Personal growth

Moving beyond fear, taking risks, growing and expanding ourselves

Coming Alive After Loss

After eating breakfast at the Aquarius restaurant at the Dream Inn, which overlooks the ocean, boardwalk and Wharf in Santa Cruz, my boyfriend Mark and I decided to stroll on the Wharf where “Woodies on the Wharf” was taking place, a car convention featuring more than 200 stylish, pre-1952 “wood-bodied” cars, known as “Woodies”. Walking hand-in-hand we admired these classic cars which have been restored by their caring passionate owners.

Each car was unique with varying colors, designs, interior upholsteries and decorative ornaments. A few had the doll “Woody” from the movie Toy Story sitting on the dash or the hood of the car. Some had surf boards on roof racks. The varnished wood was gorgeous and the paint jobs exquisite.  The cars appeared shiny, polished impeccably. I wanted to rub my hands all over them to feel their smoothness on my skin. I barely touched them, though, so as not to leave even a finger print on these perfect works of art.

My senses were fully alive after a morning of passionate love making with Mark and a deep, lively conversation over breakfast about possibility, transformation and the nature of existence. Not only was I moved by the beauty of […]

The Other Side of Grief: Awakening New Possibilities for Living

A lot has happened in my life since my last post, including the dissolution of my 18-year marriage, letting go of my home and most of my possessions, and moving eight times (I am still not settled). The grieving process of “emptying out” as my therapist called it was intense and at times unbearable. Sometimes it felt like the pain would never end. The article below, The Other Side of Grief, offers a brief glimpse into my process and some of the tools that helped me to transform my life.

Star-shaped diamonds dance on the surface of the ocean, creating a path of light across the azure waves in front of me to the brilliant warm sun. On either side of the path white spray shoots up from the blow holes of Humpback whales. Sitting atop the cliffs at Eselan, in Big Sur, my eyes scan the ocean in anticipation of the next shiny black mammoth to surface. In my line of sight, orange monarch butterflies flitter around, sometimes ten at a time. I am entranced by their lightness and beauty as they float through the clear blue sky. Awe-struck, I think, “My life is so amazing. How does it […]

Creative Expression – My New Year’s Theme

Every year on New Year’s, John and I have a tradition of sitting down to review our personal and professional accomplishments from the previous year, and set our intentions for the year to come. We include our financial goals, as well as, our ideas for exploring Santa Cruz and having fun. I love this process and the opportunity to start anew. Typically, New Year’s is my favorite holiday.

This year was different. I woke up yesterday feeling tired and depressed. When we sat down to review our accomplishments, I had difficulty remembering what I did “right”. Instead, all I could think about was the financial mess I had created by investing in my business and going into debt. How was I going to pay rent? Buy groceries? I felt angry with myself for not meeting my goals and intentions from the previous year around growing my business. After all, I had attended seven business training conferences and now had all of the tools. But, nothing had changed. I was in the same place as I was last year…stuck and frustrated.

Instead of creating specific or lofty intentions like having my next book published by the end of the year. (This was […]

Grieving: A Catalyst for Spiritual Awakening

The grieving process can be a powerful catalyst for our spiritual awakening. When we experience loss, such as the death of a loved one, we long for the connection we once had. We long for what was that isn’t anymore. In our longing, we are invited to surrender and let go of control of how we think life should have turned out. We are invited into a deeper relationship with the Divine as we let go and trust the great mystery of life.

Over the past ten years, I have desired to have a baby but have experienced one early miscarriage after another, with no medical explanation. Each month I become pregnant, I get excited and think, maybe this time! Then, my period comes and I experience grief and despair only to ride the cycle again the following month.

The more I allow myself to express my grief and anger, ALL of my feelings, the more energy I have. My vital life force is allowed to flow and move…to create new life. Thus, my journey through infertility and grief has opened me to new possibilities for living a fertile life. Not only have I birthed a greater version of myself…a stronger, […]

Grief Counseling Services Now in Santa Cruz!

If you’ve experienced a major loss in your life such as the death of a loved one or pet, a divorce, illness, miscarriage or job lay-off, it is normal to go through a grieving process. Unfortunately, society today does not honor the mourning process and encourages us to “get over it”. Many of us feel we have to quickly move on with our lives. If we repress our grief, though, it can cause all sorts of problems such as anxiety, depression, physical illness and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. If we express our grief on the other hand, we will experience more joy, vitality and purpose in our lives. Here are some suggestions to help you express your grief:

1. Feel your feelings. Meditate and journal every day to get in touch with your painful feelings. Start writing using the prompt, “What I really lost is…” Write for ten minutes without stopping. Then, sit and meditate for ten minutes. Continue to write as new thoughts, feelings and insights surface.

2. Engage in activities that keep you in the present moment. Move your body through exercise. Engage in hobbies such as painting or gardening. Spend time in nature to help you feel […]

A Year in Transition

“Discovering your Groove and creating a luscious life is all about allowing for Grace through your next transition.” – Shann Vander Leek

The sun was an orange ball of fire in the sky as it sank lower over the horizon. I reached the end of the jetty and sat on a large rock to witness its final dip into the ocean. Dolphins surfaced only yards away as they fished for their evening meal. Two sea otters playfully floated on their backs in the harbor entrance where kayaks, fishing boats, outrigger canoes and sail boats entered and exited the marina. My heart filled with gladness and delight as I thought, I am finally home!

It had been an entire year since I first had the revelation…I need to move back to California, to be close to my family. My husband, John, and I had developed a wonderful life in Colorado over the past five years. Further, the cost of living in the Bay Area was much higher and the population more dense. We wondered how we could maintain the laid-back lifestyle we had grown accustomed to and if we would have to compromise our values to live there.

In mid-May, I drove […]

By |September 29th, 2011|Grief and Loss, Personal growth|

Read More

Letting Go of Control

Skiing at Vail last week I found myself holding back and being tentative. On my first run of the day, I had ventured off the groomed snow into some deep powder and immediately fell. It took me several minutes to get back up as my left ski was buried. Digging my ski out, I vowed to stay away from the powder for the rest of the day. Preoccupied with worry that I might fall again, I felt tense and didn’t enjoy myself.

Yesterday while skiing at Loveland, I encountered fresh powder again. This time I decided to go for it and ski the powder. I repeatedly told myself, “You can do this! You can do this!” With a positive frame of mind, I was able to relax more and let go of control. Skiing fresh tracks, I experienced the sensation of being carried by the snow, as if I was floating. The difference in my experience from the previous week was tangible…I had much more fun!

Reflecting on this experience, I wondered how often we hold ourselves back in life because we have been hurt before. Perhaps, we vow never to get married again or shun off romantic relationships all together […]

By |February 25th, 2011|Personal growth|

Read More

Trust the Moment!

When we say YES to life and decide to follow our hearts and our dreams, we don’t need to know how we are going to get from point A to point B. We just need to say YES and keep saying YES in the moment, allowing each moment to unfold and show us the way.

Recently, I set the intention to speak to audiences from my heart without using an outline. This past week, I have been practicing with our Say YES to Life events in Denver. At the first event, I made a brief outline, but then quickly let it go as the evening went on. At the second event, I made another brief outline. This time, I let it go at the beginning of the talk since Boadachia (my co-facilitator) decided to start first. I was forced to improvise and create a transition from what she spoke about. At the third event, I did not plan anything, although I brought some music and props to use which had worked well at the other events. During this event, we were in the flow the entire time. I felt more connected and in a space of love with the people […]

By |September 24th, 2010|Personal growth|

Read More

The Giving Challenge – Day 17

The first day I started the challenge, I was in a state of grief and despair about the state of my business. Since the beginning of the year, it has spiraled downward and I have made very little income. Feeling helpless and like a failure, I cried while taking a shower.  Shortly after getting out of the shower, the phone rang. It was someone I had left a message for over a week ago regarding potential business and thought I would never hear from. I smiled feeling hopeful again.

Later that day, sitting in a coffee shop, journaling about my predicament, someone I knew walked in. We had a meaningful exchange and she had some helpful suggestions about how I might be able to grow my business. It felt like the Universe was reaching out to me. I consciously received the gifts and began to feel lighter and even more hopeful. Then, I met with a new friend who not only treated me to lunch but helped me to receive more clarity about why my business was slow and what I could do differently. My heart opened as we shared and my gratitude for life was restored.

As my conscious gift […]

By |September 17th, 2010|Personal growth|

Read More

The Gift of Giving

Are you someone who gives on a regular basis? Are you conscious of how and when you give? After reading Cami Walker’s book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change your Life, I felt inspired to participate in the Giving Challenge…giving away 29 gifts in 29 days. In the book, Cami chronicles her return to health and happiness through her own 29-day giving process. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of thirty three, just one month after getting married, her disease progressed rapidly. She frequently visited the emergency room and was barely able to walk. Addicted to medications, she was depressed and stressed out when an African medicine woman recommended she give away 29 gifts in 29 days. Within that month, her life changed dramatically.

Participating in the Giving Challenge, I have become more aware of the benefits of giving for myself and others. So far, as of day 12, I’ve noticed that when I give a heart-felt gift, it transforms me. I feel joyful and alive inside. The more thoughtful the gift, the more transformed I feel and the greater affect it has on the receiver. For example, if I walk the dog or do the […]

By |September 14th, 2010|Personal growth|

Read More