Imagination makes anything possible! I saw it at the airport!

So I recently returned from a convention of life coaches.  Over 400 Martha Beck-trained coaches, and Martha herself, basically creating an incredible positive energy vortex around a beautiful high rise hotel in sunny San Diego. On the last day, Martha spoke to us about the power of imagination.  And especially the power of imagination in service of love rather than fear.  What's possible when we imagine this way is infinitely amazing and wonderful. And sometimes just plain fun, like this cat-certo - a concerto created around a YouTube video of a piano-playing cat!

I ran into a very simple example of the power of imagination in the LAX airport.  There's a food vendor there called "Lemonade", and the wall of their dining area is bordered by giant script letters spelling "lemonade lemonade."  This isn't that big an engineering feat, I know, but I was amazed.  Here's what went through my mind:  "Someone had to have the idea of making the wall of the restaurant out of giant script letters.  Then they needed to quiet the part of their mind that said, You can't do that - it's silly.  Or it's too hard."  They imagined it, and then they figured out how to do it.


It's a beautiful concept - a lovely restaurant, and a fresh food oasis in the middle of the airport.  I got curious and went to their website and found this - looks like imagination in service of love to me! Yum!

The tricky thing with imagination is how powerful it is.  When we get good at using our imaginations and getting out of our own way, it becomes easier and easier to create whatever we envision.  Which is amazing!  Yet sometimes when we get what we imagined, we realize it's not what we really wanted in the first place.  Like all the stories with genies in them, we are taught to be careful what we wish for - we might get it!

Here are some tips to getting what you actually want using your imagination:

1. Begin with your feelings.  How do you want to feel?  Everything you wish for, from cars to a cool job to a wonderful partner to a beautiful home or a tropical vacation, or even world peace, you wish for because it's going to make you feel a certain way.  What you really want is the feeling.

2. Visualize.  Use any tool you want - writing, collages, daydreaming - to picture your desire. Be detailed.  Be bold.  Be even more unreasonable than giant script letters spelling lemonade!

3. Pre-member.  Imagine it has already happened.  Bask in the glow of your desire and the feeling you get from having it.  Feel the fantastic feeling now.

4. Take steps in the real world.  Tell people about your desires. (Ok.  I will tell you one of mine. My current unrealistic "lemonade lemonade" desire is to bond with big cats but only in a way that doesn't harm or exploit them.  I have no idea how this will happen.  I really want to hug them but this seems exploitative in just about every scenario I can imagine.  Or if it's not exploitative it seems dangerous.)  I have many slightly more doable desires that I'm taking steps toward as well.  And telling people about.  And imagining how they might be possible.

5. Pop back to that feeling again.  Any way you can get a taste of it now? The feeling I'm looking for with the big cats is connection - oneness.  I can do that with so many species - not just big cats!  I can bond with my small cat.  I can hang out with the birds, squirrels, turtles and bees in the yard.  I can watch videos of beautiful wild big cats.  I can learn more about animal communication.  Curious what I mean?  Check out this gorgeous video of an animal communicator connecting with a black leopard. (I know it might be heavily edited and "storified", but it's still a beautiful video.  And there is lots of lion hugging at the beginning!) I can donate to sanctuaries that rescue and don't exploit big cats. You may find a very simple beautiful way to get the feeling you want - without having to create anything complicated!

6. What if you create something you realize you didn't want after all?  Maybe your dream job or dream house doesn't feel that way anymore - maybe it's not what you expected. That's ok - start again!  Take another direction - try something completely different, or just tweak things slightly to connect you back to the feeling you were looking for. You don't have to stick with what you have just because you created it once - you can try something completely different!  That's the power of imagination.

Oh, and if you know of a way I can hang out (unexploitatively) with big cats, let me know!

Visualizing your best holiday yet, even when the tree falls down...

The Christmas tree fell over just before guests were to arrive.  And I had no time.  I was like Bridgette Jones.  With much to do and negative time remaining. I watched the tree fall over.  I was across the room.  The sound of shattering glass was heartbreaking.  I called my husband in tears.  Could he come home to help?  Of course he could.

The irony wasn't escaping me.  I was less than an hour away from hosting a Holiday Vision Board Party.   I wanted my house to be an oasis of holiday cheer.  The eight foot tree was the centerpiece.  And it was on the floor, surrounded by needles and broken ornaments.  I thought, "There's some life-coachy lesson here.  What is it?  Don't strive for perfection?  Go on no matter what? It's not that bad?"  My mind was not on board.  I was a bit freaked out.

My husband came home.  After some cursing and a second toppling of the tree, followed by more cursing, we got it back up and secured.  Miraculously, many of the glass ornaments and most of the most irreplaceable heirloom ornaments had survived both falls. And when we plugged it in, it lit up! Truly a Christmas miracle!

But there was no time.  I vacuumed quickly.  I gathered the dozens of fallen and unbroken ornaments into a pile.  I tried not to worry that the kitchen looked like a combat zone.

The guests arrived.  I fixed drinks.  I changed the beginning of the party to a "re-decorate the tree" activity.  Everyone loved it!

And then, mostly to calm myself--my adrenaline was still going a mile a minute--  I led all of us in a holiday visualization.  We took deep breaths. (I tried.)  We climbed back into our bodies.  (Everyone else was probably in their bodies already, but I had been gone for hours, lol!) We remembered a favorite holiday memory.  We used all of our senses to dive back into the memory.  Several of us got teary with the emotion.  It was wonderful.

Try it now.  Remember the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, textures - really revel in your happy memory. Now, recall the emotion you have around this memory.  We recalled feelings like excitement, joy, comfort, safety, belonging, and love.  It was beautiful.

Then we got down to the fun part - creating a holiday vision board!  Each one was unique.  One vision board simply had one image of a guy and a dog on the back of a pickup truck, because this person really wanted simplicity and the feeling of being on an adventure on the open road.  Others focused on family and togetherness, or on relaxing and coziness.  We had great fun.  I had time to put out the food.  We ate, drank, enjoyed the holiday music, the company, and the miraculously still-beautiful tree.


Would you like to envision your own best holiday yet?  Grab some magazines, a glue stick, a piece of posterboard or paper, and scissors. Then print out this one page Holiday Vision Board guide. And if you email me what you create (, I'll share it in an upcoming post! Or share your happy memory and feelings in the comments.

And if you need more help with making the holidays truly your own and making them match your life right now rather than five, ten, twenty or thirty years ago, click here for more tips, including how to avoid "holiday porn"!

My wish for you is a beautiful, just right for you holiday season!

One year in the life of an entrepreneur - woo, work, and moving "any amount"

bent spoon
bent spoon

Wow.  Just about a year ago, I completed my coach training. The official date was February 29.   That morning, I bent a spoon that I thought was unbendable.  Not with my mind, with my hands, but it still felt like a feat.   (Spoon bending is kind of woo-woo and my science teacher side thinks it's ridiculous and a little hoax-y, but when I was able to bend a spoon that I had never been able to bend before on the final day of my coach training program, some woo woo part of me thought that was pretty cool. And then it almost immediately went back to being skeptical!) Since that spoon bending morning, I did a lot.  I coached and coached.  I hosted a book club about Martha Beck's new book, Finding Your Way in a  Wild New World, my first foray into conference call tele-courses.  I met Martha and over 300 other coaches at an incredible conference in Arizona.  I made stickers with my own Wild and Precious word collage and shared them with everyone. I got certified! I made a beautiful blank journal filled with inspiring quotes and my own photos. I hosted two amazing retreats.  I created a signature local experience called WIGS and WIGS.   I started a Facebook Page.  I started a Meetup group. I coached and coached!  I cleared out boxes and boxes of old papers and flotsam and jetsam from my 16 year science teaching career.  I created a five month course for women planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, and 20 amazing women joined it! I participated in two amazing months-long mastermind experiences with other talented coaches. I coached and coached.  I hosted eighteen wordless walks in the swamp.  I learned how to use programs that let me email pretty newsletters.  I emailed pretty newsletters!  I started using a real online appointment scheduling program.  I got a business banking account and a real business license! I cleared out boxes of old holiday cards and old clothes and other clutter that was lurking in the nooks and crannies of our home.  I read dozens of books about time management, de-cluttering, entrepreneurship, and all kinds of other coach-y stuff.  I created a course about managing money indulgently, and 31 fabulous women signed up!  And all throughout, the coaching and coaching - my clients are incredible and it's an honor to be by their sides while they transform their lives in big and small ways.

Sometimes I was good about telling people what I was doing, sometimes I kind of flew under the radar, sharing mostly with friends and family, wondering who else would be interested, or just being a little too scared to be "out there."  But the more I go ahead and sing what I do from the rooftops, the more wonderful opportunities, gifts and amazing experiences come my way!  So I'm learning to be braver.

This entrepreneurship stuff - it's wild.  Even when you surround yourself with people supporting and guiding you who've built incredible businesses, you still have to take your own steps, every day.  No one's going to do it for you, and no one's going to fire you if you don't do it.  You're suddenly only responsible to yourself, and that's a very interesting challenge!

So I learned to do something "any amount." When my yoga teacher is trying to help us correct our form in a pose, she asks us to make a small change with our bodies.  She says things like, "Bring your right hip up any amount." or "Spread your collar bones any amount." or "Lengthen your left torso any amount." Her message is that any incremental shift is valuable - we don't have to be perfect in our poses, but our awareness of where we're headed helps us move toward our goals, even when we can't quite perceive the body part moving at all.

That's how I've felt about this whole year.  I've been making shifts, trying things, moving this here and that there, any amount.  My posture might not be perfect, but I'm showing up.  And I've gained so much from my efforts, even when they're not quite "right".

Could I have done more this year?  Yes.  Could I have grown more quickly?  Yes.  Could I have been more focused, less inclined to nap, more consistent about blogging, sharing, communicating, planning, being strategic, less inclined to meet a friend, go for a walk, sit in the grass?  Yes. Could I have fixed the thousand things I can't stand about how this website is right now instead of taking the time to shop for and cook yummy local food, or curl up with a cat and a book, or climb into the tub, or go for a bike ride with my sweetheart?  Yes.

But there's the trick.  While building this business, I'm also doing my best to live my one wild and precious life.  To take a week off to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.  Another couple of weeks off to explore the mountains of Colorado.  A week on the beach in Florida. All year I've taken enough time to sleep well, nearly every night. I listen to my body, and I haven't been sick a single day!

Sure, I've wasted my share of time.   I've watched way too many cat videos, read too many comments on articles I was only marginally interested in, watched too many Cake Bosses and 30 Rocks and Parks and Recreations on Netflix streaming.  I can avoid my work with the best of them, even after reading every Steven Pressfield book out there.

Nevertheless, overall it's felt like a year of miracles, especially when I've embraced the "woo" side and let the magic happen.  Wise owls appeared.  I spontaneously got to go see Madonna after putting her on my vision board. I created things, put them out in the world, and people signed up! Overall I've been challenged, inspired, and happy.

And here's what I've learned, boiled way down:

Four things to remember when you're working on something big: 1. Once you can envision it, it's really possible!  But you have to be able to picture it first. That's where vision boarding, writing and dreaming really help. 2. Start taking the steps.  Turtle steps.  Do anything.  Any amount.  And keep repeating. 3. Let yourself freak out, take a break, avoid, nap, temporarily run away.  It's ok.  Just come back to it when you're ready and start again. And try not to worry. 4. Embrace the woo.  Magic really is available to you. Look for it in the simplest things. Find it in nature, or in your imagination. Abandon your inner skeptic occasionally and let the unicorns prance around in your head a little.  Bend a spoon or two!

I'd love to hear what you do to keep the momentum going with a big undertaking, a new project, or exciting endeavor.  Share what's working for you in the comments!

Rainy day musings, plus nine reasons why Cake Boss is my new life coach

Connecting and announcing.  Announcing and connecting.  Seems like I've been doing a whole lot of that lately.  That's been because there's been a whole lot to connect about and a whole lot to announce!  There's Wild and White Blazing, WIGS and WIGS, a wordless walk tomorrow and I just returned from hosting a beautiful retreat.  There are loose ends to wrap up and new projects beginning. But somewhere in there I need to keep living my wild and precious life.  And I am, interspersed with a lot of emailing!  Today I sat on the porch with the cats in the rain.  Here's a little wordless rain once it was raining a bit harder and we'd come in.


At one point when the rain had let up and the sun was peeking through, I looked out the window at just the right moment and saw a hummingbird visiting the purple Mexican petunias.  And I felt that little catch in my heart - that little infusion of pure joy- knowing that being present and being alive is enough.

I have a new indulgence. Cake Boss. I try to limit it to one episode (22 minutes) per day, but sometimes I need one more dose.  We don't have cable so until we got Netflix streaming a few weeks ago, I could only watch shows like Cake Boss if I happened to be staying at a hotel.  I actually discovered Buddy Valastro and his wacky but lovable family all working together at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ while I was hiking the AT.  When I'd stop in town to resupply, I would purchase large quantities of food to eat on my day off, climb into bed, pop open a pint of Ben and Jerry's and watch TV shows about cake.  Perfect.

The shows are all so similar - why do I love them so much? I think a lot of it has to do with the charisma of Buddy, the main character.

I love his outlook on life, and while I know I'm watching a heavily edited television show, not unadulterated real life, I think if we all lived a little more like Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss, the world would be a better place.  Here's why.

1. He works hard. He doesn't expect that cakes are just going to appear.  Every episode there's tons of mixing, icing, sculpting - actual doing.  And he does it every day.  He doesn't create something one day and then take two days off. 2. He loves what he does.  You can see it in his eyes whether he's consulting with a new customer or presenting a cake to an adoring audience. 3. He has a positive outlook on life, but when he's upset, he expresses his feelings.  Almost every episode there's at least one point where Buddy gets frustrated about something and yells a little.  But then it passes and all goes back to normal.  He doesn't stuff his emotions down  - he lets them fly - and within reason, that's pretty healthy! 4. He doesn't think he has to do everything himself.  He's assembled a talented team around him to make his creative visions manifest themselves. 5. He's willing to try something new and go out on a limb creatively, while also hanging on to what's worked in the past.  It seems that almost every episode includes Buddy and his team trying to construct a cake in a way they've never done before. But there's also a heavy dose of tradition, from recipes that date back generations like those incredible cannoli!  Gosh, I love cannoli. 6. He's not afraid to look silly.  I love the episode where he and his buddies go out and play golf for the first time - it doesn't matter to him that he doesn't know what he's doing - he just laughs a lot and tries it. 7. He embraces fun.  While everyone at that bakery works hard all day, there are always a couple of pranks where someone gets a cake in the face or flour dumped on their head or contests where the loser has to dress up in a bunny suit or a grass skirt  and hand out cupcakes. 8. He values relationships. I love the scenes with Buddy and his giant Italian family - they work together and they celebrate together. There's plenty of food, laughter, hugs, and toasts.  Salud! 9. He dreams big.  People don't end up with their bakeries on successful TV shows just like that - someone has to picture the possibilities.  And I have a hunch that Buddy doesn't let negative thinking get in his way when he dreams.  He has a vision, then he makes it happen, and that's pretty cool.

What do you think? Are you a fan of Cake Boss?  Are there any of Buddy's personality traits you'd like to emulate more?






30 Day Challenge: Day 26 - fast and fun

Three fast and fun things today: 1. A quick Yogurtland visit with a friend - the second in two days - I'm so pampered!

2. A very quick dip in the pool just minutes before it closed - I think I got in six laps and it was well worth it - channelled my inner Olympian - except I can't do anything resembling Olympic swimming - not even a flip turn!

3. 20 minutes on a quick New Orleans house sketch.

It is such a lie to say we don't have time.  There is plenty of time for whatever we want to have time for!  Including grass time with the cats.

What kinds of fun do you realize you can always have time for?