The Truth of Who We Are

| LOCATION: Nashville Airport staring out at the most beautiful Southern sky |

I’m sitting in the airport in Nashville having just completed an intense 3-week rollercoaster of business failures and successes, amazing relationships and connections with people, training and coaching from my core genius more than ever before, and… reflection with myself.

I watch so many people I meet struggling in a certain relationship or life circumstance—struggling to be present in their lives. I’ve sat talking for longer with so many because we are all giving so much to life… and at times that giving can be heartbreaking.

I’ve asked myself, why do we find it so hard to let go? Why do we resist moving down into our hearts, and trusting–ourselves, other people or Life itself–in those crucial moments? Why do we stay locked into the tight cages of our comfort zones when what we most long for is to be free?

I’ve gotten the reputation from so many of you who have coached with me or simply conversed, of causing people to cry 😉 I will own that even though I don’t try to make that happen. Yet it does. And as I sit here in Nashville today waiting to board my plane, I’ve begun to try to put words to why tears come when we connect.

I believe it’s because I love you so much. You know you don’t have to BE anything—just yourself, finally. In your eyes, I see that undaunted beautiful soul figuring him/herself out like I am. Like we all are.

So why does this cause us to cry together sometimes? I know it is because you are seen, appreciated for simply being, understood as magnificent, and finally because all BS is ripped away. No excuses. No hiding. No playing small. Just the real stuff. The stuff that matters between us. The truth of who we really are that words can never fully express.

That truth whispers, “…Life is happening RIGHT NOW!” Getting hung up, resistant, untrusting, dissatisfied in our comfortableness is trying to stay far away from the raw joy and sometimes the pain of being fully alive right now, nothing held back.

I feel the incredible men who are secretly afraid they are not enough. They love so much and work so hard for those they love, yet feel so distant from the moments of love that connect them to those they are wholly committed to.

I ache for the powerful women who give and give every minute of the day to make life work better for everyone, yet who can’t feel the deep truth of peace in themselves—who are afraid what they give won’t be enough for the happiness and thriving of those they love.

So when we talk, I feel this. And I know the truth. Gently, I expect you to stop, to listen to your own heart, and to know the same. I know that life is simultaneously intensely joyful, beautiful and grateful,… and heartbreaking—if we’re really honest.

That relief brings tears.

Cynicism, anger and fear shut the heart off from the brain. My first mentor said to me nearly 2 decades ago, “Tears are sacred.” She said this to the woman (me) who had resisted crying for so long believing it was weakness.
It is not. It is honesty. It is an open heart. It is sacred.

It took me awhile to stop being afraid of my own tears, but once I did, I found a paradoxical gift. I could sit with others and truly see them—in their most secret hopes as much as their deepest despair or shame. And not be afraid.

I thank you for who you are, for your truth, and the honesty of your tears. May you be free. May you be blessed.

Guilt Kills Gratitude and Self Respect

| LOCATION: My cozy flat in the Lower Avenues, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA |

I had an incredible session with a dear client this morning (the eve of Thanksgiving) and we spoke about her amazing Respect List: a list of personal statements that deeply affirmed and empowered her respect of herself at the next level of her life. (She’s seriously cool!)

She had listed, “I am not guilty” as one of her statements of self-respect, and it caught my attention. Guilt plagues us in both a full-on frontal attack, as well as subtly woven into something that looks good or innocent on the face of it.

I think guilt is my #1 killer of gratitude. And so…

Gratitude is my AMAZING discovery for transmuting guilt into something beautiful and useful.


When I first discovered this years ago at my office, I was running late getting to my next client. I’d been doing a lot of work on guilt and as I walked over to greet her, instead of apologizing profusely for my lateness, I instead said, “I appreciate your patience! Thank you for being so gracious.” And I knew I meant every word. I felt Great, not guilty!! She smiled broadly and we got down to business.

This is true over and over, whether it’s something I’ve done, something someone else has done, or something just inside of me. Gratitude.

The moment I reach out and find gratitude, nothing held back, my guilt–or my need for someone else to feel guilty–vanishes and my heart is FULL.

Not surprisingly, I’ve noticed that in finding gratitude, I also let go.


I trust.

And I feel life move forward instead of sliding back which feels all kinds of good to me.

Fake Outrage

| LOCATION: Tulie ~ French Bakery off of 9th, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA |

How will you feel in 30 years about the stuff you’re posting/commenting now? 🙂

Have any of you suffered from Fake Outrage*?

Years ago in my 20s I had an epiphany one night as I came home from work, made dinner and sat down in front of the TV to watch my favorite shows.
I had absolutely nothing that I valued to show for the time I sat there each night.

I thought, “This is my life! But there’s no ‘fun’ or creativity or true inspiration happening for this time I’m spending.

And I stopped watching.

Just like that. And I started figuring out each night what I wanted to do with this time that was my life.

I had conversations–good ones. I spent time with people. I read. I headed out the door. I took my dog out to run more. I saw sunsets. I got rid of cable, eventually got rid of my TV, and in this… I felt my life return to me.

I tell this story to illustrate a new point. Not so many years back, I found a new addiction that gave me nothing I valued in place of the time I spent. And worse, I was pulling myself into arguments that hinged on my being right or being agreed with rather than on real connection, understanding and personal enrichment.

This addiction was Fake Outrage*. My drug?

The comment threads on social media.

And it was bad.

I started on MySpace (remember that?) and moved to FB. And before long, I realized how awful I felt every time I chose to be sucked into a No-Win debate that devoured hours and hours of my life that I would never get back and left me feeling empty, angry, vindicated (that’s the ego right there, that is…), or self-righteous.

What a waste.

You see, Fake Outrage is where we choose to upset ourselves in a forum in which nothing we do can have actual impact. We invest our energy and time for no real return. We relinquish accountability to instead feed our egos (even our well-intentioned egos 😉

I immediately disentangled. I pulled my fingers out of the sticky, messy, addicting dough and cleaned up. I would catch myself getting hooked by a thread or a comment.

Sometimes I still begin typing a reply and realize where it’s heading for me. I delete it. Or I change what I say to reflect my truth of common human dignity and respect for people. And before I hit “Post” …..


It is amazing that my social media experience is so positive when I hear so many bemoaning how negative theirs can be. But it’s also not surprising.

There are two sayings that have been especially crucial and necessary for me:

“We receive according to what we Allow, what we Stop, and what we Encourage.”

“Small minds talk about others.
Mediocre minds talk about events.
Great minds talk about ideas.”

Let’s raise the bar for ourselves, and consequently for those we influence by engaging in positive support and ideas. Let’s put all that energy into actual service to the causes that work for what we value, and not dead-end negative entertainment online.

Would we rather go to bed at night feeling right––or wronged? Or would we rather go to bed feeling Connected, expressing the best inside of us, lifting others and believing and expecting the best from all of us?

Would we rather feel like we’ve made a real difference?

*Fake Outrage, the term, comes from The Minimalists on this blog that I HIGHLY recommend 🙂

Do I Want to Be Right or Be Understood

| LOCATION: On the train heading home to Salt Lake City, Utah USA |

“Life has a way of putting us into the places we don’t respect.”

This came a decade ago from one of my clients.

One of the most difficult things we face in relationships is the breakdown in communication when our feelings are hurt and we want to be heard. As we argue our point to the other person’s arguing theirs, the divide between us deepens, hurt feelings get worse and worse.

I have thought a lot about this. My art and my work are communication. I am passionate about it. But while I may communicate easily with nearly everyone I encounter, life has unerringly put me in a few places that I did not respect.

And I’ll be honest, at moments it’s made me utterly crazy.

A couple weeks ago I was talking to a friend having a communications struggle with a partner, and I wrote a note to myself. “Is it more important for you to be right, or to be understood?”

I thought I knew what that meant. But in an entirely different situation I found myself looking at that question in a new light.

Do we try to be understood as a way of being right?

Passionate communicator and connector that I am, I realized that yes, in fact, I have used my efforts to be understood as a way of asserting my blamelessness. Asserting blamelessness means that someone is to blame, and if it’s not me then it must be the other person. How awful this must feel to the other person. Creating a tacitly hostile situation, we digress in any number of ways, losing the confidence and connection of both people. It sucks.
It takes a giant leap to choose respect for ourselves in those moments of hurt, to take a deep breath, step back and say, “I love you. I respect you. And I want to understand you.”

Then listen.