Fight, Flight or Freeze


I don’t know if it’s a common trait of Introverts, or if it’s just me, but when I’m suffering I hide. I take to the sidelines and do my best to blend in. I don’t want everyone to know that things are bad. I will talk to a small group of friends, sometimes even sharing that things aren’t perfect, but very seldom do I actually share HOW bad things are. Almost never while things are going on. A week ago I did that. I reached out to one of my very best friends and shared that things are really bad. This has been one of the hardest years of my life – one in which every day I was afraid my husband was going to lose his job and we were going to lose our new home. And one in which my dog was attacked by coyotes in our pretty new back yard. Every day was scary. And every day I felt like I was drowning. About six weeks ago I went to a chiropractor. New fangled chiropractors do all sorts of tests on you that measure all sorts of things related to your central nervous system, which controls every single thing about your body. So essentially, if your CNS is out of whack, so are you.

When I met with him to review the results of my tests, what I saw both shocked and horrified me and didn’t surprise me at all. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I’ll tell you that my spine has more curves than a Formula One racetrack and he said that I’m basically living in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze.

He could see that, based on physical test results.

He said that I don’t have any reserves and that I don’t recover from stressors – like at all. That stressors just keep heaping one on top of the other, and I have no ability to move on from them. It was shocking to me to have someone clinically say what I know to be true deep down inside me, and SUCH A HUGE RELIEF that someone else knew it and that it wasn’t “just me” and I wasn't crazy.

Here is an excerpt from that test: “Heart Rate Variability helps the doctor to determine your overall ability to adapt to the environment. It does this by looking at the timing of your pulse, and determining the balance and tension within your nervous system. Stressful lifestyles, habits including poor dietary choices, limited exercise and constant emotional aggravation can cause the body to be caught in a “fight-flight” response. This can lead to exhaustion and a draining of a person’s reserves. A score within the green box is associated with better adaptability and relates to a healthy lifestyle. Low heart rate variability is associated with accelerated aging and poor heart health. Published research has shown that chiropractic adjustments have a beneficial effect on heart rate variability.”

Needless to say, I was not in the green box, nor the yellow. I was in the orange and received a failing grade. He also pointed out that any medications that I am taking, i.e. for depression and anxiety have falsely INFLATED my score, so my failing score, without meds, is actually failing and then some.

That was depressing! And I don’t recover from depressing things. I have no reserves. And then my dog was attacked by 2 coyotes for the second time in a year (that I fought off!) and then I found a snake in my art studio. I felt like I was coming unglued. And I don’t recover from stressful things. I have no reserves.

I’m sharing this with you while I’m in the middle of it because my hunch is that some of you may also feel like you’re living in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze (isn’t it EXHAUSTING???) and you may feel like you have no reserves. And I want you to know that you’re not alone. You are not alone.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any answers for you. I know my answer is to keep going to the chiropractor three times a week and try to get my central nervous system back on line and see if that helps. So far, after six weeks, things are changing – not improving quite yet, but change is happening and I have to believe that’s a good thing. He tells me it is.

I’m trying to eat better and I’m taking vitamins and supplements. Maybe be one of these days I’ll try exercise. Honestly, I don’t want to make too many changes at once!! And I’m trying not to scare myself on purpose (adrenaline is addicting) with movies and books and such, and am watching happy, sappy movies and listening to happy music. All things that should help.

Thinking happy thoughts over here and sending love from me to you.


Everyday Grace Course Launches Today!


I'm launching an email course! This is some of the content that we discuss at my retreats. This email course is PACKED with videos and teachings and worksheets and journal prompts and guided meditations all designed to help you to find, receive and give Grace. For the cost of a couple cups of coffee each week, you'll get a class that will change how you see yourself and the world! Click the link below to be taken to the info page!

Prioritize Pleasure!


Prioritize Pleasure

This is a MUST in the times in which we live!!! Pleasure can look like a lot of things. It can look like feet up, drinking your favorite drink, watching your favorite TV show or reading an awesome book, it can look like a chocolate chip cookie, it can look like a trip to somewhere you've never been, or hot sex with the one you love. It can look like making things, talking to your best friend or painting your nails. Make a list of things that bring you pleasure and be sure to do at least one thing on it every day.

One way you can prioritize pleasure is to figure out what makes you pleased. Getting down deep to your Core Desired Feelings can help!

Life's Amazing Teachers


Amazing Teachers

I once met a woman who said that she was wary of people who said that their children were great teachers – because I had just told her that Dani was always teaching me lessons, even at her young age.

This woman believed that all teaching/learning happened from the top down and she was not learning anything from her daughter.

I left that call thinking, “That makes me sad. How sad that she wasn’t willing to pay attention to the most pure of heart, the least jaded or corrupt souls on the planet and open her heart and learn.

And that’s what I believed until now. That children had the most pure hearts and souls.

Now I believe that my dogs have the purest lessons to teach.

I know that I’ve written several times about clean vs. dirty pain, but for a recap; clean pain is when something actually happens in real life: your mother dies, your best friend moves across the country, things like that. Dirty pain is the suffering that we create around that event: “No one in my family gets me like my mom – no one will ever understand me again. I’ll never been seen or loved again.” Or “I’ll never see my best friend again. I’ll never have another best friend again. I’ll never drink coffee again because who will I go with to coffee?”

We make up a LOT of stories about the painful things that happen. And they are the foundation of the suffering in our lives. Think right now about the hard stuff in your life and how much of your suffering is because of the actual thing or because of the stories you’ve woven about the thing.

Penelope The Great

Last week two German Shepherd-sized coyotes jumped over our back wall into our yard, and attacked my three little dogs. I was inside grabbing a cup of coffee when I heard their usual morning barks with the neighboring dogs turn into something painful. I ran to the back door and what I saw terrified me. The two puppies, Piper and Rosie were barking their heads off at the coyotes and Penelope was under attack. When I stepped outside, one of them jumped up on top of the wall but the other was still in business. I ran outside and started yelling for the dogs to come inside. I got about halfway to the fray when the coyote let Penelope go and they took off into the wash behind the house. The dogs walked en masse toward the house, but it was clear that Penelope was hurt. I finally ushered them into the house and saw that Penelope was bleeding on the back of her neck, on her spine.

I called Wayne to come home so he could drive us to the animal hospital. Within about 30 minutes, someone told us that the lens in Penelope’s eye was tilted forward through the cornea. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but later that day learned that she would never see out of that eye again.

She had four puncture wounds, as you might imagine – two on her throat, one of which tore her trachea making air in the space around her heart, and two on her back – her spine.

We brought her home a couple of days later and were to follow up with the eye doctor in a week.

Here is what I learned from Penelope in that week.

  1. Coyote’s can kill.
  2. When they bite it hurts.
  3. When I hurt, my mommy gives me medicine.
  4. I can go into the yard again – right where it happened – and it MEANS NOTHING. It’s just another area in the yard. No bad feelings associated with it – no crying or whining. Nothing.
  5. When I only have one eye, I have to be careful where I walk and I’m still trying to work out the depth thing, but it’s actually really easy. I can still jump onto the couch and off of the couch – easy peasy.
  6. My tail still works and I wag it a lot because I’m so happy that my mom sits on the couch with me all day and snuggles me!
  7. I can still smile and I do it a lot because I really love my life!

So much pureness there and an inability to create painful stories.

When I have cried in the last week, I’ve cried because I was terrified that I saw coyotes in my yard and that my dogs and/or I would be dead as a result of it. That was a real traumatic event for me. I cried to release the trauma. When I’ve cried it’s been to acknowledge the pain of the event and move through the grief of the event. I am sad that she lost her eye and I did cry for that – but I’m not dwelling on it, not making up sad stories about it about how her life is going to suck now. I'm working through the stages of grief.

I also used Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) and that also cleared some of the trauma around it. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it.

I told myself that I wouldn’t cry for Penelope unless she did. I’m still waiting.

The fact of the matter is Penelope is good. She’s actually great! She’s like three of the seven dwarfs – Happy, Dopey and Sleepy. She’s not grumpy or angry or feeling sorry for herself AT ALL. She’s adjusting to her new reality and she’s good.


I also want to acknowledge the Grace in all of this because boy is there Grace. I was having a text chat with a friend and I said, “We were so lucky they didn’t grab Penelope before jumping back over the wall. A miracle, really. There’s Grace in that for sure.”

And that’s the beauty of life. We get to choose how we look at things – even really traumatic things. I was taught at a very young age to look for the Grace in every situation (thank you, Sister Mary Brendan) and that is what I always try to do. This was an easy one. The coyote clearly had Penelope in its mouth, by the neck, and for some reason, let her go before bolting over the wall. A miracle. A blessing. And Grace.

Knowledge vs. Enlightenment


Lifelong Learner

I have always been a learner and have defined myself as a lifelong learner for decades. I LOVE to learn new things – even if I never apply them to life again, I took the time and learned something new. It’s really fun for me. I know how to make clothes, quilt, knit, crochet, macramé, paint in oils, acrylics, and watercolors, collage I know photography, graphic design, surface pattern designs, how to facilitate retreats and The Desire Map, sing, play guitar, life coach, ski, ride a skateboard, play volleyball, intelligently watch football, all because I was curious and wanted to learn.

I’ve often wondered, does my quest to continue learning things mean I’m avoiding “real life” or does it mean that I have a thirst for knowledge that surpasses all other thirsts in my life?

In the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, it says, “In the pursuit of knowledge every day something is added, in the pursuit of enlightenment every day something is dropped.”

Honestly, this feels a lot like how my brain works these days, filled to capacity, so if something gets added, something automatically gets lost. I blame the hormones.

I don’t think that’s what Mr. Tzu meant, though. I think what he was saying is, if we drop the beliefs that are keeping us from true happiness, we step closer to enlightenment.

Subtract the beliefs that are keeping you from happiness.

Doesn’t that feel like freedom? Like a step toward enlightenment?

One of my favorite things to do as a coach is to help people unshackle themselves from the thoughts and beliefs that are holding them back – from happiness, from living the lives they are meant to live.

If you’re living now in a state of unhappiness, let’s talk. Send me an email and we’ll schedule some appointments. We’ll release those limiting beliefs. And you’ll be one step closer to enlightenment.