16 MBK Memoir: Out with the Old, In with the New

16 MBK Memoir: Out with the Old, In with the New

March 5

My intention was to serve others today. I volunteered in frigid cold weather. Fulfilled:) I feel very peaceful today. I feel the Universe conspiring to help me; the work is being done.

I’m ready to let go of G – of figuring him out and naming his triggers. I feel so much peace today understanding when he broke up with me in November, all he was saying is, “This is where I stop growing with you. I don’t want to hold you back, so be free to keep growing in intelligence. You are beautiful and you deserve more than what I can give.” And then he turned around and went right back to what he knows – to his old pain, to his familiar struggles, to the one who “did a number on him.” And me? I took off running like the wild mustang I am…

It’s actually very kind and beautiful when I choose to see it that way. We are all doing the best we can.

I want to be a relationship coach or analyst or something. @EvolvingMan, @RisingWoman, @ToBeMagnetic, @CreatetheLove, and @SmartCouple podcasts are jiving so deeply with me. It’s like I found my long-lost family. We’ll see what happens with it, but my oh my, it sure would make sense of the way I am and always have been – fixated and never-ending worker bee in relationships!

The Way of the Happy Woman page 35: I drew a flower.

The Center: “Thoughts, deepest heart desires, intuitive knowing, awareness, devotion, emotions”

Pedal: Relationships

Pedal: Community

Pedal: Career

Pedal: External Personality

Pedal: Day-to-day Interactions

Surrounding the flower: “Self-love, authenticity, confidence, self-acceptance, trust, self-worth”

Seeing that flower display shows me how I’ve done some things very well within myself and others have been completely disconnected/severed.

  • I have often silenced my deepest heart’s desires.
  • I have often ignored my intuitive knowing (or I, Tyrel, G, mom have misinterpreted it).
  • I have never given up on pursuing my thoughts and self-awareness (and I believe that’s why I’m here today).
  • I have never been committed or devoted to paying attention to myself–good, bad, ugly, beautiful.
  • I have often rejected or pulled away from community (mostly because it hurt me or wasn’t serving me).
  • I have always fought to be tuned into my relationships.
  • I have given very little attention or effort to my career overall.
  • My day-to-day interactions have completely eluded me and overwhelmingly occupied me at different times.

So basically, there’s a meaty chunk of work to dig into here. How… fun.

“What am I feeling now, and what are these emotions trying to tell me?”

“What can I do to nourish my spirit today?”

The thing about marriage is that it seems to bring more of a “built in clause” that implies a reduced sense of choice to walk away if the relationship ever turns stale – simply by way of paperwork and court documentation. I live for freedom. And that doesn’t mean I want to fuck whoever I want. It means, if a relationship ever stops serving my (or my kids) greater good or becomes hindersome of me being my best self, I want the freedom to say, “I’m choosing me,” and walk away without requiring a legal proceeding.

What I know about myself is this (and so much more – hehe): I will always be committed to growing, evolving, and becoming my best self. And if ever that is disrupted by a relationship I’ve chosen, then I will not lay on the altar to keep the relationship again. Once was enough and that sort of self-sacrifice ultimately doesn’t serve anyone well.

So, when I hear of people being lifelong “partners” or “fiancés”, I feel joy and peace. Even the thought of a wedding is lovely (obviously, not a traditional one with vows and contracts and commercialized bullshit). But the thought of marriage and people being bound to each other, “husband and wife” – it feels like doom to me. Like darkness and shackles and slavery.

Obviously, my idea of marriage is deeply jaded and could use some restructuring, but not on my own, stuck in my head. If my partner is interested in rewriting the definition of “marriage”, then great. If he’s happy without the title of “marriage”, even better. My dream is to be eternal fiancés. Simply as a reminder: this is a choice. We choose each other every fucking day. One day at a time and we choose to commit to the work and the love it takes to make it last. Fuck! That sounds like the most romantic story ever to me!

I am inviting in:




New healthy habits for moving through my emotions: anger and anxiety especially

New friendships

Opportunities to deepen my relational intelligence

In the next moon cycle:

  1. I want to consciously plant seeds of kindness with my kids, service with others, and acceptance of myself.
  2. I can rest, restore, and let go right now by carrying out my morning/evening routines, practicing breathwork, and centering my heart and womb.
  3. I don’t feel very resistant to being alone right now because I am enjoying learning to love myself well, but my longing for intimacy definitely tends to pull me out of the present moment sometimes. Remembering that the timing of the Universe is divine gives me peace to embrace solitude and silence now.
  4. The wisdom that comes from feeling the darkness of my difficult emotions is that it deepens and balances me. I feel a lot of things and the darker feelings remind me of how human I am and how precious time, space, freedom, and others are to me. 

Oh the things I can share with others from my darkness. Mostly compassion. I am not unlike all others who suffer and feel pain. There is a piece of me in every other person I see. I am great and they are great. I am flawed and they are flawed. To see beauty and light in pain and darkness is a choice and a gift.

Goodness! I sound like a Hippie dippie trippie nippie! It’s goin’ full throttle these days! HA!

Things I’m letting go of this New Moon:




Expectations of self

Pressure to be or preform


Past relationship resentment

The “unconscious me”

March 10

Dang! I’ve been busy and now it’s Spring Break! Overall, doing really well. Still think about G everyday, but I think a lot of that is because I’m processing all my “relational consciousness and emotional intelligence” podcasts – LOL! Today I was smiling because I was so happy to spend so much time studying me and then literally three minutes later I was feeling the serotonin dip of cynicism and old beliefs: What if my hopes and higher thoughts of attracting my dream partner are just delusional and there really is no one who would be my perfect partner AND want to take on the Koenes’s?! So… now to hold space.


I want to take things slow next time I date. And I mean for me – my heart, mind, and time. Let him prove to be worthy of each part of me. May I respect my own time (routine) and heart. I want to keep my daily routines and allow room as the relationship shows itself to be growing.

March 11

Sheleana Aiyana says self-awareness is key in order to not play the “codependent blame-game”. Well, in my codependent game, I didn’t tend to blame the other as much as endlessly “search” myself for ways to improve so I could be more acceptable or loved by my partner (Tyrel/G). Even if they didn’t say anything, I felt the compulsion to update them, “Listen, I know I’m lacking/failing you/this relationship and I don’t know how or why, but don’t you worry, I’ll be spinning my wheels until I figure out the problem!” This is such a difference from approaching it the way I would now: “I am OK with me. I am enough. I want to create a loving, beautiful partnership with you. Is there anything you’d like to talk through?” 

Game. Changer.

I’m not on a witch hunt in the dark trying to find validation and approval from my partner. I am me. I am already approving, accepting, and validating myself, but I’m open to feedback and growth with a loving, emotionally connected/intelligent and conscious partner. BAM!

Also, last night I had another epiphany! I’ve been really trying to close the circle on my “fixer issue/codependency” with friends and lovers because I know it’s not true that I know what’s right for everyone and how to help them be better, but I truly feel like I actually DO!

So, last night, it came to me:

We may be experiencing similar circumstances, but we each bring our own set of experiences, wounds, and perspectives into them. So, what the Universe is teaching me through my kid’s bad behavior or relationship drama is not necessarily the lesson anyone else is “supposed” to be learning. AND I will truly never be able to figure out what tests and lessons my people are in the middle of. Only they can do that for themselves. I can be a mirror or a hand of support or a voice of wisdom, but I am not the Great Teacher or Guru and I do not have their answer book.

Wow. This is huge.

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane (9 years old) and Peter (7 years old)

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

E: Kids (bomb ass) therapist

Brother: My older brother

K: My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and friend

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
16 MBK Memoir: Out with the Old, In with the New

15 MBK Memoir: Learning to Love Yourself after a Breakup

February 28

I just met with G at Starbucks. It was so awkward! LOL. I was so nervous but also very certain going into the meeting. I started off asking if there was any overlap with him having sex with her and I. He said, “No. We didn’t have sex until sometime in January.” So that’s a HUGE relief! I mean, I guess I’m just going to trust him there? Ugh.

Then I told him, “Moving forward, I think it will be best if we don’t hang out at each other’s houses anymore. So when you want to hang with the kids, we can just go do something with them.”

He said, “Ok, sure… Can I ask what led you to that conclusion?”

I said, “It’s just too ‘famliy-ee’. I need the kids to have a clear picture of who you are in our lives without any confusion or hope for a family dynamic.” 

He said he understood. Then I told him that since we probably won’t see him as consistently, it’s very important to me that he resolves any conflict or hurt feelings with the kids before he leaves us that day. 

He said, “Ok, can you give me an example of what you mean?” 

I brought up the rodeo (G was upset with Peter and didn’t address it until the next day when he sent a video saying he “forgave” Peter for accidentally head-butting him in the nose. Eye roll.)

Then G said, “Oh, Ok… I see.” 

God, I really gave him too much credit before. The man has very little emotional awareness, if any. And he can be dense af when it comes to seeing himself clearly. We sat in awkward silence for a bit then he asked how I was. 

I said, “Really good,” and asked how he was. 

He said, “Good. My sister is pregnant! I’m going to be an uncle!” 

Anyways, it was real awkward (which I secretly loved because it’s so obvious I’m not trying to be mechanically agreeable). Then he kept sitting there so I told him, “I can say more things,” and he said, “OK!” So here’s what I said:

  • “I always said it takes me a while to trust that people are who they say they are – and I know you pretty well. I know your tests and plays within relationships, and it kind of feels like you’re using me and the kids as pawns in your power struggle with S to see if she will really give you the freedom you want.
  • “You know I’m not upset about you dating, S, right? You know I’m upset because you overstepped my ability to parent the way I deem appropriate by deciding what was best for all of us. That’s just NOT OK.
  • “And my greatest challenge in all of this is coping with the plummet of respect I once had for you. So very much to… none. You sacrificed our friendship and that’s been difficult to swallow.
  • “Lastly, if you truly want to be in the kids’ lives and mine, you’re really going to have to practice honesty – as in as much truth as possible as soon as it becomes true. Without it, there’s no chance of anything lasting with us.”

He nodded and dipped his head and listened and agreed. 

Then he said, “I’m truly sorry for the decision I made, I know it was wrong.” 

I told him, “It’s forgivable, it’ll just take some time.”

He said, “I understand and you can take as much time as you want and can feel however you need to about it.” 

Gee, thanks, G. 

Then he added, “I am certain I can differentiate manipulation (aka games) within a relationship, and I assure you that is not what I am doing regarding you and the kids in my relationship with S.”

I nodded politely, aware of his lack of conscious understanding of himself and his motivating factors in life. Because THAT is not my job – to convince him of what is so blatantly obvious. 

I said, “It’s probably time for me to move my storage stuff,” to which he replied, “There’s no rush.”

It was a good meeting. I feel empowered and resolved. Now we just have to see how it goes. Basically, he and the kids will determine how often and when we hang out because I have no desire to make that happen. It’ll be interesting, but more than that, I feel like I took a giant step forward into my future!

OH. MY. GOSH! I LOVE MYSELF! I am so proud of myself for what I did today! I want to do it more!!!

I feel so loved and whole and safe… and I did it for myself this time! It’s a beautiful day and I am so ready for March, Spring, Summer… the rest of my life!

March 3

Since G and I talked, I have felt like the cord has been cut! Feeling grounded, solid, thankful, and hopeful. I am so proud of myself, it’s making me smile all the time. I truly love paying attention to my own needs!

Well. Today was another one of those super annoying days – my least favorite kind of day – I just wanted to relax and rest in bed and I asked the kids to tidy their rooms, get along and pick up the living room. They had two hours (unsupervised) to get it done. They did NOTHING. Then we had to scramble to get to Tatum’s birthday party and I lectured them, grounded them from ALL electronics until they could show me they know how to be more responsible. When they came home, they did pretty much the exact same thing which sent me from super irritated to angry and explosive. I yelled, I threatened to take all their stuff away while they’re at school and Jane said, “You’ll never see my face again because I’m so ugly!” Then Peter said, “Mommy, you’re making me feel like an idiot.”


I am literally creating abandonment wounds in my precious babies’ hearts. I’m making them feel inadequate, unloved, and detestable. I am ashamed. I feel small and powerless. This is one of those days/nights I would KILL to have a partner’s support. If I had been able to take my “Mom Hat” off for a couple of hours today, I could have unwound and reset. But I don’t get that space because food has to be made, chores have to be done, and kids have to be cared for – so my own care goes on the chopping block.

As I desperately uncovered my wrongs and mistakes to the kids at bedtime and asked for forgiveness (I guess they’re learning real well how to fess up when they screw up!). Jane said, “Mommy, why don’t me and Peter just tell you when your voice is getting too loud and then you can go to your room and take a break then come out and be calmer?” I said, “Great idea. It’s a deal.” And we shook on it. Then after talking to Peter, he said, “You need a consequence if you yell at us.” I said, “You’re right! How about I clean your room if I get out of control and yell at you?” He lit up! We shook on it.

I sure do feel like a failure tonight. I’m pretty sure I’m damaging their souls in some irreparable ways with my juvenile behavior. I wish I was better at this. But tonight was a wake up call. I need better systems that lend more support for myself. I need to be able to take care of myself when I am boiling so I don’t take it out on them. Here lies an opportunity to grow and allow my children to watch me learn from my mistakes and practice a new way.

God I hope I don’t fail them.

March 4

Busy day. Kind of stressful. Lots of work for C. Kids therapy, took Peter to the dentist, just so much. Big Mom day. Couldn’t stop smiling when my thoughts drifted… Thankful for these recent opportunities to grow. Excited and dreaming about a future partnership – the kind I’ve never experienced before. I’m proud of myself. I’m grateful for my journey that’s brought me here today.

E was encouraging today. She said I’m showing my kids how to be human, imperfect and all. She said the way they’re talking openly about how I made them feel is a result of what I’ve modeled. She also said next time I date someone, they can meet the kids, but spending time with them should only happen when he and I have decided we are building a future together (“marriage” track… or, in my case, “commitment” track). That was encouraging because it gives me freedom to take as much time as I want to date, get to know, and learn who a man is before I integrate the kids into it. FREEDOM.

However, that will mean I need to expand my ideas of dating/partnership. There will be a substantial period where he won’t see me as “mom” and potentially only get time with me “after hours” (after the kids bedtime). I’ll definitely want him to show his commitment to me through pursuing me, paying for sitters, working with my restricted schedule with the kids with great patience and kindness and generosity (HA!). I (we, me and the kids) deserve patience, graciousness, and lavish love.

I look forward to embracing someone who can appreciate, respect, and make room for me – all of me. I know now that I can have this because I’m worth it and my babies are worth it. We’re worth waiting for, fighting for, and choosing.

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane (9 years old) and Peter (7 years old)

G Frank: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S Sara: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L Kate: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z Liz: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O Chad: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

E Esther: Kids (bomb ass) therapist

Brother: My older brother

K: My sister-in-law (brother’s wife) and friend

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
Somatic Memories: Healing Body, Mind, and Soul

Somatic Memories: Healing Body, Mind, and Soul

Your body remembers significant mile markers along your life journey, even when your mind doesn’t. Today marks six years from the last fight we ever had. My body has been sluggish all week, feeling the magnetic pull to my bed. I only just realized why. I feel it in my spine and tightening muscles around my hips and shoulders–what this weekend symbolizes in my soul. Freedom. Isn’t that strange? My body constricts at the memory of how I reclaimed my freedom. The body and soul are intimately interwoven, and mine are remembering the process it took to get me here–safe, stable, whole again.

Exiting a toxic relationship is never easy, let alone one tangled with gaslighting, bipolar, depression, alcoholism, drugs, and codependency. It was like pulling my head out of a shark’s mouth–painful, bloody, no clean lines. So, that’s what my visceral memory is recounting. It took me four years to finally be able to truthfully declare: I am emotionally stable. And another two years after that to actually feel… I am going to be okay in life. 

Domestic violence is a funny thing, the way it sneaks up on you and eats away at your confidence, personality, and neural pathways… in silence. We assume we are safe inside our own minds, but victims of abuse have learned the hard way, this is not true. Once that is understood, it makes sense that it can easily take years to untangle the complex webs of toxic beliefs that were sown into our psyches. 

I mostly have amazing days, full of laughter, joy, and love. But a few days a year, my body remembers what I came from. I honor this pull. It’s sacred to me–remembering. I never want to forget the horrific lows of what it felt like to be treated less than human by the one who swore to love me for the rest of my life. I want to be able to tap back into those days of hollowing emptiness inside my chest. Why? Because it’s where empathy lives now. It is no longer re-traumatizing for me to think about my days as a victim (after substantial PTSD therapy), so I treasure those memories and emotions. They are what help me spread and teach hope and power to those who are wading through the dark hollows still. 

“Healing” isn’t linear, with clear directions and graduation points. Reconciling one’s past is excruciating at times, and I wasn’t ever actually interested in facing that kind of pain. But I chose to turn into the abyss of lost dreams and try to recover pieces of myself in hopes that I could somehow be able to give my kids something better than what I had. I started out doing it for them, but somewhere along the way, I ended up doing it for me.

As I collected the lost pieces of my soul, I learned the most valuable lessons of my life: I am worthy. I am enough. I belong. I am okay. It was in this learning that I began to accept my story–the abuse, the decisions I regretted, the divorce, the loss of myself. Acceptance didn’t mean it was acceptable to be treated poorly, but it meant it was okay to honor my past for bringing me here today. What follows this brave embracing of one’s self is perhaps one of human’s most precious capabilities: compassion.

When I learn how to extend compassion to myself (for all the things I wish I had done differently), I become capable of showing compassion to others. The same goes for caring for oneself, loving oneself, forgiving oneself, respecting oneself, embracing oneself. If we can get clear about practicing these patterns with ourselves, we will naturally create space and capacity in our lives to do these things for others. It’s magic.

So, yes. I am allowing myself to soberly sit in the memories of what this weekend represents for me: the beginning of my exodus to freedom. It isn’t painful to remember, it’s humbling. And at the same time, I feel immense pride for the six-year younger version of me who was brave enough to say, “No more.” She’s fucking radiant and I am honored to hold her in the deepest parts of my soul today. She has taught me so much, led me home, and reminded me of my humanity. I love her. I love me. 

To all the souls who are still wandering for your scattered pieces:

Carry on. You can do hard things. You are worth the often silent, lonely journey back to yourself. And I see you.

Photo by William Farlow Unsplash

Get Out of The F*cking Fairytale

Get Out of The F*cking Fairytale

I am deeply rooted in my efforts and ability to tell the truth and live honestly. I speak, write, coach, parent, and relate on the single steady foundation of honesty. To me, living honestly also means being aware and up front about any realizations of covert motives or agreements I’m trying to attach to a person or situation. For instance, I’ve been known to say, “Turns out, I was only dating you so I could feel worthy, but now I feel worthy on my own and no longer feel we are a dating match.” Brutal or honest? I say honest. So, imagine my surprise when I recently managed to wriggle free from a mental block that has been confining me for over two decades. The block: my lack of honesty. 

There have been many plot twists in my story–divorcing a megachurch pastor, him taking his own life six months later, raising grieving children alone, the absolute shit-show of dating post-marriage in my 30’s, and countless “epiphanies” of healing and freedom along the way–so, perhaps, this is just another notch in my “twisted story” belt. But it shook me down to a cellular level because it happened to challenge all those beautifully crafted “stories of honesty” I had been so triumphantly proclaiming. Through the course of relatively unimportant happenings, I landed flat on my face and locked eyes with this brutal discovery:

I’m the one holding myself back.

Oh, that’s cute, huh? Super life-coachy of me to say, “I’m the only one standing in my way.” But here’s what that actually meant. It meant this disgusting, vomit-in-my-mouth reality: I had been unconsciously waiting for a man to appear into the picture so I could then continue on with what I was meant to do, live, and be.

Gross. Why is that so utterly repulsive to me? Because I am a free-spirited, independent, and no less, happy woman goddammit! Why on earth would my subconscious ever allow for such a sadistic and treacherous motive to ever creep in? Needless to say, I was one hundred percent dumbfounded at this realization, so, naturally my mind began spinning a million miles per minute to figure out why, God, why I ever got into this mental trap to begin with and compensate for having stayed there so fucking long (two decades, remember?). 

Lucky for you, I will share a cute, tidy version of all the mind-fucking this actually took to retrieve:

After a decade-long regime in an abusive marriage (to the megachurch pastor), I came out rather tattered and wobbly. I had lost all sense of self–self-esteem, self-love, self-trust. It was gone. Because I have an overactive mind (which up to that point had been a curse), my recovery moved at an obscenely rapid pace. If I am one thing, I am obsessed with personal development. The three years following my wildly disappointing marriage were jam packed with sexual escapades (that for sure did not end up like you are imagining they did), so many tears I could have filled the Hudson, lots of fist-shaking at the heavens “why me!”, an ungodly reckoning with my liver by way of whiskey, and playing a tricky game of “catch up” in emotional and relational intelligence as I had taken a lengthy hiatus from those fields for over ten years in order to stay married (if I outgrew him, I’d be blamed for breaking the sacred vows we partook in). It was in playing “catch up” that I unlocked the majority of mental and emotional blocks that had me seek and tie myself to my abuser for so long, continue to chase unavailable men, and kept me adequately distracted from my own “shadow work” while at the same time safely making it seem like I was actually quite knowledgeable on emotional quotient (EQ). As I became aware of these blocks, I would release them and consciously build new habits, beliefs, or behaviors in their place. I was getting healthy! While all of this delicious healthiness was happening, I was also learning how to talk to my kids about mental illness and suicide (as this was what consumed their world having lost their dad to it), which meant lots of bittersweet, brutal fucking honesty. In that honesty is where I gave birth to a new standard of integrity for myself: to live and speak my truth as soon as I am aware of it. 

The safety and stability I have created for myself and my family is based on this commitment to myself. I will show up honestly every day to every situation with every person I’m in front of. Fucking honorable, right? Sure is. And it works. It’s an exhilarating way to live, but it is NOT easy. I have a lot of uncomfortable, difficult conversations. I’ve learned to get comfortable with discomfort. I’ve had to in order to keep living the story that’s turned out to be my life. 

As honorable as I’ve become, just like you and everyone else, I have a shadow. The shadow is the part of me that I’d prefer to keep to myself, not share with lovers, and pretend it doesn’t exist at all. Everyone’s shadow is a little bit different, but there are some blanket similarities with all of ours. For instance, shame. Shame is a shadow trait. Every human experiences shame. So, that’s nice to know we’re not alone in it. But our shadow likes to say, “But yikes! My shame is grosser than other people’s shame, so I shouldn’t talk about it, otherwise I might not be liked or loved or accepted.” Bullshit. Everyone’s shame is equally terrifying and gross. 

Speaking of shame, back to how I grotesquely and unknowingly–but maybe had a little inkling–put my life on HOLD while I powerlessly waited for some fairytale unicorn of a man to waltz in and start building an awesome conscious relationship with me… (for the record, I will never stop hating that this was ever true for me, but if I know myself–and I do–soon I will be able to honor this younger, idiot version of myself for leading me to the point of expansion.)

So I worked through a clusterfuck of heavy, ratchet ass feelings, drank my way through some grief, and came out the other end with some badass integrity. Cool story. Except for that damn shadow. It regularly and unpredictably shows up to keep inviting me to grow and find breakthroughs… unless I ignore it or waste my energy trying to hide it. Then it’ll become the big, bad wolf that huffs and puffs until it blows my whole life to smithereens. You probably know what I mean. 

My most recent shadow invitation began with a pity party–why is everyone else finding their person and not me? And ended with another sacred, completely unexpected mindfuck–because, baby girl, you’re still waiting to mooch off of someone else’s power instead of finding, taking, and living in your own. 


Power. That’s one of those residual effects of living honestly. You get a lot of power when you live in your own truth. And in a weird, twisty way, this whole shadow appearance about my powerlessness actually showed me how I can choose differently if I wanted to. And I do. So I did. 

Here is how Shadow Work usually works:

  1. Discontent. Not getting the results or outcome you wanted.
  2. Shadow appearance. Usually creepy and uninvited.
  3. The great choosing. You make a conscious or unconscious choice about Step 2.
  4. The reckoning. Your shadow fucks you up, and depending on what you chose in Step 3, this will either lead to the best life yet or it will lead to more pressure, pain, and pretending.
  5. Power or Powerless. Again, depending on Step 3, you will feel one of these.

Regardless of what other delectable outcomes I’ve had from the most recent shadow appearance (and there are a few), this is the biggest: Whether I’m aware of it or not, when I pretend to be anything lesser than who I am, I am only ever lying to myself. 

Here’s the deal, bosses, when we prevent ourselves from living in our truth–our full potential, our highest integrity–we are presenting the world with a smaller, and dare I say fake, version of ourselves. And if you’re like me, you were hoping someone else would come along, call “bullshit” on the whole facade and beckon you into full blossom.

Get out of the fucking fairytale. 

That’s not actually how it works. It looks more like we pretend we’re accomplishing all of the dreams and hopes we have for ourselves while secretly in the quiet of the night, lying awake sad or with a brick on our chests because we know there’s more, but we aren’t sure how to get it so it feels safer to never speak of it. So we don’t. We stay silent in our true experience, which happens to be a little disappointing and causes shitty feelings to linger from the night into the day. Those days and nights string together and before we know it we have chronic gut issues, headaches, insomnia tousled with the perpetual switch of the toggle between anxiety and depression, and we surmise that, “Yes, this is in fact, just who I am.” 

The danger of not allowing your shadow to teach you is this: You begin to think you ARE your shadow. And this. Well, it’s perhaps the precise source of our restless unhappiness. 

If you want to stop feeling like someone else has the power to make your life so amazing that you actually want to keep living it and start finding, choosing, and living in your own power, then stop lying to yourself. You’re only doing yourself a disservice when you pretend what is true isn’t and what isn’t is. Stop that shit immediately. Practice being aware of your thoughts and how often you discount your own experience–feelings, needs, pain. Bring all those swirling thoughts hanging out in the shadows of the back of your mind forward and turn a spotlight on them and start asking them some questions. Get curious about your own thoughts. This practice of awareness in and of itself is going to revolutionize your power meter.

Once you’ve become pretty aware of how often you shove your actual true self under the rug and tell him/her to “shut up and go away,” then you can start getting intentional about how you want to be honest about your true self (either with yourself or with others). You’ll be off the power charts when you start actively, consciously choosing how you want to show up (honestly or not). It’s really quite fascinating. I highly recommend this as a lifestyle. 

Whatever you decide to do with this information, I hope at a minimum you’ll stop lying to yourself. Because really, it’s not helping anyone in the long run, especially you. 

Watch the YouTube video

Listen to the Podcast

Why Virginity Might Not Be All You Think It Is

Why Virginity Might Not Be All You Think It Is

Guess what?! Your sexual experience doesn’t make you more or less valuable. Period. 

Neither does your relationship status or the number of divorces under your belt or all the “obvious, repetitive, horrible disaster” relationships you’ve chosen to get into or stay in over the years. 

They just don’t say a single thing about your worth. 

They are part of your story and you have many parts to that story. 

So, let’s not fixate, idolize, or obsess about how pure we can be or how tarnished we’ve become due to the pleasures we have or have NOT indulged in.

There is no formula we can insert ourselves in and come out the end as the MOST blessed or pure or beautiful. We are human. And that means we are made an entire world of other amazing things like:






And so much more. Let’s fixate on THOSE things. Because it’s in the choosing of those things, where we BECOME

We become big thinkers and active doers–unafraid to stand alone, but recognizing the value of community. Let’s teach our children that they can BECOME whoever/whatever/whenever they want. It is the gift each of us gets just for existing. 

Let’s learn for ourselves so we can teach our sons & daughters that we are more than the sum of our sexual activity. 

We are powerful humans who get to choose how BIG we live in the ways we are–kind, capable, conscious, collaborative, and creative.

Let’s stop living small and teaching the next generation to stay small by supporting and repeating implicit (and explicit) messages like:

“Virgins are whole.” (aka Because once you cross “the” line, you can never have your purity back (aka be whole again). You’re broken if you explored your sexuality–before or between marriage(s)–or if you were violated by incest, rape or molesation. And if you forbid yourself from getting to know your own sexual blueprint before you sign a paper and have a ceremony, then you can achieve the ultimate purity prize which no one in particular is assigned to adorn you with, but rest assured, IT’S REAL and it’s totally worth it).

“Sexual acts tarnish you.” (aka You can never be as “clean”, “acceptable”, or “valuable” as you were BEFORE you engaged in a sexual act. But what “act” this specifically pertains to is up to whomever is currently surrounding you–for some it’ll be actual penetration, for others it’ll be any form of arousal before you’ve said vows in front of people who will never be a part of your sexual discovery process, and still for others it’ll be kissing before your wedding. So! Good luck figuring out how to not be tarnished and forever less desirable and even repulsive. Better be safe and never touch anyone you think is attractive… or even talk to them).

“Your virginity is a gift to your future spouse.” (aka You’re destined to marry someone who is ALSO just as unconcerned with your lack of connection to yourself as you are, and this most certainly translates to your sexuality and other areas too. So, be sure and DON’T live in the present moment and appreciate all you are and have today, because maybe one day some hypothetical person is really, really going to want the BEST GIFT EVER–your lack of sexual experience and ignorance about what you like and want in the bedroom–Oooo, fun! Hope you live long enough to experience your hypothetical gift exchange. Death is so uncertain, so I hope THAT day doesn’t come before you do. And for anyone who isn’t sure they want to get married or is certain they don’t want to be married? Well, that’s just silly! You either want to get married as soon as possible or you want to get married a little bit later. Those are your two options. This formula is for everyone, and that’s all there is to it).

“There’s no greater treasure than a virgin bride.” (aka Men can’t help themselves b/c they’re biologically wired for sex, so don’t expect them to be virgins, but women don’t like sex as much as men, so they’re “purity” is a testament to how asleep they are to their own biology, desire, and destiny–to explore and dive intimately into every part of who they are sexually, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. But shhhh, don’t tell! What women don’t know won’t hurt them. Keep them thinking small and living inside the box or else, because think of what might happen if they didn’t–men AND women alike might go on sexual explorations without shame! Yikes! That’s not in the formula).

Ok, I could go on and on, but there’s no sense in beating a dead horse. A lot of people are probably appalled at my insinuation that all people should have sex BEFORE they get married (what can I say? I’m a rebel). The truth is, I actually couldn’t care less if people have sex (however they define that term) before marriage. As with ALL THINGS, I simply frown upon perpetuating ridiculous subliminal, implicit, covert messages AROUND the topic of “sexual purity”. Americans especially have fine-tuned the idealization of abstinence. To me, it sounds more like a dismissive approach, “Hey, listen, as a collective (parents, educators, clergymen) we’re not entirely sure or wholly committed to knowing each of you as individuals to have the hard and brave conversations about sexuality that would require. It actually makes us feel a little squirmy and uncomfortable. So, we’ve decided to just have you all STOP wanting it or doing it until you have the social/emotional intelligence to figure that out for yourself. And we’ll of course back that up with some religious doctrine so you will feel the shame of any inkling toward rebellion and that will only help you make the “right” choice. This will allow us to remain ignorant and just let you deal with this whole conundrum when we’re no longer responsible for your well-being.” 

Yeah. Am I wrong? I get it, nobody wants to admit to this or talk about it because then we actually have to acknowledge what’s happening.

So, here, let me get my point across with another elusive analogy. The American method for sex education is a lot like saying to a starving child, “Listen, I know you have an empty feeling in your stomach, that happens when you are biologically wired to eat and haven’t, but listen, you just can’t. If you choose NOT to eat, even though everything in you is made to do it, if you don’t, you’ll be more pure. Just trust me. There’s no actual scientific proof of this, of course, but it’s true. And, by the way, it will ALWAYS be harder for males to turn down food, so as a collective, we don’t really expect them to, but if one occasionally does, he’s a keeper no matter what other questionable behavior he may display. You can trust him if he has chosen not to eat until his wedding night. So, just don’t even play around with food. Just pretend you aren’t even curious about it. Oh, until your wedding feast of course! Then you should eat as much as you want! It won’t hurt and you’ll know exactly what you like, because you trusted the process and you dreamed about it your whole life. It’ll be the best experience of your life because you pretended you didn’t even want it or need it before, so that made you knowledgeable and ready to consume. You’ll be able to handle allllll the side effects of choosing to have your first meal at your wedding just fine– there will be no emotional, physical, or mental pain AT ALL.”

Ok, so maybe there are some holes in my analogy, but you get the point. Pretending the truth is a lie or somehow unnatural will never serve our race. Humans were wired to procreate. If there’s any question about this, just take a look at the male and female anatomy–it’s hard to argue with that. Regardless of what you think about my analogies, consider what you’ve been taught about sex, your sexuality, and all the “shoulds” that surround the topic. Did those teachings serve you well in adulthood? Did you feel free to live fully expressed? Were they confining or damaging in any way? If you could go back, how would you educate yourself about your sexuality and sex in general? 

Now, if you have children of your own, consider what you are or will be teaching them (whether with or without words). I am raising my kids to be conscious, critical, and FREE thinkers, and that means I tell them the TRUTH about humans as a WHOLE. For instance:

  1. The masculine and feminine are equally valuable and uniquely designed–for a REASON. It’s our gift to get curious and discover how and why we are different and made to complement each other as masculine and feminine entities.
  2. We are more than the sum of our experiences. That means our sexual history, our trauma, our upbringing, our color/race/status/religion does not define WHO WE ARE. We are far more complex and sacred than those kinds of one-dimensional identifiers.
  3. Humans are constantly evolving, which means we will be in a continuous dance to get to know ourselves and choose who we want to be. You can choose to be aware of this. This is the life of consciousness. This is what it means to live outside the box and not follow the crowd just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Humans are not a system, we are an organism. Each of us is worth discovering every part of what makes us… us.
  4. Sex is a natural part of the human experience. Our bodies are designed for pleasure, productivity, power, and purpose. This is one of the most compelling and universal experiences we will have in life, so enjoy the process of discovering YOU.
  5. Truth does not lie. No matter the audience (young or old, religious or atheist, color or nation), culture, situation, job, goal, or perception, the truth is a super power. The truth has the power to pierce through every social, economical, cultural, physical, and spiritual barrier so it can be seen. Our only job as humans is to make space for it. We begin to do this by practicing identifying and speaking our truth.

Being human is a journey. There is no destination for our intellect, desires, or connections. Identifying who we are is much more complex than a number of partners, a score on a standardized test, or our ability to articulate what we know, what we’ve seen, or what we believe. Humans are sacred, evolving organisms. I think it’s about time we start treating ourselves that way.

We can only teach what we believe to be true ourselves. That’s why parenting is such a gift for those who desire it. It asks us to explain, process, and prove why we believe what we believe. We will always have the choice to deny the whole truth and play small, pretend reality is more picturesque than it is painfully human, or practice shame where we are being called to acceptance, but let us make our choices with care. For it is our choices of today that become our substance of tomorrow. There are little eyes, big systems, and potent beliefs that are forming all around what we choose. As we choose, may we forgive ourselves, deepen our truth, and free those who follow us.

His Suicide Taught Me How to Live

His Suicide Taught Me How to Live

My (ex) husband took his life September 15, 2016. After a tumultuous 10 year marriage and only six months after our divorce was final, he ended his lifelong battle with mental illness. The crazy thing about it is that even though our marriage was always hard–he was abusive and constantly tormented by his own mind–I loved him. I still do. Some days my whole body aches to see and hold him again. Grief is weird–confusing sometimes and other times it’s healing. It’s “normal” in my family now as my two kids and I continue to discover life after losing our very important person.

Sometimes grief shows up in my dreams. Recently, I had a dream my husband came back to life three years after his death and we began to live again… together. I kissed and hugged and squeezed him, laughing and crying, in shock and so thrilled and confused! I was a giddy mess and he was… very solemn and uncertain. His main concern after his resurrection was the shame of the impact of his actions. He had chosen to die, and now he was back. How were our friends and family going to handle him knowing he willing inflicted them all with the pain of his suicide? 

Shame. It covered him. And just like I had habitually responded to his pre-death shame spirals, I swooped in to assure him everyone was going to be so thankful he’s alive, his cause of death wouldn’t provoke them to retract their love and excitement for his return. Although my affirmations of the value of his life were the same as they were before his suicide (“you matter, you’re loved, you’re wanted”), something felt very different. I was very different. As I scurried around to arrange reintroducing him to the world and all our people, I felt strangely whole.

When I awoke and began to process the dream, I realized what felt so different in the dream. See, I have spent the last three years since his death doing some megawork on myself–personal development on steroids–and as a result, I even showed up in my dreams differently. This time, when I had the chance to talk, touch, and be with my first love, I brought my new self to the scene. I’ve learned a lot about mental illness, suicide, relationships, connection, and self worth since his death, and as we sat together in my dream, it was all there with us. All the new tools, authenticity, understanding, and love. I loved him better in my dream than I was ever able to when he was alive. I heard him, understood him, connected with him, not because he was better, but because I knew how to show up this time. 

Then my heart dropped to my stomach and the grief wave came crashing in. I don’t actually get to show up differently with my husband. I don’t actually get to love him better (healthier, wholly as me). I don’t actually get to apply all that I’ve come to know to our very fragile relationship. Because it was just a dream… 

I know that dreams lack details (like his battle with bipolar and his history of abuse with me), but what this dream showed me was something precious and priceless:

I learned how to live whole because he died broken. I understand the sacredness of living because I know the pain of someone giving up their gift of life. I discovered the key to life is connection because he never felt how deeply needed, seen, known, and treasured he was. 

I show up to life differently because I lost my first love to suicide. I am more present with our kids. I work everyday to connect better with myself and others because I now know connection is what tethers me to the land of the living. I don’t ignore my own pain or anyone else’s because now I understand how ignored pain can lead to the worst thoughts and actions a human can make. And most of all, I love differently because I didn’t get to love him the way I wanted. I didn’t have the tools back then, but I do now. I know how to choose myself and set boundaries so others can love me safely and fully. I know how to softly, openly approach others so they can feel seen and protected by my love. I know how to create wide open spaces in my heart and mind for my loved ones to dwell.

My dream showed me how big I know how to love now. Oh, how my heart wishes he could experience my new ability of love; the ache is heavy knowing I can’t love him this way and he will never feel it. But I do get to love our kids with it. They get to grow up under it, surrounded by it, being shaped by it. So, I guess his lesson on love lives in my expression of love, and that is a love story that is only just beginning.



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