Stepping Out & Letting My Stories Fly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Trip to the Top of The world

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

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

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

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

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

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

First peek of Sperry Chalet on our way up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The brownies!!

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

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

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

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

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

Life goes on.

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

Sometimes nature does call and it is important to listen.

Gratitude For Hearts & Hands

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

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

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

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

There have been many.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heart handprints art sign color. Vector illustration

How Horses Help Your Heart And Your Leadership

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

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

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

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

Taken from:

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

There’s more.

Leadership Benefits

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

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

There are days when I walk into a situation thinking:

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

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

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

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

Bring in the Horses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Come play!

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

Let’s chat!

So My Mask is off – Now What?

Mask Off

Here I sit.

Back at the coffee shop.

Last week everyone had on a mask.

Today, no one.

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

From mandatory to nothing. Overnight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe you care about the climate.

Maybe you care about equity and justice.

Maybe you care about inclusion.

Pick something and take a step to make a difference.

It doesn’t have to be loud.

It doesn’t have to be HUGE.

Just take a step and if we all do that.

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

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

I still want to do that.

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

What about you?

My Crooked Line

Not Me – BUT maybe one day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s that Crooked Line!!

This is such a metaphor for my life.

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

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

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

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

Definately a crooked line.

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

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

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


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.