Why everyone should poop in the woods…at least once

I firmly believe everyone should have the experience - at least once in their life - of pooping in the wilderness. Of digging a hole at least six inches deep, dropping trou, and watching their own poop land in the hole. Then filling it with soil, packing it down, and returning the surrounding earth to its original state.
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What we'd rather imagine than pooping in holes.
I believe this not just because pooping in holes has become second nature since I started backpacking, but because I experienced real compost in my friend Lydia's yard yesterday. From start to mulch. When you see one too many potted plants or cut flower arrangements in your life, you forget where it all really comes from. Not just the postcard pictures of a farm with a guy in overalls posed casually leaning on a fence that you see from the side of the road. Not the beautiful bins of colorful, washed produce (definitely not GMO and definitely organic) at the farmers' market. No, I'm talking about what dirt really is. How our bodies - the stuff of our skin and bones - are ultimately the same stuff as dirt. How the plants growing prettily or wildly in the ground are also the same stuff as dirt. How if you have the chance to take a shovel and pull up some plants, move them to the compost heap, then come back a few months later, you might see something that looks nothing like the original plant but a lot like dirt. Continue reading "Why everyone should poop in the woods…at least once"

Empowering Your Self With Vision

Red yellow heart CROPPED

“How you see determines what you see, and what you feel.” – Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with vision boards since the very beginning. My very first one was an assignment for the very first personal development workshop I attended. End of Day One, before we were to break for dinner, we had a few hours to make a board of what makes our heart come alive. First vision board - Real Speaking The second one I made was later that year with an ex-boyfriend on a retreat in Santa Cruz. It was my first beach weekend retreat since moving to California five years before. What had taken me so long? Second vision board - Santa Cruz Then I made another one that made me feel like crap, but I didn’t quite know why. I kept up with vision boards for some reason. Maybe it was my determination to see if they would really work for me in my life. I was a total skeptic in the beginning, going through the motions like a good student, but not truly expecting anything to happen. After several years of practice, now I know that when I approach them from a certain place within me, vision boards can invite in some real magic into my life. I haven't yet written about the latest example of how a vision board changed my life, and since I’m leading a vision board workshop next week, this seems like a good time to really tell the story in completeness. Continue reading "Empowering Your Self With Vision"

What I just won’t buy anymore

I was reading the website of a prominent life coach the other day, and was feeling myself getting seduced by the promise of change. For me, this feeling is a little tug in my chest, accompanied by a little voice that says, "You could be like her! Why don't you just try harder? You could be successful like that! You can have everything you want in your life! Just try harder!" I was getting pulled in by her clarity, and her certainty, and her artfully written course descriptions and "How I Work With You" page. I was dreaming of what my life would like if only I were “as on top of things as she was”. I was reading through her punchy blog posts, which boiled everything down into three simple categories, a numerical scale, and a "toolkit" for achieving the state of bliss that she has apparently created for herself. In her "About" page, where she introduces herself and tells her story of why she became a coach, she talks about "having been there". Having been broke, miserable, in a rocky marriage, and not living her best life. Continue reading "What I just won’t buy anymore"

The Difference Between Being Organized and Uncluttered

You can be both organized and cluttered at the same time. Have you ever thought about that? A friend sent me a link to an article discussing the difference between organization and uncluttering. It arrived in my life at a time when I was open to receiving an "aha" moment. Even though I have found a place to store and/or organize many items in my home, I have noticed that so many of these items are ones I don't need or love anymore. At one time, they held an important place in my life. At one time, they were useful to me. At one time, they were needed on a regular basis. But how about now? I have undergone three major career changes in my life, and have lived in five different cities over the past twelve years. I have had an underlying assumption that my life "should" be constantly expanding in size. An unexamined belief that progress and growth means accumulation of things. I have full closets that I haven't touched in several years. And while my mind and body and spirit are trying to move in a new direction, the weight of these untouched contents is becoming palpable. Continue reading "The Difference Between Being Organized and Uncluttered"

At Peace with Confusion – Part 1 of 2

I don't know about you, but I'm finding that I'm easily hooked by the idea that I need expert advice in order to do something "right", and that I need a formula to follow in order to be successful. With all of my inner work over the past year and a half, you'd think I'd be over it. You'd think I'd have found Nirvana, bliss, equanimity, access to Buddha nature. Yeah, I thought so too. What I'm really finding is that life keeps challenging me to keep a sense of humor as I learn to trust myself. I veer off the path (or am I merely on a twisty part of it?) and find myself enrolled in another program, following dutifully along like the great student I've always been. But then I look at the pile of assignments I've given myself, and I wonder, "What test am I studying for? Whose grade am I trying to earn here?" Continue reading "At Peace with Confusion – Part 1 of 2"

Is living really as simple as being open to change?

"Truth is living, and therefore, changing." - Bruce Lee
I read that the other day and it shifted my thinking. It hit me like the ring of truth. Could it really be that simple? That living is simply changing? I recalled that the first piece of information that drew me into the field of life coaching was Martha Beck's Change Cycle. It was simple, yet no one had ever presented life as a cycle of change - meaning a continuous circular flow, not a straight line pointing in one direction. I also loved the image of caterpillar turning into butterfly. I had read Trina Paulus' little yellow book, Hope For the Flowers, many times over the past fifteen years, and it always resonated with me as the truth. That within each of us, when we are born, is the potential to transform, to fly, to be beautiful. That it also takes a single act of courage on each person's part, at some point in their caterpillar life, in order to make that transformation possible. Here's an excerpt, paraphrased from Trina Paulus' book:
"How does one become a butterfly?" asked the caterpillar. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." "You mean to die?" asked the caterpillar. "Yes and No...Life is changed, not taken away. Isn't that different from those who die without ever becoming butterflies?"
Continue reading "Is living really as simple as being open to change?"

Finally…on the wall!

A follow-up to my post on finally taking the action of framing the photo by my friend, Eugene Chan, for the Cradle of Manifestation. It's on the wall! And a lovely addition to my inspirational 1-on-1 coaching room. Check it out in the video below!

Calling All Voices: Four Questions To Change Your Life and Change The World

1. What delights you and brings you alive? 2. What breaks your heart? 3. What does healing look like? 4. What one life-affirming action will you do beautifully and consistently, with love? These four questions, conceived by my Real Speaking teacher Gail Larsen, capture the process of life coaching and personal transformation. They go to the heart of our own truth, and call us to look with clear eyes at what is etched in our souls. For most of us, there is at least one of these questions we've been avoiding for most of our lives. It could be any one of them. Perhaps we have not allowed ourselves to want what we want, to feel the joy of being fully alive. Or maybe we have masked ourselves with a facade of "perkiness" and images of "happiness" which belie the deep caverns of unexpressed pain in our hearts. Even if we have done the work of facing our deepest truths, we can get lost there if we never look beyond these current realities into a vision of what our lives could be. And finally, all the dreaming and scheming in the world is no substitute for taking actions which are aligned with the truths we have uncovered and pointed in the direction of our brightest visions. Continue reading "Calling All Voices: Four Questions To Change Your Life and Change The World"

Redefining “openness”

A refined definition of being "open" occurred to me while in yoga class today, lying in Supta Baddha Konasana, reclined cobbler's (or bound angle) pose. Being open does not necessarily mean being open to absolutely everything. It may mean being open to the realization that you prefer NOT to do certain things. It's part of the willingness to allow this realization to flow in and to learn to trust the truth of your own experience.

Tour the Cradle of Manifestation on video!

This weekend I decided to use some "free time" to shoot a video tour of my studio space in Mountain View, CA, The Cradle of Manifestation. It turned into a self-coaching moment for me when I realized that I was holding onto some things from the past. (At the end of the second video you'll see me get pleasantly surprised by the unexpected arrival of a friend...hence the abrupt ending. I finished shooting it this afternoon with the last two videos.) Hope you enjoy! ...And stay tuned to see how my vision for this space evolves, now that I have created some emptiness in which new growth can occur.