Closing out 2023

My 2023 Holiday letter

What a year we have had here in Whitefish.

Let’s be clear the home address is Whitefish but in 2023 we were back on road. Kicking it off in January on a road trip to Calgary to be a part The Cowgirl’s Code: From People Pleaser to Cowgirl Confident. That was just the start. We visited Los Angeles, Arizona, Atlanta, Denver, Ohio and that all before April! From there it was Gabriola, Toronto ( a couple times), San Fran, Austin, and Denver again. Those were our work travel.

For fun we were in Cancun twice, Indiana, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Olympia, and Quinn’s Hot Springs.

I know I thought we’d travel less. However, we loved our work and our experiences.

Our Big Launch

What we’re most excited about from 2023 is the completion and launch of our Beauty of Conflict Journey – available now on GetRali.com. Here’s a link and you request a demo session with us. https://www.thriveinc.com/boc-journey

More Personal

On a more personal note, I loved both Come Alive programs I led this year. One was at the Haven and the other up North and was a cool mix of Come Alive and our thrive work. These were special because I didn’t try to control everything. I loved the team leadership and having a plan but being ok going off road.

Come Alive Teams

Some of the challenges:

• My mom’s dementia is worse, and it is much harder to connect. She’s happy and in a great location. But not always great for Facetime or Zoom. The good side of this part of my life is that I am more connected to my sisters. We have weekly sister calls and sometimes those are hard, but we listen and work it through.
• Lost some good people this year. Chris Reid, Scott Reid (a brother and cousin of my brother-in-law Rob Reid), David Raithby, a true Haven friend and facilitator. So many lives taken in Israel/Gaza/Ukraine. Plus, Tina Turner, Jimmy Buffet, and Tony Bennett.
• ZuZu got attacked in our woods. She did recover faster than me and yet, it was hard.

Lessons and Learning

The biggest investment we made in our development this year was engaging fully in the Dr Joe Dispenza world. We were at two Advances in Cancun and a Follow-Up in Dallas. I loved discovering this work and the experience of doing coherent healing sessions with thousands of people. AMAZING!! Also, the work was so aligned with my journey and transformation at The Haven. Never thought I could meditate for 5hours straight – yep – that’s two 5-hour sessions are in the books.

Walking Meditations & Ocean Swims!

A Few Best in Categories I like:

Best Read: Lessons in Chemistry
Best Movie: Barbie (but will say Boats in The Boy was a close second)
Best Podcast: Loved talking to Oscar on listening and most recently Dr Romie
Best Peloton Ride: Body Appreciation – 30 minutes with Christine!
Best TV: Unstable – a delightful surprise!
Best Music: No way could I just have one song – here’s a link to my top ten and it was hard to stop at 10:

My 2023 Top 10

I keep thinking of things to share or add. But I want to get this out. Because I encourage to do your reflecting and sharing.

Next year – 2024 – is almost here. Not only that, but it is gong to be happening fast.

My intention for this year is to embrace the unknown and enjoy the moments when opportunity knocks.

I am all in and believe it is going to be awesome!

One Life Well Lived, Too Many Cut Short

I learned sad news last week while traveling. David Raithby, a fellow Faculty member at The Haven, had passed away suddenly.

I admit I was stunned by the news. David and I go way back. Yes, we have had our differences, our conflicts. But David was one of kind and someone who truly believed in the Haven.

He was a remarkable man and great facilitator who cared deeply about people and healthy relating. Even in our differences I respected his words, his heart and commitment to life, living and being human.

I so appreciated the piece he had written days before his death which was shared with the Haven community by his family. The piece spoke to what seemed like the freedom he had found in life and the fullness of a life well lived.

Now home for a spell. I find myself wondering. Why? Why are so many gone. Why don’t I feel sad in their passing. I do feel deeply for his family and their loss. But sometimes when a life seems so well lived, shared, and connected to all around, I don’t cry or feel despair.

While other deaths and tragedy’s leave me in deep despair.

I don’t know any of the children in Gaza that have died. But I have cried as I read stories of children screaming in pain in the bombed hospital.

I don’t know any of the Israeli families holding out to see the return of the hostages or who are sending their own family members into war. But I felt deep sorrow for the fear they carry for always living with a belief that they are targets of hate.

I don’t directly know anyone who has lost their home or family through the war there or in the Ukraine. Yet, those stories fill my heart with pain and deep sorrow. The loss of life so tragic and the situation so irreconcilable.

I do believe there is beauty in conflict. Even in what can seem like irreconcilable conflicts.

However, when the divide has become religious or political, the humanity seems to get lost and there are only sides, enemies, and righteousness.

People lives become numbers.
No time to bury the bodies.
To be together and honor a life too short or one well lived.

The pain just stays, and the conflict and divide grow deeper.
There becomes only agony and pain. Hate

This is why I don’t care much for religion or politics.
The right or wrong of the many paths all seeming to come from the same point of origin.

So many wars have been fought.
So many lives lost.

For what.

I know many will say for freedom.
But I can’t help but go to the words of Nelson Mandala:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Not sure we’ll ever get there through religious or political beliefs.

Though I imagine based on David’s words – he got there.

Breathe More: It’s Free

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.

Try it.

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.

It’s free.

Finding My Reason to Meditate

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.

The Dolphins Nudge

Wait for it!
Here we go!
Dolphin Nudge!

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.

A Time To Cleanse: My Path To Courage

Time To Reset

I am about to embark on a 3 week cleanse. It’s needed and what better thing to do after a couple months of busy travel, intensive work experiences, Covid and then a cold that was even more challenging.

I loved all the client opprtunities and the two weeks delivering Haven programs AND I realize I didn’t space or pace myself well.

In March I traveled to Portland, LA, Phoenix, Atlanta and Denver, ending with Covid. April kicked off with a trip to Ohio and Haven for two weeks, then the cold.

So I decided I needed to do a reset. Cleanse, clear and rejuvenate my body, mind and spirit. That started today.

It seems CrisMarie and I do some version of this almost every year. Before I would say the focus was on dieting, losing weight, and fitting better into my clothes.

But even when my body agreed to that plan I found dieting exhausting and filled with self-hate, willing myself to be different. So not a pleasant process of ease and grace.

Though I will say when CrisMarie and I approach this as a shared project the relational part is always worth it.

I am sure this cleanse will not be all ease and grace. However, I am wanting to be in a curious, open-hearted place with myself.

Plus I have an event happening at the end of the cleanse and I honestly believe the process of cleansing, listening and relating deeply with my body is going make that event even better.

I’m going to be a speaker at a one day women’s event, Path To Courage. The plan was to deliever my talk through Zoom. But I took a look at some of the other presenters and decided a road trip to Calgary would be much more fun.

So May 27, I’ll be stepping out on the stage to deliver Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep: A Path to Wholeness 2.0. I have no doubt my cleanse and my intent to travel with my good friend, Robin Kelson, will simply add more to what looks like a great day exploring courage and connection.

However, that’s down the road – today the cleanse bigins.

Covid and Trump

Just when I thought Covid was background after a few years of playing havoc in our lives, it’s shown back up loudly in my world.

I never got sick during the first three years and about three weeks ago after lots of travel, I had what I thought was allergies. I tested postive. It was a bit of a shocker, and a bit rough for a day or two, but I moved through and went back to testing negative and moving forward.

Then CrisMarie had it and that resulted in me going to a two day off site without her.

It all worked. However, I was pissed at Covid.

Come Alive

I headed off to Haven for a Come Alive. I had a full group and great team. One day in and I was heading up to group and got informed one of the participants had some symptoms and had tested positive.

I have to admit it was a jolt. COVID again!

We’d been together as group and I knew there were likely to be concerns. I wasn’t sure what to do. Yet there we were.

It became a great opportunity to face uncertainty and dialogue. We each had to address how we would deal with our uncertainty. Some put on a mask. Some asked to test. Others were fearful and just spoke to their concerns. Our now quarantined member, couldn’t leave the island, so we had them join on Zoom.

All things considered Covid did disrupt, but also gave a great moment for deep dialogue and self-responsible relational living.

The Come Alive ended well and even our Zoom member reframed their Come Alive experience amazingly well. My heart was warmed by how everyone worked with all that came up.

Next Couples Alive

Couples Alive starts today and already Covid is in the air. One couple couldn’t come. CrisMarie is still not well and not able to join. One of the assisting couples had heard about the CA and has their own journey with Covid beliefs and concerns, causing them to cancel.

Suddenly I was confronted again. Covid isn’t going away. It almost seems louder than in those silent days of being at home.

Covid and Trump

Covid reminds me right now of Trump. I thought he’d for sure be gone by now too. But much like Covid, he seems to keep rearing up and stirring up fear and polarized opinions.

I really want to blame Covid (and Trump) for what seems like a horrble thing. Yet I get it’s not the virus or Trump that’s really the biggest problem. I think it’s the fear, the division, and the lack of conversation that is the real issue. Actually I think that fear may be keeping both much more alive and influential than either would be if we could learn to talk and share better.

Covid like any virius is going to keep surviving. I believe our job is to not to let it’s existence tear us a part and cause us to live in fear and righteousness.

Maybe what Covid offers is a chance to self- define, listen, and be curious. Do our best to be relational and make choices that honor ourselves and others.

Rules and regulations are not going to rid us of the virus. Just like court cases and votes don’t get rid of Trump.

Somehow we have to learn to live better together and not let our fears be what spreads dis-ease.

Seems I have to be curious and relational with Covid and even with Trump.

Come Alive

Downtown HarborAir Terminal

Sitting at The HarborAir terminal downtown Vancouver waiting for my flight to Nainamo.  Heading over to Gabriola for a Come Alive followed by a Couples Alive.

I bought along my copy of Being, Ben and Jock’s book edited by Toby.  It’s still a great read and much like Come Alive so relevant to living, loving and being on this human journey.

I am partially reading it now because I am the primary leader for this Come Alive and though I have an incrediable team around me, I feel somewhat responsible for ensuring I am grounded in the models and able to teach the foundational pieces that make this program great.

Over the years, I have led with grit, with force, with my own agenda and counted on my co-leader to make sure I didn’t get to caught up in standing out or being too rigid.

For those unfamiliar with the term standing out, I’d say it falls into the category of trying to achieve, be perfect, lead from the front or just a role.

Sometimes that’s might be needed but usually leading involves standing forth. Coming from an inner strength and knowing, the right mix of being personal, real and relational while also providing some structure and confidence in the path set forth.

So I’m reading Being. As I read, I am feeling warmth and gratitude for Ben, Jock, Joann, and the many, many mentors and friends who have been a big part of my own journey.

I’m also reading through our recent scripts for The Beauty of Conflict because that too is a translation of the learning that I believe has ensured my on-going commitment to aliveness, intimacy and relationship.

So I wait for my seaplane and reflect. I watch the various clouds passing – from threatening storms to fluffy white puffy bubbles.

I am reminded of Ben’s story of the train station. How often people wait for the ‘right’train, assuming that they’ll somehow know when that ‘right’ train arrives. Sadly they often waste time waiting and miss getting on a train.

That’s kind how I feel about Come Alives – I signed up for this one and I am already fully on the train (well planes in this case). Enjoying the journey and discovering as I go who will be joining me for the ride.

As I take my journey I am aware of various moments from the many, many, many Come Alives I have taken – all the way back to the one I stepped into with my sister, Penny, over 30 plus years ago. All amazing and all hold a piece of the trapestry of me I’ll bring to leading this one.

Should be a blast.

ZuZu Sure Heals Faster Than Me

In her frilly turtle next!

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