Coaching for Nonprofit Leaders

Based in Austin – Specialized in Empathy and Self-Compassion

All you need is a little help from your friends

Once upon a time, in a country far, far away lived a king

He was lonely. He had no one to share his life, his love and his kingdom.

One day he decides to straddle his horse and find himself a queen. He searches through forest and beach, through mountains and plains, through deserts and snow, and finally finds her on the other side of the ocean. He is infatuated by her smile. She falls in love with his humor, his hands, his wisdom.

He takes her home as his happy bride

Then, one day, disaster strikes. A tornado hits the kingdom and destroys the barns, the crops, their livelihood. The kingdom weeps and the king desperately seeks money to help his people. To no avail.

Creditors bang on his door and threaten to take his stove away. They come back and threaten to take his furniture away. They come back and threaten to take his palace away.

As he gets more afraid, he starts to bark. He worked so hard, he gave it his all, and it turned into dust. His barks call on storms.

As she gets more sad, she starts to cry. She traveled the world, she gave him her best, and it was not enough. Her tears burn holes in the ground.


Then, one morning she wakes up and discovers flowers, where once there were holes. She sees the sun shine. She feels the warmth in her heart and the strength of her hands.

She is not alone in this. She has communities. She has friends and family. She can ask for help. She sits down and prays “Thank you for the prosperity I enjoy, the riches I can share. Thank you for everything I received and can give to others. Help me bring more prosperity and abundance into our lives.”

A kind soul from the East responds. “I am here to help. You are not alone. You have the answer in your heart. Your life energy will show you where to find the golden grain that will bring you wealth.”

And so the queen does. She helps a lady across the street and gets an apple. She plants the seed, and it bears fruit of silver and gold in the Fall. Enough to feed the kingdom.

Thanks to a little help from a friend.


All you need is a little help from your friends. Just ask.  Contact me at 512-589-0482 to see how I can help.


P.S.: Someone calls me as I write this blog. I just listen, open to celebrate her successes with Nonviolent Communication. At the end of our conversation I ask if she wants to engage my help. She says ‘yes’. The universe takes care of us in miraculous ways, if we are willing to surrender to life.


Grateful thanks to my beloved husband for his edits.

To live is to love and to lose

My friend left. For Ohio. 1600 Miles away. She packed her stuff, took her cats and drove off. I waved her goodbye this morning. I had to see her go away, to viscerally know that she left, that her house is empty, and that I can’t drop by for lunch.

I love her. She was my first and best friend here in Austin. She offered support, she inspired me, we juggled. But most of all, she was she. I realize that what I most appreciate about her, is not what she contributed, but whom she contributed: herself.

She lived a completely authentic life. She was independently herself. She made no compromises. Her first and foremost commitment was to be authentically herself. She pursued a musical career, when no one approved, she went to college in her forties, with two kids at home, she learned to fly a plane in her sixties, and now moves at 81.

She was upfront about her feelings, thoughts, needs, desires. I didn’t always like what she said, and I always respected it. There is something powerful when someone speaks their truth. You can take it, you can leave it, but you can’t change it.

She is my absolute role model for ferociously pursuing your dreams.

Wow. What a gift.

I miss her. I cried the full 30 minutes driving home. When I arrived, I sat in my car for a long time, lost, sad. I unpacked the loaf of bread, the avocado, the humus. Remnants of our last lunch together. I don’t have an appetite for it. Without her it can’t be yummy. I hardly even want to hug my husband. There is a void without her, a painful void.

Yet, I honor and celebrate her choice to follow her dream. I love her so much that I am willing to support any choice she makes, how painful it is for me.

Joan, thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being you.

To live is to love and to lose.

I am so happy that I love you, that I am willing to lose you.

This is for you, my beloved friend: Bach’s “Air” by Ton Koopman

Self-compassion, day 6: Unconditional love

My dear child,

Can’t you see how beautiful you are?

Can’t you see you’re precious beyond words?

See how your smile lights up the room,

how your gentle presence fills our hearts with love.

Nothing you think, say or do

can take away from this eternal beauty within.

We love you without measure,

we respect, nurture, and cherish you.

Fill your heart with spaciousness,

and walk in the light of love,

knowing you are a true daughter of God,

carefully crafted in His image.

Compassion rules the world,

yours too.

Don’t let your failures fool you,

they reflect how hard you are trying

and how deep your commitment is.

Open your heart to the life within you,

celebrate your efforts and your failures:

they are the proud sign of your true self.

I wrote this poem after a deeply spiritual session with a dear client. I always make notes after each session, and send them to my clients for feedback whether they are correct and complete. This session was beyond words and logical reconstruction. I wrote a poem instead and post it here in honor of my friend, my client.

If you want my help to deepen your self-compassion, healing and integration, contact me for a complimentary, discovery session.

Living halfheartedly

Brené Brown talks about living wholeheartedly. Well. I do everything halfheartedly. I use Nonviolent Communication with some friends, but not with others. I work, but keep looking for other jobs. I eat vegan, but not around my family. I visit my Sangha, but not when I am tired. If there is anything I do wholeheartedly, it must be creating reasons to live halfheartedly.

My inner critic comes to my rescue. “Well, as Brené Brown found out, people who live wholeheartedly have a basic sense of worthiness. They believe they are worthy of love, belonging and connection. You don’t. You are full of self-doubt and insecurity. You grew up being scared you would be ridiculed, rejected, excluded. You never developed a sense of worthiness.” A second critic shows up “Stop being a whiny. Grow up. Get your act together and start living your life! Have the guts to be vulnerable. Take a risk and show everything that’s you, even parts you feel shame around. Remember David Schnarch? Remember that unilateral self-disclosure is a key element in differentiation? Sharing your authentic self, even when the other person is not disclosing anything personal in return? Be willing to stand there naked, trembling in your vulnerability, and be proud for doing so?” Gosh, I can’t imagine ever doing that. Writing a blog and inviting feedback from colleagues. Calling an organization and offering my services. Reaching for the moon, and landing on the stars. Living a full life of ME. I rather hide. And die in the end.

I think of my stepdaughter. She goes for it all. She wants to be a member of the city youth council? She writes and delivers a speech. She wants to do the summer school dance program with the Chicago Ballet Company? She auditions. She wants to go to college? She applies. She is willing to fail, to succeed. That explains her success.

I wonder. Can I do that too? Can I start a 30-day journey into living wholeheartedly and ask Brené Brown to comment on my blog? Can I face all the voices in my head that cry out loud I shouldn’t do that, that she is too busy, has no interest, that she has much better blogs to read? Can I tell them it’s not about her saying “yes”, it is about me getting into the arena and taking a stand? For myself? Showing up for who I fully am? To reach for the moon, and land on the stars? YES, I CAN!

Day 6 Rejection Therapy

Day 6 of my Rejection Therapy.  Finally: Brene Brown!!!  (  From Daring Greatly, p 68-69:

There are a couple of very helpful ways to think about shame.  First, shame is the fear of disconnection.  We are psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love and belonging.  Connection, along with love and belonging (two expressions of connection), is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.  Shame is the fear of disconnection -it’s the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal that we’ve not lived up to, or a goal that we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection.  I’m not worthy or good enough for love, belonging, or connection.  I’m unlovable.  I don’t belong.  Here’s the definition of shame that emerged fro my research:

Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.

People often want to believe that shame is reserved for people who have survived an unspeakable trauma, but this is not true.  Shame is something we all experience.  And while it feels as if shame hides in our darkest corners, it actually tends to lurk in all of the familiar places.  Twelve “shame categories” have emerged from my research:

  • Appearance and body image
  • Money and work
  • Motherhood/fatherhood
  • Family
  • Parenting
  • Mental and physical health
  • Addiction
  • Sex
  • Aging
  • Religion
  • Surviving trauma
  • Being stereotyped or labeled.