The year is winding down. Are you feeling the pull to review and set intentions?

It’s getting darker and darker here in the north in this last month before the Solstice.

This is the time when your thoughts and your heart may turn to setting intentions for the year to come.

2015 year-end review. Completion. Release. Intention.

I’ve always thought that it’s more than just “resolutions” that are needed to make effective and lasting changes. I’ve written about resolutions and how by themselves they just don’t have enough energy attached to do the job. As you can see when you compare the crowds in the gym or at your local 12-step meeting in early January and a month later. Yup, resolutions in action. You can read a few of the articles I’ve written about this very thing here and here and here.

There’s so much to see every time you look back

  • You see and celebrate the good stuff: everything you completed and every risk you took.
  • Then you can assess what didn’t get completed: What needs to change to make this happen?
  • What needs to be released?

Once you have done this completion and release work, then your intentions (and resolutions) have a much stronger foundation and a much better chance of sustained success.

2015 Completion, Release, and Intention-Setting workbookI created this Year-End Completion and Release workbook a few years ago, and this year instead of selling it I’m giving it away. Because my birthday. Because I’m grateful. Because of you!

Every subscriber to my weekly loveletter will receive a free download link to the updated and revised workbook starting this week and going until the end of December. I’ve given a lot of gifts away this birthday month, and I’m closing it out with this gift from my heart to yours. It’s a beautiful and useful book. Set aside an hour or so and do some work that will help you set the foundation for changes for the coming year.

Look for the link in your copy of my loveletter in the coming weeks, and if you are not yet a subscriber, you can opt in right here.

I’m turning to three quotes from Mary Oliver to close this post. Because she really says it:

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”

I’d love it if you’d chime in in the comments; how’s your year-end ritual shaping up?

Solstice image courtesy Danny Pivato from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website
Posted on November 24th, 2015. Posted in these categories: completion, intentions, release. 15 Comments

The empty step — a tai chi teaching you can use in your business

Tai chi practice teaches you so much

The lessons you learn and use in martial arts have application in your life and in your business

Practicing tai chi can be a lifetime journey. No lie, it nearly is in my case; it’s been over 40 years now. They call it “practice” for good reason.

  • Can I slow down and soften?
  • Can I hold each posture a bit longer today?
  • Can I move from my center and let everything else follow?

Every single repetition, every single practice, invites you to focus on the moment, on what you are doing right now. Not on what you can’t do. Not on yesterday’s form or tomorrow’s challenge. But This.Now.Moment.

When you focus on and practice what’s in front of you, you move toward mastery with every breath. Mastery of the movement. Mastery of the interaction. Mastery in your work. Mastery in your business. Reminder: It’s moving toward mastery I’m talking about here, not necessarily achieving mastery. How would you know you got there, anyway? And then what would you do for fun?

The empty step

Pushing handsHow do you win in tai chi?

  • By being more relaxed than the person with whom you’re sparring.
  • By listening, really listening, so you can sense the other person’s disbalance and then guide her to a clearer understanding of where she was stuck and a way to get what she really needs.
  • By getting out of your head and into your body and your heart.

And then there’s the empty step.

When you step with an empty foot, you can feel through your foot to the ground below. You can feel stability or the lack of stability. You can feel safety or not-so-safe. If the ground isn’t stable or safe, you can place your foot elsewhere before you commit. The tai chi form when you see it practiced is fluid with no stops. It’s beautiful. Guess how it gets that way? A zillion or so hours of practice. I wonder how many hours I personally have drilled this in practice.

Step empty.
Pick the foot up — did you rock with a weight shift or are you steady, stable, supported?
Put the foot down again.
Pick it up  — count to …three-four-five, sinking all the while; okay.
Step empty, then shift your weight.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
And repeat some more.

Think about your business. Compare the times you have moved hastily to get something done, or launched, with the times you have slowed down, and taken time with each step of the process. Some examples of empty steps in business might be:

  • Running an idea or content by a coach or a mastermind or a friend for feedback.
  • Trying something out small scale before going big.
  • Taking a little more time than you think you need. With everything.

What empty steps have you taken in your business? What heavy off-balance steps? What have you noticed? I’d love to know; please leave a comment.

Posted on November 10th, 2015. Posted in these categories: business, empty step, tai chi. 21 Comments

Sharing birthday and Day of the Dead happiness — a gift for you!

My birthday, and Day of the Dead, were Monday November 2nd.

And I got to have an altar at the Berkeley Day of the Dead (DotD) festival.

I want to tell you how amazing this evening was. Even though I was freezing; even though there was thunder, lightning, and rain for two hours during and after set-up; even though it was a long long day; it was amazing!

Day of the Dead

Here’s how the amazing Day of the Dead event went.

I went and dug up some graveyard dirt (why yes, I am a witch) and placed it in the bucket with the sign on it at the table. I had paper and markers. I expected that maybe a few people would stop by and, in DotD spirit, write the names of their beloved dead on paper and throw it in the dirt. What I offered was clearly more resonant than I thought it would be — I almost ran out of the slips of paper I brought with me. After a while you couldn’t even see the dirt in the bucket. People were moved, and thanked me, reverently. Some asked what I would do with the names, and I told them I would burn or bury all the paper this week, respectfully — “Your ancestors deserve no less.”

In the lulls as people walked by I thought about whipping out my phone — y’know, play a little Words with Friends, or otherwise entertain myself. Most unusually for me, I never did. I just sat there and held space for the depth and reverence available in this interactive offer — because I felt called to do so. My presence made the connections I had with people (from little kids to older folk) throughout the event deep and hella sacred. I thanked people when I feel so grateful and so blessed! Once or twice I found myself saying “Thanks for playing” in a way that was totally in keeping with the joyful reverence.

My birthday — a gift for you

I have a birthday gift to offer you!

I’m giving away six free coaching sessions, want one?

If you’re a woman passionate about the work you do, and you’re ready to step out of whatever is holding you back from the magnificent expression of your heart’s vision and soul’s purpose in every aspect of your business, please accept my heartfelt invitation to a complimentary conversation with me:

Discover how you can beautifully integrate your most sacred mission and purpose in every aspect of your business — Unmask Your Brand and Share Your Magic.

In this session, I’ll help you identify exactly what you want your thriving, impactful, successful business to look like a year from now. We’ll look at least three things that are blocking you from envisioning, manifesting and sustaining a business that is a reflection of your passion, mission and purpose. Or… we’ll look at your brand and website and identify what’s blocking your heart’s mission and soul’s purpose from being clearly and invitingly and compellingly communicated. We’ll also identify the most powerful action(s) you can take right now to move you forward in the direction of your dreams.

You will leave the session with a personalized action plan and full of the excitement and energy that comes from knowing what to do next.

I’m giving nine sessions away. Grab your free sesssion here!

Posted on November 3rd, 2015. Posted in these categories: birthday, Day of the Dead. 26 Comments

Inspiration roundup

Under this bright Taurus Full Moon, I’m moved to share some inspiration with you.

A quote, an image, and a question. Times three.

I’d love to read your answers to the suggestions and questions in the comments below.

#1. How do you show up for your interactions?

"Great work comes out of interactions with the people you see to change."

“Great work doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of interactions with the people you seek to change.”Seth Godin

Try this: For the next 24 hours, set your internal mindfulness meter. When you’re out doing errands, waiting on line at the checkout, driving around town, dealing with interruptions, how are you showing up? What do you notice? What have you done — what can you do — to narrow the gap between the way you show up in your life and the way you show up for your clients and prospects?

#2. What’s not getting done? What are you telling yourself is just not possible?

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible.'!"

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” — Audrey Hepburn

Try this: That thing you’ve been thinking about/dreaming about/trying to do but it seems too big/too hard/too out of reach? Take a step, one more step than you thought you could, in its direction today. What opens for you when you think of this? What opens for you when you try?

#3: Are you feeling tender, embarrassed, ashamed, of decisions you’ve made and risks you’ve taken that haven’t panned out?

" might as well laugh about it now."

“If you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.” — Marie Osmond

Try this: Whatever that thing is, right now, that you wish you had done differently, the one you’re embarrassed about, share it with a friend, or post it here in the comments, and ask to be helped to see the humor in it. Betcha you’ll be smiling before you’ve finished asking the question. I know I am just thinking about it.

So, love, what inspiration landed for you? Please let me know; write a comment.

Posted on October 27th, 2015. Posted in these categories: inspiration. 22 Comments

The Deep Dive — so much to learn in the stillness

The Deep Dive is ready, and I’m so glad to share it with you.

You get clarity about the big picture for you and your business when you turn away from the to-do list and turn toward your heart.

Putting the Deep Dive together has been quite a journey for me.

Today I’m thinking a lot about what happens when you actually stop, turn away from the to-do list, and allow the magic that happens when you sink into stillness. Check out the video; in it I lead you in a small 90 seconds of quiet be-ing with yourself just to share the flavor of the shift that can happen when you allow it, when you open to it.

Of course, what you’ll get on the Deep Dive is more than just the quiet, but I wanted to start there with you. Now that I’ve overcome my video shyness (by some miracle), I’ll be sharing more of what I’m learning as I dive deeper and deeper.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned as I’ve taken my own Deep Dive into developing this retreat for you

  • Take a Deep DiveOn the surface, the word “retreat” might connote something negative, like you’re operating from fear. Stay with me here, there’s more to see. If the Deep Dive retreat is about retreating from anything, it’s about retreating from the attachment to your busyness; retreating from the belief that you don’t need as much love, support, and sacred reflective time as you offer your clients in your heart-centered work. And it’s retreating toward your own stillness, retreating toward your own highest good, and retreating toward the completely audacious and completely necessary idea that in order for you to sustainably give of your heart, your soul, and your passion, you need to give to yourself. Early and often — oftener than you’ll probably ever feel capable of doing without support.
  • Heart-centered women in business are really really good at DIY-ing, but sometimes DIY just doesn’t cut it. You’re probably an amazing multi-tasker, you probably rock the details, and you give your clients 110% of all you’ve got. Do you get stuck — like I have too many times — thinking that since you’ve learned so much, and know so much, you oughta be able to do the deep work necessary to keep your business fed, watered, and fertilized so that it can support you as well as you support it; so that it can grow and shift and change when the time is right? Yeah sister, some shit we just can’t do alone.
  • Videos are not so scary! I swear I don’t know how I got here, but I’m so glad I did. If you’re smart lucky enough to have a Mac, the combination of QuickTime and iMovie and YouTube is pretty easy to use. I’ve done about four now and while there are a lot of steps, they’re easy to follow, and the answers can be found online by asking simple questions. (I think it helped that I have had an really good hair day today.) I applied my “do it fast in order to outrun your inner critic” approach that I use when I make art. A little preparation, post-its strategically applied near the camera, and boom. If I can do this, I promise you you can too!
Posted on October 20th, 2015. Posted in these categories: Deep Dive, retreat. 23 Comments

Serving your clients — under-promise and over-deliver

There’s magic when you do just the right amount of under-promising.

It’s a Goldilocks thing. And it’s a super-shero thing.

  • Too much of an under-promise makes me wonder if I’m going to get what I need from you. Excessive under-promising will for sure under-impress me. And probably ensure that I don’t sign on with you in the first place.
  • When you over-promise I feel like I can’t trust your promises at all. If I sign up for your over-promise, it’s going be really hard to impress and delight me because you’ve set such high and probably unrealistic expectations.

Under-promise and over-deliver

There’s a middle ground that is “just right.”

It’s subtle. Stay close to the middle with this.

Here are some tips:

  • Add a PITA factor to the time and fees in your proposals. PITA = Pain In The Ass. Because shit happens. Avoid the temptation to promise the fastest possible turnaround for the lowest possible fee. Whatever you estimate it will take, add another 1/3 — time and money. This way you can’t lose. You can get done quicker and end up charging a bit less and look like a super-shero to your client. Or shit can in fact happen and you won’t have to go back to your client asking for more time and more money.
  • Sometimes shit will happen in a spectacular fashion and you’ll fail to deliver. This is a lovely opportunity. (Yes, really! Read on, sister.) When you do everything you can to recover and make good even after a world-class failure, you will surprise and delight your client more than you would have if things had gone as expected.

What kind of word of mouth are you going to get as you do and deliver your work to your clients?

Under-promise and over-deliver — in this age of word-of-mouth marketing — is a great credo for solopreneur business women, healers, and changemakers. You give your clients something solid to lean on and lean into, and you maximize your potential to surprise and delight because you gave yourself room to do so at the start. Yay you!

How does this land for you? Are you using this tool in your business already?

What do you think? Let’s talk in the comments.

Posted on October 14th, 2015. Posted in these categories: business, service. 20 Comments

What does it take to give yourself time to retreat?

I know how hard it may seem to take time away, to take time for yourself.

As a woman, and especially as woman in business, you can get so busy that you forget to take time for yourself. And even if you remember it … let’s face it, how easy is it for you to making loving yourself up a priority when there’s just so much to do?

The daily activities of your business — serving (and finding!) clients, paying bills, staying healthy — can make it difficult for you remember, and stay connected to the sacred passion and purpose that got you here in the first place.

A retreat sounds like a nice idea, but somehow, the to-do list always gets in the way, doesn’t it? As I prepare the Deep Dive retreat offer I want to share some of the thoughts that are in my heart with you. [Edited to add the link to the Deep Dive page; which I now happily invite you to read!]

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”

— Napoleon Hill

Don't wait. The time will never be just right.There’s always something to do, right? You, sister, have the magic power to put yourself at the top of your priority list. When I made myself #1 on my list, everything changed. First I learned how to choose to take care of myself first financially (and move my creditors down the list). Then I learned how to take care of myself and my belongings. And then finally I began to experience what it’s like to take care of my spirit — and to make my being just as even more important than my doing.

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”

― Albert Camus

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.It takes desire and intention to get to what’s really up and to clear the way for the next right action, doesn’t it? I start my grounding and meditation work for clients and groups by saying: “Turn away from your problems, and from the world, and turn toward the Divine, to your source. Let your energy sink down from your busy mind to your heart, and feel your heart open in invitation.” I do the same internal process in my own sacred workings. I want to share what I’ve been taught with you that helps open the channels to ease, peace, and clarity. Hint: First you look at the stuck places, then you release what’s got you stuck. Then you can welcome the vision and commit to the actions.

“You can’t control the past, but you can control where you go next.”

—Kirsten Hubbard

You can't control the past, but you can control where you go next.We are called to make so many decisions in our business and in our lives — sometimes it feels endless. When you get quiet, and open yourself in quiet retreat, you can get the clarity you need so you know in which direction you’ll take your next step. And be held in the planning and commitment as you go.

“You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t choose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.”

– Anita Septimus

It's what you do in between that makes all the difference.You deserve all the support you need as you manifest your passion and purpose and serve those beautiful clients who need what you have to give. You may have a coach, a mastermind, an accountability support team. And then there’s the support that comes from turning inward and clearing the way to hear that still small voice that speaks through your heart.

I’m creating this retreat for you because I know how hard it is to make space for yourself without support.

The Deep Dive Retreat is all about providing the support you need to rest, rejuvenate, go deep, remember, and restore. A day in guided retreat also opens you to clarity where you may have felt stuck in confusion. Or just plain stuck. And then to release what no longer serves you so you can welcome the vision of what’s next and commit to it.

I invite you to think about what a retreat can do for you.

What would it be like to turn away from the world for a night and a day, and in sacred space, dive deep, review, release, restore, revise, and recommit? What would it take to give yourself this gift? Check out the Deep Dive and see if now is the time for you to give yourself this powerful gift.

Share your experiences, your thoughts. Let’s talk in the comments.

Posted on October 6th, 2015. Posted in these categories: Deep Dive, retreat. 23 Comments