How do you know if your ‘gut instinct’ is your intuition or fear?

I have a confession to make. It’s hard for me to trust.

Mostly myself. The runner-up is usually God.

As a recovering control-freak, I like everything ‘just-so’, which means leaving room for the unexpected, even if it’s a better outcome than what I had planned, is hard.

I’m really good at mapping it all out, and while sometimes that’s useful, often it’s useless. The doubt still sneaks in; is the thing I figured out, the choice I made, really good enough?

So then I bank on you; anyone else but me to have the answer. Eyes darting to and fro, looking for safety whenever I can’t find center anymore.

A few years back I asked a mentor, “How do you know the difference between your intuition and fear?” I asked because I wanted a simple way to discern what was real wisdom inside me, and what was just a shit-storm of emotions. I wanted rules, or at least guidelines to help me make my choices.

Except that desire to follow someone else’s way of doing things, was just another symptom of what made it so hard to trust in the first place.

This year I spent many days and weeks with a weight on my heart, a gnawing in my stomach, an overall feeling of ‘blah’. Something didn’t feel right. I wanted to go.

“Go where?”, you ask. I can’t tell you. Just anywhere but here; in this house, on this street, in this country, with this weather, in this marriage, with myself.

The desire to go floods my body, leaving me in a pool of tears.

The pain in my heart, something I gladly want to run away from. Move back in with my parents. Immerse myself in village life in Africa. Get a job with a compelling organization in New Mexico.

The options, while enticing, never quite bring a sense of peace, leaving me once again in this dance of, ‘should I stay or should I go now?’. The all-consuming heartache feels oh so very real. Yet the simple, almost silent ‘stay’, has an equally magnetic force.

I choose to stay, and in the status of ‘stay’, begin to see.

The inexplicable grief, unwarranted despair, and the whirr of the sleepless nights… while I am for sure living that experience, it also is not fully me.

Dr. Gabor Mate defines trauma as ‘disconnection from self’, and while I was very viscerally connected to the pain in my body, I also was not connected to the heart of me.

When I asked that question a few years ago, I wanted an answer that said something like, “When you feel bad in your body, it means the situation you’re in is bad for you. When your body feels good, you can trust you’re in the right place.”

Another binary way of interpreting life as either-or, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, that misses the possibility of a 3rd option, the both-and.

Instead of, “I am in pain, this is bad”, (and let me try to make this stop), “I am in pain, AND I can choose to stay with the pain so I don’t ignore it, numb it, or try to fix external circumstances to make it go away.”

Here’s another one. The instinct to stop the pain is a protective mechanism that’s useful, AND sometimes what we’re feeling are stale left-overs from an old story that’s past it’s sell-by date. Sometimes the pain resurfaces when it’s time to say good-bye and create a new story.

Not only is trauma the state we’re in when we’re disconnected from the core of who we are, in the space of that disconnection, we can loop through a variety of fear responses, because we think controlling everything, running away, or pretending it’s all ok with either get us back home to ourselves, and/or keep us safe.

And in those moments, because your response worked so well last time, the fear can feel very familiar and trustworthy.  It’s also likely that it’s not really the advice that deep down you want to listen to.

In my case, the idea of running away is enticing. I can go ‘find myself’ in a warmer, sunnier climate, in a community where everyone speaks my spiritual language of house music, and my partner never leaves a trail of salt and pepper on the counter when he seasons the meat.

While that sounds delicious, running away also comes with a price. It perpetuates the addiction to self-righteousness. It allows for the story of ‘my way is the high-way’ to keep looping in my life. It gives me permission to keep shaming that which I decide is flawed.

Fear, even when it’s coated in really pretty icing, doesn’t always taste good. Because it’s missing a key ingredient: Love.

And Love, at our core, is who we truly are.

So when Gabor Mate says ‘trauma is when we are disconnected from who we are’, he might as well be saying, trauma is when we are disconnected from Love.

And when I was asking the question, ‘how do you know the difference between your intuition and fear?’, really what I was asking is, how do you know the difference between fear and love?

I will borrow from the I Corinthians description of Love to help answer that question as I see it. Perhaps this invites you to come up with your own way of discerning the two.

Love is patient: Rushing? Frenzied? Fear, not Love

Love is kind: Putting yourself or others down? Not Love.

It does not envy: Feeling behind? Wishing you were further along? Not Love.

It does not boast, not arrogant, or rude: Thinking you’re better than everyone else? Not Love.  

Does not insist on its own way: Control-freak? Not Love.

Not irritable or resentful: Those thoughts that make you pissed off at everyone? Not Love.

Does not rejoice in wrong-doing: The scheme to come out on top at the expense of others? Not Love.

I read this list, and think, ‘oops, I did it again’.

Of course I did, because at some point, those ‘not love’ responses were the things that helped me succeed. And so I trusted them.

Thankfully there is more: Love bears all things (even the grief, the heartbreak, the knot in your stomach), believes all things (even when it’s hard to trust), hopes all things (even in a year like 2020), endures all things (even as you resolve your trauma, step out of the patterns that you’ve come to rely on, and find your way back home to yourself.)

As we go into the second week of the  ‘24 reasons to Celebrate 2020 Advent-ure’, (join in on Instagram, Facebook, or email) it may feel like, “But wait, I don’t want to be boasting about myself.” Here’s the thing: this isn’t just about celebrating you.

Because, for all the times you chose….

Care: when you could’ve shut down and neglected yourself.

Courage: when you could’ve stayed quiet and in hiding.

Joy: when you could’ve harped on all the ways the situation wasn’t good enough.

To let the spirit move you and Create: when you could’ve numbed out with Netflix.

To Trust: when you could’ve fought your way out, ran away, or stayed frozen waiting for certainty.

Rest: when you could’ve burned yourself out trying to prove your worth

To Receive: when you could’ve shut down and cut yourself off from the gift that was right there waiting for you.

…you were choosing Love.

So as you find 24 reasons to Celebrate 2020, really, you are celebrating Love.

As you notice the moments where Love wins, you are also celebrating the Source from which all Love flows (whatever name you have for that is great), the ways in which it shows up and reveals itself, and the moments when you reconnected to who you most truly are… an expression of Love itself.

Remembering who you are and where you came from… this is how you learn to trust.

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

Can you find 24 reasons to celebrate 2020?

We made it! Well almost. One more month left in 2020. If you’re still breathing, you did well.

Usually December comes and I am ready to crawl into my wintry hibernation mode. I was tempted to do that this year too, except I realized with that hibernation also comes isolation. I’ve had enough of that lately.

What I need instead is a reason to celebrate.

This time of year it’s easy for the anxieties in the form of guilt and doubt to creep in.
“I should’ve done more.”
“I’m not far enough along.”
“Did anything I do this year even matter?”

Sound familiar?

If so, then let’s turn this old story on its head and find a reason to celebrate.

Did you ever have an advent calendar as a kid? Whether it was Christmas story snippets, chocolates, or tiny toys, the fun of not knowing what today’s gift will be never gets old.

So for 24 days in December, let’s play a game.

An advent treasure hunt of sorts to look back on this year and find 24 reasons to celebrate your body, your self, or your life.

Don’t worry you don’t have do this on your own. I’ve got a map for you.

24 prompts for you to ‘fill in the blank’. As in, “The track with the most plays for 2020 is….”. (I don’t know the track, but this playlist has been on repeat for a while in my house.)

  1. I’ll share the day’s prompt on Instagram and Facebook from Dec 1 – 24. 
  2. On Tuesday’s Dec 1, 8, 15 and 22 you’ll get the week’s worth of prompts in your inbox (sign up here) so you have them in advance and don’t have to be on social media.
  3. You can use the prompts to journal or meditate on.
  4. Or maybe you want to get a little more creative and make a photo, or actual, collage. Or something else to nourish that more creative and soulful side of you.
  5. If you want to ‘keep score’, make a note of how you feel after finding that day’s gift. What’s the status of your body and your heart?

Follow along, invite your friends to play, and let’s finish out this year with a little less fear and a little more love in our hearts.

Game Rules

A little side note before we get started….

The number one thing I learned from Rachael Maddox’s ReBloom trauma training I’ve been in this year is this:

When something is difficult, you start with what’s easy.

Seeing as most of this year was difficult, this celebratory treasure hunt is a way to balance that out.

As you start to put your focus on to what is working, the moments of health, the times when you felt good, you are reminding your nervous system, as well as your mind and your soul, that somehow, despite the loss and hardship, all is still well.

Life has range. So do you. And expanding your capacity to notice what is good, is good medicine. It nurtures the ‘Both-AND’.

As in, “it was hard to get out of bed AND I still got up and brushed my teeth.”

It’s the either-or that keeps us looping in a state of fear and anxiety.

So if you want to play, remember there’s no right or wrong answer. In case your inner critic wants to know how you’re doing, here’s the 3 rules:

1. Compassion – Assume you did the best you could with what you had
2. Curiosity – Pretend you just landed on earth; what might you discover about yourself?
3. Everything Counts – nothing is too big or too little to give yourself credit for

Ok, let’s go have some fun!

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

An Embody playlist: Vote for Love

It’s election day in my home country and I’m feeling all the feels. So I made an Embody playlist to move to.

It’s called Vote for Love. You can find it on Spotify.

If you’re feeling unsettled, anxious, hopeless, helpless, and not sure you can handle a particular outcome, try this on. Before you vote, while you vote, after the votes come in.

Let’s remember we’re in this together. There’s going to be heartache regardless who wins. Policies will be made that help some and harm others, and then they will be reversed and the harmed will be helped and the helped will be harmed. Governments will come, and then they will go.

And yet Love never fails.

Vote for love. With your body, with your words, in your heart, in your soul.

Even if you can’t actually cast a ballot in the US election, you can still vote for Love.

Your dance is a prayer that doesn’t need words to be heard.

If you’ve been to an Embody class, you know what to do. If this is your first encounter with Embody, here’s the deal…

When I string together an Embody playlist, I select songs that feel like they are messages from God. They act like mini sermons on my heart, inviting me closer to who I am, closer to the source of it all.

I’ve written out the ‘sermon’ for today’s playlist, along with some movement cues for you. Read them before, during, or after pressing Play, or not at all. The Love will still come through.

  1. Love is All Around (Sleeping at Last): It is here. Even when you can’t see it. Even when you can’t feel it. Look. Listen. Taste and See all that is good right here and now. (Look around your space. See if you can find the Love. Feel your feet on the floor, your fingers on your clothes. What does Love feel like in your body?)
  2. Grace feat East Forest (MC Yogi): Pray for Grace. Pray for strength not of your own. Pray for miracles. Pray for the highest good. (Notice where you’re holding on in your body, breathe into the tension just a little bit deeper, let go just a little bit easier as you exhale.)
  3. Slip into Something more Comfortable (Kinobe): Mmmmm!!! Yum!!!! Oh my goodness have we forgotten the possibilities? Let’s breathe some life into what feels good! Sink your hips into the more beautiful world you know deep down is possible. Let your body remember what it’s like to delight in your YES! What is the YES for your life? Our world? Let your body taste the possibility of life, of health, of wholeness. (Reach your hands to the sky, roll your hips side to side, follow whatever feels good in your body, trust where it takes you.)
  4. You don’t Love Me – No No No (Dawn Penn): Permission to say NO. Permission to trust your instinct. For what you know is right and wrong. Permission to call them out. Permission to say what’s what. You know. Deep down. You know what is Love. You know what it’s not. You know that neglect of the vulnerable, exploitation of the earth, shaming the other, repressing the truth, power corrupted by greed, violence to bodies of all colors, building walls of any kind, stripping ones voice, silencing choice, taking without consent…. Let it be heard, you know this is a NO. (Move those hips, shake those shoulders, let your hands reach out and push away all that it’s time to say NO to.)
  5. It’s Like That (Run D.M.C.): That’s the way it is. Shit happens that is not OK. Let’s not deny it. Let’s not ignore what is happening. It’s time to face the music. It’s time to feel your heart. It’s time to feel your anger. Don’t fight it. It doesn’t have to consume you. Let it heal you. Let it heal us. Feel the burn. In your heart. In your bones. It’s time to burn off the coping strategy that kept you numb. It’s time to burn off the shame that keeps you blaming the world. It’s time to make peace with your rage. (Stomp your feet, clap your hands, shake your head, push the wall, squat up and down, let the heat rise and feel the burn in your body).
  6. Hey Boy, Hey Girl (Chemical Brothers): Ok, here we go. We’re in this together. Here in the chaos. Here in the crazy. How did we get here? It doesn’t matter. What matters is we stay. In the messy middle. Meet the inner demons. Tear down the walls, shake it all up. Toss what it’s time to leave behind. Pick up the pieces. Take with us what’s needed to create a new future. Where we all know we matter. Where we all belong to each other. Where we’re all fuelled by Love. Here we go now. (Go nuts, let loose, jump up and down, throw pillows, let out a roar, make a mess as you tear up the dance floor).
  7. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley & The Wailers): Don’t worry about a thing, everything little thing’s gonna be alright. What part of you knows this to be true? What part wants to trust? Can you feel the innocence in your body? Can you let yourself dance into the arms of Love? Can you find what is good, right here in this very moment? (Move your body like you were a little kid again. Bop around, twirl, or curl up and cuddle with your favorite stuffed animal… cuz I know you still got one.)
  8. Weapon of Choice (Fatboy Slim): You’ve got choice. You can stay on high alert and worry about the future. You can let it all weigh you down and spiral into depression. You can camp out on the Left. You can rally to the Right. Or…. 3rd option, come with us. Do something different. Leave the distraction behind. Find the common ground. Do the thing that makes your neighbor smile. Who knows, it might even be fun… (Wiggle, giggle, swing yourself around, do the chicken dance, let your body laugh).
  9.  All 4 Love (Mark Knight, Rene Amesz, Tasty Lopez): Whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say, however you vote, do it all for Love. It’s that simple. (Can you feel it yet? The hope, the possibility, the joy, the Love? Keep fueling that fire in your body.)
  10. Stay Human 2 (Michael Franti & Spearhead): We’re in this together. We’re feeling all the feels together. The person who looks different, prays different, votes different, isn’t the enemy. Let’s remember where we came from. Let’s dance together. (Throw your hands up high. Let the tears roll down. Let your heart beam bright.)
  11. It is Well (Bethel Music): Let this sink in. It is well. It is well. If nowhere else, it is well, in my soul. This is what matters most. The cleansing of your heart. The peace in your soul. (Let yourself rest. Lie down, lean against the wall. Close your eyes, let yourself be held by whatever your body needs to remember who you are, where you came from, and that you are held by the infinite arms of Love. Right here. Right now.)

And so it is.

Thank you to all the artists who followed their creative flow and gifted us with this music. Thank you to Nadia Munla for allowing Embody to be created through her. Thank you to you, yes you, reading this, letting yourself be moved by this.

This is my prayer for my country. This is my vote.


For those who want to dance together, I facilitate Embody classes at the Embody Collective. Come dance with us weekly. Cast your vote for Love. Join the movement. Reclaim your weapon of choice.

Photo by Noorulabdeen Ahmad on Unsplash

Why Embody? Learn to trust the sweetness of surrender

My Monday mornings start with a 30 minute phone call with a friend, opening the week in prayerful contemplation. Today led us to the book “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson; it opened to this prayer.

“I surrender this to you. May it be used for your purposes. I ask that my heart by open to give and receive Love. May all the results unfold according to your will.”

The process of Surrender is a lifelong practice. Like peeling an onion, you think you’ve got it nailed and then life reminds you there’s a whole other layer to become acquainted with.

I get it if this is not the invitation you were hoping for this Monday morning.

The thought of surrender might make you feel like you’re free-falling without a parachute. Not something that is easy to trust when your nervous system has been wired to hold on to what you know is certain.

Letting go of control is more than just a spiritual thing; it’s a body thing too.

Your body needs a reminder that loosening the grip in your hands, shoulders, lower back, hips, tips of your toes, is OK. That the whole world is not going to fall apart if you breathe a little more deeply.

It’s likely the movement practices you grew up with support the strengthening of your grip. The sit-ups, squats, even planks and chair poses that promise hard abs and glutes also reinforce the ability of your fascia, tendons, and muscles to work together to harden and contract.

Surrender is easiest when you soften. I know, when was the last time a soft body the thing you’ve been aiming for!?

But maybe this is the very thing deep down you’ve been praying for.

That gnawing feeling in your gut that you’re doing too much and need to slow down.

The searing pain in your shoulders as you watch the news and see yet another fire, murder, political slandering and other signs of destruction and separation.

The resentment building in your heart that once again he didn’t take out the garbage.

These sensations and emotions are easier to greet when your body has already tasted the sweetness of surrender.

Surrender isn’t giving up or giving in. It just means you get to stop fighting with what is.

The ease of letting your belly take up space instead of sucking it in.

The spaciousness that arrives when your shoulders let gravity do the work.

The openness in your heart as you let the ache wash away with cleansing tears.

The prayer for an open heart is often answered with an invitation to loosen the grip and to soften. Not just emotionally, in your body too.

The good news is this doesn’t have to feel like a workout at the gym. You won’t be asked to do reps until your muscles are shaking from the stress.

It’s actually the opposite; a practice of cooperation with the status of your heart and what feels good in your body.

This is what I guide clients with, and it’s the beauty of what the movement practice of Embody has to offer.

In the middle of a year that has thrown up so much uncertainty, trusting the process might feel kamikaze and yet somehow you know it’s the only way.

Embody gives you a way to tiptoe into your own practice of surrender in the most enjoyable, feel good way possible… dance parties.

With the support of other women walking this walk with you, you’re guided to listen to the language of your body and let your movement unfold naturally, without planning it all out or needing to perfect it.

As your body begins to surrender to what feels good, your heart begins to trust again.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “That’s great, but how can I get to an Embody class when I’m in an ever-changing local lockdown situation?”

Well, you prayed and God listened. Here’s an answer.

It’s called The Embody Collective… a community to nourish your body and soul with movement as we navigate the ever changing landscape of life together.

I’m honored to be one of 4 coaches and guides facilitating classes and workshops. You can read all about it here. For the month of November, you’re invited to join us for free.

Embody is my go-to movement practice when I can tell it’s time to start praying for my heart to open. I hope you come practice with me.

Using GRACE as a foundation for your relationships

We have our first patron on Patreon! And it’s my sister!

I got the news after waking up from a nightmarish dream that my 3 yr old niece had hit her younger sister with the new hardcast on her wrist.

At 4am I checked my phone to see if my sister had left me any frantic messages. There was a notification in Whatsapp; ‘Oh shit, my dream was actually true!’. And then I read her message… “I think I’m your first patron!”

I almost cried.

Partially from relief that my little nieces were safely tucked in bed, and partially because I could feel the gesture of Love through her participation in The Sanctuary and Conversations on Being Human.

Family relationships are tough. Their shit meets your shit on a daily if not hourly basis. Sometimes you find a way to keep it together, sometimes you don’t.

My sister and I have had our fair share of arguments. There’s things about each of us that drives the other nuts.

When I was 10, I got so enraged at her, it felt like I wanted to kill her. I screamed and slammed the door in her face, bruising her forehead. Thankfully she was ok.

But even though there wasn’t a physical scar, there was an emotional one.

To be the victim of someone else’s rage when you didn’t actually do anything wrong. To get the brunt of someone else’s anger, because they don’t have anywhere else to put it. To be named and shamed for who you are, just because the other person hasn’t come to terms and fully accepted who they are.

Those dynamics play out over and over. Between siblings, spouses, parents and children, and of course they spill out of private homes and into the streets, workplaces, prayer places, and everywhere else.

Until you notice, name, and accept the part of yourself that causes harm to another, it sneaks around in the shadows and turns into your worst nightmare: it destroys.

So what is another way? How do we attempt to reconcile the past and plant seeds for a more restorative future?

I’ve been playing with the word ‘grace’ as an acronym for relating to others.

Generosity & Gratitude

Respect & Reverence

Acceptance & Awe

Care, Cooperation & Curiosity


This sums up what Amber and I are hoping to create within The Sanctuary. It’s the core message within the Conversations on Being Human that have been recorded so far. It’s the vision we hold for relationships, whether in your immediate family, or in across groups of people that look, pray, eat, think, drink, be different.

Below are the expanded values that you’re invited to embody with us in The Sanctuary and beyond. As you savor them, perhaps see what it feels like to try GRACE on with

  • a stranger.
  • a friend or someone you like.
  • someone in your family.

Notice how your body might respond as you imagine treating these individuals with GRACE. What feels easy and heart-warming? What feels challenging and maybe even stressful? How can you cooperate with your own experience, letting it be OK for there to be challenge, and breathing into what feels easy?

Values for The Sanctuary & Conversations on Being Human

We hold the vision for using GRACE as a bridge between individuals, groups, ideas, and differences.

Generosity & Gratitude: We stand for making the most generous assumption that I, you, and another is doing the best they can with what they have, and finding gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow from interactions with those that are different to us.

Respect & Reverence: We treat each other with respect and dignity, even when our stuff gets triggered. We see each human as a divine creation and stand in reverence of the possibility that perhaps we might get a glimpse of God through interacting with another human.

Acceptance & Awe: We aim to accept our own imperfections and flaws so that we have a greater capacity to accept the imperfections and flaws of others. We also believe in the awesomeness of each person and hold a vision for the individual embodiment of our passion and purpose.

Care, Cooperation & Curiosity: We recognize that in community, we balance the different needs of each person as well as the group. We encourage taking good care of yourself in order to offer that care to others. Tread lightly. Cooperate, even with what feels difficult. When you don’t understand, ask a question. What can I learn in this moment?

Empathy: We are on the journey with you and each other. Even if we haven’t walked in your exact shoes we can imagine what it might be like to be you. You can ask any question even if you’re not sure it’s the right question to ask, name a belief even if you’re ashamed of it.

In a nutshell, you’re invited to come as you are, and we hope that by walking with GRACE, we chip away at the shackles that we all know all too well: the idolization of perfectionism, the fear of vulnerability, and shame projected as self-righteous judgement.

To allow ourselves to live in GRACE we do not tolerate blatant bullying, passive-aggressive comments, judgement, or shaming of ourselves or others in the Sanctuary. While you don’t have to be perfect, and we anticipate trip-ups and foot-in-mouth moments, we first and foremost invite your adult self to join us.


As you step into this week, consider what it would be like to start with GRACE. Remember that trip-ups are allowed. You don’t have to get it right from the get-go. You can plant one seed, lay one brick in the bridge, and take one step at a time.

How you can help expand the message of GRACE

I’m part of a new creation to bridge the gap across the many divides that create ‘us vs them’ and ‘the other’.

Conversations on Being Human is a podcast, with the first 6 episodes available to supporters of this movement.

We’re creating this on Patreon so we can easily invite others into the shared conversation through on-line community gatherings called The Sanctuary.

When you Listen, you are taking a stand that this message is important.

When you Gather with us, you turn GRACE into a practice.

When you Travel with us, you equip yourself to bring more GRACE into your home and community.

Our first online community gathering is scheduled for Saturday September 26th, and is open to all patrons. Check it out at

Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Unsplash

How self-acceptance makes way for peace

There’s another ‘Conversations on Being Human’ to share with you. In this one, Amber Wheatley sheds some light on what it’s like to live in a black body, answering the unasked question, ‘What’s it like to be you?’

There are things I take for granted that Amber helped me understand.

Like how I can sit in my back yard, and when the police drive by, it doesn’t cross my mind that they might be coming for me.

Or how I can walk down the street in a sweatshirt and I’m not stopped and questioned by the police.

And how I can be just one person in the crowd, and if things go sideways, I will probably be the last person held responsible.

It never dawned on me that if I was born with a black body, I might be living in a relatively constant state of anxiety or paranoia, because these ‘normal’ situations of chilling in my garden, wearing a sweatshirt, going for a walk, and gathering in a crowd, might not feel safe.

That question, ‘What’s it like to be you?’, is a hard one to ask. Do we really want to know? Is it not easier to hide behind our own assumptions, creating a story about why ‘the other’ does what they do?

‘Othering’…. That’s another thing we touched upon. As you’ll hear in the conversation, this is really where I get my back up. Whether it’s white or black, Left or Right, Christian or non-Christian, fat or slim, we get caught in our own biases about what is right and what is wrong.

We all do it. I do it.

Call it a Universal Sin.

Today I was listening to Day 2 of Charles Eisenstein’s new course, Political Hope. I highly recommend tuning in to it. It’s free for another 5 days.

He also talks about this idea of ‘othering’, and named the underlying dynamic with even more clarity: a polarizing war mentality.

What really hit home for me, is when he named a potential cause for this war mentality that separates us into categories and groups: self-rejection and conditional self-approval.

If I make X amount of money then I will like myself. If I lose Y amount of weight, then I will stop fighting with my body.

Does this sound familiar? Maybe you have a similar if-then statement that dictates your life. An ideal outcome you’re aiming for that your self-worth hinges on.

Chances are that in trying to achieve that outcome, there’s a fight going on, if nothing more than an internal tug-of-war.

A need for rest, that gets bypassed because there is too much to do.

A desire for your work to be aligned with your values, which gets overridden as soon as a lucrative offer comes along.

An instinct that this person isn’t going to be good for you, that gets ignored because you’re craving relationship.

The truth that your relationship with food and exercise is doing more harm than good, but you’re not ready to trust your body’s natural wisdom.

The push-pull of wanting to achieve whatever goal you think offers safety and security, competing with a deep knowing that if you stayed true to who you are, you would walk down a different path.

Perhaps not a path that gets you as many likes on your Instagram profile, but one that might bring you more peace.

And once you’ve made peace with yourself, then maybe you could be a beacon for peace between you and another, a bridge between you and ‘the other’.

Listen on Soundcloud

The Sanctuary

The vision we have for ‘Conversations on Being Human’ is that they act as kindling; igniting a flame in your heart to gather with others to learn, heal, and inspire regulated steps towards peace. We are creating a way to do this through a membership-based ‘Sanctuary’, starting in September. There is one more ‘Conversations on Being Human’ on its way to you before we transition to a new subscription-based platform to support the ongoing creation of these conversations.

We are looking for a 3rd person to help with tech-support and spreading the word. Can you edit audio? Good with words? Have your own flavor of ‘marketing’ that values relationship over ‘the sell’? We’d love to hear from you and have you come on board by the end of August. Get in touch with Kendra through this link.


Are you ready to make peace with your body and yourself? I support clients with reclaiming self-worth, trusting yourself, and confident self-expression. Here’s how we could work together. Start with an exploratory conversation to see if we’re a good fit.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Would you make peace with your body to make peace for our world?

Back in April I had some inspiration to create a couple of e-courses about reclaiming your body as an ally and something to celebrate.

I was a decent way through creating the first one, and then George Floyd was killed, riots started, Trump gave a green light for military force, and the reality check of the racial injustice, power struggles, and story of separation (to quote Charles Eisenstein) that we live within floored me. I spent a number of days on my knees, weeping, praying, groaning. Feeling a heartbreak that I can’t explain with words.

When I tried to get back into creative mode, my energy was zapped. “Why do they [these courses] even matter anymore?”, I asked myself.

Liking what you see in the mirror, feeling good about yourself, and finding your flow felt shallow and self-serving. It felt like there were bigger fish to fry than women with white skin (the majority of who these courses are likely to reach) learning to love their bodies.

So I pressed pause. Once again swimming in the dark pool of the unknown, praying to God, “What do you want from me?”

This weekend, an answer started to come. A lightbulb shining on this:

That while racism points to something much deeper than the color of someone’s skin, maybe a place to start is with the most obvious thing: the body.

And not just the differentiating characteristics of black, white, and brown, but also thin, fat, tall, short, curly or straight haired, able-bodied or not. All the ways we separate ourselves into categories and believe one better than the other.

I’ve been sitting with this, starting to write and have conversations about this. There is likely more to unfold.

At this point all I have is a question for you.

If you knew that making peace with your own body was a foundational step to knocking down the wall that divides us into ‘us vs them’, breeding resentment, shame, hate, oppression, and other evils of the world, would you do it?

Would you make peace with your own body, your own self, as a prayer for peace in this world?

I tried to articulate something to this effect in the TEDx talk I was invited to give in 2017 (by my friend Amber Wheatley, a woman with black skin I am now having quite insightful and healing conversations with around the topic of race. Race wasn’t mentioned in this talk, however, if you watch it, you can add ‘very different skin color’ at minute 14:45.).

Last week I listened to a talk by Bear Hebert  on unpacking whiteness, and was introduced to the concept of ‘collective liberation’ (I know, I’m a little late to the game.)

Collective liberation is the idea that none of us are free until everyone is free.

That a white body isn’t free until a black and brown body is free.

That a thin body isn’t free until a fat body is free.

Think about it, if you live in a culture that idolizes thin white bodies, even if you have a thin white body, you are stuck, because as soon as your body changes size, you fall off the pedestal and your identity is no longer safe and secure.

So until we live in a society where there is no one on the pedestal, then we are all going to be living in chains. Whether your experience is contorting yourself into the same shape and size as the idol, or living out a story of ‘less than’, when your skin color, shape, size, or ability is different.

This is not cool for anyone.

So where do we go from here?

I don’t know yet, other than to sit with the question: Are you willing to make peace with your own body, your own self, your own history?

Because for sure if I can’t make peace with myself, how can I truly make peace with another?

And maybe, just maybe, if we each start to make our own bit of peace, a tidal wave shifting towards freedom and peace for all starts to grow.

For some first steps towards making peace with your body, join my newsletter and you’ll receive a copy of the True You Journey chapter, ‘My Body is Mine to Celebrate’. I am also available for trauma-informed coaching around the topics of body image, relationship with food, and letting yourself be seen.

Photo by Aleksandr Ledogorov on Unsplash

For when your ‘stuff’ starts coming up

Have we laughed, cried, sang, danced, ran, ate, drank, prayed together?

That is the question I am sitting in the middle of this New Moon as I’m thinking about who I want to spend more time with in and out of lockdown. I’ve been reading that this moon invites us to reflect on the relationships in our lives, and I can already feel the gravitational pull.

I’m bracing myself for a collective initiation around belonging. At a time where social distancing and quarantining is for the benefit of the greater good, all our ‘stuff’ around community might start coming up, especially as we enter into a moon phase that may amplify your desire for connection.

I’ll tell you how this is playing out for me so far.

I was laying in bed feeling pretty catatonic. I’ve never been much of a morning person and usually just pooh-pooh my lethargy and lack of motivation to start my day. I’m usually frustrated with myself. “C’mon.  You should’ve grown out of this by now. There’s so much you want to do and you’re wasting all this time.”

But this day I try to meet this criticism with some kindness. Cooperate with it instead of resist it. That’s a core principle of trauma-resolution, and now I have this new perspective, I wonder if there’s more going on than meets the eye.

First, a mini trauma lesson**. Your flight, flight, and freeze responses are narrowed down into two nervous system responses.

Hyper:  Lots of energy to propel you towards or away from the perceived threat (think anxiety, hyperactive, over-working, stressed out), or

Hypo: Your energy disappears and you drift into a state of stillness until the threat passes you by (think depression, lack of motivation, ‘lazy’, shame-spirals, and collapsing from exhaustion).

I always assumed I was a ‘hyper’ workaholic, always busy doing something, find it hard to rest, and my brain always ‘on’.

And then it clicked. That’s true except for when I wake up every day in a state of ‘hypo’ low energy, the day feeling heavy before it even starts, and with zero motivation to break-out the to-do list. I’m constantly telling myself, “Just do what you can for now to get the ball rolling.” So I clean the bathroom, put on the laundry, and brush my teeth until my body finds a doable groove.

So as I cooperated with this feeling of ‘blah’, staring at the clouds, journaling, and finding new dance tunes from the comfort of my pillowed bed, I let myself feel for once, instead of rushing into my day.

And what I found was this…

I felt like I was 19 years old again. Home from college for the summer, miserable, lonely, crawling out of bed at 5pm, just in time to get up for a run, have dinner and climb back into bed.

At the time this coping mechanism was excused. ‘She must be tired. She’s worked so hard all semester. Her body needs to rest.’

Possibly. And it also was possibly a hypo-response of energetic collapse as a need for belonging in community was not being met.

I was in transition. No longer held by a close-knit high school friendship and teammate circle, and out from under the ostracizing yet strong community of the church, I hadn’t landed into a new group at college, I was socially ‘floating’. As was my nervous system; taking me to the safety of daydreams in the clouds, instead of grounded in connection within my real life.

So what’s going on now, 20 years later?

Well, I’ve kept floating. I’ve never really ‘landed’ in community since then. And now that we’re in lockdown with a new moon calling us towards belonging, community, and relational communication, some shit is being pulled out of me.

It might be pulling something out of you too.

Can I offer you a tip? Be kind to yourself. See if you can notice what’s going on in your body, give yourself some time to listen to your heart, and instead of trying to fix yourself, cooperate and let it be.

If you feel you’ve got some energy to dig a little deeper, here’s a short journaling practice to help you stay present to yourself.

  1. How am I feeling? Eg sad, depressed, anxious, angry, etc
  2. How old do I feel right now? Eg 19 years old
  3. What did I need at that age? Eg community rhythms,  like friends to go for a run with  on a daily basis
  4. If I could give that to myself now, what difference might that make in my life? Eg I’d have accountability. Possibly more energy. I’d feel full from the sharing of ideas and life experiences on regular basis. I might feel like I belong.
  5. What’s the smallest doable step my adult self can take towards meeting that need of mine? Eg go for a walk with my neighbor (staying 2m a part of course)

These journal prompts can be used across the board, whenever feeling ‘blah’, ‘meh’, or your ‘stuff is coming up’. Use liberally, with lot of love and care.

**Shout out to Rachael Maddox and her ReBloom trauma training for illuminating so much of what I’ve been able to share with you.

Taking a trauma-informed approach to my life has been game-changing. To be able to work with your coping strategies instead of needing to fix them overnight is healing in and of itself. As is honoring your body’s natural rhythms and trusting your timeline for healing.

There is so much room for grace. The more I learn and practice in this field the more excited I am to have others taste this medicine.

You can apply to work with me here.

What kind of future could we co-create?

It’s a new moon today, and while I’ve been following the moon’s cycle for a while now, I don’t normally harp on about it too much. This one feels different though. I’ll tell you why.

Yesterday an email landed in my inbox from Chani Nicholas. I bought her book, You Were Born for This, recently, and somehow ended up on her newsletter.

In yesterday’s email, she gave an overview of this New Moon’s significance; how it interacts with the planets and other astrological implications that are beyond me, and I’m not even sure how much I really buy into.

Her underlying message felt sound though, and so I forwarded the email to my friend Claire. Claire wrote back with a very astute and simplistic summary to the email: “Main message for me is grieve the crumbling of the old structures that no longer serve us and visualise how we want the future to be….” (I have her permission to share this with you.)

Bam. This landed deep within me. The desire to make a recording for this swelled inside me.

I listened, and you can listen to that here.

That’s not my point though.

My point is that this simplistic flow between Chani to me, to Claire, to me, to you, models the future I would love to live in. Where there is an easy giving and receiving flow. Where we are connected to our core enough that we don’t hesitate to let the Flow go through; allowing for insight, wisdom, gifts to flow freely to us and through us. Individually contributing to the pot in our own unique, authentic, and coherent way, allowing for something new to be born out of the whole.

I haven’t spent much time visualizing a future, or even naming, let alone grieving the old structures. Grieving is hard for me, and I need a lot of time, space, and privacy to really allow myself to feel this deeply.

It’s easier for me to look forward to the future, and so this is where I’m going to start from today. (Here’s a tip I learned from ReBloom trauma training: Start with what’s easy, dip into difficulty, go back to easy. It helps me ensure I don’t bypass the more challenging feelings. Starting with what’s easy means I’m more filled up to approach the challenge. Game-changing. The recording inspired by Chani Nicholson and Claire practices this. The chance to grieve, if needed, is sandwiched between some resource.)

Since Covid-19 lockdown conversations with friends are starting to include contemplation about the future. “What will it look like?” “We can’t just go back to the way things were.” There’s a shared deep knowing that we’re in the middle of a significant time. At a crossroads, an inflection point where a decision needs to be made; and aptly so, as ‘decision’ is at the heart of the word ‘crisis’.

I go back to this idea that we have choice. I understand that not everyone may feel that they do. When basic needs aren’t being met and health is at risk, there seems to be little room for choice. And maybe for those laying in hospital beds, there actually are very few choices to be made.

For those of us who still have some semblance of normality intact, we have a wider range of choice. We may have more time too, to actually contemplate what kind of future we’d like to be living in, and what part we might play in creating that.

The crazy thing is, we always have this choice. Any day of the year we can evaluate what is and isn’t working in our personal lives, in our local communities, and our global world, and we can think about what we do and don’t want to bring into tomorrow.

Speaking for myself here, I never do this unless shit hits the fan. When life is going according to my plan, I feel lulled into a false sense of security that starts to numb my conscious awareness.

I remember having a conversation with a colleague about 10 years ago when I was in London. He made a comment, like, ‘ever the idealist.’

I am a dreamer. There’s a bit of Pollyanna in me. My eyes naturally find the glass half-full and the silver lining. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too naïve.

Maybe I am. But I also know what I lived. I know what life has taught me. I lived through a time in my life that was dark. Where I didn’t like myself one bit. Where I was caught in a destructive cycle of depriving my needs, overconsuming, and then punishing myself to try to bring myself back to a façade of right relationship and wholeness.

That cycle was not sustainable.

I also lived on the other side of that cycle, at least in one arena. I got off the hamster wheel and overtime found myself in actual right relationship and wholeness with my body and food.

Since then I carry hope. I believe that miracles are possible. That Love never fails. That Truth sets you free.

I don’t subscribe to the theory that we end up in perfection. Just wholeness. Just freedom. Even if just for a moment.

And many times that wholeness and freedom comes from facing things like grief. Anger. Disappointment. Rage. Going into the darkness to feel what is real. It’s in the place of ‘real’ you taste the freedom.

I also have hope for the ripple effect. The one person tastes wholeness and freedom, and then they make different choices. Maybe only small at first. But even the small choices allow for Love to flow through and bump into the person next to you.

And so then the next person catches a whiff of health, whole, free, Love. They breathe it in. Maybe they breathe it out. Maybe it becomes contagious.

I know this is abstract. When I think of the future world that I would love to help create it is more than just a row of dominoes being blown over by the healing power of Love. I mean, that would be pretty cool, and there’s also more specifics on my heart.

I would love to see neighbours actually be neighbours again. Share sugar. Drop off freshly made scones. Not because I need you to scratch my back one day, but because we know we belong.

I would love to see families stroll together as the sun sets, maybe tend to their gardens, maybe build a tree house, or maybe just go sit under a tree, instead of being mesmerized by other people’s lives on a screen.

I would love for addiction to be a word that, in a few generations, doesn’t have a place in the dictionary other than to refer to a faint memory. I would love for a gamut of emotional, spiritual, and physiological healing to take place that eliminates the need for substances to make you feel in control, comforted, numbed out, high, or ecstatic.

I would love for song and dance to find its way back into the medicine cabinet.

I’m sure there is more. But for now, and this New Moon, I will leave you with that. And invite you dream a little. Sing a little. Dance a little. What does the deep knowing within you, believe is possible? What seed of hope feels right to plant today?

Would you like to cultivate a relationship with your body that supports the embodiment of your wisdom as we venture into an unknown future? There are now two offerings available to support you with this journey. See if it’s right for you through this link.

Photo by Roxxie Blackham on Unsplash

Where are you planting your roots?

I recently learned that the soil in Wales is what makes the trees take on their craggy, gnarly shape.

Which presumably means that the same acorn planted in Wales will look different to how it would if it were planted in England, or Scotland or the US or wherever you’re reading this from.

This week opened with the Embodied Contemplation on… “Where are you planting your roots?”

Like any other seed we respond to the qualities of the soil we’re planted in, shaping the fruits and offerings we share with the world.

Roots planted in a story of scarcity and not enough, means that offerings you make will never be enough and neither will what you receive.

Roots planted in danger and fear means that everything around you will seem dangerous and every step you take will be filled with anxiety; every situation a possibility for something to go wrong.

And then there’s roots planted into a source of unconditional everlasting Love that tend to bear fruits of generosity, contentment, and a well of inner peace because your seed, your soul, is being nourished with something that is always safe and will never run out.

For most of my life my roots have been planted in those first two stories. Trying to uproot and replant into the third is proving to be a challenge because those old stories are so familiar, they offer a sense of security. I mean, I know how to hustle and prove my worth. But to sit back and let my life and self be enough? That’s a big ask at first.

But then you feed your soil different nutrients, different perspectives, let your body start to feel what it’s like to meet Love even if your heart isn’t quite ready.

You can taste the contentment for a moment. Embody a flicker of generosity. Inhale the scent of peace.

Just enough that you decide to trust.

My experience is that replanting your roots is a process. You have to retrain your brain. Untangle the wires a bit before you plug them back in.

So just take one step at a time. One root at a time, and see what starts to sprout in your life.


Monday Morning Embodied Contemplations are happening via FB Live 7am BST at Kendra Tanner Coaching. You can catch April 6th’s on Grounding and Rooting below.

Monday April 13th’s is gonna be on Re-Sourcing… reorienting to sources of wholeness, health, beauty, and safety. See you there!