May 2014

The Tender Gift of Letting Yourself Be Coached

north starWhen someone does you the honor of letting you coach them – either formally or casually – resist the temptation to over-advise. Yesterday, my husband told me, “I should listen to you more often.” I had told him his focus on troubleshooting the blinking modem light right before bed felt like an intrusion on our evening. He realized how much of an intrusion it was when he woke in the wee hours of the morning obsessing on what might have caused it.

His admission was music to my ears. I honor those words by resisting the temptation to go into detail about other things he “should” listen to me about. He’s a grown man and very wise. He doesn’t need me to tell him how to live his life. Honoring his sovereignty protects the power of my words. It helps him hear me when he invites my input or when I feel some input is needed.

This morning I considered nudging him in a direction I want him to go. I believe it will be good for him and he has agreed to do it – when the timing feels right to him.  I reflected on a dream and concluded his direction for himself is working just fine. He knows his own process better than I do. Plus, even if he would benefit now from doing what I would like him to, he would probably benefit far more when he makes the choice. 


I consult my dreams regularly for communication guidance. My dreams guided me to tell you how I consult my dreams. The timing feels right on that now.

Thanks to the readers who expressed interest in a dream group. I’m letting that idea incubate, and it helps to know of your interest.


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Dream Inspired, Relationship-Transforming PowerPhrases

Kitten 400“I learned two things last night.” Bob told me. “That I should listen to you more, and that I shouldn’t eat Kimchi and beans together.”

Bob has a wonderful way of weaving humor with heartfelt sharing.

I had consulted two dream memories before I spoke last night. Just as Bob is learning to listen to me, I am learning to listen to my dreams. Here’s what happened last night.

We returned from playing with our neighbor’s kittens when Bob noticed a flashing light on the internet modem. He immediately went from kitten consciousness to problem-solving mode. He enlisted my support and I helped for a few minutes. Then I remembered a dream where I had been helping him with something after hours and decided it could wait. I told him in the dream,

  • This can wait. I don’t want to focus on this now.

That’s what I told him in the waking state last night. Everything was working and there was no emergency. I shifted my attention. Bob continued to research the issue. He joined me for some pre-bedtime bonding, but went back to trouble-shooting when I went to bed. I got up and told him,

  • This feels like an intrusion on our evening.

In speaking up, I was guided by the first dream, but also by a dream I had earlier this week. In that dream, I threw a workman out the window at 5:30 in the afternoon. It was a very decisive gesture that allowed Bob and me to settle in to our evening. The workman could finish in the morning. When the morning came (in the dream), I snuggled with Bob before I checked to see if the workman came back. 

It felt like the right thing to do in the dream. It feels like the right thing to do in life as well. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Throw out the striving and the fixing and the focus on results when the day wanes and the evening begins. The image is very powerful for me.

I listened to my dreams. In reflection, Bob listened to me. He decided his quest had been an intrusion on the evening. He also decided he needs to listen to me more. Yay!

Tonight, we will play with the kittens again, and will enjoy kitten consciousness as we settle in to embrace the night – and as the night embraces us. 


I am considering starting a SpeakStrong dream group where we will explore how our dreams ask us to speak up, and what images they offer that can guide empowered self-expression. Let me know if this interests you. 


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A Passive-Aggressive Firing

key lock woman 300On one level it was no surprise. On another, it was stunning. Betty learned that her previous supervisor gave up on her on her second day. Betty’s manager set her up for failure. 

How cruel!

The discovery matches the behavior. When Betty asked for help, the manager literally turned her back. Betty was thrown in with customers with little to no guidance. If the manager replied to a question at all, it was to say something like, “I told you that already.”

Betty quit after two weeks.

Betty has a new job and a great attitude toward her previous manager. She’s grateful for the opportunity to SpeakStrong. I admire Betty – and so do her new employers.

I know the feeling that comes with that kind of passive-aggressive behavior. I’ve been in situations where I tried to open a door while the person I struggled to engage with was covertly slamming it shut. Often they hold a key – like the awareness of their subterfuge – but they won’t share it. I find myself wondering if I’m crazy. Just a little honesty – like – “I want out, so I’m trying to get you to end this” – would save a lot of misery. At least in Betty’s case, the subterfuge was overt enough for Betty to be pretty sure what was going on. 

Don’t you wish people would just say what they mean and mean what they say, without being mean when they say it? Don’t you wish we could earnestly put everything on the table and work toward the best possible outcome together? I do. And I love it when I can. 

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The Need to Be Seen Can Make Us Invisible

cheerleadermaster 300Seth Godin wrote:

“A recent article outlines how NFL cheerleaders are paid less than minimum wage, disrespected and treated quite poorly. So why do they put up with this lousy behavior?”

His answer is, the need to be seen

The article makes it clear that the women are molded into a predetermined image. I think it’s so much that they really aren’t seen at all.   

I sometimes find that my visibility from my book PowerPhrases keeps me from being seen for who I am now. For example, people often see me as a Power Babe which I’m not in any usual sense. They speak to their image of me, and there is no room for them to see the actual me. 


This morning I shared something that excites me with Bob. He totally got it. It excited him, too. We both saw it, and we saw each other. There is no comparison of being seen for who we were or for a static image of ourselves, and being seen for real. 

Where do you feel really seen?


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What Are Your Graduating From and To This Spring?

mona lisa graduate 300Graduations are everywhere. Friends, neighbors and service providers have kids who are graduating or are graduating themselves.

I notice that those with graduating teens are experiencing a graduation themselves. It’s a new stage of life for parents and children both. 

It feels like a new stage of life for me, too.

My illness has been my teacher. My dreams put my malaise on the same par as The Maharishi. Yesterday, I wondered if on some level I needed and chose to be unwell in order to remake my life on the deepest level. 

My first question is, what does my illness want me to learn? What have the teachings and gifts from it been?

That list is long. I came up with most of the items on my list by using the phrase:

  • Because I’m sick, I get to…

So just to name a few, I get to get new clothes that fit me physically and personally. I get to drop my superwoman personna that had me doing more and carrying loads that wore me out. I get to be human. I get to spend time cooking, learning about herbs, and developing my kitchen alchemy. I get to speak a deeper level of truth with Bob, even when it’s hard for him to hear. I get to stop supporting Bob in ways that deplete me. The list goes on.

My second question is, can I live these teachings and receive these gifts without needing to be sick? 

One phrase for that question is:

  • I don’t need to be sick to…

If I consciously choose to live the teachings of my illness, I think it would unravel anything I might be doing unconsciously that prolongs the illness.

Have I graduated? I don’t know, but it sure feels like I have. But like all graduations, it’s really just the beginning.

Happy graduation season to you and yours. May your transitions be liberating. 


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The Managerial Mindset that Wouldn’t Let Go

Do you ever feel like the pottery teacher below? Or like Sally Forth in the cartoon?

Sally Forth Manager OR

Sometimes it’s hard to switch gears when we need to. 

We can’t “do” play like we do work – or not successfully, anyway. We can’t “do” love the same way we do work either.

Sally turns her leisure into a project just as many of us turn relationships into projects – which sucks all the fun and life out of them. Don’t do that. Don’t let your personal life become the victim of a managerial mindset that won’t let go. 


It’s Saturday. I’m sinking into silence and wholeness. I thought it would be fun to post this. I’m listening to some amazing songs on my Anna Nalick Pandora station as I type. 

It’s the kind of day that asks little of my management skills. 


Happy Birthday, Angela. You are a the perfect co-traveler to “turn the wheel” and “throw some pots” with on days like today. Thanks for playing with me.


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“Resentment is like drinking poison hoping THEY will die.”

Stifled Resentment Silent 300One of my favorite authors, Marie Louise Von Franz, teaches that mature feeling doesn’t mean an absence of negativity or angst. It does imply an ability to handle all kinds of emotions constructively.

Like resentment.

I have always liked the quote “resentment is like drinking poison hoping THEY will die.” I’ve been noodling that statement lately. 

Of course the absurdity of harming ourselves to punish others is obvious in the statement. It’s clear we harm ourselves more with resentment than we harm others.

And yet, I also know that when I sense unspoken resentment toward me, it does kill something in me, as well as in the relationship. It’s a slow, painful death. So if someone desires to punish me with resentment, it works. If they refuse to own up to it, I get a bit crazy until I know I must disengage.


I used to feel a lot of resentment. Not so much anymore, but when it does show its ugly face, I use my sense of resentment as a tool to go deeper in relationships. One of my teachers says that resentment is anger served cold. Anger has fire, energy and passion. If it can be released, there’s hope.

And when I feel resentment, I know there’s energy in there somewhere. The question is, “How can I use that energy constructively?”

Powerful stuff, resentment. I strive to live a resentment-free life – not by whitewashing it or ignoring it, but by listening to it and tapping into the energy behind it. 

I believe my feeling function is pretty mature – but when I confess to the feelings I experience, you might not agree. I have hissy-fits, emotional dips, doubts, anger, jealousy – need I continue? It’s not what I feel, but what I do when I feel it that is my saving grace. Happily, my husband and inner circle associates understand. They experience and elevate and honor their emotions, too. 

Do you? Where do you feel resentment? How can you let it be a teacher for you? What does it tell you about yourself? What conversations does it suggest you need to have? 

And how can you tap into the underlying fire to create something of value? 


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Why Receptivity Matters More Than Gratitude

Gift NB.300She grabbed small packages of prepared snacks. I tried to show her how to cook nourishing meals for herself so she wouldn’t waste time opening so many packages and we could avoid the wasted expense of prepared foods. She kept reaching for the tiny prepackaged foods. I gave up. I cooked for myself. 

This dream offered me an image illustrating what it is like when people don’t receive. It’s like they won’t let you love them.

We talk about gratitude a lot these days. Receptivity comes before gratitude. I had extended myself for her, and she didn’t notice.

In real life, she eventually left, taking her metaphorical prepackaged foods with her. She scarcely looked back. She felt no gratitude because she hadn’t received. 

She moved on to bigger prepackaged vistas, and I hear she’s happy. I am happy for her. 

It’s okay. My world is not for everyone. I can still “cook” for myself. Plus, I have lots of friends and associates who like my cooking – both metaphorically and literally. 

I have lots of friends who receive me with gratitude. It’s a gift, and I reciprocate that gift. 


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Internal Volcanoes and the Planet Mars

VolcanoThe repair that should have taken five minutes took… five minutes! 

“The planet Mars went direct today,” I told Noel, our tech support guy.

“Oh, thank God,” he responded.

I didn’t know if Noel would have any idea what that meant. Clearly he did.

When I first heard about it, I didn’t know what it meant that Mars had been retrograde and was going direct on May 20th. I just knew I felt like I had been living in a pressure cooker and that things seemed stalled. The idea caught my interest. I related experientially to the descriptions – like this one – 

Think of capping a volcano and sending the energy back into the Earth— that’s what happens to each of us during this part of Mars’ cycle. That’s why some folks will explode with frustration and make very poor decisions and moves now, responding with violence and anger instead of patience and dialogue.

That’s how I felt yesterday. 

Today is a new day.  Noel and I went downstairs for Bob’s computer repairs. The things that should have taken a half hour took… a half hour!


Today IS a new day. My to-do list became a ta-da list. The lid is off the pressure cooker. 

How cool is that? Enjoy the new spring!


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Walking Around Reborn

Phoenix ashes 300Janie went through shoulder surgery. That ordeal was followed by years of debilitating issues with her feet. She referred to her forced confinement as convalescence. “Now I’m out and about…reborn,” she told me.

Difficult periods are times of rebirth – or they can be.

I see many people struggle to get back to where they were before the storms hit. I find the wise ones let the dark days transform them. 

Transformed and reborn. I liked the old Janie. The new one is amazing. 


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