Ghosting and facing fear

I wanted to share something that I haven't written about before, and you'll understand why in a minute. This isn't about making anyone wrong, to the contrary, I hope this is useful for you and can help you understand yourself more (which is always my intention with this newsletter!)

I get ghosted!

If you’re not familiar with the terms ghosted, it refers to a phenomenon that has become more common during this era of online dating (and online communications in general). According to Wikipedia, the term first made its way into popular vernacular in 2011 and refers to "disappearing from someone’s life mysteriously and without explanation."

While it’s typically referred used in reference to online dating and romantic relationships, ghosting can happen in any type of relationship.

Fun fact about me - I’ve NEVER had an online dating profile nor have I dated online (and gratefully I’ve never been stood up on a date IRL) - so no, this isn’t what this newsletter is about.

The ghosting I’m referring to is what happens when someone reaches out to me, we have an hour-long conversation and sometimes a follow-up conversation, and usually multiple email exchanges. The person is excited and inspired to make a big change in their life, and wants to sign up for private coaching, and then… poof. They disappear.


Thankfully, I understand this disappearing act and don’t take it personally. At all.

As Jennice Vilhauer writes in Psychology Today, people who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort.

I know this.

I know that it is a form of self-protection, because of… fear.

I’ve also spent years studying psychology and neuro-transformation and I know that fear is quite literally a mindf**k…

In my last newsletter, I introduced this topic because it is so important and such a common theme for people who are trying to make a change around their drinking (or any big change).

And while I can listen to someone share their hopes and dreams and visions for themselves and believe wholeheartedly in the change I know they are capable of making… I’m not the one feeling as though I’m risking everything by changing my relationship to alcohol (though I was, at one time, more on that later).

Our brains don’t like change. Remember- this is our biological imperative. Our primitive brains cause us to fear change because it could equal danger. And our survival instinct would rather bet on the possibility that we are avoiding danger rather than avoiding something that is beneficial.

Our fear invents a story of deprivation and loss… to do so, we look for evidence of all the things that could go wrong: The time we tried and failed... The time we made a change and it resulted in a fight with our partner... The discomfort of trying something new and feeling awkward…

This is called a negative confirmation bias.

This is fear trying to keep you the same. Remember, it is just doing its job.

Trying to keep you safe!

And remember - what could pretty much guarantee our ancestors safety during tribal times?

Being a part of the tribe!!

We crave connection (love) and security… and we need it to survive!!

That’s why these changes and the fear associated feel like such a big deal.

Because while on the surface it might feel like fearing rejection or having a disagreement with our partner over plans for a Friday night, but on a deeper level, our brains and nervous system experiences this fear of rejection or loss of love as a potential threat to survival.

Understanding this, and being compassionate with ourselves (and our fear) is critical for making any kind of significant change.

So, have you avoided something or someone because of fear?

If so - go easy on yourself.

You can even take it a step further and forgive yourself!

The last thing you need is to pile on more shame and self-criticism.

What you can do is try to understand what made you so afraid, and to give yourself what you need in order to grow and do differently next time.

If you are trying to make a big change - KNOW that resistance is normal!

Also, know that this is exactly why coaching exists.

Facing our fears and making a big change isn’t easy... that’s why loving, supportive accountability can make all the difference.

So let’s connect. This week is International Health Coach week and yes, I'm a certified Holistic Health Coach.

To celebrate, I’ve opened up more time in my calendar this week and next.

In addition to everything related to neuro-transformation (which I'm also certified in), positive psychology, and reducing the harms associated with alcohol and drugs (also my career for 12 years before becoming a coach)... I can support you with everything from nutrition to sleep to anxiety to healthier habits...  and guess what? IT'S ALL CONNECTED!!


And if we’ve been in touch before, I want to hear from you again!!

Yep, that’s right, face that fear.

Instead of feeding it with isolation and shame, shower it with love, connection, and compassion!!  (If you’re feeling lacking in that department, there’s another reason for us to talk! My cup overfloweth right now and I can pour love and compassion into you even when you’re not feeling it for yourself).

Use this link to set up a call!

I can’t wait to speak to you!!

Mid-Day Cocktails And Memorial Day

I flew to Mexico City last weekend for a medical appointment, to do some errands and enjoy a few child-free days before a long stint of mostly single parenting. Tuesday, which was the last day there, felt almost like a vacation day. I arrived Saturday night, both Sunday and Monday morning were filled appointments and errands, and I worked Monday afternoon.

We had "nothing to do" until our evening flight, and so we spent Tuesday morning at my favorite bakery then wandering the streets of La Roma Norte, one of my favorite neighborhoods, poking around bookstores and galleries and laneways filled with interesting stores.

By early afternoon, it was getting hot, and my companion spotted some delicious looking fruit piled on a bar counter across the street. We quickly decided now was the time for a refreshing drink and beelined for the street-side bar stools.

We ordered “aguas frescas” which quickly quenched our thirst. As we sat there, we realized we had happened upon a restaurant that was named one of the best new restaurants in Mexico City, but that hadn’t had any tables available the evening we tried to make reservations.

As we sat at the bar for what appeared to be the lunchtime rush, we watched the bartender whip up amazing concoctions, both with and without alcohol. I perused the cocktail menu out of curiosity and didn’t see anything that jumped out at me for that time of day. The bartender saw me looking and asked what I wanted. I said something not-too-sweet and not-too-strong as I don’t usually day drink. He asked if he could try out a new cocktail on me, and I said okay.

I watched as he chilled the glass, squeezed fresh orange juice, muddled pineapple, mixed in a little cinnamon infused syrup, and shake with a light pour of gin and Aperol. He then charred a cinnamon stick before stirring it into the drink.

It was an expertly made cocktail and it was delicious. Not only that, I could have sat there smelling it all day. My partner, who doesn’t usually order cocktails, was inspired to order one as well and had another (different) custom-made cocktail with his favorite ingredients.

We then decided to order some appies and salad, and ended up each ordering one more drink.

This is the kind of afternoon many of my clients dream of when they first contact me - but it often feels like a faraway somewhat impossible dream that they don’t quite dare have - lest it never becomes reality.

I get it.

6 years ago, those two afternoon cocktails (which likely would have been at least three at the restaurant) would have led to another drink or two at the apartment we were staying at (there was literally a top shelf of excellent quality alcohol that we had access to and hadn’t touched a drop of all weekend)- instead he had coffee and I had water when we got back to the apartment.

It would have meant a frantic dash around the apartment and scrambling to get the airport, wondering if I’d forgotten anything (I likely would have) and then hoping to get to the airport on time for another drink at the bar - instead, he bought a bottle of water and I found a cafe and ordered a matcha latte.

It would have meant drinks ON the airplane even though it’s only an hour long flight and possibly keeping the party going once we got home since I didn’t have any responsibilities until 9 am the next day… and once upon a time, it might have even meant shirking or showing up late for those responsibilities, or at the very least, having to slog my way through a hangover to accomplish anything.

Instead, I felt great, hydrated, unpacked, washed my face, had an amazing night’s sleep, and woke up feeling refreshed and also celebrating the fun and spontaneous last afternoon we’d had in the city.

It hit me.

THIS is why I did all of that work! This is part of the vision I had for myself, 6+ years ago. Why I wanted to REDEFINE my relationship to alcohol - not eliminate it completely.

Sitting sipping craft cocktails, chatting with the bartender and my partner, learning about a new brand of natural fruit juice sparkling drinks as the provider did a demo for the GM of the restaurant, sampling new foods and a new line of fruit-infused sparkling waters made locally. I learned about jocoque, a Lebanese dip that apparently became quite popular in Mexico due to the large Lebanese population. I knew none of this history and the combination of fried baby artichoke hearts and jocoque was amazing (see pic below).

Did I “need” to drink alcohol to experience all of those things? Of course not. I could have had a similar experience by asking the bartender to make me craft mocktails (which I have done in other places in the past). But I loved this particular experience and was grateful for it. It felt like a treat and also an affirmation of where I’m at right now and how far I’ve come.

I had consultation calls with three women last week who thought they needed to go completely alcohol-free. Because they were afraid. Because they thought that was the only option for them as “problematic drinkers.” Because they had tried to moderate before and “failed.”

And yet they were facing extreme resistance to making a change because they didn’t want to cut alcohol out of their lives completely.

More importantly, there was a little intuitive voice saying to them - there is another way!

When we can moderate in some circumstances and not others, our inner wise woman knows that total abstinence must not be the only option for us. So we face resistance to making a change because we think that it means no alcohol forever or choosing something that isn't in total alignment with what we actually want for ourselves. (Let me be clear, I’m all for total abstinence if that is what your inner wise woman wants. However, I don’t think any decision should be driven by fear or lack of options.)

These three conversations reminded me so much of where I was at 6 years ago. I knew I needed to make a change. I knew I was having a really hard time controlling my alcohol use in certain situations. Yet I also knew that I didn’t have a physical dependency. I knew that my alcohol use wasn’t always out of control… but that there were certain situations that were the “recipe for disaster.”

That’s where the real work really began. Understanding the difference. Learning about what needs alcohol was fulfilling. Exploring how to meet those needs in other ways. Digging deep and healing the part of ourselves that feel “less than” and that we need alcohol to be a certain way.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of this article, coming next week.

As always, I'd love to hear from you!! Do you feel fear/resistance around making a change? Is your intuition telling you one thing but the people around you/dominant culture/status quo (or your fear) limiting your options?

I'll do my best to address your comments, questions, and concerns in the next installment!

For now, if you're celebrating the beginning of summer and/or Memorial Day in the USA, or just want some inspiration, here are three of my favorite mocktail recipes (with amazing health benefits!!)

Mother's Day 2019

On Friday it was Mother’s day here in Mexico, and yesterday it was celebrated in Canada and the USA.

At the beginning of last week, I spent 3 intensive days in a healing retreat with 7 other women (8 of us total). The healer/guide was from Spain, and the participants were from Mexico, Italy, Canada, and the US. The focus was on healing the heart-uterus connection, and it was probably the most profound and insightful healing process I’ve ever experienced over such a short period of time. We held space and held each other as we healed years of residual pain/trauma/fear/abuse, release unfelt and unexpressed anger, and forgiving ourselves.

As I mentioned in my last email, I’ve been healing from some serious health issues, one of which is an infection in my uterus. Ever since being pregnant, which was high risk and stressful with multiple stays in the hospital and ended in an emergency cesarian at 33 weeks, I’ve had a slow journey back into loving myself wholly.

My recent retreat experience once again affirmed for me the importance of coming together as women. It was also very timely, with the impending celebration of Mother’s Day in various countries of those participating.

We were an interesting group, not only in our diversity from countries represented, languages spoken and life experience but also in our relationship to having children. Some were mothers by choice, others by accident, another by force, and others not mothers not by choice (ie they wanted to have kids and hadn’t been able to have them yet) and one without child on-purpose.

What was fascinating to me was that after one of the visualization sessions and debriefs, the childless on-purpose person, a woman from Italy, exclaimed, I just realized something - “it’s really true what they say - we [women] are ALL mothers!”

You would be hard pressed to find a woman who isn’t or hasn’t been some kind of caregiver at some point in her life, therefore embodying the “mother” archetype even if she doesn’t have any of her own biological children.

It is in that vein that I am sending this love note and a gentle reminder- to all the caregivers and mothers.

Feeling the responsibility of looking after another life is tiring. It doesn’t matter how much we love it or whether we chose this life, being a caregiver requires energy.

This is why it is CRITICAL to commit to our own self-care.

WHY is this so important? Because when we push ourselves aside and don’t make ourselves a priority THROUGHOUT the day and week, one of two things happens. Either we consistently numb out from the pain of self-denial, or we have a blow out because we are looking for escape, permission to turn off/shut down/or need a “reward” for our good behaviour of being good and taking care of everyone else all of the time.

When we are not consciously and consistently making sure our own needs are being met, we are more likely to reach for or resort to the try-and-true and often unconscious choice of alcohol, food, or some other habitual form of numbing out.

Does this sound familiar << Test First Name >>?

A theme that came up recently amongst my clients was how self-care sometimes feels selfish.

During one of our group coaching calls, it was inspiring to hear my co-coach Matthew encouraging us as women to shift the story from self-care being selfish to selfFULL.

Here are some examples that clients have committed to this past week: (names changed to protect privacy)

- Robin is going to be loud and proud about how good things are. Her training has been to shrink and downplay her accomplishment or adventures. As a mama of 3 and successful entrepreneur, she’s decided to step fully into celebration mode after a recent divorce and separation from her husband of 18 years.

- Lara’s husband often comes home from a stressful and demanding day at work resistant to connect and needing alone time. Lara, on the other hand, has spent the entire day at home and is longing for connection. She has committed to asking for a connecting hug and kiss hello from her husband before he retreats.

- Megan is going to YES to annual company concert that she’s wanted to go to for years but hasn’t because she didn’t want to leave her daughters (who are now 6 and 9)

- I committed to a three-day healing retreat last week and then traveled to Mexico City this past weekend to meet with another healer and do some "me things" in the city. I did have some "mom guilt" come up - should I be away twice in one week? But ultimately, I am healing myself and prioritizing myself and I haven't really done that in a long time, and I KNOW that this is necessary to continue with both my work as a parent and coach.

Other examples include:

  • Getting up 30 minutes earlier to prioritize self before taking care of the family needs
  • Stocking the fridge and pantry with healthy and tasty treats to indulge in after a long day (because you DO deserve it)
  • Doing something mid-week that you would usually reserve for the weekend

I can promise you something. When you start to take more control of your own well-being, of taking breaks, of treating yourself, of meeting your own needs, of clearly communicating to those around you how they can support you or what your boundaries, you are much less dependant on others to meet your needs or become mind-readers to somehow know what it is that you want or need. Which also means that there is less room for disappointment and frustration.

So tell me << Test First Name >> how do you commit to being more self-FULL?

What is one shift that you can commit to this month?

I know that Mother's Day can come with a whole mix of emotions. Be gentle with yourself.

Remember - you are LOVED!! You have support. By being here, you are connected with a sisterhood of other women committing to ourselves and by doing so, each other. This is no small thing. There IS strength as we collectively shift and stretch and grow.


An Update - What I've been up to!

“There’s so much to write about that I’m having a hard time narrowing it down.”

Those are the words that I typed to a friend this past weekend.

She asked what I was doing, and I replied that I was sitting on the patio, writing. She asked if I was writing a blog post and I said no, I’m writing copy for a new retreat launching soon (more details in the coming weeks).

Her nudge helped me set aside the time to sit down and write to you.

Truth be told, I’ve really enjoyed the break from being online and feeling the need to be connecting online all of the time. 5 years in my business and equally as long on this journey of redefining sobriety for myself, I needed an opportunity just to “BE” with myself and my life and my healing and growth without having to figure out how to process it or share it.

(I was able to release myself from the "shoulds" of how often I should be posting, what I should be writing about, which social media channels I should be posting on... there are so many shoulds that consume us online service providers!)

Through the fall/last quarter of the year, I was also DEEEEEEP healing around sexual trauma that I experienced in my teens and early adult years, while at the same time working to heal my co-dependency and finally learning how to truly be on my own. I was writing a lot about what I was going through, writing almost every day, but it felt (and still does) too personal to share.

That being said, I think about you and my community a lot! While I haven’t been as active online, I’ve had the opportunity to continue working with some incredible people, privately and in groups, so believe it or not, the work continues whether or not I’m sharing about it online ;)

Here’s the brief summary of what I’ve been up to since the new year:

In January, I mostly focused on friends/family and two fundraisers for my daughter’s school, as well as a writing an organizational review for the non-profit I founded 10+ years ago and for whom I still serve on the board of directors (if you’re curious about that work,you can check out Youth RISE here!)

February was the month of LOVE and I organized another fundraiser/Valentine’s day party, practiced a lot of loving myself through the beginning of some health challenges (I’ll share more about this at a future date), and co-hosted the Sensual Alchemy Retreat with Tatiana Dellepiane, which was powerful and transformative beyond words.

In March, I curated and helped host another retreat for my friend Chantelle Adams. It was a super fun, very creative experience, and I was so grateful to have been able to support this group of incredible entrepreneurs to show up and be of service through their business.

My amazing collaborator and co-coach Matthew Hayes and I started our second round of The Discovery Room, an intimate group coaching experience where we support participants to make a BIG shift in their lives, quickly.

Through the first 3 months of the year, I also welcomed 5 new incredibly aligned clients into my private practice and felt deep gratitude that these women found me on the internet and decided to change their lives through diving deep into the work with me.

You might be aware that last year I bought land, 30 minutes southwest of where I live now in Mexico, in a tiny town called Puertecito. The goal is to build a wellness/retreat center, and in the past few months and with the help of my incredible client turned friend turned business partner, we began working on the incorporation and development of our corporation (first step to being able to have land ownership and run a business here) here in a more dedicated and focused way.

All of this was happening and then mid-march, I got sick. Really sick. And have spent the past month slowly recovering. Not being able to get out of bed, having to ask for help with my daughter, re-evaluating my work-load and priorities, have all been humbling experiences. I also plan on sharing more about this soon too :)

So that’s the quick and dirty update. Each one of these topics could have been expanded into its own blog, and maybe they will.

I’ve set another intention for myself to write every day for the next 30 day, and I would love to hear - what would you like to read about? Are there things that you are curious about?

I’ve also started a list of topics that have come up recently in private sessions and group work, and I’m considering writing more about. Here’s what I have so far:

  • The purpose of triggers and how they can help you
  • The fact that you can’t selectively numb (if you numb/push away the pain, you’re also pushing away the love and joy)
  • Noticing the old stories and consciously choosing to write a new one
  • How to stop being so damn hard on yourself
  • Understanding your unconscious motivations (basic fear/avoidance, basic desire) and what they have to do with your choices around alcohol
  • Why changing your relationship to alcohol is just the tip of the iceberg

Which speaks to you? Which topic would be most helpful to you right now?

With love and a ton of gratitude,

Valentine's Day

It's "that" time of year again when a certain Hallmark holiday rolls around. Yes, the one that is potentially really triggering whether or not you are partnered.

I wanted to pop in here real quick to remind you about how loveable you are. How deserving of love you are. How perfect you are. How proud of you I am! (because you're here, you're doing the work, you've shown up - you're reading this email!)

I was interviewed for a podcast a couple of days ago and we spoke a lot about the concept of Radical Self Love. Because really truly loving ourselves for exactly who we are IS radical. It's something not many of us are taught.
It takes practice.
It takes intention.
It takes showing up.

Sometimes, it requires having friends and supporters around us to remind us when we forget or feel like we've somehow F-up again.

Sometimes, Radical Self-Love is about what we do for ourselves (ie Radical Self Care) because connecting with that feeling of self-love can be hard sometimes... so we commit to actions and rituals to SHOW our love for ourselves.

What are some examples?

Well, of course, drinking less or not at all.
Taking good care of your body.
Getting enough sleep.
Moving in ways that feel gooooood for your body and not like punishment.
Giving yourself permission.
Setting clear boundaries.
Communicating honestly.
Alone time.
Morning and/or evening practices.
Connecting with your desires and honouring them by writing them down.

Which of these self-care/self-loving practices do you want to recommit to?

What can you DO for yourself today to SHOW yourself LOVE?

Just over a week ago I was sitting with a friend and we slipped into complaining and feeling ambivalent about Valentine's Day and the options available to us.

Gratefully, we were able to switch gears and turn our frustration into fuel to create the exact experience that we wanted. So today I'll be celebrating with fresh juices, and mocktails and we've created love-themed cocktails though I've set my intention not to drink at all, and tasty healthy treats, and my favourite local band and dj, and a dance party and pool party with all of my favourite people and raising money for a good cause (the vets who provide free sterilization and education campaigns for street dogs and low-income folks in our community to get their pets fixed or to receive medical attention). Basically, most of the things I love doing all packed into one evening.

Now, I'm not saying that YOU need to go out and become an event planner ;) however, I am sharing this example of how getting clear on your desires and taking action can be a form of loving yourself AND being proactive about getting your needs met.

Also, if you're feeling really down - altruism has been shown to activate the same part of your brain that receives pleasure from social attachment and bonding - so get out there and be of service if you're feeling low about your relationship status this year (again, that goes for whether or not you're in a relationship!)

Something I love about where I live in Mexico is that the 14th is celebrated as "El dia del amor y la amistad" = the day of love AND friendship.

I will definitely be taking time today to let me friends know how much they mean to me because really, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the incredible, strong, intuitive, open-minded and hearted, inspiring humans who have repeatedly shown up for me and loved me even when I was having a hard time loving myself.

On that note, sending YOU lots of love and endless gratitude for being here.

10 Year Challenge

You may have seen, or already participated in, the “10-year challenge” that is circulating on social media (or what may have started as the #HowHardDidAgingHitYou challenge which thankfully was re-dubbed the “#GlowUp” or 10 years later challenge).

I hesitated posting about “10 years ago me” … and NOT because ageing “hit me hard.”

I definitely, proudly and gratefully fall into the “Glow up” camp - ageing has been good to me in so many ways.

And that’s exactly what it was hard to look back.

I have very few public photos of that time of my life. When I scrolled through my Facebook albums last night (many of which I now have set to private so that only I can see them), I noticed two distinctly different sets of photos.

There were the “look at me doing my global consultant thang” photos of me overachieving (and yes, doing important work) around the world as a human rights and public health advocate and policy consultant.

And then there are the photos of my partying around the world.

You can guess which ones are set to private.

What I find interesting is that at the time, I didn’t realize I was living this double life that was so drastically different. I was just me. Just as being plagued by anxiety, and eventually insomnia, dealing with stress-related acne and skin problems, living in chaos and drama, and never feeling like I was doing or being enough (whether that was in a conference room or on the dance floor) was “just me.”

I had also forgotten that I had made those albums private. I guess at one point early in my healing journey I had wanted to distance myself from that version of me.

Now, I’m loving and accepting of that woman I was 10 years ago. I have a lot more compassion and understanding of her, though I’m a lot happier inside the woman I am today.

And for those reasons, I decided to jump into this retrospective. Here's my 2009-2019. The picture on the far left was my profile picture for part of 2009. The picture on the right is one my most recent pictures that I truly feel represents how I feel right now, heading into 2019.

10 years ago I had a tough exterior. This was the protection I had used since I was a teen. Nobody knew how much pain 10 years ago me was living with, much less myself.

10 years ago, I was what you might have described as “overtly sexual.” I used my sexuality as a tool, for approval and validation, for (what I thought was) connection, for escape.

10 years ago, you would have seen me clutching a drink, as I was in one of the pictures from the series of pictures that evening in 2009.

I remember the morning after the night shown here more vividly than I remember the evening (the pictures help me piece it together but I can’t tell you where we were or what music we were dancing to).

I had to catch a flight the morning after this photo was taken (ok realistically, probably a few hours after this photo was taken)

I’m sure you can probably guess what comes next.

Yep, missed the flight. I remember pulling myself out of a murky sleep and through the hangover fog and realizing that the time on the clock was the time I was supposed to be checking into my flight. And I was faaaarrr from the airport.

My life was fairly chaotic and always a whirlwind, this particular morning was no exception.

(I thought of it as a whirlwind; my youngest sister described me as a hurricane.)

10 years ago, I was receiving accolades in my work, was travelling internationally and getting ready to move to Cambodia, where I would spend the next couple of years working throughout South East Asia.

10 years ago, I hadn’t reached my lowest point yet. I had taken a 1.5 years off of alcohol and drugs slightly prior to this photo being taken. But that was it, just a break. Not really doing the inner work necessary to make any kind of sustainable inner shift.

It would be a year or two after this picture was taken that I crashed.

I was drinking myself to sleep every night, and combining alcohol with a dangerous mix of sleeping pills, and blacking out from binge drinking almost every weekend. I was also using sex as an escape, heartbroken after my marriage was dissolving and hellbent on keeping the loneliness and feelings of brokenness and unworthiness far far away from me.

In the past 5 +  years of redefining my relationship to alcohol (and other drugs), I’ve also been redefining my relationship to my body, to my sexuality, to work, to “accomplishing,” to all the things I used to numb and distract myself … from myself.

This past year, I went particularly deep, and actually reached a new low point. Yet this low point was different. This was really going deep, intentionally. Deep into the pain and trauma that I had been hiding from for a lifetime. It was raw, at times anxiety-fuelled, and so real.

This past year has been one of the most empowering and transformative years and I am so grateful.

I know now that I am softer, calmer, much more grounded and self-loving… I feel like I’ve reached the place where I know can say “oohhhh so THIS is what they were talking about.” I get it now… not intellectually so that I can fake being it, but I’m actually embodying it, without having to think about it.

A deep knowing in my soul, comfort with my choices, a less-shakeable belief in my worth (still not completely unshakeable but I don’t know if that’s possible).

One of the things that has caused such tremendous growth and healing possibility has been my work in neuro-transformational coaching. I have been a student and also a participant in several programs, and the results are what I was seeking in years and years of therapy.

I'd also love to hear - have you participated in the 10 year challenge? How did it feel for you? If you're comfortable and would like to share, I'd love to see your before and after.

Welcome 2019!

I spent a lot of time offline, and felt the shift in energy BIG time this week, with my daughter back at school yesterday and me with regular office hours again.

One of the tenets of Redefining Sobriety (and redefining your relationship to alcohol, to your body, to yourSELF) is that YOU get to decide your path.

Yes, YOU.

And that’s exactly why setting powerful and personal intentions is so important!!

If you’re feeling “behind” or didn’t have the mental or heart space for setting clear intentions on New Year’s, I feel you! In fact, I started writing mine on the 1st, and then didn’t really feel connected to sitting down with them again until last night!

I went and watched the sunset, then came home, lit a candle and some palo santo, and got to writing.

Apparently, this New Moon and Solar Eclipse were stirring up some stuff. It may just be that some of what you’ve experienced in the past week or so is giving you even more clarity on what you want and need in terms of boundaries, stability and creating the foundation from which you can strongly spring into this next year.

Remember, intentions GROW with the light of the moon. So, this week’s waxing moon (growing towards a full moon) is the perfect time to get clear.

However, as I mentioned in my New Year’s post, it is not enough to only set intentions.

It’s essential that you put energy and action into the intentions.

What is one small shift you can commit to for daily action and to create the discipline to go for your dreams?

A small shift I’m committing to this week is to start getting up an hour earlier and writing.

This was a practice I had committed to a few months ago and I would wake up naturally slightly before sunrise.

Over the holidays and with a change in schedule (and more late nights) I’ve been sleeping in longer and as such, have had less time for writing.

This “small” shift also tied directly to one of my bigger intentions this year, which it to become even more prolific in my writing and to publish my second book.

I’ve also committed to some BIG shifts by way of what I am focusing on work-wise - which also favour some of my bigger overall intentions of more connection and quality time.

For that reason, I am collaborating more and creating more opportunities for in-depth 1-1 AND group work, work as well as in-person events.

I have opened up a few more spots for 1-1 coaching and have a very special offer for you if you sign up this week! Please schedule a call ASAP if you are interested because once these spots are filled, I won’t be offering more 1-1 coaching for awhile.

New Years Intentions 2018

How are you? I'm checking in after an incredible week away with family, where we travelled South to a little town on the coast called Mazunte, then up into the Sierra Madre mountains and then into Oaxaca City. I made a commitment to myself to prioritize CONNECTION with myself and family, and just received my "screen time notification" that I only used my phone for 41 minutes in the past week!

Let me say - I definitely can't remember the last time that happened. (And no, I wasn't on my computer either - I had one client session during the whole week and otherwise, my computer stayed closed).

In addition to quality time with my family, I was able to reflect on my life and business and the transformation that has taken place in the past year and to set my intentions for the coming year.

I wanted to share a bit with you about that process... and how to set powerful intentions for yourself.

Why set an intention over a resolution? 

In The Power of Intention, Wayne Dyer defines intention as “a strong purpose or aim, accompanied by a determination to produce a desired result.”

An intention is something you aim to achieve, something that has a purpose, something that you actively work to manifest in your life.

Now, in order to create powerful intentions, it’s super important to get clear on what you are working towards.

What does your vision of yourself look like for 2019 and beyond?

Anyone who has ever set up a free consultation with me knows this is one of the first questions I ask (btw, have we talked yet? If we haven't, let's set up a time to connect!).

So ask yourself, what does your vision for yourself look like?

If you could wave a magic wand and everything were to go RIGHT, and you were able to make all of the positive changes you want to, what would your life look and FEEL like one year from now?

When we make resolutions and focus on the minutia, or create rules for ourselves to abide by, it’s easy to despair and throw in the towel when we’re not achieving what we think we should be.

“I said I wasn’t going to drink more than 2 nights a week and last week I drank more nights than not – so what’s the point anyway? Might as well quit trying.”

“Didn’t make it to the gym 3 times last week so I’ve already broken my resolution and it’s only the second week of January. Obviously, I’m not going to be able to achieve anything I wanted to this year, as I’m still a lazy f**k.”

When we set these kinds of goals for ourselves we sometimes set ourselves up for disappointment. And then when we don’t follow through or “succeed” right away, our inner critic is so quick to use this as confirmation of our worst fears about ourselves: We’re incapable of change, unworthy of making the changes, flawed, damaged goods, doomed to stay stuck and never expect anything better… etc.

Does any of this sound familiar?

How would you like to free yourself from this cycle, NOW?

Take some time today or tomorrow to bless and release 2017, create a powerful vision for yourself for the next year and from there, set your intentions.

Get comfortable, take a few deep breaths. You may want to use a couple of drops of a grounding blend of essential oils to really centre yourself (I love doTerra balance, cedarwood, vetiver, sandalwood or rose). You may want to light some candles or use incense to cleanse the space.

I know that 2018 has felt like a really hard year for so many. What helps “bless and release” a more challenging time is to make a list of your celebrations (no matter how seemingly small) and then say a simple statement or prayer:

“Thank you 2018 for all that you taught me, thank you for ________ that I have to celebrate. I bless you and release you to create space for my vision of 2019.”

Next, allow yourself to entertain the vision of yourself a year from now.

What are you doing?

How do you treat yourself?

How do others treat you?

How do you look?

How do you feel?

What did you create in 2019?

What changes did you make?

How has your life transformed?

Your health, your body, your relationships?

Allow a feeling of gratitude to wash over you. Really sink into the feeling of how it would feel to wake up on December 31, 2019 and reflect back over the past year.

Now, from that vision, create your list of gratitudes for these things AS IF THEY’VE ALREADY HAPPENED and from there, we’ll create intentions.

Start each sentence with “I am happy and grateful that…”


I am happy and grateful that I have control over alcohol.

I am happy and grateful to feel so healthy, strong and confident in my body.

I am happy and grateful to have consistently prioritized self-care.

I am happy and grateful to have experienced so much abundance and adventure.

I am happy and grateful to feel honoured, respected and supported by my spouse/family.

From this, your intentions become:

To have control over alcohol.

To be healthy, strong and confident.

To prioritize self-care.

To experience abundance and adventure.

To be honoured, respected and supported by your spouse or family.

You will, of course, write down what best suits you and your vision for yourself (these were just suggestions on my part).

As Hafiz wrote “The words you speak become the house you live in.”  I believe this is true for the thoughts we think and the words we write as well.

So choose your words mindfully!!

You see how this is different than resolutions? Even if you feel like you are slipping or have a few weeks that are harder, you can keep your “eye on the prize” so to speak and know what you are working towards.

Alexandra Nicewicz Carroll wrote in her article Drop the Resolution and Live with Intention:

Compared to an intention, a resolution is relatively simple: it either is or is not, it sticks or it doesn’t. Intentions require nurturing and cultivation, tending and care. Intentions require whole-hearted commitment to a purpose or an aim as well as a willingness to surrender ourselves to this all-encompassing force, to trust that, as we contribute each day to nurturing this intention, our vision and purpose will unfold in our lives.

Is every day perfect? Of course not. But the most important part is to stay committed to the vision, believe in the intentions (that’s why we practice feeling them and writing them down as if they’ve already happened), and then taking consistent action towards fulfilling this vision.

Some days this might be going to the gym, whereas on other days a quick 10-minute power walk might be all you can muster and what is actually best for you in that moment.

Some months during the year you might even decide to go alcohol-free while during others you practice moderation – and it’s all part of “redefining your relationship to alcohol.”

See where I’m going with this?

As my friend Maru Iabichela says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start laying those bricks now if you want to see your dreams grow. Ps. ALL steps count. No steps DON’T count” (ie, take action, even small steps make a difference. NO steps means no movement)

I’ve been asked about intentions and how to really make them “work.” As one Redefining Sobriety Online Immersion participant recently wrote: “How do you break the cycle? It seems like sometimes good intentions never quite make the reality.”

I sent this question to another dear friend and author of the Intention Generation, Makenna Johnston, to which she replied: “Intentions are just part of the process.  They aren’t THE process. Setting intentions for the new year matters, don’t get me wrong. But it is the action you take that catalyzes intentions into results. And RESULTS is what you’re after.“

NOW is the time to start.

Get clear on your vision, grab a pen, write it down your vision and gratitude statement, distillyour intentions. Bless and release 2018 and start calling in everything you want for 2019.

Do this NOW.


Then choose something you will do differently, also starting now, start TODAY!

Why wait until tomorrow or January 1st?

That’s the kind of action Makenna and I are talking about.

Want 2019 to end differently than 2018?
Then what are YOU going to do to make that happen?

One of my intentions for 2019 is more CONNECTION - so here is an example of how I'm doing that NOW:
I'll be spending this afternoon re-potting and planting new plants my mom and I bought for my house (nothing like digging in the dirt to ground me), choosing NYE plans that also prioritize connection with a home-cooked meal with family and then going to see a band whose music I love to dance to and avoiding any parties that don't feel good and completely aligned with how I want to feel and who I want to be surrounded by, and planning a New Year's intention setting/vision boarding day with a few close friends on the 1st.

I'm already taking action on the intentions I've set for 2019... which will help me FEEL the results sooner!

If you have any questions about any of this – please do let me know! I’d love to hear your vision for yourself, your intentions and the actions you are going to take to make that vision and those intentions a reality!!

Holiday Hit List 2018

Ok so I know I said I was going to be emailing at the end of the week - but I received an outpouring of comments after sending my email yesterday and re-sharing my recent article with MGB and realized - these resources are needed NOW, not later this week.

I must admit - the holiday season is a little different here in Mexico and doesn’t start quite as early. So while I started feeling the holiday-stress-squeeze this week - I realize that for quite a few in our community, this has been going on for weeks if not all month!

And let’s face it.

This time of year can be hard!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel that despite my best intentions, the stresses, anxieties and overwhelm sneak in.

I found myself being on edge this week, on the verge of tears or in tears, feeling waves of seemingly unexplained sadness wash over me.

I’ve also found myself undoing the after-effects of an old and familiar habit that snuck in this past 3-4 months. I said yes to way too much and found myself spread too thin.

Everything was GOOD, and interesting, and stimulating… I was working with amazing clients, putting my neuro-transformational certification skills into practice leading an online group coaching mastermind, joining my mentor’s team to support her in a massive launch, working on a consultancy for the non-profit I founded 11 years ago, hosting a retreat and a workshop, leading the fundraising team for my daughter’s community-run school and participating in the parent committee that governs the school, and on and on…

Then add to the mix PARENTING a very determined and independent 4-year-old. I’ve found this stage of parenting to be one of the most challenging and isolating. It’s when I’ve really missed having a teammate/co-parent and that fact that Luna’s dad has been away a lot for work has led me to feeling even more alone and for long stretches without breaks. I’ve found myself questioning myself a lot. Wondering if I’m doing it “right.” Worried that I’m somehow messing up my child.

This why I’m giving myself permission to embrace “Say yes to LESS” as a mantra for the end of this year and heading into 2019.

What this means is practicing mindfulness, taking my time with decisions, and being really intentional about how I want to be feeling on a daily basis.

It’s about honouring myself by prioritizing self-care and releasing any shame around needing to take care of my mental health.

It’s about choosing nourishment over numbing, as overwork and perfectionism are also some of my numbing behaviours. (If you missed my recent article on this, here it is).

It’s about trying to release and ease up on the enormous amount of pressure I put on myself (I’m a work-in-progress on this one, so if you have any tips I’d love to hear them).

And now, fully embracing my “say yes to less” mantra - I’m not going to write a NEW holiday blog post. I’ve written some great ones in the past, and even if you’ve read them before, they are worth revisiting! I’ve been rereading them and getting a lot out of the tips and reminders.

So here they are - my holiday hit list!!

7 tips for handling holiday stress (without turning to alcohol)

How to thrive through any holiday

Releasing the ghosts of Christmas past (this is really important if you feel plagued by regrets, sadness or shame regarding the past

How to avoid a two-week hangover this holiday season

How to deal with a family member's unhealthy drinking

As you read through these, you might notice some repetition... and that's a good thing!! Not of these are 'magic wand' solutions - they take practice, ESPECIALLY during a time of year when we might be feeling extra triggered.

I look forward to hearing from you about which one of these holiday tips were most helpful for you.

I'll be back next week to talk about how to set powerful New Year's intentions, and I'll be revealing my focus for 2019 (which became crystal clear to me as I was standing at the sink washing dishes this morning).

Until then, sending you massive love and respect for SHOWING UP.

It's not easy, but you are here, doing the best you can do and I'm proud of you!

Nourish vs Numbing

It felts like forever since I've written, and it kinda has been. The past few weeks/months have been a full and mostly amazing whirlwind of family visits, receiving clients to Mexico in-person retreats and workshops, our beta online neuro-transformational mastermind redefining sobriety immersion and my private clients, and then an incredible invite-only biz mastermind in Tulum ... with lots of school events and meetings thrown into the mix! I'm sure there are things that I'm forgetting but as I said, whirlwind.

So much so that my mantra heading into the new year is "say less to less." Later this week I will be sharing more on that, and also more on how to set powerful intentions for the new year, but I really wanted to pop into your inbox and share this article that came out on mindbodygreen a couple of weeks ago.

It's all about the fine line between what nourishes us and numbs us, and how to practice mindfulness to stay on the nourishing side of things. I can say that with way too much on my plate these past few months (even if it was all mostly good stuff), I've been noticing to urge to numb come on a little stronger, and have been applying the tips I outline in the article. 

I've received some great feedback on social media and would love you hear your thoughts too! I believe this is perfect timing as we head into the holidays and this time of year which can add extra stress.

Of course, if you know someone who would benefit from this perspective, please share the article with them!

As I mentioned earlier, stay tuned for more holiday-related content coming to you later this week as well as some exciting opportunities for the new year!!