Finding Words and Answers Amidst Darkness

white-roseI originally wrote this post in December 2012 after a school shooting in Connecticut. Ouch, it hurts still to say those words. And I came back here today after yet another mass shooting in Florida to see how it might help me and others face this roller-coaster of emotions.

As I have questioned my emotional ups and downs this week, wondering why I can’t think straight sometimes, I’m reminding myself right now that this is normal and healthy. I’m so grateful a dear friend reminded me it’s not depression, it’s just a brain rewiring in process, and the message is “Please stand by. Upgrade in process.” Haha, that rings a bell. Allowing. Allowing.

I offer this earlier post to you and myself once again, because it still feels right, on this day in June 2016. Here it is from 2012:

The hard-to-talk-about dark side needs a voice today.

I want to honor what is present, and hopefully offer something helpful.

We struggle to talk about the dark side. And I believe we must visit it sometimes—in small doses—if we want to live fully and heal what needs healing.

Today, I’m thinking of the heart-breaking school tragedy on Dec. 14th, the unfathomable destruction of Hurricane Sandy, ongoing wars that we hardly discuss, and the countless losses people are carrying during the holidays.

I see people searching for answers and connection online. Or running from loss because it’s too big.

A friend who lost her son this year told me that it’s hard to know when to mention her son’s name to others, but he’s always on her mind and the weight is heavy as the family gathers for the holidays. Wondering whether to hang his Christmas stocking… is one of many unanswerable questions. My heart sinks as I imagine each question unfolding.

I don’t pretend to have the answers. But I will share what words I am finding helpful. Continue reading

Meet SOULpreneur Diana Chaplin

Let’s Meet Some SOULpreneurs

Most of the examples we have of successful entrepreneurs are focused on the external benchmarks like fame and fortune. But what about the inner measures like staying true to your heart? The SOULpreneur journey is about harmonizing the needs of your heart and your wallet.

It’s hard to stay the course on this counter-cultural SOULpreneur journey if we don’t have enough role models for it. But they are out there! So I’m going to feature them on my blog, starting today.

Because the most visible business models are of white extroverted men, I’m going to try to balance that out with having a preference for sharing stories from women, introverts, people of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds, and others who are underrepresented in the public eye.

I hope you’ll feel supported and inspired as we gain an inside view of the SOULpreneur journey. I’m asking them some juicy questions about the ups and downs and how they are making it work (including money stuff).

Meet SOULpreneur Diana Chaplin

The first SOULpreneur I’d like to introduce you to is Diana Chaplin who is based in Western Massachusetts (USA).


Diana is a Copywriter & Content Creator who I admire for bringing such a positive and thoughtful approach to everything she does, whether welcoming a new member to her coworking space, or providing warm and confident guidance to a copywriting client who is feeling overwhelmed by their website content.

I’m excited for you to get to know her and learn from her SOULpreneur journey. Her answers to my questions went deep!

Continue reading

The Joy of Silence… Even If It Makes You Squirm At First

Many people knew I went on a 5-day silent meditation retreat last month and have asked me “How was it!?” I think this captures the range of thoughts behind that question, and perhaps you’ll recognize your own reaction in here:

  • “I don’t know if I could handle that. That’s not for me.”
  • “Hmm, that could be nice but I don’t have time for that. Maybe one day.”
  • “Oh wow, silence for 5 days sounds great.”

When I heard others going away on these retreats over the years, I had that same range of reactions, first starting with the most resistance to gradually more intrigue. Mostly I thought it was for other people.

As my meditation practice has grown more easeful and rewarding over the last few years, I found myself curious if a retreat was for me after all. Something in me felt ready, partly to take on a new challenge, but maybe more so because of an ache in me to hit a reset button.

On the surface my desire for the retreat looked like a simple desire to escape the email inbox for a few days. That alone was starting to sound like nirvana. And I knew it was more than that.

It was a deeper knowing that I was being pulled too far into the sped-up, digital-driven lifestyle. It wasn’t feeling like the true me. I knew I needed to power down and find my true center. Don’t you crave that sometimes too?

Finding Center


It was time. I signed up (at Insight Meditation Society) and the sweet anticipation began, for a noticeable wait of 4 weeks.

Now that I’m back, I want to answer “How was it?” but it’s hard to put the power of silence into words. It was profound for me, in fact. I am tearing up as I write this.

I’ll do my best to share my discoveries. In this Western culture, we have such discomfort with silence and stillness… and we have a simultaneous deep need for it. I want to give you a window into the power of it.

I’ll start with this. Let’s take a pause, right here in this moment.

Inhale. Exhale.
Oh, that is kinda nice.
Maybe another inhale, exhale.
The inbox can wait.

Here’s what happened when I hit the giant pause button for 5 days.

Continue reading

Your Inner Compass Is Better Than You Think

You know those success models you think you’re supposed to be following? Like from the loud guy on that marketing webinar that left you hyperventilating?

Consider the source for those models:
It is almost always from someone trying to sell you their course by using words like “This is THE way or you’re doomed.” Right?

Too many people are letting those salesy messages get under their skin, which makes them feel like a loser. I’ve had people come see me in tears after taking on those external expectations as gospel. With all the email and social media messages like that, it can be an onslaught of “You’re not enough.”

I’ve been there, comparing my messy side to those supposed success stories. And comparing my quiet style to those extroverted ways of selling. Their messages can be so compelling! And so paralyzing.

[Image: Your inner compass knows the way.]

Your inner compass knows the way.

When I naturally resisted doing it their “expert” way, because it just didn’t feel like me, I found things went much better! Wait, you mean my way, off the beaten path, can actually work for me? It was freaky to me when that first happened, and I didn’t believe it for a while, even after it kept on working.

I see in hindsight that doing it my way IS where the gold is! It’s not a fluke, it’s what works for me.

Ya gotta tune into your own instincts and your audience’s responses, not someone else’s prescription for you.

Your inner compass is better than you think. So much better than you think.

How Do You Hear It and Trust It?

Continue reading

Is It Self-employment Induced ADD?

The most unexpected thing about becoming self-employed was how much trouble I had focusing once I was working alone. I wasn’t great at focus before, I admit, but it became a huge challenge without the structure and community of a workplace to go to.

I started thinking I was going crazy or that I’d suddenly gotten “self-employment induced ADD.” I would do housework when I needed to be working, to avoid facing that scattered mind, only to find that the head-spin would get worse and worse. Sound familiar? (C’mon, raise your hand. It’s so common.)

In our push-push culture, we think the cure for focus problems is to push ourselves harder, get more disciplined, learn better time management, etc. Right? But I believe a more effective cure is to get some co-workers… in a way that works for us. We need camaraderie to keep our minds sharp.

I know, introverts like me who love the peace and quiet of working alone will resist this idea, at first. Hear me out.

[Image: Humans are pack animals too.]

We are pack animals, just like wolves. The lone wolf success story is a myth. (Click image for source and Creative Commons license.)

It’s a big shift to go from working in a company with co-workers all around you, to working on your own. Even when you’re thrilled by the freedom, the shift away from the workplace community is stressful for anyone. I see it all the time with my clients after leaving a job, and I can honestly tell them and you: You are not alone in that stress.

I’ll explain how I have found my balance between people time and alone time, which has mostly cured my self-employment induced ADD. (I mean, I still need some other focusing tricks but the people connection has been the core solution for me.) Continue reading