If We Build It ….

I had been waiting for this planting day for weeks.  Journaling about it, sketching ideas, taking trips to the nursery for inspiration.  The day dawned beautiful, bright but not too hot.  November 18, a perfect time for planting in Southern California.

My landscaper had come the day before to do some of the heavier work – installing decomposed granite between the pavers, putting lights up in the trees, planting the larger specimens.  But I had always imagined that the planting of the garden would be my work.

IMG_3287Thanks to my daughter, several of her friends showed up on the doorstep to help. They were young, strong, and happily willing, “What do you need?  Tell us what to do?”

With some initial instruction about proper planting protocol, I jokingly called the triple ‘P’ – we began.  (Click here for info on creating watershed wise landscapes).  For the next few hours we dug and watered and eased plants into the ground. Gently, gently I reminded.  We started in the backyard, moved into the front.  Neighbors came up, interested to see what we were up to, excited to view the finished product.

Over and over I thanked these young folks for coming to help.  Over and over they repeated they’d enjoyed it.  For several it took them back to their childhoods where there had been family gardens to tend.  My daughter acknowledged that she hadn’t touched our garden since she was six years old.  (I am not allowed to post that picture!)

IMG_3309At the end of the day we all sat on the porch, our planting party pooped. As I looked around at these beautiful beings, tired, with smudges on their faces, talking and laughing, I became aware of something very interesting. Throughout the experience, I had perceived/assumed that their participation in this planting day had been a favor.  However, I came to realize this day and their participation had been much more than that:

In my mind, these young people could easily have spent their Saturday in some other way, much more fun.  But to them, this day was their gift, to my daughter, to me.  They found genuine pleasure in the giving of their time and energy to create something beautiful that would bring us joy and healing.

IMG_3303I also see that working in the garden was a gift to them.  We all deeply yearn for this connection to the earth whether we are aware of it or not – young or old, all colors of the rainbow, all systems of belief, all economic strata.  This day was an opportunity for them to come together as friends, to put their hands in the soil and to tend living things.  This was a chance to experience a primal connection we have become so distant from.

So, I am gladly accepting their great kindness, recognizing we all received on this day.  There was a deep satisfaction in the community we shared, using our hands, our strength to build this garden.  There is also the knowledge that when they return in the future, they will appreciate the space differently, as they literally helped make it what it is.

On this day, I am reminded of the infinite possibilities that are always present as the road shifts and forks and shifts again.  And even as the losses tear us asunder, there are new experiences to be had, new gifts to be found.


p.s. for those who are curious, here are some of the climate appropriate plants that went into the garden (both California natives and Mediterranean):

  • Arctostaphylos ‘Sprite’ (Manzanita)
  • Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ (Redbud)
  • Grewia occidentalis (Star Lavender)
  • Helianthemum ‘Wisely Pink’ (Sunrose)
  • Lavandula heterophylla (Lavender)
  • Lepichinia fragrans (Pitcher Sage)
  • Lomandra ‘Breeze’ (Dwarf Matt Rush)
  • Mulhlenbergia rigens (Deer Grass)
  • Myrsine africanus (African Boxwood)
  • Spaheralcea ambigua ‘Louis Hamilton’ (Apricot Mallow)
  • Teucrium majoricum (Fruity germander)


#healinggarden, #memorialgarden, #landscaping, #plantingparty

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Beginning Anew

It started out simply enough, I had a few trees that were long overdue for a trimming.  But you know that old saying, “In for a penny in for a pound” ….

Over the years things had grown wild and crooked in my garden, plants blocked windows and paths. Several trees had reached so far to find the sun they were literally in the neighbor’s yard.

And then there were the plants I had never liked, that had been there when we bought the house over twenty years ago. Mind you, they were tough (they’d survived my care), but my husband had refused to let them go.

As I looked around at this garden that had been ‘our’ garden, I found myself accepting, even welcoming, the realization that I alone got to make decisions now about the garden, no explanation, no apology required.

The day arrived and the crew pulled up to the curb.  I had said goodbye to the redbud we’d planted together, the aralia my husband had planted accidentally from a 4” that now leaned over the roof.  But as the chainsaw roared to life, my stomach clenched and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d made a mistake.

bare soilThen we were underway and there was no turning back.  After that initial jolt it eased – the doubt, the guilt.  This was what I wanted, what I needed.  I wanted light, needed space.  I was tired of looking at plants I hated.

So imagine the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, only instead of shouting “off with her head,” it became “out with that plant!”  Out came the Bird of Paradise 20+ years old, covered with white flies, out came the salvia that had grown woody and old, out came the lantana that had gotten sheared into a box, out came that awful ugly ivy that grew onto everything.  Out, out, out!

At the end of two days the chainsaws were finally quiet. Tools were put away, and I listened to the last echoes of raking and sweeping before they stepped into their truck and drove away.

In the silence I looked around. The ground is churned and trampled where plants came out, and there is a hole where the redbud stood.  The pain of the emptiness is there but fleeting.  I breathe deep once and then again.  There is light now in my kitchen, on the patio.  The plants I’d resented are gone. The way is clear.

With all this space, all this light, I’m not anxious to crowd it again.  I am taking note of the design lessons I’ve learned.  In the middle of the night, I’ve awakened to design ideas, plant inspirations, bringing in what I’ve always dreamed of rather than what I’d inherited. I have my small group of natives purchased from the plant sale waiting for their new home.

apple-treeIn order for new things to grow, we must sometimes (painfully) let go of the old.  As I breathe deep and wipe away a tear, I am gently, softly, lovingly, accepting that I am remaking this garden in my own image.

#grief, #healinggarden, #memorialgarden


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With a Little Help From My Friends

For months since my husband’s passing I have stared out the kitchen window, depressed by the sight of my neglected garden, overgrown, brown, uncared for.

My daughter has invited friends to sit out there, and on those warm evenings we’ve talked about the garden’s potential: fresh plantings, mulch, more lighting, pruning the trees, re-working the fountain, maybe new furniture…  It’s a long list.

IMG_3142Instead, day after day I’ve sipped my coffee looking out at this garden, what was once our garden, overwhelmed, uninspired and sad.

And then it began, the way all change does, in the smallest of ways.  Maybe it was the weather moving towards fall, maybe it was waking up one morning with just a bit more energy, but I went out that day and began deadheading the yarrow.  Feeling energized, I went onto my salvias and my purple basil. The sun felt divine on my shoulders – warm but not too hot.  I breathed in the scent of the plants, the fresh mulch I was spreading.  I found peace in the meditative practice of watering one plant at a time, watching the butterflies light on the still existing blossoms – no rush, no hurry.

Within a couple of weeks, I had new growth on the plants and ideas began to show up in my writings.  I wanted color, I needed beauty. I wanted a place where I could welcome friends for tea, or simply sit out there and watch life go on. There is no denying the pulse of life that urges us forward; perhaps the garden had become a metaphor for that.basil

And then the Divine added her two cents.  Sitting together at one of Elise’s gatherings, chatting with her friends, I spoke to one who had graduated with a degree in landscape architecture.  He offered, if I was ever interested, to help me with the garden.  He wanted the practical experience, would do whatever I needed.  Another gal chimed in – she knew nothing about gardens but would love to help as well.

So it grew, as did the acknowledgement that this is my work, I’ve spent years working as a designer, I know how to do this.  One step at a time, with a little help from my friends.

The vision continues to solidify on the page as I imagine a balance of foundation plants, movement, scent and color.  For I must have color.  Salvias, manzanita, ceanothus, grasses, bulbs … become my mantra.

A trellis I had built just weeks after Mike’s passing is finally being painted, cobalt blue, to support star lavender and jasmine.  I have plans to repaint the chairs purple and bring in orange cushions (my daughter gives me a look).  Next week is Theodore Payne’s native garden sale, and I will treat myself to a field trip – trying to be a little more thoughtful about what I will undoubtedly bring home.

This is the perfect time of the year to be reviving a garden, the weather cooling (we hope), the winter rains not too far away (we hope).

I am creating a sanctuary, a place to gather with friends, or sit alone, a place for the birds to nest and the butterflies to rest.  A place to sprinkle some of his ashes and welcome him home.

With the help of friends, and a kiss from the Divine, I am creating a garden I can see out my kitchen window that pleases my eyes, eases my heart, brings me joy.  Reminding me that the pulse of life, even if we don’t always feel it, is eternal.

#healinggardens, #memorialgarden

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The Soil is the Solution

In 2009 I fell in love …. With the Soil.

Forever I have been enchanted by Nature. And in pursuit of that passion, graduated from UCLA extension with a degree in landscape architect in 2007. But it was for the first time in 2009 that I learned about the mystery and power that lay beneath my feet when I discovered the ‘soil party’ with G3, the Green Gardens Group.

Hands-carrying-SoilVery (very) simply put, the soil party is an exquisitely perfect system that begins with microbes transforming inert materials into nutrients for plants. Plants then ‘request’ what they need from the soil and pull it up into their bodies. They do this by taking carbon out of the air and converting it into a form that the microbes find tasty – tasty enough to grab and hold on to it forever. The final phase of the cycle – the leaves drop, the plant dies and it is all returned to the earth as food for the microbes to begin again. For a more detailed description of this process, read the easy to understand, “Teaming with Microbes.”

The implementation of this soil party in one’s own garden has the amazing power to transform dead dirt into a thriving, singing garden bursting with plants, critters, and life. Additionally, having a soil party transforms typically brick-hard dirt into a sponge, able to hold onto water and then release it as the plants needed it. Finally, it also acts as a filter, cleaning any excess water before it makes its way to the ground water. The soil is a multi-faceted, mini powerhouse, of potential.

Flash forward five years and it is nations arguing about climate change. (At least we now agree there is climate change!) How do we deal with the ever-growing problems of drought, rising waters, increasing storms, famine? Solutions get bandied about, but there is little agreement: it costs too much money, no one wants to sacrifice their way of living … and we are at a stalemate while the clock keeps ticking.

But what if part of the solution were right in front of us? Or rather, right below us. What if part of the solution was in the soil?

Scientists are now focusing on the soil, and the life within it, as more than just the medium that grows our food. They are finally recognizing that there is a universe of potential hidden just beneath the surface.

It is nearly miraculous the way the soil can filter toxins and pollution – stream beds, nuclear sites, toxic waste. They have discovered that there is an undeniable intelligence in fungi – read about Paul Stamets and his miraculous mushrooms. And they are exploring the soil’s ability to sequester carbon – which could prove invaluable to our need to reverse climate change.

Urban Soil SummitIn February of 2015 G3 is hosting the first Urban Soil Carbon Water Summit in the United States.

Its purpose: to bring together luminaries on this topic from around the world and jump start a critical dialogue about:

  • Restoring urban soils
  • Reducing drought
  • Creating a more verdant and economically viable city, and
  • Sequestering carbon in the soil biome to reverse climate change

For those that are interested in becoming involved in influencing policy and projects aimed at reducing the effects of climate change, I would encourage you to join the dialogue and claim a leadership role. Click here to learn more: http://www.urbansoil.org

Believe it or not, 2015 is the International Year of the Soil. It is high time we honored such a vital part of the planet.

The solution is brilliantly simple. It is in the Soil.


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I’ve Stopped Drinking the Kool Aid

I’ve taken off the rose colored glasses.

Everything seems different.  The world is a strange new place.  I don’t know how to stand in it yet, how to be in it yet.

Perfect Storm

Perfect Storm

A perfect storm of events turned all I knew upside down.  It came, as it always does, in three.

-  A blood panel revealed I was pre-diabetic with markers for a heart attack.  My father died from one fifteen years ago.

-  I also maxed out three credit cards and was seriously contemplating getting a fourth.  My debt was what I thought about first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  I had not told my husband how bad it really was.  I dreaded checking my bank account, opening my statements, and still I spent.

-  The very same day I got the results from the blood work I heard Sera Beak speak on a telesummit.  She is a young theologian, author of ‘Red Hot and Holy.’  The topic:  the co-opting of the Divine Feminine, the Goddess – into a commodity.  And that she, even with the best of intentions, had fallen prey to the ‘system’ (as she called it), and betrayed her soul to feed her ego.

That afternoon, I listened to her speak.  And then I listened again.  I could feel in my body what resonated.  She spoke of living an organic Life – one that is in tune with Nature.  She spoke of rigorously questioning and challenging everything, especially when it came to business, to make sure she was in complete alignment.  And she spoke of her Soul, her Beloved, her Lady, who was her ultimate guide, guardian, source.

And as I listened, I could feel the cracks growing, see the huge disconnect between what I believed to be my path and what was actually my life.  I took off my glasses and saw then, the ugly beautiful reality.

  • How I drove myself, almost to a frenzy: networking, marketing, calling, speaking.  Signing up for coaching and seminars.  Paying others so much money, hoping they had the magic answer to get me to that ‘six-figure’ income.  They all promised they could – if I just did what they told me to.
  • How, as much as I believed in purpose and creativity, I had bought in to the formulas, the prescriptions to get people to sign up.  Painfully recognizing that in my need to ‘build my business,’ I sometimes looked at people as an opportunity, a sale.  Not always, not even often, but enough.
  • How I had been lying to my husband about how things were going.  Then I would sneak into my office with my credit card as I signed up for yet another program, yet another coaching session.  Grabbing the mail when it arrived so that he didn’t accidentally open up one of my statements.
  •  And how, in the great seeking of success, I had allowed everything else to take second place – my health, my relationships, my trust in myself.  I was paying a lot of people a lot of money to tell me how to live my life better: “…with purpose and abundance and clarity and prosperity ….”  You know.

So, Humpty Dumpty came crashing down, and I am wading thru the rubble.  Not sure what to do with a website I spent a fortune creating.  Not sure what to say when people ask me what I do.  Not sure what my business –if it is even a business – looks like.

So, it has been a process, a slow re-building from the ground up, the inside out.  One thing I knew was that I had to be at the ocean, listening to the waves, singing, praying, asking for guidance.  And when the ripples came, the impulses came, I followed.  I am still following.

It meant cancelling a one-day workshop in June.

It has been getting off of email lists that spout formulas to success, sexy secrets, top ten tips.

It was telling my husband the truth.  Painful, embarrassing, essential.

It is being willing to be patient with the answers; accepting that I will not be building a six figure business in six months.

It is being exquisitely careful about any mentor or program I say yes to.

It is taking the time and trusting that I want to be sweet water clear on what I love doing, why I love doing it, and how I want to be doing it, so that I can answer my calling.


In hindsight – it was a perfect storm.  It was what I needed to shake things up, to put things back into perspective.  It was what I needed to come back to myself as my ultimate guide.  It was what I needed to re-calibrate and begin again – in a new way, in a different way, in my way.


So as I move gently back out into the world as a woman with a calling, here is what I know:

I believe in creativity – it is how we touch the divine.

I love the Earth – it is how we connect with life.

I love the process of working with women to explore and express themselves:

To discover what lies beneath the surface and reveal it in a way that is uniquely theirs.

To accept and welcome both their beauty and their darkness – for in the marriage of the two we become whole.

oak_tree-11911I was born to a family of artists.  I was called to work with the Earth.  I am here to bind the two.

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Wanted: Women who believe in magic, mystery and miracles

Wanted: women who believe in magic, mystery and miracles.

I am calling in beautiful, vibrant women who believe that magic is all around us – powerful, exquisite magic.  How else to explain the acorn that becomes the oak, the monarch that migrates 2500 miles, the unfolding of the perfect petal.

2500 mile journey home

2500 mile journey home

I am calling in glorious, powerful women who believe in mystery.  The mystery that is the soul, the journey, this life.  The sweet dark mystery that is our sexuality, our birth, our deep, unchangeable, irrefutable connection to the earth.

I am calling in brave passionate women who believe in miracles.  In the miracle of the child being born, the miracle of the first kiss, the miracle that is our very existence.  I am calling in women who see the miracle that is the heart that beats, the feet that dance, the voice that sings.

I a woman who believes in magic, mystery and miracles and I am looking for some good friends.

At the age of 12, I did a TV audition.  Their direction was to just say something for the camera.  And so I did.  With my wild dark hair and flaring nostrils, I proclaimed: “I am Marianne, the Witch,” then I cackled.  I got the part.

40 years later – I am proclaiming the same – I am claiming all dark hair, flaring nostrils, potent sexuality, a cackle, and a firm belief that there is profound magic out there.

For women, especially, magic comes so much more easily.

weaving webs

weaving webs

We are the weavers of the web, the caster of the spells.  We know that a gentle kiss on a skinned knee makes the booboo go away.  We are the creators of community, the great alchemists.  For certain we know how to make something out of nothing.

And for too, too long we have kept it quiet.  We have held back, bowed and hidden.  Living life at half mast, always looking around to see who we are pleasing and who we are not.  The smile endlessly pasted on the face.

Justifiably, for our bones well remember what happened when we didn’t:

Burned at the stake for the power we held, the power we bled.
Sent to asylums to shut us up.
Cast into the streets and stoned.
Raped and violated to keep us in line.

Whispered about, mocked, sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly: witches, bitches, crazy, stupid, silly, whore, dike,  – and the list goes on and on and on…

But there is a rising.  We can feel it vibrating, we can hear the singing.  Woman after woman is standing up, stepping out, claiming her voice, shining her light, allowing her power to pulse.

I have felt her, too.  When I let myself go, give in to the call, allow the flow to pour through me.

I have felt the wolf howl, felt the hawk soar.  Felt the heat of the flames rise up and through me, the potent power of the earth and her need to create.  That is when I am at my best – when I give in, let go, dance to the drums, howl at the moon, soar with the wind.

She/we are unstoppable,
all powerful and
we are She.

So I am calling in the women who believe in magic, mystery and miracles.

Because you know you have something important to say.

Because you know you have something important to do.

Because you know it is just time.

 On Saturday, May 10, 2014 I am gathering 12 beautiful, wild, crazy, vibrant, potent wise women who believe in magic, mystery and miracles.  12 women who know they have vital work to do, important things to say.   Women who long to express what it is that drums in their heart, pulses in their blood.

It will be a day to fully embrace who we are – laughter, cackles and tears, rage, sorrow and fears.  A day to tell our story in a new way.  A day to re-forge our marriage to the earth.  A day of connection, community and support – so that each of us can step into the light, claim our voice, make our own magic.

If you are so called – I would love to speak with you.

To your journey.

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What Permission Do You Give Yourself?

I recently started a 30-day video challenge with Michelle Hart to support my goal of becoming more visible in this format.  My intention had been to develop a series of quick tip videos for speakers.  But as is often the case, life is what happens while we are making other plans.

opening to permission

opening to permission

What I discovered instead was easily as valuable.  What I discovered was the importance of permission.

In my mind, over the course of the 30 days, I had this vision that would I develop the scripts, get all dolled up, sit on my couch and enthusiastically share my tips.  Done!


Instead, what is occurring is I am letting the process happen much more organically.  I am letting it evolve to see what else is possible.  In the spirit of this exploration, I renamed this challenge my “permission videos” because I realized that what I really needed was full permission to say whatever was on my mind and in my heart, to drop the mask, to see what came thru.

Of course some of it could be re-worked as a more ‘finished product,’ but what was most important was the allowing.  What was vital and so freeing was the freedom to reveal the parts of us we rarely do, and surprisingly,  to see ourselves as beautiful – just as we are – wild hair, no makeup – with  no judgment, no harsh critic – only acknowledgement, acceptance and wonder.

In doing this work for myself, it just further confirmed the importance of creating that container for my clients as they began the process of crafting their presentations.

I invite my clients to give themselves permission to drop the mask, let go of expectations and judgment.  Instead to give themselves full and abundant permission to get ugly, to make mistakes, to explore and feel like the fool.  To play and dance even if they are awkward and cannot carry a tune.  Because the freedom we feel when we sing to the wind is incomparable.

Someone recently asked why I spread the work out over three months, and I told them it was so that clients could experience the gift of the process.  Yes, I provide structure, and accountability, but the work I do with my clients also gives them freedom.  By allowing some time to explore, it gives them the freedom to allow, to invite, to create the door thru which inspiration comes, and the soul breathes.

It also takes practice and faith.  To keep showing up each day,  to ask the question, to hold hands open, heart open, to breathe,  as we allow ourselves to come slowly, gently, sweetly out into the open.

  • Telling our story
  • Claiming our voice,
  • Stepping into our light even as we embrace our shadow
  • Dancing in our power, our beauty, our grace.

So give yourself permission and see what comes thru – it is perhaps the greatest gift of all.

To Your Journey.

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How Are You Capturing Inspiration?

There is nothing more exciting than being in the flow, when you are finally in the moment, instead of outside looking in.  And when that does start, when ideas flow and synchronicity becomes obvious, you want to be ready.  You want to be ready to ride that passion and capture that inspiration.

So, how are you capturing yours?

Capturing the Flow

Capturing the Flow

I’ve had so many people, especially creative ones, tell me they are getting so many downloads, so many ideas, they don’t know what to do with them.  My answer: You don’t have to DO anything yet.  Just capture them, put them where you can find them, so you don’t forget.

Over the years I’ve developed the practice of morning pages – first thing in the morning, before emails, or phone calls, I sit with coffee, pen and paper and write.  Sometimes it is nothing more than processing, or kvetching, or my to-do list.  However, when I’m in the flow, all kinds of other things start coming thru: ideas for projects, blog or video topics, poems, clarity about purpose or next steps….  And I know I’ve struck gold when I feel the chills ripple thru my body.

What they say is true, that the time between sleep and awake is a magical time, when the window between worlds is much more translucent, when the messages we get from spirit are so much clearer.

So I recommend to all, as you begin to contemplate your presentations (or any dream) to start journaling, as it gives you a chance to clear the clutter and make way for the inspiration.  Because once you do…

  • You will get ideas you had not considered.
  • You will see connections you had not made
  • You will gain clarity on purpose and next steps

The world of spirit is so creative it will lead us to places we had not imagined.
You open the door to flow, and things will begin pouring in and you want to be able to remember them.

Because, as you move into your busy day – it is so easy to forget that glorious inspiration you had for a workshop, the beautiful idea for a blog, the gal you met a week ago you resonated with… Don’t let that happen, capture it.

Perhaps you won’t use the insight right away.  Or perhaps you won’t use it at all, but have no doubt, it is of value: the stepping stone to the next idea, the next connection.

Ride the Passion

Ride the Passion

So words of warning: When you open the door to flow, it will be big, and it will be exhilarating, and it will take you places you had not dreamed of.

So when it comes, make sure you are ready to ride.

To your journey.

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I’ve given birth! What’s making a sales call compared to that?

As I sit at my desk, list in hand, my palms sweating, my heart pounding, I have to wonder, what is the big deal?  How is it that making a few phone calls to friends and supporters has me in such a tizzy?

After all, I’ve done much bigger, much scarier things.  For example, I’ve given birth!  After spending 9 months nauseous, ravenous, then waddling like a whale, I gave birth.

So what is inviting a few friends to a workshop on public speaking compared to that?

I spent hours roaming the hospital halls, howling like a wolf, falling to my knees, as the pains shook me.

So what is dialing a few digits, leaving a few awkward messages compared to that?

Having renounced the meds, I crawled on the bed, leaving bruises on my husband’s wrist, as we timed the hills and valleys of those contractions.

So what is fumbling thru a conversation, hemming and hawing my way thru the invitation, compared to that?

Then, the ‘no turning back now’ as I totally surrendered to the free fall, the stepping into the roaring river that was the beginning of the ‘push.’  The terrifying moment when I accepted that there was no way out but through.  The final recognition that mothers have been birthing for a millennia and I knew exactly what to do.

So what is the possible rejection I might hear, the “I’m sorry I can’t make it,” or the “I don’t have the time,” or “don’t have the money,” compared to that?

And then, thru the haze of the doctor’s words, and my husband’s encouragement, the unbelievable sensation as an object the size of a cantaloupe began moving my thighs and somehow out into the world.

Seriously, Marianne, what is the big deal, compared to that?

At last, the exquisite, incomparable moment when they placed her on my belly for the first time.  Voice hoarse, body exhausted, heart flooded.  I stared at her – my daughter.

A friend picks up the phone, delighted to hear from me. “Yes.” She exclaims. “I’d love to come to your workshop.”

To birthing our dreams.

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The Secret to a Mesmerizing Presentation

In the midst of all the noise and confusion, sometimes silence speaks the loudest.

As speakers, we want to stand out, to have people take notice.  But often, in the attempt to gain the attention, the tendency is to look out at what others are doing; so we strive to be funnier, louder, more daring than everyone else.  Unfortunately, in focusing on what others are doing, we lose the key connection with ourselves and what makes us so unique.  As a result, our message becomes diluted, and lacks authenticity.

The importance of trusting who we are really hit home this weekend, when I attended an event called Awaken the Rebel.  One of the speakers, Steve Truitt, gave us an assignment:   to meet with other participants over lunch and talk about our definition of success.  As part of that discussion we were to answer the questions, ‘What do we love? What makes us happy?’

I was amazed at what I witnessed.

Here we were all perfect strangers sitting around the table, yet when I listened and watched each one share what they loved, they literally glowed with the telling.  It was like watching the sunrise come up over the horizon.  There was this exquisite opening of the heart as they revealed their greatest truth – what brought them joy.


a new day

I realized then – that it can be as simple as that.  If we, as speakers, can connect to that light, that joy inside of us, and communicate that to the audience, then we have succeeded in our mission.

When we can claim our own voice, speak our own stories, and share our own lessons – the audience will be entranced.  We don’t have to tell funny jokes, or play loud music.  We don’t have to come out wearing our skivvies to entertain.  We only need to be who we are.

And when we are true to that – we cannot fail.

It is as simple as that.

So, the next time you are working on your speech, remember that sweet question, “What brings me joy?” And if you can touch that and share it honestly with your audience, I can assure you it will be a richer experience for all.

To your journey!

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