The Art of Intentional Practice


Practice gets a bad rap.

I've heard the gamut of responses to the idea of "practice"  -- from spiritual transcendence to athletic performance to dreadful, dull and boring repetitive action. 

In actuality, you are practicing every moment of every day. Consciously or unconsciously, you are practicing your responses, your actions and your reactions. You are practicing your best and your worst qualities by simply doing what you do, over and over. This ultimately defines the quality of your life.

However, done intentionally, practice can be a potent and reliable ally in real and reliable transformation. 

Intentional practice is the key.

Intentional practice is about making a different choice -- disruption of the status quo in your actions. Intentional practice has a vision. Intentional practice is also fluid and deeply connected to the present moment and what is working. 

Intentional practice means you are practicing something that is incredibly important to you be it abundance, peace, health, self-expression, connection, or success and, done right, you are practicing in ways that hold tremendous value for you and the woman you wish to be today and tomorrow. 

Who do you want to be? 

This is a valuable question, and, certainly you can be no one but yourself. There is nothing to fix or mend, intentional practice is about peeling back the layers of who you aren't to reveal and polish that diamond that you are. 

  • I want to be a woman who embodies generosity and abundance.
  • I want to be a woman who is strong physically, mentally and emotionally. 
  • I want to be a woman who speaks up and speaks the truth. 
  • I want to be a woman who uses and celebrates my innate gifts and talents.
  • I want to be a woman who loves deeply and lives close to my own knowing. 
  • I want to be a woman who makes a powerful contribution in the lives of others. 

These are examples of who I want to be each and every day and how I practice. And in showing up for this vision of myself and supporting other women over the years, here is the secret I've learned; if you want something (like YOU really want it, it isn't something you've been told you *should* want) it is already burning within you. It is already yours

All you have to do is practice. 

How to be intentional in practice. 

Value your practice -- elevate it's importance. The biggest objection I hear is that people don't have time. Yes, you do. I understand that this can feel like a monumental shift but it is critical -- you, and your intentional practice, is for you and you alone. It is time for you to affirm and embody your desires as a priority. This, right here, changes everything. Make the time. Put yourself first as a radical act of elevating the importance of who you most wish to be and how you most wish to feel as you move through the world. 

Be willing to fail. Let go of perfection. Failure is a part of any good process. To be great at anything means understanding and knowing the contrast intimately. Expect and welcome failure as the teacher that it is. We all know intellectually that failure is a powerful teacher. Welcome failure with grace, instead of beating yourself with the idea of perfection.  

You aren't there yet, so keep your attention where you are right now. Intentional practice is about having a powerful vision, but keeping your eyes and your attention fixed on getting to your vision of success is a recipe for misery. As badly as we might wish for an end-game and a final completion, it typically doesn't exist. We are constantly evolving and changing and until you die, I hope you will be engaged in your sacred practice. Yes, have a vision, but let your attention rest in the day to day doing. 

Appreciate how far you've come and how it feels in the doing. It is vital to take time to acknowledge how far you've come. Take time to take in how good it feels to take action that is aligned with the woman you know you are and that you are becoming. So yes, appreciate how it feels and acknowledge your progress. When I was learning to love strength training, I did not enjoy most of the sessions of strength training. But what I did enjoy was the feeling in my body afterwards. What I did enjoy was the growing sense of strength and the lessening of aches and pains. This kept my skin in the game while I was learning to enjoy strength training. 

Enjoy the process. If every fiber of your being hates what you are doing, evaluate your desires and intentions. It could be simple resistance or, it could be that you are under the spell of someone else's ideas and expectations and *shoulds*. To be honest, it could also be that you have ideas about how things should be -- sometimes, things are hard. That's okay. You are built for hard things. I trust you to know the difference between not wanting to do something hard and a true and deep NO from your soul. Trust yourself to know the difference and really, enjoy the fullness of your humanity as you choose to be more intentional in how you practice. 

I believe in you, and your practice. 

You are not here to elevate someone else's desires or ideas. You make your most powerful contribution to the world when you are committed to honoring your own desires and being the woman you are more fully until the day you die. 

May you practice with vigor being the woman you are and the woman you wish to be. May your practices be potent allies in real and reliable transformation. And, heart wide open, may you embrace the joys and the challenges of intentional practice and all that is has to offer you. 


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The Art of Dwelling in Worth


Prefer audio? Listen to me read this post {7 min, 40 seconds}

"I don't want to do my workout." 

I woke up this morning and that was my first thought. Clara has been sick. I was sick. It was Clara's birthday. We are traveling next week. I'm in the middle of 2018 Medicine Visions. I'm preparing space for the women who are gathering for The School of Sacred Practice including answering questions, having chats and sharing my thoughts with women on why it matters to them. 

My workout seemed like a royal pain in the ass that I definitely didn't have time for. 

There is a time to honor that momentary feeling.

Like when I'm sick or physically exhausted -- but it wasn't today. When I thought about Clara being home sick and all the things that I want to do today, coupled with how I want to move through my day - I remembered (from experience) that despite my 'feeling' of not wanting to, today is the kind of day that I most need to create the space for my Sacred Practices in order to show up in my life the way I want to: fully connected to myself and feeling deeply cared for and enlivened. 

Sacred Practice is the very ground I build on.

My Sacred Practices: moving my body, feeding myself well, meditation and breathing, intention and planning for wise action, as well as energy work combined with connecting with nature and my guides - these are the banks of my proverbial river. These are the practices that, over the years, I've determined feed me deeply. These practices, whether I want to do them or not, offer me deep pleasure and connection to the full compliment of sacred resources that are mine to work with. 

But most important, these Sacred Practices are an ongoing personal affirmation of my worth in action - affirming that I matter as much as anything else in life. That my energy, my mood, my rest, my pleasure, my nourishment - it matters to me. Tending myself and my sacred resources is at the heart of my practices and practice, over time, creates lasting change and transformation. Living well, working well and being well -- these are functions of Sacred Practice. 

Practicing the art of dwelling in worth.

You might shake your head and say that this is a lot - too much, even. Yes, it is a lot. No, it's not too much. As a sensitive, intuitive woman who is a spouse of a diplomat, mother to a teenager and a woman who runs my own business - I need a lot of tending and care. Full stop, no apology. 

From years of cutting out one thing, or another, or ignoring my Sacred Practices altogether, here is what I know for sure: to ignore my Sacred Practice is a recipe for dysfunctional behavior. It's a recipe for trying to soothe myself with cupcakes or bites of frosting or cookies or shopping. It's a recipe for a disconnection from my truth that's so acute I don't notice until I'm in a resentful fury toward the people I love most. It's a recipe for staying "busy" doing work that isn't taking me where I really want to go. It's a recipe for feeling a sense of lack that makes my soul ache. 

I'm sure I'll be there again, but time spent in that poverty-stricken state is shorter every time. Because: transformation. My Sacred Practices have consistently changed me, over time, into a whole new person. I'm committed. 

So yes, it's a lot. And as much as I am worthy of that kind of care and attention, so are you.

You, too, are worthy.

Anything that you do with consistent devotion is a practice. What makes a practice sacred is the intention and energy we bring to it. So I never quibble with clients about what practices they choose if they resonate deeply for the individual - I'm not an expert on what practices might be ideal for you (though I could offer ideas).

The heart of Sacred Practice is about living in alignment with your deepest knowing and indulging in the true pleasure of being alive with consistent devotion - this provides deep nourishment, true connection, as well as great joy and increased energy. This kind of fullness makes you better at everything you do and helps you clearly define boundaries around traditional sources of "worthiness" (like money). Why? Because when you dwell in worth, you have less tolerance for being underpaid, less impulse to overwork, and a greater capacity to discern what your true material needs and desires are (which usually means more money in the bank).

Commit to a Practice of Dwelling in Worth.

A commitment to your unique constellation of Sacred Practice offers a pathway to being the woman you are, and the woman you are becoming by choice. I invite you to choose one Sacred Practice to do with devotion and intention, to show up for yourself and your practice each day and let it transform you. It will, I promise. 

There is nothing all that special about committing to Sacred Practice. You can do it simply by making a choice, each and every day. And, I know that creating time and shifting into a state of dwelling in worthiness can be a challenge with screaming self-criticism, not to mention others sly judgements. However, over time, your commitment amplifies your sense of worthiness and in turn, that sense of worthiness amplifies your commitment to the practices that support dwelling in worth.  

The School of Sacred Practice is enrolling now. If you loved this article, you will love The School -- our second intensive is a sweet dive into the very art of dwelling in worth. I would be delighted to support you and to create sacred space for the changes you seek to make in 2018. Join us. 



Befriend Your Demons


Do you prefer audio? Listen to this blog post here {10:01 minutes}: 

How do you face your demons?

This may seem like an odd question, but many women struggle to look directly at their own suffering - let alone get support or share what's happening in the realm of their darkest struggles out of fear or shame or, in the hope, perhaps, that if they ignore their demons they will disappear. Rest assured that without facing our demons directly, they will bring us to our knees, insisting on our attention in some form or fashion that we will not like. 

The devil and I. 

When I was 4 or 5 years old, I had just learned about the concept of God's enemy, the devil. Knowing that God is pure love, I reasoned that really, the devil was the one that I wanted to cozy up to. I remember distinctly that I had taken a decision to pray to the devil each day so he wouldn't tempt me or make me do bad things. 

I also remember distinctly that I was learning to tie my shoes at the time and, one morning, sitting on the stairs of our porch, I was chatting with the devil and tying my shoes. I got my shoes tied by myself for the first time (woo hoo) and, running off to play, my Grandmother asked me who I was talking to. I explained that, since God loves me and wants to take care of me, I had decided to get on the devil's good side -- I mean, why pray to God, when it's the devil who is going to lead me into evil?? 

My Grandmother nearly had a heart attack and told me in no uncertain terms to NOT pray to the devil, but instead to trust that praying to God was going to keep me safe. Even at the time, I remember being puzzled by this idea of ignoring a fundamental aspect of life (evil, darkness, temptation, etc) and relying on God to keep me safe. 

Though this is an adorable story it also points to an essential piece of my character that has heavily shaped my own life and shapes my coaching. As a woman and a coach in recovery from alcohol addiction, as a woman and a coach who has struggled with money and finances, as a woman and a coach who has dealt with trauma, depression and anxiety, hell, as a woman and a coach who has struggled with so many darn aspects of life I can say with a lot of certainty that befriending the demons we grapple with is a far more effective, and kinder approach than denial, fear or shame.

Courage to befriend your demons. 

Though I'm no longer a church-goer nor do I believe there is an entity called the devil, on a metaphorical level, my 4 year old self was right: understanding and befriending our demons is wise. And, whether women know it or not, they tend to arrive into my circle seeking support in facing, and embracing, their own demons. 

This sounds so hard. It sounds so horrible. It sounds so.... unfun, right? 

In moments, yes, of course it's hard. But mostly, it feels like freedom and joy to be fully present and not only face your demons, but to consciously work with your challenges. Because really, let's consider how much energy goes into denying something. Even when you might not be actively thinking about something that you struggle with, the fact is, that somewhere in the background: in your energy, in your beliefs, in your day to day actions, that particular demon is draining energy and shaping the trajectory of your life. 

To make the choice to befriend your demons and work with the truth of who you are is the easier choice. That is ground truth, no matter what the fallout may be because the easier choice is the choice that frees up your energy and aligns your actions with your deepest wisdom.  When you choose to befriend your demons you are saying yes to living truthfully and committing to living into the woman you are meant to be: joyful, free, fully alive and beautifully human. 

We are built to handle this exquisite range of experience. 

The Role of Sacred Practice in Befriending Your Demons

We are always practicing - however, Sacred Practice is on purpose, with an eye to conscious choice and transformation.

So, imagine if you will, an infinity loop (an endless figure eight flipped onto it's side) - my experience is that there are two kinds of Sacred practice: like an inhalation and an exhalation, like expansion and contraction - there are inward-facing practices and outward-facing practices and they not only work in tandem, but are amplified by one another. This is the nature of Sacred Practice.

On one side of the infinity loop, you have the exhalation, the contraction, the proverbial stillness of the winter: you have Inward facing Sacred Practices. These practices bring you into a state of intimacy with yourSelf: your pain, heartache, demons, yes, but also your divinity, your wisdom and your light - however, without welcoming and working with the darkness, you will deny yourself the incredible potency of your light. Your demons and your divinity go together and, to access your full wisdom and therefore, a life of meaning, you need both. Welcoming the entirety of yourself and your experience in this realm is the very basis of self-trust and wise action in your outward facing Sacred Practices. 

On the other side of the infinity loop, you have the inhalation, the expansion, the blooming and the growth of summer: outward facing Sacred Practices are the actions that you commit to with your spiritual resources: the rest you give your body, the way you tend your money, marketing your business consistently, cooking nourishing meals for yourself, speaking the truth with loved ones, sitting down to write on a regular basis... these outward facing Sacred Practices are shaped by the clarity we receive and the healing we do in our inward facing Sacred Practice. Outward-facing Sacred Practices, done in alignment with our inward facing Sacred Practices, shape and mold the trajectory of our lives no matter what our circumstances. 

Both types of practices are essential - they feed each other and make our lives, our work and our experience rich and meaningful as they teach us to trust ourselves and our capacity. 

This is the heart and soul of conscious transformation. 

We know it's working when we see the results of our healing (debt being paid off, financials up to date, we wake up rested, our right clients begin arriving, our relationships become richer and more satisfying) and sometimes we know our Sacred Practice is working because situations and ideas and relationships crumble as we come into integrity and alignment with our own deepest truth. It may not be easy, but it is the easiest choice. It is the life-giving choice. It is the path of growth and transformation. 

In a world that rests on the false promise of instant transformation and instant results, Sacred Practice offers a reliable way to be your own healer and guide as you keep showing up with fierce commitment for the woman you are, and for the woman you are becoming. 

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Tiny Magic: Befriend Your Demons

The School of Sacred Practice is open for registration. In the first intensive, Tend and Mend, we will be focusing on the outward-facing Sacred Practice of tending and mending money, which can be tricksy and challenging for women in business -- I find there is always an element of healing,clarity and wise action to address here, don't you? 

And so, whether your demons are money related or otherwise, tune in to this Tiny Magic: to Bless and Transform your Demons into allies and wisdom - this is energy medicine that is amplified when you listen with your full attention and an open heart. I love this for you, for all of us.

If this Tiny Magic Sacred Practice calls to you, join me and the incredible community of women that is gathering for the deep magic of transformation in The School of Sacred Practice. 

I would love to support you in 2018. 



Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash