Coaching for Nonprofit Leaders

Based in Austin – Specialized in Empathy and Self-Compassion

No, thanks. I know how to resolve conflicts very well.

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Shame, Creative Tension, and More

Shame, Creative Tension, and More

All my commitments fly out the window: “I reflect, before I react.” “I see the positive in every person and every situation.” “I accept myself unconditionally, especially when shame arises.” In a second. I have nothing left but a puddle of shock, fear, shame, and...

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A car driver shatters my enemy image

My husband and I are on our daily walk around the block. We do that twice a day, to connect, listen, and hold hands. It’s always the same circuit, more or less 1.5 miles long. It’s drizzling, so I’m extra worried and aware that cars might not be as attentive as I...

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Our four choices when receiving hard to hear messages

Our four choices when receiving hard to hear messages

(This is a re-post from January 2018, when it was still cold. I hope this is a refreshing reminder that everything is impermanent, also temperatures) It is sleeting. The road is getting slippery. It’s also getting dark. And it’s rush hour. Everyone seems anxious to...

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Am I deserving of appreciation

Am I deserving of appreciation

Friday January 5, during Shabbat service, I was formally welcomed into the community of the Jewish people, making myself available to “become a partner with God in the work of creation and in the healing and redemption of the world”. It is a festive, joyous evening of...

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This very moment is the perfect teacher

This very moment is the perfect teacher

My ex-husband, Rob van Gils, passed away November 16, 2017. His cremation was Thursday November 23. My visit to the Netherlands for his cremation service was much harder than I anticipated. Rob and I had succeeded in having –what our mediator described as– “the most...

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Dying and having the rug pulled out

Dying and having the rug pulled out

I wrote this blog four days before my beloved ex-husband Rob van Gils died, Thursday November 16, 2017. I’m writing this in his honor and as a reminder of the love we shared: When I think of my ex-husband dying, I experience intense feelings of fear, grief, and...

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I lied

I lied

I lied To my husband. I feel pretty shitty about it. Scared. I fear I’ll lose acceptance by confessing. I know this feeling from long, long ago and it has motivated me more than once to show up with less honesty than I wanted. A few weeks ago I described washing the...

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Scratching, unwholesome seeds, and mindfulness

Scratching, unwholesome seeds, and mindfulness

It is 5:00 am at the second day of our Mindfulness Retreat. I wake up in the dark with a terrible itch on my left foot. I guess that it is probably fire ant bites from walking in the woods. The itch is overwhelming, it drives me crazy. I start scratching as hard as I...

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How does your perspective influence your experience?

How does your perspective influence your experience?

Barton Springs is my favorite spot ever since I arrived in Austin, April 2009. During summer, my husband and I go there on Saturday afternoons to connect with friends, juggle, swim, and take it easy. Others around us do acro-yoga, hula hoop, and play music. The water...

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Self-Compassion and tree cutting

Self-Compassion and tree cutting

Hurricane Harvey approaches Texas. The weather forecast calls for 35 mph winds in Austin. I feel scared. I look at the trees that are marked by Austin Energy. They are to be trimmed, because they endanger electric power lines. One tree in particular worries me. It...

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Have your experience and enrich it

Have your experience and enrich it

Ever traveled business class? I hadn’t. In all my travels to and from my family and friends in the Netherlands, I travel economy class. I certainly have looked with envy as I walked past the business class seats, seeing them transform into beds, with clean, cotton...

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A car driver throws his booger at me

A car driver throws his booger at me

I’ve just been to the dentist. I feel tired. The procedure was more complicated than anticipated. I spent two and a half hours in the dentist chair with my jaw jammed open. Not very pleasant. So I feel happy to leave and bike home, an eight mile ride. I love biking. I...

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My dentist inspires me to transform my enemy image

My dentist inspires me to transform my enemy image

I am at my dentist. I like her. She has an effervescent energy, a big smile, and bouncing red curls, and she explains what she’s gonna do. And, I get a heated cherry pit pillow in my neck and a bright pink blanket over my legs, every time I’m in the chair. This time...

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Understanding My Dog’s Tragic Expression of Unmet Needs

Understanding My Dog’s Tragic Expression of Unmet Needs

You remember the two dogs I wrote about a week ago? Luna and Sol? Well, Sol is not the only one triggering anxiety. Luna does too. Usually, she is a sweetie. Super mellow, listens to me, doesn't disappear in the fields. So this morning when we get at the dog park, I...

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Excited readers

  • “Nice post today, Elly!  I, too, instinctively go for the counter-argument first instead of slowing down and thinking about empathy. Great advice!” – Michael Katz, Hopkinton, MA
  • “Elly, this is a FANTASTIC and needed message right now for me. How do I approach someone with whom I deeply disagree…? Wow. Thank you for sharing!!” – Jen Collins, Austin, TX
  • “Great to see you specializing, plus your newsletters just get better and better with the new focus. Super applicable to me.” – Abigail Harris, Portland, OR
  • “What a great story, Elly. Thank you for being so vulnerable! What a fantastic way to turn an embarrassing story into a wonderful lesson! Love.” – Jen Collins, Austin, TX
  • I have been appreciating your wise, insightful, and funny posts for your coaching work.” – Andrea Black, Austin, TX
  • “Inspired…. and inspiring.  Elly, that fills my heart with hope and a sense of privilege to know you.   I hope many people will reach out to you today and feel the love and empathy.” – Bren Hardt, Houston, TX
  • “Ha Ha Ha.  This was precious!” – Eliza Walls, Austin, TX
  • “Dear Elly, You wrote an absolutely lovely letter. Compassionate and full of hope. EmojiEmojiEmoji” – Madeleine, Austin, TX
  • “Ha-ha. Your tale (tail?) is funny and precious. So, embarrassing, sure, but I bet it also gave observers a thrill of human connection to you and the rest of the group. I enjoy your messages.” – David Phillips, Austin, TX
  • “I read your piece on ‘bids for connection’. It’s all, I don’t know how else to say it, it’s all really good.” Tahni Handal, Austin, TX

You love reading these stories? Elly loves writing them! Donate some happy money, so she can spend time crafting them.