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Fierce Love: Why I March


Yesterday I attempted to reduce all that I was feeling into a FB post.
It was far too staggering an objective.

My newsfeed is a wildfire catching wind. I see it all: pleas for unity, Republicans high-fiving, resistance flags waving, and way way WAY too many instances of nasty sorts of name-calling (on all sides). It breaks my heart.

I am not a Trump supporter (and it's not because of his politics).
Bullies never get my vote.

& Yet THAT is precisely WHY I will not engage in the emotional repugnancy I stand against.

Feel free to cheer/jeer-sit/stand-react/respond-retreat/fight in whatever way feels authentic to you. I'm not here to tell you how to live.

But I am here to advocate for those of us who feel frustration at the fact that there are too many examples of them-mockery and you-fuckery, and not enough of us saying enough-with-the-ugly.

Enough of demeaning with righteousness.
Enough of raging in the face of anger.
Enough of making "them" the enemy.

Love is a verb, folks.
It's time we start acting like it.

In a few short hours, I will march with my sisters... not against anyone, but FOR a LOVE that is fierce in its insistence on the rights of every human being on this mother-loving planet. Because I for one don't think we have to drag anyone down in order to rise up (together).

The only way to forge true unity is to reach out heart-to-heart, versus blade-to-blade. THIS is the essence of divorcing the patriarchy for good - demonstrating that there IS another way to turn love into action.

#fiercelove #whyimarch





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Ask Yourself: Do I Need Coaching?


2017CoachMeme

Are you a pretty with-it, self-aware individual who would like to
use your hard-earned knowledge to affect change?

Do you have an ongoing list of things you’d like to get to,
only you rarely have the time and/or resources to actually follow through?

Are you spending the majority of your energy providing for everyone else's needs, often at the expense of your own?

Is some part of your life in transition (or would you like for it to be)?

If you answered 'yes' to any ONE of the above questions,
1:1 coaching might be for you.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

AUTHENTICITY - I've got your back.
Integrity is at the center of our work; therefore, there are no formulas to follow or hoops for you to jump through. One-on-one sessions are highly-personalized and continually responsive to the-real-you. Together we will author a plan with your needs at the center, where goals are structured around not what-you-should-do but who-you-really-are. We get at this deeper level of clarity with efficiency and wholehearted tenacity. Why? Because it is absolutely essential to your success. Motivation arises organically when you are fueled by *your* honest objectives.

ACCOUNTABILITY - I promise not to flinch.
Change is an inevitability of life, but feeling stuck doesn’t have to be. Some of life’s directives are darker than others, and all of them require courage and a willingness to dig deeper than ever before. Give authentic voice to what lives inside of you, including your fear/anger/grief/intuition without judgment or relational blow-back. Take the time you need to sift through the emotional debris of the past, in order to make your deepest desires actionable in the now. Contrary to popular opinion, acccountability isn't all about checks-and-balances; it goes much deeper than that. It's a synergy of responsiveness where we make room for the many-selves at play.

ACTION - Create more, process less.
Maybe you've already done some heavy lifting, invested time and money in therapy and/or self inquiry. You may even have a clear understanding of how you get in your own way. Now it's time to ACTualize that knowledge and recreate the narrative at the center of your life. The only way out is through - a willingness to risk reinvention and reclaim authority over your one precious life. Coaching will infuse you with the courage to make your move, speak your truth, and make your many insights come alive in your everyday experience through action.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Coaching is a worthwhile investment.
It's personal training for the whole-self.
A one-on-one sovereignty-building workout for the heart & soul.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Now Accepting a Limited Number of New Clients
In-person (Portland, OR) and/or worldwide via Phone, FaceTime or Skype.

20% OFF Coaching Bundles through January 31st.
Deep Discounts & Payment Plans Available.
Book Your Free Phone Consult Here



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Without Flinching: Radical Listening To Save The World


On my fourth birthday, Mom surprised me with a 64-box of Crayola’s with a built-in sharpener. She told me that it cost her an-arm-and-a-leg and I’d only get one ever, so when I have friends over I keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t color sideways with Cornflower or break Burnt Sienna in two.


One time my friend Susanne peeled the paper clean off of Red-Violet without even asking me and I got in big trouble for caring. I still had to be nice and say thank-you-for-coming-over even though it wasn’t even true.


Mom’s boyfriend Gary wears steel-toed boots, western shirts, and Wranglers with a shiny silver belt buckle. He smells like Old Spice and picks her up for their dates in a big white pickup truck with a built-in toolbox that says Seamless Guttering on the side in black letters. I stay at our neighbor Tootsie’s while they dance at country music bars, drink whiskey-n-cokes, and smoke Marlboro’s by the carton.


Sometimes Gary sleeps over, which turns out to be a good thing because one night before the sun is out he wakes us up to tell us that he caught a nigger crawling in the kitchen window. I’m not sure what a nigger is, but when Gary calls the police they start scribbling in their notepads so I guess it’s no good to have them crawling in your windows at night.


That night Gary had been cleaning his gun. He had it right there on the coffee table. Says he heard a sound, walked in as the guy's leg was halfway in the kitchen window. He tells mom that the motherfucker’s eyes were glowing white and big-as-saucers when he pointed the gun at his head.


The police say good-thing-you-didn’t-shoot-him, but after they leave Gary says he wishes he had.


***


One day Mom asks me if I want to meet my dad. All I know is he has curly hair like mine so I say yes and he flies in from Texas for a visit. I wear my favorite Bugs Bunny t-shirt and my brown boots with buckles on the sides.


When stranger-dad arrives, Mom and I pile into his car. He takes us to McDonald’s, then KB Toys. He buys me Tinker Toys, PlayDough, and a Mr Potato Head, then we head home. Mom calls Gary while he and I play in the living room. I laugh when he gets a real potato from the kitchen and dresses her up like Mr. Potato Head’s wife.


He visits again the next day. We play hide-and-seek.
I find Mom hiding in the closet. We all laugh.
Then he leaves. 


After that, Mom won’t stop pressing her lips together. Gary shows up and I take my toys-that-should-have-been-groceries over to Tootsie’s to stay the night. Mom picks me up a couple of days later and hugs me. Hard. Like she hasn’t seen me in a summer. Her hair smells like perfume and cigarettes and a couple hours later, I catch her throwing up in the bathroom toilet. 


Too much wine, she says.


*** 


I’ve been working on my memoir for a couple of years now and on rare occasions I summon the courage to share from its pages. Often times, the reader will reflect something back in the story that I didn’t even know was there. Meaning and complexity that I could never have spoken to directly.

Our personal stories hold within them a deeper narrative and truth. Life’s profundity is contained with countless mundane moments, and the more honest bits of our humanity are best revealed through the sharing of our experiences.

Outside of the genres of literature, complex narratives without spin and/or agenda can be hard to find. The stories we watch on television and in movies are mostly formulaic - with predictable arcs that we ride like waterslides toward adrenal heights or emotionally-fluid endings.

But everyday lives don’t unfold in the same way. The end of one story is the beginning of another, each overlapping and tethered to ancient narratives passed through generations.

A couple of weeks ago, a right-leaning conservative friend of mine expressed to me how she’s been feeling attacked by her liberal friends. She sounded angry. Defensive. Fed up and shut down.

And the thing is, I know loads of people - people who know nothing about her aside from her political affiliation - who will refuse to feel sorry for her. They’ll roll their eyes and shake their heads acrimoniously, insisting she be punished for a mess of her own making.

But I think that’s lazy. Childish.
And for the most part, bullshit.

As much as I am personally disgusted and outraged by pretty much all the president-elect himself seems to stand for, I am not so naive as to think that the people who voted for him - the people on the so-called other side of history - are looking through my same lens.

The other night I spoke with a friend who was in tears at the thought of a Trump presidency. She shook her head and wondered aloud:
“But how? How is it they cannot see him as I do?”

Easy, I said.

Different narrative.
Different eyes.
Different truth. 

***


My stepdad, Gary, had been married once before and had two daughters back in Wichita he rarely spoke of, reasoning they were better off without him.  


He prided himself on having been the classic 50’s bad boy, flipping his finger at authority figures and regularly getting in fist fights. At the age of eighteen, he had one too many run-ins with the law. He stood before a judge. “Son, as it stands you have two options. You can either go to jail, or you can march your ass across the street and serve your country.” He enlisted in the US Marines that very day. He served two tours as a first-responder on the ground in Vietnam. After eleven months of active duty, he had watched as forty members of his platoon were killed in a bridge explosion. One of three survivors, he took shrapnel to the shoulder and was sent to Hawaii for three weeks medical leave. When sent back to complete his finally sixty days of service, there was an oversight and he stayed on for a second tour without leave. Stories from this second stint on the ground were rarely spoke of, were only hinted at during scotch-induced tirades. They involved shameful atrocities that shred lines into the soul of a man, turning scars into everyday madness.


Blue-collar through and through, Gary worked as a union welder, drank Miller Light by the case, and watched WWF Wrestling every Sunday. He was an avid patriot who saw absolutely no irony in the fact that at least twice a month he told Uncle Sam to fuck-off. He adamantly encouraged my every ambition; in the next breath referring to women as
broads, cursing all the rich assholes of the world, and quoting Hank William’s, Jr. as if he were the greatest poet of his time.

Most of all, Gary protected and provided for us.
In exchange we agreed to live and think as he did.
As though each day was a life-or-death battle to be fought and won.


***


I’ll admit it.
Antagonism is easier.  

There are days when I desperately need to exorcise my outrage. Verbally point fingers. Name names. Cry out in fear. There are times when I have to actively fight the urge to demonize in a political climate that so often elicits my own feelings of
righteousness and disgust.

But soon after I give into my animalistic urges, I can't help but ask myself:  What purpose will my anger serve if it only perpetuates the dissonance I hope to correct?

Are we not mature enough to get pissed off and remain open to wading through some
ugly truths? And is it not possible to stand together in resistance without de-humanizing those we disagree with?

*** 


Chris and I have had some damn good fights in our four-plus years together. The worst of which happened a year and a half into our relationship, shortly after we moved in together.  It is an occasion that will forever be evidenced by a dent in the dining room wall.  


I don’t recall what time of day it was, or the exact words he spoke that set me off. Only that I was wearing my favorite bathrobe and holding onto my last bit of patience - along with a yellow coffee mug - when anger completely untethered me from reason. Without forethought or a remaining remnant of sanity, I threw that fucking cup against the wall. Hard. As if my life depended on it.


Years have passed and now, together we laugh at the dent in the wall. It signifies a turning point in our relationship when, with humility and the help of a highly-skilled therapist, we began building a foundation of trust strong enough to speak another language. 


Our most recent fight was a few weeks back on a Saturday night. Let's just say it involved a minor miscommunication and small amount of bourbon. The whole thing lasted less than a half-hour, just long enough for both of us to air our anger and differing perspectives before getting to the more essential business - that of apologies.  


We certainly don’t always agree. However, through practice we have learned that maturity means saying sorry
even when our feelings don't align with the facts. Together we know how to make room for two conflicting truths to co-exist in the same time and space. That, and two hearts filled with honest emotion. 

Love is our anchor when the shit hits the fan. And, as cliche as it might sound, when it is present for at least one of us,
 we both become strong enough to be vulnerable and real regardless of the narrative unfolding around us.

***


There is no way to sidestep division.
We must move through it.

If we want to unite people, parties, and nations - we have to grow up. Mature in our dialogues and be willing to sit through honest discussions about the many dissonant ways of being that we wish would just vanish from view. We have to replace condemnation with curiosity and do the emotional heavy lifting that compassion actually requires of us.

Real life (often painful) narratives are at the heart of the conflicts we currently face as a country and as a species. Activism will involve political resistance and continuously speaking out against the status quo. Absolutely. Do your part. Write your representative and do all you can to make sure your voice is heard. 

But also be sure to actualize your activism daily, stalking your knee-jerk responses to anyone who thinks and behaves differently than you. Never forget, the vast majority of people act in the way they do with the best of intentions. 
There is a story there, if you are willing to hear it. 

These are radical acts. Listening. Looking Closer.


And if you want to succeed in your aim to unify and educate, at times you will have to approach people at the level of feelings - examining not just the facts, but the needs that drive people to completely ignore them.

Educate yourself on the pervasive narratives that drive people toward odious behavior.
Do your part to assist as they rescript their world, one conversation at a time. 

Safety, justice, a sense of belonging - we all want the same things, we just have different strategies.

Take it from me… someone who grew up in the world so many are quick to condemn.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not always fear that creates division. 
Sometimes it’s love - misfiring.

If you want to help disavow a culture of ignorance, bigotry, and xenophobia, then you have to be willing to walk with others through some messy narratives (their's and your own) without looks of irony or indignation.

And you must say fuck-all to what-you-should-think long enough to speak candidly about the ways in which you-yourself might be sidestepping shame, projecting your own political over-corrections onto the people around you. 


If you want people to own their ignorance, then you’ll have to own yours. Climb down off your moral high horse. Listen to their truth & their story -
especially if it is out-of-sync with yours.  

Advocate for the best in those you disagree with by looking at them straight in the eye & listening without flinching.


That is unity.
That is love.

That is our only hope.

 




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Love & Limits: An Open Heart Has Edges


[Orginally published at:
womens-plaza.com on 3/21/16]

A few years ago I was teaching a dance class at a high-end fitness club. During a break between songs, something caught my eye. I turned to watch as a woman just outside of the window seemed to be running in slow motion. Shirt stained with sweat, her cheeks were flushed a brilliant red. She moved as if traipsing through quicksand. As she labored on I noticed she was harnessed to something just outside my line of sight. Her face contorted and she summoned the strength to propel herself forward - desperately tethered, yet just as fiercely committed. Just as the students in class turned to look, her personal trainer - a young man at the other end of her rope - came into view. He leaned back against her might and looked almost-bored as he literally resisted her call to action. 


“Wow. That looks a lot like my last relationship.” The words spilled forth and, before I could process my regret, the room full of women erupted in laughter. Apparently, I wasn’t alone in that sentiment.

While a certain degree of tension is to be expected in relationship, there may be times when we find ourselves pulling more than our share of the weight. We get angry. Resentful. We want to blame others for dragging their heels in tandem with our efforts. What’s with them anyway? Why do they have to make everything so damned difficult?!


Yet perhaps a better question to ask is: What’s with you? While it may seem like a loving act to continually pull people where you think they need to go, in reality you’re not doing yourself or anyone any favors. Sacrificing vital energy in any direction that consistently opposes you will invariably breed resentment.


My colleagues at the Women’s Plaza have recently offered some great fodder related to the topic of power expression. Danielle delivered a pragmatic crash course on how to say no. And Glaucia presented a demystifying look at work inequalities at home. Now let’s examine what typically lies at the center of our self-sacrifice.


Most debilitating emotional tethers are a result of poor boundaries. If your back is breaking and your heart rate is up, your exhaustion may be an indicator that you have disowned your limits. 


Sovereignty is the ability to honor and effectively express your edges. In our most intimate dealings, we often disown our boundaries for the sake of what we call unconditional love. In our efforts to be unselfish, we over-empathize and stop differentiating. We become unwilling to draw a line - to own or express our truth - because that isn’t what love would do. 


Now I assure you, I am a big fan of love. Love is the connective tissue that binds our lives to one another. It is limitless, expansive. It reaches our hearts and minds into an emotional stratosphere that lies far beyond the immaterial. 


Yet, like it or not, limits govern in a material world. Bypassing personal limits for the sake of love may be necessary from time to time; however, it is absolutely essential to our well-being that we don’t make a habit of it.


What would love do? Love will love, just as the wind will wind. A better question is: What will you do to honestly express your love AND your limits given the current conditions? 

An open heart has edges. We must treat our emotional heart-space as we would any other muscle - allowing it to contract with regularity so it might develop the strength and elasticity to expand to its fullest potential. 


Sovereignty takes practice. You can start now:


3 KEYS to SOVEREIGN SELF-EXPRESSION

1) CONFIDENCE
Do I embody my right to be happy no matter what I am “doing”? Or do I hustle to prove myself, allowing the roles that I play and my performance therein to define my worth? 


Embody your significance. 
Live the confidence credo = “I matter.”


2) DIFFERENTIATION
What’s mine and what isn’t? Do I allow the people I care about to tend to their own emotional experience? Or do I intervene, hoping to FIX it? 


Allow others the consequences of their choices. 
Habitual martyrdom only serves to disempower the people around you.


3) VULNERABILITY
Am I comfortable expressing my needs? Or does the idea of setting boundaries scare me? Am I willing to unpack, sort through dysfunctional models, and find a more honest and vulnerable way to draw lines in relationship to others? 


Together we can divorce the my-way-or-the-highway models we’ve long been fed and recreate a world where reciprocated vulnerability is  a shared cultural value.


Healthy expression of sovereignty has perhaps never been more critical than it is today.
And it starts with you. 





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When All You're Left With Is Righteousness


[Originally published at: rebellesociety.com on 2/13/16]

We live in a world profoundly divided by ideology. A world where we are continually exposed to extreme differences; differences that often result in conflict. In the circles I frequent, extreme conservative and right-wing sensibilities are a source of dissonance and frustration for many. And, I myself, can become offended and/or royally pissed off by the words and actions of others. News and social media offers me nonstop fodder to ignite this dissonance. At times I take the bait... rallying with others "together in favor" of this-and-that... and rising up "opposed to him or her".

And yet more and more I'm realizing that when we roll our eyes or condemn or grow frustrated with another human for not speaking or behaving in the manner that we would expect, we are missing the point entirely. Maybe it's not our politics or our beliefs that define how effective we are... perhaps it's the character with which we show up and navigate the realities of a shared humanity.

Consider this: When you are "offended" your psyche imagines it's been attacked. Yet in reality it's only a belief, a mental and/or emotional construct that is under fire. Something is rubbing up against what you "know" to be true and you feel a need to defend it.

But before you fire back, pause, and ask yourself:
Do you really want to wage a war? Even IF the cause you represent makes you feel 100% justified... is it necessary that you *fight back* in order to gain ground?

Maybe your answer is yes, but I challenge that. As human history has shown us, violence and divisiveness does not change minds; it destroys lives. If you are like me, and you don't believe in fighting wars, then check yourself as to how you approach everyday conflicts in your life.

We are on the brink of electing a giant bully as a nominee for president. And people on the left (and right) keep asking: HOW could this be happening?! How could someone like him be an option for so many? Yet the more I look around at the way so many of us handle conflict in our everyday lives, the less surprised I am.

Trump is a living-and-breathing representation of what happens when the human shadow is allowed to run amok. Left or right, when we point fingers, label others, and allow our ideology to keep us from being curious and willing... we are no different than him. Just because our labels are more flowery and politically-correct, it doesn't make them any less divisive.

Politically, it doesn't matter much if you swing left or right.
If you draw hard lines when it comes to difficult truths then there is a fundamental flaw in your aim.

Do you REALLY want people to open their minds?
Then open yours. Wider than ever.


Has rolling your eyes and/or shaming someone for their beliefs EVER worked to open a heart and ignite the love you hope to ins
pire?
I seriously doubt it.

Judging others for their ignorance reveals to them your arrogance, not your intellect.

Instead of wagging your finger in someone's face, why not offer up a nugget of wisdom?
TIP: Wisdom = vulnerability + personal experience. It's NOT the same thing as a political soundbite you read on the internet.

Tell them how you overcame *your own* biases and judgement. And ask them how they inherited theirs. Create a dialogue that has the potential for truth-telling, versus shaming them for a mental construct they most likely played little part in creating.

In a divided world, there is a desperate need for safe spaces where we can openly speak what is in our minds and hearts without fear of condemnation. Where we can practice owning our truth and saying... "Hey, I know this might not be popular, but here's where I'm at as of now."

Sidenote: this is not an argument for emotional or spiritual bypassing. It's not an invitation to turn up your headphones and tune out the troubles of the world in the name of good vibes. No. It's a call for honest to goodness human-to-human dialogue where hard truths are welcome and heard.

There are many ways to stand up for what you believe in... and I wholeheartedly believe that the world will become a peaceful place when we really get that "the-good-fight" isn't really a fight at all. It's a confidence firmly rooted in integrity and sovereign self expression.

And P.S. I'm learning right alongside you. So no need to knock me off of any high horse. ;)
We are all going the best we can. Let's all practice (& do better) together.







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All Isn't Lost


I haven't blogged for months now. I only write publicly when the genuine urge arises, and it's been awhile since I've felt the itch. Today the desire to share emerged and, after nearly two hours drafting an article, I inadvertently hit the wrong key on my screen. 

Boom. Just like that. It was all lost. 

Of course this isn't the first time I've experience this. As a writer, technology fails happen from time to time. But something about today's thwarted attempt at communication immediately angered me. I shouted profanities at my computer and then scrambled for an autosave miracle. A little voice inside tried coaxing me back to center
(Just let it go, C), and I pushed back against it. But I had worked hard on that. After one more heavy sigh of irritation, I opened this page: a blank document without an agenda.

Somewhat ironically, the piece I was working on was about a recent realization. To sum it up: At the ripe age of forty, I've come to realize that my work ethic (a do-or-die survival strategy toward action) is no longer serving me and that I'm ready to build a life around who-I-actually-am versus the almighty All That I Can Do. 

So yes, please feel free to laugh along with me that "all my hard work" unexpectedly disappeared into the ethers in an instant... forcing me to ask the question at the heart of the message I had spent all morning laboring over: 
Who will I be if everything that I "do" is stripped from me? 

As it turns out:
Still me. Still enough.
Autosave fail = nothing lost.
Blog published = nothing gained. 

Happiness isn't something I have to work for and the joy of expression isn't found or expressed through some pre-formulated agenda, the week's ah-hahs, or the social metrics of what other people seem to want of me.  

I'm 40. It's time to enjoy my voice without reshaping it at every turn.
So here goes: I offer ten more-honest minutes of two hours (un)wasted. 

I'm sending you me. Me instead of IT. 

Art is life in real time.
& it's more than enough to satisfy the soul. 




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The Dark Side of Passion

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I recently ran into this meme on Facebook, and it really got me thinking.

Passion. Sometimes it shows up as brilliant creative inspiration, yet it's invitations aren't always so gracious. I've found that - like most things - passion comes in all shades, and its darker impulses sometimes overwhelm me. When I feel lost to a yearning, my wounds and/or latent desires can unwind me from reason and lead me to project a zealous fixation onto someone or something outside of me. In these rare instances a passionate hunger envelops, consumes, and infatuates my senses. I lose touch with myself for the sake of latent desire's ravenous need to announce and full-fill itself.

Yet most news is good news if you know how to frame it.

I've come to believe that, even when we find ourselves bat-shit-crazy, passion is present because something within us has come alive. A potential has been sparked even if we may not be ready or fully equipped to own or express it. We are "out there" aching passionately for HIM/HER or IT or THAT because we are starved for an expression and/or change that is coming alive within and through us.

A few years ago, I had a wicked crush on a distant colleague. I mean it. I was dumbstruck by her presence, her beauty, and her unabashed embodiment of her sensual wow-factor when she danced. She seemed fearless and irreverently expressive, and I was drawn to her... enamored. I wanted what she had and therefore longed to know her and befriend her so that I could bask in her courage. I emulated her movement and attempted to forge a bond. Thankfully she didn't reciprocate my desire for connection, and I was left to seek nourishment on my own. What began for me as an echoing of the confidence she demonstrated, soon turned into my own brand of sexy-self possession. Once I embodied the potential she had helped to unearth in me, once I began to express it on my own, her presence no longer influenced me in the same way and her unavailability and disinterest in me no longer pained me the way it had early on. My passion found it's sovereign and rightful expression and the experience taught me a shit-ton about the how&why of SO many former infatuations in my life, both in friendship and in matters of the heart.

The point is this...
On the other side of our madness lies our truth.

Whenever I'm busy longing for HIM or IT or THAT, I no longer step forward. I take a step back and I take stock. I know now that a hungry passion longs deeply for an inner devotion to what is ripening with ME. It's inviting me to show up and express something in a way that I never have before. And when I am courageous and vulnerable enough to become responsive (vs. reactive), I'm emboldened by passion's dark and elusive callings as well as its more brilliant inspirations.

I've found that ALL shades of passion contain within them the potential to feed my creative advancement when coupled with sovereignty and the willingness to take my power back.

Own your bat-shit-crazy... & don't allow it to own you.



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Why?


Earlier this morning, I had tea with a dear friend who is struggling, justifiably so as she feels suspended between the life she longs to be living and more immediate emotional and financial burdens. I know all too well the pain of this divide. As I listened, my heart bled and my mind fumbled for words. I wanted more than anything to soothe her, to somehow save her from the pain that weighed so heavy against her.

Tears spilled from her eyes as she wondered aloud: "why"?
"Why me? Why this? Why now?"

Now I'll be honest, a half decade ago I would have swept in with reassurances. I would have attempted to force feed her my love, lacing it with new age dogma. Hell, I may have even insisted upon some bullshit promise about her future - one that I have absolutely no business making.

But as it turns out, today is the fifth anniversary of my brother's sudden and tragic death... and when he left this world he inadvertently took something of mine with him - namely, my sense of anything and everything I held as certain in the world. Beginning five years ago today, each and every day has become a question mark waiting to be answered.

Except for when it comes to one.
Because some questions have no answer.
And apparently WHY?... is really none of our damned business.

Experience has taught me that "why's" of the existential variety are attempts to understand a vantage point that is totally and utterly incomprehensible to our human sensibilities. Asking why implies that order and justice exist in this world. While this may or may not be true on a grandiose scale (I'll leave your spirituality to you), there is no denying that justice doesn't always prevail on the surface of things.

So... Why?
I don't know why.

What I DO know is that when we are caught in despair, distracting ourselves with unanswerable queries only fuels the pain. Grief and seasons of life that seem unfair and/or too difficult to swallow are emotion-drenched tsunamis.

What good is a weather report when you're drowning?

We may never know why.
And we certainly won't get over it.
We can, however, move through it.
Bit by bit. Breath by breath. Choice by choice.

Stop asking why, ask instead for honest support, and then feel it all. Despair, hopelessness, judgement, anger, and the absolute pinnacle of pain - that I-just-don't-give-a-fuck-anymore moment when an old canvas is finally torched and a your new life is born.

Yours in Creation AND Destruction,
Candice

P.S. Here's a related poem I wrote back in 2011, less than a year after Tony's passing. It's called:
"three letter word"



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Near Miss: Waking up in Istanbul


There are times in life when we are sideswiped; taunted but not overtaken by a certain fate. 
Perhaps it's a desirable outcome that slimly passes us by, such as a long-coveted job or relationship that doesn't pan out in the end. Disappointment reveals to us its hidden gifts, forcing us to re-evaluate our priorities and find even greater clarity than before. 

But what about "near misses" of the dramatic and fortuitous variety?... times when life narrowly misses a more disastrous mark? Roughly four weeks ago today was one such moment in my life. 

My partner and I were
traveling abroad, and it was our last morning in Turkey. Over the past week we had ventured 2500 miles by bus with a local guide, visiting ancient landmarks such as Cappadocia, Pamukkale, and Ephesus. Back in Istanbul for roughly 48 hours, we'd been exploring the vast metropolis on our own. Our plan was to squeeze in a tour of the Basilica Cistern along with a couple of more sites before our departure to Venice later that day.

Our hotel was in the Fatih shopping district, an area near historic landmarks that offered a hefty discount for the off-season. We'd slept in a bit, then headed outdoors where the temperature was rapidly dropping. As we scurried through the cobblestone side streets, snow began whipping sideways at our faces. I rallied toward the morning's mission for the sake of all we'd invested in time and money; yet even when I'm at my best extreme winter weather has the tendency to derail my enthusiasm. My will for adventure was wilting under the weight of the wind, and with each step I grew more resentful of our unrelenting itinerary. It certainly didn't help matters that, a bit tired of Turkish fare, all I'd been able to stomach for breakfast was a piece of toast. I was growing more light-headed and irritable by the minute. 

In a plot twist I'd soon come to expect while traveling abroad, we reached the metro stop nearest to our hotel only to discover it was inexplicably closed. Backtracking yet again, we headed to our hotel to regroup. The most direct passage was along a narrow street. Leaving barely enough room for one vehicle to pass, its path ran parallel to the busy highway above. Weather and sound assaulted my weary body, and I couldn't wait to retreat indoors... so I led the way with dogged determination, power-walking with my hood up and my head down to the wind. Chris followed close behind. I had just moved up off of the street onto what I can only presume was meant to be a sidewalk - a claustrophobic brick embankment no more than two feet wide jutting away from the building that loomed four-stories high on my right. Lost in my single-minded mission, my senses would soon betray me. I vaguely recall hearing an approaching truck on my left, yet I mistook the sound for traffic along the highway above. It was in this exact wrong moment that I chose to step off the curb back into the street. When I did I was met with a sudden and terrifying burst of energy. 

I felt the unmistakeable power of speed and metal as a commercial truck quite literally grazed my coat. I heard myself release a guttural scream as it passed. I didn't know what else to do; there was no time or space to move in any direction but toward hope. The truck missed me by less than a measure of an inch. 


I frantically made my way back up onto that two-foot bullshit-of-a-sidewalk and leaned in against Chris. My body shook with overwhelm and the terror a deer must feel when narrowly missed by a bullet. Chris did his best to calm the both of us; yet needless to say, seeing me nearly mauled by a truck had really done a number on him as well. 

Eventually we made our way back to the hotel and sat in the lobby gratitude-stricken and stunned by the silent presence of what could have been. I verbally alternated between breathless relief: "oh God... oh THANK God" and manic awe: "holy fucking shit... holy FUCKING shit!" Once safety settled in, I had no choice but to ask myself: How I could have been so distracted and out of my body as to step in front of a moving vehicle totally unaware? 

Shock dissolved into realization.

Tears pooled, the answer swimming within. 

I had (once again) been exhausted by my mind's ambitions. The truth was this: I was miserable with fatigue and a road-weary part of me desperately needed stillness and tending to. It wasn't the first time that I had ignored my needs for the sake of an external enterprise. It wasn't the first time I had fallen out of step with me, placing the rhythm of someone I love (in this case, my partner) before my own. But it WAS the first time it had almost cost me my life or god-only-knows-how-many weeks in a Turkish hospital. 

I have a hard time standing still while the rest of the world moves at an even clip. And so, I bully myself to conform and carry on. I do as is expected and push through resistance. I rally. I suck it up. I power through. I push to (ap)prove my place in the world, unconsciously defying the direction in which my internal compass points. 

I had gone halfway across the world to be reminded that no matter where we find ourselves on the map, without sovereignty and self care we are lost. Susceptible to life's bittersweet and sometimes reckless re-calibrations. 


The looming presence of that truck weighed against the left side of my body for the next few days along with the beautiful and haunting realization that I had been spared from injury. I had stepped off that curb at just the wrong time but at just the right angle so as to avoid being hit. How is that? What if I had swung my arm a bit wider? What if I had stepped outward even an inch more, instead of just to the left of the curb? Two possible fates intertwined and by some chance I was granted the thread more fortunate. 

Just the night before, I was watching one of the few English channels we had available in our hotel room. A news reporter told the story of a seven year old girl in Kentucky who was the lone survivor in an airplane crash that took the lives of her four other family members. She had not only survived the crash without major injury, she had walked barefoot in total darkness for over a kilometer in a rural area, somehow venturing in the one direction in which she had any hope of finding help. With unlikely success, she was rescued. 

While my experience pales in comparison, I couldn't help but
wonder why? Why were she and I spared when so many others haven't been? I couldn't help but think of the tragic loss of my brother back in 2010; my heart still breaks that his was not a near miss. Nor was the recent devastation of a friend who lost her six year old daughter three days before Christmas because someone ran a stop sign. I witness this extraordinary mother gracefully navigate an unimaginable loss and am both heartsick and aglow with wonder at her strength and will to carry on. Life and death can seem so arbitrary; loss delivers its blow with such indifference. While a great many will try to, we can't possibly decode the mystery that unfurls each fate.

Disaster. Miracle. 

Misfortune. Lucky break. 
I'm not convinced that any of these exist. 

I am certain only of the mysterious grace that both binds and rips us apart. Life is a wild beast of a thing that cannot be harnessed. Untamed and fiercely loving, she is as ill-behaved and nourishing as a storm... and our arrogant attempts to explain the unexplainable are distractions from drinking in her rains more fully. 

To near misses. And to all things unfinished & undone.
... (( )).



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What Is This Life? (WiTL)


Early this week I returned from 25 days of traveling abroad. The first part of our journey was spent exploring the landscapes and western coastline of Turkey, steeping ourselves in ancient history. Italy was next. Naples and the Amalfi Coast, soon followed by Venice, Florence, and Rome. It was an ambitious adventure to say the least. 

There is vacation. And there is travel. 
Travel is voyage driven by curious zeal, a soulular reach for adventure its whimsy lies outside of the tangibilities of reason. As opposed to vacation, travel's medicine lies not in the destination but in the journey itself. Everyday norms are challenged. Ways of being collide with cultural divides. Plans are thwarted, and ever-changing itineraries loom large. Travel is a rite of passage where outcome is uncertain yet wholeheartedly embraced as somehow essential to who we are becoming. Travel is a voyage outside of expected comforts, into the unexpected self. 

And let's be REAL... travel is a
privilege. The majority of people in the world (many of whom I know) simply can't afford to travel. Vacations can be carved in and around weekends and holidays... but travel requires an elasticity of time, money, and physical stamina. The fact that my partner and I are childless, able-bodied, and blessed enough to have been able to voyage in this way... this is a gift that I am doing my best to shamelessly receive. Gratitude has been my constant companion, every step of the way. And yet, it's also worth noting that travel is a largely romanticized notion, reveled in by outside observers... idealized through glossy photos and carefully-crafted captions. Facebook albums represent only picturesque moments captured for digital display, never doing justice to the journey. 

My favorite images show you only rainbows... while travel is a mighty storm to be braved. Full-spectrum beauty is reserved for those willing to pass through the thunderous elements along the way. Said another way: 16 cities visited. 14 hotel check-ins. 8 flights. 6 train rides. Roughly a dozen bus rides + a rental car driven on the treacherous streets of the Amalfi Coast (thankfully Chris is a road-savvy New Yorker). Add to that countless hours walked, missed trains/bus stops, and language barriers to boot. 

Travel well and stress & splendor will collide.
Growth is delivered through dichotomy. Irresistible moments: such as the silence of a pastel sunrise over the canals of Venice, the otherworldly beauty of Pammukkale's breathtaking white landscapes, or a Turkish New Year's Eve celebration (it's unrivaled... much like the marinara sauce at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it). Travel serves up each gift with a slice of humble pie, challenging and refining our sense of what is rightful and norm. Try getting a taxi driver in Istanbul to drive you less than two kilometers; it's a virtual impossibility (so what if you have luggage, not their problem). Feel helplessness and heartbreak as you watch a stray dog and two whiny eight-week old puppies cry and itch their skin raw while Pergamon locals stroll by with casual indifference. Spend your first couple of hours abroad hurling in the perfume-laden airport water closet (aka: bathroom) due to a bumpy 10 hour flight and some bad cheese (let's just say Paris wasn't my favorite stop... city of love and lights my ass. Again, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it). 

Bitter blends with sweetness to make the flavor real and right.

Was our voyage always an easy one? Hell to the no. 

Was it worth it? Most emphatically, YES.

Early on in the trip, a personal mantra emerged: 

What is this life?!
... this, the unanswerable question that best encapsulated the beautiful ugly totality of my experience. Four words that unexpectedly spilled from my lips as I took in a sunset along Positano's majestic cliffside; she left me gasping and gaping at her beauty. And again I uttered them (this time I added a couple more syllables for good measure... WTF..iTL?!!) as we stood stranded on an unmarked road in Rome. Exhausted, lost, and angry we walked two miles with all our baggage in tow. 

Four words that captured both awe-inspiring gratitude and perpetual befuddlement
... thus offering me a way to maintain good humor and conjure the humility and grace required to accept all the unexpected gifts being thrown my way. WiTL? These four words, like the bells at Campanile di Giotto in Florence still ring in my ears... reminding me to be thankful and to fully inhabit the full spectrum of my experience. There and then. Here and now. 

DSCN4845

I am beyond fortunate to have been blessed by such an adventure... rest assured, that is not lost on me. And yet I must admit that the absolute greatest gift has been found in the return home. Mundane comforts are now miraculous gifts waiting to be opened.  

Sharing with you is one of them.
Thanks for reading. xo




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Life Without Facebook :: My 30-Day Social Media Fast


Last Saturday marked the final day of my 30-day social media cleanse. Both clients and friends have expressed curiosity around my experience, so I thought I'd share publicly. This article is lengthy compared to most; it feels that important. Advanced apologies to those of you who have to rally in order to read something longer than a status update. If that sounds like you, all the more reason to READ ON. ;)

The impetus to unplug (from Facebook in particular) had been building for awhile. Interaction with my newsfeed had become increasingly similar to my relationship with lattes and red wine. Totally a treat in small doses, still damn good in moderation, and pretty much toxic once dependency became the norm. Scrolling had become a chronic escape - laced with the subtle and superficial anxiety that characterizes any addiction. I decided it was high time to see what would happen if I were to quit cold-turkey.

30 Days without Facebook :: Here's what I learned >>>

The first solid day of my social media fast, I noticed an unfamiliar spaciousness in my schedule.
This surprised me, as I didn't think I logged that much time on the book of faces. But as it turns out... I. so. did. It was my go-to distraction more often than I cared to admit and as it turns out, it was taking up quite a bit of mental and emotional bandwidth. 

I'd check Facebook first thing in the morning, scroll my newsfeed while having a cup of hot tea. Less than an hour later I'd be back at it, tracking post engagement via my iPhone just before heading in to teach a class. After my morning workout - still dripping wet with sweat and endorphins - I'd responding with Pavlovian-like obedience to message notifications and red alerts demanding my attention. On and on it went each and every day... five minutes here, ten minutes there... mindless scrolling... precious minutes devoured by an insatiable newsfeed. Results are now in: It added up to hours at the end of each day. And as a business owner I had convinced myself that all of this was necessary. Within 2-3 days I realized with emphatic certainty that it wasn't; I'd been under a spell. 

#1 ~ THE URGENCY of social media is a LIE (& I'm calling its bluff!).
This first realization was the most immediate and palpable - a reminder of something I learned in my first business course over a decade ago: what's urgent is rarely what's important. Business or not, the incessant accessibility of social media is misleading to our senses. We set up notifications as a convenience, but in reality they result in energy wasted. Not to mention, we become so reactive to external digital cues that it keeps us from being responsive to what it is we value in any given moment. 

I had attuned myself to a digital fixation... a little red circle inviting me to pop-on, peruse, post, process, and re-present my virtual self to the world.
And as soon as I was no longer chronically main-lining a perpetual content drip... once I abruptly quit... I felt the familiar relief and terror on the other side of any addiction. A vast expanse of unknown; the spaciousness of countless possibilities unattended to. What was "urgent" could no longer derail me from all that was important. Suddenly all that mattered was what mattered to me, now. And oh shit... what WAS that? [Cue: usual reach for phone as distraction from the answer; with Facebook disabled, my phone echoed with silence]. Suddenly I had no choice but to consciously attune myself to more internal cues. 

What would a sudden surplus of time and space amount to?
 The most immediate results weren't what I expected. I didn't work on my book or catch up on emails. I hardly touched my laptop for nearly a week, and my phone battery lasted three solid days instead of one. I nested and enjoyed the sensation of un-invaded mental space. My home transformed into a sanctuary as I used my free time to pour attention into my three-dimensional reality. There was greater stillness within my mind. I felt more content, stress-free and at peace in my heart. 

And though I wasn't trying to be productive (like, at ALL) I watched my to-do list dwindle before my eyes - primarily due to the fact that I wasn't perpetually adding to it. No longer did I have a dozen open tabs in my browser weighing me down with must-see articles, videos and limited time offers. I didn't keep up with him or her, decide on this or that, or chronically compare myself to every other woman/writer/coach/agent of inspiration within a million mile radius. I wasn't adding to my to-do list at all... I was free to source my priorities from within once I stopped concerning myself with others. Which led me to an even greater realization. 

#2 ~ POPULARITY isn't productive (at least for me it sure in the hell isn't!).
Must. create. online. presence. Must. gain. more. likes. Look!, says the ad box... so-and-so has x-many likes and followers. How many do YOU have? Social proof has become the new currency and divorcing the digital onslaught suddenly freed me from a self-imposed pressure to prove myself via online metrics. I won't pretend that this is true for everyone but in MY line of work, popularity doesn't pay the bills or align me with those whom I most want to serve. Resonance. Trust. Loyalty. Word of mouth. Those who genuinely want what I bring... they respond and spread the word organically. That's how lasting relationships with loyal readers and clients have developed over the years; and it hasn't really changed much, even in the new age of social media. 

Clients gained through product launches, social networking campaigns and/or Yelp! had rarely stuck around. I had been "buying" into the idea that online marketing and visibility was key... but the truth is, it had never translated into dollars and/or the quality of engagement that delivers meaningful results. I was gaining more "likes" and "engagement" but how is that productive when: 1) it doesn't create meaningful or lasting connections and 2) it continually keeps me from doing what I am designed to do. And even if heightened visibility via social media will somehow lead to long-term payoffs, it certainly doesn't feel worth the current full-time investment it's requiring. Not even close.

Upon logging off, my productivity did go way up... but with an unexpected twist. By sequestering myself from the incessant pressure of the online rat race, my priorities shifted pretty considerably. For a month now I've been doing what I feel genuinely called to do versus circumnavigating the maddening insistence of what so much outside influence would have me attend to. I'm being more deliberate in my choosing of who and what I want to spend my attention, time, and energy on. Which led me directly to another realization:

Too much social media makes me anti-social. Generally speaking, my empathic sensitivities can lead me to be somewhat resistant to social engagement. And sometimes I even use "introversion" as an excuse to justify what is something else altogether - emotional avoidance. Well as it turns out, Facebook had been giving me another convenient excuse to do just that - hold friendships and relationships at an arms length. About a week into my fast I noticed a largely-foreign desire surfacing in me. I yearned to see people in the flesh... to reach out for real-time connection. I called friends. I set up tea dates. I enthusiastically dropped in for eye contact and deep sighs of appreciation. Leading me to the most obvious of ah-hahs.

#3 ~ CONNECTION will never replace intimacy (yet it was certainly keeping me from it!).
Without a doubt social media offers us connection. When it comes to maintaining associations from a distance, I am a big fan of technology and its virtues. Real-time photos of far off family members, snapshots of other worlds, global exposure of social causes, and courageous ones who inspire me from afar... all of these are invaluable connections that I missed during my hiatus. Things I'll continue to enjoy moving forward. Having said that:

I'd saturated myself in connection and used it to bypass deeper levels of intimacy.
I'd been trading-in the rich vulnerability of one-on-one for the safe distance of virtual engagement. As we all know, intimacy delivers riches that digital connection could never afford us. To be intimate is to offer the gift of full presence and raw truth without diluted distraction, filters, or (and this is of utmost importance) the need for collective validation. True intimacy requires a level of confidence, courage and authenticity that online networking will never be able to replicate. 

All things considered in my own cost-benefit analysis of social media, Facebook is starting to become a cluttered wasteland of diminishing returns. And yet so many of us (me included) consider it utterly indispensable. When I shared with friends and colleagues that I was going social media free for thirty days, I heard the same thing again and again" "Wow, that sounds fabulous! I wish that I could do that. But I HAVE to be on Facebook. Ya know... for business." This I get; I've uttered those words verbatim. Yet now I'm starting to question this entrepreneurial assumption, particularly as the landscape of social media shifts. Times they are a-changin, and Facebook is no longer the grassroots marketing forum that it used to be. 

#4 ~ VISIBILITY isn't guaranteed (unless you wanna pay for it via engagement or dollars).
Social media has changed dramatically in the past five to ten years. It's reached a critical mass of dependency, leading to more advertisers and algorithm-directed content. More algorithms = less customization, resulting in a force-fed experience. For example, on my newsfeed (even my on Close Friends feed, supposedly customizable) I longer see an equitable sample of posts from people I've selected. I see posts seemingly at random or via avid junkies. Friends that post inconsistently aren't even visible much of the time, no matter how I tweak my settings or how far down I scroll. On my main newsfeed, space previously devoted to people of my choosing is now reserved for ads... featured posts from colleagues willing to pay for visibility. 

It is rapid progression toward an engagement-reward model where "being seen" on Facebook is reserved for like/share-happy addicts, corporate entities with marketing teams, and/or pay-per-click advertisers. It's an at-your-fingers digital slot machine that feeds on attention. Constant engagement is king. Therefore, for those of us who want a life outside of a newsfeed, Facebook's relevance is rapidly diminishing. We are slowly and incrementally being cast into the shadows while simultaneously being robbed of choice; and when choice is compromised a tool rapidly begins to lose potency. We no longer power it. It powers us. 

And yet having said ALL that, I'm not done with Facebook. Not yet anyway. Its benefits still weigh in heavily; and there are many things that I missed while I was away. People and opportunities that made me fall in love with social media in the first place... I'm not ready to give those up. My intention here is to share with you how exactly I will be more conscious moving forward. Engaging less and investing more in a life outside of the cries of hungry news feed. 

If you can relate to any of the above, I invite you to JOIN ME. Question the fallacies that drive social media addiction: a false sense of urgency, fixation on metric validation, trading connection for intimacy, and unconsciously giving your attention-as-currency to what is rapidly becoming a digital money machine. 

Social media doesn't have to be a fixating time-suck... it can be softer, more fluid and playful... and in support of everyday living in real life. Scrolling is a choice, not a necessity. 

When you feel a digital reflex kick in, here are 3 very simple steps at your disposal:
1. Move cursor, top right.
2. Drop down menu selection: "Log Off"
3. Scroll the newsfeed within that bold & beautiful heart of yours...
& share in real time.




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Growing Smaller

Last night I dreamt I was caring for a baby who grew younger by the minute. When the dream began, he spoke words to me... but in less than a minute's time he became infantile, shrinking in the folds of his blanketed bassinet. I grew frantic in my efforts to save him. Yet even as I pumped his small chest with my index finger to resuscitate his tiny heart, it grew smaller and smaller. Then I watched as his bright blue spirit rose up and out of a now fetus-like shell. 

Since waking, I've been reflecting upon the backwards beauty of his return. 

October crept and then leapt upon me. It's been unseasonably warm here in Portland, and yet even still... Fall. She knows her place. Autumn has always been my annual pivot point... I shed with her far more psychic weight than any so-called "new year" ever warrants. What exactly this next clearing will invite to die and bloom forth I won't pretend to know. Yet I feel myself slowing down... shaking my head no... backing away from the spotlight and the need to perform. 

We live in a world that is chronically expansive. One where we validate our existence through productive advances. As a result, we have vilified the sacredness of contraction. 

When did growing smaller become so unholy?
Be it an economy, a womb, or a long-term relationship... all things move through seasons of fear-laden tensing and tightening in order to generate the strength to push through with more integrity and greater power than ever before. This year I won't fight against autumn's love for me, nor she will have to wrestle me to the ground as she's done in so many years past.

I will settle in. I will allow. And await her naked and hearty contractions. 

When you feel yourself growing smaller

and it's not yet time to push
What will you do?


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Pity Party, Anyone?


Every now and then (like earlier today), out of nowhere life throws me yet another curveball and I feel the urge to fall into a why-me-self-pity-party-puddle. Yet lately, whenever I start to go there - IF I stay mindful and I don't get tangled in the lair of circumstance - a reality check zooms across my radar right around the same time and I'm instantly reminded that my "problems" are pretty benign compared to what so many face (profound injustice, heartbreaking losses, health crises, and so on). I'm deeply humbled and inspired to regularly see people who are exponentially more challenged than I am showing up with so much gratitude, humor, and grace. 

Seriously, y'all... lately I have more heroes than I can count.
In fact, some of you may even be reading this now.

The point is this: No matter the challenge we face, there's always someone out there who would trade places with us in a heartbeat.

Keepin' it real AND in perspective... that's where it's at. 

So now my overall take on today (and every day) is this...

Lucky me.


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"Like" It Or Not


First of all, I'd like to thank Danielle LaPorte for another refreshing & transparent peek into that gorgeous heart of hers. Yesterday she offered some radically-real food for thought on visibility, inspiring this post. (
read it here)

For years now, I've had some pretty mixed feelings about stepping into the online spotlight and "making a name" for myself in the virtual world. Recently, I've come to terms with the fact that my ambitions are far more understated than I once thought; my bliss much more simply had. For example, an ill-fitting notion I once allowed to drive me (incessant actioning fueled by the belief that success as a writer/coach equates with becoming an online persona) has become largely counterproductive to my overall well-being. Not mention it's inherently at odds with my bohemian sensibilities. As such, I regularly disregard online entrepreneurial conventions - ie: weekly blogs and editorial calendars make me wanna hurl.

Why box myself into promises today that I'll resent tomorrow?

So more and more
I'm allowing the soothing hum of my lusciously free-spirit to drown out the deafening roar of ambition (a steam engine train that once ensured my survival). I'm allowing for more S P A C E to live a life that offers reverence to my glorious inconsistencies and the more natural rhythms of my humanity.

I write/work/create best when I do so with organic integrity. Perhaps I'll set fire to my bus(y)ness plan and divorce the maniacal should-storm of productivity that is supposedly the precursor to visibility and abundance. Instead I'll exchange vows with what feels congruent in the ever-orbiting constellations of now. And why in the hell not?
The past two years have shown me that generating emotional wealth yields far greater returns than my workaholic tendencies ever did.

And yet, truth be told, I've gotta break out of an addictive pattern and consciously turn my attention away from the social media rat race that stares me down on a daily basis. I must stop scrolling; seek impact through immediate encounters versus "likes" on a feed. Witnessing a client come alive, editing pages for my book, laughing with friends, tending to my home... all of these carry a depth and magnitude of connection that a "share" button could never replicate.

No, I'm not trash-talking social media, and I won't be leaving Facebook anytime soon. I'd just like to create a healthier relationship to it. I'm challenging my own belief that popularity (aka: visibility) is a precursor to paying the bills. I don't wanna go back to high school sensibilities and continually clamor for your attention via the latest business trend.
I'd rather just do me and hope for the best.

Now don't get me wrong, there are many people I admire out there, lighting up my feed with inspiration and awesome goodness galore. And I sincerely admire the courage it takes to be noticed in a world where visibility all-too-often equates with celebrity status and the continual onslaught of projection contained therein. Hats off to those (such as Danielle) who navigate their success with grace and integrity. Yet I also applaud the courage it takes to show up for the innumerable uncelebrated and invisible glories that life has to offer. Those that can't be contained in a scrolling newsfeed: nurturing a loved one, speaking a difficult truth, laughter with friends, gazing into the eyes of an animal, or taking in the humble majesty a forest.

Facebook can be functional; it's a voyeuristic playground of connection that (at its best) allows for a more expansive expression of self. Yet it's no true metric of success or connection in real time.

When the reach for visibility trumps everyday pleasures.
When scrolling becomes an addictive pastime.
When approval is largely linked to the click of a cursor.
When we mistake a series of comments for a conversation.
When we no longer dig in the dirt, dabble, read, or knit....
It is then that social media no longer serves us; it becomes a distraction from the impact we are designed to have in real life.

Your attention is a privilege, not a commodity. And I will treat it as such.
Like it or not. I'm quite simply grateful if you made it this far.
Thanks for reading.


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Self Serving It Up


My best friend recently uncovered her authentic calling; it's been right under her nose all along quite literally looking her square in the eye. Caring for and communicating with animals has always been her personal salvation, it never occurred to her there was market value in it.

A client I spoke to a couple of days ago was feeling stuck about his next steps. Forty-five minutes into our talk I learned that he has a hidden stash of creative treasures he's never made public. I could feel him come alive, inspiration surging through the earpiece as he spoke of a secret passionate edge he's yet to fully explore.

Last week when I was visiting my mom in Kansas, she mentioned that she had discovered a few boxes of my things in storage. Plenty of goodies awaited: my first jewelry box, a dusty letter jacket that I was both shocked and delighted to discover still fit me, and loads of photos and writings from my youth. Tucked in between love notes and notebooks strewn with puppy-love proclamations there it was again, the one constant in my life.
Poetry. I was a bit dumbstruck realizing just how far back it goes; I've been comforting myself through the written word for near as long as I've been eating and breathing. 

As Elizabeth Gilbert reveals in her most recent
must-watch TedTalk"If you're wondering what your home is, here's a hint: Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself." In my experience, so-called purpose isn't discovered out there, through career counseling or job-hop trial and error. Knowing how you might serve is uncovered through everyday experiences and the many ways in which you naturally express yourself when there is no agenda other than love. 

Want to leave your mark on the world? Self serve it up.
Do & share more of what that serves the greatest purpose to you. 



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Transmute vs. Transcend


For me, creatively birthing anything means riding waves... passing through phases of brilliant clarity and inspiration followed by contractions, labor pains pushing me into the next expression yet-unknown. 

Darkness, self doubt, uncertainty, they are all with me today. 

And I am grateful because I've come to learn that the dark is nothing to fear; it's nothing to frantically rise above, deny, or apologize for. It is instead a resting place for a tender and vulnerable wisdom that can be gently and kindly coaxed the surface. 

Darkness can be just as sacred and glorifying as the light, if you are willing to bask in it.


What will you
do when darkness descends? Perhaps you don't have to seek escape from it; instead kindly pay homage by giving it a voice or vehicle of some kind. I suggest sharing your vulnerable truth in a trusted container and/or creating something that honors its place in your life. 

Case in point, today when I sat down to work on
my book & I was up against a WALL.  So I graffiti-painted it with this.

Got darkness? Transmute versus transcend.
No need to leave any piece of you behind. 


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Money. Is it a reason not to?


Money. Is it a reason not to
Some adamantly argue that it shouldn't be. They say that getting what we want is up to us; that it's a function of pragmatics and priorities. Others tell us to clean up our energies, unconsciously shaming us for not thinking or behaving more abundantly.

As someone who has experienced negative net-worth more than once in my life, I'd argue that both arguments are grossly oversimplified. While we can ALWAYS take greater responsibility for our choices, money itself isn't always fair trade. Work that satisfies the soul doesn't necessary leave a surplus in the bank account. For many of us, there are seasons in life that place basic needs at the forefront - transitions that require we tighten our belts a bit. Sometimes we simply don't have access to the support we desire and - look out new-age generalists - perhaps we aren't to blame for that. When did money become a metric for how spiritually or emotionally advanced we are? I'm not buying it.

I sincerely wish that Personal Development could be a viable line item in everyone's budget, but it's simply not the case. There are many times in our lives when we desperately need support, and we can't responsibly justify the expense (especially with necessary regularity). When our financial reality perpetually trumps our needs, we endlessly postpone what matters to us most.

That's why I'm rolling out a new offering. Each month I will be opening a handful of pay-what-you-can dates and times. Book one of these limited-availability time slots and you'll be able to name your price (whatever that might be) for one full hour of 1:1 coaching. You pay what you can safely and honorably afford. No more & no less. No strings attached.

PayWhatYouCanWide-email
If you're interested, act quickly. These limited timeframes are filling up fast! I've only got two openings left for July... August & September dates will be announced via Facebook soon (LIKE my biz page to stay in the loop). 

Existing clients, 
email me to inquire about dates. New clients are also very welcome following a short intake Q&A (to ensure we are a fit).

Coaching isn't a recipe for salvation; it's alliance with your potential. I offer depth of clarity, and the support & accountability you need to move toward what truly matters to you. And btw, I specialize in difficult truths. 

Contact me if you feel ready to take action around what's got you feeling stuck.
, Candice


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The Cleansing of Conformity


It's Day 11 of my 30-day cleanse, and I'm noticing how many people associate the term "cleansing" with fasting and/or extreme dieting. I'm getting a lot of wide-eyed wonder that may be a bit misplaced. There are oh-so-many ways to clear the body of toxins and countless detox plans out there... many of which require pretty hard core deprivation. It's a little crazy-making for many people to consider weaving a cleanse into their daily lives. So how have I been doing it? By educating myself and carving out a unique plan that works for me.

Admittedly, having a live-in partner in crime (& cleansing) does make the process easier. Thus far we've abstained from all carbs, grains, soy, gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and most sugars (disclaimer: we're allowing a bit of honey and raw cacao here and there - rebels that we are). We're still eating loads of veggies, many fruits, fish and lean meats. Next week we will kick things into hyperdrive a little, letting go of meats and doing a short stint of raw juicing... but only as long as our bodies respond willingly. Starvation isn't on our agenda. The final phase will add in the final elements: purging and clearing of physical space + a much-needed digital detox.

Now that I've passed through the homicidal hrrummph! of withdrawal... things are really humming along and I'm reminded again why I do this. CLARITY. No, not in some holier-than-thou kind of sense... but literal clarity. My mind is sharpening and opening up to new possibilities. My emotions are leveling out; way less irritation, way more joy. And my physical energy is buzz-buzz-buzzing at a natural high from the time I wake up until my head hits the pillow at night.

No more dramatic crashes or cravings throughout the day. Way less knee-jerk responses to the heart-hunger that gnaws from within. Just the space to ground and be me, without the perpetual interruption of chronic imbalance and need.

And yes, of course my body is changing too... a thick layer of chronic inflammation is dissipating, making me look and feel lighter. Add to that, my systems are already functioning more optimally; I'll spare you the gory details there!

Why am I telling you all this?

This post isn't only a shameless share of self-celebration (which I encourage us all to do from time to time!)... it's also a reminder and call to action for any of you out there who've been wanting to cleanse or clear - literally or metaphorically - but aren't sure you can do it. May this post be a reminder that in ANY arena of your life you'll be much more likely to take the leap and reach your goal if you take authority and personally author the steps along the way.

Be open to the knowledge of the experts; heed the cautionary wisdom of the experienced. Yet if outside perspective has you in a holding pattern, you might need to give them both the finger and chart your own course.

Just some clutter-free food for thought.
;)

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When The Masks Come Off


Today's a shit storm of emotion for me... my keep-your-shit-together dam is bursting at the seams. I'm on day two of a detox and for those of you who've never been through one, take it from me... it's not for the faint of heart. MY idea of a cleanse does not involve starving; only abstinence from substances that provide solace outside the realm of nutrition.

And so... all of the ugly I've been masking, all the feelings I've been stuffing, every deeper craving I've disowned in the past year is coming up like a surging fountain spilling at my feet. It's pooling there, creating a mirror for me to look into.

Let's just say I'm not really loving everything I see.

So why do it?...
This choice (what some might consider self-denial) is becoming my annual spiritual departure from just that... the daily denial of self. Without my habitual addictions there's nowhere to turn from the honest-to-god truth inside. No sweets to sooth an ancient anxiety. No caffeine to conquer my raging resistance. No grains to soak up the beautiful ugly messes I've made.

Just me, no longer running from self.
Seeing it all for what it is.

It's deeply uncomfortable.
And it's profoundly worth it.

Over the course of the next month, I know from experience that I will continue waking up to myself in ways that I have been avoiding. However uncomfortable it might be, burning through these early days of discomfort will do more than clear my body of toxins, it will clear the same from my heart and mind.

I get my courage from sharing with you.
So thanks for listening.

P.S. Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be in advocacy of cleansing as a right of passage, per se. It's in support of *whatever it is* you brave in favor of the truth.

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Intuition. Braving the Unthinkable.

In a recent session with a client (let's call her Sarah), inquiry and examination kept circling us back to heart-heavy sighs and four dreaded words: I just. don't. know.

When Sarah has clarity, she has an uncanny ability to make shit happen. So you might imagine her frustration that her typical precursor to bold action -
 knowing exactly what she wants - feels far from reach. How in the hell is she supposed to know what to do next when she doesn't have any clue where it is she is headed?

Eventually our discussion led us to a pivotal doorway when she off-handedly revealed a growing desire to trust her intuition. BINGO!... it was as if all the lights in the room went on at once. It suddenly became apparent that she doesn't "know" what to do because she deeply yearns to trust and tune into the intelligence and clarity that emerges when there's no clear and linear path in sight.

Life's most mammoth choices put us face to face with
not knowing. In such moments, a focus on certainty and know-how can keep us reeling in a sort of rational madness; frustration reigns as that which we seek remains unknowable. Intuition is how we navigate more subtle undercurrents that will invariably lead to the knowledge we seek. Far more nebulous than knowledge, intuition doesn't rely on (or even point to) certain pathways or known outcomes on the horizon. It instead haphazardly charts our course through uncertainty... guiding us one choice at a time toward unforeseeable experiences and alliances. 

Intuition often defies logic. Ungoverned by reason, intuition's laws operate more subtly. Ignoring intuitive guidance creates deep disturbances within. When we repeatedly refuse (or are afraid) to follow our authentic instinctual yearnings,
anxiety results. We remain stuck and feel perpetually out-of-sorts because we aren't willing to trust the honest urges that attempt to move us forward through an uncertain future. 

Gut sensations, instinctual hunches, and the endless ways in which "not-that experiences" nudge us to move in new directions... these are all intuition at work. Seem esoteric? It's really far from it. Honoring intuitive guidance
 is no lackadaisical walk in the park. It's scary shit... and it's the real and ultimate antidote to paralysis and fear. 

Honoring intuition is a fierce and authentic embodiment of your potential. Living authentically means being honest and responsive to what moves you (and what doesn't)... outwardly choosing in accordance with your truth, again and again and again. This requires tremendous courage as you take continual action in the face of irrationality and fear... openly owning deep vulnerabilities and inexplicable truths... and bravely being willing to risk expression in the face of confusion or seemingly insurmountable odds.


Intuition often requires we do the "unthinkable" simply because that rumbling
tremor within won't go away until we do. 

And yet we must also offer reverential allowance for reason. Feelings are multifaceted and constantly in flux; you can't build a life on the fluid foundations of instinct alone. When we rely solely on intuition, and refuse to yield to what-is-knowable or when we fight against the natural parameters of our physical reality, expression can become etheric and untethered to the world. If you habitually isolate yourself from reason and retreat into emotionality, 
depression results. To fully ACTualize your humanity, your expression must also be acted upon and grounded in something tangible. 

May you be brave enough to trust your instincts and your authentic sensibilities AND bold enough to take actions that stand to reason. 
~ Candice


Want more?
The Spill Your Truth 6-Week Program™ is only $199 through May 31st.
Click here to learn more or to get a free peek inside the program pretraining.

Join my tribe. Did you know I'm now offering FREE no-strings-attached group coaching for those who qualify? Apply to join now. It'll only take a minute ;).

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Sensitive Much?

Habitually feeling into what is happening around you can become exhausting. In fact, one reason why the more sensitive among us do not live our lives more boldly is because of our empathic connection to others. Spilling the truth can feel torturous when you feel into others to such a great degree. Feedback is too deeply internalized and so, on the surface, it just seems easier to live life without rocking the boat... therefore, we hold our truth hostage.

Ironically, those who have the greatest capacity for empathic connection are commonly the most debilitated by it.

Sovereignty is essential to clear, confident expression for this very reason. Tangible differentiation is the turning point when it comes to navigating a sensitive spirit. The more empathically tuned in we are, the more essential our edges become. Without sovereignty, we live a life of emotional extremes: martyrdom-withdrawal, infatuation-resentment, hopefulness-despair. With sovereignty we learn that empathy isn’t something that happens to us; it is an energetic allowance. Though at times it may feel like an inevitability, with practice it can become a conscious choice in the moment. Empathy is no longer a liability when it flows from the healthy space of sovereignty.

Rather than reluctantly riding our sensitivity into every interaction, we can become more discerning about when to infuse an interaction with empathy and its wisdom. Rather than forcing ourselves to connect, we learn to reach out without compromising our needs and edges. Similarly, we are able to stay present and open-hearted to deeper truths, even those that threaten to make a mess of our lives, without compromising our integrity. We are able to hold space for authentic compassion - inside and out.

MC4 Compassion The Spill Your Truth Program 6 Weeks to a More Authentic You $199 through May 31st

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Be Authentic. Learn to Respond vs. React.

Just as your fingerprint is yours and yours alone, your most authentic expression is an imprint one-of-kind and unique to who you are. Due to cultural norms and inherited insecurities, we spend a tremendous amount of energy fighting against ourselves. We follow others, trying to “make a good impression” on the world... sliding into other people’s grooves instead of carving out spaces of our own. You’re continually making an impression on the world around you. Authenticity means creating a mark that truly fits the shape of who you are.

Courage isn’t something we are, it’s something we do. It’s a habit (a responsiveness) that can be practiced and developed. Reaction is how we learn to express by watching others. It’s the knee-jerk expression we go to when we feel powerless or helpless to change some aspect of our lives. To react doesn’t require courage, it’s more involuntary... almost like breathing. Responsiveness however, requires that we embrace our uniqueness, rise above our woundedness, and take authority over our lives. It asks that we willingly express what’s brewing within (on the deepest level we can access) while also honoring and responding to the world around us. What we do in response to our fear is what defines our future.
- Excerpt from MC1 Courage, The Spill Your Truth Program

Earlier this year ten extraordinarily brave women helped me co-create a powerful heart-centered assertiveness training program called Spill Your Truth Without The Mess. As of today, you can tap into our journey and the wisdom contained therein for a fraction of the cost. Of course an online coaching immersion isn't for everyone. It's for women who are sincere about up-leveling their expression... who are courageous enough to be honestly vulnerable... who long to express themselves more authentically, more boldly, and more compassionately in all their beautiful-ugly glory.


Today you can find out if it's for you.  Get your FREE 15-page Digital PreTraining Playbook. My gift to you. No strings attached

If the journal questions contained in the free workbook speak to you, this program could be a total game-changer.

No printing required; just download & type your answers directly into your own private journal. Take inventory of your expression. Pinpoint key areas where you can up-level to a more authentic you. Set your own intentions. Revisit and update as much as you like. And if (and only if)
you decide you want more... consider joining our tribe. 

The Spill Your Truth Immersion 
6 Weeks to a More Authentic You
$199 thru May 31st. Payment plans available. 

GET THE FREE WORKBOOK: http://bit.ly/sytfreebie
VIEW 6-WEEK SYLLABUS: http://bit.ly/SYTsyllabus


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Gurus & Gimlets


Growing up as the perpetual "new girl," I developed a chronic habit of fragmenting myself. While I have come a long way around this: allowing my authentic voice to emerge, valuing my time and energy, learning to express my no, etc... today it occurred to me that I'm still for the most part living a double life.

I got to wondering... How many of you out there know that I work part-time as a cocktail waitress?

Probably not enough of you. And why? Because I've kept it a secret. Not consciously, mind you... but a secret nonetheless. Having this financial supplement to my coaching and writing endeavors is something I have kept largely under wraps. 

Why? I guess some part of me carries shame around the fact that my business isn't cash flow central. I love my work, and I want to keep on loving it. I purposefully haven't elected to fill my schedule with 1:1 sessions or constant deadlines. I like the rhythm of the unexpected and the freedom it allows me. And as such, my finances reflect this free-flowing spirit. 

Yet even the acknowledgment of choice hasn't been enough to fully turn the tides within me. Even now I feel trepidation in the overt admission to you all that I moonlight as a cocktail waitress. A stern voice in me warns me that my credibility hinges on you seeing me solely as my professional persona. That somehow my message will be watered-down by the truth.

Let me be clear here... I wholeheartedly believe that waitressing is just as noble a profession as any other. There's an art to truly great service and it's no small thing to be damn good at it. I hold servers in very high regard (just ask anyone who goes out to dine with me!). It's not about that. Not at all. 

As a coach, I have been greatly influenced by my peers - the countless empires of "experts" and self-help gurus that seem to emerge daily. Standard business practices put polished personas front and center, rarely if ever are there revelations of this sort. I suppose that I have inadvertently internalized the implication that, in order to be seen as coach-credible, I must continually project an air of financial abundance.

But the truth is this: after writing all day yesterday, I donned my trusty black apron and ran my ass off, slinging drinks until 1am. It was a pleasant and lucrative shift. I was surrounded by great peeps who have become like family to me. No pity party necessary; I enjoyed my after work gimlet with a wink and a smile. My double-life has served me well, thank you very much. 

AND yet, like every Sunday morning, I'm freakin' exhausted... not because of the "shameful" fact that my livelihood is complex and multi-faceted... but because I haven't been humble enough to own the tremendous significance of the big picture. Living with one foot in each world has led me to overcommit (likely in an unconscious effort to compensate for my shame) and repeatedly I fall out of integrity with the deadlines I set in my business. 

It's time to lay all of my cards out on the table. This is yet another opportunity to demonstrate what I stand for: the right to live transparently and express a life as you see fit. 

I'm betting that many of you rendezvous with a persona you largely keep hidden. Perhaps in some cases it is better that way. But what if it's not? What if "the secret" isn't to project anything at all. 

For some of us, the secret to happiness may just be not to have any. I have found again and again that something (anything) only appears dark when it is cast into the shadows.

Feel like exposing *your* secret double-life? You have my attention.
Pop me a message; I'm all ears.


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Go... Ready. Set.


Is there something you want to create or experience that feels perpetually unfinished?
Perhaps your mental or physical preparation is keeping you from the real action. 

An easy example? I've set aside today for writing my next eBook... and what do I have to show for it?
Nothing. Not a damned thang. Why? Because I've been so busy preparing, I haven't yet begun. 

We long to "feel ready" before we make our bold move.
We pace the starting line. We stretch. We wait for the gunshot to go off. But what if it never does?  

Expression is clarified through action.
The quickest way to get inspired is to start creating. The fastest way to get clear on what you want to say is to start talking. And the best way to determine where you want to go next is to start moving. 

Go... Ready. Set.
See you at the finish line, {{firstname}}.

xo

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An Unpopular Sentiment

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. It has been for years now.

No, NOT for romantic reasons; not at all. I was single for most of my adult life. I've always loved VDay because I honestly can't think of anything more worth celebrating than the expression of love.

Sound too cheesy for ya? Oh well. In a way, I feel that this holiday reveals my tribe to me... it poses the deciding question:

Is my heart half full or half empty?

Cynics will see the downside of this day... all the lonely hearts, commercialism, and false sentimentality. But I am an artist and lover to my very core... to me, seeing the opportunity and beauty in this day is a matter of perspective.

Perhaps how we love within is reflected outward. If you agree, join me by releasing the grip of rebellious denial. Instead, why not let this be a day to more boldly express the gratitude in your heart to ALL the people that you care for. Love them up! There is absolutely positively someone in your life you can pour your heart into. Your willingness to show up for them reflects a willingness to show up for YOU.

VDay can be about so much more than partnership and ooey gooey sentiments... it's an opportunity to practice more genuinely opening your heart to life itself.

And so... I you and this day, and there's no talking me out of it.

Here's a provocative love letter I wrote to you last year.
Give it another gander if you like.
(Another warning: it's no Hallmark card)

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The Edge of an Open Heart


Despite my best intentions, at times people just don't get me. And it's okay.
As I've recently discovered, in the struggle to be seen I often miss the point. 

It's easy to judge others for not aligning with our values; cloaking self righteousness in projective analysis. It's easy to shake our heads from side to side, to get angry, to point fingers. I've done it. Yes, recently. I've made others wrong when they aren't walking 
my talk... and I've been likewise condemned. It's a prickly dance to say the least. 

We're all guilty of this from time to time; projection distracts us from the real work.
It keeps us from facing the inevitable questions we are avoiding:  
Do I feel met here? Do our values align? Do we want the same things moving forward? Much better questions to ask when it comes to true understanding in our relationship to anything or anyone.

More and more I catch myself when I'm attempting to morph my values and expectations to mesh with those who I'm innately out of sync with. For years I gave my power away to large personalities; I would shrink in the face of their confidence. Later in life I learned to stand my ground. And now... NOW I'm seeing that I've really got nothing to prove. No need to fight or endure
unnecessary drama. No need to override my sensibilities to make others happy. 

Yielding to others, going against your gut... that's a slippery slope, my friend. Keep in mind, this can happen with friends or family members that you love deeply. It's particularly easy to compromise your edges for someone whom you meshed perfectly with at one time, but with whom your needs no longer align.
What does so-and-so need? How can I make it work for them? These are reasonable questions, as long as you are also honoring your own needs and what works for YOU. The reality is, sometimes you reach an impasse and the two cannot be compromised. Honoring lack of alignment doesn't add up to failure; at times it's an honest discernment that saves everyone energy in the end. Yes even if in the devastation of the truth, one of you wants otherwise. 

That's the thing about boundaries. You get to define yours. 
Anyone who tells you that yours are misplaced is projecting their truth. 

Black and white isn't. What works for one person won't necessarily vibe for another. What gets us into trouble is deciding FOR others. Telling another person how to hold themselves as sacred is a violation and a projection. Many people will come in and out of your life in order to help you define where to place the edges around your heart. Yet the way in which you choose to hold yourself is deeply personal, and it's ultimately up to you. 

As an example, let's consider a Portland hot-button topic: monogamy vs. polyamory. This is an arena where projection runs rampant in both directions. Right and wrong will never be compromised because what it really comes down to is personal choice. Healthy boundaries of any kind are permeable, yet intact. We magnetize those whose edges align with our own in any given moment; we repel those who don't. Say you interact with someone who is interested in openly engaging your heart and/or physical space... and that someone holds edges that are naturally a bit more porous than your own; you may feel yourself withdrawal or recoil from them. Is that wrong? I don't think so. Yet nor is it wrong that they want to engage. Not at all in fact. To someone who desires reciprocity of connection in that same manner, this might be a welcome advance. 

No need to make someone wrong in order to express your 
no. Nor must they take your edges personally. It's all about choice. 

There is no universal standard for how an
open heart should behave. 

Love and sovereignty work best when not confused. Your feelings AND your edges must line up in order for you to feel respected and honored in any relationship. Dominion is unique to the individual; thus, it is
essential that you are communicating your values and preferences to the people closest to you every step of the way. Own your truth. Ask for what you want. And be willing to navigate the choppy waters on the way to getting it... even if it means letting go of something or someone.

Often the so-called "high road" is the one that plucks you out of the drama and puts you face to face the most difficult truth. Love sometimes means honoring and navigating differences in order to make it work... and other times, it means graciously walking away. Fallout is never easy, but owning your truth is always far less messy for everyone in the end. 

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Illness, elasticity, & why I just fired myself.


Nothing puts life into perspective like illness. Nuthin. I can hardly imagine how much this rings true with those of you who have been up against debilitating, chronic, or life threatening ailments. I humbly bow to the vulnerability that must unearth in you. 

I've been sick on and off for six weeks now, the last of which was brutally unyielding, and I gotta tell you...
only what truly matters shows up when you're lying face down in your couch cushions, oozing muck out of your every orifice. In my experience, illness is a great energetic purger... nature's own shamantic cleanser and deliverer of realizations long-denied. My body puts me face to face with myself and wakes me the eff up like no therapist, religion, or vision quest could ever do. In blissful pleasure, and especially in times of pain. Thus, as I am on the mend I'm standing face to face with my own insanity.  

For years now I've been willing to break my back in order to deliver to others (both personally and professionally). As a teacher and writer, I've taken so many inspired creations and attached deadlines to them... lacing
something that could be truly great with the exhaustive and counterproductive energy of anxiety. Ironically, I am largely self-employed and am therefore my own boss. I'm thinking that I should be fired... I'm seeing now that I've been a real bully and a hard-ass, two qualities I find quite off-putting when working for others. So after consulting with the board of directors within (and approximately four boxes of kleenex), I'm changing things up. I am an artist, not a technician. I do my best work when I allow it to have a life of its own. So ELASTICITY is my new touchstone in all that I do. 

Elasticity turns me on. Big time. Nothing feeds my creativity like freedom. 


If this resonates with some part of you as well, I encourage you to ponder these questions:
  What lines are you holding yourself to that you could  s t r e t c h  in order to better suit your sensibilities? Who do you have to communicate with in order to request the spaciousness (or boundaries) that you desire? Are you holding yourself to lines that could possibly be blurred, re-sketched, or even dissolved?

Today I invite you to consider
every day an invitation to sketch & stretch each page to suit you. 



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Christmas Confession

Christmas Confession Time: I wasn't ready for the holiday this year. Not in the conventional sense anyway. In fact, every year I chastise myself for not being so great at "doing the holidays" (having a house decorated to the nines, gifts wrapped, thoughtful cards mailed to all). I'm simply not timely when it comes to festive demonstrations of love... and premeditated holiday prep just ain't my thing. This year I'm doing as best I can to release the shame and should'ing around it all for good.

Thus, I'd like to advocate on behalf of those of us who just don't "do" the holiday... may we lean into the BEing-ness of the season. Each of our varied expressions of this day are complete and full. just as they are.

Be totally and fully present to the people that you love... it IS truly the most beautifully sacred gift you can offer. Be generously lavish and wisely discerning with this gift of your time and energy (and that of those around you!), for it is more precious than anything money can buy.

I love you in spite of all the gifts you forgot to buy.
I celebrate all the cookies you have yet to eat.
And I trust you to do the holidays as you see fit.

Happy Christmas & Merry EveryDay to all.

I'm off to deliver my PRESENCE as best I can now... just felt compelled to share this gentle reminder (one I so desperately desired to share with those who might need it too).


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Watershed Moment


Today would have been my brother Tony's 39th birthday. Tonight I sit with a heavy heart, reading and reflecting upon the final email exchange that he and I had before his passing in the spring 2010... one in which he encouraged me around my ever-changing passions. He wrote to me:
"You have a wonderful way with audible and written words. Depth, clarity of purpose, and impact all describe your use of language." He used to love reading my posts and offering his reflections.

And as he knew all too well, it is when I am broken open that my words spill most authentic. Thus at this dark hour of the night in the shadow of his passing, I feel a familiar tug in my gut... urging me to express, promising the relief that awaits just on the other side of baring it all.  

I'm in the business of expressing change.
Constantly. It seems my path (and how I naturally reflect for those around me) has everything to do with honoring continual adjustments in life; allowing each external change of course to result in greater self-calibration. I specialize in watershed moments, but I gotta tell ya... it isn't always smooth sailing.

I've spent the past couple of weeks sick and a bit discouraged. Registration isn't what I had hoped for a new online program, even though it's jam-packed with value. To be honest, packaging my inspiration is a real drag. It's been somewhat of a buzz kill (
not because I have any issue with the making of money)... for me packaging sucks because selling my most heartfelt labors of love and tying my creative expression to "a promise" diminishes potential for the real return. The return outside of the money... the one that really matters most to me. It's what Tony highlighted back in 2009... that I'm only now really starting to get. Impact is the return that makes it all worthwhile. It truly pains me that only a handful of people will benefit from all that I pour into the next three months. Requiring people to "buy-in" in order to experience the return just isn't working for me. Not at all. 

Rest assured, I see that it is me who I created it this way. I am an impassioned writer... marketing myself as a coach. I want it to be the other way around. Creating programs (and even sharing with you all here) is more or less an excuse to write, an avenue for my greatest passion. I'm only now realizing that I've been missing the point.  

My writing and creative expression isn't mean to be a commodity, it's meant to be shared.


Nothing pains me more than feeling out of integrity; Tony and I most certainly had that in common. Which is why I am telling you all of this. I feel blessed that so many people seem to find value in my musings... and I plan to allow my faith in my writer self (and in the bigger picture) to propel future creations. I want to give of myself to the world, not hide behind a promise. Self publication here I come... and you'll be getting more from me in the year to come. 

Does this mean I will stop coaching?
Hell no... but I'd love to stop calling it that.

And I'm immediately adjusting the 
upcoming program to honor this shift... clearing away the coach-speak, technological fluff, and getting down to the REAL business of modeling expression. Currently there are only 6 women enrolled but I can promise you that these lucky ladies are about to get the very best of me. I'm going to pour my passion on the page (and into our live classes) more deliberately and fiercely than ever before. I will model through vulnerability... I will share and offer my own liberated expression without concern for bottom lines or delivery on packaged promises. Because neither of those motivate me to create. 

What motivates me? >>>  Sharing what authentically moves me and feeling it resonate.
Filling an honest-to-goodness need in the moment, without even trying.

Thank you for continually being my witness, {{firstname}}.

BTW if you'd still like too join in the
TribeNectar Immersion experience, it's not too late.  Message me directly to discuss whether it's right for you. 

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Zoom Out to Tune In


Early this week I had a major meltdown. Yep, it was a doozy. And it all surfaced just before I was headed out to teach class. Ahh... isn't timing divine? ;)

There was of course, a
circumstance... but the storyline that triggered me is of little importance. Very little in fact. Because we are rarely upset about what-is-happening around us; it's more often than not about what-is-stirring at greater depths. Nevertheless, in the moment I was caught in a web of emotion that spun me into full-blown tantrum

It wasn't pretty. Nope, not at all.
I pointed fingers, found fault. I cursed my sensitive nature. I shouted, sobbed, and snotted my discontent.

And then... even though my body was flooded with adrenaline and panic, I was able to zoom out. 

Change is a'rockin' my world. I mean November has been an up-leveling of grand proportions. 16 days ago I moved in with my beloved... a huge move for a single woman of 38. My independence has defined me for so long, it's an adjustment to allow the risk and the vulnerability of partnership, weaving my life together with another. 

Add to that, I've promised on the delivery of another
newborn coaching program. My creative process equals motherhood (it means that much to me). And, I feel the blissful pain-pleasure of birth pending. Daily I vacillate between exhilaration and anxiety (btw, the only difference between the two is all in whether or not I choose to BREATHE). I scribble down inspired ideas: yay! that's what I mean to say!... come face-to-face with doubt: oh holy shit, can I really pull this off?!... and mostly do my best to occupy the space in between.

Trust is up for me, on oh-so many levels.

Which brings us back to my major meltdown moment
ah-hah. I am actively learning how to trust myself. The ability to ZOOM OUT while while deeply triggered was a gift... it enabled me to know what I am really up against internally. The terror of taking a chance on me, my passion, and what I love most. I am learning to trust (not someone else) but ME. Overriding a practiced insecurity and risking the reach anyway. 

Once I began speaking to that, connection within (and thus, with my partner) was re-established immediately. 

YOUR TURN >>>


Are you projecting your pain onto a circumstance that has you feeling out of control?
Does the idea of actually feeling the weight of it all make you want to curl up or lash out? Are you creating more work for yourself by fighting against or pretending to be powerless? Are you focused on this&that, him&her... and ignoring the deeper work? (note: answer 'all of the above' if you've been feeling stuck for awhile)

I invite you to zoom out... which will enable to you tune IN:


1 ~ Zoom. Take a higher vantage point by stepping above the storyline.
2 ~ Admit what you're afraid of and/or what you're really fighting for/against.
3 ~ Stick to YOUR truth; take back what is yours to own (your feelings, needs, desires).
4 ~ Allow the pain and vulnerability to bubble up and access the deeper edge you are working.  
5 ~ Reframe this edge; create an intention that you commit to focus on moving forward.
6 ~ Communicate BOTH the vulnerability and the strength you're conjuring to establish more intimate connection.  

It was this basic process that enabled me to move from meltdown: 
I can't do this! It's too fucking much!... back to a place of center in just 15-minutes time. It should be noted that having a supportive partner as an ally (once I stopped pointing fingers at him! ;) and a witness helped move things along more quickly.

NEVER underestimate the power of entrainment. The people you surround yourself with matter more than you think. 

And embrace your meltdowns... they are opportunities for big-time bust through, if you are willing to stop spinning the story. 


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An Exercise in Gratitude


I've been a bit tortured by my ambitious spirit over the past few days. Feeling loads of anxiety around not doing enough of this or that... navigating insecurity around how in the hell to show up. It's been exhausting, as "trying" always is.

Today I'd like to express gratitude for the *unique imprint* that you make on the world by just being *you*. I'm not talking about the things you do or have because you try, work hard, learned how, made it happen... but the things you simply can't help but offer. Your way of being that takes little-to-no effort.

That's what we love about you most.

You touch more hearts that you could ever know. Truly, you do. Please take a moment and feel gratitude for the grace of being just as you are. Right here. Right now. Complete while unfinished.

Does this exercise in gratitude sound selfish to you? Then you're missing the point. Self acceptance is the quickest way to open your heart... and spread love all around.

Do your inner work, first... then go love somebody real good.

<3 Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

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Truth vs. Tantruming


Why do so many shy away from spilling the truth?
Partially because many so-called "truth-tellers" express themselves in ways that leave the people around them feeling slimed. Deeply compassionate souls aren't really all that interested in contributing to and/or wading through all that muck... so they suck it up and keeping their truth tucked safely inside.

I recently read this quote on Facebook:
It's funny how everybody considers honesty a virtue, but nobody wants to hear the truth.

Hmm... I suggest you immediately give pause to anyone uttering these words. While I believe there is certainly something to that notion, more often than not this is used as a convenient excuse following ineffectual delivery. 

What if we were to take more responsibility for how our expression is being received by the world?... for the results that we are getting? Perhaps the truth doesn't always have to hurt... and speaking out doesn't have to mean alienating others, burning bridges, or mass rebellions. 

There is no such thing as perfect communication, nor is there a guaranteed sidestep for emotional triggers. Nevertheless how the world
repeatedly responds to us has more to do with what we are bringing than we are often willing to take ownership of. 

When it comes to communicating (that includes hearing!) what matters most, we often get derailed by our wounds. Our best intentions to own and express our vulnerability miss the mark because most of us don't have healthy models of how to do this. Instead, we end up "tantruming" vs. sharing, shrouding our pain in justifications and/or mature posturing.

We rarely get the results we want, because our deepest truth just isn't being conveyed. Sharing a story is not the same thing as sharing intimacy. In fact, it's more often than not a distraction from the connective opportunities stewing beneath the surface. Connection results from diving beneath the drama. It's learning to courageously expose and admit pain, especially when primal instinct urges you to lash out. It means owning protections and projections more fully... speaking directly about what it is you are most afraid to own. 

Save yourself the struggle and get to the heart of what it is you want to express to those you love. Let go of the storyline (ever-open to interpretation), stop pointing fingers (defense kills connection, ownership feeds it), and speak to the inarguable truths deep within (your own feelings, needs, and desires).

Want to learn how to do this effectively in the company of other women?
Join the tribe. >> http://bit.ly/182Pytx


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Nectar 101


Nectar 
is what call the distilled, refined essence of what it is you most want to express in life. It is what's being overlooked when you seek to offer your most genuine self, but the impact just isn’t there.

Knowing your nectar and expressing from the space of your deepest true leads to dreams fulfilled and genuine heartfelt connections. It's how you squeeze every ounce of juice from life that you can... guiding so much more than your words, your deepest true ultimately determines how you show up in life.

Words, gestures, and the choices you make, beneath every move lies the heart of what you mean to express. Your ability (or inability) to consciously tap into your deepest true is what determines how well you are received and what you get back from the people and circumstances in your life.

When you discover how to tap into your nectar and habitually distill expression to its core essence, when you deliver truth and make choices from that place, it saves you valuable time and energy. Drama is averted and conditions for connection are ripe.

TribeNectar and
The Spill Your Truth curriculum is about clear communication; yet it is really about so much more than that. It's about learning to more consciously express yourself with every aspect of your being. 

Heart-centered assertiveness is an empath's greatest training ground... offering countless opportunities to own and express compassionate truth, without taking anyone out. It's a practice that goes far deeper than tried-and-true communication techniques. 

I can teach you to speak up... but that doesn’t guarantee you will be heard. 

I can urge you to stand up for something vs. fighting against what-is... but that won't untangle you from the drama's seduction. 

Guiding you toward your most vulnerable truth and demonstrating how to tap into that and express yourself more authentically from that place... this is a tangible freedom that has the power to change your life. 

For good.

Want to learn more? Visit
TribeNectar.com. Act quickly. Early Bird registration ends Friday. 


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Aloha... Soaking Up Mama Kauai

Aloha!

I am writing to you from a beautiful guest house in Kilauea, on the north shore of Kauai. One of my dearest friends is hosting a transformational seven-day retreat, and I feel blessed to be a part of it. I'm on the island for two weeks total, and for the past few days I have been immersed in the company of women. It's so powerfully nurturing to be surrounded by other like-hearted souls who are likewise possibility-oriented... all willingly reach past what-is into what-may-be, actively keeping our hearts open to life at every turn.

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It's extraordinary to stand tall and hold eye contact with the beautiful-ugly truth... through practice, developing the confidence to have an unflinching dialogue with the raw spaces inside. Growth doesn't have to hurt OR be a heavy trek through the dark. 
Given the right tools, we can up-level our lives without all the drama... putting our empathic gifts to work within enables us to evolve without terrorizing ourselves or the people around us.

My vision in the creation of 
TribeNectar is to offer women from all over the world access to the richness of what I am experiencing here, everyday. It's essential to practice showing up for one another at our best, while being willing to own our worst... together learning that it's safe and essential to expose what's true. While I prescribe to the merits of privacy, I feel we often take things too far, over-isolating ourselves from life's most natural medicine... vulnerability through conscious self-exposure. 

Transformation happens when we share openly with others who feel as we do. Safe and habitual exposure puts us in touch with the space of our most honest human potential.

Retreat doesn't have to happen only once a year in a distant exotic location. You can begin to experience collective synergy right now. Apply to join 
theNetwork - an intimate online community discussion group, led by yours truly. Smattered across the globe, we are a close-knit group of witnesses all willing to grow and learn through offered experiences. I provide some fodder for our interactions, and I invite you to do the same. Announce and own your expansive intentions. Offer your stories of challenge. Purge your frustrations and upsets. I will do my best to chime in on every thread, offering *totally free group coaching* while keeping the unfiltered juices flowing. Important side note: everything shared in our group must be kept confidential, without exception. A brief application required to ensure alignment.

And if you want to liberate your voice in a way you never thought possible, check out the first ever TribeNectar Immersion. It's a 99-day experience that will transform the way you express yourself in every arena of your life. 
The Spill Your Truth Curriculum offers highly-interactive, heart-centered assertiveness training that works. 

Off I go to take in the island and gather up more goodness to share with you all!

Soaking up the Nectar, 

Candice



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Being Seen. What Does It Mean?


A couple of weeks ago I was asked a pivotal question... my answer to it not only surprised me, it liberated me.

I was confiding to a friend and colleague that, when it comes to my livelihood, I've long been divided within. I've often wondered:
How do I compromise my bohemian sensibilities with my driving creative ambition?

In the past couple of years, I have spent time and money up-leveling my entrepreneurial skill set... and it's led to huge leaps in my business and in my life. Yet something just hasn't been sitting quite right within. My biz training repeatedly reinforces that "being successful" as an author and coach is directly related to exposure. As an online entrepreneur, how seen you are matters big time, and social proof has become the ultimate measure of success. 

But is it? Does it
really matter how many web views, likes, and shares you get? Can you do great work, have global significance, and make money without all the celebrity persona BS? Some part of me was buying heavily into this notion of needing to be an authority in my given field, while my inner artist wants to bare my soul only when I feel authentically-called. 

Either way, I felt had to confess something...
Red-faced with shame and vulnerability, I admitted aloud for the first time:  "I'm ashamed to admit it, but I guess I have a burning need to be seen."

In all her wisdom, she didn't judge... she merely pressed on:
"So what does that mean to you? WHEN do you feel most seen?"

Now this was a watershed moment for me... because suddenly it dawned on me that I wasn't ashamed of the need to be seen itself, I was held hostage by the way in which I was conceptualizing it. 

Celebrity status will never truly satisfy me; yet, experiencing the significance of my existence in the smallest of ways totally rocks my world. I know this because I have "been seen" for much of my adult life. I've taught and performed in front of literally thousands of people. Yet, in the avenues of great exposure I often felt the least revealed. Nothing has shown me myself as clearly as when I sit one-on-one with a client. 

Why is that?
Because I feel seen when my vehicle & voice have deep and measurable impact. 

When I listen with my heart and respond from my gut, only to then see a light that was once hidden ignite in a client's eyes. When the music tells my body what to do, and I offer its echoes directly to someone who falls in love with her luscious hips for the first time. When I risk and share the truth of my experience, and it's relevant to someone in the moment they need it most. When my self-expression means that life itself has been altered in some positive way. 
Boom. DEPTH. IMPACT. That's when I feel seen.

Perhaps
being seen is different for each one of us, and whether or not an audience is required depends up your unique way of touching the world and/or what it is you're after. It could be that the glowing possibility in your child's eyes is all the honest reflection you need. I'd like to offer that how deeply you connect with and influence the people in your immediate world is far more satisfying than how many friends/followers you have in a virtual one. 

What does being seen mean to you? I'd love to hear your perspective.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 


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What are you fighting for?


Got Drama? That's all on you. 

If some part of your life rivals a daytime mini-drama - or even if it's got you
bored to tears - you've gotta be willing to look at that. Now I divorced my new-age alter ego a few years back, so I'm not at all implying that every challenge you face is entirely your doing... that you called it all in, blah dee blah herein-lies-the-keys-to-the-universe. Nope. None of that. I've found that life is more than anything else an untamed occurrence, and that it's why's are perhaps the most beautiful ugly mystery around. Having said that, once you grow up and wake to the reality of choice, *it's you* who decides how you engage with your circumstances. 

Let me ask you a pivotal question . . .  

What are you fighting for? 
Health? Love? More money? To be seen? A greater cause?  Or perhaps you just wish you had a life worth fighting for.

But you see... that's all drama. Every last ounce of it. 

Look at the question again.
What are you fighting for?... as in WHY? 

Why. are. you. fighting? 

When you fight life, it fights you back. It matches your aim. Every war (even one waged within) is dramatic. And it's a cyclical push-pull where there is far more energy lost than gained.

By definition, to fight is
to oppose action. Another interesting play on words, isn't it? So... What action are you opposing?

Being a coach and teacher for the past decade has blessed me with literally thousands of mirrors, and I have come to see (in myself and others) that our suffering is tied to our attachment to our storylines... our fighting
against what-is... our need to defend our brokenness... our opposition to change... the oh-so-compelling dramas of life... all these keep us steeped in recurrent cycles of pain. 

Drama = everything you spend your time on instead of moving toward what you want.
It's avoidance disguised as progress. It's the over-processed emotionally fueled mental fugue you get caught in, instead of allowing for change. 

Buying into drama (along with believing everything you think) is the primary way you oppose action and living your life anew. It's what keeps you from flexing your power in a way that will break the mold, set you free, and line you up with more joy than you've ever known. Drama is the story you create as justification to not-choose... when in fact
your fear is the #1 thing that's holding you hostage.

Want it to keep hurting? Want to stay stuck?... then keep on fighting. 
Keep on fighting to figure it out when it's muddled. Keep on fighting to make it work when it doesn't. Keep on fighting to be understood when they just don't get you. Keep on fighting & you'll stay stuck.

What's the alternative to drama? Surrender? Could be. Although more often our idea of surrender looks more like settling.... and settling in life can be the biggest drama there is. Life will beat down those who don't allow for the next expression to be born. 

Settling (hating what-is)... Fighting (resisting what-is)... neither of these are what powering up is about. Power, as I define it, is about purposeful propulsion toward greater significance and joy. Risking the reach and actioning your life in the direction of what you want.

The best part is, a habit of self-advocacy is its own reward. When you love you enough to stand for what you want (instead of fighting against what you have)... happiness is truly discovered through the journey. 

Life doesn't have to hurt. It's supposed to feel good. 

Disagree with me? Fine by me. I don't have to be right by you to be right by me. If however, you are intrigued by this idea, please consider putting down your weapons of resentment, stop fighting the eternal what-is... and
become an advocate for the life you want. Use your precious energy more wisely, and leave the drama to the screenwriters.
 


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Yesterday's Rant. Inside My Crazy.


Welcome to yesterday's rant. It wasn't meant for your eyes when I sat down to write it. And, that's exactly why it feels worth sharing. ;)

Today is a bitch. I'm feeling stuck and unclear. 
Wildly uncertain of which direction to move in. 

I sit down to write and stare blankly at the screen. I start working on a new project, only to half-ass it... my mojo drains so fast I hardly have time to push the save button. Yesterday and today combined, I've spent roughly 6 hours in front of my computer accomplishing next to nothing. Writer's block doesn't even begin to describe it.

My mind is a madhouse.

A couple of days ago, I made a commitment... it's a reach in a very positive direction, AND it is one that I'm crazy anxious about pulling off. My past track record has me feeling unsettled. Can I really make this happen gracefully? How will I make good on my promises? to me. my partner. my business. my bank account.

When will I begin to see a clear path from a to z? Can I really create a life that doesn't require me to work nonstop in order to live it as I see fit? Am I naive to think that I can really have it all?

And
oh holy hell, here it comes... the white wash of shame descends upon me, providing me with a detailed catalog of my faults, past mistakes, and deluded notions. My confusion completely blocks the flow of movement and creative expression. 

Or wait. Does it?

What if advancement forward isn't contingent upon clarity OR confidence? 
What if expression doesn't need be pretty (or figured-out) in order to have value? The voice that is most potent and meaningful is the voice that is REAL. 

My mind is forever changing; contradiction is its norm. The very same thoughts that yesterday built me up, may tomorrow leave me panting for air. 

And I know that 
once we see a way out, we can't un-see it. If we stay in a reality outgrown, we suffer. When we take the walk through the terror of the unknown, we'll likely discover something better than before.Eventually. I have seen it so. For me. For many.

Personal evolution isn't all about positive thinking and the reach for higher vibrations. So-called "negativity" is an essential indicator of dissonance between where we are and where we want to be. To reach our potential we must learn to harness the power of our own destruction. Life means willingly (and sometimes heartbreakingly) destroying what no longer serves us in order to rebuild a life anew. 

Negativity
can be a total mind-fuck OR it can show me what keeps me from my desires. The difference is in taking the note being offered and doing something with it, versus getting sucked into stories and emotional quicksands. I won't buy into my insecurities, nor will I hide them from myself or others. Any habit of thought that makes me feel like shit can be shifted quicker in the owning. I accept my crazy notions, and strive to build a live where they no longer have room to roam. 


Here's hoping that yesterday's emotional shit-storm (and the inevitable de-construction of an outdated-me) isn't for naught... it's a story worth sharing. 

Even if not. It's real. And that's good enough for me.

Yours in crazy cahoots,
Candice


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3 Fears That Keep Us Stuck

I specialize in helping people get unstuck. Over the years, my work has shown me that there are three questions that can quickly reveal how to get a life moving again. 

What are you afraid to admit?
What you feel most called to withhold just might be holding your life hostage.
 The most vulnerable and pivotal truths are often steeped in shame, so we keep them hidden from view. Feelings, thoughts, and impulses we would rather reject end up lashing out at our lives... acting out, like the neglected children of our psyche. 

Denial keeps you (and everyone around you) stuck. 
You can't change it if you aren't willing to own it.

Admitting your desires and or struggles from a place of empowerment looks very different than bitching and moaning. Self advocacy is the willingness to stand up and announce your willingness and right to overcome challenges, mutating your secret pains into rip-roaring power. Claiming your needs be honored is a healthy act of sovereignty. 
Afraid that your truthful admission will hurt those closest to you?... I can assure you that denial of your deepest true will do far more damage in the long-run. The most painful truth is often the most potent. Show up for you and allow others the opportunity to show up for how it lands in their world.  

What are you afraid to let go of?

Some part of your life has been long outgrown. It could be a role you've been playing, a relationship, a job, or simply a state of mind that no longer serves your greatest good. We tether our identity to beliefs and circumstances that serve us for a time... until eventually they become ill-fitting. We have to allow for many deaths in order to keep birthing our lives forward. 

Letting go can be a bitter-sweet confusion.
It is a treacherous reach into the great unknown. 

When something or someone no longer satisfies our needs in the now, it means divorcing a dynamic. It can be painful to release ourselves from something that we once identified with or invested in so profoundly. Not to mention we must face the terrifying expanse of the wide empty terrain that awaits us. 
Do you fear that letting go means giving up?... Release can be about authentic freedom or it can be avoidance of a necessary medicine. Not sure? Ask yourself if in letting go you would feel a sense of relief on a soulular level. Letting go of something good because of a genuine call toward something great is no step backwards, even if you can't yet see where you are going.

What are you afraid will never happen?

There is an expression within you that you ache for. While you may not be clear as to how this expression will come to be, some part of you yearns to feel your uniqueness manifested in form. Expression can show up in a conversation, artistic creation, vocation, relational role, or simply in expressing your innate freedom to do none of these things. 

It's time you author your own story. 
Some part of you is meant to ask 
why (or why not?) in a way no one has before. 

Restlessness will be your constant companion until you willingly move your life in the direction of what you really want. That dull nameless ache in your gut that keeps you from appreciating all the blessings you see around you?... it's pointing you toward something. And it's most likely daring you to challenge the status quo within your world in some way.  
How can you more authentically express this life you call yours?... Perhaps you are operating under the assumption that your dreams are out of reach to you because of the way you've always seen it done. There is no guidebook for what it is that you want to express, for it's never been done before. Stop waiting for the variables align perfectly when you are the one creating the game board for you. 

Are any of these fears keeping you stuck? 
Is there another you'd like to share?
Tell us about it in the comments below.


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Trust. It's An Inside Job.


Can I trust you? 


It's question numero uno when it comes to matters of the heart. Some offer trust freely until it is compromised... others say
hell no to that, insisting that trust be earned. Either way, most of us desire reliability in intimate connections. We hold high standards for truth and demand loyalty in our associations. Damned straight. Nothing wrong with that. 

Yet how do we trust another without giving away our power?

It's a fine line, isn't it?... for to trust is to place emotional security in the hands of another. One might even go so far as to say that, in trusting someone, we rely on them to navigate life in a way that promises not to unsettle us. Sound far-fetched?... maybe, but this co-dependent definition of trust is a common romantic notion that leads to a whole helluva lot of suffering in the world. 

The truth is, trust means different things to different people. 


It's near impossible to create concrete guidelines for what exactly constitutes trustworthiness. Regardless how noble the intention, trust can never be guaranteed for it is far too subjective to pinpoint. Some say
I'll trust you if you never lie, others consider trust a reward for the overriding of sexual urges... others allow greater freedom as long as they experience loyalty and someone who stays when the going gets rough. While these parameters may overlap, at other times they contradict one another... not to mention they attempt to control and systematize intimate connection - perhaps the most illusive human endeavor there is.

In fact, I've seen relationships crumble through well-meaning efforts to instill trust. Perhaps one partner conjures the courage to offer full emotional disclosure
, only to very soon retreat back into silence due to the emotional backlash they receive upon sharing a hard truth. Little by little, trust is compromised, not solely because of the cold hard facts of life's many influxes, but also due to the ways our wounds lash out upon hearing the beautiful-ugly truth we were so sure we could handle. The grown-up parts of us long for emotional transparency; yet, our childlike-primal selves are still learning to navigate it. 

It's always a gamble trusting someone... anyone. AND it's most definitely a two-way street. If you want true mutuality of intimacy then you'd better be ready to hear things that sting and/or rock you to your very core.

Will you hurt me? Yes. Probably.


On the surface it seems so simple. If people just tell the truth and keep their word, then no one will get hurt. I'm sure you know by now, that's not at all how it works. The heart doesn't keep score, nor will it always move in the direction of reason. Thus, when you base trust (and good favor) on predictability and someone pledging allegiance to live his or her life according to 
your edges, get ready to have your boundaries challenged again and again. 

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not at all saying we shouldn't hold people accountable for their emotional indiscretions or misrepresentations of fact. I'm just inviting you to take a closer look... strongly advocating that someone be trustworthy might also just be another way that you defer to others, escaping the real work of facing your vulnerability and owning it as power. 

For example: Are you making someone else wrong for being true to themselves, denying your power to have a say (and be at play) in how you are "being treated?" You can turn that pain into power by first admitting that the perfection of trust is an illusion. 

In relationship, someone is always sure to step out of bounds. 


Why? Because no matter how much we line up with others, we are always and will evermore be sovereign creatures with unique desires and ways of moving in the world. The more you deny that reality, the more often life will step in to remind you.

Now believe me, trust is important to me... I know all too well that when trust is violated it sucks royally. And this is true however it goes down: through overt deception - conscious misrepresentations or lies of omission... and/or via a change of heart - what happens when the soul is called to alter its course and loved ones experience the fallout. While the latter is certainly my preference, it can still hurt like hell. Heartbreak is a bitch no matter how ya slice it. 

Nevertheless, change WILL happen, and sometimes it isn't so pretty. We can hope for and call upon the very best in people, yet we are ALL equipped with a shadow capable of unleashing hell, especially upon those who love us most. 

Are you putting your trust in the right hands?


Trust is an inside job. If you really want mutuality of intimacy in your relationships, you've got to put
self-reliance at the center. You are in charge of your needs - expressing them and creating boundaries in response to those around you, every step of the way. 

I'm not implying that another's indiscretion is your fault... not at all. Life isn't always fair. You won't always get to choose which of your edges you work (at least not consciously). However, you CAN choose to trust in yourself and your power to respond more gracefully to the hand you are dealt. 

What will you do when someone's choices challenge your own sense of justice? 


Will you condemn them? Or will you forgive and forget? 
Will you inch-in closer? Or will you create space between you? Will you make them the enemy? Or will you be your own advocate by owning your edges? 

There is no right answer. It's your choice, always. TRUST YOURSELF to show up when you need you most.
 Self-reliance becomes the ultimate eternal vow. You are no longer a victim of betrayal when you take your power back and own your responses to life. 




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Sharing. How Much Is Too Much?

When it comes to sharing your truth, how much is too much? It depends on you. In this wild world of social networking, transparency isn't for everyone. 

Some are into heavy weightlifting, flexing their power to explore the edges of their physical prowess. I like to push the bounds of emotional exposure in order to build power and strength. It's a personal high of mine. And it helps me to walk my talk and serve my clients better. Not everyone digs it though.


Of course, at times I question my way in the world. Is it safe to so publicly share myself and my musings, given how they are prone to an endless evolution? Is it really wise to tell my clients about my own moments of raw rip-roaring pain? Is it naive or narcissistic to think that someone out in cyberspace might even care about my latest ah-hah?


Hell if I know. I can't be bothered with such questions. I've just gotta do me. 
Teetering on the edge of things-best-kept-private suits my sensibilities. If cultivating a willingness for shameless self-disclosure is a bit nutty... it's nutty in the same way as skydiving, painting a 20-foot canvas, or traveling to every country on the globe. Unfiltered expression for the sake of itself may indeed be my artistic madness; commit me if you must, just make sure I have a pen and paper. 

However, I can't help but notice that liberated voices foster a culture of acceptance. When any of us openly express ourselves and our unique take on the world, we indirectly advocate for the silent among our tribe.
I have come to believe that taking ownership over your own unique brand of crazy is how you can most effectively touch lives and affect change. 

Yes, you may feel vulnerable and sometimes pained when critics cock their heads, perplexed by the way you walk (and talk) in the world. But it's
way worth it when you discover that your exposed truth had the power to make another person feel less alien. One touched life will make it worth all the times you've risked (or shared) too much.

And when people just don't get it (or you)? . . . 
Thank them... for they call you toward greater clarity and power. Be humble enough to ask yourself why you are feeling unsettled by the response you are getting. Is it because your message isn't clear enough? Okay then... tighten that baby up!

Yet sometimes the opportunity may just be to leave things as they are. Perhaps your expression has led you to fall out of favor in someone's eyes. It is then you must ask: Does the path to their understanding require that I shrink or alter my truth in any way? If so, I invite you to reconsider the edit, my dear.
You are not responsible for how your YOU-ness makes others feel. 

In the same regard, being validated for your experience or perspective doesn't always mean others' agreement. In fact, far too much expressive energy is wasted trying to convince others... when in reality, the need beneath the need is to simply be seen and honored in a viewpoint. 


Practice honoring people in their beautiful ugly duality, even when it's not yours. Life expresses back at us what we most need to see within ourselves. Hold space for endless vantage points and perspectives, and allow for others to hold their truth apart from yours. 


Oh, and btw... someone out there thinks it's hella sexy when you act a little crazy. I'm just sayin'.
 



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This Is IT!... or is it?

A few days ago, I spoke with a client who expressed growing concern that she hasn't yet discovered her purpose (aka: the one thing she is meant to create and share with the world). 

She is hardly alone in this torturous search; many hold fast to the idea that we are destined for one vocation and/or creative outlet that will sustain us for a lifetime.

Back in the day, I used to make myself nuts trying to fulfill this collective prophesy. I've had my share of 
This Is It! moments; and each time, I would quite-naturally pour my everything into becoming masterful in the one thing I was sure I'd always love doing. Now as you know, loving something and being good at it are two different things - initially I'd kinda suck at my newfound passion... yet with devoted time and practice I'd develop a signature style of my own, a confidence, an ease.

And that's precisely when
IT would totally turn on me.  Each time, not too long after fluency set in, my mojo would begin to fade. 

I'd be wildly disappointed each time
the one thing I was tying my future identity to no longer fulfilled me. I would become confused and shameful, assuming that my built-in-purpose-mechanism (didn't we all have one?) was failing me somehow. I figured I had some serious issues with commitment - that I was just a fickle poser who couldn't get her shit together enough to just stick to one thing. 

I mean, that's what we're supposed to do, right? Do one thing and stick to it?

But is it? Is it 
really?!

What if we just let IT go?
What if our one reason for being doesn't even fucking exist? What if our purpose is self-evident and always changing, like us? 

Jobs, hobbies, infatuations, creative endeavors... they come and go. The only genius to track is the enhanced version of YOU that results, everything else is just process. 

In fact, your purpose may just simply be
to become more you... more genuinely {{firstname}}-like, if you will.... versus some vocational persona you hang your hat on until you earn your last buck.

There are certain individuals out there who appear destined for a particular action - singing love songs, tending to a small home or village, or even finding a cure for cancer. Yet not all of us are built to express ourselves primarily through one avenue. In fact, your purpose might just be
to not do that. Maybe it's not that you're indecisive or unsure... perhaps your purpose is meant to evolve as you do... through an evolution that is only loosely tied to your day job, if at all. 

Still skeptical? Try this on: If you were granted the power to embody and
feel something strongly enough that it would magically re-shape the entire world in an instant (all without being able to do a thing) what would you choose to put out there? How would you feel on-purpose

Sah-weet! That's more like
it. Now tie your dreams to the cultivation of that sensation, in everything you do.

Heads up! The PHP 2013 Launch Sale Has Been Extended Thru July 31st.
Don't put it off any longer... enroll and get clear on how your purpose is evolving.
Start immediately upon registration.


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Express to Get Clear


Earlier this week, I had a session with a gifted client who is yearning to more boldly liberate her voice in both her business and personal life. She admitted that she doesn't feel free to fully express herself to others when her message isn't quite clear or figured-out-enough. 

Boy, do I get it. AND I've recently discovered two things:

Expression IS the path to clarity. 
It's not about withholding expression until you find the answers... in fact, it's just the opposite. 

When we feel stuck - in need of motivation, clarity, or direction - that is precisely when showing up is most essential. In the same way that ritualized movement naturally realigns the body and restores wellness... ritualized expression naturally realigns us with our voice, revealing clarity. 

So what do you say when you don't know what to say?  

The clearest expression is the realest one. 
Expressing what's most-real in the moment (even if it's a muddled admission of sheer confusion) will many times serve your path to clarity far more than hiding out and/or presenting the false pretense of having it all figured out.

If you want to offer an idea or sentiment (be it to a loved one, coworker, or prospective buyer), you'll be far more heard... and far more credible in the long term... if you tell the whole truth vs. a version of the story that gives them only what you think they want in the now. 

Enduring relationships of any kind require the strength to speak to the truth of the moment,
especially when vulnerability and insecurity is up. Not sure what to say, {{firstname}}? Speak to exactly where you are, and clarity will find its way to you faster. 

Heads up! The PHP 2013 Launch Sale Has Been Extended Thru July 31st.
Don't put it off any longer... enroll and learn to be your own hero, starting now.



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Unfinished Business

It may look polished, but it is hardly done. My business is as unfinished as I am. 

Big Fat Confession: I don't feel right, calling myself a life coach.
I really dislike the title and the projections that can come along with it. Yet past attempts to author a distinction all my own felt pretentious and/or always ended up sounding like some sort of new-age mumbo jumbo - and that ain't me either. 

I'm an expressionist who makes a living sharing my experiences with others. I teach and mentor women who want to dance freely to rhythms that I know well - both literally and figuratively. I don't have all the answers or the right moves, I have only my experiences and an innate ability to hear, see, and reflect light... even in the darkest spaces.

Releasing a 
curriculum has been super edgy for me, because it comes off as formulaic. I absolutely love teaching, yet creating classes - where ideas might be held constant - is risky business to say the least. Thus, the PHP course is more than anything else a collection of reflections on my own path of self-revelation... along with shortcuts and detours that have helped others avoid making the same mistakes that I have. 

Radically-real expression penetrates us to the core. It's not a special power to possess. We all have it. Yet, for most of us, it is scary as hell to do. Why? Because what is most real has the most power to activate us and the people around us - for better or for worse. 

As a mentor, provocateur, and poet... I get this in a big way. With every click of the keyboard, I run the risk of evoking sleeping giants. I see things and stir them up with my words, it's a reality I've been avoiding for most of my life. And so, even today, I find myself breathing through the anxiety of being so seen... coupled with an insatiable call to write that's been with me every day as far back as I can remember.

With ANY expression comes the inevitability of mixed reviews, not to mention the fact that a new and more crystal-clear insight is always just around the bend to challenge all we've ever said before. 

Think you've figured it out? Think again.

Our business is always unfinished, same as it ever was.

Feeling afraid to risk exposure? Me, too.

But remember, nothing clarifies like exposure to light.

PHP Enrollment is Now Open
Includes TribeNectar™ Community Access



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Making Sense of The Dark

The best sense I have made of my shadow is how it enables me to empathize and support others. Here's a peek into some insights that have sprung from my journeys in the dark. 
For years I wrestled with debilitating anxiety and tidal waves of depression. Despair has seized control over my heart and mind on more than one occasion. I have secretly gorged my body and nervous system with stimuli and comforts in an effort to drown out the pain. I've wallowed in hopelessness, hidden under the covers, cursed my fate, and ripped at the very fabric of who I am. I know what it is to plummet into the deep and dark. 
Rise and fall is how life propels us forward. Movement through unexpected currents is inevitable; but staying stuck in the undertow is a choice. Thus, I strive to become a savvy surfer. Mostly I've learned that if I want to be happy in life, I've gotta summon the power to ride the waves rather than resent them. When I face my fear and meet their challenge, I reach highs I never thought I would. 


I've given my power over to bullies, bosses, gurus, and convincing critics, drowning out my own voice to avoid disapproving tones or the spotlight of my discontent. I've been infuriated at the ways others seem so strong, making "it" look easy. I've bought into facades of perpetual togetherness, believing I must be alone (or somehow broken) in my disordered process.  

Power isn't something that can be taken, only surrendered. I set clear, heartfelt boundaries without saying a word when I'm standing in my fullness. I've learned not to make assumptions about what motivates others and that jealousy is just a way we keep ourselves small. Most of all, my precious energy is no longer misplaced; I spend myself only on those I feel I can be safely raw and real around. 


I live a mostly untethered life, which means that I disappoint people from time to time - taking a road less traveled for the sake of a larger sanity. I know what it feels like to be judged for not conforming… to be labeled naïve and immature for believing that we each have a right to live our lives without compromising our unique preferences. I’ve been called selfish, fickle (and worse) for being unwilling to settle in life. 

What people think of me isn't my business. I'm not interested in convincing you or anyone else of my way in the world... I want you to find your own. My tenacity and refusal to settle for less eventually pays off in the end. This has proved true in every area of my life. 


I know what it’s like to sacrifice stability for the sake of integrity… to not know where the rent is coming from… to ache in wonder of
what's next?... or... how in the hell am I gonna pull this off? I've let go of a whole lot of goodness in order to find ever-more greatness. And yes, change almost always pisses me off before I welcome it in. 
Resistance is raw power - potential unrealized. Fear and I have wrestled as frenemies for years; yet, I've recently come to love her for how her shamanic sourcery summons my courage to surface when I am willing to push back. 


I am most at home in the gray areas of life… where one person’s savior is another’s worst enemy… when the wrong thing is the right thing at the time… and where the person who does the guiding is the one most needing to take a humble detour along the way. 
We see the world through our eyes only. Therefore it's always a gamble to share your truth because only some will have a similar focus. Agreement, distain, or indifference... however this lands. Honor it. I see your truth, and I raise you a high five. 



How about you? What is the dark helping you to see more clearly?
Share your thoughts in the comments below...



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Seek Alliance vs. Answers

Many people mistakenly assume that a mentor, counselor, or coach presumes to have the answers. Hardly. In fact, I believe it works best if it's just the opposite. Being an advocate for others more often means that you are willing to continually ask the right questions.

No one can provide you with the answers you seek. An advocate and ally is the best you can hope for - someone willing to walk alongside you, reflecting back what you already know. Better yet if they have walked a day or more in your shoes... that much more do they have to offer as a mirror along your path. 

I share my thoughts with you not to sway you towards them. Nor do I write for release alone. (I have a journal for that.) I reach out to you as a demonstration of how unfiltered expression can free us from self-made confines that disconnect us from one another.

I see the vulnerability of exposure as the ultimate power building practice. For when I show up and am seen, I am forced to look at myself. 

How so exactly? 

Some people will like my musings; others will unsubscribe. Either way I gain power. From those who resonate with my art I receive external validation that my perspective matters. I feel like less of an alien when someone else sees the world through my eyes. As for those who don't feel I add value, this truth is just as real. We are necessary only to those who echo our deepest real; it's not personal. Besides, nestled within the sting of so-called rejection is a call to look within for validation and comfort. And any excuse to be my own lover is a welcome one in my book. 

I am a mirror for passionate, creative women who feel stuck or are settling for less than their hearts' desire. How do I know this? Because I have garnered wisdom from my own experience, and I feel honored to share. That's why I'm relaunching
my online course (which may as well be called: How I Found My Power & Learned to Love Life 101). I'm making it more affordable and more accessible than ever before. Choose from 7 virtual classes or experience the entire 12-week program. It officially launches July 1st. 

I won't give you the answers... but I can turn the light on in a room you forgot even existed. 

Your Ally in the asking ~ Candice 


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Death & Detox

Some say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. I'd consider that fairly spot-on, given my recent experience. Yesterday marked three weeks of body detox for me... no caffeine, no sugar, no dairy, no gluten/grains, no alcohol. The first 3 days were a real bitch, but I've been astounded since then by how easy it has been to override cravings that seem to pass through me like lightning if I give them very little space in my mind. I feel physically amazing... strong and lean... and mentally I have gained more power than I could have imagined I would. 

And then yesterday happened. Life stepped in to put me evermore to the test. My stepdad, who has been ill for some time now, died early Tuesday morning. I woke to a message from my mom sobbing; no matter how old I get the sound of my mom crying tears me to pieces. I won't go into the countless layers of emotion surrounding his death for me, but suffice to say it's complex... since then it's been roughly 24 hours of on/off self-torturous inner dialogue.

As it typically is with emotional surges, deep cravings rose to meet them on cue - techniques of self-soothing I have used most of my life to medicate through emotional pain. Last night, I wanted to crawl inside of a loaf of bread slathered with butter and let it cushion me forever. Lattes, martinis, french fries... they called out to my heaviness with familiar and intoxicating recognition. 

And I said no... I said, "no thanks" to every. single. urge. 

Not because I have to say no. Nor because I believe it's wrong to engage the pleasures of food and drink. (ha! I'm a total foodie, are you kidding me?!) I'm not at all interested in being some sort of nutritional martyr - self-righteous denial has nothing to do with my choices here.

I won't give into my cravings because I made a promise to myself... 30 days, no matter what. Every single day that I wake up
in integrity with any vow I make to me I gain - not just greater health (that's just the icing) - I gain confidence that I have the power to design my life as I see it. Not to mention I gain access to yet another beautiful-ugly blessing; this time I deal with my emotions by looking at them versus drowning them in denial. I'll let you know how that goes. ;)

In the meantime, how about you? Are you keeping the promises you make to yourself?



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Less Is More

If your inbox is anything like mine, it's overflowing with more than your life can rightly hold. I recently unsubscribed from nearly a dozen lists, simply because I couldn't take it all in. But you know who I couldn't let go of?... those rare bloggers who pack value into 3-5 sentences. People like Seth Godin; I read his emails,every single day. Zero fluff, he gets to the point right away, and I'm able to fully absorb his juice with little more than a blink and a scroll. 

From here on out I will write to you with the thoughtful-yet-reckless abandon that I speak in. Too many years as a copy editor have kept my fearless-writer-vixen pacing in her cage. I now aim to write with the flow-etic intensity that I bring to dance... I want to leave the page dripping with what's real. 

Yes, you'll be hearing from me more often; however, I promise to be concise and pointed... ripping the bandaid off quick... sharing coaching ah-hah's along with my own personal ugh's...  spilling my beautiful ugly out to you in order to be wholeheartedly me... and hopefully, inspiring you to do the same. 
Until soon.



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Love Thyself


How do you know it’s high time to LOVE thyself?

You spend time being agreeable, when you could just be happy. Secretly, you may be terrified that others might somehow learn how needy you actually are, so you put on a good face... you give rather than take... you fight to win favor through your smile and the ‘incessant yes’, pretending it doesn’t piss you off when you overlook your desires yet again. You say to yourself, it’s okay... at least I’m not selfish. But it’s not okay... and seeking approval is in fact selfish; it only serves to isolate you. When you repeatedly leave yourself behind, drama eventually knocks at your door to remind you where you are... shivering apart from others out in the cold. And that’s sure to piss you off...

In fact, that’s why
you can be a real bitch sometimes. But it’s okay; I get it. Life’s a real pain-in-the-ass when you feel stuck. You have grown far too attached to the reasons why-not. I catch you looking down at the hand that you have been dealt, pointing to stories you’ve long outgrown. It angers you to feel trapped and stuck in a cycle. Understandably! Yet feeling small, fearful, or powerless to change... those are all habits that have unfortunate side effects. But it’s all just an excuse to hide. I’m calling you out. The truth is, you define yourself by limitation because freedom scares the shit out of you. You defend your limitations, trumpeting your so-called truth - why you can’t leave that job... take that trip... work on that project... or be free of that pain. You’re just afraid. We all are. But that’s no reason to stop reaching for more.

In fact, in this age of diagnosis we are all clinically ape-shit crazy with fear half the time, yet
you assume that everyone else couldn’t possibly be as screwed in the head as you are. So you hide out. You shrink wrap your feelings and tuck them under your bed. You deny what is real... and you devour anything that might negate your discontent, reaching for food, lovers, or accolades to support identification with your shadowy dysfunctions. On the surface, you present a facade of togetherness... working hard at denial, taking a *spiritual bypass around that which you’d rather not face in order to feel you’re making a credible effort.

Yet you still feel broken somehow... like your past mistakes have a choke-hold on your future.
Why? Because you mistake growth for advancement toward perfection. Needless to say, you’re often disappointed. Looking out at a world full of other people cloaked in pretense, you compare yourself with the distorted reflections you see. You stand before the mirror, obsessively comparing yourself to airbrushed personas, crying out in frustration at your failed attempts at such-and-such.

You CAN break the cycle for good. I did it... many of my clients have... and you can, too. You can develop new habits and ways of being that will change your life forever... giving you more power than you could ever imagine.

Take back authority over your life. Trust and lean into the life you were meant to live. Be vulnerable. Roar your truth freely. Create a space that’s just for you. Push through fear and move anyway.
Love thyself and live as such.

Not sure how?
I can help. Promise.
But you’ve gotta
act quick.

Self-love awaits you.
In the meantime, read this
love letter to you.


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A (Tough) Love Letter


A Love Letter to The Real You:

I have no interest in your credentials, your street smarts, or your childhood wartime anthem. I welcome the raw and rowdy shit-storm that would erupt were you to explode your ugliest truth, the angry pent-up power buried beneath the story. I dare you to show me YOU in all your dancing naked singing karaoke at the top of your lungs no holds barred glory.
I want to see you as you are - beautiful broken bits and all.

On this Valentine’s Day, I invite you to step outside of pretense with me. For regardless of your orientation in body and heart, when you come out, you eventually fall in
love with who you were meant to be in this world. The real you is sexy as hell.

Take an emotional romp in an unmade bed, touching upon your heart’s forbidden places so that you might cry out in the ecstasy of releasing fully to what is real.
Like your body’s yearning, so does your soul’s cold hard truth soften in the sharing. May your self-seduction stir you into silent contemplation of the beauty and the beast within - the universal ugly that you share with each one of us. In exposing your madness, you permit me to find peace in my own.

I want to tell you something about
perfect love. It’s all a lie. Perfection, that is. Every single person you admire is secretly flawed and unwillingly imperfect, too. Everyone makes a mess from time to time. Especially me.

But ya know what? I’m tired of apologizing for it.
Aren’t you?

I’ve come to discover that it’s not my flaws that cause me and the people around me pain. It’s pretending not to have them... fighting to be above it all wreaks havoc on our lives. It is our denial that breeds anger, drama, and dysfunction. It is our self-abandonment and presumption that we can offer ourselves unconditionally and fully to another that gets us into trouble. Surrender of sovereignty gets in the way of offering real love. And spiritual bybass is a convenient excuse to avoid being vulnerable; it’s time we call ourselves on that shit.

I think you’re smokin’ hot when you forget to put on good face.
Can you love me there, as well?

If so, I think we have a chance to change this crazy world where secret selves cry out by inflicting pain on one another. But we gotta start with each other.

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.

I love you,
Candice

P.S. Learn to
Love Thyself First


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Bless This Mess - Humility's Gift


One of the things that most fascinates me about the human experience is its endless variations and vantage points. Even when we attempt to put our best foot forward, we step on one another’s toes simply because we each have our own rhythm to follow.

Conflict used to scare the shit out of me. In my twenties I fought the good fight only with myself, the emotional residue of my childhood left me paralyzed in the face of dissonance of any kind. So I morphed myself into someone who took great pains to please the people around me. It was an exhausting and relentless pursuit... all to avoid hurting anyone. Unfortunately, I was beating myself down in the process.

I have since learned that in order to lift the veils of protection, you have to be willing to take a hit from time to time. That is how you come to know your edges. We discover sovereignty and self-dominion by giving over our power, then reclaiming it again.

Tremendous growth can also happen when we are vulnerable enough to reveal something of ourselves that hasn’t yet seen the light of day; and sometimes that shadow truth shows up as a white hot mess. It doesn’t come out right. We feel exposed. Feelings get hurt. Some less than flattering aspect of ourselves is revealed. We wonder at the point of it all.

Yet regret is rarely helpful; it is powerlessness disguised. It often impedes self-empathy for what is done, is done. There is no point in holding yourself hostage to avoid facing the truth of what now lies before you. Accountability as an internal process contains within it the opportunity for needs to be revealed and a more honest expression of self to emerge... IF we are courageous enough to gaze upon ourselves and take the medicine being offered.

I can’t think of any greater power in my life than that of humility. When life knocks me on my ass, I may bitch and moan for a time... but I no longer stew in it for long because humility reminds me that pain has its purpose. It invites adjustment. Focusing on how to take the reach being offered is a far more worthwhile pursuit, as the mystery of growth reveals itself to us sooner when we are less resistant.

Particularly in the realm of relationship, sovereignty is key. I’m still learning how to love with an open heart, how about you? What to share... where to draw lines... and how to be present when wounds overlap and rub raw against one another. Join me as we dance this dance together... allow your pain points to show you how to navigate the world around you more consciously while healing your tender heart. Be humble to your own evolution, however bumpy the ride, and open to a larger vantage point beyond what you can see. Yet never surrender fully your core truth to the perception of those around you. When it comes to reality, we all see through a different lens. Seek not to convince others that your gaze reflects what is most real. Honor variance, tread lightly, and own what is yours (no more, no less).

And when you have no clue what to do, divorce your role as dramatic storyteller. Instead, find a safe container and tell the deepest truth you possibly can. If in doing so, you still make a mess of things, lean into the knowing that every dark explosion contains within it the potential for rebirth. Yet humility requires you to turn on the lights. Look around you; invite a new response to an old paradigm. And bless the mess that has revealed who you might come to be.


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Power through Reach - what are you waiting for?


What are you waiting for?
Clarity? Time? Money? Permission? Perfect Love?

I’m calling your bluff. When you continually want something and you refuse to rise and claim it, you’re not waiting for anything or anyone. . .
hesitation has you in a holding pattern.

Don’t get me wrong... a healthy dose of contemplation is wise. However, at times, you are sure to get caught in the infinite pause... putting off what you know you need, denying what you dare want. And as a result... you find reasons “not to.” Excuses to postpone getting on board with what would light you up like no other.


And most of your excuses are total and complete BS. Sorry my dear, but it’s the truth. They are just stories based on faulty assumptions. Habits to stay small... to avoid the risk of exposure... to question being an actual exception to the mediocrity of the masses. Hesitation can be exhausting. Denying your right to be ridiculously happy and free can be a ton of work.

As a coach, I continually encounter individuals who are overwhelmed. They are dog-tired and perplexed at the way life seems to be delivering blow after blow... they can’t seem to put their finger on why “x” keeps happening to them... they feel like an emotional wreck. They wonder at the challenges stacked before them... why can’t life be easier?

Upon closer examination, it becomes clear...
They are stuck waiting. Deliberation has become a debilitation.


It’s what I call a “riverbank moment.” The flow of their life is calling them forward... urging them to trust and GO... and yet they hesitate anxiously... anchoring themselves to a reality (or pattern of indecision) that no longer serves them.

At times, something (or someone) refuses to move with them, and they use it as an excuse to stay put. Other times they await the perfect invitation, losing faith when “it” doesn’t show up. Most often it’s a simple shift of perspective that will set them free and get their life moving again.
Regardless, they cling to the sidelines as life lovingly fights to free them from inertia... flowing forth like a river, faster and faster and faster... at first offering a gentle invitation, but eventually beating them with a force that aches.

It is tough love at its finest.

Boats pass by again and again... vessels offering passage to freedom... yet still, they cling to the rocks in white-knuckled terror... so damned scared to make the wrong move... terrified of getting into the “wrong boat.” They keep fighting against the currents of their own desire...

Sometimes we prefer the safety of dysfunction
. . . to the mysterious journey around the bend.


But in the end, the Universe will force its hand upon us... and we WILL have to let go.
Eventually we will be ripped from the shore.

Why? Because
life will bang our drum of discontent with a bitter-sweet rhythm until we listen. Growth is the perfect contender... offering resistance... something to push against so we can grow stronger. If we don’t back down and yield to our own desires, it offers a knockout punch... one that pushes us to yield to the ultimate power - surrender.

It won’t hurt so much if you surrender... you can let go at anytime. You don’t have to be tormented by stagnancy’s cry and its taunting echo. Heed the call of your desires for more... trust in the flow of your life. Let go. Movement is progress. Release is rebirth. Any freakin’ boat will take you forward...

Can’t see what’s around the bend?... reach forward anyway. Risk the reach.
Don’t like where you are headed?... steer the sails. Own the flow.
Find your vessel unfit for the journey?... make some repairs or find another.
Therein lies power... to understand that you always have a choice.


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Who's Your Hero? Why Isn't It YOU?

PowerHouseLogo


Do you know what kills my mojo every time? Shoulds. I hate those deceptive little suckers. That's why you haven't heard from me recently. I fell prey to the pressures of popular business models and began beating the passion out of my work. As I'm sure you know, it's easy to become distracted by supposed paths to success. Thankfully, creative sizzle-fizzle is always quick to remind me that
true fulfillment is a subjective pursuit tethered to the heart of its seeker. 

So after a very clumsy pas de deux with conformity, I have found my footing again. And, thanks to all of those missteps, I have learned a few things. Nutshell: 
I gotta be me. I am never really happy working according to someone else's formula. While I love to be inspired by those I admire, I promptly wither under the weight of convention. I prefer my creative containers be unique to my nature, elastic vessels that swell and eventually shatter under the pressure of my new growth. 

I believe many of us live out lives in soils that no longer feed us. We continue to squeeze ourselves into planters that are long outgrown or designed by others. We are barely able to breathe as our eager roots edge against walls that feel as if they are closing in. We lash out violently at the elements above and around us for relief from a pressure and pain that lies deep beneath the surface. 

Holy hot damn, I gotta tell you, ... there's nothing like the overwhelming relief of breaking out, into new rich soils. You don't have to leave it all behind; you bring with you the fertile compost of experience, designed by nature to ignite your new life. While it may be shocking to be unearthed from who you think yourself to be, it's beyond worth it once nestled deep within the expanse of new possibilities. Upon entering new ground, I always have to remind myself to breathe... as feelings of fear and exhilaration naturally surge at the wonder of just how far my roots are now able to stretch.  
w h o a...  Yep, that's why they call it bated breath, it's laced with the awe of an unknown finish. 

Which bring us to this moment...

I have just unleashed a labor of love that is so near and dear to my heart, it causes my pulse to quicken every time I think about it. This offering is not for everyone... it's designed for the countless women who - like me - have struggled with the expression of their truest voice and most authentic power in the world. Those who have too many times surrendered their will to something or someone else, hoping for validation or salvation. Let me be clear. This program  will not ensure you a perfect body or promise to bring you your next relationship. A bag of money will not fall from the sky. However you'll be astounded at the expansive glory of becoming your own personal hero.

You choose your life. Learn to choose wisely. This program will give you endless resources and insights to leverage your gorgeous and perfectly-designed imperfections for massive power to DO whatever the hell YOU want with your one precious life. 

And the best part... it's completely self-paced, offers 1:1 guidance, and can be experienced from anywhere in the world. Technology kicks some serious ass, dontcha think?

I will offer you context for the program's genesis in the coming days. But for now... 
Learn more about the first ever Powerhouse Program. Please be advised: SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED so don't hesitate...  the wait is over. It's high time for you to GET YOURS...


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That's How I Art

FBquoteThatsArt


It has only recently dawned on me that, in comparison to most people, I am radically honest. I don’t just mean in terms of the words I speak. True, I totally suck at white lies, half-truths, and packaged promises.... so now I don’t bother. But nor do I like being boxed in by someone else’s convention or way of life... I pace like a lion if I’m out of integrity with what works for me.
I am willing to change everything if my life doesn’t sit right. That, I am finding, is a less common form of honesty. Truly authentic living.

I dare to live my life for me, which seems totally selfish to some people. I agree that, sometimes, humility can be found through sacrifice. But it can also be actively created by getting out of the damned way and simply living for your expression and your cause.
In fact, I think it is far more arrogant to be agreeable. To assume that the world needs us to tip-toe around, so as not to rustle any feathers is a very self-centered sentiment. Rock your truth. People will judge you for playing too small. People will judge you for playing too big. Which one sounds like more fun?

That’s what I thought. ;)

True, it’s a bit scary sometimes.
Not everybody likes it when I say what’s on my mind. But there are some of you out there that seem to love it... so I’m taking on more exposure. If you want to free yourself from the B.S. and dare yourself to live a life on your totally-kickass terms... you might be inspired by some of my recent realizations:

Doing One Thing Makes Me Nauseas
There’s a reality that’s dying-off in our culture... a myth fed by outdated stereotypes and student loan debt. It says: “pick one thing and stick with it.” Ugh. It kinda makes me wanna hurl. I hate to upchuck all over the American Dream, but I’ll never be able to do that shit. I’m simply not wired for it. I’d much rather juggle three balls at once... while skipping up a mountain... with a koala bear on my back... singing You Are My Sunshine at the top of our lungs. (yes, the koala beer can sing.... and you get the picture ;).

I change careers and creative pursuits almost as often as I change addresses.
I’m a chameleon with a cause. And I’m okay with that.
The “one thing” I love doing is me. And I like re-doing it over and over and over again...

Restless? Maybe.
I was born to move.
Some are. (mad love to all the ADHD peeps out there... may your restless leg find a drum pedal and/or a wise ally who sees the inherent magic in your medicine).

Why I Never Wear Makeup When I Write
Hey. I’m a huge fan of some shiny Mac lip gloss and sexy black eyeliner (mrowr!). But you won’t catch me wearin’ it when I hit the gym. Why? Because it’s not practical given my purpose. In the same way, I don’t want to get pretty when I write to you. I’m not interested in perfectly polished blog posts that ooze with flashy promises, because that’s not what my work is about.
I vow to uncensor my fiery fingertips, revealing my blemishes and scars. Yes, I am an entrepreneur... so I do have to present a case for my products. But really, the #1 thing I am interested in selling you is YOU. Not just you, but the you that is unveiled of all pretense. It is the possibility of your liberation that gives me the courage to run around these pages (and others) without mascara.

Heck, one of these days maybe I will reveal my metaphorical cellulite... and under florescent lights! yikes!
Yep, I’ve got it too! (P.S. I said “metaphorical” so all photo requests will be denied. ;)

Sometimes Really Good Advice Sucks
My recent business training with
Marie Forleo (which has been AHmazing) has really got my wheels turning. I have had more entrepreneurial ah-hahs in the past three months than I can count. Yet no matter who you elect as your guide or guru, I can promise you this... they can’t give you the perfect map for you. Ever. They can only offer suggestions based on what works for them. You’ve got to take what fits and leave the rest. (Side note: never take advice without making sure your source is walking the talk. Props here, Marie is da’ bomb.)

One example of a really simple piece of advice that had me tied up in knots for weeks: “create an editorial calendar and stick to it.” Um... please shoot me now.
That’s like telling me to take my favorite dark chocolate and dip in it dirt.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it. I understand the need for discipline; I get that you have to show up to write. But it makes me wanna cry, regimenting my greatest joy. I know it works for some people, but it’s not for me. I don’t create juice from that place. Yes, I am a professional. I could crank a little something out every week... but I don’t want to send you a bunch of fluff. My email box is overflowing with fluff and it makes me dizzy. I want to feel completely ablaze with a message when I write to you.

For over a decade I have been a dancer. And I have never fit convention. I don’t dance at home alone... and studio-time is not something that I do. I choreograph only in my head, and I dance only with others, when I love the song. And ya know what... it has worked for me.
That’s how I art.

And I muse only when I feel moved. So I’m crossing that editorial calendar off of my list right now. Boo-yah!

What are you forcing yourself to do that you can cross off your list?
Tell me about it in the comments below...



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People Taking Advantage of You? Think Again.

FBYouDontHaveTo


A few years ago I was teaching a class at Multnomah Athletic Club, a premier fitness club here in Portland. In a short break between songs, something caught my eye just out the side window. A female member wearing a body harness and dripping with sweat was moving across the floor like molasses, using her full physical strength to propel herself forward. She was near impossible to ignore, as she sweated and strained against whatever it was she resisted. Just as the other students in class turned to look, a man (her trainer) came into view. He was at the end of her rope, leaning back against her might... resisting her call to action.

Without even realizing it, I muttered aloud (but mostly to myself)... “wow, that looks a lot like my last relationship.” Just as I was about to blush with shame, the entire room of women erupted in laughter. I was immediately put at ease and smiled along with them. Apparently I wasn’t alone in that sentiment. ;)

Of course, there are a number of reasons why we choose to tie ourselves to relationships leave us panting for air (that’s another post). Yet, I am way more interested in HOW we can open our eyes and untether ourselves from unnecessary strain.

While a certain degree of tension is to be expected in our relationships, all too often we are pulling around more than our share of the weight and/or participating in a co-dependent tango with co-workers, friends, partners, and family members.

So... who’s at the end of your rope?

You may want to blame whoever it is for being there, but in truth you are at fault. YOU are the one trying to force them to get somewhere they don’t want to go. You aren’t straining against them... you are actively fighting against yourself and your innate desire to act as an independent entity.
While it may seem like a loving act to pull them along, you’re not doing anyone a favor here. While you might be getting stronger, sacrificing your power to a force that opposes the direction you want to go in inevitably breeds resentment.

Here are some examples of strapping on a harness and giving your power away...
(sigh) I have to pick up my friend at the airport.
I should go to the party because I will be expected.
I don’t want to do it,
but I said that I would!
My boss
always does this to me; he is such a bully!
I have to stay and work late
because nobody else is gonna do it!
I tried to get out of it, but
she just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
I really want to go on that vacation. I wish he was into it, too.

The reality is... it’s only true because you say it is.

You don’t “have to” do any one of those things.
You are NOT powerless. You are NOT a victim. Unless, of course, you choose to be.
You can take off that freakin’ harness any time you like.

How? Stop pretending to be without strength.
People can only take advantage of you if you believe that they have more power over your life than you do. And that, my friend, is very unlikely. It is high time for you to flex your true power. And remember, power is not a four letter word. It can be expressed with kindness and compassion.

Let’s turn the former scenarios around...
I’m so sorry, Mary... I’m super swamped. Meet me for a drink when you get into town?
As much as I would love to make it to your party, it’s just not a good night for me. Have fun!
No can do. Hope you find someone.
Thanks, Boss. I’ll get to that when I can. Probably next week.
If the work doesn’t get done, so be it. It’s not my business, so it’s not my problem.
I can’t do you that favor. Please don’t ask me again.
[sound harsh? yep! pushy peeps need clear boundaries]
Hey! What if I took that trip to Hawaii with my BFF? It would probably be more fun anyway!


You can do this! Turn your reality around. Put your power into your own words, and take of that harness once and for all. It works. I haven’t worn one in years, and I’m stronger than ever.

Still not sure how to untether yourself from a specific dynamic?
Ask me.


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Stop Hiding, Lil' Devil


QuoteHOLDING

Do you ever feel like you're posing in life?...
or maybe just squeezing yourself into a box you've outgrown?

Is there an avenue of your everyday that brings up a dull to acute anxiety within you?...
one you avoid whenever possible?

Do you ever feel your face warm - your body flood with pent-up energy
or frustration - when interacting with a particular person?


If you answered yes to any of those questions, there IS something you can do about it...

Stop. Hiding.

Doesn't sound like anything you haven't heard before, right?
Reveal more your brilliance!, she urges... 
• more of your opinions
• more of your gifts
• more of your values
• more of your body
• more of your talents
• more of your love
• more of your light
• more power...

blah blah blah... 
Heads up, Guru-smiley pants! You can put a freakin' rainbow on my workbook and tell me to breathe deeper, but it still hasn't stopped me from eating potato chips or snapping at my kids...

Let's face it. That cheerleading angel perched on your shoulder can sometimes feel like a nag... buzzing around your brain with affirmations and positive psycho-babble. Ugh. Would someone please shut her up?! 

You've got it. 
Sometimes "positive thinking" is just a cover for holding yourself hostage.

Let's look to the other shoulder. You see that
sarcastic lil' devil in that smart suit or red dress cut way too low?.. pouty lips, indifferent stance, eyes rolling? Yep. She's the one for you. Her delivery may need some work, but she's got the juice. 

I want you to fall head over heels in love with your provocative little shadow vixen. Why?

Because then you will begin to unveil:
• more of your (unpopular) opinions
• more of your (secret) gifts
• more of your (selfish) values
• more of your (naked) body
• more of your (underdeveloped) talents
• more of your (courageous) love
• more of (the real) you
• more (authentic) power

And that, my dear, is the key to your liberation. 
Owning. It. All.

Anxiety is the offspring of self-denial. Period. You are buzzing with discomfort because you are not allowing the full expression of what is real for you. The surge of energy that we know as anxiety is the body's natural realignment mechanism. It is urging you to
move your pent up power. 

The more you consciously exorcise your true voice and full power - however undesirable or divergent it may be - the less anxious you will feel. The irony is, you have to walk through the anxiety of exposure to find freedom from it. For best results, I suggest deconstructing your lil' devil in order to reveal it's saucy medicine. That's my favorite part...
showing you how your own unique brand of crazy (what you are likely hiding from the world) is just what you are here to share. 

And nope, I'm not worried at all about you aligning with that lil' devil. What if you start running around like the Queen of Destruction, lopping off heads without care?! Come on... we know you. You are WAY too ahead of the game... way too conscious... way to savvy... and way too smart for that shit. 

I trust you to handle the power you were born with. 
Do you?

Step out of the dark. 
And into to your true power. 

Off you go... 

Need some inspiration on how to get in alignment when it might create upset for others? 
Here's how I embraced the art of disappointing people, just this week!

Want to see one way I exorcise my vixen? 
Check her out. She's a fire-cracker. Mrowr!


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Doing What You Love (vs. What is Expected)

FBquoteRestless

Today I disappointed a lot of people. And I mean to say that I really bummed them out. I keep getting bitter-sweet emails to prove it.

You see, I am changing the course of my life. Yep, that’s what I said...
I am changing the course of my life. In order to do that, I have to let go of some things. Unfortunately, that means people are disappointed in the process. Such is the path of following one’s heart.

For over a decade, I have been a dance fitness teacher. But it’s only in the past five years, that I have begun to really excel. Having finally learned to step into my
true voice and full power, I can honestly say that I am damned good at it. Of course in the beginning I spent a period of time sorta sucking, then time paying my dues as a copy-cat rookie teacher, a few years honing my voice, and then (eventually) I found a groove that works for exactly who it is I am as a teacher. It feels wonderful to be in that space of effortlessness around something you love to do. And now I even have a following of gorgeous women (and even a few men!) who love to get down with me. It is wonderfully rewarding. I am so grateful and humbled by it all.

And... as wonderful as it is...
it is not my big dream.

Not when I have so much else I want to share. While my body has made it clear that it is time to move on (reality check and details on that
here), that’s really a bit of a cop out. I know from experience that my body really only speaks as a vehicle for my soul. All success aside, my soul is calling me to other things...

You know deep inside you that you will never be fully satisfied until you have anchored yourself in your Zone of Genius. To do less would be to hold back, and long ago you made a handshake deal with the universe that you wouldn’t do that. The seductive comforts of success, though, can lull us into accepting the status quo. In that state of comfort, it’s easy to forget the deal you made with the universe to use yourself fully. – Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap


I just began reading this book, and it could not have come at a better time. I highly recommend it for a number of reasons. He talks a lot about how we get in our own way, limiting the amount of happiness in our lives through a variety of “upper-limiting” behaviors. Big ah-hah’s for me there!

And he specifically talks about how easy it is for successful people to get stuck in what he calls the Zone of Excellence. You see, we all have areas that we excel in... things that we do very well and may even be rewarded generously for. However, it is in our Zone of Genius that we thrive on every level.
We are not only successful, we are fulfilled by doing what comes most naturally to us. In reading his book, I realize that THIS is how I feel when working with my clients. Pause. Did you hear that? My clients. Two of my favorite words. I freakin’ love my clients!!!! Holy cow. There is literally nothing that jazzes me up more than sitting with a client and seeing new awareness form in her eyes... watching as she accepts the fact that she can have more... witnessing her as she step into her power and makes serious shit happen. Oh, I could go on for days... I am head over heels in love with my clients because they allow me the privilege of doing my work.

I used to gaze intrigued and perplexed at Oscar winners when I they would say things like that: “Thank you for allowing me the privilege of doing the work I was born to do.” It always sounded kinda corny to me... and almost too good to be true. But I can tell you that lately, I know just what they are getting at.

It’s a phenomenal feeling, to fulfill your genius...

It lights me up from bottom to top... offering personalize power training for women. This is where I feel most like myself. I am built for this work.
I guide self-empowerment that results in tangible expression. I am wired to cheer people on and to see the stuff that seems hidden from view. I was born to demonstrate and encourage raw and authentic truth. While I also do that as a dance teacher everyday, I have so much more power within me. My attention needs to go toward a loftier expression of my big dream.

As a result. I will have to
let go of some classes. Release my current path of success, and have the courage to invest more in what I really love doing with every ounce of my being. That second part is easy, by the way. When you are doing the work that you are REALLY meant to do, it is so damned easy, it’ll make you giggle til you pee. Being yourself is a snap. You say to yourself... “Whatev’s! No worries. I’ve so got this!”. You’ll even work 16 hour days without even batting an eyelash, simply because you can’t stop yourself from doing what you love.

That’s me, right here right now. That’s how I feel about creating this newly envisioned business that provides massive value to people who are ready to step in to more power, more grace, and more authenticity than they ever imagined.

Isn’t that worth a few people being disappointed? I think so.

Are you one of them? No worries. Why not spend some quality time with me? I’ve got a deal that will knock your socks off...


This special offer is ONLY AVAILABLE to my students. I adore you all!
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with Candice
If you have an issue in your life or body and could use support,
it’s time to cash in!
Apply and mention this offer.
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In the meantime, tell me: What are YOU doing to get in your own way?
I’d love to hear about it... and what you plan to do to change it!


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WTF is GRACE anyway?!

WTF is Grace Anyway?
What To Do When The Rug Is Pulled Out From Under You


In November 2004 I was slated to move into an apartment with a friend and colleague. I had given notice at my current place, rented the truck, everything was set.
Four short days before I was to move, I was sipping a latte at Starbucks when I got a call from my new roommate. For reasons outside of her control, the whole thing had fallen through at the last minute. Her current roommate was staying, and I had nowhere to go. Keep in mind, this was also three days before Thanksgiving... not exactly a huge hustle time in the rental market.

I was stunned. I fell perfectly silent.
And then, for some reason I can't explain... I was completely calm. I thanked and reassured her with a graciousness that surprised the shit out of me, and I hung up the phone. I took a deep breath, expecting to be overwhelmed by panic. But it never came. An inexplicable sense of acceptance rolled over me, and what was that (relief?... ?!), followed by a sense that something was so RIGHT about everything in that f'ed up mess of a moment.

I got into my car to drive toward work. But I turned left instead of right. I drove straight toward the neighborhood I MOST wanted to live in. I drove and drove... weaving closer to the forest I wanted to be near. I called numbers on a few apartment complexes (per the signs posted outside). They were all out of my price range. And by a lot. All the while, a voice inside taunted me to quit... “give it up, girl! you can’t afford to live here. and you are going to be SO late for work! JUST GIVE. IT. UP!”

But instead, I ignored it. I kept driving. I kept calling numbers. Still nothing I could afford. And just as I was about to give up (mind you, only 20 minutes into this little adventure), I decided to drive to the end of the road. Almost to where the road dead-ended, I saw a set of lovely little red steps leading into a landscaped courtyard. It was an eight-unit complex where every unit had its own hand-carved wooden front door. I loved it immediately. And at the top of the steps was a “for rent” sign. I called apprehensively, and a sweet elderly lady answered the phone. I could immediately feel she was very kind... “The door is unlocked... go on in, honey." I toured a lovely little one-bedroom abode and anxiously asked questions: Would you allow for my cat? “Oh, I just love cats! Even more than people, sometimes!” she giggled. When could I move in? “Well, it’s available NOW, honey.” And the most dreaded question: (gulp) How much is it? (holding breath) “oh I try and keep it low.”... she then quoted me a price that left my mouth gaping open. It was $25 more a month than the teeny tiny studio I had been living in for the past year. I almost fell over with relief and amazement at how easy it had been. Too easy??...

Nope. I moved in three days later.

On top of that, it was hands-down the easiest move of my life. My friend and her roommate felt so bad that they had left me hanging, I had all the man and muscle power that they could call upon. It was a 3-hour move, tops. A total breeze. It still makes me smile remembering how few boxes I carried.

Living there was a pivotal time in my life... things wouldn’t have been the same if I had ended up anywhere else.

It was (and still is) a miracle moment in my life. That day I understood the sensation of grace. Moving forward, while letting it happen. I went from crisis to solution in 20-minutes... all by remaining calm and insisting upon something better.

Now I haven’t had that much grace in response to every crisis in my life (that’s for damned sure!)... but I do know that when I
persist without forcing... when I keep driving in life... when I make the calls... when I become available to the impossible... and when I am willing to do my part to make it so, I almost always get what I want.

I really do get what I want, a lot of the time. Maybe not right away. But eventually, yes. Ask the people who know me. Many people see this as a positive, but I have been condemned for it more than once. Maybe it’s because I am stubborn to a fault. Sure... maybe I need to tone it down from time to time (when I become impatient or focus on the wrong things), but
when it comes to insisting on a life that I love, persistence works for me.

Or better said... I work for life. So life works for me.

So when the rug is pulled out from under you, curse only for a moment, get your ass up, and get moving. The next chapter is in front of you... like an automatic door you can’t see. You have to step forward, insist on its existence... get close enough and it will S W I N G W I D E O P E N.

Grace is a delicious thing, but it can’t happen without you.


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Indecision. What Do I Do?


“Help! I am so unsure about what to do.
And it terrifies me that I may make the wrong decision.”


It’s not always apparent which direction we should go in. Sometimes we feel pulled apart at the seams by two distinct courses of action. Maybe the option we are faced with overwhelms us with perceived pressure or insecurity... we ask ourselves, “Is this REALLY what I want?” And in some cases, we’re just scared shitless. There is no perfect answer to serve all occasions, but I can offer you a few tried-and-true strategies that will help you to find your answer every time!

#1 :: Pay Attention to the Voice in your Head....
Are your reasons for doing it empowering or disempowering?

The first step to gaining clarity involves an exercise in self-awareness. Noticing the internal language you use around a particular course of action can immediately reveal your deepest truth. When you debate this issue in your heart and mind, what words do you use most?

For example, said-action is disempowering when you use words/phrases such as:
I really have to this because... (there is no “have-to” in empowerment)
If I don’t do this then...
(indicates fear is guiding you vs. possibility)
I’m not sure what else I would do, so I probably should...
(should’s are just shitty reasons, period.)
This worked for so-and-so, so it must be the right thing to do...
(fyi, it’s your life)

On the other hand, said-action is empowering when you use words/phrases such as:
It’s so exciting to think about doing this because... (a feeling of exhilaration)
Even though I’m scared, the possibilities this opens me to are... (moving toward expansiveness)
If I don’t do this now, I just know I will regret it later... (guided by intuition)
Even if this doesn’t work out, I have a feeling it will lead to something great... (a sense of *optimism)

Essential aside regarding optimism: I find it an unfortunate (and misguided) use of optimism when people talk themselves into loving an idea just because it COULD work out. Of course it could! But that doesn’t mean that you want to do it! An optimist can talk him or herself into doing anything. Save your rose-colored glasses for another day. Making important decisions requires you be honest with yourself and what is really guiding your choices. What matters more that IF it could work is whether or not a course of action lights you up or dims you down. Do you feel more or less powerful when you imagine doing it?

#2 :: Ask Your Body....
What is your gut telling you? Literally.

It’s easy to get caught in the cross-fire of the heart and mind. A part of us yearns to do something driven by our passion around a cause... while our mind frantically tries to keep up with us while weighing the pros and cons. The result of this banter can be maddening, as we drive ourselves crazy with scenarios. The heart professes the pleas of the artist-within... the mind is ever-concerned with the logistics... and no one conclusion seems apparent. That, my sweet, is the time when you just gotta listen to your gut!

Your body speaks its own language, and when you learn how to listen to it... you’ll never make decisions the same. Sit quietly and breathe for a bit. Get your bearings first... and then go back to the place where the heart and mind are tossing this choice you are about to make. First turn down the volume on the mind... let lawyering fade into the distance a bit to create a little space for the heart to step in. Then slowly do the same with it... allow the passionate pleas of the heart die down as you place your attention on your lower belly. Stay there for a moment. What do you feel? Likely, a flutter of some sort... anxiety is common when a major choice presents itself. But here is the question you must ask your gut:
Do I feel the sickness of apprehension?... or Do I feel the stirring of desire? There can be a fine line between the two, but with practice you will learn to discern between Lionheart Fear (that calls upon courage) and the Inner Sage (that tells us when to hold out for something better).

If you’re still not sure whether or not to trust your gut... then ask your most observant and trusted friend to do a body read for you. Say what?!! Yea... seriously. It’s easier than it sounds. Tell them that you want to talk it out, and you just want them to focus SOLELY on your body language, not the content of your argument. Then, just let it rip... I mean really pour out your thoughts and fears around this decision. Go on until you feel empty... then ask them this question: Did I seem bigger or smaller when I talked about do said-action? You may be surprised by their answer... honest friends are always a good read.

#3 :: Reality Check - It’s Not WHAT you choose, it’s THAT you choose
I often offer my clients The River Metaphor as a way of understanding how essential it is to keep moving in life (more on that soon). Essentially, your life will move with or without you. When you go with it, it’s a much smoother ride. Choice is one of the greatest gifts we have been given, and it is the most essential aspect in our evolution both individually and collectively. When we refuse to make a choice around something, it postpones our growth. Growth is inevitable, while grace is defined by how we choose to go about it. Movement requires saying YES and saying NO... over and over again and again. The sooner you allow for an answer (any answer!), the sooner you free yourself up for the next opportunity. There is no right or wrong in movement... there is only forward. Whether you say yes or no, you have spoken and the current of life will move you that much faster. More on responding to the now, and release the how.

Still not sure what to choose? Then, quite honestly, it’s not a decision that warrants your energy. Let it go.
Say yes... say no... say anything(!), and move on. Being stuck is far more detrimental to your growth than any direction you might choose. You can’t mess this up. The lesson will be learned, either way.


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So What? You're Scared.


“Why do I keep avoiding the life I want?!”

“Start before you’re ready.” - Marie Forleo


It is really freakin’ easy to put things off. I mean, seriously easy... I myself can spend hours planning [translation: postponing!] something I really want to do. Literally. I am a compulsive list-maker... and it’s seemingly good cause to feel productive when not much of anything is actually going on. Ironically, many people would describe me as a go-getter - disciplined and responsible. Ha!... I’ve got them fooled, eh?! ;) Nah... it’s true. I can be counted on to get shit done, that’s for sure. It’s only the things that require the most heart and soul that I avoid. Curious, eh?

Case in point, many of you know that I am a writer. I have shared bits of pieces of myself via articles here and there. I even have a blog dedicated to my love of poetry and prose. (
RecklessNectar... and yes, it’s as raw and succulent as it sounds.) But lately I have been wanting to more actively incorporate my writing into my coaching practice, in bigger and bolder ways... and with consistency!!! So why haven’t I done it? I love to write, so that’s not where the resistance lies. My blog is a perfect place to start; I clearly have the platform. But instead of sitting down to write, I put it off or plan it... I make lists of topics... I get distracted by what is urgent... I continually postpone my bliss. WTF?...

I see this phenomenon all around me. Clients that can’t keep themselves from crossing their arms and rolling their eyes when I mention the thing they’d most love to do with their lives. Friends who are wickedly skilled in a great variety of things that light them up, putting off the baby steps in exchange for happy hour or a Facebook session. Millions of people settle for lives that don’t-quite-suck and put off what would make them GLOW. In fact I have found that almost anyone, if you probe long enough, has a latent passion they’ve dreamt of stepping into for as long as they can remember.

So what gives, yo?!
Why do so many of us resist getting on with it?

Why do we AVOID doing what we would most love to do?

Conventional psychology would say that “fear of failure” is the culprit. Many would argue that our insecurities are what terrorize our will to act. Perhaps, in some cases. But if we examine more closely, I think we will see an even deeper fear at work. I call it Fear of Exposure.

You see, what we love the most, reveals us the most.
Essentially, our deepest passions are connected with the most intimate part of us. When we unlock their expression, we are completely exposed. Offering exposure to what is most real for us is the scariest thing we could ever do. Ironically it is also the key to unlocking
our greatest joy. We are our most free when we are our most vulnerable, honest, naked, and real.

It’s scary, isn’t it?... being so exposed?
True. It takes practice, stepping into the light in all your naked glory. But let’s be clear, it’s not the fear that stops you from doing what your heart yearns for. Hesitation does that. What’s the difference, you ask? Fear only has the power you give it. It’s just a handy surge of energy that rises up when we feel a real or imagined threat. It’s a subtle (or sometimes paralyzing) sensation that you can learn to navigate. It’s not fear that is the problem, it is what you do in the face of that fear that defines how the moment will unfold....

When faced with exposure of self... Do you hesitate? Or do you ACT? Giving vehicle to your authentic desires... acting in the face of fear... this will conjure up more power than you could ever imagine.

Uh... okay... but but... but Coach... what about my insecurities?... processing my core issues?... chanting affirmations?... making vision boards?... reading the latest and greatest self-help book? Great! Do those things if you feel they light you up in a meaningful way.
But none of them, NOT A SINGLE ONE is a substitute for action. Trust me on this... I’ve done the legwork.

It’s GO TIME....

I commit to:
Writing. It is the passion I mostly intimately connect to. It is what I was born to do... and therefore, it scares the shit out of me how naked I become when I do it. And that’s EXACTLY why I have to do it. I plan to walk my talk, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

What about YOU?
What are you scared shitless of doing... that you are going to
just do anyway? I’ve got your back. Seriously. You don’t have to do it alone. And trust me. The Nike brand is timeless for a reason. Just Do It. These three words will change your life forever.

Action transmutes fear into pure, raw POWER.
So go kick fear in the ass!!


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Be Judged or Be Ignored


You will be judged (or you will be ignored). Those are pretty much the only two choices.
- Seth Godin


Okay. I’ll admit it.
I’m scared. Scared shitless, in fact.

I have a vision of where I want my life to be. I know what I am capable of, and it is
so much more than I am currently living. Playing small has gotten me by, it has paid the bills, and it has kept me safe. But I am sick and tired of playing it safe. I am over being underwhelmed. And I am ready to take some big actions that I know will catapult my life to new heights. Seriously big, y’all. Bigger and Bolder than Ever.

That stubborn little voice within taunts me... reminding me of all the many ways in which I am likely to fail (or be judged).
Do you have one of those? It tells me to wait just a little bit longer... wait until I am more equipped, less vulnerable, more developed in this and that. It asks me who I think I am to do such and such... it sends down torrential rains on my pride parade.

But it’s no longer fooling me. I know it’s just Fear rummaging through my closets... dressing up in all my clothes, pretending to know me better than I know myself. Fear is a wounded child... acting out, begging to be acknowledged and loved whole again.
Don’t we all want that?

To My Dearest Fear:
I see you. I acknowledge that I am afraid. I am afraid of being seen for who I am, afraid of being called out as what I am not... and most afraid of being condemned for either. I am scared of being loved, hated, criticized, or elevated... deified or demonized... laughed at or serenaded... all of it, I am afraid of it all.
Because either way, it means I am seen.

And that, my friends, is the fear at the heart of it all. Can I bare it all, be cast fully into the light, and accept the consequences of living out loud?
Can you?

I do have a choice. I can keep my voice at a hush for fear of offending others. Or even just live peacefully within my close web of friends and family. There is nothing at all wrong with modest living... with simple joys and private celebrations. Nothing at all. But that’s not what I am here to do
. It goes against the very fiber of my being. I am born for something that requires exposure... and there is no denying it.

Damnit. ;)

So yes, I am afraid. But I’m gonna put my ass out there anyway.
I’m gonna to chase my dreams right through the dark... and into the spotlight.
one by one...
over... and over...
and over...
again....
until I prove to Fear once and for all that
there really is no dragon I that cannot slay.

Off, I go.


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Subject: To Change

letgo
feature article :: Subject: To Change
Candice Schutter :: News That Moves You :: April 2012


When things fall apart, it may feel as if it is you that is broken. When you finally let go, the life you’ve outgrown is allowed to drop and shatter at your feet. You are all that’s left standing, staring down at the debris. It’s easy to confuse the broken bits you once identified with... with the you that feels naked and vulnerable. Yet, remaining whole is a matter of perspective. Change is a bitter-sweet inevitability involving sharp edges. When we allow it, we are stripped naked... then chiseled and reshaped by nature's hand into something more honest and real. I have spent nearly three years in an unknown and barren landscape. Questioning everything, wading through the shrapnel of my former self in hope of finding some solid ground on which to build anew. I have felt everything from freedom to despair, mostly inhabiting the space in between. Some of you have witnessed me for years and it is safe to say, I am not the same woman who wrote to you then, or even a year ago. I am brand new; and my fresh skin is still wonderfully pink and tender to the touch.

I have asked the question... “So who in the hell am I
now?” so many times my eyes have crossed. Of course, at my very core, I am me still. But when you stop drinking the kool-aid and finally release the bars around your shadow self... the result is a blend of stark sobriety and wild exhilaration bound to shake life up a bit! And boy, does it ever. The most wonderful by-product of falling... falling... falling... and never hitting the ground is simple. Freedom. Lack of anchors leads to bolder questions and bigger truths.

Yet, I struggled with how to come out to you. I am a coach, an entrepreneur. How do you build a business without a big fat take-it-from-the-guru promise?! I’m not entirely sure... but I don’t aspire to be a guru. And I have little interest in a marketing hook to cast as bait. That approach feels fabricated to me; and, frankly, I think you deserve better than that. My business plan is to simply build credibility by telling you the truth... all of it. That being said, I have to be forthright and say that I will no longer be your personal growth correspondent. I won’t write to you about new-age (or old-age) formulas for getting what you want. I won’t allege to have answers to the questions that plague humankind. In fact, my primary message will be plain and simple: all things are subject to change.

Principles and perceptions will come and go. Roles will be assigned and outgrown. Skills will be necessary and will eventually become obsolete.
Capitalize on what is constant about you... and be willing to LET GO of the rest... because you will be asked to let it go at some point. Without question, you will have to let it all go...

One constant that I know I am good at - expressing change. I gain courage and strength through transition and self-expression. And I know how to help you to do the same. Is that enough? I am finally learning what I have been telling you all along... Yes. Yes, you and what you naturally bring is enough.

My Constants (my most innate impulses)?
Change. I change often. Incessantly, in fact.
Expression is my way and is therefore my gift.
Movement is my metaphor. For everything.

My natural impulse and temperament used to be what fought against. Stick it out; it’ll be impressive. Hold it in, you’re too expressive. Don’t say that, it’s too aggressive. These inner critics held me hostage for years. Now I am turning my back and throwing up my metaphorical middle finger to them. So long, suckers! (Note: I am not blowing them goodbye kisses on the wings of angels ;)... I told you, no more sugar-coating it... this is me... take it or leave it. Goodbye false prophets of principle... I will erect my own altars, thank you very much.

Why so demonstrative and brash? Because, though you may not know it, that’s how I really am most of the time. And I finally get that when we deny what is constant about us, we are denying ourselves happiness.

Nearly every instance of discomfort, dis-ease, and disarray in my life has been a function of holding back my natural aptitude for change, movement and self-expression. And as I work with client after client, I see that I am not alone in holding myself hostage. Stifled and/or fabricated self-expression is a chronic angst in our culture. Fear of change leads to falsified, muted, or stifled expression. And this chronic fragmentation of self leads to diluted progression (or movement forward). And, as nature proves in endless iterations... what doesn’t move gets tight, painful or stagnant... and it withers and fades with time.

Muted expression leads to muted outcomes. Tolerance of mediocrity is not your birthright. You don’t have to suck it up any more. You can finally exhale FULLY when you experience an honest release of who you really are. It doesn’t mean that you act/speak without regard to others and consequence... it means that you are honest about who you are and what you bring. Especially when it changes. It is the only way you will ever remain free.

You and I are aligned in our expression if you are open to embracing CHANGE as a welcome ally for growth... if you would like to experience true and honest EXPRESSION as an unfiltered affair... and if you look around you and can grow to accept nature’s promise: that MOVEMENT is as essential to our hearts and minds as it is to our bodies.

Do you want to liberate your vehicle and your voice?
I can help.
Let’s get moving....



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Omega Redemption :: Expressing Personal Power

Wolf%20Closeup%20Face
Omega Redemption :: Bullies Begone
The Expression of Personal Power


A continual theme in my work with clients is what I call the Omega Archetype.
An omega archetype is what I am calling the mental framework and behavior response pattern that invites persons with large personalities to dominate our sensibilities and overtake our lives. It is a relational expression that results in codependent dynamics resulting in feelings of powerlessness and frustration as we unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) allow the people in our lives to dictate our own expression.

Psychologically speaking, like most things that rule our adult relational dynamics, it can usually be traced back to childhood conditioning. While therapy (sourcing the wound) is a process that can prove constructive as a foundation for change (and is essential in order to move forward in some cases) experience has taught me that often even a basic understanding of what is at the root can be enough of a foundation to tackling this growth opportunity.
As always, my interest as a coach is in what we can do NOW to respond differently and thereby create new relational patterns moving forward. Assuming a client is able to acknowledge and develop awareness that there is a problem, the omega complex can be revealed... and healed through ACTION. It’s one of my favorite themes in sessions as it reveals a tremendous opportunity for growth, confidence building, and personal expansion.

I call this archetype “omega” because those who wrestle with this pattern are in one or more area of their lives serving as a scapegoat or emotional outlet for a more dominant personality, much like the omega in a wolf pack community. Most omegas are naturally very empathic, sensitive to the needs of those around them. Sometimes (or consistently) they choose to be in close contact with people who tend towards an alpha (or dominant) constitution. Whether it be a family member, spouse, employer, or best friend, one or more primary intimacy in their life is marked by a distinct dynamic whereby they are consistently forfeiting their power to another. Of course, many of us wrestle with this from time to time. But for an omega, the pattern is clear... bullies gravitate toward them.

It is important to note that an omega complex can become active in even the most outgoing, boisterous and willful of individuals. It is not a character weakness by any means, nor does it define us in every interaction. While there are certainly exceptions, it is most times a learned response due to childhood conditioning; therefore, it can show up only every now and then given the right set of circumstances. Consider this: Both the bully-alpha and passive-omega can be born out of the same environment of perpetual conflict (be it outwardly or passively aggressive). The bully-alpha imitates the active-aggressive agent, reliving past dynamics through the flexing of power.... while the victim-omega rejects the active aggression, swinging to the other end of the spectrum becoming the passive agent in the drama. The bully restores internal balance through external means, seizing the sense of personal power that they were denied as a child. The omega does just the opposite, restoring balance through internal means, “sucking it up” in order to win favor or avoid conflict. Ultimately, neither response leads to functional outcomes. The omega response is the more typical adaptation for women, and is what I come in contact with most often. Needless to say, the tendency toward passivity leads to a specific brand of resentment over time as we continually yield to the strong opinions or motivation of others.

It is essential to note that rarely is it one or the other entirely. I am not big on labels; and this is an intentional over-simplification in order to describe a dynamic. In fact, quite typically an individual with an omega complex will act out each end of the spectrum in different areas of their lives. For example, the mom that allows herself to be passively bullied by her boss day in and day out at work may also be the alpha at home - barking orders at the family in an effort to affirm that her voice has its place in the world. She lives with the stressful fragmentation of these two personas, feels frustrated at work, and alienates those closest to her. In the end, this alpha-omega complexity has little to nothing to do with who’s in charge or the hierarchy being acted out. Like everything, it’s about self-expression. When who we are is denied, it finds vehicle. In short...
power will find a way to express itself, always. It’s just most effective when used consciously. Thus, deny your voice in one area of your life, and it will leak or roar! (rather inefficiently) into another.

I myself spent my twenties with a severe omega complex. My childhood home, while loving, was wrought with tension and my stepdad’s unpredictable and raging mood swings. Coupled with our incessant moving from year to year, I ran into
my fair share of bullies. Though I am naturally quite vocal and willful, I followed the models available to me as a child and I learned to keep my mouth shut. My voice became muted and I learned to take it. Unbeknowst to me, I grew into a natural target for the power hungry because I gave them exactly what they wanted - an outlet for their aggression. I allowed myself to be the omega, passive in the face of over-assertion time and time again... teachers, bosses, friends, you name it. And it seemed that no matter how fed up I got, no matter how many times I walked away (or ran in some cases) from the agent of my suffering, another would be waiting in the wings to lead me back into that space of emotional paralysis. A space where I felt powerless to change.

If you are consistently pushed around by someone in your life, well-meaning or not, you are allowing them to exert power over you.
If there is one thing that I have learned it is that - emotionally speaking - people cannot take power from us that we do not grant them. Period. This is not about blame; this about taking responsibility for the relationships in your life. You teach people how to treat you by your responses, plain and simple. What’s the old adage?: “One time, shame on you. Two times, shame on me.”

As a survivor of bullying and recovered omega, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to suck it up any more. Overcoming the omega complex is a rich emotional journey through what I consider there to be three distinct phases of power-recovery and redemption.

Redemption Phase 1 :: The Power to STAND UP
REGAINING personal power by learning to get up when pushed and cornered. Recovering from old wounds by reclaiming the voice and power that was denied as a child.

Redemption Phase 2 :: The Power to STAND YOUR GROUND
CLAIMING personal power by trusting in the power of your own will, to stand your ground and no longer allow the opinions and emotional assault of others to dictate and define your responses to life.

Redemption Phase 3 :: The Power to WALK ON
EXPRESSING personal power by making more conscious choices about where to place your valuable essence, time, and energy. Relationships that seek to control are no longer useful, as you have grown strong enough to no longer need them in your life.


Do you think an omega redemption might be in order for you?
I can help.



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The 5 Myths of Self-Expression


5myths
Myth #1: Self-expression is narcissistic. False.
Expression is universal, constant and unavoidable. Self-expression is inevitable, and any attempt to deny it is futile. There is nothing narcissistic about living your life deliberately. Your life is constantly expressing itself, and you are continually demonstrating who you are through your choices in every arena: lifestyle, adornment, relationships, vocation, family life, etc. Your expression either affirms who you are at your best or who you are at your worst; therefore, you may as well become conscious of your choices. The difference lies in how honest you are able to be with yourselves and those around you. The most fundamental reason for shadowy expressions (jealousy, anger, vengeance, depression) is because a deeper expression is “dying to be born.” (more on this soon)

Myth #2: You have to be creative or artistic to be expressive. False.
Everyone is creative; intelligence and genius comes in many, many forms. Your personal brand of brilliance may be overtly expressive (through so-called “artistic” pursuits) or it may be a powerful form of expression through a medium that is cloaked in the mundane (ie: acting as a wife, mother, silent partner, or friend). It could even be through the continual shedding of labels altogether. Either way, it is never about the byproduct of your creation. It is about your expansion. Case in point: when we become lost in our expression - confusing it for who we are, or using it to win favor - it exhausts us.

Myth #3: Eventually I will find the perfect [expression] and be done with it. False.
You will never be done expressing yourself. This myth may be the most important one to dispel. The idea that we can be ultimately fulfilled by one perfect expression is a source of suffering for many. Certainly, if you pay attention, you will find IT [the expression you desire: job, mate, family, etc]. IT will fulfill you. IT will serve you. And then... you will outgrow IT. Such is the nature of your personal evolution. While our experiences and the people in our life are in no way disposal, all situations and/or relationships are mutable and our external realities must shift and grow alongside our interior world. You will always be reaching for more. Change is indeed a constant. Make peace with that, and it can change your life for good.

Myth #4: I need to master such-and-such before I take on that expression. False.
Expression outside your comfort zone is the fastest way to propel your life forward. The expression of a life is a funny paradox of sorts. Logic would have us believe that we need to become masterful at a certain something in order to claim it, and only then might it help to define who we are. I believe it is the other way around. I have found that the most profound shifts... the most potent successes... have come from people who are willing to take on something NOW that seems completely out of reach. Quickening self-expression is like planting a seed, diligently tending to it (ACTION!), and trusting it will flower in due time.

Myth #5: One expression can be “right” or more valuable than another. False.
Expression is for the sake of growth. Growth is a personal process that must occur in time and cadence with the individual. Certainly on a surface level it may seem that some expressions are more constructive or destructive than others. However, it is impossible to measure one life’s value over another for the value of any expression is measured in the growth it yields. Every expression has the potential to change a life. Whether or not that opportunity is taken is up to the individual. Judge not the expressions of those around you, rather use the contrast to help clarify your own personal trajectory.

movetowardstag
return to mission statement



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Move Toward What Moves You :: Explained

movetowardstag
My mission is to encourage self-expression through movement in life and body.
Expression is inevitable. Movement is inevitable. Together they shape your life.



expressiontagfull

You inherently long to express who you are...
Regardless of what your life looks like, you are naturally compelled to share yourself with the world around you.
When you offer yourself, your truth, and your gifts unfiltered in the moment, you feel vital and alive.
When you repress your authenticity repeatedly, over time it festers and creates imbalance in body and mind.


You seek to be validated in your expression in some way, shape or form...
You are a relational being who feels more real and intentional upon contact with others.
Your creations (in love, work, family life, or even in solitude) help you to define who you are.
Witnesses (be they supportive or critical) propel you forward and remind you that your perspective has alliance, contrast, and therefore meaning.


You continually change and evolve in your expression...
The creation of your perfect life will never be a completed project because you are ever-changing.
Your discomfort and disconnection with what you once felt to be enough is a natural part of your evolution.
You evolve by changing and
MOVING THROUGH the various challenges/opportunities that come your way...


movementtaglinefull

Move Your Body
Movement is as essential as breathing. A physical outlet is the body’s natural way of literally or metaphorically moving through tensions without need for identification or processing. Whether you appreciate it or not, you are a living and emotive being that requires some movement in order to release and shed stagnancy. Moving your body can take care of a lot of emotional baggage and save you the drama of processing. But it’s not enough in and of itself. Your body can be a metaphor for your progression, but it is no substitute....

Move Your Life
There is a cultural myth that eventually we will get there. Where exactly, we aren’t always certain... but if we just get that one job, that one partner, that one opportunity, everything will fall into place. So we strive to reach our goals, and often we do. And we are satisfied for a time. Then the hunger consumes us once more. Why can’t we just get happy and stay happy? Because we are wired to desire, and the wanting for more is at the core of our evolution as a species. Our lives are meant to continually reach forward. A time of respite is healthy, but when we linger too long stagnancy leaves us feeling restless and dissatisfied. Your life is meant to move through seasons, as long as you live and breathe...

Move Toward What Moves You
And so we learn we must change again and again - ourselves, our circumstances. Reaching again for something that could offer us more. Letting go of something that once was enough. Too often we substitute addictions for the more profound changes that are being asked of us because we are terrified of this natural compulsion to move forward. We are wired to desire experiences that bring about an expression of ourselves that is more than we ever thought we could be. When we stop denying our nature, we will find we enjoy the ride, though bumpy it may be at times. You must allow for the small deaths that birth new experiences. It is the nature of all existence. We must continually move toward that which brings about sensations of aliveness, exhilaration, and the thrill of new life!

Read more. Learn about the 5 Myths of Self-Expression. What beliefs may be coming between you and your uninhibited genius?



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Radically Raw & Real


Radically Raw & Real

Candice Schutter - theMessenger, April 2011

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
E.E. Cummings


It has been nearly a year since I published an issue of theMessenger. Last spring, I decided to let go of the idea that it was something required of me, and I waited for an impulse to reach out. It is no exaggeration to say that I feel like a different person, writing to you now. The past year shifted me in irrevocable ways, and finding the words to articulate these shifts, still occurring within, will take time. The truth is, I haven't known exactly what to share in recent months. In the past, I would simply wait for experiences to ripen into insight, then find a way to place it in a larger context that others might be able to relate to. But the past year has offered me more questions than answers.

As a life coach in today’s culture, I often felt an implied pressure to offer a formula that promises transformation. I would peruse the shelves of self-help sections and marvel at the titles... each one making a claim towards a different brand of salvation (happiness, abundance, loving connection). I did my best to fit the mold of the perfect coach; even offering workshops featuring principles deemed as 'universal.' Yet, over time, I felt a nagging frustration grow within. While I did my best to encourage self-reliance, I began hearing a new brand of self-deprecating statements from clients who felt shame and frustration at their seeming lack of 'success' with the so-called laws of growth and transformation. I realize now that I was feeling a lack of integrity - pretending to have answers in a world that is a mystery to us. Who was I kidding? While I know that much of what I was sharing was of value... the concrete terms I began to speak in felt foreign to my subjective senses.

Eventually, the sensation of being boxed in by principle became unbearable. I wondered: What if I dared to offend the imaginary new age gods we have erected? What if I abandoned self-righteousness for the sake of freedom? What if I stripped off the bullshit facade and said whatever was on my mind without filter or fear of some invisible consequence?
What if was just me, plain and simple... trading positively perky for radically raw and real? What if there was no fear of getting it wrong? What if I actually allowed myself to do everything I claimed I didn't want to do anymore... things like watching whatever I wanted on TV... exploring my sexuality more openly... drinking alcohol or even smoking a cigarette simply for the pleasureful buzz?! In short, what if stopped the great balancing act and took a great big nose dive from the pedestal of pretension and personal growth. While I don’t encourage a mindlessly reckless existence, I can tell you that a courageous season of debauchery can be extraordinarily therapeutic for the perpetually pious.

Just to be clear, piety is an adherence to virtue in order to win favor - be it the favor of the gods (conventional religion), the positive consequence of spiritual laws believed to govern existence (new agism), or a more general tendency towards conformity in order to avoid the judgment of the masses. It all counts as measuring oneself in reference to something or someone who has set a standard that you feel you must adhere to.

Surrendering to debauchery was easier than I expected. Soon, words and practices that once held meaning for me became empty vessels of inconvenient banter. I found myself attracted to the polar opposite of my status quo, gravitating towards people and experiences that existed without filters I didn’t even know I had. I began living my life without the dictates of someone else's formula and became immune to what had suddenly become spiritual mumbo jumbo to me. I began to marvel at how arrogant we humans can become, thinking we understand so much that is beyond our comprehension. What happened to vulnerability, the honesty of not having the answers? Not to mention, so much emphasis on the intangible seem to leave so many people disengaged from the real guts of life.
How many of the delicious nuances of life do we miss while we pretended to be perfecting ourselves?
 
The death of someone I love deeply was the final blow to an already crumbling foundation. All it takes is a wake-up call to change everything we thought we once knew. We have many over the course of our lives. When we listen, we can open our eyes wider than ever before. When we don't, we cling eagerly to what we think will save us from swallowing the bitter-sweet medicine of change. I see now that I spent a decade immersing myself in dogma. At the time, it was exactly what was needed. It was a life vest that kept my head above water when the concept of the uncontrollable was too great an ocean to swim. In my effort to find meaning, I clung to ideas... married myself to practices... and even idolized others in an effort to avoid the powerlessness I felt within. None of this do I look back on with regret. However, I now see that the ideologies I leaned into for comfort eventually boxed me in. The rules that I let dictate my everyday kept me disconnected from the freedom I so longed for. And the people that I sought to be like were mostly mirages... each based on projections of latent parts of me that longed to take flight.

The funny thing is, I didn't even realize that I was holding myself hostage. That's the thing about the truth... it’s a mirror you have to turn and look into. It's for that reason I know that humility is essential to growth. It takes courage to question. It takes strength to say not, "I was wrong," but instead say "what was once right for me is no longer." Sound like the same thing? But it isn't. The first admission implies regret... a sentiment that misses the point altogether.

So now I write to you without answers, without guarantees, and without boundaries. I write because it is what I do... it is like breathing to me, and holding in air never feels good.

I am no longer waiting to exhale.



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Why You Gotta Learn to Love Darkness


Diving in the Dark
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, May 2010

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Carl Jung

It has been months since the last publication of theMessenger. The winter was a time of much needed withdrawal for me, and I couldn't but honor the urge to go within. Then, early spring brought a profound loss that sent me cocooning once more. I have been changed by these seasons more than I can express in words; yet, today I am determined to begin cracking through my shell.
 
In the fall issue, I wrote about my intimate journey of
reclaiming debauchery. I encouraged uninhibited self-expression as an honorable and liberating pursuit. While I absolutely stand behind my advocacy for seasons of instinctual surrender, allow me to now expand with greater awareness. The aftermath of such liberation is almost always bitter-sweet, as the abandonment of what we have come to expect from ourselves reveals our hidden layers. Some realizations are delightfully exhilarating as they show us that we are capable of much more than we ever thought possible. Yet surrendering to secret passions can also release latent shadowy forces - sending us careening into caverns where we are left to humbly poke around in the dark. Both experiences are beautiful. Both are necessary. And one cannot exist without the other. Allow me to elaborate...
 
I am writing to you from the rugged Oregon Coast. Just outside my window, the ocean is booming with life. The tide is rolling in and the depths of the sea are being delivered to the shore, carrying endless miles of history with it. Waves tear at the earth, reshaping it with a force whose origin is unseen. The call of the sea is unstoppable, eager, and unrelenting. Eventually, the currents will retreat once more; yet, the shoreline will never be the same. In this way, the sea echoes the perpetual awakening of the soul and its inevitable effect on our day-to-day reality.

 
Diving in Darkness: The Paradox of the Soul
   
My business brand invites clients to shine - to embrace their brilliance as the guiding light within. I encourage focus on positive potential, and consciously lining up choices with passion and possibilities. I have seen the power of a positive paradigm time and time again, as it is often our vantage point that keeps us stuck in disempowering dynamics. Shifting to a more empowered state of being (and acting!) can be a key to liberation.
 
Nevertheless, the soul's journey is paradoxical; it reveals more of who you are through the contrast that life offers. Growth is all about integration of the whole of you. Fulfillment comes when you close the gap between shine and shadow.
 
When we resist aspects of who we are, they go underground. Ironically, these rejected qualities are meant to be essential and productive contributors to the life we are living! But because we deem them as unworthy, they become the unruly children of our psyche. Denied the vehicle of expression, they spill out into our everyday lives wreaking havoc in subtle, yet powerful ways.

 
You see, there is an inevitability that is certainly universal: the promise of change. The soul - simply a word for our ever-evolving potential - is constantly seeking new landscapes through which to reveal itself as more. New ways of being are inevitably calling to us and, no matter how we resist, we are continually renewed through our life experiences. The most powerful sirens of change catch us off guard. As a result of a natural learning curve, we resist the unknown. Thus, opportunities are resented as 'difficulties' to overcome... ever-evolving desires manifest in 'bad habits' we long to be rid of... or a person meant to birth a new level of awareness in us becomes a 'thorn in our side.' In each instance, it is simply a case of near-sightedness.

Let us return to the ocean analogy. Imagine the tides represent the soul's cyclical calls toward a larger life. When we resist a call to dive deeper, life speaks louder through the currents of circumstance. The tide continues to roll in more and more aggressively until the boom of new life that is stirring can no longer be ignored. It creeps ever closer and, when necessary, it submerges our sense of self until we are paddling around in the dark. The shadowy, underwater portals can be frightening - usually showing up as a circumstance or relationship that reveals us raw. We come face to face with our darker impulses, our vulnerability, and our resulting heartfelt desires. 
 
Yet the more we fight against the current - especially the shadowy stuff that we'd rather deny and project onto others - the more we get beaten and battered. The forcefulness of the riptide is waking us up! True, we can't see clearly now... perhaps we can't even find the ground beneath us; yet, in time, it will find us. If we can relax into the knowing that darkness always offers its counterpart, we become humbly available to the brilliance that is destined for us. Rest assured, the waters will retreat once more... and each time the waters reunite with their source, we are revealed anew. We can gaze around in awe and wonder at the beautiful landscapes left in the wake of our next incarnation. This life is many lives in one; and embracing this wild ride will free you up for boundless joy... again and again and again.
 
Be Willing to Change... everything.
   
Much like the shoreline is carved by the hand of the sea, our character is shaped by the hidden recesses of the soul. We must yield to its revelations, even when we'd rather hold on for dear life or even run for cover. Calls toward expansion will only get louder in our denial of them. And what is denied in us will find its way to us eventually. The magnificent wild tidal waves of the shadow self will come crashing to the shore.
  
Growth is delivered to us via nature's contraction and expansion. Waves cycling in and out. All transformation is contingent upon this coupling: brilliant dreams arise from the shadows of longing... desires launch from unwanted conditions... and new paradigms are born from old complexes. Life is a divine coupling of rip-roaring discomfort and the new potential it births.
 

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman

 
When you get used to the idea of change, you begin to understand that it is the only absolute to be certain of. Therefore, are you willing to contradict yourself in order to expand? Will you allow the awareness of deeper aspects of your being (even those you would rather deny) to propel you forth? Are you willing to change your beliefs when your experience calls for a new vantage point?

Wild waves of freedom result from discontent and are invitations to be at one with your untamed nature. Just like the sea, your soul is never still; it is never unmoved by the life you are living. Yet it is not enough to succumb to the call of the wild indefinitely. It is essential to experience and mine such impulses for the motivation at their core. What essential part of me is fighting to be free? And how can I consciously embrace all the shadowy stuff that is stirred to the surface as an opportunity to mature in my understanding of life?
When the wild impulses within are no longer denied - when they become integrated and accepted for the medicine they offer - they become functional contributors to your life experience. You are free to be you. And there is nothing more pleasing to the soul.
 
Never stop etching your visions into sandy shores. Yet curse not the waves that spill forth, wiping your slate clean and transforming the canvas yet again. Your soul cannot be stagnant any more than the sea can be contained. So celebrate the dark and shadowy depths of your being, and use them as fluid platforms that elevate you to meet the sun's rays.


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Why Debauchery Hurts So Good


Debauchery: Living a Life Untamed
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, November 2009

True debauchery is liberating because it creates no obligations. In it you possess only yourself; hence it remains the favorite pastime of the great lovers of their own person. 
- Albert Camus


I have recently ventured on an experiment of sorts. I am exploring the many delightful gifts of debauchery...a life untamed. The controversial implications of the word debauchery make it the perfect choice. Its actual meaning: extreme indulgence in sensuality and/or seduction from virtue or duty. Despite its cultural baggage, debauchery is quite simply: freedom unleashed. It is a choice that is unconcerned with the opinion of others. It is the medicine that every generation brings to the one that proceeds it as it challenges all that is considered true in order to evolve humanity forth. Its powerful nature may reveal darkness; yet, it is a volcanic force of change. When you embrace the gifts of debauchery, it holds the potential to launch all aspects of who you are becoming into orbit. It can be a bold and chaotic revolution of self. I am wild with delight in my own personal brand of debauchery.
 
You might be thinking, "whoa there, girl! why the need for such rebellion?"

Surrendering The New Religion 
For nearly a decade, I have focused almost singularly on self-awareness and personal growth. I have studied, and I have practiced. As a dutiful student of spiritual inquiry and metaphysics, I did my best to clear the clutter of my mind. I made sure that my intentions were defined and directed. I abstained from alcohol and other substances that might inhibit my ability to focus. I taught others how to become conscious of their words, thoughts, and actions. I even became extremist in my choices; sharing energy only with people who I felt contributed to my aim for such diligence. This continual emphasis on being deliberate certainly created some useful habits in me. Yet, over time, I became restless, caged, and - truth-be-told - even slightly judgmental.
In some ways, I had allowed "spirituality" to become my religion. I let it confine me to elitist thinking and/or artificial ways of being that felt misaligned with my own evolving inner guidance.
 
Like a tiger in a cage, I began pacing the parameters of my confines, seeking a way out. As a result, I sent out a signal for freedom from my monastic pursuits - freedom from principle, form and constructs. I found myself gravitating towards examples of raw truth and uncensored self-expression, hoping they held the key to my release.

Unleashing the Wild Woman
My desire for freedom summoned the perfect series opportunities.
Zumba arrived on the scene to liberate me on a physical level. Through wild girations of my form, I began to embrace my body in a way like never before. Latin dance has taught me that my curves are glorious mechanisms for femininity - round and supple counterparts to circular, raw, explosive movements. In embracing my body in this new way, I was introduced to an unexpected ally:  She is bold, wild, sexy, and physically passionate...a creature who thrives on freedom. She is a fiercely-alive, untamed version of me.
 
Her hunger was palpable after spending so much time latent. She began to comb her surroundings for outlets, and she found more than one. The past couple of months have sent me into uncharted territories on every level. My desires have become vehicles for my own liberation. I have been living uncensored, accepting opportunities that send me forth in unrefined celebration and pleasure.
 
For as long as I can remember, I have resisted the wild woman within. I tamed my unruly curls; now I let them pour forth. I covered my curves; now I flaunt them. I push against the parts of me that revealed uncensored shadow truths; now I am openly revealing the dark spaces. I am surrendering my attachment to discipline and am allowing the grace of the moment to guide me. It has been a wild and insightful ride. Yet, in shadows revealed there is a bright spark of self-realization. And let me tell you, if joy is an indicator (which I believe it to be), I am on the right track. My laughter is resonating more and more expansively every day.

Daring to Go Further 
In the spirit of said intention, I am liberating my voice with you as a witness. I will become a more free and willing vessel for my work. Up until now, my rawest musings have been sequestered to the pages of my journals. Visible posts have been edited and distilled wisdoms that reveal only the bright spots.
I now realize that the most powerful examples are authentic and pure transmissions of both shadow and shine. You simply can't have one without the other.
 
If you feel so inspired, I invite you to tune in and even chime in! Become a Fan on Facebook or subscribe to the SHiNE Blog RSS feed to view recent and future postings. Attend an upcoming class or retreat and I promise to more consciously create space for all shades of shadow and shine.
 
Thank you in advance for bearing witness as I allow my voice to expand. It is my hope that this act of courage will inspire a comparable unveiling of some latent potential in YOU.
Delight in the discoveries that your untamed desires can reveal. Remember, it is the coupling of your darkness and your light that shapes the whole of who you are.


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Desire: Friend or Foe?


Desire: Friend or Foe?
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, September 2009

It is never the idol that you want,
but what you think it offers you.
- A Course in Miracles


Let's face it:  desire has gotten a bad rap for centuries. With roots in both eastern and western religious traditions, renunciation of desire has penetrated the collective psyche as a noble aim in an ever-expanding material world. We are taught - through an onslaught of psychological, sociological, and spiritual influences - that desire is selfish and fleeting...and that the ego (desire's vehicle) must be defeated in order to experience true happiness. Yet despite our best intentions, desire remains a human epidemic we have yet to overcome as a species. Some might wonder, if we are truly evolving, why are we still yearning?
 
Humans are a species mesmerized by dichotomies. We continually do the dance of extremes in order to propel ourselves forth. Desire is a force hard to deny; thus, when renunciation of the material world wages a war within, we turn to consumption. After feeding impulse after impulse, we find we are still left empty. We pretend our hunger means nothing...we pretend it means everything...and now we are ready to stop pretending.
 
Every human longing points to a potential within. Our minds are magicians, continually whipping up potions that we think promise us the end we are seeking. We spend time and resources casting spell after spell in hopes to manifest the IT that will deliver us the sensation we so long for. Time and time again, the end-result is short-lived. Thus, we blame desire itself for leading us astray.
 
Yet, what if we are simply missing the point? What if desire is not the problem. Perhaps it is our approach to it that needs to be re-evaluated. I have come to understand that each and every desire (without exception) point us in the direction of a universally-desired sensation. Thus, at the heart of our desire is alignment with a potential that is seeking to be born through our life experience.
 
What You Really Want is YOU
The object of your desire is not the problem; the fact that you want IT is not the source of your mood swings. It is in the misunderstanding of these impulses that you find cause to suffer. Put simply, desire is an indicator that something more is calling to you. Life's struggles aren't a result of the cycle of incessant wanting. Suffering may be due to attachments to the many forms that your physical creation has taken, or may take in the future. Or, perhaps more commonly in our western culture,
suffering is ignoring oneself and never fulfilling the potential buried beneath surface longing.
 
What you really want is to E X P A N D - to express more of your evolving essence. The objects of your desire are simply things that you believe will deliver the goods - the goodness that is your birthright. Desire is the eager whimper of a more evolved YOU that is currently hidden from view. To deny it is to deny your innate tendency for growth and expansion.
 
Paradoxically, it is the denial of our deepest desires that causes the ego run amok. Anyone who has ever stayed the course of a circumstance (or way of being) long-outgrown knows the blessed tantrums of the ego. Interestingly, when we finally let go and yield to what would feel better - in thought, word, or action - the tempest fades. Alas, could the ego be an ally on this journey?! Oh yes, indeed!! An ego-soul alliance is pulsing at the core of this message.

Metaphorically speaking, your soul is in a state of perpetual rebirth. (I mean, in this life, you are meant to evolve continually). Your ego and its wealth of experience offer vessels of gestation through which you are meant to grow in and out of. And, it is the contractions of desire that deliver you forth. They ensure your expansion by pushing you towards greater degrees of love, joy, freedom, and well-being.

Some spiritual teachers have told us to seek the medicine from within. They say that if we sit still long enough...if we dive deep enough...and if we resist the dream of the physical world around us, we will be rewarded with limitless joy. Yet, is the point of this physical dimension simply to deny it? Or, can we have both? - the boundless joy of expansion and the pleasures of human existence?
 
Every aspect of the living world is in a state of perpetual expansion. Growth and evolution of form is the way of the physical domain. At the root of this propulsion forth is - you guessed it - desire. The longing for something better. Desire is the catalyst for change. Change is a means for personal expansion. And personal expansion is the key ingredient in collective evolution. Accept and embrace your desires as reflections of latent potential within all of us.


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Inspired Action


What Should I Do? Letting Inspired Action Take You
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, July 2009

Action may not always bring happiness,
but there is no happiness without action.
- Benjamin Disraeli

 

What should I do?
It's a common question. I come face-to-face with it often - in sessions with clients, and in my own personal life. At the heart of the question is disempowerment. It begs for a prescribed to-do list that will help to sooth the feeling of disconnection. However, acting from such a desperate space rarely feels good. Rather than approaching the situation with immediate action, I find it to be far more efficient to focus on clarifying desires. When we do this, we address the feeling space directly, and then let the to-do list emerge from the space of inspiration. Inspiration is alignment with the best of you.
 
For the most part, I tend to follow my bliss where it takes me - which means shedding old skin (ie. labels and livelihoods) often. I have been told I am being 'impulsive' and 'unreasonable' more than once. If following my impulsive whims makes me appear flighty and without rational direction, so be it! The compass that I follow is Happiness Itself...and it always points toward my greater good. I can honestly say that I get happier and happier as the years pass. There is nothing more fulfilling to me that riding the waves of inspiration. I do what I love; I love what I do. When that statement no longer applies - and I have learned this the hard way - it is time to make a change. When I resist that change, I suffer. And when I allow it, I feel a surge of inspiration and opportunity that defies description. In short, letting go of what no longer serves me makes me available to what does. Thus, in response to what should I do?, the primary and immediate action that is required is to stop doing that which I feel I am no longer a match with.

Having said that, living an inspired existence is not a lazy affair! On the contrary. It takes dynamism, energy, and stamina to ride the waves of inspiration as they come. Taking inspired action lends itself to a life of courageous self-discovery. And while it may mean taking a scary leap or two (or twenty-two!), the payoff is bigger than any other. When you are feeding life with what sends your heart soaring, it rewards you with life force energy and opportunity beyond measure!
 
How does it feel?
How do you know what constitutes an inspired action?  Use the compass within to direct your sails. You see, at its best, action is fueled by inspiration and passionate self-discovery. At its worst, action holds us in stagnant defiance of who we are longing to become. When you are reaching for something in your life, action is futile without right alignment. Actions that disallow your growth create dis-ease in your world. Simply put, they are inefficient, energetic leaks that need addressing. You recognize them for the strain and discomfort they bring about. On the contrary, ease can be found through inspiration. Sometimes it is found in pushing edges that propel you forward. The sensation is one of freedom and exhilaration (sometimes experienced as fear). Yet, the cliff-diving leaps of creation become easier over time as you learn that what moves you to jump has the power to send you soaring.

Look at your to-do list for the week. What do you see? Responsibilities? Inspired Ideas? For most people, responsibility takes the cake. Indeed, our daily comings and goings are important. Many of your daily tasks make you available to the peace of mind that invites inspiration. Yet responsibilities become liabilities when they keep us apart from ourselves. Action is inefficient when it holds in fearful stagnancy. The way of humanity (and all of life) is one of continual transformation. Inspired action means taking a risk...and moving towards what moves you in the moment.

Therefore, consider taking less action...and allow inspired actions to take you (further).


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Feeling Stuck?


Feeling Stuck Knowing Which Way to Go
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, May 2009

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us... the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

As a coach, I am privy to the themes of human experience. While the stories of our lives take on different shapes and characters, certain sensations are common. Feeling stuck - either energetically or circumstantially - is a common sensation that we all face at one time or another.
 
Upon closer examination, "I feel stuck" is describing a sensation of powerlessness. To feel powerless is to lose connection to the voice of your soul and who you are longing to become. As a depth coach, my job is to poke around in the dark to help realign you with the light source beckoning to you from within - reflecting itself through your life experience.

Neale Donald Walsh cleverly describes the SOUL as a Singular Output of Universal Life. So let's imagine your soul is a light source through which a larger intelligence speaks to you. Your soul light shines on the fluid landscape of your life in order to guide your way. Like a compass, it directs you to move this way and that in order to connect you with greater potentials. When you yield to the trajectory of your soul, you feel the bliss of life’s light shining upon you. You feel powerful as you move towards more. Yet, when you turn away from potential - often towards the directional light of what you think others might want of you - you feel lost and disconnected from joy. The light seems to elude you. Why? Your soul has shifted its energetic focus in the direction of your potential, and you are not following along. You are stuck being who you once were. Your discomfort is your soul calling out your name in the dark, inviting you to turn towards your future. Thus, the feeling of being lost (or stuck) is good news! It lets you know that you have developed into the new you, and that now is a time to shift your vantage point and direction.
 
Living authentically is an internal gauge that can only be read from within. When you are in alignment with your soul - your values, passions, purpose, who you are becoming - you know it by how good you feel. Authenticity is a continuous dance of keeping up with who you are being called to be.

When your soul light turns you in an unpopular direction; you must go in order to realign. Approval is fluid and co-creative - others reflect how much you are able to accept your right to become. They give your will something to push against in order to develop strength and confidence in who you are. Yet, this discomfort too shall pass. In the end, living authentically is never about rebellion - fighting against what others think of you only strengthens your fixation on them as your gauge. Nor is authentic living about isolation - to live in alignment with who you are does not require abandoning the desires of (and your commitment to) those you love. On the contrary, you are more present and true in every relationship when you are confident, secure, and walking in the world as who you really are. You no longer confuse the way you feel with outside causes; nor do you expect others to be as you are. You understand that YOU are the first cause of your greatest joys and sorrows, not those around you. Because your joy depends on you alone, the people in your life approach you eagerly. Your feeling good is up to you...they are off the hook! This leaves you both present for authentic connection.
 
As a final thought: when you are feeling powerless, it is important to note that your soul light only gets stronger and stronger in your search for it. It is there; always it is there calling out to you. In fact, without this light from behind, you would not even be able to see your shadow. Isn't that a grand design!


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You Were Meant to Feel Good


Life Was Meant to Feel Good
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, March 2009

There is no excuse not to feel good
knowing what you know.

- Abraham-Hicks


You may have noticed that the February issue of theMessenger never made it out into cyberspace. I was on a personal retreat - a Abraham-Hicks Well-Being Adventure Cruise to the Mexican Riviera with a dear friend and nearly 600 like-minded souls. It was truly a pivotal and inspiring journey for me. I feel certain that I was forever changed by the inspired teachings I was exposed to, the individuals whom I met, and the hours spent steeping in hot tubs and transformative discussions.

Something was revived in me...something that I have known since my first dawn in this world...something that shapes everything that I choose as I walk through the world.
Life was meant to feel good.

I so enjoyed being on the receiving end of a message that clarifies with such simplicity the essence of that which I share in every SHiNE offering. My commitment to our inherent right to feel good is the source behind each and every SHiNE creation. When we are in alignment with who it is we are becoming, we radiate contagious enthusiasm and creative inspiration. When we allow the natural expression of our truth and magnificence to shine, we feel fabulous and connected to all of life. However, when we dilute the fullness of our gifts or disallow our most honest self from evolving forth, we suffer from disharmony or dis-ease. My life has been - and continues to be - a navigation of this most basic principle of life. The path of my bliss dares me to step into alignment with more of my potential with each passing moment.

So what are common stumbling blocks for so many of us? Why don't we feel good more of the time?

Learning to Trust Yourself
In some cases, we navigate our course based on the opinions of those around us. We turn our attention away from our internal guidance and we fixate on how we are being received by our environment. Dis-empowerment is self-inflicted as we stray from our path in order to become what we perceive is expected of us or become stuck in being who we once were. This tendency often shows up subtly through our self-talk; we use words and phrases like: should and have to. The honesty of what is real for us is denied for the sake of what we think is right, rather that what we know is right for us in the moment.

Finding the joy that is in our very nature hinges on our ability to differentiate our desires from the desires of those around us. What turns you on is personal and unique to you. Let us all be reminded that the need to please others - and/or to fit into a way of being that is contrary to the essence of who we are - leads to suffering. It is a Loving Universe that guides us in this way. Through energetic imbalances - negative emotion and/or physical dis-ease - we are being guided to return to ourselves once more. It is nature's way of saying: Deny who it is you have become and I will remind you to make a shift. Realign with what brings you great joy and you will feel relief. It is always reminding us...in order to feel good, you must be true to the essence of who you really are - and who you are continually becoming. I can't think of a message more loving than that.

Relief As An Indicator
It is in the moments of disconnection from Who We Really Are that we feel fear and discouragement. It is only when we miss the point of such moments that we get stuck in the rut of despair. These 'low moments' are simply letting us know that we are not aligned with our deepest desires. Our inner guidance is providing us with feedback - in this case, negative emotion - that let's us know we are out of alignment with direction in which we are evolving. The more we feed this self-created reality of disempowerment (with self-defeating criticism or habituated actions) the worse we feel.

However, if we turn away from the discomfort and consciously seek a feel-good experience, we immediately feel relief. And relief is feedback that lets us know we are moving closer to Who We Really Are. Relief can come from shifting your attention from a topic that "brings you down" to a topic that is neutral and/or of a higher frequency for you. At other times, it is a matter of re-framing your experience so that you see the gift - the opportunity to develop into more of who you have become - through each and every choice you make.

As we move into spring, set the intention to make FEELING GOOD your practice. When you come face-to-face with a perceived source of discomfort, either shift your attention or shift your perspective. Allow yourself the freedom to choose how you want to feel in relationship to the world around you. Whatever you do, find a way to feel good. And yes...you can. You came into the world knowing how to do this. You are hard-wired to follow your emotions (internal vibrations) as indicators...you get better and better at it with time and practice. Life is supposed to be a process of continual improvement as you become a master of choosing more consciously over time.

Since returning from my travels, I have re-committed to this practice. And I have been exuding more enthusiasm and positivity than ever! So much so, in fact, that I was recently accused of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. To this I responded, "Thank you! And if you'd like, I'd be happy to fashion you a pair!"



Your Comments and Shares Are Appreciated.

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Forging Alliance with Your Body


Photo from The Full Body Project
Forge an Alliance with The Skin You’re In
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, January 2009

*[Wo]man is the sole animal whose nudity offends her own companions, and the only one who, in her natural actions, withdraws and hides herself from her own kind.
- Montaigne


Tis' the season of new year's resolutions. Did you expect to see a different kind of picture? Take a minute to really look at the photo above. What comes to mind as you view these full-figured women in all their glory?
 
When I was in college studying for my BA in Psychology and Human Development, one class that rocked my world was entitled: Prejudice and Stigma. My dynamic professor,
Chris Crandall, is still at it. He has been studying prejudice for decades. Specifically, he is an expert on the topic of weight-related prejudice. I vividly remember the day when he revealed to us what I considered staggering statistical findings. He and his colleagues found that:  The parents of obese children were significantly less likely to pay to send them to college. The familial weight-dependent prejudice displayed towards female children was much higher than that of boys. And that perhaps the most painful aspect of the stigma of "fat" in all age groups - what set this stigma apart from other demographics - was that even people of the same size and shape were reportedly prejudiced toward one another. In essence, antipathy towards fat people is pervasive and culturally reinforced, even within the family and social circles.

The picture gallery referenced above intrigues me for the way in which it challenges me to think. Did you notice any culturally inherited prejudices in your perception of these ladies? These are women who dance in naked defiance of the cultural spell many of us are under. First, they bask in the glow of self-acceptance without sucking it in or reliance on airbrushing. That is inspiration enough. Yet they take it a step further. They blatantly dare you to face your judgments, your assumptions, and your willingness to accept beauty in all its variations. They dare to flaunt their abundant curves, usually kept hidden. They reach to one another for the courage it takes to be seen...a collective band of body-blazing pioneers. They are heros in their own right.

Over fifteen years after Dr. Crandall's initial findings, I can honestly say that I don't know one woman - of any shape or size - who is immune from the terrifying stigma of "fat" on some level. Again and again, I am surprised to learn that even the most slender, dynamic, and powerful women are fighting against their bodies. It's the same story in variant forms...25-year old women "feeling fat" while wearing everything from size two to size twenty, 35-45 year old women confused that they are no longer shaped like a teen model, and women 50+ years young who quite literally ban themselves from the pleasure of a bathing suit for life due to the pain of body-loathing. It's our best kept secret - this emotional sickness among women. We only allude to the symptoms of it, as our helplessness keeps us from diving too deep.

On my own journey, I have certainly braved the seas of change from adolesence into womanhood. Even my youth and interest in movement didn't keep me immune. I look back on photos of me athletic, thin, and in my “physical prime.” I feel a mixture of awe and utter sadness that I feared and "felt fat" even then! Now as I step into another transformative season of life, I peel back the layers on more negative beliefs and self-judgments as my body is changing. When will I truly feel total body acceptance?

If, like me, you have an intention for greater health and self-care in 2009, I fully support your mission. Yet I have discovered time and time again that intentions driven by the desperation of body-loathing are not a healthy prescription for change. True motivation comes from a heartfelt desire for a more fulfilling life, not a smaller dress size. And fitness is about so much more than a number on a scale.

In 2008, I took a break from dancing and most forms of fitness. This time-out was prompted by my body's cries for a hiatus from over seven years of pretty much continual dynamic movement. During that time the prescription for my wellness was stillness. Over the course of my time off, I gained nearly 20 lbs along with the weight of some new leisurely habits. Nevertheless, I was inventing new ways to be healthy and whole. And, I was invited to love my body anew - an ever-developing woman existing amidst a more curvaceous landscape.

I recently started dancing again...as the integration completed its cycle, my spirit began to stir once again. I thought it would surely take a few months to feel the power of fitness and movement as I once had. What I discovered after only 1 week of movement was glorious! No, not that I had lost a bunch of weight or that I had rock-hard abs. I discovered that I immediately felt alive again...that sweat is an elixir of bliss when delivering the spirit within...and that to move is to breathe life forward. All of these are indicators of true fitness. To express my spirit through the flesh, at any age and cycle of life, that is wellness realized.

Lightness can be felt at any size. Beauty can be activated in a deep cleansing breath or in a simple movement of the hips. And fitness is an aliveness that can only be measured from within.


Ladies, I know I am not alone in my journey to change the way I think about my body and fitness. Yet, instead of turning to one another for support, we turn to our mirrors in shame. We turn to fad diets...we turn to deprivation and isolation...we turn to creams to hide our cellulite...and unfortunately, we turn on one another through subtle energetics that feed our pain and disconnection.

As with all mentalities we outgrow as a species, this cultural madness must be brought to light and shed. In 2009, like the women pictured above, let's create an alliance to accept one another in the ways in which we would like to be accepted. I propose that we band together to step out of the darkness and into the light and brilliance that comes from navigating our fears. Let's stop turning our back on one another and let's find fitness, pleasure, and self-acceptance somewhere other than in our reflections and dress sizes.

If you feel so inspired, I invite you to join me in the following New Year's Resolution:

• I will do my best to accept and find beauty in my body, as it is - giving myself at least one physical complement per day.

• I will send a message of body-based appreciation and admiration to at least one woman per day (via a heartfelt complement, through thought or word).

• I will readjust my thinking in order to incorporate a new definition of fitness - one where feeling radiant and powerful is more important than feeling thin. I will seek opportunities to express my radiance through my body in 2009!


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From Breakdown to Breakthrough


Turning Breakdowns into Breakthrough
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, December 2008

Sometimes a breakdown can be the beginning of a kind of breakthrough, a way of living in advance through a trauma that prepares you for a future of radical transformation.
- Cherrie Moraga

 
Life is a series of breakthroughs.
 
Consider the way in which we come into the world. Quite literally breaking through, we begin the cycle of life as we know it. We are pushed into being by a force beyond our control. What lies on the other side of the trauma that we are experiencing is unknown, and is therefore feared. Soon we learn that the same force that pushed us into the world is the essence of nourishment and safety. Nevertheless, in the moment of birth and emergence, we cry out as the light pierces the veil of darkness. Naturally, we wince at a power that exceeds comprehension.

 
We spend the rest of our life re-living this birth pattern, comforts followed by contractions. These contractions often come to us as breakdowns - some aspect of our life threatening to dissolve. Each time, life is leading us to a new emergence (greater light) so that we might experience more brilliance - of insight, of connection, of purpose. Through each and every breakdown - however dark it may seem - is the womb through which more light will emerge. Thus, each breakdown is a breakthrough - a state of emergenc-y in the truest sense.
 
If we so choose, we may reframe our approach to the emergencies of life. There is no denying that such seasons of change can be painful and confusing. The time spent in the midst of breakdown is a time of contraction requiring strength and endurance, and can be especially difficult if the light of breakthrough cannot be readily seen in the distance. A breakdown forces us from the comfort of the status quo so that we might acknowledge what we have too long denied. We have become dependent on habits that we have outgrown, and we are being forced to take our life to the next level.
 
Generally, breakdowns are met with fear. (Just look no further than current state of our financial sectors for evidence of this on a cultural level). The natural energy of fear is contraction, withdrawal, and sometimes panic. In times of breakdown, we are conditioned to feel smaller as we are faced with a force beyond our control. We may feel defeated, ill-equipped, and unsure of what is to come. In essence, we ask the same questions that we did not have words for as we emerged from the womb - where oh where could these contractions be taking us?!
 
I suggest we approach this time of contraction with consciousness, introspection, and a certain degree of trust. Activate your inner witness, and assess what is no longer in harmony with your most heartfelt desires. Ask yourself: What habits have I outgrown? How am I being asked to change? In what ways am I limiting the possibilities in my life? And, what am I most afraid of? In this way, we consciously engage with each contraction, willingly and openly breathing through the waves of challenge in the hope of greater insight.
 
Yet awareness, while most essential, is only the yin of it. In the end - and only you will know when it is time - you must be prepared to engage the yang within...to push your way out. Contractions get closer together; discomfort forces you into action...and you facilitate your own rebirth by taking courageous steps that align you with the potential you are stepping into.
 
Listening to the wisdom of breakdown, we learn from it, and thereby facilitate breakthroughs in our own lives. Keep in mind, reflection can be made easier in the company of a coach, an ally, or a dear friend. When we are held in the spirit of self-empathy, fear is transmuted into power. When navigated consciously, fear can actually be used as a wisdom that results in a more expansive you. Just as contractions enable birth, if allowed, fear enables new life. Contraction begets expansion. Breakdown begets breakthrough.
 
Keep in mind, most breakthroughs happen in stages. Each and every contraction bringing more awareness of how we must continually move and grow. Take it one step at a time, and know that the joy of a new path is emerging:
 

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

by Portia Nelson
 
Chapter I:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
 
Chapter II:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place
but, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
 
Chapter III:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
 
Chapter IV:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
 
Chapter V:
I walk down another street.

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Respond to the Now, Release the How


Respond to the Now, Release the How
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, June 2008

It is choice... that determines your destiny.
- Jean Nidetch


As a coach, I come across people everyday who are in a season of transition. Often I sit with a client as she weighs her options on the various aspects of her life. Be it venturing out on a new career path, taking a relationship to the next level, or rising from a season of depression, people come looking for a container of grace in which all facets of a situation can be seen more clearly.

Through experience, I have learned to trust in the power of language as a tool for transformation. The simple act of attending to our inner dialogue has the power to change the course of our thinking...and of our lives. When teaching exercises in conscious communication, I suggest we flag certain words in order to shift the flow of energy in our minds and hearts. This creates a reset function in our minds and can be the key ingredient to shift a mental construct for good.

Make Choices vs. Decisions
When I hear a client say, “I need to decide, and I'm just not sure what to do." It is then I know that choice is the medicine of the moment. To decide in a moment of ambivalence forces a false sense of finality to the present moment. I invite us to honor the now of our reality, rather than focusing on the how (which is a function of the future, taking us out of the moment). S
ometimes when we feel pressure to make decisions (knowing how), rather than choices (knowing now), we inadvertently disempower ourselves. We make assumptions about the future and add unnecessary weight to our choices - assuming we know where each will lead us over time. We bind ourselves to a way of being that may serve us in the moment, yet not necessarily long-term. And, most of all, we rob ourselves of the freedom to experience the miracle that is a change of heart.

Choices are authentic, in-the-moment, and ever-changing... just as we are! To choose is to evoke the essence of self acceptance and allows room for growth. Choice is a privledge meant to evolve us towards more responsible expressions of who we are in the world. The highest choices are those that create more peace, love, and harmony in the world around us. We can decide to change the world, but can only happen one choice at a time.

So try this: practice presence. And if and when you feel the weight of decision upon you, choose what feels right in the moment instead. Respond to the now and release the how.

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How To Be a Woman

How To Be A Woman
May 13, 2008 by Candice Schutter
(response to
How to Be A Man by Steve Pavlina)

The Yin Warrior is an ancient archetype, and a woman of a new and enlightened world. She is the wayshower for the many who yearn for the Feminine to re-emerge as compassionate, empathic leadership.

The Order of Life for the Yin Warrior is:
Instinct: elemental connection with her environment (her physical body being the most important environment to fully embody)
Intuition: the way that life speaks to and through her through Instinct (felt sensation) as a foundation
Interdependence: how her instincts and intuitions enable her to effectively interact with others in relationships

For too long the Yin Warrior has been asleep in our culture. The Order of Life for women has been operating backwards. Relationships are often put before all else - overriding both the impulses of Instinct and Intuition. Intuition has been overshadowed by measurable truths or mistaken for mystical fantasy. And Instinct - spoken through the physical body world - has become a vehicle in which to meet desired ends, rather than a sacred space to embody as the foundation of life.

Let's re-visit The Order of Life for the Yin Warrior through some of her many tools:

INSTINCT
A woman has a visceral knowing - being one with the earth. She understands the elemental dust from which she - and all things - arise from and return to. She embraces the body in its curvaceous celebration of the cyclical nature of form. The body is her temple and instinct is the voice of the Earth itself echoing through its walls. As the space through which life enters, she is masterful at understanding energetic landscapes and the weather patterns of the life unfolding all around her. Her body speaks volumes through sensation.

Sensation
She becomes silent enough to attend to the winds within her body and its resulting rhythms. Harmony is found in nature and her connection to it. All of life around her is Nature speaking to her. She asks: Are you listening? How is the flow of the Body World supporting your desires in the moment? Is there resistance? In which direction can your steer the vessel of your life so that flow is found again? She makes choices that yield to a rhythm her body can move through with ease. She cultivates strength by befriending grace and sensation as allies. She is a master of patience in the birth of all things.

Perhaps most importantly in this time of women-against-women... she puts down her sword of judgement once and for all. The Yin Warrior wields no weapon. She shines with an Open Heart - as it is the only "protection" she needs. When anyone (including another woman!) speaks, the Yin Warrior listens with her entire body. She overrides the cultural tendency to self-compare (attire, physique, age, etc); competition is meaningless to her. Instead she hears what is being said beneath the surface of things, using her body as a fine-tuned instrument of presence and discernment so that she may re-create harmony.

Harmony
She makes her personal well-being a first priority and a felt sensation. She asks: When something "goes wrong" in your environment, where do you go to address the disharmony? Do you frantically resist your environment outside, hoping to change your internal landscapes? What does it take to restore a sense of balance in your body and heart? The Yin Warrior cultivates self-love by taking overt actions that affirm how her life matters to her.

The Yin Warrior listens to her own rhythms and instincts first and foremost. She feels no need to criticize, gossip, or complain... for she understands all impulses rippling in and around her are mirrors through which to see herself more clearly. She looks closely in such moments, and discerns how she might care for herself and the world around her more efficiently. Through self-nurturing, she re-aligns herself with the voice of her instincts (and the environment responds with harmony in accordance with her self-love). Her god-given enchantment is nurtured on a soulular level, so any measures to adorn her physical form are meant to enhance her natural radiance.

INTUITION
A woman knows without knowing how. An inner-aligment with instinct is the foundation for intuition. Tuning in - sensing the world within and without - is the grid upon which the heart rests in its knowing.

Radiant Knowledge
The knowing of the heart is radial. It encompasses all - even the unseen - in its assessment of the moment. This is why instinct coupled with sensation is the foundation of such knowledge. Without this radial awareness, instinct becomes egocentric and blind to the whole. Fearful instincts are not considered in context, and are thus mistaken for intuitive knowing. Therefore, the Yin Warrior is firmly anchored in the body world so that she may be a conduit for knowledge of another kind.

When intuition comes, it need not be accompanied by fireworks. It creeps up in the heart of a woman, and she knows not its true source. A sudden awareness emerges - through thought, word, image, or sensation. The Yin Warrior holds this knowing up against her internal compass which measures its implications on the environment around her. Only when a confirmation responds from within does she give movement to her knowledge.

Emphatic Truth
Empathy is that which makes necessary the path of the woman as a warrior archetype in our existing culture. Empathy is the tool the Yin Warrior lives her life learning to understand. A woman who embraces her inherent gifts and is in touch with the world around her may sometimes feel bombarded with information and stimulation. Sensation is heightened and can overwhelm the body. Intuition is activated and can overwhelm the heart and mind. The Yin Warrior applies her empathic abilities to balance these tendencies, as she receives from so many sources at once. Once balanced, empathy says, I sense the energy that is present while knowing that I am she who is sensing. I do not confuse myself with the energetic environment in which I live... nor that which I interact with. I do not confuse your experience with the truth of who you are. I see behind the veils of this world; and therefore, I never lose my faith in love.

In this way, truth is welcome in a new way. The Yin Warrior speaks great truth with an ease, an acceptance, a grace. She shares what is alive inside of her without becoming lost in the experience. She comes from a place of harmony... so no matter the potency of the honesty she transmits, she is understood in her intention to create connection. She is direct and clear in her communication, but never confrontational. Connection is her starting point, and her endpoint. She is truly a conduit of love through word and action.

INTERDEPENDENCE
When instinct (physical radiance) and intuition (heart radiance) are attended to, a woman is at one with her world. It is then that relationship reveals itself Whole through her.

Partner with the Beloved He
The Yin Warrior knows that the union of Her Most Sacred Heart with the Beloved He comes first. She places her body, heart, and soul in union with the force of life... and it dances her with a graceful ease. Her life is meant to service and nurture Relationship the the All of Life, first and foremost. This is the Divine Marriage through which she will find her greatest joys and sorrows (both of which she honors and treasures for their unique gifts).

The Infinite Spaceholder
The Yin Warrior holds space through which life can happen. She is the fertile soil of the land. No matter how the fields of her heart are tended, she returns to wholeness again and again. Resilience as a concept can not do her justice. Nor the concept of the Survivor, for it implies victimhood. She is no victim, regardless of circumstance. She is the ultimate power of acceptance. Divine acceptance that sees through veils of personalities, challenges, and consequence. Her choices are sacred acts of love - each a birth of life worth celebrating to fruition. And, knowing nature, she knows this... ALL will bear fruit, in due time.

The Nurturer, she pulls all of life to her bosom in order to shed light of love.
Treat all as innocent children, she whispers.
Accept this world. Love it whole in order to change it.

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Embracing Self Love


Embracing Self-Love
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, February 2008

Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.
- St. Thomas Aquinas

In recent weeks, I have become more aware than ever that I have much to learn about self-care. It's a common paradox for those of us in paths of service. Continually we encourage others to honor personal rhythms of healing, while ignoring the lights flashing in our own hearts. It's true indeed that we teach what we need to learn. I have come to notice that, quite often, in coaching sessions I am the messenger administering the medicine to us both via intuition and unexpected verbal elixirs.

It has been said before, love is an action. It is a series of choices. And so, when it comes to shining love inward, we must compassionately observe the choices that we make repeatedly throughout the day. How often are we present to what is alive in the moment? Do we sometimes override impulses to self-nurture in order to feed perceived urgencies in our environment? It takes only awareness to rewind, and re-choose.

True Self-love is hardly a singular or selfish pursuit. In actuality, it is blatantly spiritual - an act of reverence for the energy from which you came. Honor your body as a sacred temple, your mind as fertile ground for divine awareness, and your heart as a blessed antennae steadfast in rhythmic dance with all of life.

We only appreciate our good or evil
in proportion to our self-love.

François de la Rochefoucauld

It is a worthwhile practice to meditate on the quote above. It is our relationship to self-love that guides our perceptions in life. Take any event in your life and hold it inward in your awareness. If the light of self-love is dimly lit, you may see yourself as a victim of circumstances. Lack of light may taint your view of What-Simply-Is to incorporate a poor self-image, feeding inner drama and suffering. Depressing stories are built - not upon circumstances - but upon forgetfulness of the worth within.

If, however, you have access to the abundance of light inside...if you see yourself as an essential aspect of the light of goodness, suddenly the world around you looks much different. You will see that each and every response to circumstance is built upon the choice that you make in the moment. Heightened self-love results in acceptance and self-empowerment, and both are unattached to storytelling as a means to justify feeling good. Loving the light within is timeless and unconditional with practice, regardless of what happened "once upon a time."

Investing in mini-acts of self-love is the greatest gift that you can give to those around you. Over time you see that your inner light needs to be fed with awareness in order for you to give the best of you to others. So take that walk in the park in the middle of the day, feed yourself healthy perpectives, and surely it can't hurt to give yourself a hug from time-to-time. In re-igniting your bliss, you become evermore committed to passing it along.

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