Flow, Baby. Flow.

Okay. Here’s the deal. I need to come clean with y’all. I’ve been keeping a secret. Yep. A secret.

My wife and I are trying to have a baby. That is to say, I am trying to get pregnant. Phew. There, I said it. Gosh, dang that feels …well, mixed actually.

Reasons I Didn’t Want to Go Public

I’ll get pregnant quickly and then it will be obvious soon enough, after the first trimester!
Truth: That was 5 years ago.

It’s important to have professional boundaries. Nobody in business wants to hear these kinds of personal issues.
Truth: People want what’s real. When I started this new business, Restoring Power, I did it so that I could be me in all ways; magenta hair, cuss words and sharing freely. I promised myself authenticity and freedom. The line of that “professional boundary” is no longer in the same place as it was before. Re-assessing is a good thing.

People will ask me all the time, ‘Are you pregnant yet? Are you pregnant yet?’ and it will drive me crazy.
Truth: This whole process drives me crazy. People asking me this question is the least of it. Sometimes it feels great and sometimes feels bad and I never know which it’s gonna be. See? Crazy.

People will start acting weird around us, especially if they have babies.
Truth: Some people act weird around us anyway. We’re gay- apparently it comes with the territory.

People will bombard me with intensely personal questions that they would never ask a straight couple who needed a little outside support getting knocked up.
Truth: Acquaintances, colleagues, and strangers have been asking these crazy-ass questions for the last five years now anyway. Turns out, it’s not always easy to keep this secret (like in the case of having to decline getting x-rays at the dental office: yes, while sitting in the chair I got “drilled” about whether I am doing vaginal or uterine inseminations).You can either drop your jaw or laugh outloud now. Either would be appropriate.

I Get It
Obnoxious as it is, I get it. Let’s face it, it can be a curious topic given my wife and I don’t have a man in the picture and two women having a baby out and open is still kinda new in the big, big scheme of things. So, I get why people ask. And almost always, I’m game to either educate or set my boundary. But sometimes, I just don’t wanna set my boundary or answer those highly personal questions (100 times- in public). Sometimes I lose my patience. Sometimes I get exhausted.

It Grew
Whats worse is that the longer I kept the“We are trying to get pregnant” secret, it turned into the, “We have struggled enormously in getting pregnant”. Which seemed like an even bigger, more important secret to keep.

The Price I’ve Paid
The impact of keeping these two super-secrets was that I was totally blocked in my writing, blogging, sharing freely, and connecting with YOU.

At first I wasn’t clear what was happening. It just seemed to me like I was too busy with the new business, no time and all. Then I told myself that it was because I’m not a writer and it takes me a month to do just one post. Then I came up with a great solution to that little problem; I decided to video-blog. What? I have to learn all the technicalities of how to do a video blog? I’m too busy! Crap. Full circle. Eventually, my reasons became absurd, even to me, and so I consciously went to work on it.

And the Light Shone Down
What occurred to me was (said in my very best Carrie Bradshaw voice):
Am I keeping the secret, or is the secret keeping me? (Insert SATC theme music)

The answer was painfully clear.

Since I’m dealing with all those original concerns anyway (despite my best efforts to protect myself from them) and I’m paying a big price for keeping this secret, I might as well just out with it. It’s been too long and too painful a journey not to (don’t ask, please- just surmise, okay?).

Flow, Baby. Flow.
This stuff I espouse works. It’s like freakin’ magic. You hide or keep a secret, you block flow. You let it out into the light, you get your groove on steady and sure. Me? I was blocked big-time thanks to my super secret-keeping skills. When I made the choice to come clean, I instantly felt free. It really was like magic. Since then? Flow baby, flow. Everything from my writing, to new business ideas, to my effectiveness with clients, I’m in flow.

So, there is it. My not-so-little, but actually not-that-big-of-a-deal secret.

Until soon,
big love.

P.S. No, I am not pregnant. That I know of anyway. But, I am hoping I am, or will be soon. Yes, we inseminated (for the umpteenth time). No, I will not tell you what that’s like. Well, maybe actually. But likely only over a nice bourbon (which I hope not to be able to drink for a long time). For now, we wait. We hope. We pray that this time it works. What’s different this time is that I’m out and I’m free. You can ask me how I am, wish me well or send me love. I’ll take it all. Just promise me that you’ll think twice before you ask me one of those crazy-ass questions that might not be your bidness, k? K.

Creating Your Outer Heart

This blog is written by guest blogger, Tara Mohr, writer, personal growth teacher and coach.

I appreciate the term self-care, I really do. I understand the need for some word in our language that means something along these lines.

But that phrase, self-care, has always turned me off. It reminds me of college, where all counseling services were run out of the office of “Mental Hygiene.” I kid you not, that’s what it was called. You walked through a door with a sign that said “Mental Hygiene” at the top.

Self-care, the term, with the little hypen and all, feels too technical, too jargony. It feels like this is something we should do along with a breast self-exam, like posters for both should be side by side on doctors walls, pink explanatory cartoons and all.

In my writing, in my life, in my coaching practice, I’ve invented new terms, new concepts, ones that are more evocative. Ones that feel as sacred and layered and rich as it is to hold ourselves in love, to give ourselves all that will allow us to be safe, to thrive, to fulfill our own happiness.

One of those concepts is The Outer Heart. I’m excited to share it with all of you.

The Outer Heart

All of us receive a heart that holds our wounds and our hopes, but it is up to each of us to make the heart that holds our heart—the outer heart.

The outer heart is a shell, a vessel, a landing pad for all that happens in the heart. It can be soft or hard, pliant or rigid, made of clouds or gravel or nails or emeralds, depending on you.

The outer heart absorbs shocks to the heart–repels or dissolves or amplifies them, depending on what you have built.

All of us are given hearts that are vulnerable to the elements, but we must learn how to make the medicine and balms that rest in our outer hearts.

When your heart feels or speaks or leaps or lunges, how do you receive it? What kind of outer heart have you made?

Of course, the outer heart is always sending a message to the heart about the heart’s value. The outer heart is always saying something to you about who you are.

The outer heart is always where suffering begins, or where it can be circumvented. It’s all about how we hold our hearts.

What is your outer heart like now? A courtroom with judge and jury? An open field, a war zone? A warm blanket providing soft insulation? A carefully woven basket? What is this container porous to and what is protected?

What do you want your outer heart to be? What do you want it to provide?

What would it mean today, to begin to act with that outer heart, the one you desire? To hold all that happens in your heart like you hold a loved one, a cherished one? To bring the wise love you possess to your heart?



Tara Mohr is a writer, personal growth teacher and coach who helps people access their own inner wisdom. For more, visit her blog at www.wiselivingblog.com

I must be a masochist. Or, why I love my work.

Let’s reflect, shall we?
A while back I hosted my first Salon in over 6 years- the first Salon ever for Restoring Power. The topic was community and partnership. I opened, as I usually do, with about five to ten minutes of my recent and personal reflections on the topic then I put out a questions to the group: “What words come to mind when you think of community and partnership?” My two words were vulnerable and gratitude.

The community of disconnected women…
As the voices, thoughts and opinions of the women in the room opened like a fine bottle of wine, what became clear was that regardless of the amount of perceived support we have in our world (friends, church, facebook, google, classes, healers) or the more stability (marriage, kids, steady home life, steady work), women are feeling LESS CONNECTED and more isolated than ever.

The masochist part…
From wanting my new business to be successful to living with some level of expectation given the work I do, I am trying to navigate my way through this crazy life in a way that is not only authentic but vulnerable. Why on God’s green earth would I SEEK OUT vulnerability, you ask? Excellent question. The answer is NOT that I am a masochist (at least not in this case anyway). I have said for years that true power lies in vulnerability, grace, courage. That real power is the absence of force. And while I think I’ve done a pretty good, great job at practicing and embodying what I talk about, in the recent past I’ve been hit with a whole new level of learning in this domain. This new level of learning is way vulnerable. Way deep. And way good. It’s making me be a better wife, friend, and practitioner. The vulnerability is making way for my own mastery. I know, cool, right?

What Don Draper and Regina Perata have in common…
What’s vulnerable to one person is not necessarily vulnerable to another. I’m okay with looking bad, I’m GREAT at asking for help (I love it even, because of the growth it brings me), I can receive material gifts or service gifts like a champ. And I can nurture, love, and support my family and friends until the cows come home. But when it comes to allowing others to really contribute deeply, steadily and emotionally to me, on a heart level – well, I run for the hills faster than Don Draper pours his bourbon on a hard day at Sterling Cooper. What do you run from?

Walkin’ my talk…
I’m grateful (ahh, the second word from the Salon) that I chose (and still choose) my work. As I continue to do deeper work with my clients – ask them to look harder, closer into the dark side where it can be scary- I am called to walk my own path right along with them (regardless of how much work I’ve already done this lifetime). There is no rest for the weary; I believe we are called to embody our work at deeper levels as we evolve. And so… I am.

What’s your occupational hazard?
While I sometimes abhor these “occupational hazards” of being a healer-type, I am grateful the work itself demands and calls for me to continue developing myself. I can’t imagine a world where “I’m done” or I don’t “look and see” or worse, where I ask others to do work I’m not willing to do. I love living in a world where the journey ain’t over till it’s over.

And scene.
What words come to mind when you think of community? Partnership? What is your occupational hazard? What and where are you called to keep learning? Think about it. Where do you want to grow? Where do you want mastery? THAT is precisely the place to get vulnerable. Go on, jump in. You know you want to, you masochist you.

Love as a Choice

By Guest blogger, Dayna Reader

I grew up watching the kind of movies in which couples met, fell in love and lived happily ever after. Love was portrayed as this big, magical feeling; it was out there waiting, you just had to find it and snap it up, and life would be great. I don’t remember seeing a movie that showed these couples dealing with real life issues 2, 10 or 50 years after their Happily Ever After. Try as I might, I can’t imagine Cinderella struggling with post-partum depression or alcoholism, or Prince Charming experiencing job loss or erectile dysfunction. And something tells me that “Belle and The Beast Go to Couples Counseling” or “Snow White Doesn’t Feel Like Having Sex Anymore” wouldn’t sell a lot of tickets.

So we’re raised to search for that perfect fairy tale love, and to believe that loving each other is enough. But loving someone and being successful in a long-term committed relationship are two different things. After 19 years with my own partner, I’ve come to believe that love is necessary, but not sufficient in and of itself to make a relationship last. There was a time in our relationship when, despite the love that existed between us, we just couldn’t connect meaningfully and we found our relationship falling apart. Like many couples, we had our One Big Issue that we couldn’t seem to resolve. So we ended up fighting about it every 6 months or so, which was always incredibly painful for both of us. It took us a long time (and some good therapy) to figure out that on it’s own, all of the love we had for each other wasn’t enough to get us through the really rough spots, or to keep us together. This realization was a huge turning point for us.

Maybe this is what it comes down to: if you’re expecting life and love to be like it is in the fairy tales, you’re going to be disappointed. Falling in love is the beginning, not the end of your story as a couple. Real life intimate relationships that last build on that initial romantic love with friendship, honesty, trust, perseverance, tolerance of each other’s flaws and differences, the ability to see the other person’s perspective as valid (especially when you disagree), the willingness to hold each other up during hard times, the willingness to be vulnerable, and most of all, the choice to continue working on the relationship so that it fulfills both of you for many years.

So if you’re going to stand up together and say “for better or for worse, and ‘til death do us part,” remember what that means. There will be lots and lots of “for better,” but I can guarantee that the “for worse” part will come eventually, and it may come over and over again. That’s when you’ll be called upon to make the choice to hold onto each other. And that choice is much, much bigger than simply loving each other. That choice is everything. That is what Happily Ever After really looks like.

Guest blogger Dayna Reader lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her True Love, 2 great kids and a tabby cat. She’s a full-time Mom, with a part-time private practice as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, specializing in couples counseling. She can be reached at her website or by email at DaynaReaderLMFT@yahoo.com She hopes that you find your genuine Happily Ever After.

Dr. Laura, being nice, and things that seem hard

I was listening to Dr. Laura the other day (yes, I am the only Democrat lesbian on the face of the planet who appreciates a lot of what she has to say).

Anyway, a nice man was calling in asking a question. She gave him a powerful, simple answer he didn’t like. His response was, “Yeah, it’s just that it’s so hard…“ And it got me thinking. We have things we say all the time that are cop-outs. “It’s hard” is one of them. It’s like it’s the Universal Agreement for letting each other off the hook.

I’m a big fan of compassion (read: BIG FAN), but I think we’ve let compassion get confused with being nice; somewhere along the way compassion has gone off-balance, or misunderstood at the least. In our efforts to be nice we buy into the Universal Agreement that “it’s-hard” is in fact a good, solid reason for not taking the action we think/know/feel is right to be taking. Doing something that seems hard (to us) builds character. Each time we buy into “it’s-hard,” we rob ourselves of the opportunity to build just a bit more character (enter my love of Dr. Laura).

By the way, I say “seems hard (to us)” because much of the time what you think is hard is seemingly only hard for you because of whatever issue or noise you may have about it. Take business development for example: for some it’s torture. Yet for others, like the fabulous Mark Silver, it’s not only easy, it’s fun. Some tasks feel more difficult for the majority of human beings: asking our in-laws to stay out of our child-rearing or asking an over-stressed mom hitting her kids in public if she needs a break would be two good examples. Even though those two situations may be very hard (difficult to navigate linguistically or emotionally) they may need to happen for the greater good of all involved. No matter the case or what our particular flavor of “hard” is, we let ourselves get away with something every time we use it as an excuse.

When we ignore what our gut is telling us is “the right thing to do” (i.e. silently walking by that woman who may need a 5-minute breather with her child or setting boundaries with our in-laws), not only do we do others a disservice, we get ourselves out of alignment by not honoring our inner knowing. And when we get out of alignment everything hurts. Said another way, our integrity gets “out,” like when we have a rib or back “out” and go see the chiropractor. We get off-balance, off center. The irony is, life really DOES feel hard then. And harder, and harder and harder–like running uphill on loose gravel thinking we really will get to the top.

However, when we go for it and take on what seems hard a couple things happen. One, other people get to benefit–-even if it feels uncomfortable at the time. Two, our integrity gets restored. When our integrity is restored, our lives just work–like running on our favorite path with our favorite people when we are in the best shape of our lives.

I invite you to look and listen to how ubiquitous the saying “it’s hard” is in our society. You’ll hear it on others and I promise… you’ll hear it on you. When you do, you are in luck… it’s your shiny call to action and your Big Opportunity to restore a little power… and, maybe make someone’s day.

Stay tuned for a future blogs on Love as a Choice AND sex, leadership and what they have in common.

For the Love of Victim

Victim is in our blood. It’s part of our humanity. Natural, even. Inescapable according to psychological and spiritual guru, Carloyn Myss. Carolyn says that we have 12 archetypes we embody for learning and growing in our lifetime. Four, she says, are set in stone and the same for all of us. The Prostitute, The Saboteur, The Child, and, you guessed it, The Victim.

The Victim is not bad and wrong, contrary to how we think of her. We love her. She serves a purpose. Helps us get vital needs met, helps us get what we want. The problems come when we pretend we aren’t two-stepping with her, pretending we aren’t letting her run the show at times. The problems come when we are in denial of her presence and power in our life.

I’m an entrepreneur and most days I love the thrill of showing up to my own office, doing the work I’m both good at and passionate about. But some days, I wanna chuck it all out the window and say “Sayonara, sucker, bake like a lizard in the sun, crack open a cold beer and read fashion magazines while laughing out loud with my Poker Gals until my belly aches. On those days, I have to talk myself into showing up. Even though I know being a solopreneuer comes with things I don’t always like, and even though I choose my business, and love it, on those days, I still fall Victim to it: I lose a little power in exchange for more immediate payoffs, like procrastinating, sympathy, avoiding responsibility, or whining (which, let’s face it, sometimes feels really good).

Of course we don’t want to work some days. Maybe even a lot of days. In a row. Nothing wrong with that. Let’s just be out about it, shall we? But that’s not what we, as a society, are practiced at. No sir-ee. Instead of telling the truth about our needs/wants/complaints and actively working to meet them in a powerful way, it’s acceptable to use the Victim full tilt (and then pretend we are not because after all, we are mostly self-actualized, right?).

We are afraid that if we are out with our Victim—out loud, out of the closet—her needs will stop getting met. In my case above, maybe I need a little rest and I know all the reasons I can’t have it so I complain about it in a very clever way. I leak my upset, lightly joking about how I’m working 9 days in a row and there is nothing to be done about it (enter Victim). Most people are good and kind so they respond with sympathy or agreement. Ah, agreement. We love agreement even more than sympathy. But I’ll leave that for another blog. Even cleverer, through my complaining, I actually get to procrastinate, put off the part of work I dislike thus getting my needs met covertly. Smart, right? I’m afraid if I tell the truth about how I just want to complain or not work or whatever- that I’ll have to be responsible for changing something, or getting off something, or quit whining (which, if you remember, can feel really good).

Funny humans we are, to boot, we like to think our complaint is a really good one, an uncommon one, and super justified…impossible to fix or solve.Yea, but this is different”, “I just need to bear with it”, “That’s just how it is, this client is special”, “Nothing can be done and it’ll be over soon (heavy sigh)”. We like to think we are unique. Truth? Our complaints are not unique or impossible. In fact, our complaints are actually boring and ubiquitous when you get right down to it (insert your own laughter here). Trust me, I’ve listened to them for over a decade now (including my own). And as for impossible, just about anything is possible- you just can’t see it inside that victimy-context that you don’t know (or believe) you have. Except you do. We all do. It’s in our blood, remember?

Next time you hear even the tiniest peep of the Victim knocking on your subconscious, let her out a tiny bit. Crack the closet door and let in a speck of light. Bring her out into full view in all her glory.

Consider your Victim is here to help you get what you need.
Love her up.
Then ask yourself:
What I am not telling the truth about?
(I don’t wanna!)
What would be the most embarrassing or shameful thing to admit right now?
(I just want to complain, it’s actually feeling good and I’d like to milk it all day if I wouldn’t be found out).
What need or want is not getting met?
(Rest? Being heard? Being alone? Collaborating?)
How could I simply be “out” about my wants and needs?
(Maybe I’ll tell so-and-so. Maybe I’ll make a request.)
Or, my personal fave: What am I being a brat about?
(Me? A brat? Ha!)
Yeah. Sit with that.

Then again, there’s always the alternative: Leave the damn bitch in the closet with the door locked and chained, milk the perks of sympathy and avoiding responsibility for all it’s worth and make everyone in your life, including you, miserable all the while pretending it’s all a “normal” part of life.

Oops. Was that my out-loud voice?

Sharin’ the Love…

From Upstart Smarts to Rocking Your Genius, Amber Singleton Riviere is one extraordinary woman.

Amber supports women, JUST LIKE YOU, starting businesses and being their best, most authentic selves. Upstart Smart is a resource and a network for solopreneurs and small business owners who are looking for advice and support to help them in their journey to becoming successful and independent.

Really, someone should do a series of interviews on Amber but instead, she took the wheel in her own hands. Her ebook, One Entrepreneur’s Journey: 26 Stories from Women on the Road (in which I am honored to be included as one of the 26) is free- with the option for a donation that goes to her charity of choice (The Discover Hope Fund). The ebook is chock full of useful advice and inspiring stories from everyday women who are rocking their own worlds with their own businesses.

Navigating her own successful journey, Amber recently created a radio show, Rock Your Genius. Last week she interviewed me, an incredible philanthropist photographer and married money gurus as part of kicking off her show. You can hear the show live on Fridays at 7 PM CST on Toginet Radio and soon on the Her Insight network. Can’t make it then? Listen to all episodes in the show archives.

Subscribe to her goods and you won’t be sorry.

Ebook Article

Amber talks to me about my past business, what makes this one successful, key lessons and my one piece of advice. Get it here.

Radio Show Interview

Amber interviews me as part of her kick-off series. We talk about what it took to Restore (my own) Power and launch my newest biz. Listen here.

Shameless Plug

If you found this posting even the least bit interesting, I adoringly ask you to share it with a friend. Hey, new biz, ya know? I gotta ask. It’s what works. I’m happy to return the favor.

Cheers for now.

Say “So what” to Your Feelings

What’s looming over your head today because you “don’t feel like” doing it? A networking obligation? Dry cleaning to pick-up? A conflict to face with a coworker or employee? Financials to reconcile?

We all know what it’s like to “not feel like it.” But when it affects our commitment to the job, our team, our family, our business, we’ve got to understand the impact it makes and reconnect with what got us to commit in the first place.

Commitment is, by definition, made up of the actions that support it. We stay faithful, we stay married. We do the work, we keep the job. We perform as a leader, we grow our leadership role (and, hopefully our team or our company). If we stop the actions that make our commitment alive, it dies, and what we’re left to deliver are empty promises. Yuck! This is where we kick in the emergency generators.

How to do that? Keep your word. Generate from your promise, not from your feelings. Consider that your feelings (i.e., “I don’t fee like it”) are irrelevant to your actual commitments. Think I’m harsh? Ask a marathoner if they “feel like” waking up and running 10 miles every morning. In the dark. In the rain. In the cold.

The Practice – Take inventory of where you’re disconnected and reconnect to your commitment.

Take inventory

Consider these things:

  • Where did you make a promise that you are not keeping? What is the cost of that? To you? To others?
  • When did you stop “feeling like it?” Where did you make your feelings matter more than your word or your commitment?


Think about what you care about—the marriage, the business-building, the company mission. Acknowledge that you broke your promise and then recommit, or revoke the promise and offer new terms of what you CAN do (always keeping your well-being front of mind).

  • Ask someone to remind you why you committed. Set reminders yourself…like a weekly meeting, a regular date night with your partner, or alarms on your mobile phone.
  • Enlist your team: own that you are disconnected and enlist their help in getting re-involved in your shared purpose. It’s amazing how much energy being inspired will drum up naturally.


  • Consider where you are failing, and then SHOW UP right there. Just for the sake of showing up.
  • If you still can’t do it, do it anyway. Integrity and energy get restored when you live into what you said you were going to do.

Think about your commitments and GENERATE your action from that place. Go do it! Say “so what” to your feelings and surprise yourself by creating something you have not created previously. After all, the bonus in completing what we were procrastinating far surpasses the malaise of procrastination. You have my word.