February 1st, 2011

Who do you know who needs me?

I count on the people who know me and my work to get the word out. Doing so is effortless with an electronic or pdf referral card.

You can either forward this entire email, or download a pdf to print and share via your social networks.


As you have probably heard me say before, nothing gives me greater joy than seeing that AHA moment, and witnessing the relief and optimism that comes when a client breaks through a limitation that has plagued them for ages. YOU can foster that change in about 30 seconds!

If you have any questions about how to share or describe my work, please be in touch.

It’s really quite easy!

Referrals welcomed at 866.821.9386

click here to get a pdf of this card, and thank you for passing it on!

February 1st, 2011

Hey! That’s not what I meant

Have you ever found yourself either mystified or frustrated when what you say gets interpreted in ways that make it seem as if you are speaking an unrecognizable language?

The truth is, you might be!

Miscommunication can send you down a long and dusty road

We make assumptions all the time about how others see the world. Sometimes we take for granted that their world view is the same as ours. Sometimes, we even use vague communication to create

the wedge of ‘differentness’ to keep people at a safe distance. That one is usually unconscious, and can be a huge block to intimacy and belonging. More often than not, we resist saying what we really mean because we want to avoid conflict.

What’s that about?

Behavior scientists call these bad habits of communication, The Abilene Paradox. It’s based on a parable by Dr. Jerry B. Harvey about a family who take a trip to some pretty frustrating places, simply because no one was willing to say what they really meant.

After the disastrous, 104 mile journey one person sarcastically snorted, “It was a great trip wasn’t it.” To which the others replied:

  • To tell the truth, I really didn’t enjoy it much. I wouldn’t have gone at all if you hadn’t pressured me into it.
  • I didn’t pressure you. I was happy here. I only went because you all wanted to go.
  • You were the ones who wanted to go. I just wanted to make you happy.
  • I never wanted to go to Abilene. I just thought you might be bored sitting at home with the rest of us.

I’ve seen this kind of buried meaning crop up in nearly every relationship I have observed. In fact, I would be amazed if you didn’t recognize at least one of those comments as something you have said.

What is the solution?

  • Identify the common communication tools that consistently cause aggravation,
  • Recognize that they are habits of thought that can be changed,
  • Then do what it takes to change them!

To be honest, it’s really tough to uncover your verbal tools on your own. Look for instances where you say ‘always, never, I knew it, you people, I always say, you just don’t understand.’

(I love how Stephen Covey says in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “You don’t understand” actually means “You aren’t doing what I want you to do.” )

If you’d like some help figuring out how your communication is getting skewed, give me a call. (866.821.9386, or drop me an email)

Helping you get what you want, through what you say, is my specialty!

I hope you are staying cozy during this challenging winter, and I would love to hear from you!

first name signature with flame  leaf logo
June 23rd, 2010

There are moments that define us…

…one of mine involved walking across America.

Sharee Lawler, of the Hill is Home blog, did a really nice story about my pet coaching business back in February. As we chatted, a few phrases such as penguin wrangler and 3.742 miles, piqued her interest.

A couple of weeks ago, she rang again with a request for another interview to learn how my experience on The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament shaped my life and my work as a life coach and counselor. Now, I am ALWAYS glad to talk about the March, but I was especially eager to chat with Sharee. I knew that her sensitivity and talent would create something lovely out of the thousands of stories and very strong emotions that fateful journey bring up in me.

The resulting post is even better than I could have imagined.

When people ask me about it in the future, I may just point them to that link. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Bj at 26 on the Great Peace March

We had a LOT of meetings!

If you would ever like to have a cup of tea and hear more about what it was like to see this amazing country of ours, one step at a time, drop me a line. The stories are heart-warming and hair-raising.

It was a classic Hero’s Journey, that made you feel like you lived a week in every single day. But I won’t kid you. Those of us who worked to move an entire city, over every kind of terrain you can imagine, loved what we did…AND…we ended up describing the effort using a slight variation on that famous, old Army motto:

It’s not just an adventure, it’s a JOB!

I hope to never work that hard, or have that much responsibility, ever again.

At the same time, I DO hope to be that committed and that willful in everything I do.

The March taught me what it means to be me…free from the restrictions of emotional limitation and pessimism.

Of course, we are all shaped by our experiences, of course. And, believe it or not, walking across America isn’t even the most dramatic of mine. But, I know in my bones that letting go of who I was and giving in to the March experience, helped me to develop the tenacity and empathy that  drive my work now.

Because of it, I know with great certainty that no matter where you are, geographically or emotionally, you CAN move. You ARE free to choose how you feel in any given moment. And I am as honored to guide you on YOUR journey as I was to clear the path for my beloved March family.

If you need help getting from here to wherever your ‘there’ is, I’d love to help. And I won’t even make you pitch a tent!

April 14th, 2010

7 Steps to Facing and Beating Your Fears

What is your greatest fear?
For some, it’s getting older, speaking in public or being alone.

My personal Mt. Everest…the fear I have had the most difficulty managing is…needles.

So, in celebration of my 50th birthday (the 18th), I’m doing something that will seem like nothing to most people, but it is hands down the thing most requiring courage on my part. Ever. And this is saying something.

I am giving blood.

Up until now, I could never have imagined volunteering to take this step. My lifelong, clinical phobia of needles is one of the last bastions of fear in my life. It goes far beyond ‘not liking’ shots, all the way into completely irrational responses.

But now, I am putting into place the tools that any of us (yes, this means YOU) can use to overcome, manage or even come to peace with fear. Get the tools below.

1. Get in touch with what you really feel about the object of your fear

It took some work, but I was eventually able to identify a belief that submitting to medical procedures involving needles made me feel as though something was being forcibly taken from me, and that I was powerless to control my reactions. I discovered that the fear isn’t so much about the lifeless needle, which can’t actually hurt me, but the outcome. That understanding really helped me to shift my perspective to the thing I really CAN do something about.

You can face your fears, one step at a time

2. Understand that even irrational fears, those that you can’t ‘think’ your way through, can be managed

A big part of this tool is changing the ways in which you judge yourself for the fear. In other words, you don’t have to feel bad about feeling bad!

3. Look at what the fear costs you

Does it make sense to carry a burden that drains your energy and limits your ability to enjoy your life? What has your fear caused you to miss? Don’t regret it…but decide to make whatever change is required.

I used to joke that my needle phobia was a good thing because it ensured that I would never be a ‘junkie.’ While that may be true, it DID cost me by making every medical experience of my life more traumatic than it needed to be. And, more than anything, it cost me my pride.

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March 12th, 2010

What’s buggin’ you?

Chances are very good that the things that bug ya, are more than just life’s little bumps. They are TOLERATIONS, the things you willingly, or unwittingly, allow yourself to put up with.

A toleration is anything that gets in the way of your very best life. If it drains you, wears you out, dances on your last nerve or makes you sad over and over again, it’s a toleration. Use this 5 step plan to eliminate it!

1) Join me in being ‘compassionately intolerant’ of your discomforts and disasters.

Understand that we are all doing the best we can at any given moment, but you have an opportunity, right now, to compassionately let go of what doesn’t work. If you are putting up with, or sometimes creating, obstacles on your path to satisfaction, the only time you have to eliminate them is RIGHT NOW. Remember, ‘then’ is not your friend. You can’t fix what happened back then and putting off your happiness for if/then to be happy, just isn’t going to work. It isn’t okay to be in dismay as a regular thing!

2) Discover what brings you down…and what it actually does for you.

Where ever your energy flows, your life goes. If you are staring at your troubles more than you are looking forward to achieving your goals, that’s an imbalance that needs to be rectified. But first, figure out what you are getting from your struggles. Is fear of failure, or worse, fear of success making your tolerations too attractive? Do what it takes to make satisfaction feel safer than sadness does.

Want to be free from internal and external clutter? Call me! 866.821.9386

It may feel like it, but you are not actually trapped by anything in your life!

Learn more after the jump.

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February 23rd, 2010

Forgiveness: Your best line of defense

In last week’s newsletter, we talked about the “Up until now” tool to help you acknowledge that this minute…right now…is an opportunity for a fresh start.

If you can look at your entire life, up until now, as rich with the experiences and information that led you to the perfect opportunity to feel how you want to feel, you are half way there!

Today, let’s look at one of the greatest tools every happy person has in their toolkit…Forgiveness.

chinese symbol for forgivenss

I love that this symbol for forgiveness looks like a person with a lot on his mind, but who still chooses to be happy.

You might reject the idea of forgiving ‘those who have trespassed against you.’ Or, you might simply not know what it means to really forgive someone, or to be forgiven. That’s pretty common.

We hear a lot about forgiveness, starting in early childhood, but few people are ever taught HOW.

I learned a long time ago that, when offered a choice, ‘a confused mind says NO.” So, let me clear up some confusion about forgiveness.

To forgive, we do not have to say that whatever happened was okay. In fact, before we can forgive, we need to allow ourselves to really feel the pain of the experience. If we don’t fully acknowledge our hurts, we will continue to carry them subconsciously and they will drain our energy.

In The Intelligent Heart, David & Bruce McArthur say:

Many people are afraid to forgive because they feel they must remember the wrong or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true. Through forgiveness, the wrong is released from its emotional stranglehold on us so that we can learn from it. Through the power and intelligence of the heart, the release of forgiveness brings expanded intelligence to work with the situation more effectively.

The blessing is that when we’re really ready to experience our pain and we open to it, it usually fades away. By honoring our pain, we release it. You will know that you have succeeded when you let go of expectations that the other person will apologize or change.

Don’t worry about whether or not others will finally understand you. That may, or may not happen. But the need to be completely understood by someone else is something we can forgive ourselves for. Being understood doesn’t make you safer. Being happy and confident does.

hands holding a stone etched with 'forgiveness'

Forgiveness is in your hands...and yours alone

Even if the people in your life live in negative energy, you can be around them without getting caught up in the habits of complaining, judging and seeing the glass as bone dry.

Find out how, after the jump…

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February 15th, 2010

A personal note of sadness and gratitude

Today, a dear friend…a good friend…a unique friend…has died.

He has been such a stalwart part of the couple that I have loved more than my own parents…for more than 22 years…I can’t imagine what my life will be like without him.

Two of the most important people in the world, Niki and Gordon.

I know Gordon because, in 1986, I walked from Los Angeles to Washington DC with a group of passionate people championing a cause. It was an amazing experience and, at the end of it, I was overcome with an illness that knocked me off my feet. I recuperated in Gordon’s house, lovingly tended by his wonderful wife Niki. The two of them took me into their hearts and cared for this sickly stranger with the deepest kindness I’d ever known.

Almost two years later, I called Niki from California to talk about my post-divorce life. She wasn’t home. Gordon asked me how I was and, after my brief description…totally out of the blue…he boomed, “Well, you ARE coming to live with us, aren’t you?” It was as if becoming a part of their family was a forgone conclusion.

Six months after that, I crossed the country again, to join the home of Les Heures. That’s what the welcome mat said…French for, “The Laughing Ones.”

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February 15th, 2010

Are you ‘celebrating’ N.A.G. Day?

This year, in addition to taking a day off for President’s Day, many of us are ‘celebrating’ what I like to call, N.A.G. Day…that’s right, National Acrimony and Guilt Day.

If you aren’t all aglow from spending a satisfying Valentine’s Day yesterday, you are definitely not alone.

Here is how I know; many years before becoming a life coach and counselor, I was a florist.

You might think I would have fond memories of Valentine’s Day, considering that it is the second highest profit day of the year for that industry and, after all, everybody loves love, right?

I only WISH I had fond memories.

I just remember feeling terribly sad for people who felt like they had to behave in ways that did not feel good to them. Their real hearts were not made of shiny red paper, chocolate or jewelry and their hearts just weren’t in it.

But, February 15 was much, much worse. Customers would run in with angry, anxious faces and guilty minds, demanding the impossible. They HAD to have dozens of perfect, long stem red roses, immediately! No other flower would do, because those loathsome roses ‘meant’ love.

Each of them had a story about how they had forgotten the holiday, or somehow underperformed to their partner’s expectations.

There is more about broken hearts and happy endings after the jump.

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January 26th, 2010

Feeling dreary, Dearie?
Try My Top 9 Winter Blues Busters

Are your energy, spirits and attitudes scraping the bottom of the winter barrel?

That is perfectly natural. And, by ‘natural’, I mean a part of nature that is almost unavoidable.

It’s dark and cold out there! (Even if you don’t live in the North or East, weather has been pretty crazy lately.)

By definition, everything moves more slowly in winter. And, if humans had more sense, we’d be a bit more like your furry friends and have planned to do less during the dark months.

Are you less busy or obligated right now? I’m not!

We are all just struggling against nature and slogging through a downward cycle. In fact, U.K. psychologist, Cliff Arnall, developed a mathematical calculation that suggests the third week of the year is the saddest time of the year. In the chilly, not-so-fun, aftermath of the holidays, how could it be anything but?

So, what can we do about it? Try the 9 great tips following the jump.

Winter Sadness

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January 18th, 2010

Martin Had a Dream. Rosa Had Sore Feet. What Compels You?

I linked a lovely tribute to MLK in yesterday’s blog post, but I like Marvin Gaye’s version even better. Of course, Dion’s original is the one I sing every year on this day.

To honor Dr. King, lift your voice, even if it is only in the car/shower and raise your heart in tribute to “Abraham, Martin and John.”

My favorite line in the song is, “Didn’t you love the things that they stood for. Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me.”

What moves me most about Dr. King, Lincoln, JFK and others, (I’d add, RFK, Paul Wellstone, Mitch Schneider, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu…even Oprah) is not that they fit some perfect model of virtue or selflessness. Let’s face it, they don’t.

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