thought I delivered a solid message and concern.

I talked to anyone who would talk to me.

I believed I had a chance to win, and eagerly put my posters around.  I didn’t get flustered by any side comments or the popularity of some of the other’s candidates running.

Voting Day

I arrived early to cast my vote. Like any confident candidate, I put my vote in the ballot box with a check beside my name.

Later the principal came over the school’s public address system to announce the winners.  I thought he’d only list the winners.

No. He chose to read each name and how many votes they got.

I did not win.
I had one vote.
I knew it was my own.

I was horrified.

I slipped out to go to the bathroom.

Guess who was there.

Yes, Charlotte.

She grabbed me, spun me around, saw the tears, give me a slap across my face and started laughing.

“That will teach you white girl/boy – whatever.”

I did manage to pull away and collapsed in humiliation and shame in the stall.

That crushing moment was seared into my cells.

I am not quite sure how I recovered.

I did get through 5th grade.

However, I did make a vow to never, ever put myself in a situation where I was asking people to choose me…Never step into that kind of leadership.

Then I did what any good survivor does. I buried that moment.

The memory has stayed unearthed longer than other painful blows, many of which, on a physical level were much worse.

What I didn’t realize though is that memory has played havoc with my efforts to speak out with my own my voice, to market my services, to write and share my stories.

Don’t get me wrong, I have stepped out into leadership, but under someone else’s platform. I lead other people’s programs, and coach under the umbrella of other people’s models.

More recently though, at thrive!, CrisMarie and I  have been standing forward with our own voice and our own model.

Our platform is the beauty of conflict.

Hmm, someone could make the connection that making conflict beautiful may be about as popular as a white girl running on the platform against bullying. I really had not given that any thought until just now. (That may need some more processing.)

Selling the beauty of conflict hasn’t been easy. No one likes conflict. Not even us and we’ve written two books on it.

However, conflict is natural, normal and creative.  This is when used – which is what we do helping leaders and teams.  Bullying is really just conflict, not being dealt with.

As we work on our marketing efforts for our business, and define our voice and brand, I have bumped into that old crippling doubt and unearthed roots of my fears: Fifth Grade!

This book, Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep has taken forever to write and share.  There are all sorts of reasons I wrestle with getting these stories out.

The various demons have all become little pieces of the book making their way out.

This damn book is only about 50 pages but it has felt like the writing of centuries.

As I have was coming to some sort of conclusion in assembling the book, guess who showed up?

No not Charolotte. My fifth grader, “Why am I not in the book? Are you still so ashamed of me?”

I needed to listen. I am turning towards that little eager, humiliated fifth grader. I am crying with her as I write.

My fifth grader deserves a chapter.  So this is her piece to the puzzle of me.

There wasn’t any reason for me to be ashamed of my efforts in fifth grade.

As Brene Brown would say, “I entered the arena.” It’s okay that I lost, and I am glad I voted for myself.

I don’t want to bury the moment. I want to release it. Share it.

No matter what the color of your skin, your economic status, sexual orientation, gender preference, I am guessing you’ve experienced a humiliating moment.

Maybe you buried that humiliating moment too, only to have it play havoc with some part of your life.

If so, I hope this story will inspire you to remember and embrace that part of you. I hope to let you know you are not alone.

Don’t bury it. Don’t hide. Lead through it.

This recent moment of mine is already different than fifth grade.

One, because it unearthed the earlier moment, and has helped me re-frame and rewrite those old vows.
I will step up to lead with my voice.
I will ask people to choose me (and us).
Yes, I will cast another vote for myself.
I will learn from, rather than, bury a negative result.

Bottom-line: I didn’t bury the impact or lesson this time.

I learned how to lean in.

I am leading through it.

For that I am grateful.

Take that Charlotte!

Democracy at The DMV

Now on G32!

Today I find myself sitting outside DMV office with my number 64, my phone scrolling to let me know when I am within 6 numbers (currently at 32) and can come in, while reading the Heart of Democracy.

There’s a lot of information about my life right now in just that first sentence.

This is not my first two hour wait outside the DMV. Earlier this month I was here because my car tabs got lost and though paid had to come in to get replacement tabs. At some point since that event I lost the registration papers – lost, stolen, tossed out – I don’t know. But gone. So here I am again.

Now I am trying to stay curious about what I might need to know about these happenings. I will say it is creating the most community interaction I have had with people outside my ‘pod’ for awhile.

Since Covid, I go out with close friends and I pick up groceries but don’t stay anywhere long. The DMV offers the biggest variety of people I have engaged with. This trip it is raining so I am mostly staying in my car. But last time I stood outside, socially distant talking about everything from wearing a mask to which is more of a concern covid or our economic stability. I’d say the vote was split on that last one and fortunately everyone either had their mask on or stood talking from a better than six foot distance.

Which brings me to the book, The Heart of Democracy.

I am reading this book because a friend shared a post about the book and the ideas touched me deeply. The idea that the heart of democracy isn’t about left or right, republican or democrat – but about power and a divide between those who believe that power is found within us as well as outside us, and those for whom all power is external to the self.

His ideas so resonate with many of my own. The idea that we need to not be talking about ‘them’ (politicians – people in DC etc.) but talking with the people actually in the room. (Or on Zoom) The idea that this is not left or right – it’s about people and power and how we define and embrace where we believe we have some choice and control and where and when we don’t.

There are those who see his stories of individuals making a difference as just pie-in-the-sky beliefs and those who use the same stories to inspire their own action.

He shares how Occupy Wall Street and The Tea Party are examples of the same shared goal – to make a collective shift against perceived power. Sure you can say these groups are fundamentally different in ideology but in impact and influence – they are very much the same – examples of democracy in action and people making their power known – the power of “We The Power”.

It helps me to see the common elements and the possibilities that lies in seeing even these two efforts having a common purpose – to impact a change.

Why is that so important now?

Because I am anxious, angry, scared and feeling helpless more often than I wish to reveal. Aside from little pockets of conversation outside the DMV and a Zoom call with only people who share my values I am not having having deeper richer conversations that are touching my heart and helping bridge differences. No, what I am mostly seeing and hearing is screaming or fighting or negative ad campaigns. What is usually a time to gather an understanding of why something is so important to someone else and why I might choice to vote for one candidate over another has become a battle ground and mud slinging crazy talk. My heart breaks with this.

Covid makes it hard because normally I would be at an office, engaging in dialogue over dinner after a day with a team of leaders. I would be up at The Haven mixing with a variety of people with different backgrounds and positions. I’d be stuck in an airport or on a plane with someone who was clearly different than me and I could ask – why is that so important to you or what do you think of the potential Supreme court candidate. We may have some strong differences but we’d be there long enough to know something real about each other and maybe even influence each others position before going on our way. Those moment and those conversations would help my heart and faith in humans.

Even these DMV visits help.

It is for me one of the biggest challenges of Covid. Zoom, Teams House Party and Facetime don’t allow for quite the same spontaneous moments. Don’t get me wrong I am very grateful for what technology has offered because I can Zoom with my sisters, Zoom with my mom and friends. I can help I team bridge their differences and have some real conversations virtually. I can support my clients in breathing and getting more in touch with their heartbeats and breath. But I am missing the moments where I can gather in front of the TV watching the debate with strangers and talk about – what was that? Or why isn’t he answering the question? Or what did you get about his/her position on that? And talk.

I miss those moments right now at lot – because I think those moments and conversations are what make for democracy. Democracy is about the power of people and mostly about how WE THE PEOPLE need to be talking, sharing and listening more than just blaming.

I’d love to hear from and if you feel any of the same. If there is a way you are doing this differently – having real conversations and really getting to understanding someone else’s position – tell me about it.

Shining My Light Forward – Join ME in The FUN

Montana Lighthouse – Going To The Sun – Yes!

When Covid hit I had just completed my Master Facilitator training with Koelle Institute. I was ready to launch a pilot leadership development program in the Seattle area, bringing the horses into the program. I also had just offered a day event, From The Barn to The Boardroom – right here in the Valley for Flathead Leadership and was excited about the potential for more. In other words, my light was focused on Equus.

Covid bought my Equus Coaching and the Leadership development program to a halt! Really, Covid sort of bought most everything to a halt.

I did though continue to be able to get out to the pasture and actually found the time with the horses quite helpful for my well being.

The Birth of Lighthouse Coaching

I started focusing more on my coaching practice, defining Lighthouse Coaching and Lighthouse Leadership Coaching. Thrive!, CrisMarie and I, made the shift to supporting leaders navigating remote working, greater uncertainty, outrage and fury of longstanding issues of social injustice and the added challenge of finding a new normal that still is a long ways off.

Our work, finding the beauty in conflict, is really key to supporting people in dealing with the uncertainty of these times and the clear need for change. We really don’t want to go back to ‘normal’ and since the new normal hasn’t been defined or created yet, we have an incrediable opportunity if we can stay presence and be fully engaged in what comes next!

One surprise I found during these many months is how much I have enjoyed re-building my coaching practice – personal, couples and executive coaching – through being a lighthouse.

I think in many ways, right now we all are being called to be a lighthouse. To be able ground, reach out and shine as we navigate through these waters.

Sounding Board and More

I love being a sounding board and a non-judgemental or agenda-free advisor to executuive leaders who are smart, focused and sometimes just need straight feedback and a reality check to align their business, leadership and life in an authentic and effective way that can lead us into a new business paradigm that is collorborative and resilient.

I also love working with people who simply want to make a change and see the need for a coach or a lighthouse to support them in getting unstuck, bringing more of themselves to there career, their relationship and living their best life even with a pandemic.

I figured at some point I’d bring the horses back into the mix. However, I am not quite sure when that is going to be possible.

So I have decided to focus on building Lighthouse Coaching and looking out into 2021 when I believe I can more comfortably schedule and ensure that the timing is better for bringing people together.

New Definition of Community

I have realized that the way I have best built community has been in groups – in person and online, intensive experiences together. Which has been one of the reasons I think my coaching practice hasn’t been where I have placed my attention. Now I am beginning to get community isn’t simply the intensive journey together or a location. It is being connected – like many lighthouses – shining our light, message, vibrational gifts etc – out into the world as a way to create connections, build bridges and remember we are all in this planet and human journey together. It might start with me being a lighthouse for you – but I just know as we move forward you will also be a lighthouse for me!

Yes, I want to build community. More importantly, I want more human ‘lighthouses’. People grounded, embodied and shining their light. In other words, I am willing to be a lighthouse and if you are interested in being a lighthouse during these challenging times – well I hope you will join in our community!

Beauty of ConFlict in 2021

I am already designing and getting excited about The Beauty of Conflict Within, the forthcoming book and a new program. The program will be designed to support individuals diving deeply into their own process. Finding their inner lighthouse and mojo. If all goes according to my plans, this offering will be an integration of Find Your Mojo and Come Alive happening right here in Montana!

Plus the new Beauty of Conflict for Couples is coming. It started as Couples Mojo but didn’t get the needed time or attention last year! I think because I was so focused on bringing the horses into the Couples program that I wasn’t fully focusing on the amazing foundational progam we have for couples – with or without the horses. However, I sure hope that in 2021, we’ll have the luxury of both. Couples can come to Montana and have a great location to enrich thier relationship AND also discover the beauty and wonder of Montana and the horses!

Between now and proabbly the fall of 2021, I am going to be GROOTing (if you don’t know what that means – check out this blog).

Lighthouse Community Project – Join

If you really want to join in the fun of helping me build this community of lighthouses – sign up for our newsletter and Monday Mojo. Consider trying out Lighthouse Coaching or a coaching package with CrisMarie. Start a company or team book club with our book. (We’d be happy to come and do a Q&A for your team or organzation.) Invite us to speak at your organization, association or next event – virtually and if it can happen in-person! In other words – become a lighthouse wherever you are and connect!

In today’s world we need lighthouses and we need to know we are connected and are in this together!

2020 Is NOT What I expected!

It’s August and there are only a few signs of ‘normal’.

Like: My golf game. I am still not breaking 90 very often usually hitting closer to 100. My golf seems pretty much just like it has been now for few years!

I am regularly, as usual, getting out on my road bike and on the trails. Not often with others but I still love it!

I am still NOT a huge fan of marketing and it’s still a big part of my world!

Now For a Few of The Changes

I am home in Montana more than I have ever been since moving here in 2008! Plus, we have out first ever garden!!!

Haven, my home on the Island in BC, property and programs closed in March and still now only offer online programs. Sadly, even if a program was running, I can’t cross the border, so there is a significant loss there for me. I do love though that people are still connecting and Haven is finally getting itself firmly online!!

We haven’t traveled out of our state or been on a plane since February. My Alaska status is likely to be lost in 2020 – no extra miles for me!

I invented GROOT-ing and my marketing mind-set has shifted.

Still Life is different so many levels

I wear a mask whenever I walk along our Whitefish streets or go into a store.

I rarely socialize with people unless it is on Zoom/Teams or HouseParty. (or six apart!).

I don’t offer or get many hugs (other than with CrsiMarie!) and my hands are a bit dry from all the singing happy birthday and the new handwashing rituals! (I did wash them before but not for two verses of happy birthday!)

I imagine your life might be a bit different as well.

In general, I feel incrediably fortunate during these times. I have been able to create work and maintain an income. I have stayed healthy and been able to get the things I needed. I haven’t lost anyone directly in my world to Covid and I haven’t been in situations where I have felt threatened or at risk either related to health or because of social injustice.

So I am grateful.

Having said that I am also very aware of the many, many layers of stressors that so many are facing right now.

It’s not just a world pandemic. It’s economic. It’s grief. It’s injustice. It’s politics. It’s diffenences. And so much uncertainty!

I am grateful for the all of the years and training I have done in the area of breath and energy work, dealing with trauma, working in family systems and in corporate cultures navigating conflict and creating better dialogue. Thirty plus years of study and implication have helped me deal 2020 for sure!

I am also grateful for my own life experiences of living with cancer (s), diving deeply into old patterns around trauma and dysfuntion and finding my sanity, humor, purpose and faith in humanity through walking that path.

Finding Purpose: Being In Service – Using The Best of ME!

I am enjoying helping people find presence, faith and joy even in this wild and crazy year of 2020.

This year has generated many new ways of making that offer. Lighthouse Coaching came into being when I realized my equus work wasn’t going to be happening for a while and I wanted to keep working with people. I have loved the coaching. Being a lighthouse really does fit for me.

I enjoy the corporate work we do. We had so many opportunities to work with large organizations, smaller companies, even Chambers and associates – all wanting support in dealing with the uncertainty and change. We actaully have now created a new Unpack Stress program based on the feedback and needs we found will continue to surface going forward.

I also love working with couples. We got to do our online Beauty of Conflcit for Couples with Haven. Plus we’ve been doing more work with couples together.

I enjoy being a sounding board and trusted advisor – i.e. Executive or Leadership Coach. Helping leaders navigate being in a large system and also authentic and true to themselves – is something I am passionate about! People really do matter as much if not more so than results – especially during a world Pandemic.

Still, I just haven’t loved marketing and that actually holds be back from being in service. Because I am a damn good coach and really can help people through these crazy times. So, I have been getting my own coaching and recently decided to rename marketing after my favorite character – GROOT.

The idea of GROOT-ing is so much more enjoyable to me than marketing. GROOT was/is all about finding the joy in life and service!

If you don’t know GROOT well I recommend you watch Guardians of The Galaxy. There are two parts and two GROOTS – both awesome! (Maybe I will devote a blog to GROOT – but for now – watch the movie(s) or atleast this clip! Link here

Let Me Help You!

Are you struggling? Want support? Reach out. Try some coaching. Listen to our podcast, The Beauty of Conflict. Or catch me on ‘The New Morning Show’ – our FBLIve randomly offered now around 10AM three or four times a week.

We Are All In This Together – Right? Right!

We’re In This Together

This has been a rallying cry for me since we stepped into Shelter-In-Place here in Montana and agreed to support the flattening of the curve. 

During this time period, though distant, I have felt close with various parts of the country, geographically scattered members of my family, friends and community as well as other countries around the globe facing this Pandemic.

At times it has been scary and for sure filled with uncertainty and questions.  It seems like each step of the journey has introduced new information, new elements that have tossed me into a cycle of change and transition.

However, the rallying cry, ‘we are in this together’ – kept me aligned strong and committed.

Now there is a new crack that has challenged my belief about being in this together.

Re-opening has started. 

This process of re-opening seems incredibly chaotic and disjointed.  I don’t see or feel the we are all in this together anymore!

Each state has is doing it’s own thing and there seems to be all sorts expert opinions that offer very differing perspectives on what is best or safest.

I believe here the biggest driver may economics and I get that this is a very serious concern.  Our economy is based on businesses small and large operating. People being able to spend and sell. 

There are also some mentions of why this may even be a healthy choice – though much like alternative medicine when it comes to health issues – these ideas are not the standard nor considered evidence-based.

The problem – we don’t have a great deal of evidence around a Pandemic and may be not enough data collected to know this virus.

So it’s all a bit of guess work.

Blown Away: AKA My oh Sh%T Moment!

Seriously this so reminds me of the day I discovered the treatment for my cancer wasn’t working. My doctor and medical team, informed me they didn’t have other options. I probably had 3 to 6 months to live. 

I was blown AWAY.  I was certain that as experts and leaders they were going to get me through this health crisis. In that moment, I got that was not the case. I discovered that really my medical team at that point was in it with me if I understood and traveled the road where I believed I was most certainly dying.

Oddly I as I moved out beyond the medical model I discovered many other ‘experts’ with differing strategies to offer me.  Some of which were possibly going to prolong my current life expectations. 

This is when the conflict really surfaced! 

These experts were not very friendly and did not agree. I did not experience being in this together! The next few years of my journey around my health were riddled with uncertainty and conflict. 

I did call my various ‘experts’, my team.  However, I would not say we were cohesive. I discovered some of these experts were very helpful in encouraging me to pull the diverse expertise and wisdom into my decision-making.  These ‘experts’ also provided me a language and a way to tap into my own resources and make simple decisions out of complex data and differing perspectives that supported me day-to-day in living my full life – not just a cancer storyline.

I am very grateful for those people.

I am so grateful that I rode the wave of conflict and uncertainty. That I stayed curious and as a result I think creative.

Back To Today

I am looking back now, thinking this is again a time to rally around diverse perspectives, conflict and find ways to make simple decisions that support my life, my family, my business and my community moving forward.

A want the rally cry to be we are in this together – however, I can only find that ground when I am willing to embrace the conflict.  Not make those different wrong but try to find the threads that can weave the fabric together.

I do believe it is possible.  I have seen, felt and lived through this type of crisis.  I want to be a lighthouse that shines a beacon for that possibility.  I am here and I am still with you – even if our navigational feedback is presenting a different path. Even in the uncharted and and potentially dangerous terrain each person, business, state and country is taking, I do still believe we are in this together!

Marketing Meltdown

I had a marketing meltdown yesterday.

I agreed to get on a call with sales and marketing expert who had FB ads figured out. Truth is I should have known better. But I said yes – I would jump on and listen.

What I didn’t fully realize was this was not a training as much an enrolling call. Thirty minutes into the dialogue I was so frustrated and thinking this expert is not getting me. Again I didn’t follow the nudge. Instead I stayed on and figured this was his process and I was sure there would be some value I’d get out of being patient.

Forty-five minutes into the call and he was making his mentoring offer. I honestly did not have one piece of original value proposition – that I understood to be new or different than any other marketing/sales idea I have heard before. All I got was a two month mentor option that was going to cost me $9800.00 and was promised to change my marketing life. Sadly at that point I was not happy.

This is when he asked what we thought. I answered.

Now, if I could do this all over I would have made a different call earlier. I may have opted for the tel-advertising approach. Stop him early and ask if this is just a sales call. Or I could have used the communication model and checked out my story and tried to clarify what and how this call was going to go. But I didn’t do that.

I was triggered. I actually thought I did an okay job of sharing what I had found difficult about the call and what didn’t work. Which I had interpreted as his request for what I thought of the call. However, I think my unhappiness and the fact that I was disappointed that I was not getting any new understanding of what made his proposition different – wasn’t what he was expecting from his request.

We were now caught in conflict and sadly I was more reactive at that point than responsive. I will say in his final explanation of his expertise and clarity in saying that I did not understand him and he would never consider working with me – he provided the best clarity of his unique position. I did try at that moment to reflect back that I was finally getting what I thought was the intention of the call and that the new information was interesting. My regret was that I had not spoken up sooner.

I also regret that I had not listened to my internal guidance earlier. I don’t like situations like that and yet I put myself right in it. He was just doing what he was actually intending to support me in learning how to do, I think. He wanted me to feel on the call that he was the path to getting the answer and support I needed – I would have to hire him. He referred to this as using emotional mirroring and fractal marketing to get client to believe there is an answer and you must have me to be able to get it.

Okay but let me share what I heard with that statement – emotional mirroring is a technique used in cults and brainwashing. That is a trigger right there for me.

Long and short I got off the phone and was angry, sad and incredibly frustrated that I had been totally responsible for putting myself into the situation!

I also was in a bit of despair that maybe I just am not cut out to be in marketing and sales AND my business does demand I do marketing and sales.

I know it’s hard right now because there is so much noice online and I do tend to believe right now being service is more important than the success of my marketing or sales. Still I would like to believe there is a backbone and heart path to being of service and selling.

If you have the answer – your answer- and you want to share it with me. Well give me a call. I know you may be a little concerned after this post – but I am willing to try again and hopefully this time if things aren’t going well I will speak up earlier!

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!


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.