Practice Sparks Passion

This morning I delivered my very first speech at Toastmasters. I joined the group because I wanted to improve my public speaking skills. Pretty straight forward and kind of mundane, right? Maybe, but in the three short months between starting in January and speaking today, something big inside of me changed.

For several weeks, I’ve been struggling with exactly why I’m in this group.  Today, after being reminded once again to project, so that everyone can hear me, I know. I don’t need to simply speak louder. I realized that the real reason I joined the group is this: I'm ready to strengthen my voice and use it to join the many people who make positive contributions in our world. I found my real "why!" Even more importantly, I could feel the spark of my "why" in my heart.

The next ah-ha that flooded through me was that just like practicing yoga has strengthened my body, practicing speeches will strengthen my voice. And, the sweet, dark chocolate sauce drizzled on top of the whole experience was that I knew the feedback I received from my fellow Toastmasters was exactly what I needed to hear as I began my journey through this new doorway toward speaking publicly. Suddenly I thought, "How cool is this?! I don't need to find places to speak to practice. I can practice right here and receive constructive comments to boot!" 

Practice. It's not sexy, often not fun, almost always humbling and yet it's at the crux of expressing our passion from the core of our true selves.

What are you practicing?

Know that whatever you're practicing, that is what you're getting better at doing.

In the spirit of knowing ourselves,


P.S. Thank you Yaquina Toastmasters!

I help individuals and small businesses clarify their vision, build stronger connections with themselves and others, reach the results they want, and find more joy and satisfaction along the way. 

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Curiosity & Desire Retreat


As of today, we've been traveling for 481 days. It's hard for me to get my head around! I've had a job since I was 14 years old and we left on this trip when I was 52. I know how to do work. Traveling, on the other hand, has been a challenge in many unexpected ways. I have a doosey to share this time.

But first...the backstory...

We started our trip with a Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Nakusp, BC in August 2015. Our plan was to attend another one in Argentina in December 2016. It was the perfect bookend to our trip and located on the way to our end goal of Ushuaia. When the time came, we found ourselves 750 miles away from the event. To make matters worse, the event was no longer "on the way" so it would need to be a round trip. That's 1500 miles out of our way for a 2-day campout with about 20-30 fellow travelers. I seriously hated to miss it but I didn't have it in me to do an extra 1500 miles.

New plan. Keith, and two men we met during our travels, rode together to the event while I stayed at "home" in Puerto Varas, Chile. After some pondering about what to do with 10 days dropped in my lap, I decided to design what I call my Curiosity & Desire Retreat, a combination of being an artist-in-residence and a woman on retreat.

Some of you will think this is cr-azy

and some of you will think it's co-ol!

Here's the thing...we're in the last phase of our trip and seriously talking about what going home will look like on multiple levels. There are big frickin' changes coming! This total break from traveling is a deep, expansive, juicy time for me to wonder and be curious about who I am now, and what I want next. Maybe you've had this feeling. We want to know what's next but can't quite put our finger it or, more likely, we know what it is but it scares the hell out of us, and we wish we wanted the safe, easy thing. That's where I am.

There are way too many details to share everything with you but I want to share the essence of it. I'm six days into it with another four to go. Its been strange not having Keith around all the time, humbling to flail between what I think I "should" do and what I "want" to do, frustrating not to see a clear path to my next phase, and freeing to play, learn, and wander down any rabbit hole I wish.

My goal is to answer the question of whether I want to pursue finding a job I love, or starting a business I love, when we return from our trip. The bonus question is, if I want to start a business, what would the focus be? To approach these questions from different perspectives, I built a structure to inspire wonder, thought, and creativity. 

The basics of my Curiosity & Desire Retreat:

  1. I set aside precious time and space for me.
  2. I set up a written foundation for my time with what I want to do daily, how much time I will spend doing it, and a place for me to check off that I have done it, so I can celebrate with funky, happy-dance moves. 
  3. I gathered inspirational material such as poems and quotes.
  4. I set the intention of listening to my body’s needs, my heart’s desires, and my mind’s knowledge + eating healthy, exercising, and resting + being willing to be surprised through showing up, wondering, being curious, and doing the work.
  5. During my Curiosity Retreat time, I'm working with a whopping 34 questions by hand-writing my answers in multi-colored markers, and taping them on the walls so I can see the themes and patterns emerging. I research topics of interest to learn more.
  6. During my Desire Retreat time, I do whatever I feel a desire to do. The photos at the bottom are some of my creative work. It's my first attempt at a mandala! Ha!

I made a one-minute video to show you my crazy, cozy, creative space.

If you feel like you're in transition and would like to talk with someone, I'd love to hear your story. Email me. I appreciate the work it takes to make our big choices in life, and know it can be a tough, lonely time. I don't have the answers however, I love meaningful conversations about struggles and possibilities, gremlins and muses, realities and dreams. 

In the spirit of learning,


I realized that you might like to read the poem so here's the full size image :)

Fear as a Guide

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

Why is it that our inner voice tells us things we often deny before we finally admit that that voice not only scares the hell out of us but simultaneously excites us? It’s big. It requires change. It commands you to leap out of your comfort zone. I’m not talking about something harmful or illegal, but rather something that takes guts to do. Something that is fear-inducing.

I’m always in awe at the complexity of our inner selves. Living consciously is more satisfying but definitely not easier. When you fear what your inner self is guiding you toward, consider these thoughts.

  • Confirm that it’s your inner wisdom speaking and not some other voice, such as society saying you should have a high-paying, stressful job that doesn’t excite you.
  • Remember a time when what you are doing now sounded scary. Appreciate that all new experiences come with a dose of fear.
  • Your wise inner self won’t pressure you into making irrational, terrifying changes.
  • After looking at the situation from different angles, if you feel strongly that the guidance is from your wise, calm, inner self and you’re still afraid, it may be time to accept the fear and do it anyway.

I ask myself these questions when I feel afraid: “Is this the wrong thing to do? Or is this the right thing to do and I’m just scared to do it?” When I answer these questions in my mind, I pay attention to how I feel the answers in my body. I know it’s the right thing to do when I feel butterflies of excitement in my belly. It’s time to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Get Curious

Write in your journal using the prompts below or respond to them in a visual way such as painting or cutting images from magazines.

I am afraid to know...

(Blank) scares me because...

If I could orchestrate my dream outcome, it would look like...

My dream outcome would feel like...

Go Deeper

What did you learn about your interaction with fear?

What situation terrifies and exhilarates you now?

How might that fear be guiding you toward something exciting and worthwhile?