the truth of self-examination

Self-examination does not necessarily lead to life balance or acceptance from others — it leads to greater freedom and authenticity.

Without self-examination …

… we seek comfort over greatness
… safety over risk
… reassurance over authenticity
… the predictable over the unknown
… the well worn path over forging our own

Self-examination is a process of reframing and refining how we see ourselves and the world. It’s a deep dive into our beliefs, motives, relationships, triggers, wounds, purpose, feelings, thoughts and action.

Often we uncover something has to change so we can feel a greater sense of alignment between the life we are living and the life our soul wants to be living.

You may be called to change a relationship, a career or a habit.

You may need to stop doing something or start doing something.

Self-expression may be calling your name as you venture into exploring your creativity — learning to sing, paint, dance.

You may be called find a mantra, explore a good book, or commune with nature.

You may start a non-profit, go on an adventure, or start a blog.

When we choose self-examination, we are choosing to be in a conscious relationship with our soul.

Once you uncover the direction your soul wants to move in there is a process of allowing what is no longer authentic to end and creating space for what is currently authentic to begin {yes, authenticity is a moving target}.

As we migrate closer to the soul, we must trust that we will survive the time between the old world dying and the new world being born.

It can be a precarious transition — it’s often accompanied by loneliness, confusion and grief.

It is tempting to revive the old world, but if we are patient and continue to connect to the world we want to belong to, it will emerge.

One small step towards the life you want to be living is what will move you from where you are to where you want to be.

One small step.

It is the only way to find your way home.



creating rituals & claiming a dream

I’m writing a book.

It’s a book for you — to remind you that your one wild & precious life is worth living fully & truly.

But really, it’s the book I needed to write to find my way home.

This book couldn’t be born without a strong ritual to give it life.

At the Great Life Redesign retreat, we create rituals to support us in living the lives we want to live. This year I crafted a writing ritual so I could actually write a book, instead of just talk about writing a book.

I’m sharing the ritual that’s helping me because it might be helpful to you.

A Month Before
Block of time in my schedule and pick a writing location {an airport between trips, coffee shop after a meeting, a late night at my kitchen table or early in the morning in front of my fireplace}.

The Night Before
Prepare and pack my supplies – my classic Lamy fountain pen, plenty of purple ink cartridges, a pad of silky smooth paper, a book of poetry.

The Morning Of
Minimize everything – no electronics, no chores – get to my writing as quickly as possible.

Listen to a few songs in the Singer-Songwriter playlist on Songza.

Drop into a quick meditation by noticing my breathing and visualizing a golden cord dropping from the heavens through my spine and into the earth.

If I’m feeling tempted by digital distractions I’ll use Freedom.

I decide what I want to write {book content, blog post, retreat process} and how I want to feel while I’m writing {reflective, useful, angsty, rebellious, loving}.

I read a poem from the current poetry book I’m in love with.

Pen to paper.


In seeing the rituals of others we can be empowered or inspired to create rituals for ourselves.
Briana smudges her studio with sage before creating a Precious Mala.
Melsha created a joy-finding ritual through her project #SummerOnPurpose.
Rachelle says “hello” to her life by carving out a slice of time to lay in her hammock.


Rituals are rich because they provide a sense of meaning, purpose, presence and control.

You can add a ritual into your day to set a mood, transition into something new, celebrate life, release pesky thoughtsmourn a loss, clarify an intention or ignite your inner spark.

I’d love to hear about your rituals — hop over to my Facebook page and leave me a note.

Love. Always.


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Posted on Jul 17, 2014 | Posted In: thoughts & musings

the trap of conditional love

These days I’m thinking a lot about the conditions we put on love.

When my boys hug each other, I smile and offer a loving gaze. When they are less kind {hitting} my smile and loving gaze quickly disappear — I withdraw the visual expression of my love.

My boys quickly adapt to receive more love – I’m okay with that for the whole hitting and hugging thing – but I am hyper-aware of the dangers of too much adaptation and too many conditions put on love.

If we place too many conditions on love we risk causing the subject of our love to abandon their true self and replace it with a false version.

Conditional love and the adaptations we make in order to get love is how we lose ourselves. It happens to our children, and it happens to us as adults.

When the true self is repressed and the false self is expressed we struggle and suffer. I don’t want that for my boys and I don’t want that for you.

Where in your life are you putting too many conditions on your love?
Where in your life are you losing yourself in order to be loved?

Let’s all open our hearts & stay true to ourselves.


100 ways into pleasure

We are wired to seek pleasure.
We are wired to avoid pain.

Everything we are and everything we do is based on these two principles — the decisions we make, the thoughts we think, the actions we take.

Freud, one of my fathers, said we may lay it down that pleasure is a movement, a movement by which the soul as a whole is consciously brought into its normal state of being.

Trauma, abuse, conflict & neglect take us out of pleasure by causing pain.

For those of us who have experienced a hefty dose of darkness we can design our lives based purely on avoiding pain. Our pain will cast a shadow on our pleasure if we allow it to.

In therapy, the pursuit of pleasure is often neglected. But, on the journey to healing, one of the most important principles is pleasure.

Pleasure is essential to healing.

Pleasure nourishes us, opens us & strengthens us.

How might you surrender to pleasure?
What does living in the heart of pleasure feel like to you?

Try crafting a pleasure list that you can turn to on dark days. Here’s mine ::

  1. Walking barefoot in grass
  2. Taking a long, relaxing shower
  3. Coffee with a foam heart
  4. A trip to the Farmer’s Market
  5. Rolling my mala beads through my fingers
  6. A good novel
  7. Cherries … mmmm
  8. The smell of fresh-cut grass
  9. Watching the sunrise
  10. A gentle morning run
  11. Yoga
  12. Green juice
  13. A handmade gift
  14. Watching the sunset
  15. Hugging my boys tightly
  16. Dark chocolate
  17. Dancing
  18. Laughing till my sides ache
  19. A long conversation with a good friend
  20. Having a lazy day
  21. A clean house
  22. Conscious conversation
  23. My Pinterest boards
  24. Pillow fights
  25. Singing, loudly
  26. Stomping in puddles
  27. Watching my boys use their imagination
  28. Helping someone in need
  29. Making a gorgeous meal for loved ones.
  30. Camping
  31. Sandcastles
  32. Floating in the water
  33. Savasana
  34. Taking an afternoon nap
  35. Laying back and looking up at clouds
  36. Watching the ocean
  37. A hot stone massage
  38. Lilacs in the spring
  39. Organic peanut butter cups
  40. Taking a hot bath with sacred salts
  41. Blowing bubbles
  42. A gentle breeze
  43. The feeling after a good workout
  44. Listening to Adele
  45. Or Nora
  46. Reading David Whyte
  47. Or Rumi
  48. Shooting hoops
  49. The feel of a new Rhodia notepad
  50. The scratchy flow of my fountain pen
  51. A clear desk
  52. Truffle popcorn
  53. Swinging on a swing
  54. Homemade brownies
  55. Watching animals in nature
  56. An empty email inbox {a rarity}
  57. Bliss balls
  58. Having a picnic in the park
  59. Playing in water
  60. Listening to the chorus of birds singing as I run through the trails
  61. Exchanging a smile
  62. Bubble wrap
  63. Skinny dipping in the moon light.
  64. Climbing trees
  65. Snail mail
  66. Shooting a ball of paper into the recycling bin – and making the shot
  67. Skipping stones
  68. Building a cairne
  69. Stargazing
  70. Unexpected gifts
  71. The perfect cup of tea
  72. Live music
  73. Plum wine
  74. The wind messing up my hair
  75. Butterflies
  76. Rain on a tin roof
  77. A great story
  78. Lace
  79. Fireplaces
  80. Thunderstorms
  81. The first snowfall of the season
  82. My toes being kissed by the waves
  83. Smelling the top of my boys heads
  84. A cold glass of sparkling rose water.
  85. A beautiful view
  86. The perfect parking spot
  87. Listening to music on the highway
  88. Cuddle time
  89. Tutus
  90. Laying in a forest
  91. Sipping a warm drink on a cold day
  92. Making first tracks on the slopes
  93. A beautifully crafted playlist
  94. Wrapping my boys in a warm blanket from the dryer
  95. People watching
  96. Fresh flowers
  97. My golden mug
  98. Street performers
  99. A thousand gems
  100. Writing poetry for you

What does your pleasure list include? And, how can you play in pleasure daily?

xx & oo


radical self-love {aka the key to everything good}

For a long time I didn’t love myself.

I tried to cover up my lack of self-love by winning awards, being the captain, and by being a good little over-achiever.

I was an expert in the fine art of perception management.

I was talking with a friend recently about this way of being, and we settled on the term chameleon. I would change myself to fit into my environment in order to avoid the danger of being rejected or facing disapproval.

The habit caught up to me when I was 25 and woke up to the awareness that I didn’t love myself.

I set out on the search for self-love and realized I couldn’t love myself because I had no idea who I was.

My life had been spent trying to be who I thought everyone wanted me to be – the generous friend, the dedicated student, the encouraging team captain, the pretty girlfriend – yet, I had completely lost all sense of who I truly was.

How can you love yourself if you don’t know who you are?

In becoming a chameleon, I was trying to make myself as loveable as possible, but running from myself in the process. I was so hungry to gain approval from outside of myself that I didn’t realize the only love that would satiate my hunger was the love that comes from within.

When I began the quest to love myself, I started off by saying,
I’ll love myself when I lose 50 lbs.
I’ll love myself when I get promoted.
I’ll love myself once I’ve found someone who will love me unconditionally.

I saw self-love as something that could only result from an external achievement or an opinion from others.

Self-love was elusive because it was based on the behaviors of others, or it was waiting somewhere in the distant future. My version of self-love was unpredictable and unreliable because it was conditional: I would only be loving to myself if I achieved my goals.

I know now that real self-love is unconditional and self-determined.

I don’t want you to live without real self-love for another moment.

It’s the key to everything good. It really is.

I recently chatted with Mary Bicknell all about what self-love is and how I practice it.

If you’re looking for a little more self-love this summer check out the free offering from Mary created from a collection of conversations from some  remarkable women :: Have a Summertime Love Affair: Fall in Love with You.

Here’s to falling in love {with yourself},





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