Signs Your Relationship is Expiring

1. Eye rolling

2. Huffs in place of kind, loving conversation

3. Lack of communication on daily events

4. Being ignored

5. Lack of eye contact

6. Reduced consideration in future plans

7. Feeling alone in the relationship

8. Feeling crowded in the relationship

9. Little/no interest in wanting to attend social functions together

10. Contempt, smirks, grudges

11. If one of you feels better than the other, better than the situation

12. Cheating, lying, increased activity in addictive behavior

13. Secrecy

If you've been on the giving, or receiving, end of any of these feelings and actions, you know that gut wrenching, painstaking, nauseating feeling of the inevitable. Yet, so many of us fight it to stay, to keep the peace, to make the peace. We walk on eggshells, we hold our tongue, we stay in expired relationships. Why? You don't wallow around in your own poo once you've done your deed, why do we punish ourselves and cause our hearts further damage?

Take this very short and sweet advice, now: GET OUT.

Seriously, if you're in an old, stale, expired relationship that has 0 chance of going anywhere happy, GTFO. Give yourself, and your relationship companion, your lives back. Get out there and be single and happy again, be yourself, find yourself. Develop yourself. You never know who you'll meet, what you'll create, what's waiting just on the other side of that decision. In my experience, it's always ALWAYS been amazing.

To further this discussion to shift your life's trajectory, book a session with Beth. Schedule Appointment

Words Are Powerful Tools: Use Them Considerately

"We are a systems and process company, not a people company." 

"It's not about you." 

"You should really consider a different hairstyle. That is not a good look." 

"Would you consider a longer term trip, like 6 months, living in Cork?" 

"I can't do this."

"We don't condone your lifestyle."

 

The above blank line is the sound of silence. Perhaps the most deafening, the most hurtful, the loudest of all. It's when we aren't honest, forthcoming, communicative and respectful of others that hurts the most. It leaves minds guessing, it leaves questions unanswered, and perhaps unasked. 

These are all things said to me during the last few years, from co-workers, relationship partners, my therapist and a family member. These were all turning points in my life, some of the hardest lessons learned, but learned, nonetheless. While I feel eternal appreciation, gratitude and reverence for all of the lessons of life, they were fucking hard to swallow in the moment. But you know what? I grew from those, just like a huge tree grows from a tiny little seed. 

Water yourself, especially when the dirt cracks. Feed yourself good, loving, wholesome foods. Talk to yourself, and others, with loving kindness. Words matter. Feelings matter. Intention matters.

Live Good, Live Well

 

To further this discussion to shift your life's trajectory, book a session with Beth. Schedule Appointment

work work work work

I was 25 1/2 years old. I'd had a good run at my first true shot of a career out of college, working at my dream company from childhood of Nortel. When we'd come to Dallas during my teenage years, we'd pass the Nortel campus on 75 and I'd admire the very large Christmas wreaths they put out at the time. 10 years later, I worked in that same building along 75. Hello, manifestation!

I left that good position to follow something my naivety thought might miraculously turn out well. It didn't. And I wouldn't change it for the world. Sometimes, you need to get beat down so you can build back up. On November 8, 2010, I started my first day at what is now known as the CPSD division of Dell EMC. These letters, aside from the word Dell, probably mean nothing to you. Back then, it was a project known as Acadia, then a few months later, VCE. VCE is where I grew up, where I discovered and built who I am now.

When I started, I was about 40 lbs lighter than I am now, and was literally starting fresh, after a very educational and character building pseudo-relationship ended and I was back safely, happily and gratefully in Texas. I had work experience, very little money thanks to a loan from my cousin, and eagerness to make my path in this new company. I was awkward, quiet and playing by the unknown rules. There was free beer in the fridge, a single coffee pot my boss had brought from his house and we had to pay for sodas. The office didn't yet have desk phones or wifi, and the iPhone was still very young. 

Life was easy, in comparison to what it had been for months prior. I only had to work 40 hours a week? Totally doable. I'd spent the first half of the summer renovating a row home in Baltimore, quickly dwindling what savings I had to nothing. At one point, I had a single dollar to my name. About midway through that summer, I hit the street and physically applied for jobs. I landed one at Target in the Annapolis store, and a second as a mall cop at the Annapolis Mall. For the next two months, I'd work 80 hours a week and sleep an average of 3 hours each night. I developed a love and appreciation of coffee that summer. I also made some very good friends, in a group of guys that are some of the best humans I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I went to Annapolis beaten down and discouraged, in a controlling situation and came out of it with the confidence of my truer self and friendships that were a saving grace. 

When I started at VCE, I had no idea what it was or what it would become. I just knew I needed a fucking job and it was an offer extended to me. Once I left Maryland, I moved back in with my parents for about 6 weeks. I'm forever appreciative of their generosity and hospitality, and enjoyed the time with my friends and family in my hometown, but it's definitely not where I feel at home. 

I was the older of the younger crowd that were hired during that time period, and have enjoyed watching others blossom into their professional selves in a vibrant and crazy startup culture. 2010-2011 was a blinding fast period of figuring out processes, people and my new self. In 2012, I was off and running. I was on a plane much of that year to London, Boston and Ireland with the very real possibility of relocating to Cork, Ireland. Everything was set, less one final approval that never came. 2012 was a year I will always remember fondly, spending time working in another city and country is a profound experience I wish everyone could have in their lifetime. I worked during the day and was a tourist on the weekends. It was amazing. London is a special place in my heart ... the people, the food, the energy, the beauty, the old with the new ... gosh. It's such a magnificent place in the world and in my soul. 

The next couple of years were filled with more travel, to Ireland, Singapore, Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, Aruba ... while Aruba was a work trip, it was a working vacation. I don't know how, or why, but I was invited on the annual club trip with the top sales people and executives. I was a nobody, a lowly peon on the corporate totem pole that had started the blip of an upward trajectory in the corporate world. It was a trip I will never, ever forget. Getting to experience something like that, to someone like me, it made me feel validated and appreciated and seen and heard. I took my mom on that trip. While I can literally never repay her or make up for producing me, raising me, going through all the shit I've put her through, I wanted to some how thank her for being a good Momma, and to show her that I was doing okay in life, despite her worries of my tattoos and short hair.

I can't imagine raising a little tomboy lesbian child was easy in a very small southern town of 1000 people, and letting that little naive child out into the world was probably scary as hell. Part of my drive to do well, to set a good example for others, to be successful is based in wanting to show my parents that they did an okay job. Other parts of it come with wanting to prove the mainstream status quo wrong. Be true to yourself, do the right thing, be a kind person and always choose love ... and most of the time, MOST of the time, you will be quite alright. 

Buyouts and changes in executive management in the last couple of years have led me down the path of exploring passions externally of the corporate world, as this is no longer a source of my happiness, joy, excitement and enthusiasm. For a very long while, work was my identity. It was my core, it was what I looked forward to the most. I was jazzed to go in each morning and work late each night. Leaving early felt awkward and strange. Work gave me a sense of purpose, belonging and meaning. It was where I made friends and fulfilled my need for social connection. It was where I learned and fine-tuned how to talk with people, how to listen, how to speak publicly, how to stand up for myself and speak my mind, how to manage time and multi-task. I can say I've successfully participated on 3 conference calls at one time. Check, check and check. 

My dad has always had side hustles in addition to his day job, and I am no different. I have my day job here at Dell EMC, and 3 side hustles. One, two or all three will pay off in exponential sums in the future, and for that, I am excited and extremely honored to be able to even be in the same realm of the people that are involved. I often ask myself, would 13 year old me be proud of adult me? The answer varies, day by day, but overall is a solid yes.

 

Live Good, Live Well

Tools to Find Love

Not so long ago, I went through a very personal and introspective period of questioning everything in my life and about my life. Who I am, where I am, what my purpose is, what I am, why we are here, why we experience the things we do, what I was learning - and more importantly, what I was NOT learning, with repeated lessons. What I did know for sure is that I did not want more of the past. More of the same mediocrity and struggle. I'd have rather been alone and single forever than had anything that wasn't an absolute fu^k yes. (Because if it's not a fu^k yes, it's a fu^k no!) It was getting to be exhausting, and I was tired of being tired. I was tired of beating my head against the wall, of being in relationships and situations that weren't conducive to what I want and who I want to be, and what make me happy. 

Not so long after diving into these questions and introspections, I met a beautiful, kind, loving, hilarious, nurturing, bubbly, warm and happy woman named Tosca. I knew I would meet THIS woman because I'd met with Jennifer Hall in October and she told me I would. I knew instantly life would never look like it did before. The clouds had cleared, and the sunshine was out. The winter snow melted in an instant, and it would be spring forever. When we met, I knew I was home. And safe. And seen. And heard. And appreciated. And loved. I've always loved love, I used to cry on every episode of Boy Meets World because Corey and Topanga loved each other so much. Now, my eyes get sweaty everyday over the smallest of actions, looks and words. My dogs are happy, loved, cared for and go to Tosca before me most of the time. Her dog snuggles me at night, and lets me hold her paws. Trevor calls me at night just as much as he calls Tosca when he's scared of a non-existent tornado, or needs help finding a book. Last night, he came to sit in my lap while I was working, to blow on my cheek to make the pfffgggffggtttttttssggttttt sound 438 times, and show me the silly pictures he was working on. He's so lovingly gentle with Zephyr, and shares his little boy silliness with Sully. Everyone is loved, and feels love. She makes sure everyone is happy and taken care of and has what they need for the day. 

If you are single, or in a less than happy relationship, keep going forward to your goal. Change your situation. It's worth it, whatever the cost of "it" might be for you. Being in the right relationship impacts everyone around you, so make the decisions for yourself, your own self love and happiness, not because someone else wants or expects it of you. Live your life for you. 

Many people that know me know I'm weird ... I don't watch TV, don't use a microwave, and post a lot of strange articles on Facebook. What many may not know is how much I consume in a variety of topics, but all directly related to living a better, happier, healthier, wealthier life. Astrology is one of those topics that has helped shape my attitude, my sanity and grasp on day to day things. It takes the surprises out of the future to a very large degree, and gives a quite reliable look into the long term, with tools to use to navigate what otherwise might be perceived as scary. The below article is a bit about the natural compatibility between us, and it's wildly accurate. Use the tools that are available to you to find your own path of happiness and bliss. 

Live Good, Live Well

 

It's been ___ days since I've startled a straight woman in the loo

 Photo courtesy: https://imgur.com/r/dundermifflin/kV6XIgi

Photo courtesy: https://imgur.com/r/dundermifflin/kV6XIgi

 

I'm not a girly girl, but am a delicate flower. I'm not feminine, but am gentle and walk with a quiet step. I haven't had long hair in almost a decade, and get called sir about as much as I get called ma'am. It doesn't bother me, I know what I look like. I am quite confident and comfortable in my own skin, now. 

This isn't a writing about gender or sexuality, it's about humor and being a human. 

When you look at me, you can see the curves of my body under my button up oxfords. You can see the brightness in my smile and the lightness in my voice when I say "hello" to let others know I'm in the intended restroom. 

In 2 weeks, I'll hit the anniversary of working in an office job for 18 years. I'm  2 days shy of 34. I've worked in a professional office environment since I turned 16. I still get asked where I go to college, and not so long ago, asked what high school I go to. I've traveled around the world on business alone, have been out of university for 12 years, and still, along with many many others, appear as an anomaly to strangers.

I've never been drunk, nor high, nor smoked a cigarette, nor had a one night stand, nor kissed a stranger, nor had a regrettable traditional right of passage experience. I care not for seeing other people's bodies or places like Hooters or Twin Peaks or wherever else has partially dressed women serving food. I'm.a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. 

I was washing my hands in the ladies' room at work. I work in a nice office building, for a large technology company, in which I've worked for 7+ years. It's my second home. As stated above, I'm fully aware of my appearance and how others perceive me, and the below scenario happens about once a week: 

"I'M IN THE WRONG BATHROOM!" she shouted as she ran out and checked the sign outside the door before she ran to the lobby to tell someone else she went into the wrong restroom. I knew her confusion, it's the same as it has been with countless others that don't yet know me. I'm the only androgynous lesbian in my office, or that I've ever ran across in the entire company in any location I've been to. I get it. My presence is startling. (Insert eye roll here.) 

As I exited, giggling to myself, the offended confused lady and another were walking down the hallway back to the ladies' loo, where it was now safe and free from my startling presence. 

It happens everywhere, until I make eye contact and say "hello, how are you?" in my softest and most polite tone manageable, to let them know it's okay, I'm not a male intruder in the ladies room and hopefully, just hopefully, I open the eyes of folks to help them understand that we are all different, and all alike. We all want to tinkle and wash our hands & get on with our day. 

 

As always, I hope you all Live Good, Live Well. 

 

To further this discussion to shift your life's trajectory, book a session with Beth. Schedule Appointment

Wasting Time Isn't Wasted ... If It's Something You Give a F$$$ About

I've been off work for six days straight. I've spent most of that time diddling around my apartment with my dogs, running errands, reading, writing, mindlessly switching between apps on my phone (you know the ones), and Thursday spent the day with my family for Thanksgiving. "Today's the day to be productive before heading back to work tomorrow," I said to myself this morning. Today I will create my first of many online courses and give myself a sense of accomplishment, like the six days weren't wasted away. 

This morning when I woke, I cuddled my doggies for a bit while I read some articles on Facebook, showered and went through our normal morning ritual. After our potty walks, I grabbed my stuff, determined to go work from a local coffee shop for the day, like I resolved to five days ago. I drove to Downtown McKinney to go to Filtered, and discovered the downtown area is blocked off for a festival. So I turned around and now I'm at a Starbucks. 

You see, there's this constant battle in my head. If I leave the presence of my dogs, it'd better be for a damn good reason. I don't take their short time on this earth lightly, and want them to live the happiest, healthiest, most loving and fulfilled life they can have. I'll spend hours researching dog food ingredients, medicinal treatments for their ailments, water quality, Reiki healing for dogs, dog massages, and on and on and on. On the flip side of this, I also am fully aware of my need to be in the presence and good energy of people often, otherwise I get into a funk and crave human connection, which leads me to seeking a relationship so I temporarily feel slightly less alone. I don't want that. Ever again. If it's not a fuck yes then it's a fuck no. (Sharing this from my friend Alicia.) Ya feel? 

The mind battle continues. As I sit in this Starbucks, typing away, I know I could be doing this at home. But I haven't been doing it. So this is my alternative to get shit done. At home, there are dog paws to ogle, balls to throw, bellies to rub, laundry to tend to, a floor to clean, dishes to do, meals to prepare, a desk full of stuff to diddle with, blankets to fold ... you get the picture. Distractions everywhere. Yet, as soon as I opened my laptop here, I immediately started typing the beginning of a course I want to develop and share with strangers. 

In a decision I made two years ago to create other sources of income to work myself out of my day job, I've actually got to follow through with a lot more than simply going to work Monday - Friday. That's the easy part. There's marketing, product development, making and going on appointments, business partners to communicate with, meet, brainstorm with, houses to find, deals to make, infrastructure to develop, meetings to attend, networking to do, trainings to attend, trips to go on ... Sitting in an office Monday - Friday is the known. There are defined parameters, expectations, and everything is a known for that equation, by comparison. Anything can happen of course, another buy-out, another merger, another re-positioning. For everything external of my primary income, for my side hustles, all the rest of this equation is currently mostly unknown and undefined, because I've yet to define it, in fear of it actually working. Fear of success, fear of something going well that's on me. Can you relate? Are you afraid of changing something because the result might be amazing? (Sticking with an exercise regime, anyone? Working on your side hustles? Exiting a bad relationship? Changing careers? Cleaning your car?) 

I'm redefining my identity, within myself and in my professional life. I'm redefining my future, what I want and who I want to be. I'm redefining what I'm happy with and learning about what does not vibe with me. I'm learning, shedding, filtering and releasing the old shit. I'm taking on new layers, more love and happiness, less stress and bullshit. I'm re-defining what I want to attract into my life. It's a wildly transformative time ... in the last few months, I've gotten drastically more sensitive to dairy, meat and sugar. I've always had a gluten insensitivity as outwardly displayed by the chicken skin on my upper arms. I continue to drink dairy once or twice a week in my coffee because I don't want to develop a complete intolerance of it, but my body is telling me otherwise. These foods aren't vibing with me any longer. The vibrational frequency of foods, material objects, people, plants, animals, places, music, movies, art, body products, chemicals, water, moods, emotions, feelings ... it all matters. It all fucking matters. The more we become aware of this, the more we learn, the better we become. This same principle explains why some people just creep us out, or on the other side, we just love being in the presence of, right off the bat. Intuition tells us to go a different way to avoid a wreck. Intuition tells us to get out of that enclosed metal box (elevator) with that guy that doesn't seem quite right. Our human mind tries to rationalize it out and tells us it's fine, don't be too sensitive.

Actually, you know what, DO BE TOO SENSITIVE. Be aware of your body, listen to what it's telling you. Be aware of your surroundings, of who you are spending time with and what you're spending your time, money and energy doing, eating, thinking about, planning. Maybe wasting time isn't actually what we think it is. Wasting time to me is doing something I don't give a single fuck about. Going to Wal-Mart, dollar stores, Hobby Lobby, church, watching sports, watching just about anything on TV, gossiping, talking about sports, black Friday shopping, hunting, drinking, going to bars and clubs ... you get the point. Your list might look wildly different, and that's wonderful. The point is to be able to define your list so you know what you don't give a fuck about to allow resources for what you do give fucks about. Reading, writing, conversations with depth, spending time with my dogs, traveling, cooking, drinking coffee, learning, experiencing things that bring me joy, development, happiness, excitement, challenging up, etc. 

While I'm learning all of this, I'm still mentally and egotistically hard on myself with expectations of what I SHOULD be doing, SHOULD have done and SHOULD have accomplished by now. By some measures, I'm doing okay. By others, quite well. And the ones that are put on us by society, I'm way behind the American Dream's requirements for a happy life. I'm 33 and single, I rent my primary residence and have 0 human children. I unsubscribed to this ideology about 10 years ago when I decided to not own a TV or subscribe to cable any longer. BOOM! Take THAT, society! 

I've said all that to say this. Time is not wasted if it's doing something you enjoy, and brings you happiness. It's not time wasted if you're learning and growing, shedding and releasing, resting and powering up for the next big wave to come.

Chasing My Home: 17 Moves

16 moves in 11 years with #17 pending in the next few months. No, I'm not in the military. I'm single, young and trying to figure my life the fuck out. As another move approaches, I find myself questioning what I'm running to, or running from. The feeling of a home has been an elusive and moving target I've chased for what feels like a very long time. The truth is, I feel at home in most places now. On airplanes, in my car, traveling both near and far. Primarily, I feel at home where my dogs are and feel drawn to the deep yearning to provide a nice space for them to be comfortable and happy.

On the relationship front, there've been short bursts of the feeling of wanting to cohabitate with another. The few times that's come to fruition, it highlights our incompatibilities quite rapidly. Mark another bad decision on my chart. Another failure, another set of lessons learned the hard way. Self-doubt, questioning my decision making abilities, understanding the why of the decision to move forward, what I'm trying to achieve and what hole I'm aiming to fill with the company of another. 

When I was much younger, I carried this narrowed and limited notion of find a person I was at least somewhat happy with, sometimes, and settle down with them. What a bloody miserable life that would have been. I operated from a very fear and lack based system back then.

Upgrading my way of thinking and the thrills of life have taught me not to settle. It's also taught me that it's more than okay to spend time alone. Sadly, I've never felt more alone than when coupled. 

At 33, I'm looking back, wondering if I should've, could've bought a house instead of renting year by year, while I so desperately searched for "The One," the person I'd make a home with. All along, I've been the one I need to make a home with. I need to find that within myself, before I can find it with another.

Material goods like lamps, candles, rugs, pictures and art hanging on the walls, bright colors and a clean space make a space feel more homey, but there's still an element of permanence, or at least a more grounding and permanent feeling than a 12 month lease contract provides. At some point in our lives, we all need that. Until then, we move around, experiencing newness, purging, the energy of a new space and meeting new neighbors.

Below is a summary of my moves to date with associated reasons, situations and life lessons I experienced:

1. Moved to Dallas from my childhood home and hometown after college to seek more opportunities, new experiences and love

2. Moved into a tiny efficiency (studio) to have my own space

3. Moved into a nicer, bigger apartment closer to work and live with a partner

4. Moved an hour away from work, to save on rent, and for what I thought was a relationship

5. Moved in with a friend temporarily when that went quickly south

6. Moved again when I rented a room from an eccentric lady

7. Moved back in with person I thought was in a relationship with

8. Moved cross country with person I thought was in a relationship in to renovate a house I had no legal protections of

9. Moved back to my parent's in Texas when the above situations expired 

10. Moved back to Dallas when I got hired again with a roommate to split living expenses

11. Moved an apartment when I realized I needed my own space

12. Moved to a nicer apartment when I was frustrated with my neighbors asking for money

13. Moved to another apartment in what I thought was a hip and trendy place, with a small yard for my doggies

14. Moved to a house when that apartment life was the worst apartment management experience of my life

15. Moved to another apartment when that relationship went south and received a death threat from a roommate prospect

16. Moved to current house for spacious yard for doggies to play

17. Next move coming October 2017, working on shifting from chasing to attracting experiences and ideas of fulfilling my dreams and intentions. 

Awareness and recognizing that chasing things I want to attract by moving all around the metroplex are now at the forefront of my mind, I'm now dissecting the why in order to learn the lessons and move onto the next phase of living in an attraction state of energy. 

What are you running from? What are you running to? 

Are you chasing, or are you attracting the life you want? 

I would love to hear your tales of moving, or of staying put. Please share your stories in the comments.

What Do You Want?

 Photo credit: boatbookings.com

Photo credit: boatbookings.com

It's been said that humans are complex creatures. We can be boiled down to one thing: We want to know that we matter, to someone. That our presence as a human is validated, appreciated. We want to be heard.

A month ago, I started a new list of what I want:

+ full, active, engaged support

+ independent happiness

+ freedom to be & do

+ presence

+ adventure

+ to be heard

+ celebration & to be celebrated

+ to be hugged

+ surprises

+ to be challenged, engaged in thought, conversation and habits

+ partnership in business

+ fun & spontaneity

+ shared activities - festivals, movies, museum nights, local music, walks, bike rides, brunches

+ to outsource all the "minimum wage activities" = for me, house cleaning, lawn care, grocery shopping

+ weekly massages & floating in epsom salt water

+ a garden (community or in own yard) to grow our own food

+ variety of experiences - new and familiar 

+ social meals with friends, new friends, strangers, business partners

+ to read & write in coffee shops, parks

+ to feel safe, secure, held, heard, seen, respected, honored, adored, loved, liked, cared for

+ a date. to date. to court and be courted.

+ curiosity

+ to live at the beach, in a groovy little beach town

+ to have a mountain cabin

+ patience

+ old fashioned manners & etiquette 

+ a life of abundance

+ growth & change

+ good, loving, kind, giving heart level of energy

+ self love & self care

+ meditation & spirituality

+ walks, bike rides, fitness

+ healthy, nutritious, natural cooking & consumption

+ compassion & empathy

And now, for things I definitely don't want:

- anger

- to be ignored

- complacency

- unhealthy habits

- stagnation

- a life of "no"

- fear & lack

- messy home

- jealousy

- misaligned priorities

- a life with friends or social activities 

- poor health

- to clean up after others

- to be tolerated

- to be responsible for others 

- imbalance

- lack of trust

- to not be appreciated

- religion

- laziness

- anger

- hate

- deceptive behavior

- manipulation

- cheating

- to be taken advantage of

- irresponsibility

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It's always important to know what you want, to know what you don't want, and to learn to let your wants, needs, desires, beliefs and opinions change with the winds of life. What's good for one might be detrimental to another, this is my list as it flows from my pen currently. It might look very differently next year, or tomorrow. 

What do you want? What do you not want? What are your boundaries? Do you feel confident setting them in your life? 

 

Gratitude of 2016 Proportions

A few days ago, I wrote a list of things, experiences, people, lessons and accomplishments I'm thankful for that happened in the now infamous year of 2016. Some people had a helluva year, the British voted to leave the EU and not to be outdone, America electoral colleged Donald Trump into the highest known political position, President of the United States. What. In. The. Holy. Fuck. It's time to wake up, time to take charge of your own destiny, to take responsibility for your own life, decisions and actions.

Below is a short list of some things I'm thankful for that happened in 2016:

+ writing with a fountain pen
+ investing in myself
+ getting a Zephyr train tattoo
+ seeing Dave Matthews Band in San Francisco
+ watching friends get married in Cancun
+ spending 5 days in Las Vegas for a friend's 40th birthday
+ completing the Catalyst Course (life coaching certification)
+ SHFT
+ tribes
+ family time
+ love, support, humor, faith, communication, dedication, loyalty and kindness
+ dogs
+ Dell buyout of my company
+ new position at my day job - more flexibility, less stress
+ a new startup venture
+ co-workers and networking
+ spending a long weekend in Colorado with Kira
+ Sully & Zephyr :-)
+ friendly neighbors
+ treating myself to happiness, abundance
+ cooking at home
+ Bespoke Post
+ credit cards and bonus points
+ extra income streams
+ new iMac that I got a bangin' good deal on ;-)
+ making leather goods - Sully + Proper
+ living in a nice happy bright apartment
+ moving to a nice quiet open house
+ life coaching clients
+ blogging
+ Chipotle's Chiptopia
+ endings to what was no longer serving my highest good
+ online learning webinars
+ Awake event in LA with other SHFTers and Catalysts!
+ turning lemons into deliciously tasty lemonade :-)
+ my boss
+ farmer's markets
+ dates
+ building a dining table
+ planning a trip to London for April 2017
+ my officemate
+ my Mom's love and support
+ family
+ music
+ tattoos
+ charcoal filters
+ going to the Texas Women's Conference
+ saying YES and making things happen
+ getting out of my own way to say hello to others
+ connecting with new friends
+ saying goodbye to old friends
+ chocolate chip cookies
+ coconut oil
+ coffee
+ creativity
+ walking
+ physical ability
+ Kickstarter - seriously, it's one of my favorite things in adulthood!

I wish everyone the most prosperous, bountiful, abundant 2017 ahead.

Live good, live well.

Connecting the Dots



"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." - Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement Address


This past weekend, I spent 3 days in a conference room of a Marriott hotel, learning about real estate investing. I've done this before. Twice before, to be exact, around the 2008 time period. One of these was the Robert Kiyosaki 3 day training, which was motivating and inspirational, but I took it nowhere. The other one was at the Lifestyles Unlimited headquarters in Irving. After this one, we had the opportunity to spend a few minutes doing an open Q&A with Del Walmsley. I asked him a question along the lines of where do I get started and his answer was "get yourself a better paying job for a while and some work experience" ... ummm ... excuse me? 


At that time in my life, I had been working for 8 years. I'd spent 6 years working at a bank as a high school and college student, started my first 401(k) at the age of 17, finished my BBA in under 4 years, and was working at a very large telecommunications company, making a salary of $38,000 a year. I was making more than a few other people in the audience quoted as their annual salaries, that he respectfully gave a 1 minute business plan response to. What was it about me that indicated to him that I was, essentially, a lazy kid with no business there? It didn't hurt my feelings, I just took it as a sign that maybe that group wasn't for me. So I let that dream go. 


I continued to work in my corporate job, with dreams of doing something else. That something else was real estate investing, but I didn't have the capital to get started, and that was my limiting belief. In 2010, I invested what I DID have in a row home in Baltimore, but it wasn't in my name. I made the down payment, I paid for the roof to be replaced, I paid for the day laborers that I picked up for a 7-11, I paid for pizzas for them all, I paid for materials and gas to move who I thought was my girlfriend to Maryland to get this going. What I paid for was a whole shit ton of life lessons and was being flat out manipulated and used. And I knew it, but I was too far into it to give up. 


Three months into living there, in the basement of her parents' house, I resolved to move back to Texas, to throw in the towel and take the losses as they were. What was becoming increasingly more important as each day passed, was getting away from her and into a place of safety and sanity. I spent 5 weeks working in a row home in Baltimore, not in the worst part of the city, but not in the best part either. Many of those days, I was there alone, in that space, with no security and no money. I remember counting my change to get a jug of tea to have something to drink while I worked. I'd take a package of crackers to have something to eat. I ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches during that summer. They were cheap and filling, and stopped my stomach from growling. After the 5 weeks when I was down to my last few dollars, I spent a day pounding the concrete and secured 2 jobs: mall copping and stocking the new grocery section at the new Target in Annapolis. One paid $8.50/hour and one paid $9/hour. I'd prioritize the $9/hour one over the $8.50/hour one, but most of the time, I worked both. A day off to me was only working one 8 hour shift and not two. 


My shift at Target began at 3 AM most days, and my mall copping shift was 3-11 PM. This left about 3 hours for sleep each night. Sometimes I could squeeze a nap in between my morning shift at Target before I went to the mall, but the stress was too much to nap. It felt like I was wasting the day. I kept a notebook, tracking the number of hours I worked at each and how much money I made each day. My goals were very humble: make enough to figure out my next move. I had to decide to stay there and keep searching and hoping for another corporate job to come my way, to continue working 2 jobs to make a portion of what I left Nortel making, or to move back to Texas to regroup. 


Zephyr was my top priority. I didn't know if she would be there, safe and sound, when I got home from each shift. Of all my material items that got stolen from the person I sacrificed and gave so much to, she was manipulative and crazy enough to take my Zephyr, just to be malicious. I can't describe the relief I experienced each day, the comfort I felt each time I got back to her beautiful face and the relief I felt lift from my shoulders the night we drove out of Maryland and into Virginia. 


My Mom flew up on a Friday night, my last day there, to drive back with me. The succubus's brother and best friend knew just how badly things could go with her, so they helped me pack up my things and get out safely, without her knowing when I was leaving. We hurriedly packed and loaded and tied things down, watching the road and driveway for her car, hoping it didn't appear. The friends I made during that summer all gathered at Applebee's for a going away party. I had never felt so loved by friends. It was like we'd known each other for our entire lives, yet it was literally only a couple short months. It's a summer I will never forget, and one that I hold so near and dear to me. 


Once I got back to Texas, I lived with my parents for about 6 weeks. I searched and applied for jobs like it was my job. I spent 60+ hours a week on my computer, applying, reading, applying for more. I didn't want to go back to Dallas, it felt that was an expired part of my life and I wanted something new, so I was looking all over the country. One day while getting some BBQ for lunch, I got a call for a position with a startup called Acadia. I went through the phone interviews, the in person interview the following week in their Addison office and got the job offer within a week from that. It's not called Acadia now, but I still work there. We were next VCE Company, then a division of EMC Corporation and now a division of Dell EMC. It's been a wild ride, and I'm thankful for every single minute of my experience there.


I've grown into myself, in so many ways, while working there. Developing business relationships, public speaking, money and time management, professionalism, project management, leadership, managing people, dressing well, asking for what you want, being rewarded, traveling the world ... it's been a powerful experience indeed. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 


But, as all good things must come to an end to allow for new beginnings, I feel the time has come to plot out my next move. I don't know the stability of my position there, and want more for myself, my family, my life and legacy. This past weekend, things came full circle, as other things in 2016 have done and I invested a large portion of my 401(l) into education for myself, to take this next step in life. Education and mentorship are paramount if you want to get to the next level - whatever that next level might be for you. I took the plunge and am super fucking excited for it. I know challenges lie ahead, they always do. Those challenges are what propel us forward, what drive us, shape us and sharpen us. 


I joined Phill Grove's Big Dog Program and am pretty excited for the year long journey that lies ahead. Today is day 1 of it - setting up my calendar for the daily calls, getting websites going, taking out the loan to fund the cost to join, getting other bits and bobs squared away. There's so much to learn, so much to do and I can't WAIT to start doing deals. I want to do a deal a day by this time next year. I want to do a deal in my first month and 2 the next month, 4 the next and then 8 and then 16 and .... you see where this is going! Let's do more deals! 


I've said all that, to say this: do what lights your soul on fire. Do what keeps you awake at night because the excitement is too much to let you fall asleep. Do what you love, whatever you love that benefits others. Helping others is another level of being, another level of living. When we serve our true selves, we serve the world. Don't let anyone hold you back, fucking go forth, make your own path if you must. Take action. As Nike says, JUST DO IT! 


Live good, live well. 


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It started as a whimsical purchase of something I wanted while I was out shopping for others a few years ago. A pair of shoes I just HAD to have. A wallet I so desperately needed. A new laptop bag. Before you know it, I was outright shopping for myself during the holiday season, and lost sight of how to thoughtfully shop for others. As a teenager, I modeled after my Mom and bought gifts for damn near everyone I knew. Now, as an adult, it's almost infuriating because it's more about figuring out what you think someone would want, even though you only see one another at Christmas and Thanksgiving. WHAT. 

This year, I've found myself doing the same. I got my Mom a few things, and my girlfriend a couple things ... but here it is, 11 days before we are due to go spend a weekend with family and exchange gifts in hopes of figuring out something they want ... and eat more holiday food. And spend hours with people we don't typically spend time with. And smile and be happy about it. And it's the busiest time of year at work for me. And ... you get the idea, it's a quite similar story for so many of us! Why do we do it? Since Thanksgiving, I've bought myself: 2 necklaces, a lantern for my office, a surprise box from Bespoke Post with some random goodies in it, some candles for setting intentions for the new year, a leather pocket folder thingy ... and that's just what I can remember. I suppose I began this tradition because I don't feel I get gifts I want from others, for the most part. But that's not true. It's all this murky misconception I have about people "not getting" me and feeling alone and swimming around in my own damn head. 

At Christmas 1989, there was a gift under my Nanny's tree to Steve in very neat handwriting, but no from name was included. Everyone took a look at it and no one owned up to who brought it. After our dinner, it was time to open gifts and my dad opened the one addressed to him with no from name, and lo and behold, it was the exact gun scope he had been wanting! He had drawn his own name for Christmas and given himself exactly what he wanted. Is there where I got it from? 27 years ago when my dad started this tricksterness? 

What's it mean now, now that I'm an adult? I don't need the things I've purchased for myself, they're just cool to have and things I'll probably enjoy at some point in the future. Are these things I wish someone else would know me well enough to buy for me? Probably, yes. But highly unlikely that'll ever be. And that's okay. I'm coming to peace with it. I have my own money and can buy my own things. My bigger struggle is understanding what to get others ... and where do you draw the line on who to buy for and who to respectfully leave off the list?

My sister, for example. We don't talk. We don't really have a relationship. But in years past, I've gone to her home for Christmas morning Santa Claus gift opening because it's what we started doing after my parents divorced, 2 decades ago. But I'm not welcome there, because I'm a lesbian. This year, I'm politely not going and don't feel odd about it, aside for the fact that it puts my mom in the middle per usual, because no one will talk to each other in the family and mom does everything. 

And ... my dad. He and step-mom give me cash each Christmas and I haven't seen them for a birthday in several years. I see them exactly twice a year, unless there's a death and subsequent funeral to attend.  

Does anyone else do this? What are your feelings about it, and reasons for it? Is there a shift on the horizon we are inspiring? Can we reverse the dreadful impacts of ridiculous unnecessary consumerism?