The Cool Thing About Courage

thoughtful ThursdayI haven’t written here for a long time–nearly six months. The last post was Sept 11, 2014 and it’s now March of 2015. There’s been one good reason for this (and a bunch of other excuses)–I haven’t had anything to say.

But life hasn’t been stagnant. In fact, it has been the opposite. It’s been lurching around like a drunk staggering crookedly down a narrow alley. Life never takes the turns and twists we expect.

A job loss, the potential of an expected move (which never happened). An unexpected meeting–“let’s meet for a beer,” he said–which produced unimagined opportunities and doors that continue to burst open. I never thought it would be this way.

What’s Courage Got to Do With It?

A little over a year ago–December of 2013, to be exact–I decided to step out as a “copywriter.”

I visited my parents for the holidays and a woman from my mom’s church asked, “So what are you up to now?”

“I’m a copywriter,” I responded. The look on her face told me that she wasn’t exactly sure what that was, so I continued, “I write marketing content for clients. Usually it’s stuff for their website or a brochure or something like that.”

“Oh wow,” she chuckled with uncertainty, “I would be so scared to do that.”

Her comment caught me off guard and my mind whirled because I felt the exact same way. I smiled at her and the only thing I said was, “I am scared–every time I send off the first draft to a client.”

The Key to Courage

There isn’t a whole lot of difference between that woman (or anyone else, for that matter) and me. The difference is that I do it anyway. I press “send” when I’ve finished the first draft. It’s rarely perfect. There will be things the client will want tweaked.

But I do it anyway.

Those who show the most courage in our world live by that single mantra: Despite the Fear, They Do It Anyway.

My friend, Jennifer Gresham wrote a beautiful and powerful piece which was the impetus for this article.

The Price of Freedom

The price of freedom is pretty low,
but it requires a currency few of us carry: courage.
Moreover, you don’t just buy freedom once.
You have to purchase it again and again, as long as you want it.
   -Jen Gresham

The Cool Thing About Courage

CourageThe past year for me has been a masterclass in searching for freedom. Freedom to live a life I love.

Never in my adult life had I had a job where I couldn’t wait to go to work. Never had I lost myself in my job day after day nor found myself reticent to dart from the office as soon as 5 p.m. Friday arrived.

I now have that life. I’ve found my way…for now. This is what I have learned about courage and freedom.

The action taken in courage doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be taken. Once exercised, courage grows. The fruit of courage is freedom, empowerment and resilience.

I didn’t write at True Spiritual Awakening for nearly six months because I didn’t have anything to say. Somehow I knew the past six months were the time to do. To learn. To be.

I have to say, though, it feels good to have something to say again!


Unraveling the Cause of War

thoughtful Thursday

It’s Thursday still…at least for a few hours, and so I’m going to post this article as I write it. I haven’t written on this site lately and it has been refreshing. For the last 4 years or so, I have kept an “inspirational” site going with all the things that people said I needed to do.

Social Media posts. Regular content updates. Commenting on other sites.

I gave it all up (for the most part).

I felt as if I didn’t have something to say.  At the same time, I have been going through a deepening of my own spiritual awakening.  When I first started to “awaken,” I was tied to philosophies and personalities and felt like I needed to say something different. Unique. Special.

Now I have something to say. For some, it will be way too deep. That’s okay. Let it go and move on to the next thing that your soul connects with.  For others, it may be like the porridge bowl in the story of the Three Bears, and will be “just right.”

Either way, I am not writing this because I need to write it–or because I should write it. Instead, I write it because I have something to say about war and the terror of reality.

For those at war (in your household, in your community or in your own mind), this may bring some peace. That is my hope for myself–for you and for us.

[Read more…]


Are You Living Life Like a Fat Man At a Hotdog Eating Contest?

Sitting Space picture of beach and sunset

The Sitting Space is a regular feature in which I share the real-life challenges I’m “sitting” with and the lessons I have learned along the way. I hope it will inspire, enlighten and encourage you.

Do you feel like the second place finisher at the hot dog eating contest?

You shovel it in. You gasp for air. You sweat to the finish. But somehow you never come out on top.

You don’t wanna be that second-place hot dog guy. You make yourself sick–and honestly, we’re all about to hurl with you as we watch.

hotdogs on a plateDid you ever think you may be in the wrong game?

No matter how much you struggle, strive, and sacrifice, it’s never enough.

Fed up yet? [Read more…]


How to Find Forgiveness and Heal Your Relationship

thoughtful Thursday

Our lives are constructed of our relationships. So much of what we experience in the world comes through our relationships, and when they are hurt or broken, life can feel hurt and broken.

Whether it’s a friendship gone sour or a primary relationship on the rocks, there is one truth that can set you free in relationships.

there is no one in your relationship but you and your story about the other person

When you experience frustration, anger, disappointment and grief in relationship, it resides within you.  This doesn’t mean that you hold responsibility for another’s behavior.

In fact, it means that you hold primary responsibility only to your own mind and heart and the story you tell about that person and their behavior.

Practical Forgiveness in Real Life Relationships.

This concept is nice and good but how does it work for real?

Let me invite you into an experience of deep forgiveness that transformed my own life.

Many years ago, I was in a relationship that dissolved.  At the time I believed that it happened out of nowhere, that the other person simply abandoned me by cutting me out of his life completely (no contact, no response, no simple human courtesy), and that he had discarded me to go on with their life.

I was devastated, hurt, and insecure.

I can’t tell you how deeply this wounded me.

I suffered for a couple of years, reliving all the wrongs that had been done to me by this other person.

Keep in mind, there was no infidelity, no extreme discord in the relationship, and no abuse.  The other person just decided he didn’t want to be in relationship any more.

Here’s what I hope you can hear: it didn’t matter. I suffered.


I suffered because I believed the story. Did you read it above–the story of abandonment, uncertainty, insecurity, and feeling discarded?  Wow!  Those are some heavy plot lines. No wonder I suffered so deeply.

And I told that story, over and over to anyone who would listen.  I didn’t realize that I was perpetuating my own pain by reciting my story and believing it, unchallenged.

None of my friends questioned my story. That’s okay. They probably didn’t know how or even what to say.

And so I suffered on.

The Insight That Changed It All

One day, I had a flash of insight–and understanding.  The other person had moved on with his life. I was the only one continuing to suffer. I looked at the relationship and realized that even while I was in the relationship, I was creating stories.  I made him into “the one–my soul mate.” 

Being another person’s “one and only”  is a huge burden.  No wonder he ran!  Being the one requires impossible understanding of all my insecurities and expectations and the inhuman ability to fill and fulfill every one.

When my story was exposed, I was filled with instant (literally, instant) compassion. I recognized my part in the split. I immediately extended forgiveness to myself and to my own suffering.

And then the magic happened, as I turned to forgive him, I realized there was nothing to forgive.  He had not done anything to me.  (I had done it to myself through my stories and expectations.  I had kept my own suffering alive for nearly two years).

I apologized to him for never truly seeing him or who he really was (apart from my “soul mate / the one” story).  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t in my life to hear the apology.

I was free of my suffering.

The End of the Story

A couple of years ago, the other person got in touch with me after years of no contact and said all the things I had wanted to hear at the time our relationship broke.  He apologized for his part.

As I read his e-mail, my honest emotional response was “hmmm…that’s interesting.”

I knew I had freed myself because there was no emotional “stuff” left over.

I had given myself closure, healing and resolution years before it manifested in my life.

I’m not special. If you are hurting, or have been hurt, you can give yourself the same healing and closure. In fact, you are the only one who can give that to you.  Sometimes we believe we need closure from another person, but the only thing we ever get from someone else is a new story to believe which is less painful than the one we currently believe.

Give a new story to yourself now.  The new story you give yourself will always be more empowering than any other story you could be given by anyone else.

Don’t Wait to Heal Your Relationship

Heal your relationship with yourself now. Do this by investigating your story and your beliefs. Choose a different story that serves and supports you better.

If you need specific practical help on how to do this, I recommend The Work of Byron Katie.  The Work is free at her site. You can download the worksheet and begin to do the Work for yourself.

Read her book Loving What Is and watch her facilitate the work on her YouTube channel so you can help yourself.

This is essentially what I did over the two years of my suffering. I did The Work–I just didn’t know what it was called or have a specific method of investigation. All suffering ends when we question our thoughts.

You can have any relationship you want when you're at peace with the relationship you have when you're the only one in the room


Sitting Space: Facing the Discomfort of Uncertainty

Sitting Space Banner
The Sitting Space is a feature I’m starting to share what I’m learning from the things that I’m “sitting with” in my life.

So often we run–to alcohol, food, sex–from the feelings of our lives. I have decided to sit with mine.  This feature is an expression of self-generosity that provides a space for me to be present.

Feeling Lost

It was over. No denying that. The door was shut.

All the dreams. All the hopes. All the plans.

All of it, irrelevant now.

I needed to find myself again. I needed to reconnect to Source. I needed to feel what it felt like to be me.

Uncertainty terrifies, but can also serve as a powerful teacher.

[Read more…]


2:003 AWAKE! Podcast – How Can I Build Confidence to Change My Job?

Ooops! I’m on the Wrong Path…What Now?

In the previous episode, I addressed a listener’s question about how to regain motivation and confidence when you feel trapped. If you haven’t had a chance to catch that episode, be sure to do so.

Season 2, Episode 2

In this episode, I answer this listener question: “I know I need to change my job. It’s eating me up inside. How can I build enough confidence in myself to change my job without fear of failure and rejection?”

I share 3 power questions to ask before you make a major shift in any area of your life. You can download my free worksheet to help you answer these questions in your own life.

Power Question Info Sheet

Also be sure to grab your copy of my free “Confidence Kit” which includes this worksheet and many more resources to help you increase your confidence.  You can enter your name and e-mail below to gain access to your free copy.


2:002 AWAKE! Podcast – How to Build Confidence and Regain Your Motivation

Duration – 14:24

 Help…I’m Stuck!

The feeling of being stuck drains the energy, motivation and drive from you. No matter how hard you try, it’s nearly impossible to get going again when your values are not aligned with the action you take.

In this episode, a listener says: “I’m feeling pretty unmotivated in my job, but it’s not the work itself, it’s me.  I feel like an artist who wants to do great work but has completely lost his drive. How can I get it back?”

It’s All About Confidence

I answer this question and give you a simple 4-step process to help you find clarity regain your passion and motivation.  I have also created a printable worksheet to help you if you’re feeling stuck.

“Help…I’m Stuck!” Worksheet

FREE eBook

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to grab your free copy of my new eBook on gaining greater confidence. Click the image and provide your  name and e-mail address for instant access.

thinpaperback -3d


Be sure to catch the next episode when I answer a listener’s question about how to make a switch when you realize you’re off track.


Everyone Says “No Regrets” Here is Why They’re Wrong.

A dear friend asked this interesting question recently. He asked, “how do you avoid the regrets you don’t want to have?”

Short answer? You can’t.

But allowing the potential for regrets to stop you is unfortunate. Without action, you have no regrets, it is true. But you also have no victory. Without action, you have no momentum.

If you want to live the life that you imagine, you have to face the potential for regrets.  So a better question to ask is, what do I do with the regrets when they happen? (Assuming you will take action, and thereby incur regret at some point in life)

No Regrets? Impossible!


“No regrets” is self-help jargon. A life without regret doesn’t exist. Everyone’s got them. So what?

Regrets are the residue of active creation. If you are doing something worth doing in life–anything at all–you will have regrets. You’re not perfect. That’s okay. (Hint: Neither is anyone else!) Once you get over that little bump, then you can deal with the real issue. What do I do now?

So you have regrets. Will you allow them to define you? Will you allow them to determine the limits of what you can and cannot accomplish? May I offer a different way to think of regrets?

Here’s the crux of the matter. Will you use regret as a club to bludgeon yourself for daring to risk, or will you leverage it as information to create something greater–to risk more precisely?

So I say, instead of avoiding regrets, collect them. Get as many as you can, as quickly as you can. Learn from them, and create some more. The effort spent trying to avoid regrets shackles you from daring greatly and creating the life you were meant to live.

The life of no regrets is not worth living. Instead, live your life with authenticity and integrity. Where you err, first pardon yourself and then ask forgiveness of others. Where you fear, walk with courage so others may follow. Where you find regret, grow with humility, confident that knowing better leads to doing better.

The question is not whether you will succeed but whether you will dare to persevere. (tweet this)


How to be Happy in 2014

The moment…

Image of author looking happy--with happy new year wish

There are moments in life when everything shifts—or better, when you realize they have already shifted.

One of these moments happened to me recently when I realized something profound.  I realized something for which I had spent most of my life searching. I looked up one day and noticed that I am happy.

You see, I never expected to be happy—truly, deeply, profoundly happy. Kids like me don’t get to grow up and be happy.  And yet here I am…happy.

In those moments there is only one response. Gratitude.

It percolates within. Joyful tears sting the corner of my eyes, or sometimes smiles overflow the corners of my cheeks. Beneath lies the bedrock of peace and the realization that I am loved, I am supported and that I will be okay.

2013 hasn’t been without its struggles, pain and grief (like any year). But I have learned, if you don’t stop to be present for the moments of happiness, they slip away; and you find yourself looking up in the moments of disappointment and confusion, wondering why life is so unhappy.

Maybe it’s not that life is so unhappy or unfulfilled, but that you have just failed to notice the moments of happiness that fill it.

My wish for you in 2014

My wish for you in 2014 is that you will find the deep, “toes curling in the warm sand” kind of happiness that you so desire. More importantly, I pray that you recognize that it has been there all along, and you will take the time to reach out and grasp it.

Where can you find happiness in the coming year?


Merry Christmas and My Holiday Wish(es) for You

First, let me wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas wherever you are in the world. It is my hope that the coming year be filled with joy, peace and happiness.

TSA Happy Holidays

A Beautiful Holiday Gift

Last week, I was given a beautiful gift.  My friend, Lori hosts a biweekly Google hangout at her site. She starts each hangout with a theme and questions for discussions.  This week, the topic was “wishes.”  We discussed what we hoped and what we expected would be different for the coming year.

At the end of the hangout, Lori said, “What is your wish for each person in the hangout?”

It was the most beautiful gift.  Each of us got to go around the group (there were six of us on the hangout) and share a personal wish for each of the others in the hangout. This time was filled with affirmation, appreciation and best wishes for success for the coming year.

It was such a wonderful gift, that I would like to just take a few minutes on this busy day and share my wishes for you.

What I Wish for You

“When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love,
prosperity, happiness… all the good things.”
– Maya Angelou

Tweet: When u wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love,prosperity, happiness... all the good things. - Maya Angelou

I Wish You…

1. Clarity – To know what you want–and what you don’t–and the courage to attain it.

2. Confidence – To know who you are and what you’re capable of–and the presence to exercise your power with grace and courtesy.

3. Joy –Last but not least.  That with it, you may have “all the good things” as well.

Most of all, I pray that today you might know that you are worthy of these wishes and infinitely more.  May you know love (and that you are loved).

I treasure you. I appreciate you. I thank you for bearing witness to my journey as I do, yours.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!