What About Me?

“I’ve been taking care of people all my life and now I’m going to start doing exactly what I want to do!”

Have you heard this before? Have you said it yourself? Are you quietly thinking it now?

You’d be stunned if you knew how many times in a month I hear a woman say this directly to me or it gets thrown around in a discussion with other ladies. (Interestingly, in over 20 years of this work I’ve only had one man repeat this sentence to me.)

You would think that with all the transformation Coaching I do, blogs I write, keynotes I give and workshops I offer that cheer individuals on to live a fully authentic life, out-loud, their way, that I would shout out a big “Hell, yes!” to this kind of declaration. But actually, my initial hit is to cringe inside.

My first thought, if I’m being truly honest here, is “Why did you do that?”

My second thought, after so many years of working with couples, is “Who’s going to suffer now because of that choice you made?”

And here’s what I mean.

When the pendulum gets swung so far to one side that an individual neglects their own self- care, gets overly involved in helping others, puts caretaking of children, parents, friends and family members first above everything else, there’s simply got to be a huge swing back, right?

That swing back, in love relationships, usually comes in the form of a “mid-life crisis”, an “empty nester shut down”, the start of an emotional (or physical affair) or a sudden, unexpected breakup or filing for divorce. 

A woman’s decision to start thinking about themselves and how to bring personal fulfillment back into their lives may be prompted by a parent’s death, the last child graduating and moving out or a change in purposeful work, including retirement. Sometimes a health scare shakes the person awake and reminds them that life is short. 

And all this is wonderful, except when that pendulum is allowed to swing so far to the other side that impulsive, sweeping decisions are made out of sheer reactivity.

And others are steam rolled or suffer.

After talking with hundreds of clients over the years in this position, who were yelling at the top of their lungs “It’s time for ME!” I’ve seen a consistent missing piece that fuels the anger, reactivity and sets the stage for some decisions they’re going to regret:

You made this choice.

If that sounds harsh, please just take a deep breath and hear me again.

You made this choice.

Maybe it was a damn hard choice and one that felt like it left you deciding between two crappy options.

Maybe it was something as simple as deciding to step away from your career because it meant the world to you to be home with your kids and then you reached the point where you felt like you lost yourself because you didn’t remain engaged with the world.

Maybe you were already juggling family and work and volunteering for that important organization and then your parent began to decline so quickly that you felt you had no choice but to become their caretaker because you were the only sibling in town and on and on it went until you were completely disconnected from your spouse and exhausted and then that parent died. 

And you looked around, like “When is the last time I did anything for myself?”

Or maybe you found it impossibly hard to say “No” in any way, shape or form to the things you really didn’t want to get involved in so you kept taking on more and more, being the “go-to” person for people wanting help and started to enjoy a sense of being “needed” along with the accolades that came from being known as the woman who “can do it all!”

And still, you made this choice.

Whether you were fully aware of it or not.

I remember hitting this place myself in the 90’s.

I quit my fast paced career, moved to a state I hated with a new husband and small child and my days began centering around taking care of things;  the housekeeping, child rearing, pool cleaning, dinner recipes, caring for Aids patients and supporting a husband’s health issues. I thought I was handling it really well. A year and a half in, desperately trying to make new friends, I heard myself say over coffee one day, “I used to have a life.” The other woman laughed and we went on with our conversation. But that sentence kept ringing in my ears and that night I had a gigantic meltdown and shouted at my husband, “I can’t take all this caretaking junk! I need a life!” To which he immediately fell into defending himself and we had a nice ole’ argument. 


Because I was throwing it out there as if…….wait for it……I hadn’t made the choice!

Do I applaud your decision to actually STOP all the habitual caretaking and focusing on everyone else so that you can begin visioning the kind of life that would bring you deep meaning and a feeling of vibrancy again? 


And it begins with you sitting yourself down and acknowledging that regardless of the toll it took on you and whether you realized it then, you made a choice to do these things. That, my friends, is what empowers you to map out a new path forward and opens the door to gratitude for what you were able to give to others out of hopefully, Love.

This mindset lightens your heart. 

This acceptance supports you to stand strong in your ability to make good choices and helps you tell the truth about better decisions that will feed your soul now.

This personal ownership keeps you from reactive things like:

  • Blowing up your marriage because you’ve decided if your life is boring your partner must be, too
  • Succumbing to FB flirtations / affairs with old high school sweethearts because it’s “About time I felt excited, wanted and alive again!”
  • Treating your loved ones with blame and harshness because you assume they had a part in “making” you take care of them
  • Deeply hurting another’s heart by numbing out or shutting down emotionally from them, believing you can’t honor your desires AND your connection with them

Are you ready to put your arms around your own life again (or maybe for the first time!) and get those creative juices flowing? 

What do you miss most? What makes your toes tingle just thinking about it? What are you ready to start saying “No” to from here on out? How do you want to start feeling each day?

And, most important, before you begin that visioning……….

If there have been any quiet desires to “control” others, have things go your way, play the martyr, be seen as a self- sacrificing person or if you are seeking approval from others for all these things you keep doing, time to address that with yourself now. It will be impossible for you to live with the kind of lightness and inner freedom that you want if you are “getting something” from this.

Do you need some support to break this pattern and put everyone’s life back in their own hands? 

I’m here. Let’s do some solid work together.

Got this? Great. Let yourself off the hook for getting too involved and start having meaningful, honest conversations with those in your life who’ll be affected by you stepping back out. Invite partners to brainstorm about new possibilities for you both. Then model for everyone in your life what it looks like to practice good self-care, strong self-love and living with wild abandon!


The “Trying to End it” Basket

I think it was Dan Savage (OMG this guy makes me gasp at his advice in the Savage Love column, but he is truly so bright!) who said something once about the The “trying to end it” basket.

While I’ve spoken and written endlessly about the “stay or go” dilemma, finding yourself in the  “trying to end it” basket is not only a bit different, it can be even more painful because both parties are involved in this heart crushing quandary.

When a client comes to me beating their head against the wall, trying to decide if their relationship is “too bad to stay” or “too good to go”, most of them have been keeping it to themselves. Sure, they’ve been fighting. You bet their partner knows things are not going well. And yes, there have been times when someone’s shouted “I’m not doing this anymore!” Some have headed off for a night of cooling down at a friend’s house or even taken a short break, hoping to come back with a clear head and the ability to sit down and work things through. 

But that’s the difference. A part of them keeps holding on to the second part of the question – “Too good to go?” and remains emotionally invested.

When someone ends up getting stuck in “trying to end it” mode, I find they’ve actually made the internal decision to call it “done” and then keep falling into behaviors that keep them looping, hurting both parties unnecessarily


Because we can make a clear, heart centered, gut level decision and still let our wild and wacky emotions throw us around until we’re bloody and exhausted, causing us to stall, question, then have to back track, and begin again.

What are those disastrous behaviors?

  • Just when there seems to be a real “break” in the connection, an individual will reach out with a text to just say “hi” or make a call about a “quick question”
  • A person will be hit with a wave of emotion from a song or a memory, lose track of every requirement that wasn’t met and pretend they’re confused about why they’ve ended it
  • There will be an intentional push to move immediately to a “friendship” in the hopes that they can at least have something with the former partner to soften the breakup blow
  • They run a constant “Why?” through their heads which keeps them from truly facing the ending and continues to hook them to their partner in their minds
  • A person will blow past the opportunity to accept the ending and continue to sit and stew in anger over all that transpired. Anger becomes the great connector.

If you know in your heart of hearts that wasting one more day pretending you don’t know whether to stay or go has got to stop, then take a deep breath and as they say, “find your Brave.” Of course you can do this. You have everything you need to put one foot in front of the other and walk all the way out. And I’ll bet, more support than you are remembering.

Trying to end it without landing in that damn basket again? 

  • Tell at least one person who matters to you that you HAVE DECIDED and ask for support to hold to the decision
  • List the top 4 reasons that you are ending the relationship (they should be strong deal-breakers that were not met) and keep them on you so you can remind yourself when you feel weak
  • Share in a  clear, calm and direct manner with your partner that you’ve made the decision to end the relationship, say WHY without personal attacks (just the facts ‘mam) and tell them exactly what your next steps will be
  • Rip the band aid off and follow through on those action steps pronto for both of your sakes
  • Let your soon to be “former” know that to help with the ending for you both, you want to agree to “zero contact” for an initial period of time if at all possible
  • Lean on your support person/ Coach/ community during highly emotional times so you don’t run back, then get caught in the “trying to end it” loop again

Here’s what I want to say about all of this and I hope you will listen.

Life is short. If you’ve been contemplating an ending for quite some time, then pay attention to those feelings. One of two things is going on and I’m going to tell it to you straight:  either you’ve got some healing and growing to do on your end so that you can come into alignment with your best self and be a healthy, happy partner or you need to get honest with yourself about the deal-breakers that aren’t being met and be willing to take the lead and end the relationship.

Stop waiting.

Get fully in and to work on yourself so you can see that the pain was coming mainly from your end or get out, be grateful for what you learned and for the newfound freedom and be strong enough to stay the course and allow both of you to move on.

Emotional maturity requires that we cultivate the inner strength to act on our own behalf and that we practice resilience as we journey through life, understanding we can and will get through the tough emotional times. 

You can do this. 

Big love to you,












Father’s Day Musings

Father and son black and white.jpg

Hey Dads….. pause for a moment to realize how truly important you are in your child’s life. You could be having a powerful, positive influence on them or be causing deep hurt, due to your own emotional immaturity and inner pain. Maybe you’re dying to help create a stronger bond and meeting resistance. Possibly you’ve given up or have convinced yourself that your presence in their lives doesn’t matter.

One way or the other, whether they are tiny or full grown, whether you see them every day or haven’t laid eyes on them in 2 years, your children are impacted by your presence or lack of it and by the love you share unconditionally or continue to withhold.

To all of the fathers I know who are trying their hardest to foster a connection and love their kids, stay the course. To any of you who tell me it doesn’t matter, your kids will be fine without you, I can’t emphasize enough how misguided this belief is. Get back in the game. For your own emotional well-being and for theirs.

Unconditional love from a parent is the soothing balm that goes straight to a child’s soul. They can’t tell you that. Don’t confuse this kind of love with tolerating behavior you refuse to entertain. These are two very different things.

Love can always remain at the forefront and slid as a love note under the firmly shut door.

And to all the Dad’s I’ve had in my own life - one toxic, some resilient, one who “saved” me, another who showed me what dedicated love for a child not of one’s own flesh could look like, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know what it’s like to walk this wild journey called being a “Mom.” I believe the walk of “Father” may carry additional challenges in our world.

Please keep going. Know you are needed desperately.

And know we all send you and your children Love.

(And women, please……I am asking you from the bottom of my heart to support the men in your lives, to never block healthy connection, to celebrate any and all bonds that are trying to be forged and to lift up the men in your lives – including “ex’s” – so that they may continue to grow, change, awaken and lead their younger men toward wholeness)

Big love to you all ~ Barb



It’s Not About The Vision Board

Vision boards.  Journaling streams of affirmations.  Listening to the singing bowls. Contacting your tarot reader. 

I’m not against any of them.

But if you truly want to be out of the pain you continue to experience and heading toward a life that is not only filled with more ease, but satisfying to the soul, these can end up as distractions.

So how does that sound?

To be “soulfully satisfied” and at ease?

There are three things that are going to bring it and I mean, BRING IT.   Clear the decks right now on all this other stuff that you’ve been engaging in.  There’s nothing wrong with them.  Crystals can be healing, reading a powerful book can change your perspective and working with an energy healer may offer more important releases.  Go back to these if they call to you.  But for now………three things:

1. Ask clear, empowering questions of yourself and be ready to tell yourself the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so HELP ME GOD.   

 (btw, you just uttered one of the most powerful prayers that could ever pass through your lips)

When you’re honestly ready to get out of pain or to finally say “Yes!” to a life that your heart longs for, you must carve out time alone, sit yourself down and have a heart to heart with yourself.  You must agree to stop all the distractions and ways that you try and hand your power to another person who can “help you” and listen to what your soul is trying to say to you. Ask, listen and then actually take time to “answer” questions like:

1.  What is trying to emerge in my life right now?

2.  What next step is calling to me, regardless of any fear I feel?

3.  The time is now for me to listen and act.  Am I willing to finally get unstuck?

2. Activate a “full body, I’m not kidding, I can vision this” feeling tone for 68 seconds straight!

Sit quietly with your eyes closed and run your truths and any big “Yeses” through you.  And I mean, full body tone, energy surging, vibration rising, I feel this down to my toes, I believe it’s time and am ready, ready, ready kind of feeling activation!  Feel the truth in what you are claiming, hold the vision of it taking place NOW, get your whole body resonating with the positive feelings you experience when you sit “in” this place your soul has sent you to. 

Breathe.  Then allow yourself to sit in that high vibration for 68 straight seconds without contradicting the feeling.   (more on the 68 seconds later or message me!)

Then relax, breathe, stay out of negativity and head into the rest of your day or evening.


On what?  Nothing you watch your brilliant mind try to come up with.  Take the next step ONLY after engaging in the first two practices and IF you are shown or hear an action step.  Two things to watch out for here.  If you’ve honestly opened up to some big life changing truths, don’t keep from taking that next step out of fear, by pretending you don’t hear it.  And second, don’t negotiate with the Universe in regards to what you are hearing.  Take the step.   Period.  Then see what other guidance comes in on the heels of that creative movement!

Do you see how simple this actually is? 

Stop.  Listen quietly.  Ask empowered questions.  Allow the truth to come in.  Hold that truth until you can feel the vibration of that energy intensifying and all contradictions to it melt away.  Act on the next step shown to you.


That’s it.

Can I tell you something?  After 20 years of Coaching and Spiritual Direction with clients, this practice is the one that finally gets individual unstuck and actives life affirming, powerful change.   If you really looked at how many times you “knew” intuitively what the next step was but stood still out of fear, you’d be stunned. 

That “ease” you so deeply long for?  Make this journey through life a little less challenging.  Trust that you have all the wisdom you need in every moment if you will just listen, ask and commit to “acting” no matter what.  Exercise that “trust” muscle and jump in. 

I want to hear from you!  Share with me how this process has worked for you or if you feel your “brave” coming on and are ready to play~

Big love to you all,






It’s been the topic of conversation recently and the word has been woven into casual chats with friends, intimate discussions with my beloved husband and thrown around with clients.

Sure, it’s the time of year where we are expressing gratitude for the longer, “lighter” days.  (If you live here in Portland like I do, we’ve been longing for the constant rain to stop!)

And yes, with all that’s going on in our world, conversations turn regularly to how “heavy” everyone is feeling and the desire to find ways to “lighten” the intensity of emotions.

The focus recently with a client, as he renewed his wedding vows was on bringing in more playfulness, fueled by a “lighter” attitude in their everyday lives.

My husband and I reveled in our escape to Puerto Vallarta and the additional “lightness” it brought from having no schedule whatsoever. That kind of lightness allows a day to unfold in front of you organically, enjoying things moment to moment.

The bigger question then, is not only how “light” you feel as you navigate your days right now, but are you aware of what you do that starts adding to more heaviness or begins bringing more ease and flow into your day?

Want to know one of the most powerful, effective things you can do every day to stay above the fray?

Commit to a mindfulness practice.

I would have said “meditate” but half of you would immediately groan and say to yourself something to the effect of “I know! I’m so bad about staying with that!” or “I’ve tried it and my mind’s too busy to have it work.”


What you do matters. 

What you don’t do matters.

 How you show up in your world, on a daily basis matters.

Whether you remain grounded and come from a place of “responding” with ease and Grace or allow yourself to get triggered and in full blown “reactive” mode, the negativity affects every single person around you.

Then it ripples out into our world.

I want you out of daily pain, fear and stress.

I selfishly want you to add to the health, consciousness and kindness in our world.

Will you do this with me and see what happens this month?


Today, June 1st, 2017 (or no later than this weekend), will you sit with yourself and make a commitment to join us in some kind of daily mindfulness practice for the full 30 days, then let’s check in together.


  • Sit in quiet meditation, every single morning, simply following your breath for 5 minutes
  • Close your eyes, take one long slow in-breath and one long exhale and repeat over and over, “I let go, I let go, I let go.”
  • Write in your journal for 5 minutes everything you can think of that is going really well
  • Speak out loud every morning, looking into the mirror, “I relax, let go and trust that life has my back today.”
  • Stay away from anything you know that winds you up emotionally – the news, articles, FB, rehashing world events with friends or family, groups that fire your anxiety (just for now)
  • Walk every single evening for 10 minutes and simply swing your arms, breathe and unwind
  • Turn on music that loosens the heart strings, stand up and sway or dance for 5 full minutes
  • Write or tell a partner every evening before bed, 5 things you’re deeply grateful
  • Workout, stretch, do yoga, or any other physical movement to the point of sweating every single day (that might take 5 minutes or an hour!)
  • Sit every day for 5 minutes where you aren’t interrupted and stare out the window, focusing on individual things, like the way a branch on a tree sways in the wind, the cloud formations, a flower, the dog being walked….and breathe
  • Every day, notice when you feel any intense emotions and take 30 seconds to close your eyes, breathe, and say to yourself “I am safe. All is well.”

Feel free to add something of your own that you know works, but do make sure to pick a couple from the list above.

Put a little sheet somewhere you will see it each day and make a “check mark” when you’ve done them. It will feel great and be motivating.

The beauty of this kind of Coaching is that there is “accountability” added in and that’s where the magic begins. We all are pretty darn smart and know what we need or when things are off base.  It’s just that it so easy to not take a step in the direction of helping ourselves. 

I want you to feel more ease. Let’s do this together. 

Need an additional incentive to start the process of helping yourself experience more “lightness?” 

Any of you that truly do this for 30 days and then send me a note on July 1st , with a comment on what made a difference for you will get something fun in the mail from me.  A book, a beaded bracelet, a movie ticket……? Who knows? 

You in? 

I believe with all my heart that once you begin a 30 day mindfulness practice of any kind and experience the results, you’ll want more of that sense of peace and that you will naturally begin to lean into more and more of these daily practices.

Let’s jump in! Keep me posted on how it’s going!

Big love to you all~




Requirements, Walls or Just Being Controlling?

Some of the deepest work I do with clients is helping them, whether they are single or already coupled, get crystal clear on what their “requirements” are in their most intimate relationships. When we have personal values that we live our lives by, sharing our journey with someone who does not honor the same values can not only cause tons of friction, it can hurt our hearts and soul.  At the same time, being with someone who has a true respect for you and similar values can create a magical, growth filled bond.

This goes for any relationship that we engage in, whether it’s a deep love connection or a close friendship.  Being anchored in similar values is imperative for it to thrive, even as you do your own personal growth work to honor the many differences between us all. 

And there’s the rub, right? If you’re finally ready to stop tolerating poor or hurtful behavior, leave behind draining, drama filled encounters and uplevel your own personal standards, you’ve got to figure out a few things:

  • Am I internally strong enough to accept that I do, indeed, have true “requirements” of others for us to be in any kind of relationship?
  • Are the “non-negotiables” I’m considering sharing actually just walls of protection, in an attempt to keep from being hurt.
  • Is my list one that actually reflects “controlling” behavior on my part, not actual requirements that honor my values and who I am at the core?

Let’s look at an example of each so that you can get a feel for this work and maybe begin making your own, empowered list of healthy “deal-breakers!”


Heathy Requirement: 

“I require that people I am in relationship with have the willingness and ability to speak to me respectfully, even when they are upset, frustrated or we don’t agree on something.”

A Wall of Protection:

“I require a person prove to me unequivocally that they will never say or do anything that makes me feel bad or hurts me.”

Controlling Behavior:

“People must listen to me and honor what I say my needs are.”

Can you hear the difference between these three? We have no control over anyone but ourselves. People get to act anyway they want to act, do what they want and will perceive things through their own filters, just like we do. It’s our job to make sure we are showing up with integrity, that we understand what we “require” for us to have rich, engaging connections with others and to take a stand for those things.

Leading with strong requirements will not only begin to draw to you people you resonate with and respect, it will swiftly begin to dissolve connections that fall under the heading of entanglements, connections based on unhealthy dynamics and the ones you hang on to because you fear their judgment if you speak up for yourself.

How strong is your Personal Foundation? Are you ready to begin a “requirements” list and see where you can begin practicing in your life?

And as you’re doing this fun exercise, brace yourself, because guess what? When your list is done, the next step is to go through it and see how well YOU honor these requirements that you say you cherish, when you’re with others! It’s a fantastic way to determine your next area of growth.

Want ALL of your relationships to be meaningful connections that bring you ALIVE!?  I want that for you, too. Grab your journal, start your list and see where you need to personally grow. I’m here if you need help or support. 

Let’s add to the consciousness of our world by starting right where we are. 

Big love to you all~


Are You Worth It?

I was asked a fascinating question last night.

A colleague and I had been talking about all the different reasons clients hire me, what kind of referrals I get, and if there was a common “issue” that had an individual pull the trigger on hiring me for the next 6-12 months as their personal Coach.

She asked, “If the majority of us have never learned what it truly takes to have a successful relationship and are in some kind of pain, why do certain individuals hire you immediately and why do others wait or walk away?”

Why indeed?

As we continued the conversation, we shared stories about where, in the past, we had both avoided taking action in our lives around relationship challenges and what the catalyst was for us eventually laying down cold hard cash for help.

My colleague said she had been a horrible dater and finally found a guy who was “better than any of the others.”  This was the same mentality when she decided they ought to go ahead and get married. Needless to say she didn’t have any real solid relationship skills, the thing started to “tank” within the first 2 years and then she spent…….ready for it?.........12 more years wondering if she should “stay or go.” She didn’t know what to do different, how to fix things or whether the problem was him or actually her.

And funny thing? She had more than one opportunity to hire an experienced Coach during this time and kept avoiding the investment. She continued to spend money on everything else – her car, a gym membership, new spring clothes, travel and a zillion self-help books, but not on getting out of relationship pain.

Her reasons at the time?

*She kept telling herself she should be able to figure it out

*She would start imagining a different life, then remember how much she had hated dating

 *It seemed kind of silly to financially invest in someone helping her figure out her marriage (read number 1!)

 *Taking such a powerful first step would mean she had to look at herself and be ready for real change and that scared her

For me? It was a bit more black and white than that. 

My early life had been filled with chaos, turmoil, confusion and unpredictability.  Every decision I made was in “reaction” to something.  I had been taught to “keep quiet”, “figure it out” and that getting help or support was showing the worst kind of “weakness.” This made it simple for me – shut up, assess what needs to happen to stay safe, on top of things and “right” and don’t let them see you sweat.

No intentional change can come from this kind of mindset, so it took a rock bottom and landing in therapy to open up that wonderous door. And once it was opened, I can honestly say that as a “growth minded” person, it’s been easy for me to hire whoever I need to hire in ANY area of my life so that I don’t struggle needlessly!

Are you are a “fixed mindset” kind of person or a “growth mindset” one?

Do you go through life believing for the most part that you are who you are, that your intelligence and talents are fixed and avoid challenge and failure? Or do you fall in the category of what is called a “growth mindset”, where you see yourself as a work in progress and believe in growth, change and opportunity?

How does investing in a Coaching partnership that could help you make positive, lasting change in your life feel, when you think about it?  Exciting or like a waste of money?

As a relationship expert, I’m curious whether you are staying stuck, allowing your dating/loving/marriage to become stagnant, confusing and painful in any of these ways right now?

*Are you tolerating behaviors in your long term relationship that suck the life out of you regularly?

*Do you entertain on a regular basis whether you should stay or go?

*Are you losing inspiration and motivation at work, in regards to your social life or just in general as a result of the constant energy drain with your partner?

*How often do you feel a tinge of excitement around the possibility of meeting someone new, then freeze and stay stuck at the thought of dating with no real new skills?

What would it be worth to you, to not be in this same place by the end of the year? Are you at the point where you are beginning to see that the financial investment could change your whole life for the better?  Do you know how many thousands of dollars you’ll end up spending on a divorce?  Can you imagine how much more creative, productive and attractive you’d be to all that is trying to come into your life, if you weren’t blocking it by staying stuck?

This is not a sales pitch. 

It’s a heart call. 

There are a few of you out there that need to hear this and stop wasting precious time, so that you get into action now.  I learned how important it was to get great support from experts in my 30’s.  If I could have understood that sooner, it would have changed so many things back then. I would love to help you take what feels like a risk and catapult you into a brilliant new life where you feel ease and freedom and a sense of true inner peace.

I’m here if you’re ready. If not, I’ll hold sacred space for you until you are. This is one big beautiful life and my desire is that you enjoy every single minute of it to the fullest!

You’re worth the investment!

Big love to you all~