Run your business your way, and show show show your work

Let’s talk about being true to thine own beautiful sovereign kick-ass self.

Time came to write a post today, and in the parched landscape of my tired mind and sick body, there were no ideas to be found. Thank you internet, for leading me to the sweet sips of inspiration delivered to me from Austin Kleon (author of Show Your Work) and Sonia Simone (the wise pink-haired marketer from the Copyblogger team) for inspiring me today.

Here’s what I’ve got.

Your business — do it the way that works for you

I got an email recently, a call for artists for the Berkeley Day of the Dead festival.

my ancestors altar

Now, I’m a big Day of the Dead woman.

Of all the sacred holidays on the Wheel of the Year, this day is the one that calls to me in the deepest way. Partly because it’s also my natal birthday, and since my parents died, I’ve felt very close to my own soon-to-be-ancestorhood (some call it realizing that you’re now in the “terminal generation”). Partly because I always feel connected to my own beloved dead, and the Mexican rituals around Day of the Dead have always resonated for me. I usually travel into San Francisco to see the ofrendas (altars) on display. One year I went to Oaxaca and celebrated in the graveyards. Once, about seven years ago, I even got to help build an altar with two other women — but not my design.

So I replied to the call. Of course, I was sure I wouldn’t get chosen. They asked for lists of my shows. I had nothing to share. Well, not true. I have had two art shows, but I had no info about them to send. I did however have my blog, and when I searched “ancestors” I found many links to share. Which I did. And I got chosen!

Did fear come up then? Yup, you bet!

You know what that fear sounds like, right?

  • I’m not good enough
  • My idea is weak / cheesy.
  • It’s so much work!
  • Yadda yadda yadda!

Thanks for sharing, inner critic, but I’m doing it anyway. I like my idea for this.

The idea: I went and got some graveyard dirt (yup, just like it sounds, from a corner of the cemetery). My table will be draped with skull fabric and decorated with my figures and candles (see photo above). I’m going to fill a box with the dirt and provide paper and markers. People will be invited to write the names of their own beloved dead on a strip of paper and drop the paper into the dirt, which I will ritually dispose of the next day.

I’m going to be a Yes to this invitation, show my art, show my heart, despite that inner critic, that one who would have me do nothing, and take no risks. I’m taking all the risks: in art, in business, in relationships, in love.

About doing it your own way and showing your work

I think I’m supposed to be spending all my time on launching the Deep Dive retreat.

You should hear that harpy’s voice in my head! Oy.

Yoni of GuadalupeBut this…

  • I am drawn to making art and took some time to do so today.
  • I’m sick — again. My health is claiming a big chunk of my attention.
  • I know that my clients old and new will be happy to read about the retreat when it’s ready, and when I’m ready.

It’s my business, yo. And this is the way it works for me.

Showing you this maybe not yet finished piece even though I worry that I screwed it up.

It’s called the Yoni of Guadalupe. And it may have gotten away from me. You can’t really see the yoni shape any more behind the feathery pubes I put in yesterday. And yet, it’s kinda gorgeous, isn’t it?

I’m showing you my piece that seems to have developed a mind of its own, because (and I learned this in the 12-step rooms) once I stop keeping it to myself, and bring it out of the dark scary closet where my secret fears and failures live, it’s in the light, and I can release all the stories I’m telling myself about fucking it up.

Talk to me, gorgeous. Did you catch a whiff of inspiration from my rambles today, something you can use in your business? Think I’m completely nuts? Bring it! Let’s talk in the comments.

Posted on September 29th, 2015. Posted in these categories: art, business, chutzpah. 18 Comments

Notes from the center of retreat. Retreat to center.

It hasn’t all been introspection this last week or so.

But what introspection has taken place has been lovely. Deep, sacred, like a retreat.

the center of the retreat

  • When do you take the time to retreat, to go inside, to find (and re-find) your center? Do you wait for the calendar to remind you? Do you have a regular deep and delicious spiritual practice? Do you take days (or hours) away from your business and your responsibilities to do the things that feed your heart and your spirit?
  • How do you get support for this sacred quiet? Have you ever done a virtual retreat? Or a guided retreat? Or both? Do you get together with friends and celebrate and ground in the sacred together?
  • What do you do to step into sacred time? Listen to your heart. What are you called to do? I do a lot of different things. I go to synagogue. I mindfully celebrate the Moon phases and the seasons. I drum and dance. I have juicy orgasms that are intended for the good of all (really!). I do things for others with no need to get something in return (which makes every “thank you!” a real gift).

I’m thinking about retreats these days because I’m about to launch a virtual retreat called the Deep Dive.

It will be hella sacred, hella eye-opening, and hella amazing. More on the Deep Dive soon!

If you’re ready now (you might be) or want more information, just send me an email — — and we’ll get you on the Deep Dive schedule.

I want to share this poem with you.

It evokes for me a lot of what I’m feeling and thinking during this season of introspection and retreat.

Awaken: Elul 17

Suddenly everything is new.
And these eyes
can’t widen far enough
to take in the universe
contained in your heart
spanned with your hands.

There is no word
which means red and green
at the same time
but the apple
cupped in this palm
sings it joyously.

Time eddies and swirls
like the exuberant river.
The new year, the old year
the new year again.
Every instant precious
and then gone.

Rachel Barenblat,
The Velveteen Rabbi

What whispers and wonderful inspirations come to you when you retreat to center?

I’d love to know, and to hear from you. Please talk to me in the comments.

Posted on September 21st, 2015. Posted in these categories: renew, retreat. 30 Comments

The High Holidays and Mercury retrograde — reflect, recommit, and renew

What an absolutely perfect season to reflect, recommit, and renew.

To everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a time to every purpose under heaven.

Some New Year seasons inspire resolutions. This New Year season, the Days of Awe, invites you to have an internal process. You are asked to reflect, recommit, and renew.

This is the first year that I’ve dived into the Days of Awe (being dragged to synagogue by my conservative grandparents doesn’t count). In fact, it’s the first year in my life when Jewish ritual and spirituality has had deep meaning for me.

One of the 613 blessings (613 is the number of seeds in a pomegranate, they say) that came my way in this last year is finding community and a spiritual home at a Jewish renewal synagogue. This exploration and experience is adding so much to my varied, multi-culti, woman-centric rich weaving of spiritual practices that have come together in my life and work since I started looking in the ’70s. I feel wrapped in the sacred in a deeper way than ever before.

Reflect, recommit, and renew

I wrote a bit last week about how Mercury retrograde (9/17–10/9) wraps itself around much of this high holiday season.

[Here’s the link to that article. And if you’re ready to really align your passion and purpose with your brand and your website, please use this link to book a call with me; I’m finishing up two Unmask Your Brand and Shine Your Light websites right now, and am ready to dive in with you!]

Yes, sometimes a Mercury retrograde (Rx) can be scary. Computers may crash, communication may go haywire (misunderstood much?). But I find a deeper invitation in each Merc Rx. The invitation to do all those “re-” things. Re-think. Review. Revise. Reflect. Recommit. Renew.

What a lovely combination this season. And then my friend Shulamit turned me on to 10Q — an online conversation around ten questions for the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The questions spark reflection. I invite you to read through these and answer the one that calls to you most strongly in the comments below.

  • What’s a significant experience that has affected you over the past year?
  • What is something you would have done differently over the past year?
  • What is a major milestone that affected your family in the past year?
  • What global event most affected you last year, and why?
  • Have you had any experiences this past year that changed the way you thought about spirituality?
  • What’s one specific thing that you would like to accomplish by this time next year?
  • Is there a part of yourself (physical, emotional, intellectual) that you want to work on in the coming year?
  • Is there a specific person, cause, or idea that you want to learn more about in the coming year?
  • Is there a fear that has limited you in the past year? Do you think you could overcome it next year?

I’m going to answer the second question right here, as a way of explaining to you just how scattered I notice I am today, and have been for the past six days.

I’m sure my scattered state is apparent in my writing in this post. I count at least three themes going here. Lucky for me I know you love me anyway, and that you forgive me for the words that don’t make sense, and the words that didn’t quite get to the page.

So: What is something you would have done differently over the past year?

I would have reacted to the rat trauma differently, with more ease and some sovereignty. A rat moved into my house last Thursday and didn’t leave until today. That’s six days, yo. Six days in which I felt fear, and panic, and stress, and not-at-home-in-my-new-home. Six days during which I ate less, slept even less than that. Six days during which I was either gnawed on or dreamt I was gnawed on in my sleep and woke up sobbing. Six days during which I could not enter my kitchen with ease.

I wanted to transcend this. I wanted to find a way to claim sovereignty and ground in ease even though I was living with a rodent. I couldn’t do it. And I know my lack of ease was compounded by having just moved. I was in this house for all of two weeks when the rat moved in. Oy.

So. The rat is now gone (may it have been the only one!). I am beginning to feel my heart resume its normal rhythm, I am beginning to relax my hyper-vigilance.

I still don’t understand my extreme reaction, nor did I come close to beginning to solve it. I’m just grateful that it’s gone because the prospect of working on whatever old trauma triggered my reactions is much more appealing absent a rat in the house than it ever could have been when it was still here.

Thank you for your love, your patience, your compassion, your forgiveness, and for reading my words. Blessed be.

Posted on September 16th, 2015. Posted in these categories: days of awe, high holidays, renew, resolutions. 16 Comments

Marketing magic — Unmask Your Brand and Shine Your Light

I’ve got three little stories for you today.

1. Marketing magic happens when you Unmask Your Brand and Shine Your Light.

Marketing magic — Unmask Your Brand and Shine Your LightWhen you do the work that allows you to really feel, connect with, and express your brand and how it reflects the best of you — your heart, your sense of mission and purpose, your skills, your passion and compassion — everything changes.

<< Take a look at Eva’s website before (the pages in blue) and the new website I’m working on with her (the bigger image — click to see it larger). Eva’s Unmask Your Brand journey and process with me brought out for her the words, themes, colors, fonts, and images that really help her tell her story. Can you see and feel the difference? I’d love to know what you think.

2. There are so many gifts that come from working with and for the people you know you are meant to serve.

The gifts of working with the people you are meant to serveWhen you’ve discerned who your ideal client is, and done the work to fill your practice with the clients you are meant to serve, you get so many gifts!

Some of the things I notice:

  • In working with healers and changemakers I get healed and changed in deep and wonderful ways. This is so much different than how it was when I was working for anyone who wanted to hire me. Afraid I’d never have enough, and taking anything I could get, I ended up with all kinds of energy, levels of consciousness, and vibration coming my way. This simply doesn’t happen any more. I trust the Divine, I take the work I know I am meant to do for the women I am meant to serve. With Eva, for example, I’m helping her by writing her marketing copy, and since she’s a healer I had a session with her to get an accurate take on her words, her phrasing, and her heart. In doing so, I got the benefit of her full presence and healing energy — such a gift! Plus I’m getting paid.
  • When working on a brand and website (or other marketing work) for a client, deadlines and changes can be stressful. Taking what I’ve learned from my amazing heart-centered business teachers, I start each project with a set of commitments to which me and my clients agree. In these commitments I promise to be present and resourced for our meetings; I commit to being open to discussing misunderstandings and upsets; I ensure confidentiality; I take a stand for partnership and collaboration; and I ask for my client to agree to let me be the teacher and the coach. I create safety for both of us so that we can rest into the knowing that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder looking at whatever needs to be handled together.
  • I look forward to my work, every day. I am thrilled when I get to meet with a client or do work that helps me help each of them shine their beautiful light. When work is so attractive and compelling, balance, health, fun, ease, and relationships fall right into place as well.

3. Mercury retrograde (Rx) September 17 – October 9

This Merc Rx is particularly interesting to me because it spans the High Holidays — Jewish New Year and Days of Awe and Introspection.

For years now I have thought of Mercury retrogrades as an especially good time to notice things you may have overlooked before; to re-evaluate, re-commit, re-form, re-think, and re-invent. Anything and everything.

I think there’s a lovely alignment here. This is the first time in my life that I’m seriously exploring and enjoying Judaism — the religion of my birth — and I am already in that energy of evaluation and commitment. How fitting to have these two similar themes coinciding. L’shanah tovah (may this year be full of goodness and blessings)!

I’d love to know what you think. Please talk to me in the comments. Blessed be!

Posted on September 8th, 2015. Posted in these categories: days of awe, high holidays, magic, marketing, Shine Your Light, Unmask Your Brand. 25 Comments

Instant karma is a thing and I got smacked down once again

I have moved. I am still surrounded by boxes. I am learning how to live with another person. It’s hard.

I’m not making excuses for my bad behavior. I behaved badly and I own it. I’ll just tell it.

[I’m tossing in a couple of photos of my beautiful new environment; they have nothing to do with the story, but hey, I’d love to share the beauty with you too.]

Visuals and vibe

There’s a backstory; this has happened more than once. Twenty-ish years ago and then again on the day after my big move, I sank into the arms of my old friends enemies entitlement and deprivation and took something that wasn’t mine, or tried to get over on someone who was helping me (same crap, slightly different actions).

As my friend Andrew said when I told him these stories, some behavior is just baked into us. And in moments of forgetfulness, we just go to what we know. I’m embarrassed. I’m flawed. I’m learning.

Story #1 — 1995-ish

I took a road trip to Wilbur Hot Springs and then Mendocino.

Got to Wilbur and realized I forgot my flipflops. Asked if they had any spares at the desk. “Of course; check out the lost and found box. If you find some, please make sure to return them when you leave.” I agree — “Of course I will!”

When I left three days later to drive to Mendo, I decided I really needed those flipflops. Must have them. So I wore them and drove away. On Wilbur Road, about a mile from the hot springs, I decided to change into my brand-new $200 (in 1995 dollars) Havana Joe boots. Stopped the car, looked in the backseat where I had tossed the boots, and I only had one boot.

I arrived in Mendocino with a pair of $3 flipflops (which weren’t mine) and only one of my Havana Joes.

I met someone who was on her way to Wilbur at a 12-step meeting (where I told my sad tale). I handed her the flipflops and asked her to please return them, to take them back before I got any more smackdowns from the universe. I took someone else’s advice and called Wilbur to see if anyone found my boot. The gal at the desk said “Oh yeah, I’ve been driving by a single boot. Call me tomorrow; I’ll see if I can find it.” When I called the next day she told me the boot was no longer visible on the road.

Instant karma.

quieter sounds

Story #2 — moving day and the day after

The movers made a lot of mistakes when they packed the truck — they damaged a mirror, two lamps, my keyboard tray, and my dining table.

They were awesome. The operations manager and repair guy came the next day and promised to take all the broken stuff away, fix or replace all damage, and bring everything back to me all better. They even adjusted the amount due back to the original estimate even though the foreman wanted $300 more the day before. They want me to be satisfied; they want to retain their 5-star Yelp rating and they will.

But I couldn’t resist. Uh-uh, not me. There was an opportunity to try to get over and I took it!

I took them over to a box that was labeled Lampshades — Fragile — Do Not Stack (which means don’t put anything on top). I had left it sealed. My words: “Your movers stacked this on the truck and then stacked it here in the garage (this was true). It has lampshades. Let’s make sure nothing is damaged in here, okay?”

I said this knowing full well that I had a broken glass shade in the box. When they pulled it out and asked me if it had been broken before, I told a big fat lie. “Nope. Never broken.” They took that with them to replace as well.

After they’d gone, I took the other smaller unbroken glass shade that goes with that lamp and attempted to screw it in place. I screwed it in upside down and broke the lamp.

Called them up and told them there’s no need to replace the shade.

Instant karma, yo.

Where do you end up when your out of balance?

What not-so-loving behaviors seep through? What’s baked, or hard-wired, into your brain and psyche?

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has had episodes like this. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Blessed be!

Posted on September 2nd, 2015. Posted in these categories: deprivation, entitlement, instant karma. 28 Comments

Surrounded by boxes. Decluttering happens.

This week I’m moving house and I’m surrounded by boxes.

Moving day is this week! So much fun, so much change! So much decluttering!

I thought I’d look at where I was a year ago and share a post from then with you. Looks like I was thinking about decluttering then too.

Would you be surprised to see that you can apply the gift and magic of decluttering to more than just your things?

It can even apply to your brand.

Declutter your brand

Read on!

Posted on August 26th, 2015. Posted in these categories: decluttering, fun, moving. 2 Comments

Inspiration roundup in the middle of the move

45 boxes packed, 45 or so to go

I’m keeping (relatively) sane and here are some of the sources of inspiration, peace, patience, and laughter that are sustaining me.

I need many inspiration breaks. This shit is hard!

Surrounded by boxes

Here are five must-read teachers and bloggers who help me reboot my perspective.

Lucinda Williams quote

I wanted to find more stuff for you, that will make you laugh and fill you with joy.

Instead, since I gotta go pack some more, I’ll leave you with what I’ve collected here.

Seth Godin quote

I invite you to add quotes, and links, and whatever you’ve got in the comments.

Share what inspires you or makes you laugh — as you go through your own painful and challenging and just-plain-hard changes.

I’ll see you on the other side! xoxox

Helen Keller quote

Posted on August 19th, 2015. Posted in these categories: inspiration, moving. 31 Comments