Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2105. Day SIX: Gratitude and Compassion Challenge

Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. Day SIX
Gratitude and Compassion Challenge

I’ve seen a wonderful gratitude challenge occuring on facebook. It’s pretty simple and in its simplicity profoundly impactful. People are asked to name three things that they are grateful for and then tag three of their friends asking them to take the challenge.

I’d like to build on that idea. Name three things that you are grateful for, AND Your challenge is to show compassion for ONE person or group that is different than you, POST what you’ve done or will do, and TAG three people asking them to do the same.

Yes, there is danger and vitriol against the OTHER in the world. Let’s also show that there is compassion and love for the self AND OTHER. Let’s make sure that compassion and connection grow exponentially, rather than hatred and isolation.

Please copy and paste the three paragraphs above onto your wall, take the challenge, and tag three of your friends.

Jeannie Denuo, Melissa Mains Timberlake, Bill Delano:
1. I am grateful for my women’s group with whom I can be completely vulnerable,
2. I am grateful for my colleagues with home I am able to do work that I love,
3. I am grateful for my family with whom I able to unconditionally love and be loved.
I have compassion for refugees from the middle east and will stand up to anyone who says we should limit their access to finding safe refuge. I know they have a different religion than I do. I know that they are fleeing violence, and am heartbroken to see the violence that they are fleeing. No one should have to live with that fear anywhere.

Blessings, melinda

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Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. Day FIVE: Rebecca Goggin

Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. Day FIVE
In honor of the departed. Rebecca Goggin

From Melinda: Thanksgiving and the winter holidays can be times of great joy and connection. Yet, for some of us they can also be a time of great pain and sadness. Just a few days ago I got the shocking news of Rebecca Goggin’s unanticipated death. This was unexpected and heartbreaking for her friends and family. To those of you feeling loss as well as the other Holiday emotions, know that you are not alone. In honor of Rebecca Goggin’s spirit I am reposting something she wrote for LTLYlead in 2013. 

…sometimes, when I’m truly open to it, inspiration comes to me all at once from deep in my soul, with all the little bits coalescing to form the whole picture. That’s how this poem came to me a couple of weeks ago. I thought at the time it was a beautiful reminder I wrote for myself to stay on track. Recently, however, I’ve realized that writing it down was only the first step, and that sharing it with others was its ultimate purpose. Perhaps this was written for you too?

Get up! Get going! Be yourself!
Pull those gifts down off the shelf!
They may be dusty, stagnant and thin,
But you can make them healthy again.
Listen to your voice, though it’s soft and low;
It’s the practice of listening that will help it grow.
Don’t edit or judge what your voice is sharing;
It’s honesty is its strength and improves its daring.
Exercise your eyes with new patterns and vigor;
Expand your awareness, give your sight a new figure!
Make seeing small details a new form of art;
How you see with your eyes is how you feel with your heart.
Get up! Get going! Don’t sit around!
Movement is key to breaking new ground!
Take yourself places you’ve never been.
Try something new, then do it again!
Don’t think about things too long or too hard;
Embrace spontaneity with the highest regard.
Inspiration comes quickly and without much warning.
Capture it now! Don’t wait until morning!
Your craft and your gifts are like any muscle,
They need to stretch and love to hustle!
So keep your tools sharp and your mind engaged,
The results will astound you—you’ll be amazed!
Rebecca Goggin

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Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. Day FOUR: The Thanksgiving Reader

Love the Life You Lead 2105

The Thanksgiving Reader


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Love the Life You Lead Fall 2015. Day THREE: Melinda Abrams

Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. Day THREE
Melinda Abrams
Badass Gratitude. What’s your Bad-Ass?
Each year about this time I visit my favorite art show. Each year I look for one piece that moves me. …that’s the one piece I buy and bring home. I love surrounding myself with beauty. I love my home and work spaces to be filled with visual reminders of what speaks to my heart and soul: creativity, boldness, growth, learning, joy, childhood innocence, family, love, and movement.
Sometimes I’m drawn to the color in the pottery, or the elegance in the jewelry, or the exquisiteness of the design. Sometimes there’s a written or verbal message infused into the artwork. Sometimes I have no words to describe my attraction, but I know for sure that I find the work compelling and it piques my fancy. Last year I was drawn to the work of a fabric artist. My initial attraction was to the bold geometric shapes. As I got closer, I was intrigued by the layering of textures….and I was drawn to this one pair of black and grey pants. The design was simple. Down one leg was a series of different sized circles. As I looked and touched, the artist let me know that the circles were morse code, and that each piece of clothing had a message. Hot damn I was totally hooked! Morse code! On Pants, Jackets, Shirts….simple bold designs with a message. Then she told me what the message on the pants said and I knew I had to have them. BADASS. As soon as I put those Badass pants on I felt myself release a little bit into my own swagger. I felt a little more sexy and a little more bold. And, of course I had to the buy them.
I love when someone compliments me on the pants I am wearing and I lean in closer and say, “Thanks, and you know what they say?” That’s when I get real close and whisper, “BADASS”. The impact is immediate. Intrigue, and a connection that’s a little more than it was just a minute before.
Fast forward 9 months, and my friend who is undergoing chemo sends me this photo of her bald self with an exquisite henna tattoo all over her head. My response…”You are BADASS BEAUTIFUL”. While she was initially hesitant to share this photo of herself in this incredibly vulnerable and life changing time, she was moved by the acknowledgement. She got it that she is strong. She is more than her hair or her disease. She is thriving in the midst of incredible discomfort and challenge. She is the embodiment of Badass, and she is beautiful.
Fast forward to last month. I felt compelled to create and paint a series of silk scarves with “Badass Beautiful” and “hope” written on them. The first set were painted with bold reds. I have to tell you even painting them felt so satisfyingly GOOD. I’ve painted lots of messages on silk scarves. I always choose a message that moves me. I write prayers or quotes that speak to my heart and soul. Painting Badass Beautiful took me to a whole other level. It seems to speak to a lot of women too because I’ve sold 6 of them in two weeks, and gotten requests for more in other colors.
I’m sure that BadAss means different things to different people. Some of you might get an image of a tough tattooed girl, or a cussing in your face chick. That’s not what BadAss means to me.
I define BadAss as the swagger one feels when they release into themselves—ALL of one’s self. While it’s an incredibly bold and brave way to be, it’s also a little bit vulnerable, definitely intriguing, very sexy, and completely freeing. It’s “thrive no matter what baby!” because your badass self in all her beauty cannot be held back.
So on this day before American Thanksgiving my BadAss self has an invitation for your BadAss self.
Show some BadAss gratitude baby. Not fancy pants gratitude. Not refined held small gratitude.
BOLD. SEXY. LOVING. Not the way you usually do it gratitude….but this year, BadAss Gratitude. I expect you to get so connected to the abundance in your life that you are compelled to move into action. Your BadAss gratitude will not be contained. You will express it. It will move others…that’s what BadAss does…without even trying.
I’d really love to see or hear what emerges for you. Share it here.

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Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. Day TWO: Melanie Dewberry

Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. Day TWO
Melanie Dewberry


Dear Lover of Life,
A local yogi friend named Kerry McClure and I met for a visit the other day. It had been a long time since I’d seen her deep blue eyes and shared wisdom over Moroccan mint tea.

Kerry was scheduled to speak at a workshop shortly, and I asked what she would be exploring in her talk.

She replied, “I’m going to pose a question to my listeners, so I’ll ask you the same one.”

Here is what she said:

“What do you touch first when you wake up in the morning or come home from work at night? Is it your phone or is it your partner?”

I sighed with a smile. Ah, Kerry, indeed. How quickly my rituals of love go out the window with exhaustion and my ever-present “to do” lists of life.

I’m been on more business trips this year than any previously in my entire career. I don’t say that to stroke my own ego, but rather as a reality that ironically grounds me in my following reflections about relevance and remembering.

As is the case for most of us, so many things need attention immediately upon our return home from a trip—business or otherwise. I can easily be catapulted into overwhelm by the tasks at hand. I forget what gives me relevance isn’t vacuuming after a long trip. It isn’t washing all my dirty clothes, either. And it is certainly not the “grouchy pants” (my husband’s endearing term) I become because I feel time slipping through my fingers and panic setting in.

Thankfully, I quickly recall that it is the ceremonies, the rituals of love and beauty that matter most to me and that truly welcome me home, in the truest sense of the word.

What rituals do you let go of in times of hurry and stress?

Remember your ceremonies, your rituals and your loves. Keep those close.

When I’m out and about with work trips and commitments, the logistics of travel (including jet lag) through me off balance. I can (and at times, do) lose myself to them. I forget to touch my soul first.

My ritual of waking up early to meditate is usually the first to go when I’m traveling in different time zones. My ceremony of calling in the love and expressing gratitude to my ancestors often follows. Zoning out in front of the hotel television becomes more relevant than prayer. Wine became more relevant than stillness. In the fog of logistics, it’s easy to lose one’s way. I can quickly begin to feel lost and ungrounded.

Thank goodness for the love and generosity of people who bring me back, whose steadfast belief in me holds me steady.

Does this all sound familiar to you? I’d like to invite you—without shame or mental punishment—to give yourself a break.

I have discovered a few things I’ll share that I find helpful for me:

If I sense I am complaining all the time and feel lost, confused and not on track, I ask two trusted friends to ask me three things:
When is the last time you’ve taken a walk in nature?
Are you giving yourself to rest during the day?
Are there things you could let go of to lessen the stress that you are holding onto?

Can you find one or two people that will ask as questions that will remind you of who you are and what you need to be who you are again?

In my personal list of three above (specifically the third bullet point), cooking is something I definitely could let go of. Contemplating making (or even eating!) three meals a day is a huge commitment that I do not adore. I can spend far too much mental space considering what I should eat now or cook later.

So, I’ve “retooled” my attitude about cooking and now it feels incredibly easy and healthy. I cook only those things that I can do in five minutes in the morning and twenty at night, including prep time. I eat a lot of salads with protein. And yes, I go out to dinner about twice a week so I can sit and talk with my hubby over a meal that is served to us!

Things I also do to help me stay grounded and steady in my life:

Beauty all around you…….
I place flowers throughout my home so that I see nature’s beauty and feel it within.
After morning meditation, I sage myself to reconnect to the wisdom of my Red Road Path.
I pray.
First thing in the morning when I wake and before I sleep I thank the Universe for this day, for the gift of being alive. I offer my gratitude to my elders, the universe, myself, my friends, husband, animals and I reconcile and apologize for any thoughtless behaviors I yesterday in preparation for the new day ahead.
If I’m having a tough day and I need a cry, I read some poetry, listen to music, or watch a movie until the tears spill.
I intentionally make time for my closest friends.
I nap.

What is in alignment with your highest self that you can bring forward with intention?

Many would deem this self-care. To be sure, it is that, and moreover, it is my spiritual practice that reminds me to remember who I am, to re-engage my call to Original Medicine, and remain to in relationship to all that is sacred. It’s incredibly easy for the practice to get kicked out of my daily schedule. Trust me, I know better, and yet it happens.

Give yourself permission to take time for yourself. It’s a precious gift at any age. Re-imagine how you living and make it congruent with what gives you ease and what grants priority to your soul.

Your home doesn’t have to be perfectly clean, does it? What looks like a “have to” is in actuality an option. Think about it. Can you let go the grip of what you have always thought was necessary for the love of your self that is the true necessary?

I know you’ve heard it a million times and here I go, too, taking an inventory of the digital world and its negative impact on modern culture and life:

Do you really need to touch your smart phone as much as you do?
Is social media really filling you up or distancing you?
Is there someone else who could use your touch more (including your Self)?
Do you really have to respond to every chime and text right now?

Your life is sacred. It’s a creative and beautiful force. A miracle. Shouldn’t it be engaged it as such? We would never look at or closely hold a newborn any other way. How do we lose touch with the miracle called YOU? When did responsibility come to mean there is no room to breathe?

What would happen if we didn’t ascribe to the belief of “there is so much I have to do?” or “there isn’t enough time in the day?” Can you hear how this sort of language creates an unconscious panic and anxiety?

Consider adopting the following ideas and directives—for just one week. See what happens:

There is time for what is precious; I know what that is.
I give myself all the time that I need.
I reduce what I do to refuel who I am.
I get enough done with one or two things a day.
Nothing terrible will happen if I don’t _________________.
The house will still stand if it is not perfectly clean.

And if I may pose one more question for parents:

What are you making overly important for your child that isn’t really so?

Moms can be so hard on themselves. Can you find ways to be kinder to yourself and realize you are a loving and kind parent?

Be the medicine for your soul.

Please write to me and tell me what you found for yourself or even where you struggle.

I promise to respond because I have time.

Time doesn’t have me.

Love, love, love,
Melanie DewBerry

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Love the Life You Lead. Fall 2015. DAY ONE:Annelies M. Gentile

LTLYLead. Fall 2015. Day ONE:  Annalies M. Gentile

I had the extraordinary pleasure of being asked to present at my local Raleigh International Coaching Federation annual conference recently. I’m a coach and a visionary artist, amongst other talents, and here I was mainly asked to boldly and literally “show up” fearlessly through my art. The request was to paint live during the final keynote speech on the topic of “leader-shift” and integrate what I experienced as an observer, through my painting. Feeling honored by the invitation and excited to powerfully explore in this manner were understatements.

What is calling for powerful exploration?

Years of preparation, study and life experience synthesized in that first moment when my hands finally touched the canvas while 100+ eyes watch me transform blobs of color into movement and patterns, emotions and expressions. My gloved-hand reached for the bright yellow and I found myself smearing over three fractal patterns till they were completely covered. (If you’re wondering what a fractal pattern is, hold on, there’s more on that soon.) My fingers spread wide, I fanned out a brilliant golden arch towards the mid-bottom right of the canvas. In that very moment, the keynote speaker began talking about an audience member who shared her desire for a powerful transformation from participating in the conference. This woman told her, “I want a shift!” My consciousness took hold of this one word- shift and it led me and my painting down a path of its own, while my heart leapt. I realized this was going to be different and I was along for the ride.

What in your life is craving change?

There’s a well-thought-out plan associated with how my art unfolds. A particular scaffolding that sets the stage or container for the art to spontaneously occur, so to speak. The day of the conference, I wasn’t nervous. Years prior, I’d explored graduate study in expressive arts where it was required during our daily lecture to involve some kind of interpretive dance or performance art. So weaving art with a keynote speech was a welcomed avant-garde experience that I could easily handle.

When do you find life easy?

Painting live wasn’t too foreign for me either, as I’d spent a few years already developing a body of abstract paintings called the FractalART Touchable Series that were designed to be painted live and integrate the observer. It’s an interesting and strategically planned incorporation of the audience, me the artist, and tiny archival prints I call DNA Fractal Patterns, which originate from my last previous painting. These mini-prints inform the “story” ie: direction, color, texture etc. of the next painting. Their presence is extremely important to my FractalART series, its outcome AND is the root foundation of my coaching practice and philosophy. Fractals are patterns. Patterns tell stories. Stories are patterns.

What story do you tell over and over?

What’s unique is that every canvas is related to the previous, creating an entire familial line that’s wholly connected. It’s like one giant extended painting, owned by different people. Which is a lot like life. We’re each uniquely different, yet all one and intricately connected, sharing one big breath since the start of time itself. My FractalART series is more than art, it’s powerful delicious metaphor. Let’s go deeper.

If your life were an art-form, what would it be? And it’s title?

As a coach, I help clients illuminate and harness possibility. They’re invited to tease out hidden stories or fractal patterns that inform how their experience shows up and plays out on their life stage. For me, my FractalART paintings are a physical representation of this dynamic phenomena. I’m able to explore the power of creativity as a catalyst for self-reflection from the vantage point of both an artist and a coach. My work is incredibly rewarding and valuable to my clients and our community.

What brings you great value in your personal and professional life?

Consider, as you return to your world there, on your phone or computer to reflect upon the questions above. Take notes, see what shows up, break down some barriers. Have a breakthrough you’d like to share, need a nudge past the stuck, ready to fasten your seat belt for the extraordinary? Schedule your powerful conversation. May today be the first day of the rest of your life! 
Stay tuned to Part 2 as Annelies unpacks her discoveries on how her painting known as “Creative, Resourceful and Whole” is created and shared with others.

Annelies M. Gentile, MA, ACC is an integrative leadership and empowerment coach, consultant, facilitator, visionary artist and founder of Conduit for Change. 919-345-8396 Learn more at &

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More lessons from the edge

In my work as an experiential educator in the fields of leadership and team building, I often invite people to play with their edges. I do this because we know from research and practice that when an individual does this, growth and learning happens. We know that when growth and learning happens, capacity expands.

It’s easier to talk about when we are all in our comfort zones. What I know and what I experienced while hiking up Doe mountain is that when I was afraid, that would have been the absolute worst time to talk to me about expanding my capacity. If you would have asked me in that moment “what are you learning?”…I probably would have cussed you out and said something like “I have no f#*king idea what I’m learning, I’m just trying to keep one foot in front of the other and not fall off this d#%m edge”.

I share this because sometimes as a leader you simply have to take people to their edges and give them experiences there. The time to reflect and articulate the learning from the experience is NOT when the person is playing on the edges of the experience. Those times are generally messy, emotional, and COMPLETELY necessary for growth and learning to happen. Understanding happens with reflection, choice, and application of these newly learned skills.

Some of your colleagues will LOVE talking about what they are learning from the edges, some will LOVE not talking about what they are learning from the edges and rather enjoy simply playing there, some will resist going to the edges yet yearn to go there, while others will LOVE to list the step by step procedure for going to the edges and beyond.

Some of you are reading this and probably have some great examples of learning that happened around the edges where you work or live. I’d love to hear about them. Please do share here.

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Lessons from the edge…Doe Mountain, AZ


I’m not going to lie. The truth is while hiking up one part of the trail to the top of Doe Mountain, I was really scared. Like cuss out loud scared.
The trail is actually a relatively easy swithback up 400ft…but, one part of the trail is VERY narrow, and VERY close to the edge.
For me going up this part of the trail was scary, AND I was also thinking “How the F$ck am I going to get down?!!”

As you can see by the photo above, the climb was worth it. The views were spectacular, and the feeling of accomplishment was pretty good too. I learned some things about being on the edge that I think will help me in my work and in my life, and perhaps in your life and your work. Written below are the messages I got from the edge as I hiked up AND DOWN Doe Mountain with my loving/calm husband.

FIVE lessons from the edge.
1. When you are at your edge.. *stop go no further because you are afraid. Of course then you go no further, and you have no other options. You may no longer feel afraid, but you also won’t get to experience what’s up ahead either.
2. When you are at your edge.. *focus on the next small step just in front of you, and even though you are afraid, just keep heading forward. One step at a time. Ignore the fear, and give your self small attainable tasks.
3. When you are at your edge..*ask for help, don’t go it alone. Ask a trusted colleague, friend, or family member to go with you. You know the person who will nudge you along, or hold your hand, or tell you not to worry, or feel the fear with you but not give up, or has some knowledge about that edge and can coach you through it…ask that person to travel the edge with you.
4. When you are at your edge..*hold nothing back. Cuss. Cry. Yell. Feel whatever is present for you at that edge.. Express it. When you hold nothing back the energy and the momentum will move you through to the next opportunity, rather than immobilize you.
5. When you are at your edge.. *try to quiet your mind, breathe and simply be at the edge. It’s when we make up all kinds of crazy things about the edge that the edge becomes scarier than it actually is. I mean really, it’s just an edge.


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THIS day is beginning.

Moving from darkness to light.

It’s quiet, yet not silent.


What’s yearning to be heard?

Today, what’s yearning to be heard?


There’s something sexy in the air.  Can you feel it?

May your senses wake up! And may you be blessed by the sensations.

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wind says yes

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