Category Archives: Loving Myself


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IMAGINE you have a core, abiding Self;

a Self beyond the hubbub of the inner voices and distracting monkey-mind chitchat.

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IMAGINE this core Self is as pure, unblemished and perfect as it was at the hour of your birth;

before you wrapped it all around with layers of protection and ways of coping.

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 3.06.08 PMIMAGINE this core Self is what you meet through ~

  • meditation
  • Yoga
  • absorbing pursuits
  • prayer
  • deep presence

and remember you have felt it before ~ as a pang of beauty, a quiet bliss, a deep connection, a pure joy.

  • Imagine this core Self is accessible to you at any moment.
  • This moment.
  • Imagine relating to yourself, and your loved ones, from this place.
  • Not all the time maybe, but more than you do now,
  • even without the Yoga or meditation ~ just by shifting your attention.

Slowly slowly, always coming (as my Yoga teacher says) I work to help clients reconnect to this place within themselves, so they might be happier in their relationships with themselves, and those around them, little by little, day by day.

If you’ve stumbled upon this post, please feel free to enjoy the others in this series ~

1. “I lived with Mother Theresa and Simon Cowell” about acknowledging all the inner characters who used to drown out my abiding core Self.

2. Meet Colin, the first person I met who lived connected to his core Self much of the time.

3. Hear how Colin achieved his form of inner peace and happy living.

And still coming ~ more about Internal Family Systems and how we can help ourselves, and one another, connect to our abiding core Self more often.

How To Silence Your Inner Critic #2

You met my house mates (the yammering inner voices) here.

Then Colin (who’d silenced his inner critics and loved himself down a mountain) here.

Today I’ll share what I learned from Colin about loving oneself.

So, how to silence one’s inner critic (task-master, slob, pessimist, skeptic, saboteur et al)?

The way Colin described it to me I figured I needed to chunk things down into five steps so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and give up before I started. Plus, you know I love steps, right!

  1. Listen
  2. Name
  3. Understand
  4. Thank
  5. Lead

Step 1  LISTEN

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 2.04.24 PMColin told me that for years he’d been trying to ignore the inner chatter.  The messages all seemed so mean, random, relentless and contradictory it never occurred to him to listen to the content.

However – he told me  – one weekend after a particularly horrendous bout of inner self-flagellation, a light bulb went off.


“I’m just like my Ex!” he told me.

“Excuse me?” I asked.

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 2.08.02 PM “Yes, it used to drive me nuts. Elaine was a nice girl but she hated herself too. She’d get going on something she hated, like her hair. She’d moan about how thin and straight it was and then, right when I’d be thinking of something OK about her hair she’d skip to bashing her hips: too big. Her breasts: too small. Her chin: too pointy. Her career: too dull. Her family: too unsupportive. And so on. She’d never stop anywhere long enough in her spiral of self-loathing for me to help her figure out if she wanted to do anything about all of this.  She’d end up with me agreeing with her – she was hopelessly and forever flawed.”

“And this connects to your issue how, now?” I asked.

“I’ve played this inner game of pass-the-parcel. As soon as one negative thought comes in and stings, I’ll nudge it out-of-the-way with another nasty thought; but just nasty in a different way. Like Elaine would bash her hair like I bash my comments in a meeting. But before I can really address how dumb I was in that meeting, I’ve got another voice telling me it’s not that I’m dumb, it’s that I’m not ambitious enough. I should be in a whole different level of work. And then when I think that, another voice says I’ll never amount to anything and should bag all this and wash dishes…”

“So, I got that I needed to be not like Elaine.

“And the best way to be not like Elaine that I could think of was to slow down the messages and let myself listen to them before the next one came in.”

So Colin told me he decided to slow things down and listen to the messages – even though they were painful. He had no idea if it would help, but at least it was something different and totally the opposite of what he had been doing unsuccessfully all along.

He said he started letting each thought run its course.  They stayed mean, random, relentless and contradictory but he made sure he really understood what each voice was saying.

As he did this, he began to notice different themes. Different voices, if you will. Almost as though there were different people inside with entirely different points to make. So he decided to name them.

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 2.13.03 PMStep 2  NAME THE VOICES

Colin said this part was fun!

In order to give these voices names, he had to step back and listen to the content with a view to identifying what sort of person would say such a thing.Humm… now he was curious.


Was this the voice of a ~

  • pessimist
  • lazy slob
  • critic
  • sergeant major
  • jester
  • saint
  • or sinner?

Colin told me first he identified these sorts of characteristics and then he gave them  names.

Let’s look at my inner community that day, climbing the Sun Valley hills.


Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 2.19.12 PMVoice 1  [Roaring…]

Can’t you pick up the pace. Look, Mark’s been breaking trail for ages.  You’re such a mooch… step it up there

Maybe a sergeant major.   [Or bossy fitness coach?]



Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 2.29.11 PMVoice 2  “ This is hard work. It’s OK to slow things down. Maybe call for another chocolate break

Definitely a slob.   [Maybe just someone who is tired?]

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Voice 3  “I should have opted to stay home. I’m in a filthy mood right now. None of this snow is going to be any good by the time we turn around anyway

Whiny victim.   [Maybe someone who recognizes I love to be home alone?]


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Voice 4  “And you’ll be last down the hill as well as up. You’ll fall the whole way down and be an utter disgrace as usual. How long have you been learning how to ski now? When are you going to get it down – eh?”

Sounds like the mum who screams at her kid “You get any closer to the fire and you’ll get burned. Don’t touch the knife, you’ll get cut.” that sort of energy. So maybe I’ll think of this as deeply ineffective Mother.   [Maybe someone who loves me but sure expresses it in an off-putting way?]

I went one step farther here – by linking my inner folks to public or well-known fictional characters so I could describe them to other people more vividly.


Colin showed me how – as he listened to his inner voices and could identify the sort of person who might say these things to him – he was able to discern a potential positive spin in each message. You can probably see it above in the secondary explanations I give in the [brackets].

Now, having done these voices the courtesy of listening to them, identifying their perspective and discerning a positive flip-side to their messages, he had to grant that they each had a decent point: they just made their points appallingly!

In my case let’s see once more how I could understand a positive intent from each message.

Voice 1/ Sergeant Major / Fitness Coach

Says  “Can’t you pick up the pace. Look, Mark’s been breaking trail for ages.  You’re such a mooch… step it up there

Positive Intent could be   “Keep this up. You’re doing well. Be inspired by Mark and keep on trucking.”

Voice 2/ Slob / Tired Person

Says  “ This is hard work. It’s OK to slow things down. Maybe call for another chocolate break

Positive Intent could be   “Boy this is hard. Check your energy – do you need anything?”

Voice 3 / Whiny Victim / Voice of Solitude

Says   “I should have opted to stay home. I’m in a filthy mood right now. None of this snow is going to be any good by the time we turn around anyway

Positive Intent could be   “Yes, you had mixed feelings about how to spend this day. Part of you wishes you were home in a deliciously quiet cabin with no agenda right now, right?”

Voice 4 / Ineffective Mum / Caring Mum

Says   “And you’ll be last down the hill as well as up. You’ll fall the whole way down and be an utter disgrace as usual. How long have you been learning how to ski now? When are you going to get it down – eh?”

Positive Intent could be    “Boy I see how hard it has been for you to learn how to do these telemark turns. You worry that your friends will judge that you should be better at this already. I just worry you’ll judge yourself harshly and get your feelings hurt.”

OK – I understood this.

That I needed to understand the voices.

Step 4 – THANK THEMScreen shot 2013-06-27 at 2.38.54 PM

  • Really?
  • Yup.

Colin said that once the negative voice was tamed by a name, and understood for the possibility of deeper, kind intentions he was grateful for the message.

The voices really were trying to help.

And that perspective changed everything.

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Once you’ve come to recognize your inner perspectives – listened to them, named them, understood them and appreciated their positive intent – you get to experience being the leader. You get to invite the inner characters to come forward and share their presence with you when you are ready for them. If you are trying to be brave, you invite your inner coward to step back and focus on your inner Sargent Major (for example)! And you can certainly coach them to share their points of view with more kindness.

I’ll talk more about the implications of all this tomorrow – for they are huge.

But if indeed you can begin to see yourself as the one who watches these inner characters, or who listens to these inner voices, you may find yourself asking ~

  • Who is the One watching?
  • Who is the One listening?

the answer to which leads us directly toward the path of self discovery.


I am sure some readers will be appalled at the idea of listening to these inner voices. What if they are telling you to hurt yourself or others? What if these voices are urging to you cut, binge, purge?

I have wondered about that myself, until I recently came upon the work of Dr. Richard Schwartz and the therapeutic work he terms Inner Family Systems.

He came upon ideas like Colin’s and after years of research, and successful work with clients, he is convinced we are all profoundly good at our core. He believes these self-generated voices (he calls them parts) are motivated by positive intent.  I’ll be writing more about these ideas – I’m hooked!

How To Silence Your Inner Critic #1

Last post I described my house mates.

More my “head mates” really.  Personifications of the voices that used to yammer away inside.

A few of you have shared you live with some of these as well ~

  • The critic
  • The task-master
  • The slob
  • The pessimist
  • The skeptic
  • The saboteur

and you’re keen (to quote one reader, thanks  Carrie!) to know  “how the hell do I get them out of here?”

I’ll tell you, I promise.

But first, I want this post to be an inspiring look at what life can be like without the inner dysfunctional family having a constant go at you.

Meet Colin.Scanned Image

Here he is, climbing up a peak near Sun Valley Idaho one sunny March day back in the late 1980s.

Can you tell from this photo how unusual he is?

I couldn’t, at first anyway. As we climbed a snowy hill together I had no idea what an impact he would have on my life.

Until I watched him ski.


Three things became apparent once we reached the highest point.

  • The only way out was down
  • Colin had neglected to mention that he hadn’t skied before
  • He was totally up for the challenge.


The trailLearning something new, under duress, with an audience has never showcased my best self, I gotta admit.  So, not optimal conditions for Colin.

He was a visiting Kiwi (those of you who know New Zealanders will recognize this as a code term for up-for-anything) whose Bucket List included some snow time. He’d accepted an invitation to play in the mountains around Sun Valley on borrowed equipment and it had never occurred to him (nor us, apparently) to talk about how to use the darn stuff. We all used thin, highly cambered, light-weight cross-country skis, long poles, and low leather lace-ups. (Remember – we’re back in the 1980s all you hard-core mountain folk who ski anything today on short, wide skis and knee-high plastic boots).


Here we are near the top, still smiling.Mark, Karl, Colin

Climbing skins off the skis, we’re ready for the descent. Colin’s looking at Karl (middle) and my husband Mark (left).

We’re laughing because Colin’s just mentioned he hasn’t skied before.

We’re sure he’s pulling our legs and will soon zoom down in a series of elegant linked telemark turns.

Meanwhile, my inner nay-Sayers have been hard at work all day:

Task-master       ~  Can’t you pick up the pace. Look, Mark’s been breaking trail for ages.  You’re such a mooch… step it up there.”

The slob              ~  This is hard work. It’s OK to slow things down. Maybe call for another chocolate break.

The saboteur     ~  “I should have opted to stay home. I’m in a filthy mood right now. None of this snow is going to be any good by the time we turn around anyway.

The pessimist       ~ “And you’ll be last down the hill as well as up. You’ll fall the whole way down and be an utter disgrace as usual. How long have you been learning how to ski now? When are you going to get it down – eh?”

So when Colin, still chuckling at our disbelief, pointed his skis down the hill and crashed spectacularly into a shrub about 30 feet below us, we all paused.

He couldn’t ski!

I won’t describe how Mark skis. To this day it’s slightly depressing. He’s smooth, elegant, flawless and constantly grinning. He’s in his element. Karl and I were on a perpetual learning curve. We all joined Colin at the bush and now I was curious and my inner voices were having a field day:

The critic                ~  “Well, at least you won’t be the worst on the hill for a change.”

The task-master    ~  “Better pick your game here girl, so you can show Colin a thing or two.”


Here’s what Colin did.

He picked himself up and said, with a mix of excitement and curiosity, “So, teach me how to do these turns, they look beautiful!

We all gave our versions of how to (essentially back then) genuflect down the mountain. I found a fun old video if you’re interested!  And Colin applied himself. He did what we suggested and of course, fell down a few times. It’s a tough turn to master on smooth terrain, and here was Colin on a wind-swept mountain.

I watched him for a long time. He’d pick himself up from the latest crash and say, partly to himself and partly to us,   “OK, so I think I forgot to bend my downhill knee but I stepped into the turn well and feel I’m getting the weight distribution right. What do you think?”

We’d make a few pointers and he’d try again.

Within about 300 feet of the summit, he was linking his first few turns.

Karl and I had taken some spills too and was I speaking so gently, thoughtfully and constructively to myself?

Hell no!

The critic        ~  “Good heavens girl you’re a hopeless bundle of muscle-free, uncoordinated body parts. You know how to do this and here you are totally shown up by  a total newbie. Come on!”

Versions of this went on for the entire descent.

Colin, who had no experience of using the telemark turn on cross-country skis, loved himself down the mountain. At each turn he was celebrating accomplishments and gently correcting his setbacks. He was never mad at himself, only curious and brave and confident he would eventually master the turn.

There was I, hating and berating myself down the hill, same as I had for the previous six years of learning how to ski. I doubt my skills advanced at all that day.

Colin mastered a new skill by allowing his core Self to take the lead.

This core Self (which we all have by the way) is ~

  • Calm
  • Clear
  • Compassionate
  • Connected
  • Courageous
  • Confident
  • Curious
  • Creative

and ever so much more fun to live with!

Over a warm drink later that night I asked Colin how come he wasn’t disgusted with himself when he fell, or critical of himself when he didn’t get something right, or grumpy or pushy or skeptical or any of the voices I seemed to activate in the face of a typical day.

He laughed.

“Oh I had ‘em all in there alright.  It was crowded and nasty and I was pretty miserable through my twenties. But everything changed when I tried a whole new approach…”

Next: How Colin silenced his inner critic (and all those other tough inner-relations) and learned how to lead from his Core Self.





I lived with Mother Theresa & Simon Cowell

I used to live with Mother Theresa and Simon Cowell.


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Mama T (as I came to call her) prefered an austere cell in the basement. I’m sure she did not mean to do this, but having her around lent an ever-present un-nerving sense of futility to everything I did that was not directed at saving lives.

I mean – it’s hard to have a good laugh over tea and biscuits when Mama T’s off gathering up the starving elderly.



Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 11.19.50 AMSimon took over the master suite. Despite having the best digs, he was never content.

“I don’t  mean to be rude,” he’d say,

Most things (about me) were wrong, flawed, hopeless or maybe salvageable after daunting amounts of hard work.


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Now and again Hilary Clinton stopped by.

She was good value. Elevated the conversation.  She brought astonishing tales of her life-experiences and life-changing accomplishments. She packed more self-possession in her little finger than the rest of us had in our entire bodies.

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Bono, singing “I am the Eggman” from Across the Universe (perhaps my all-time favourite musical) would take to making random, uninvited, utterly impromptu appearances.

He was distracting (to say the least), poking fun at us, hinting at deep meaning, being obscure. His presence  however, was greatly relieving.

Gives the rest of us a break, I guess.


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Bella Swan from Twilight (fess up – you’ve read the book or at least seen posters for the movie) moved into the living room.

She was tough to live with. One always felt she was working hard on something worthwhile – but at the end of the day I’d have to agree with Simon, there was never any evidence of forward progress in any one direction.


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We all loved it when Mary Poppins stayed.

She brought with her a warmth, whimsy and overall sense of all’s-well-with-the-world.

I did, however, notice she tended to help the neighbours more than me so I confess to a little resentment from time to time.



One day, they all went out at the same time.

The saint, the critic, the effective politician, the randoms, the victim, the loving nanny…

All of ‘em.


I was left alone.

Just me, myself, and I.

My Self.

In the utter silence of that place I glimpsed it.

That place of perfect stillness inside.

The bedrock where the “I” dwells.

That still point of calm, clear, compassionate, confident and creative connectedness.


Oh, they came back by and by. But over time I’ve begun to cultivate some boundaries.  Some guests are allowed in for a certain amount of time with certain ground rules.  I find I can hear what my Self has to say more clearly these days. It’s blissfully invigorating.

Are you curious about who is left when all your house guests leave for a moment?

Try it some time.

I’ll help you through the process this week.






The tag line for this website – cultivating great relationships with family, friends and self – comes close to expressing what I offer. But I guess much depends upon one’s definition of “cultivating”.

I love these definitions from The Free Dictionary . Cultivating is to ~

  • Improve and prepare (land), as by plowing or fertilizing, for raising crops; till.
  • Loosen or dig soil around (growing plants).
  • Grow or tend (a plant or crop).
  • Promote the growth of (a biological culture).
  • Nurture; foster.
  • Form and refine, as by education.
  • Seek the acquaintance or goodwill of; make friends with.

This implies that together my clients and I seek to ~

  • Improve the context of their lives (plow the land);
  • Soften any rigidity in the Self (loosening the soil);
  • Introduce new ideas (plant new seeds);
  • Promote new habits (water and feed and weed those seeds);
  • Provide support (nurture the growth);
  • Care and fuss a bit  (take pride in and monitor growth);
  • Teach new skills (introduce new ideas);
  • Grow together (befriend one another).

These are good. In my role as relationship therapist / couples counselor / coach I do all these things.

And, I want to add a nuance I’ve come to appreciate in my own life. That of Kaizen.  Literally this is a Japanese word meaning “good change”. However, it has become the embodiment of a philosophy for Japanese business meaning  “continuous small improvements.” It’s deliciously non-Western since there can be no arriving at perfection.  No end-point.  No noun. Only the verb – to improve. Only process.

Like my mother before a dinner party. She’d have everything looking perfect (to my eyes) about an hour before guests would be due. And then she’d kick-in to her own Kaizen space. She’d move slowly through the house since, by now, she’d look like a million dollars with the hair just so, the heels and jewelry on – not a time for rushing. With great elegance, and a slowness bordering on contemplation, she’d touch up the house. Picture frames would be gently swiped with a soft cotton cloth. The shiny-with-age loose-covers on our ancient wing-back chairs would be smoothed once more. The piano bench would be snuggled up into the piano.  The cushions would be tenderly plumped.  The enormous vase of flowers in our entry hall would be turned, ever so slightly, to showcase the prettiest bloom.

It drove me nuts!

As a child I thought “Shoot me now! If my life ever diminishes to the care and nurturing of loose covers and picture-frame-dust-management  just put me out of my misery. There’s gotta be more!”

Now – ah age! – I see it as a prayer. As a nod toward the idea that each one of us, each day, has a little dust to brush off, a little tightness to smooth, a little plumping-up here and there, a stunning flower to showcase. It’s love-as-verb, in miniature.

Now, as my clients and I cultivate great relationships (with family, friends and self), I’m noticing that it can be the smallest moves – the gentler tone; a squeeze of the hand; a quieting of the inner critic; a heartfelt “Thanks Honey!”; the choice to listen not speak – these continuous small improvements we practice in our relationships,  which bear the tastiest fruits.

Getting Unstuck

Dear Readers,

I’m back.

For four blissful weeks I was visiting friends and family back in Idaho, Oregon and Washington State (USA). Since May 20th however, I’ve been back in New Zealand stuck in the Mire. Stuck good and tight.  Mute. Helpless. With nothing to say.

However, as life deliciously often does, I was thrown a lifeline in the form of a client who was also stuck. We get to teach that which we must learn.

So, now I’m unstuck. Back on the page, communing with you with enormous joy and I figured I’d share my teaching about getting unstuck. I’ve boiled it down to six steps. (I love steps….as if you’ve not noticed that about my little teachings by now!) But hey – I’ve seen nothing quite like this and I have to say, it works. Not just for me and my client of this past couple of weeks. But for others upon whom I’ve tried versions of this before. I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this too. So – here goes.


OK – so you’re stuck. What kind of stuck? While being stuck usually means you’re not doing something you wish you’d do, as long as you’re alive, you are actually doing something else instead. So, get curious about what you are doing. Could be something like this:

  • I’m spinning my wheels not writing
  • I’m hanging on to this old relationship
  • I’m too cuddly for my own good
  • I’m parked in this dead-end job
  • I’m overly accommodating to my overbearing boss


Counter-intuitive maybe, but we tend to do things because they work for us in some way. Look at what you noticed you are doing in this place of stuck, and ask yourself,

“How is this benefiting me?”

  • I’m spinning my wheels not writing, which is actually giving me a chance to turn over some new ideas and examine what it is I want to say next.
  • I’m hanging on to this old relationship, which means I don’t have to be alone on weekend nights and I have someone to go to parties with.
  • I’m too cuddly for my own good, and I get to enjoy being the Bon Vivant everyone knows me to be, pooh-poohing those skinny Minnies and living wholeheartedly.
  • I’m parked in this dead-end job, which I can do with my eyes shut so all my creative juice is pent-up and ready for my music when I come home.
  • I’m overly accommodating to my overbearing boss and she really likes me and I never get into those power struggles I see the others enduring.


You’ve uncovered the judgment about stuck (Step 1) and the benefits of being stuck (Step 2) so now it’s time to explore what life would be like if you were not stuck.

  • If I stopped spinning my wheels not writing, I’d be back in the service game, adding content to my Blog and providing useful resources for clients and readers.
  • If I stopped hanging on to this old relationship, I’d discover more about myself — my feelings, needs, anxieties and desires now, after this stressful 3 year on again / off-again relationship.
  • If I stopped being too cuddly for my own good, I’d listen to this emerging new me who loves food and parties as much as anyone, but who wants to be slim and healthy as well.
  • If I stopped being parked in this dead-end job, I’d take that risk to work in the music world.
  • If I stopped accommodating my overbearing boss, I could practice being assertive and work toward a promotion out from under this boss.


You have now identified two inner voices – right?

Inner voice #1 (let’s call this person Fearful Self) is all too familiar with the safest path and fully understands (indeed, advocates for) the advantages of being stuck. Inner voice #2 (let’s call this Wholehearted Self) sees (and advocates for) the bigger picture that would unfold with becoming unstuck.

These voices uncover the very real possibility that you have two selves. Two ways of being. Each version of you is lovable and perfect in its own way, but they promote different paths simultaneously.

And this is a problem.

The road ahead Ys and you are trying to make forward progress down both arms of the Y at the same time. Fearful Self is pulling you toward the safe path. Wholehearted Self is pulling you toward the wide new horizon… meanwhile you’ve stopped in at the agreeable pub on the corner to duke it out.

Corner Pub(Thanks to  Steve Reed from whom I adopted this photo)

Step 5 ~ CHOOSE

Let’s just track back to reality, shall we.

You’re stuck.

You’ve had the guts to name it (Step 1)

You’ve had the insight to see why being stuck feels good (Step 2)

You’ve had the wisdom to see why getting unstuck is so appealing (Step 3)

You’ve identified that you have mixed feelings, two voices, two yous with valid opinions. (Step 4)


How you get unstuck is to climb up on a platform above your debating selves and choose a winner.

Right there in the pub – as you knock back another “for the road” – you get to decide whose view of the future you are ready for.

And the way to decide is simple.

You’ll know when you answer the following question.

Which “me” do I want to be right now?

Do I want to be Fearful Self who plays a small, safe, easy, low stress but wickedly constricting game?

Or do I want to be Wholehearted Self, who is ready to expand, to play a bigger game, to bust out of dodge and show up with your whole united, brave, courageous self?

Step 6 ~  BE KIND

It may seem as though I have scripted this as though there is a right answer: Wholehearted Self ought to “win” right?

But here’s the magic of this approach.

This is not always true.

When you do yourself the favour of really listening to yourself, you’ll know where you are in your own process.  There is a time for fallow. For stuck.

And when you are ready to allow Wholehearted Self to take the reins, you’ll do so whilst simultaneously comforting Fearful Self. You’ll have met with your shadow, bought him/her a drink, acknowledged the fears, mitigated the pitfalls.

Now, when Wholehearted Self announces it is time to show up, your two selves will link arms and stride down the path toward the bold new horizons, taking comfort in the understanding, union and determination. And when that happens – world watch out!






POST ~ My Gifts

Practice One Small Thing (POST)

Loving Myself #1 ~ My Gifts

Too many words .

My “only 500 word blog posts, I promise” have crept up.

My excuse? Some of these topics have demanded some serious space.

  • Narcissism
  • Suicide
  • Communication
  • Talking to kids

These have deserved some depth. So, what to do to provide readers with ~

  • shorter posts
  • practical content
  • actionable tips
  • in areas of potential interest, i.e., relationship focused

. . . whilst I’m on the road?

Ah – I have to mention the “on the road” bit.  My husband Mark, our daughter Mona and I will be leaving New Zealand on April 19th to spend a month back in the United States to celebrate our son’s graduation from the University of Willamette . Hooray for him!  So, I’ll be posting less regularly.

I’ll also be swept up into a deliciously hectic series of events and even though I’m expecting to be very happy, I know myself well enough to remember it will help me to have some sort of grounding practice: writing, planning, thinking, – a focus for my thoughts.  A possible win-win is this idea.  A series short, tight POSTSPracticing One Small Thing – to forward my overall theme of “Cultivating great relationships with family, friends and self” which I’ll create for my own focus, and then share with you here.

I’ll post 3 times a week, with one idea each time so that, if it seems to serve, you might try one of them as well to deepen your relationship with ~

  • Yourself  –  see the topic Loving Myself
  • Your family — see the topic Loving My Family
  • Your friends  –  see the topic Loving My Friends

OK – for the first sample lets start with loving ourselves:

Today’s POST ~ Enjoying My Gifts

We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.

Mary Dunbar

Right now, just to yourself, name 3 things you know you are good at that you also love to do. If you’re a good hydrogeologist but it’s not what really floats your boat, then don’t claim that. If you’re a good singer/songwriter (even if you’re not Roger McGuinn) and you love it – then go ahead and claim singer/songwriter as a Gift. (Yes Mark – I’m looking at you!)

Go on – risk it.

For me – really quickly, no thinking, no editing?

  1. Generating ideas
  2. Connecting with people
  3. Writing

And for you?

  1. Baking?
  2. Fixing things?
  3. Creating order?
  4. Listening?
  5. Creating Community?
  6. Making connections?
  7. Design?
  8. Playing guitar?
  9. Drawing?
  10. Juggling?

OK – got your 3 things?


Today – commit to being consciously engaged in one of your gifts. Maybe you use your Gift all the time like my friend Richard who’s gifted with a design-eye and works as an architect. OK, so today, swim around a bit in the ease and joy design can bring.  Maybe it’s been hard for you to get time for expressing your gifts today – let yourself  have a few minutes for YOU.

As you do so, notice how good you feel.

Just play in the garden of your own delight.

It is enough!

(It’s no coincidence I write a blog now is it – I LOVE writing!)