Tag Archives: learning


What Is Your Essence?

Sitting across from me at my kitchen table is a beautiful, young Latina. Her eyes are dark and round and her hair is shiny and lush. She is struggling to say something to me. I believe I understand what she intends but she remains frustrated. Not long after she excuses herself to go to the pool house where she is currently living.

Throughout the afternoon we sat together at the table, she, a young college student, and me, an incredibly youthful life coach. We had a lot to talk about. The learning and teaching baton passed back and forth between us as the hours passed. I love when that happens.

I cannot help but put on my Life Coach hat. I love what I do. It lights me up and inspires me to make bigger choices when I am teaching others. So when I have a college student in front of me. Poor girl…

It’s not entirely based on ego that I believe I taught Selene a few things. After all, what’s the point of living all these years if I have nothing to show for it? A conversation about daring and stretching and believing in oneself was just the order of the day.

In return, Selene taught me things about the Jewish household where she worked for a time, mixed right along with her observations about life. After all, what’s the point of living any amount of years if you have nothing to show for it?

Selene cleaned out my unkempt refrigerator and I did some work at my computer. The afternoon wore on and we dabbled in philosophy and Spanish and the absurdities that constitute a proper English sentence.

I imagine it was more than 30 minutes later when Selene returned that she looked far less troubled. Almost the moment she walked in the door she enthusiastically explained what she’d been trying to say.

“It’s not the cape you wear or the things you say that make me like you. It’s your essence that draws me to you.”

This is, perhaps, one of the kindest compliments I’ve ever received. Not only does it surpass the superficial, but it makes me wonder about the essence of other people, of circumstances, sentences, neighborhoods and ideas. It reminds me of the quote from the children’s book The Little Prince, “It is only the heart that can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to they eye.”

It is always a pleasant reminder that wisdom has no age and that our lives are simply teaming with all that is essential to joy.


Yes. Yes I did wear feathers to school. Didn't you?

Your Life Sucks? Let The Season Change You

There is a certain angle to the sun as we head into the late days of August that never fails to remind me of walking to school. Freshly tanned by the summer sun and uncomfortable in more appropriate attire, we doggedly trudged to class with virgin notebooks, pens brimming with ink.

I loved that time of year. I hated that time of year.

It’s been many years since I trudged anywhere. If I go somewhere I’m unsure of at this point in my life, I march, in a doggedly determined way not yet mastered by my younger self.

Long gone are my school days, and yet the slant of the sun carries me back. Rather than feel wistful and all achy and stuff, what I feel now is inspired to movement. If we are to live all the days of our lives, we simply must move. .

We need growth, movement, to do things that are hard and new and scary and demanding (And what’s more difficult than vacating the public pool for the public school?). I love fall with her cool mornings and sparkling afternoons because she demands change as she begins closing up shop for the coming winter.

For the most part, no one requires attendance or homework from me these days. I choose my schedule and attend no formal classroom. Even so, I am called to create a more demanding schedule, by the sun slanting just so. I am reminded of standing in front of Tina Williams house, waiting to walk to school with my friend. Waiting to start a fresh, new season.

I remember the days when my brain was awakening from its summer slumber and I am excited by the idea of cool days and dedicated teachers inciting me to learn and grow.

Each of the seasons seems to demand something different from us, and Autumn, to my way of thinking, bids us go inside and make something of ourselves, all the while changing her gown to something a little more formal.

I’m in the mood to go school clothes shopping. Who’s with me?

The Bumps On The Road To Success

It wasn’t one of my New Year’s Resolutions. I cannot even tell you why I did it, other than I was riding in a car for 3 hours and felt like the umbilical cord that connects me to Facebook was becoming a loathsome burden. So I did it.

For months Zoë has been harassing me to organize the apps on my phone. I knew it was a possibility, but sometimes organizing things, and by sometimes, I mean almost all the time, seems like an added burden. The cost/benefit ratio doesn’t ever seem to balance out.

Usually I just abstain.

There I was on the drive, Facebook bothered and a little bored and so I organized it. I organized my note-takers and my calorie-counters. I put into tidy little files my meditation apps and my entertainment options. I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out where the calendar should go versus the dropbox link. But finally a tidy phone awaits me.

I mentioned cost/benefit ratio, didn’t I? I mentioned it doesn’t seem to balance out and boom. Here we go again.

Monday morning was the real, honest-to-goodness beginning of my fabulous new year. It started early, included the treadmill and meditation. I fueled up with a cleansing smoothie and my first meeting of the day at nine.

This is what using my phone feels like right now. Only not as damp.
This is what using my phone feels like right now. Only not as damp.

It was all a go. I was on my game. Except for the single most important tool modern man cannot function without, the phone. Sure, I still have one, but I cannot find my calendar. I was clear on where my calorie counter was, but I didn’t need it since I hadn’t consumed many calories.

Where do I dial out now? What’s the weather going to be today? Why can’t I find my notes? Oh yeah, I put them in the file I named “Productivity”. The notes, not the weather. Either way, it was ironic.

As we each enter a whole new year of opportunities, it’s important to remember every effort we make isn’t going to be gold. Sometimes in order to make real progress we have to learn and relearn things.

Forward movement doesn’t necessarily mean smooth and progress often feels uncomfortable.

I found my calendar, I logged my calories and after the fact I put them on my list in my notes just so I could then check them off as “Done”. It doesn’t take much to be able to change the cost/benefit ratio in my mind. A little work, a little shift in the system and we’re off and running.

Progress takes work. And work is sweat. And sweat is good. Makes your skin glow.

Like, share, comment, tweet and bring on the sweat and the successes.

Ten Things I Learned From Jacqueline Muller or Take A Sacred World Journey

The first time I met Jacqueline Mueller was on a perfect winter day in Costa Rica. The sun was Imageshining, as I believe it always does there, and there was a delicious breeze that took the edge off, making it comfortable, easy and deeply refreshing.

This was a perfect place to meet Jacqueline as her delicious accent and genuine manner immediately makes you feel comfortable. Though she is highly accomplished and sought after, she is easy to be with, indeed Jacqueline herself, is deeply refreshing.

After spending our time together in Costa Rica, we have “met” together, via Skype, on several different occasions and though I may be presumptuous (Whatever. I AM presumptuous.), I consider her my friend.

On two different occasions I’ve taken the opportunity to interview this very interesting woman, and while she has been completely patient with me, until this point I haven’t been able to write the interview. While perhaps more therapy is needed to figure out exactly what is holding me back, I think on a basic level I am afraid I am not skilled enough to paint the complete and enchanting picture that is Jacqueline.

I find Jacqueline wise and yet youthful. She is a generous spirit as well as blunt and honest. Her business is healing others and taking people on journeys. As a matter of fact, her business is called Sacred World Journeys. I vow to you that someday I will go on one of these journeys with Jacqueline (Her next one is in June to France, and then of course there’s the one in September to Morocco. What’s not to love about that?)

In limiting myself to just ten things I’ve learned from my short time with Jacqueline, I have ensured that you will be hearing of her again. There’s just so much to learn! But for today, in keeping with our Ten Thing Rule, I will share just these few. But stay tuned, there’s more to be had! Better yet, you should go to France with her, or Morocco…

  1. Our greatest gifts and strengths are born of our deepest pain and failure.
  2. Being curious is one of our greatest assets. (“From a very young age I was looking for more than we can see.” Brilliant!)
  3. Fear is an illusion, one that we are perfectly capable of creating for ourselves.
  4. To love our lives, we need to love ourselves and our work and that usually means serving others in some way.
  5. It isn’t uncommon for people to resist healing, we become comfortable in our discomfort.
  6. The more we refine ourselves, the more refinement we require (Take a moment on that one. It’s really good.)
  7. We weren’t put on this earth to go through hell, but we often put ourselves through it anyway.
  8. Change is not for the faint of heart. It takes a leap of faith and a sense of adventure!
  9. Even when we are going through our most difficult times, there are moments of bliss
  10. Life is to celebrate! Celebrate community, individuality and joy!


Of Self Discovery & Lounge Wear

Here are the facts as I see them.

  1. There was an Ugly Robe that came to be at the beach house and I somehow felt obligated not to letImage it go to waste.
  2. I hated the Ugly Robe and yet I wore it for years.
  3. In a blazing moment of clarity I realized I had no real obligation to the offending item and it was time to move on, it was time to make my own Robe Choices.
  4. Not taking the situation lightly, I began the search for a Lovely Robe over 8 months ago.
  5. Shopping at the Outlet Mall yesterday at the beach, the Lovely Robe manifested to me in a soft grey hue at the Pendleton Store. It was the piping that sealed the deal.
  6. I felt the odyssey was finally coming to an end, I would finally rid myself of baggage that was never rightfully mine.
  7. Upon purchasing the Lovely Robe we went back to the beach house. My intention was to have the Lovely Robe take its rightful place and to finally eradicate the Ugly Robe from my world. Something of this magnitude needs a ritual, even a very small ritual, perhaps a few poignant words.
  8. I went to the closet, pushed back the doors, only to discover someone had stolen the Ugly Robe.

I was naive when I started this journey. I thought it would be easy to get rid of something that didn’t suit me. In reality it took me eight months to complete the process. But that’s not all. I forgot that one woman’s Ugly Robe is another’s Cozy Comfort.

It really is difficult to make changes. Every time I went back to the beach house and found myself wearing the Ugly Robe I felt a little guilty, having declared it unacceptable to all the world. What I hadn’t taken into consideration is that even when we realize that we’re not on our authentic path, we’re not living in alignment with who we truly are and what we know to be right for us, even then it takes time to make those life saving changes.

Look at me, it took me 8 months just to buy a bathrobe that suits me. You just have to wonder about the person who stole the Ugly Robe. Even if it was Cozy Comfort to them, I question their willingness to take on the bad juju over an old robe. Eventually I would have given it to them.

Don’t Forget To Remember

On a grassy lawn outside a hotel, a large group of us were eating from a food cart. Love me a good food cart (There’s one in Portland called Wiffie Pies. Shut my mouth and call me giddy! Their pies are so good it’s worth the gluten and calories. Seriously. Google it).

As we dined al fresco and munched on delights, I talked with a super interesting woman. Nearing 70, she is a spitfire of lofty goals as well as an impressive resume’ of accomplishments.

Not only is she the daughter of the woman who birthed the Presidential Fitness Challenge, but one of her many accomplishments is that SHE is a foremost expert in the United States on fitness. She has written books on the subject and is a wealth of knowledge in the arena, even speaking on Oprah on the topic of fitness. That said, she is currently reclaiming her own wellness, one day at a time and is launching a business to help others do the same.

At the risk of overstepping the appropriate bounds of our conversation, I asked the question that was burning to be asked as she is clearly no longer fit, “How did you get here when you know what to do?”

Her answer was equally blunt, “I stopped doing it.”

Brilliant. Well, brilliant or ridiculous. Or typical?

Don’t we all know basically what to do? We have the tools, the knowledge and the vehicle to get us where we want to go. And sometimes we do it. And if we’re not there, or we once were but we’ve gone away, that just means we stopped doing it.

I look at this woman and I see greatness. Despite what she stopped doing, she is valuable and interesting and successful. All of those things are in us too. And when I see those things, I also see the opportunity for her to shine again as she takes back her own power and uses the knowledge she already has to becomes even more than she was before. Well, maybe less.

It’s time to evaluate. What do I know, what have I done in the past, that I somehow stopped doing? It’s time to reclaim it. It’s time we all become more than we were and live our hard one wisdom fully. It’s time to become more than we were before. Or less. Whichever.