The Profound Privilege of Suffering

Wow. I’m realizing in this moment that it has been almost two months since my last confession, er, post (raised Roman Catholic). By now many of you have figured out why I’ve been away: I’ve been growing two human beings in my belly. That’s right… after all that, we did it!

Despite that fact that I am deeply grateful and overjoyed, it’s not been the bed of roses that I fantasized it might be. I know it never is… but boy, howdy, did I get dealt some tough knocks those first three months. Having been an athlete all my life–waking up before school every morning to swim, practicing my fiddle with broken/bruised and/or blistered fingers, rowing crew where more than once we trained so hard running stadiums we puked–I’m no stranger physical and emotional grit; to what it takes to dig deep, then deeper. But this? This first trimester? This broke me.

Feeling better now and true to form, I didn’t let it slip by without really milking what all that pain and suffering was for. I mean, of course it was for the babies. But many women have easy first trimesters, or mild to moderate. And then for a few… well, for a few it can be, dare I say, traumatic—emotionally and physically. Sadly though, we don’t give room to talk about pregnancy-trauma in our culture… it’s too dark/taboo and pregnancy is supposed to be about glorious light and life, right?

I digress. Given the experience of growing babies is different for every pregnant woman, then any sacrificing can’t just be for the babies, right? After trying for so hard for so long, so much heartache and loss over the years, I wondered what my semi-traumatic* first 15 weeks of pregnancy was really for. I couldn’t help but feeling that having my “dream fulfilled” being so painful was for something other than preparing for motherhood; something bigger than me.
* I say semi-traumatic because mine was far worse than most but certainly less than the hospitalization, dehydration, and constant vomiting some women face for an entire 40 weeks.

And so, a week ago, when I thought I could not tolerate one more day of nausea, vomiting, headache pounding, mind-numbing, depleted, emotionally spent, complain-y me, I went to see a Shaman. That’s right. A Shaman. A native healer.

I drove an hour to “out in the middle of nowhere” (which happened to be gorgeous) and felt peace the moment I stepped from my car onto the land. She, the Shaman, greeted me warmly. She smelled of coconut and peace. My pregnancy- induced, super-powered olfactory senses drank her in.

We talked at first, nature enveloping us. I cried. Exhausted, depleted. Desperate. Desperate for relief. Desperate to be understood. Desperate to understand. Fifteen weeks — 24/7– is a long time to suffer and be in pain, yo. There, I asked again, in the presence of the Shaman, her guides and the woods–the most important question for me: What the hell was it all for anyway? By the end, I found out.

Upon waking from the session, I felt whole. Instantly back to myself. Head still hurt and tummy growling (I was on the table for a while and these babies need food every 90 minutes), I felt like “me” again. Hard to explain really. The best I can do is to say I felt all the little bits of me that got lost or torn away (like little mini-traumas) came back to find their home inside of me. I was restored. I wept for as long as I needed—I had really, really missed myself.

When I made my way off the table, finished my crying and ate a bit, she began sharing with me the journey she saw, the healing that took place. After an hour of listening, in awe and deeper understanding, the piece that I was most impacted by was this: The last 15 weeks were, as I suspected, not in vain. My first trimester has been a Vision Quest of sorts–according to the Shaman. A Vision Quest is done in service of receiving information about something greater than us. It’s often done for a purpose, in a tent, on a hill… fasting without food or water for 4 days. It brings One purity, clarity and messaging in the face of suffering, pain and isolation. It burns off what’s no longer needed and leaves us with a profound insight to what it is we are in search of or meant for.

Gratefully, before getting knocked-up, I already knew my life’s work was to be of service in ways that help women heal. However, because of my first trimester experience, I have an entirely new way of being, looking and thinking about my service/my work/my offering. I can feel there has been a softening in me, and a wisening too. I see it with my clients, my wife, my family, my friends. Soon, I’ll see it with my babies. I’m clear now, after these babies come, I will be of service in a whole new way to women, particularly those who are suffering in silence or isolation. My own private Vision Quest-like experience (aka: first trimester) changed everything from the future of my business to my ontology (my being).

In the end, I believe I had the profound privilege of suffering. I learned more deeply about what is called for in the world, who I’m here to be and what I’m here to do.

What Does All This Mean For You?
After all that settled in, I got to thinking…the Restoring Power Organic Retreat is just four weeks away. And while it’s not nearly as painful as my first trimester with twins or a traditional Vision Quest, it is similar in some ways; it’s meant to be in service of something greater for you and the people you care about. It helps burn off that which no longer serves you. It softens, brings clarity, insight and wisdom to your whole being. It leaves you feeling restored, replenished and powerful beyond what you thought possible. And most importantly, it’s an opening…not and ending.

If you are hungry, ready, waiting…I invite you to consider attending the retreat. Truth is, given my new life, I don’t know when the next one will be, or if it will even ever look the same ever again. There are a few seats left at the early bird price (which ends June 23rd). If you have questions, I’m here for you to speak with and check it out. It’s not for everyone… but for those that have felt the calling or simply knew it was right (even if terrified), it changed the trajectory of their lives—gently, but powerfully.

Lastly, I think it goes without saying; the women of this July 2011 retreat will get a different me. An infused, softer, wiser, more powerful me to care for you, guide you and lead you to the parts of yourself you have buried or forgotten. Restore, reclaim and love your wholeness.

As always, thanks for listening as I share myself—sometimes vulnerably. Without you, my community, I do not exist. You give me my place to be in the world; you give me my power.

Love, love,

What Do You Do Anyway?

This month marks one year since the official launch of Restoring Power. Whoo hoo! For close to a decade before that, I was a business consultant & coach but after an opportunity to reevaluate my work, my life, my offer to the world, I went back to my roots and am now doing different work all together. Work I love. Work I am meant to be doing. Hallelujah!

It takes a while for one’s business identity to shift, I’m learning. In the last four or five months alone I’ve had at least three requests to do my former consulting work and at least three or four requests for referrals (to other people) for the work that I do today.

Then, I came across this blog post I had book marked from the fabulous Naomi Dunford and realized… perfect. Take a gander and see what you think. Maybe you’ll even play along and write your own?!

The gist? Let people in on the nitty gritty of what you do. No fancy marketing language or spin. Just straight up answer the questions she poses. Make it easy for people to know who you are what you do.

    Here’s how to play (in the exact words of Ms. Dunford): 

    Go find a cup or glass. Fill it with something.

    Copy the questions below into some kind of document.

    Stare vacantly into the distance for a while. Check Twitter a couple times. Take the laundry out of the washing machine before it starts getting moldy.

    Answer the questions and put them onto your blog with some kind of introductory information.

    Click publish.

    Eat some cake.

So… here I go. Cuz, you know, I like cake.

What’s your game? What do you do?
I am a counselor/coach/healer type. I work with individuals and couples and groups; mostly women but I love my men. I work:
– in private sessions in my NE Portland office
– 6-8 week evening group sessions
– 3-day organic healing retreats in the woods

I’m interested in people restoring their personal power and being free. I do this by either helping to heal a traumatic past or by supporting them in telling the truth about things they may not want to tell the truth about. I help people understand their shadow side, their dark side; their lower selves. Why? So that they can live in their wholeness– their light, their dark, all of it. We all have a dark side; when we hide it, we only are living half-way, feeling numb or depressed and wondering why. Accessing our dark side allows us to be free, powerful and authentic.

I use Somatics (the idea that the body holds our history and is a living intelligence, in fact, it never lies), along with more traditional types of “talk therapy”, and lastly I occasionally use my intuition and Reiki (energy work)– all to support the overall outcome for my peeps.

Why do you do it? Do you love it, or do you just have one of those creepy knacks?
It took me a long, long time to realize how lucky I am here: I love it AND I have a knack. A gift even. Since I was little, I was helping people get free. I just had to do much of my own personal work to really, fully own it.

Who are your customers? What kind of people would need or want what you offer?
My clients tend to fall into two camps. They are either strong women/leader types or creatives/artists types. Sometimes both. Occasionally neither.

The people who love my work are people who
– feel they are missing something in the way they are living/experiencing their life
– feel anxiety or panic more than they want to
– are having difficulty being related in the way they want to (boss, colleages, lovers, friends)
– feel sad, numb, or depressed but not sure why
– want to increase their personal power and effectiveness

What’s your marketing USP? Why should I buy from you instead of the other losers? (*Reminder: these are Naomi’s words, not mine)
While I have a lifetime of learning ahead of me, I’m really good at what I do (it’s taken some maturing and time to be able to say that). I know this because I’ve done my own work with therapist/healer types and I know what’s out there. I’ve trained with and collaborated with some of the best of the best.

Most important though, my clients have said these things:

    – I worked with a therapist for 10 years and I didn’t get at half the stuff we got at in your retreat.
    – I’m 45 years old, I’ve done tons of personal work, leadership trainings and yet I never had the
    experience of healing the really deep stuff and feeling free until my work with you.

    – I just got–in 5 sessions with you–what I tried to get for 5 years with my last therapist.

So, yeah. That’s cool. And humbling, to say the least.

So, why else? Well, I’ve done my work. Once I was interviewing therapists–I interviewed about six total– and I was shocked to learn that the majority of them had been practicing over 20 years and had never seen a therapist themselves. What the ? Is that weird or what? Nor had they looked at their own dark side, healed their relationship with their parents (yes, we all get to do some level of this at some point), or assessed the impact of their super strengths or challenges. Me? I’ve done all that and then some. And I don’t plan to stop. It’s a way of life for me. No joke.

Lastly, there’s nothing I can’t be with. I have an enormous capacity to hold anything; working with people and their dark sides, I’ve seen and heard more than you could probably imagine. By grace, I really get humanity at a very deep level. It’s an honor that I am grateful for every day.

What’s next for you? What’s the big plan?
I love my work. I love my sessions, groups and retreats. I plan to keep doing more of the same there.
I want to be a mama. I’m on that journey. I’ve already learned so much about patience, love, surrender. I’m ready.

Last but certainly not least, in a really big, big picture sort of way… (can’t believe I’m going to write this outloud- gulp), I feel I’m on a path to being a spiritual teacher of sorts. I was reminded recently that the Dalai Lama prophesied it would be Western Women who save the world. If I’m walking my talk, that means it’s not just all those other western women out there (wink); it’s me too.

Time to step up.

Salon 45+

“Salon 45 afforded the space for a warm and thoughtful exchange. We shared stories, perspectives, and most of all, things we’re each ‘chewing on’. I loved the opportunity to both listen and share. Regina and Marsha set the stage with valuable topics, then followed up with terrific questions. I had a wonderful evening.” ~ Salon 45 Participant

I was profoundly moved and impacted by Friday night’s Salon 45+.

The Salon was for just for women 45 and over. I am 38. I had more than a few women younger than 45 contact me with a request to participate in the conversation. Not a surprise, really. I had to be firm with the boundary in order to really allow for magic to happen with the women who needed and were calling to be with their own. And I am so glad I did. For me, however, I was spoiled. Lucky. Honored and humbled to be listening in on such an intimate, critical conversation. Marsha Shenk (age 68) led the conversation and I simply shut up and listened.

The Difference
What I heard surprised me. Not in ways that were shocking, but more like, surprised me in that I could see and feel how different the concerns, commitments and questions I ask myself are than these women do. They are no longer asking about whether they look good or if they are okay (which, if we face it, is a lot of what we younger women ask ourselves… if you think you don’t, just think about bikini season). But these women are asking, much richer, more advanced questions:
How do I feel?
Who do I want to be hanging out with?
What will enrich my life?
What do I really want?
What do I want people to rely on me for?
I have x amount of years left, what do I want to do with my life in those years?

To say I felt like a lucky little fly on the wall is an understatement. It’s not a bad thing that I am younger and still more preoccupied with some of the “younger” type questions, but it was clear to me the difference. And, if in the past I had concerns about aging, I really saw the beauty, the goodness, the joy, the FUN in aging. Who knew? I actually have a different relationship to my own future and aging now. I’m telling you, I was blown away.

And, as I suspected… the conversation was deep. Quickly. Nothing superficial. The honesty was out on the table right from the introductions. Here’s who I am; my age, my beauty, my shit. Nothing to hide, here’s me. Next? It was such a different experience than the other Salon’s it was almost like we were in another country (expect with my cats and my fireplace).

Marsha Shenk led the conversation so that each woman got a bit of her own coaching and others’ got learning through listening-in as they went. The “aha’s” going off in the room were abundant and brilliant. All the women stayed for hours after and still left wanting more.

I am so glad that I listened to my intuition and did this. I knew there was something distinctly different I was hearing from the comments from the women “of a certain age” in my regular Salons. And this Salon 45+ gave the space not just for these women’s voices to be distinct, totally heard and gotten, but to really move something- inside themselves, inside each other. And certainly inside me.

It’s unclear as to when the next Salon 45+ will be, but rest assured… it will happen. If you’d like to participate, please let me know!

Special thanks to Marsh Shenk for leading this exceptional Salon and special thanks to the women who my guests and participated. So much love to you.



Turns out patience is a tricky thing. Proving to be one of the hottest topics yet, we Salon ladies dove into vivid conversation about patience; what it means, how we work with it in our lives, and who else might live in it’s neighborhood.

Beginning with defining the word, it was a little trickier than one might think. What IS patience anyway? Does it mean to wait? To slow down? To be in the now? See…? Not so easy, eh?

Breaking it Down
So, we broke it down. How would we explain patience to a 4-year old? You know, when you were little and your parents told you, “Just be patient!” Back then, we didn’t really know what the word itself meant but this is what we got: “Be quiet. You can’t have what you want. No.” Aha! No wonder this word turned out to be a hot topic! Likely a little bit of energy behind it our original understanding of it.

A Deeper Cut
Deeper into the conversation we looked at how patience isn’t always about waiting quietly, passively but sometimes it’s about taking action.
Stuck in traffic? Is there another route to take?
Waiting patiently for someone to get back to you? What actions might you take in the meantime?
Maybe there is something you are being patient about and it’s time to be done being patient about it (i.e. a loved one’s drinking problem, your neighbor’s bad behavior, something political you care about).

Deeper still, we saw that patience is about being with a pace that isn’t your own. Giving up control. Ooh, me likee.

The Neighborhood
Turns out patience has a few neighbors in it’s cul de sac, too.

Making friends with these neighbors may help us sort out our relationship to patience in a more grown-up, less 4-year old kind of way.

In the end…
In the end, we saw that patience for patience sake, doesn’t serve anyone. Ever. It’s not really a virtue standing on it’s own. But when we take patience to a deeper level and reflect upon the power of how we use it (or don’t) in our life, the realizations alone can be life altering.

Thank you + April Salon + Invite your Friends
Once again, a special thank you to the ladies of the March Salon who made this topic so rich, interesting and insightful. I, for one, learned much about myself, my life and our culture.

Join me in April when Tara Mohr will share with us her take on white space: creating more of it in your life.

As always, please invite your friends, get them on the invite list here and they’ll get the next invitation (with rsvp link) when it comes out, just in time for the next Salon.

With love and of course, patience,

Love. Love. Love.

Well, we did it. In the February Salon, we took on one of the most complex yet fundamental topics, Love.

Last night’s salon discussion was in fact, lovely and unique. With homemade soup, champagne, pink cupcakes and a quiet fire, I expressed my love for my guests with nurturing, food and warmth. The women were, as always, special, insightful and heartfelt. They shared openly and intimately.

The discussion itself went everywhere from loving our neighbors to rage with our spouse. We talked about what it means to love, our complex relationships with our mothers, being mothers, the vulnerability of receiving love (oy!), and practices for expanding and growing our capacity for love. In the end, we each shared our take-aways. I think it’s fair to say, each one of us was moved and left with a potent insight we didn’t have when we came in to the evening. Yep, we went big. And it was good.

Thank you to all the women who joined in the conversation yesterday evening (special shout out to resident expert, Paula Love). It was simply an amazing evening. I continue to feel so blessed as to have such a rich a life as this. It’s you all who make it that way.

In March, we’ll have a special Salon for women 45 or better. In April we’ll have guest speaker Tara Moher, of Wise Living (Twitter: @tarasophia). She’ll be here from San Francisco to share with us her juicy goodness on making “white space” in our lives. You won’t wanna miss.

My humblest thanks, and of course,
All my love,


*Don’t wanna read this whole blog? Skip to the end to look for what’s to come in Salon-land. I think you’re gonna like it.

January’s Salon topic was on Voice. Outloud voice. Inside voice. Authentic voice. It was a rich conversation and a wonderfully warm, provocative evening where many voices were insightful and heard.

Here’s a little sampling of what we covered. For those who were there and not, I hope you find this useful.

My initial thoughts
Voice can live in various domains: Body, mind and spirit.

Body: Where does your voice live in your body? What moods and actions are available to you pending whether your voice is in your throat or deep in your belly?

Mind: How mindful are you when you speak? Of the other person? Your shared outcomes/commitments? Your body? Your impact?

Spirit: What are your intentions when you use your voice? What do your heart and spirit want to communicate? When do you go silent and why?

From the Community
Jen Barth (@JenUnplugged on Twitter) kicked off the evening by reminding us that when we don’t know what to say we often end up saying too much. In the end, it’s totally not effective (and sometimes slightly annoying. ☺).

Amelia J-Lewis (@AmeliaJL) shared with us her practice of speaking into a mirror the words she plans to communicate to another party, that way she is forced to hear how they sound coming out of her mouth. Too harsh? Not enough? I plan to take on this practice myself.

Marsha Shenk (@MarshaShenk) shared with us perhaps one of the most potent points of the evenings: We humans are driven by social pain. She says we humans will avoid pain at most costs. Like, for me, whether I was in the French Bakery unleashing on the man who said yes and meant no, or going silent with my housesitter– the source of action was the same– I was trying to avoid my own pain/shame/upset.

We were lucky enough to have a few social media and PR experts in the room (@KristaFoxwell, @KimBrater, @JenUnplugged, @Mary_Rarick, @ThisKat, @GinaRau, @AmeliaJL, @PemaTeeter) who reminded us, among other things, that times have changed when it comes to using our voice publically. We must take a stand, make our opinion clear and be concise.

The Common Thread
Inside all that stimulating conversation, a juicy inquiry persisted:
What’s the difference between authenticity and honesty? Should I just “be myself” and not worry if it hurts people’s feelings or gets them fired? How do I make an impact but not compromise who I am?

The answer (if we can even say there is one) is complex:
First, it’s important to look at our competing commitments and concerns.
– We have all kinds of dark side (less or unconscious) commitments that run us like a g6 but we are completely blind/unconscious to: we care about looking good, not looking bad, not hurting people, avoiding pain, surviving, not being dominated or dominating so that we ensure we are not hurt. To name a few.
– But then we have our conscious commitments as well: making the client happy, making sure we are happy, doing good work up to our standards, ensuring our kids, friends, neighbors, partners, coworkers are well, having our finances work, our life work, our communities work. The list goes on, right?

These commitments battle each other and we end up in a situation like a few of our guests that evening– making a brave move for the sake of our higher or conscious commitment yet only hours later be grabbed by our feelings that come from our less or unconscious commitments (hope I didn’t sound too arrogant, hope I don’t get him fired, I don’t want to feel bad about this, etc.) Thank you ladies for sharing so openly and giving us all an opportunity to learn here.

The Antidote?
Bring mindfulness to your commitments. What’s driving you? Remember: the goal is not to somehow disappear all those very human and lower-self concerns. The goal is to be present to them and not let them run you like a wild pony. Elevate yourself to your greater commitment, your shared commitment and let your voice operate and sing from there.

You Are Like An Old Rock. Really, You Are.
Be clear that whatever style voice you have (direct, bold, shy, soft, or like me, both at different times)- that voice is not your authentic self, it’s not who you are. That’s just the way you got SHAPED over the past couple of decades, like water dripping on a rock over time makes a rough edge or a soft one. The rock itself is much more than it’s shape. It’s a quartz or granite, it’s blue, black, white…the dna is different for every one. The essence of you is like that, too. You are so much more than your style; your rough or soft edge.

Finding your authentic voice is not about just saying what’s in your head or telling it like it is. It’s about uncovering the ways that you have shaped yourself over time. It’s about looking in your heart for your shared commitments (whether it’s with a lover, a child or a colleague).

Giving up your “style” of communication doesn’t mean you’d be compromising who you are or losing your “authentic voice”. In fact, just the opposite, giving up your patterned ways of being (harsh, bold, direct, shy) likely means revealing MORE of your authentic self. And that’s vulnerable! BUT, it’s like a magnet. Be brave and in turn, people will move toward you and not away from you (despite what your survival brain wants you to think).

Check out these examples of vulnerable, clear, authentic voices:

    Pema Teeter (@Pemateeter) is always revealing her humanity, her vulnerability through her writing.
    Mark Silver. Oh Mark. I love him. Few people are as practiced at peeling away old ways of beings to come back to his vulnerable essence. Check him out.

All these folks reveal their humanity and we love them for it. Their voices are clear and strong and totally authentic, not because of the results they are producing or how good they look or how “honest” their feedback is, but because of the their way of being- vulnerable and courageous.

So…thank you to all the women who joined the Salon Tuesday evening and made your voice heard. You made the evening so wonderful and for that, I’m grateful.

Share the Love
Please share the Salons with your friends. It’s you and your community that make them not only possible, but really special.

Winter Retreat
Winter Retreat information and registration is here. Early bird ends January 28th but I’d caution you not to wait too long if you’d like to register. There is limited space and I’ve had a few registrations this week. Also, I offer one partial scholarship per retreat. It’s not been spoken for yet. If you are interested in this, contact me directly.

New Salon Stuff Coming soon!
45 or better? A Salon just for women who are at a different stage in their life than the 30-somethings. You’ve asked and I’ve heard your request. Let’s do it!

Uber Salon! Do you love the Salons? Hanging out with great women, discussing hot topics and sipping wine? Want more? Look for the Uber Salon that will last for hours, include foot rubs and champagne and maybe even a little take-home workbook.

Big, big love,

P.S. Wanna chat more on this topic? Leave a comment below. Or, use #voice on Twitter.

Surrendering to the Darkness

The Dark
We in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, NorthEast and parts of Europe experience a dramatic darkening of the days each winter, leaving what seems like no time at all for light in the sky. And when the sun *is* shining, it’s likely covered up by low-level grey clouds and heavy precipitation. Those of you in California are like, “Huh?”

I was once that California girl, barely noticing the seasons change. I’ve been in Portland, Oregon nine years this January and for the life of me, I‘m STILL surprised by how my mind/body/spirit respond to the darkening of the days during this season.

The Irony
We are only days from Winter Solstice and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling the desire to nest, stay inside, get in my jammies by 4:30 and sleep longer than ever. I’ve been feeling slightly withdrawn, a lot more still, somewhat reflective and mostly, a slowing in my own rhythm and pace.

And yet my calendar, regular days of work, busy schedule, and holiday plans were reflecting just the opposite! I was doing even more, even faster given the “holidays are upon us”.

Being the rebel that I am, (or, perhaps, just desperate to slow the pace a bit), I bucked my own calendar system and cancelled a few things all the while asking myself, “What’s wrong with me? Why is it that all I want to do is crawl inside to read, nap, or even just watch my cats sleep?” Weird, I thought.

The Flash Insight
And then, like a frickin’ bolt of lightning, I remembered (AGAIN) what time of year it is. In that moment, I could feel myself being called to surrender to the darkness. And the calling was coming from something much bigger and more powerful than my iCal (sorry Apple).

The Surrender
Nature designed the seasons for a reason (disregard the fact that that rhymes). The earth needs to get dark and slow down in order to replenish and rejuvenate itself. Being of the earth, why would we humans be any different? We are not. It’s in our nature to slow our pace and our bodies, hibernate with our families and go inward for winter, despite the irony that the darkest days of the year are also the busiest days of the year.

After my “Oh, yeah, it’s the time of year again” recall, I felt my entire self relax and give way to what wants to be. The awareness alone settled me. Then came the remembering and knowing that I don’t have to force anything into existence but rather ride the waves with grace (or grit, as the day may be). This is one of the ways I nurture myself and am able to sustain my love and service to others (and truth be told, my sanity) during this deeply inward yet very busy time of year.

The Hope
I shared this insight with my BFF and she said with a quick gasp, “Me, too! That’s right! I forgot. That’s what’s going on with me, too. I just thought I’d had a busy week. Or that it was me. But I forgot about the darkness!” Yep. Me, too.

And so I choose to share this itsy-bitsy insight in the hope that it may be a reminder for you as well. Or, that it simply give you space to “be” a bit different this year, even inside all the flurry.

Trust yourself. Nothing is wrong with you if you are tired/exhausted/less social (fill in the blank). Rest when you can, listen to your body and do only what feels right.

At the very least, I invite you to surrender to the darkness. You never know what you’ll find.

With love,

My Gorgeous Community

Our Restoring Power Holiday Party was a smashing success! It was full of amazing, incredible people (seriously, everyone kept saying to me, “Such great people at your party!”, to which I’d say, “I know! I’ve been telling you! I’m blessed!”), holiday music, an abundance of food+wine, and good cheer. And how about that harpist, eh? In sum, Gina and I were on high for days after.

What was most memorable however, was the brief but powerful piece we did on 2010 gratitudes~ family style.
For those that were not there, here’s how it went:
Each guest was asked to write on a small piece of paper what they are most grateful for in 2010. No name included. Then, drop it in the community jar. Later, we all gathered around and took turns pulling one random piece of paper and reading what was on it. In the end, each person’s gratitude got expressed through the community, amplifying it’s potency among us.

It was a gorgeous evening and for those that could not make it, we held you in spirit.

Below are images of the evening: the personal gratitude notes along with the party room before the party. All the photos I took with people in them came out blurry! Hopefully this “before the party pic” will bring back warm memories, nonetheless.

Here’s to you all. For who you are. What you do. And the life you give.

May 2011 bring us all the opportunity to give what’s most important for us to give, and to strengthen what it takes (courage, surrender, vulnerability) to receive all that we need + want to receive.

Happy Holidays!
Love, Love.

restoring power holiday party 2010

Before the party ...

Lastly, here are the (exact) written versions of each and every person’s gratitude note. Take a moment and breathe in all that you and your community are grateful for.

My breath
My openness to the creative
For my family
For my health
For my life!

I’m ever so grateful for sooo much…
1. My heath
2. Family
3. Regina and my new support structure


I’m grateful for my clients, colleagues, friends and spouse- all who MADE 2010 be laughable and livable. Xo

I’m thankful for this season of life where blessings are pouring in from every direction- relationally, professionally, spiritually, intellectually, personally.

I’m grateful for the surprise support from my Loved ones in a time of need. I am grateful for the opportunity to also be there for them.

For a World that is large and varied and infinite in it’s love. ☺

I am grateful for the abundance of love in my life!

Grateful for my family and friends both near and far. They all help make each day better.

I am grateful for confusion that leads to seeking clarity.

Freedom from old stories. And the ability to create moment by moment.

Those who cheer me onward, my family, all of you. ☺

I am grateful for good friends to celebrate this season with.

I am grateful for living in the trees by Forest Park, my family and new friendships.

Family + Health

Big Change
And New Beginnings
New Adventures.


becoming my own boss- and finding time to give back again!

So grateful I’ve landed somewhere that feels so totally like home. ☺

being home.

The love and support of friends and family. Being surrounded by such amazing people and energy.

I’m grateful for my health. MacGregors endless capacity to LOVE me, and a round trip ticket to Bali.

I am grateful for my mom’s successful kidney transplant. ☺

the shadows & light
bringing love, honesty
and growth to my heart.


Finally have a good job in my field again.

I am grateful for my wife (new) and family.

My family and friends
My beautiful home
My wonderful clients
Portland, best city I’ve ever known.

I am unbelievably grateful for health…
The health of my family, my friends, my relationships, and my business– & knowing “I” have to stay healthy to enjoy it all!!

Do You Really Want What You Think You Want?

I’ve worked with countless powerful women — from executive to artist to athlete — and I can say for certain, we as a group are atrocious at getting our fundamental needs met. Daily needs? No problem. Deep fundamental needs? Not so much. Women—particularly successful, “with-it” women—have an uncanny ability to ignore,
 disable, and deny the needs they are most hungry for.

“But, I know how to delegate!”, you say. Or, “I just do it myself. Gets done better and faster anyway.” Yes, yes. I know. I do! I get it.

Hang in here with me. I think you’re gonna like this. Well, maybe “like” isn’t exactly the right word.

Do you really want what you think you want?
Here’s the thing: at best, we are somewhat blind to what our real needs are. At worst, we are defensive or delusional about our needs. Yep. You heard me. Defensive or delusional. Sometimes both. What we think we need, we may not actually need. And what we really need, we may be blind to.

Exhibit A
We think we need the laundry done.
We think we need our partner to be more involved in the kids life or chores.
We think we need our colleague to pull more of her own weight.
We think we need that person or thing outside of us to just change.
And if we are really enlightened, we even admit that we need to be in control.

And that’s all good. Really. Those things all have a place.

However, ever notice how once those things are done and those needs are met, it’s only an embarrassingly short period of time before the next thing needs doing? And before you have some, let’s say (clears throat), “energy” around it?

Why, pray tell? Because those needs you are asking to get met are not really going to feed you (but your reptilian brain or lower self thinks they will). In fact, you might even be blind to what you are truly hungry for. Kinda like when your body wants good fruits and veggies but you can’t tell because you’ve had so many eggnog lattes that day you wouldn’t know what your body needed if it told you in a neon sign across your forehead? Yeah. Like that.

Here’s the bad news: the more you try to get those daily needs met (the ones you think or hope will make you happy) without knowing what your deeper need really is, the more sunk and lost you feel. I know. Crap.

How did this all start anyway?
As human beings we come out of the womb with incredibly vulnerable needs; unlike most mammals, we rely 100% on our caregivers for our survival. As we grow, many of our needs are met and, as we all know, many are not. Nothing wrong there… it would be impossible for your every need to have been met. Still, being human, there’s an impact.

From a young age, we develop various strategies to get the unmet needs met. Depending on what needs you had met (or didn’t) begins to tell you something about the strategies you developed. Aha moment alert: You are still using those strategies today. Everywhere. With everyone. Knowingly and unknowingly.

And the real kicker is that most of the time your success strategies (Werner Erhard calls this your “Winning Formula”) really works! Great heights. Awards, accolades and pride. Albeit exhausted. Bummer is, where there are deeper needs not being met, it only works temporarily. Which has you go back for more. Try again. It’s like an addiction. And like an addiction, it’s painful.

Exhibit B
I’ll keep asking (nagging).
I’ll stay on top of my employees, kids, spouse.
I’ll make a list. I’ll control it. I’ll manage.
I’ll surrender and let others do it.
I’ll work hard.
I’ll charm them.
I’ll be competitive. I’ll be better.

Whatever your strategy and no matter how smart you were to create it (and I’ll bet it’s a good one) it will never (read: NEVER) satiate your deep hunger to be secure, loved, safe, not left, held, nurtured, lifted up, supported, taken care of.

Unfortunately, our reptilian brain doesn’t know all this and since we are blind to this pattern, It runs the whole damn show. You keep working your strategy. Daily need temporarily met. Deeper need left empty.

Are you pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down?

It’s kinda sticky to explain—and to boot, your ego doesn’t want you to get this so I’ll say it another way: all that strong, alpha energy is a fantastic cover-up for your truest, deepest, most authentic needs getting met. In fact, I will go so far as to say, being a strong, take-charge kind of woman is likely a strategy for covering up how vulnerable, insecure or exposed you may actually feel.

The Brass (Power) Ring
Simply said: Your neediness is your access to your power. It’s your access to your truest, deepest, most authentic self. Cool, right?

So now what? So now nothing. Seriously. There is nothing to do. (Doing, or fixing is just more strategy, by the way). There is just to BE with this new awareness.
Let it work on you.
Be present to your strategies for success.
Notice when you have a need met but you are still left dissatisfied. What’s under that?
Notice when your wanting to have it all together is actually a cover for your feeling vulnerable.

Just notice. Nothing to even do about any of it just yet. Just notice. Notice. Notice. Notice.

And scene.

Piqued? Want to explore your strategies? Unveil your deeper needs?

Join me and about 8-10 other women at the Restoring Power Organic Retreat, February 18th, 2011. Hear what other women have to say about their initial doubts and end results. Get rested and replenished and lots of 1:1 coaching with me.

Also, stay tuned for a new Premium Coaching Package to hit the scene in the coming weeks. Oooh, I’m excited!

You CAN shift this thing- I am living proof. (Inside voice: “Okay, now I sound like that damn hair loss commercial guy). Oy. Whatever. It works. Come play.

All Kidding Aside…

There is a crisis happening with girls in the world. As a woman who’s hoping to a be a mama someday (not to mention, just being human), I can’t help but be concerned. And I think you should be, too.

Over 600 million girls under the age of 13 are denied education, safety, health, power and choice every day and in every way. Think that doesn’t effect you? Think again. The ripple effect is not only personal, it’s local (thank you Nike)and it’s global.

Today I’m writing as part of a collaborative effort, via the inspiring Tara Mohr, to raise awareness on the growing epidemic and The Girl Effect.

The Girl Effect is defined as the powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society.

Wanna know what I mean? Lookie here:

  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more
    years of education, she marries four years later in life and has 2.2
    fewer children.
  • An extra year of primary school boosts her eventual wages
    by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school:
    15 to 25 percent.

  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent
    of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40
    percent for men.
  • Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth,
    70 percent are girls.

  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries
    become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to
    19 give birth in developing countries each year.
  • One girl in seven in developing countries marries before
    age 15.

    Want more facts? Check it out.

    In the meantime, can you imagine having dreams of being a doctor but at age 11 you are engaged… you just don’t know it yet? This short video utterly astounds me every time.

    When I was asked to write this piece I realized how proud I am to live in Portland, OR, headquarters to the Nike Foundation. The Nike Foundation and NoVo Foundation share a mission: to create opportunities for girls in the world. Thanks to Portland’s Wieden + Kennedy for the equally committed work on this totally rad video.

    Worth the 3 minutes, right?

    I’ve been totally absorbed in my life, lately. Admittedly so. That’s part of how life goes, right? But when I stop to watch the videos, read what my peers have to say on the matter, and educate myself even the tiniest bit, something deep inside me begins to surge. I get out of my world and into something far, far bigger than I’ll ever be. Possibility becomes present. Will I be the next UN ambassador? Nope. Likely not. But will I think twice about where I give my money this year? Will I start to take just bit more of a stand when it comes to girls’ power? Will I speak up about these sobering facts even when it’s not polite or popular to do so? Especially when? You bet. And in the end, if we all did just any bit of the above… we’d cause a massive ripple effect that would change girls lives and our global economy. Forever.

    So, whatchya gonna do? Lucky for you, you’ve got some options: Read a bit. Watch a video.
    Give something. Or, write your own post, add it here and join a wave that will change the world.

    Big, BIG love,

    P.S. If you want to Tweet about this, there’ll be buzz all week, particularly given November 20th is International Children’s Day. Just use #girleffect and you’re good to go.