29 August 2007

Purpose and Katrina

It is hard to believe that it is the second anniversary of the Katrina disaster. I have a difficult time with that because it is also the sixth anniversary of my beloved's death. So time kinds of meld into itself. In my own reflections on disaster, tragedy and adversity, I have learned that in all there is purpose. Now, you may ask what purpose is death, destruction and devastation?

Well, I believe it is to bring the rest of us up a little higher; calling us to a different place. We can become so immersed in our own little worlds with our own problems and complexities that we sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. We are not on this earth mainly for our own amusement. We are not here merely to satisfy our own insatiable appetites; but to learn and teach valuable lessons.

After going through my own grief journey, I realized that all that I went through was not just for its own sake. I now had an incredible responsibility placed at my feet. I was now bestowed with a one of a kind task that only from my experience could be accomplished. And what was this great task? To empathetically journey with another in love.

I was no longer free from ignorance. No, I now had knowledge, experience and the wisdom needed to move from my own world into someone else's world -- someone also going through pain and adversity. It is a very daunting task, but one that is absolutely necessary if your own journey is to make any sense. Granted, one can never make sense of loss of innocent life, yet the way I can wrap my brain around it is to believe in a higher purpose. I know that the Divine Spirit is always looking for ways to get us to "get it" though sometimes we miss it, and miss it by a mile.

I now get it. I can make peace with adversity. Not that it's a friend, but it is a familiar bystander. One that I can now recognize. And I am the stronger for knowing him.

My prayers go out to all the Katrina victims and survivors. My heart is with you.

In peace and purpose,
Coach Carolyn

27 August 2007

Blocks to Living with Passion...The Best Lesson

This month, I conducted a 3-part discussion series called Blocks to Living with Passion for the Becoming a Woman of Purpose Meetup. The three gatherings were focused on overcoming fear, limiting beliefs, and negativity.

What amazes me the most is that women have this burning need and desire to talk about these kinds of issues but really have no safe space to do that. Yes, we have our bestest girlfriends, but how long can we talk about the same issues that seem to grip us and won't let go? After awhile, even our dearest friends don't want to hear it anymore. We are countered with the old "Aren't you over that by now?" routine. So we sulk in silence.

These discussions brought up everything from fear of losing control to unresolved grief and loss. The tissues came in handy. I have been conducting groups for about twelve years now, and it never ceases to amaze me the dynamics of the groups. Women come in looking for answers, or at least help to resolve something that they are dealing with. They leave being a loving support for another woman, in turn, helping themselves.

Some of the women bonded, forming connections of support and encouragement. They shared emails and resources. But the loveliest, at least for me, is they all shared their stories and their hearts with total strangers.

Joining a group can be very scary. You don't know who the others are and you don't know what will be expected of you. If you are not a public speaker, then it can be even more daunting. But half the battle is showing up, which takes tremendous courage. Once you show up, you come to realize that everyone is there for a similar reason -- overcoming something that is limiting your life.

I am very proud of the women that showed up for these discussions. They not only showed up, but they shared their hearts, their stories and their vulnerabilities. They opened themselves up to and for other women.

The best lesson I received was knowing that there are women who are in need of the opportunity for sharing and releasing the toxins in their lives, and that I can provide that safe and sacred space for them. Not just the venue, but the atmosphere, the support, and the validation.

What an honor! Thanks to all the women who just show up!

Wishing you passion and peace,
Coach Carolyn

24 August 2007

Blogs, Wikis and Real Life Conversations

As the author of no less than four blogs, my life has taken a definite 360 degree turn in the past six months. Although I have been in cyberspace for many years now, it has taken on a new passion for me, thus allowing me to live out my purpose in a new way. However, this passion, up until now, has been a very lonely one.

In real life, when I mention blogging, wikis, and the whole social networking thing, people look at me like I just grew another head! And though I can still talk about all of the other non-cidentals, I want to talk blogs! I want to talk wikis, and YouTube, Facebook and MySpace. I want to talk about The Blog Squad -- those gals totally rock!

I guess it's like having a baby. I've have been around new mothers and all they talk about are formulas, diapers, and 3am feedings. Well, I'm a new mother, and I just gave birth to a blog! So, where can I talk about that?! I want to talk about posts, feeds, and the differences in Blogger versus Wordpress. I want to spit out names like Toby Bloomberg, Liz Strauss, and Valeria Maltoni without having to explain who these great women are, for crying out loud!

And then I go and create a wiki, and well! What do I get? What the hell is a wiki? Do you know what Wikipedia is? Well, yeah. That's a wiki!

Can anybody relate???

For the past week, I have been having the most amazing conversations with women -- women I have never even met, women who would have never been on my radar, women who blog! Women who know what a wiki is! Women are emailing asking how do I add my blog to the wiki? Yes, they are using the words in one sentence. I tell you, this is genius! I am in awe.

So my real life people are still baffled and think I have become an Internet pod person. Yes, I have and life is wonderful!

Join the W Magical List of Women Bloggers at the wiki. Y'all know what I mean!

Live your wiki-licious life!
~The Wild Wiki Woman

21 August 2007

The W List... The Wiki Continues

My dear Mogulette sister Carmina Perez shared a link to a blog that posted 100 resources for women entrepreneurs called The Woman Entrepreneurs Toolbox. Of course now that I have started one wiki, well why not another? After all, what's one wiki without another? One lonesome wiki!

So, I added a page to the existing wiki of the W Magical List of Women Bloggers. The new page, The Women Entrepreneurs Toolbox, was compiled and written by Jessica Hupp of the Bootstrapper Blog. It is a fabulous list of blogs, tools, networking and organizations, resources, government aids, books and inspirational stories websites for women who are starting a business or are more established fem-preneurs. One can spend several days just going through the list.

The list is compiled in easy to use categories, which makes for quick searches. This is the goal of the W List, to categorize the list for quick and easy access. The W List is in categories on Elysa's GenPink blog, which is fabulous.

Head over and be prepared to spend some time. The resources are great. As a fem-preneur, I could sure use this resource, as it saves me time from looking everything up myself.

Since I'm on a wiki roll, any other resources for women, let me know and we'll see what we can create. After all, it's my purpose in life to equip and empower women. So, yes I am working!

Live wiki-liciously!
~The Wild Wiki Woman!

19 August 2007

W Magical List of Women Bloggers

I have had the amazing pleasure of being a part of the W Magical List of Women Bloggers that is circulating around the blogosphere. I will take a page from my blogging sister, Kirsten Harrell of Thinking Positive! Blog to tell the origin of this list.

"Valeria Maltoni from the Conversation Agent wrote a post about the top 20 PR Power Women. This top 20 list was extracted from Ad Age's Power 150. Valerie had a brilliant idea to add to this list and get the ball rolling to create the "W" list - a list of Women Bloggers. The "W" list idea took off in the blogosphere and has grown into a fabulous list of women bloggers."

I saw this list on a few blogs and thought this is great. Then I saw it on a few more blogs. So, I said if I see the list on one more blog, I have to do something about it. I thought I would just re-circulate the list on a blog post. I didn't know what I was in for. I read Toby Bloomberg's Diva Marketing Blog. Toby gave a great history of the list along with a challenge: The following W Magical List is by no means the end list. It would be as, Jeneane would say, the bomb, if some smart diva could create a wiki to house the list.

So yours truly took the challenge. Now, I had no idea how to even create a wiki. But I was on a mission, I had a purpose, and I was passionate! I went to Google and found Wikispaces. I included Toby's history along with the list. I posted a comment to Toby's post and it has been truly magical! This list of amazing women is as someone said like fairy dust. It was sprinkled and magic happened.

I want to thank the many wonderful and awesome women who have held this list in such a sacred way. I am so honored to be in the company of such gifted and amazing women.

I give a serious wiki love squeeze to my sisters:
Toby Bloomberg
Valeria Maltoni
Kirsten Harrell
Kammie Kobyleski

Elysa of GenPink has amazingly put the list in catogories. I have a shout out to her to see how we can consolidate the list. Will keep you posted.

Check out the list at http://wmagicallist.wikispaces.com/ and celebrate these amazing women bloggers, who keep the conversation going. We have an awesome power at our disposal: the power of our words. And women are exercising that power abundantly. I am so humbled to be among them.

If you are a woman blogger, please add your voice and your blog. This is a living list and a living legacy to all women. Keep it alive and passionate!

Blog purposefully and with passion!
Coach Carolyn

16 August 2007

Learn to Pick Your Battles

Several years ago an amazing little book exploded on the scene and caused people to rethink what they were thinking about. It was Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Dr. Richard Carlson. It is a book of meditations on keeping the proper perspective. Dr. Carlson reminded us that it's all small stuff in the bigger picture and not to let those little things become big things.

One of my daily axioms is another reminder from Dr. Carlson: Learn to pick your battles. There is the opportunity several times a day for each of us to have some sort of altercation. Someone will offend us; something will make us angry; someone else will say something stupid. Yes, this is all true. But what else is true is that we have the power to choose. We have choice.

We take for granted this amazing ability that we have been given. The ability to make the choice to not get caught up in someone else's drama. We can choose not to attend every argument we have been invited to. We can choose to step away when someone else is having a pity party. We can choose to say that is unacceptable to me. We can choose.

The problem isn't that we don't choose. The problem is we do choose, but we choose to join the party, the drama, someone else's battle. When someone directs an offensive comment your way, it's like them handing you a bottle of poison. Now when you enter into the battle, you have just made the choice to ingest their bottle of poison. So you have chosen to slowly kill yourself.

This is a harsh image, but sadly a very real one. In my practice, I have seen far too many women slowly dying because they have chosen to take the poison of some other hurting human being. Hurting people hurt people and are hurt by them. I try to instill and teach this principle of learning to pick your battles; and there are many battles to choose from.

I am an advocate for peace and social justice. In my "other" life, I do work around HIV/AIDS awareness, hunger and poverty in America, and non-violent living. These are the battles I consciously choose to fight. And I don't think in terms of winning or losing. We all lose when people are dying -- physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But I choose to exert my energies on the battles of injustice and social responsibility. I leave alone the petty differences because in the end, they will amount to nothing. I choose the battles of social injustice. But I also choose to let go of the battles of ego-building and proving I am right.

We all have the amazing gift of choice. But remember, not making a choice, is still a choice. So, what will you choose?

Live passionately by choice,
Coach Carolyn

13 August 2007

Blocks to Living with Passion: Fears

In the first of the 3-part series on Blocks to Living with Passion, the Becoming a Woman of Purpose Group gathered to discuss Overcoming Fears. It was a lively and very moving discussion. I was very proud of the way the women came together as total strangers to talk about something very personal and sometimes very painful. And they left knowing that they each were the keepers of something very sacred -- one another's inner light.

One of the things that plague us more than anything else is our fears, whether real or imagined. And when our fears grip us, that inner light grows very dim. Fears are perfectly normal and they let us know that we are on to something amazing. However, it is when we allow those fears to control our lives and stop us from accomplishing the things that we need to do, that blocks us from having a passionate and purposeful life.

A fear is an unpleasant feeling of perceived risk or danger, real or not. Fear also can be described as a feeling of extreme dislike to some conditions/objects, such as: fear of darkness, fear of ghosts, etc. It is one of the basic emotions. We all face fears, which is perfectly normal, unless they control our lives. Although fear is an innate response, objects of fear can be learned. Even though fear can diminish freedom of action; fear is also a signal that there is something for me to learn.

The women spoke of things that did plague them that they probably were not aware of as fear. One of the women shared her definition of fear as: False Evidence Appearing Real. This definition really resonated with some of the women. As a student of the 12-Step Movement, I had heard this many times and sort of dismissed it. But seeing how it moved these women, gave it a new light for me.

Having gone through several tragic and traumatic experiences in my life, I have not really shone light on my fears. When there is something that I need to accomplish and I have fear, I simply do it afraid. The fear isn't going away unless I face it. This isn't to say that this is easy; but it gets easier when you learn to take the actions and let go of the results. I cannot control what will happen once I take the actions, but I can control the actions I choose to take.

I choose to have access to all of my life. When we allow fear to rule, we lose parts of our own lives; not having access to certain parts of life. I refuse to allow anything or anyone to limit me in this way.

One of my fears is speaking in public. And what do I do for a living? I speak in public. Now, I am not masochistic in any way. But I have been given the gift of delivering a very special message to women. And no matter how afraid I am of that task, it is the task I have been given. And I will make the choice to do my part and leave the rest to my Divine Assigner.

Our next discussion will be Overcoming Limiting Beliefs. Will keep you posted.

Wishing you a fearless and passionate life,
Coach Carolyn

09 August 2007

Celebrate Life with Passion and Purpose

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~ Winston Churchill

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ~ H.D. Thoreau

May your walls know joy; May every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility. ~ Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey

Live passionately,
Coach Carolyn

06 August 2007

Choosing Excellence

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

I love this quote because this can be applied to all of the areas of our lives. Everything that we repeatedly do, we become masters at. This includes the constructive as well as the destructive behaviors and habits. When we repeatedly do things of excellence, then we become excellent people. Yet, when we repeatedly talk negatively about ourselves and others, this also becomes our reality.

It is said that it takes 21 days to break a habit. I personally don’t believe in breaking habits. I believe in replacing a destructive behavior with a positive, more constructive one. For example, if I am prone to speaking negatively about myself when I have made a mistake, instead of trying to refrain from saying anything negative, I can try a visualization exercise where I imagine the outcome I would have liked. I don’t beat myself up, I just imagine. And if I choose to beat myself up, I will use a feather.

As Aristotle says, excellence is not an act, but a habit. Perhaps we have been beating ourselves up for the last twenty years. It will take time to reverse the habit and replace it with a new behavior. The trick is not to give up when we fall short of the mark. We tend to give up way too easily. This is why diets fail to work. We try one diet, then if it doesn’t work within the first three weeks, we think well, it just doesn’t work. So we move on to another, then another, then another.

Imagine your inner child. She is learning to walk. She will stand up, take a few steps, and then fall. She will do this over and over and over again. Yet, you don’t condemn her, stop her progress or yell at her because she isn’t doing it perfectly. You allow the process. You allow the chance to make the mistakes because only in this will she learn. And you allow the learning and growing. It is a process. It is not about perfection. Life is not about perfection. Life is about the journey, not the destination. During the journey, there will be bumps, bruises, stumbles and falls.

Take the time to stop. Stopping is a spiritual action. When we take the time to stop, we can make the proper decisions. We have this incredible power, it is the power to choose. We can choose to take the next right action. We can choose excellence, if we will repeatedly do excellent things. Or, we can choose negativity by focusing on the negative.

The power is ours. The choice is ours. Choose wisely.

Live powerfully on purpose,
Coach Carolyn

03 August 2007

Being Grateful on Purpose

“Gratitude is indeed like a gearshift that can move our mental mechanism from obsession to peacefulness, from stuckness to creativity, from fear to love. The ability to relax and be mindfully present in the moment comes naturally when we are grateful.” ~ Joan Borysenko

“If you start focusing on what you have and what you're grateful for, you will then begin to see more.” ~ Oprah

One of the things that help me to live a life of purpose and passion is remembering; remembering the people, events, and situations in my life that make me a woman of purpose. The daily grind of life can zap us of our positive energy and make our immediate world look dark and gloomy. These are the times when the memories must kick in and lift us out of the spiritual abyss. When I remember to remember, I am filled with gratitude.

Being grateful keeps me in the present moment. When we get caught up in the muck and mire, we tend to step into a time that is not our own. In the present moment, we know that we can make a choice. Knowing that I still have the ability to make conscious choices gives me abundant hope. In making the choice to focus on what I have right now and not on what I should have, or should be, or should do, is a chance to celebrate my living on purpose. Living on purpose means living fully in the present moment; not staring at a past that we can do nothing about, or worrying about a future that is not promised to us.

Living in gratitude not only makes me smile – which releases happy, love endorphins, but it helps maintain a spirit of positive energy within and around you. Think of a time when you were in a state of absolute delight. What was your immediate world like? Delightful, right? Life can be delightful more than we believe because we do have the power within us to live in a perpetual state of gratitude.

How do you live gratefully?


Remember what and who you have in your life and give thanks for them.

Live on purpose with gratitude,
Coach Carolyn

01 August 2007

Passion in the Four Rooms

“Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room, every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.” - Indian Proverb

When we consistently visit each of our rooms on a daily basis, then we can truly access our passion. Whatever we are passionate about, must affect each of the four rooms. Passion touches each of these four rooms: it touches the physical by keep our breathing and our heart rates at a steady pace, keeping us from stepping into di-stress territory. It touches the mental by stimulating our minds, creating new ideas and adventures. It touches the emotional, especially when we share a special memory. And it touches the spiritual because we feel so connected with the Divine.

When you are truly passionate about something, time stands still. Passion isn’t just about being momentarily excited about a person or thing. Passion is still going on even when the event or person is long gone. The memories create passion, which stimulates new ideas. You cannot turn passion on and off life a faucet. Passion is like love. It continues long after the music has stopped playing because you can keep the music playing for yourself.

I am passionate about creating empowerment tools to equip women. These tools come in the form of lectures, workshops, coaching practices, and writings, just to name a few. But once my brain gets turned on, it is very difficult to go on automatic shut down. Passion has a great ripple effect. One thing reminds me of another thing, which reminds me of yet another. Soon, I have more programs and projects that one person could ever tackle. But this comes out of a space of pure passion.

We each must have a passion to create something great for the whole. We were not placed on this planet to live in a vacuum, or to live solely for self. We were placed here for a Divine assignment. That assignment definitely entails another human being. Perhaps we don’t know who that person or persons are, but when our paths cross, the magic happens. In order to make magic, we need to stop dismissing and doubting the ordinariness of each moment. Each moment is a gift, and wonderful things can come inside small packages. The key is to open your package when it is handed to you because a miracle may be waiting inside.

Fully living the ordinary moments makes them extraordinary,
Coach Carolyn