Articles for December 2013

Be Seen.

DW_HeavyQuoteImages5I have a great day job. As an elementary school counselor, I create and facilitate lessons for 600+ kiddos on subjects of character, kindness, respect… The good stuff. We sing together, we read books, we draw and color and cut, and always, always have fun. The process is as important – if not more so – than the content. I am acutely aware that I have opportunity after opportunity to model what I am attempting to teach, and that the experience of being respected, heard, and seen by a loving adult is an all too uncommon occurrence for some of my students.

My favorite part of every lesson is what we call “practicing our manners.” I make my way around the room – usually passing out something fun to draw, color, and cut. I stop at each student, give them my undivided attention, have him/her look in my eyes and say “thank you,” and then look back into his/her eyes and say, “You’re welcome.” The kids love it. All the kids – kinder through 4th grade. We make it a big deal. A ritual of sorts. I love it.

I also have a great part-time job/passion/hobby/adventure facilitating small groups through a curriculum called The Daring Way™ created by Brené Brown. There are many similarities to this group process and my guidance lessons. We use music, stories, metaphor, and art to see ourselves in a new way, and to allow ourselves to be seen. Truly. Deeply Seen. And we have fun!

There’s a growing tribe of folks passionate about embracing our imperfections, realizing we are enough, letting go of crazy-busy, cultivating gratitude and  joy and so much more! (Oprah’s even on the bandwagon, hosting an art journaling ecourse with Brené.) Exploring and experiencing these ideas with others can be scary and fun and exhilarating and frightening and painful, yet healing all at the same time. Courage is being scared and showing up anyway!

Here’s what a couple of previous participants have said about the process: “The experience allows you to process the hard issues in life while being completely loved on. The environment  is full of grace, hope and forgiveness. I learned valuable tools to become truly at ease with who I am now and always.” and “I want to thank you for providing an open and loving atmosphere for your small group experience. Your thoughtful words have created a cradle of gentleness where I can lay down my tender heart. With your guidance, I am becoming the person I have always dreamed of being. I love you, and I thank you.”

The next opportunity to grow and play and learn is during our Wholehearted Weekend – January 24-26. Consider giving yourself the gift of discovering how big your brave really is! I would be honored to make the journey with you. I look forward to connecting.



Wholehearted Weekend



Great news! For the past 16 months I’ve been training through Brené Brown’s organization, The Daring Way™, to become a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator. The experience has been a grand learning adventure that began in August 2012 with a 3 day intensive conference in San Antonio. It was one of those rare slivers of time in which I felt I had been led to exactly the right place at exactly the right time – although I had no idea for what purpose. I was so proud of myself for listening to the nudges, taking a chance, and making the trip happen.

Using metaphor, story-telling, and experiential exercises, Daring Way™ Certified Facilitators (like me!) work with clients to examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are holding us back and work to identify the new choices and practices that will move us toward more authentic and wholehearted living. Doesn’t that sound awesome?! I know, I know. It also sounds a little scary. As Wholehearted livers (I’m pretty sure there was one of those in the Thanksgiving turkey giblet bag!)  we can be scared and brave all at the same time! – All it takes is the willingness to Show Up. Be Seen. and Live Brave.™

I’m very excited to let you know I will be facilitating a Wholehearted Weekend Workshop using The Daring Way™ curriculum, January 24-26. Here are the details! It is sure to be a weekend filled with courage, compassion and connection — with loads of fun in the mix!

I look forward to hearing from those of you who are interested in attending!



Wholehearted Holidays


Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Denis Waitley

Holidays! Some of us love them. Some of us would vote they come around much less often. I vote for every 4 years –  like the Olympics! Just kidding! Sort of.
It’s the commercialism that gets to me. As much as I would like to convince myself that I don’t buy into the buying frenzy, the truth of the matter is I spend WAY too much time worrying about having enough, giving enough, celebrating enough, visiting enough… I lovingly refer to this time of year as the season of unmet expectations.
I’ve learned a new word for those feelings – scarcity. When I make myself nutso over whether or not everyone’s stockings will be filled evenly. Or if the gift wrap coordinates with the tags. Or if all the poor children have a gift. (Trust me, I could go on and on!) When I focus on not enough – or the flip side of that coin – way too much, I’m viewing the world through the lens of scarcity. Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money writes: “For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep. The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack… This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.”
I must admit that the mind-set of scarcity lives at the very heart of my irrational, yet very real struggle with the holiday season.
I’ve also learned that the opposite of scarcity is not abundance, but simply sufficiency.  Lynne Twist defines it like this: “By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.” Gratitude, thankfulness, a realization of all that we have and are simply because we are – those are the lights on the path to sufficiency.
This year I vow to turn over a new leaf. (I found a great heart shaped leaf while Phillip and I were hiking yesterday. Maybe I’ll use that one.) This year when I find myself harried and hurried and bothered and worried, I vow to start again in that very moment with a prayer of gratitude. A breath of contentment. A self-compassionate reminder that the Grace of which I so often speak is abundantly sufficient. I am enough. Even in December.