The Time I Confronted A Guy Wearing Full Body Studded Leather in Bangkok. With a Barstool.

I was making my annual Fall journey to Nepal to do some guiding, traveling with my once-ex, then giving-itanother-go boyfriend. There is usually an 18+ hour layover in Bangkok on most Thai Airways flights to KTM, so we headed into town for an all-nighter instead of trying to sleep in the stuffy airport.

For this particular layover, we chose to visit the Red Light district along Khao San Road. We heard the dance clubs there were awesome, and stories of the area always intrigued me. I was in my 20s, filled with curiosity and bit nervous (well, at least I was), while we visited a few places with exotic dancers that were initially pretty fun, with people seemingly happy and dancing and EXCELLENT music… but then things rapidly got sad for me. As we went to other clubs in the shadier parts of town, the vacant looks on many of the men and women’s faces depressed me, their oppression weighed heavy on me, and I soon declared I just wanted to spend the rest of the layover eating sticky rice and chicken while people watching at an outdoor cafe.

My boyfriend agreed and we picked our perch sitting on wooden barstools sipping on fruity drinks. It was going to be a LONG night. Things were already awkward between us. I knew things were not going to last forever, and in true pre-Freedom Junkie fashion, I wanted to beat the relationship to death lest I called it quits prematurely – or mistakenly.

We made small talk and commented on people’s outfits and went over our itineraries for our upcoming expeditions. We fought about him getting me the wrong drink “because he never listens.” Then I threw up because I must have eaten something funky earlier, but then I was fine;)

Then, right after that, I saw the Hairy Guy hit the Tiny Thai Woman.

He was HUGE. A big, hairy German guy wearing all black leather, with studs around his neck, wrists, waist, along his pant legs…he would have set off an airport metal detector from outside. And there he was, smacking around a little Thai woman. And she was a bulldog, fighting back, yelling at him, not taking any of his bullshit.

He hit her again. I was shocked. I looked around. People were just…watching. I looked at my boyfriend. He was just…watching.

I said to him, “Are you going to do anything?” And he looked back at me saying it was too dangerous. I was livid.

I stood up, grabbed the barstool I was sitting on, and went running towards the German guy like a Mama Moose. I read once that if someone tries to assault you, scream all crazy, like a banshee, and it will throw them off because you’re so whacked out.

Apparently this tactic worked.

I ran towards him screaming, pushing the legs of the stool towards his face – but intentionally not hitting him (I think if I had, he may have actually gotten more angry). I stood between him and the woman. I kept pushing the stool towards him asking him to go away, remembering what the circus guys did with the lions. The woman stood behind me yelling at him fiercely. He shouted at me, his face all red and sweaty and puffy. I yelled, “Get away from her! Go away! Back off!”.

Finally, his friends encouraged him to take a few steps back. He yelled a few more somethings in German towards the woman, and walked off with his posse of other hairy and balding dudes. The woman kept yelling in an ongoing rant, like a puppy still yelping after being stepped on. There was no thank you. No shared gaze of sisterhood. She just walked off, and I went the other way.

I carried the stool back to the cafe, plopped it down, looked at my boyfriend and said, “I want a beer. Buy. Me. A. Beer.”

I am very aware that I got lucky in this scenario. But I suppose everything happens for a reason. For some reason, Hairy Guy thought it was OK to hit a small Thai woman, and he turned away from the screaming banshee of an American.

I totally do NOT want men to get into fights, and in all honesty, if I wasn’t a woman, the Big Guy would have perhaps hit me, which means it would have indeed been dangerous for my boyfriend to have confronted him directly.

But still. My boyfriend just sat there, watching. And it was SO not sexy.

I mean, maybe he could have held my hand in concern, or expressed his horror, or stood up to let the guy know someone was at least watching…or have gone to try and find cops? And even if they wouldn’t do anything, he would have at least had the honor of having tried something.

I don’t know. Maybe it was too dangerous for him and maybe the only thing that could have helped the situation was some whacko American woman running at the Hairy Guy with a stool. Whatever it was, I did not like the fact that everyone was just watching.

It felt incredibly…disconnected. Like people didn’t realize we were a bunch of human beings witnessing something unacceptable.

Suffice it to say we broke up after that trip. We still climbed together, but then it was done. Not because of this scenario, but because I felt disrespected as a woman in the relationship, under-appreciated, and under-adored. I am a Leo. I crave adoration (pssst…so should you).

That episode kindled in me a burning conviction to spend less time watching and more time doing. It reminded me that activism wasn’t only for those passionate college years. Taking action is the way our beliefs and values manifest. Yet how many times do we just sit there, watching?

And why should we even care about this?

We need to care – and we need to act – because it is our actions that develop our self-respect. Our ziji – inner radiant confidence. Our integrity.

We need to care because if you want to be happy – really happy, like having long deep sleeps and gazing up at the stars feeling so damn blessed that you don’t even want to sleep because life is so good – you need to be in alignment.

You absolutely need your life to be in alignment with you values if you want to be truly content in life. And while we can fool ourselves that being in alignment means believing nice things and having good values, it is our ACTIONS that really show what we believe in. Words convey what you think. ACTIONS demonstrate what you BELIEVE. We need to be in alignment and act with integrity because crappy stuff happens in life – things will be hard sometimes and you will not like what is going on.

And in those times, it is your integrity and living in alignment that helps you feel…good about yourself. Even if not necessarily “happy.”

It helps you feel good about yourself and your connection to humanity when you are not necessarily feelinggood about life at the time. And in case you’re not up to date on the Positive Psychology literature, the quality ofour social connection is the single largest predictor of happiness. So if you’re feeling in a funk or a little down on yourself, check in with what one small action can you take to bring your life a little more into alignment with you values.

This will not only help you feel less anxious and more content, but you’ll also have more self-respect and confidence. And guess what? That helps you also be more productive and successful and fun to be around. So it’s a win-win when we strive to live authentically and in alignment.

Maybe you ride your bike to work today. Or finally write that blogpost you’ve been putting off – again. Maybe you call up a friend you’ve been meaning to get in touch with. Or stop and chat with a homeless person and give them some nourishing food. Or finally bring that box in the basement filled with clothes you don’t need to the local women’s shelter.

Wanting isn’t enough. Time to take action!

If you need some help with this, keep an eye out for my new idea baby


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

My Favorite Poem About Relationships

Since we’ve been jamming on how to take the different relationships in our lives to the next level, I thought I’d share with you one of my fave poems about them, The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. This poem changed so much for me when it came to what I look for in people that I let into my life. I got so clear because it seemed to articulate what I couldn’t.

As you read it, think about the types of boundaries someone would need to set in order to honor these values:

The Invitation, Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me

what you do for a living.

I want to know

what you ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s longing.

how old you are.

It doesn’t interest me

I want to know

if you will risk

looking like a fool

for love

for your dream

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me

what planets are

squaring your moon…

I want to know

if you have touched

the centre of your own sorrow

if you have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shriveled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know

if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know

if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you

to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful

to be realistic

to remember the limitations

of being human.

It doesn’t interest me

if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear

the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know

if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,


It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me

who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know

what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know

if you can be alone

with yourself

and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Two of these areas really stand out for me when it comes to the topic of boundaries:

I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

This is about the skill I taught you in the last email – how to be with difficult emotions. It is so important to know how to be with them, allow them, and not just push them away. Otherwise that sh*t just blows up eventually. Ask me how I know…

And this:

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

When you set boundaries, you are bound to disappoint someone. AND you will be staying true to yourself in the process. If you let people be wrong about you and accuse you without letting it bring

you down, you will be so much more free and authentic. When you say, “No, thanks” when you’re not feeling it and, “Hellz yes!” when you are psyched about something, people will know they can trust you. That you won’t be harboring resentment.

More importantly, you’ll know you can trust yourself.

I invite you to step into your authenticity. To expect more from others – and yourself. Sometimes, all it takes for someone to step up and show up as a human with integrity is an invitation, someone saying, “I see that you are capable of this and expect you to show up this way.” This applies to ourselves as well.

Sometimes people don’t care to accept the invitation. Often it’s because they don’t see the possibility themselves. But that’s not about you.

That, my friend, is all about them.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

Why You Need to Set Boundaries Even When You’re Scared

I wanted to fill you in on something about fear, because managing fear has a lot to do with setting boundaries and staying true to yourself: Most day-to-day fear is not useful.

It only pretends to be useful.

Most often, this fear is not there to save our lives or protect us from imminent danger. Which is what its original purpose was. When it comes to setting boundaries, we feel fear around people not liking us anymore. Or being alone. Or disappointing someone. Or looking like a bitch. Or people talking sh*t about us.

But it’s just the perception of fear that we are experiencing, and it needs a gentle reminder to move along. We can allow fear to stop us in our tracks, or we can remind ourselves, “Oh, yeah, this isn’t going to physically hurt me. I’m not going to die. No one’s going to die here.”

In many ways, fear serves us. It keeps us from doing things that could legitimately hurt us. It can help us make better decisions when it comes to our safety. However, the thing to realize is that our brains are super-programmed for fear and for survival, but we’ve evolved, and nowadays, a lot of our fear is irrational and even unnecessary.

Simply recognizing that fear and irrational fear are going to be a part of our lives will help immensely with moving forward. Don’t obsess about “getting rid” of it. Focus on embracing it and having it be a part of our evolutionary brain.

Also, fear does not mean stop. You don’t have to be fearless to take action. Really consider this. Taking action while acknowledging fear can be one of the most powerful things that we do. Most of the fear that we have comes from a thought in our minds, a thought that is irrational.

Let that sink in! We let this thought have sooooo much power over us. We let being afraid of feeling an emotion keep us from setting boundaries and taking care of ourselves. Irrational fear that stops us in our tracks is often the result of a mismanaged mind.

We can overcome fear by deciding not to believe the thoughts causing it. Instead, we can understand it, find its cause, find the thought patterns that are causing it, and then change them. If the fear is deep-seated and hard to change, I want you to take action anyway.

When you take action, all of those fears get proven wrong. You’ll be fine.


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

Why I know You’re Not as Fragile as You Think

I was recently scuba diving in the Philippines and while 60 ft deep my BDC (vest that can inflate/deflate with air) started to self-inflate and I was shooting up to the surface way more quickly than was safe. I employed all the safety measures I knew but my vest kept inflating and I had no idea why. I looked at my air supply and it had dropped to half in under 5 minutes from when I last checked. I searched for the dive master and he saw me signaling to him that I had a problem.

He came over and discovered the self-inflation issue and rapidly deflated by BCD as we slowly went up to the surface. Then my regulator was being weird and I couldn’t draw a smooth breath of air. To boot, I have a history of exercise-induced asthma and my lungs did not like this feeling.

I could have easily panicked. In fact, I visualized the drama that would ensue if I freaked out and ended up going unconscious or something.

Not an option.

So I told myself, “Ana, get your shit together. Now is not the time to freak the fuck out. You need to stay calm so you don’t have a panic attack down here.” Oh and did I have sooooo many reasons to panic. Real reasons. Not like a bullshit email from a boss or a voicemail I’m nervous to listen to. I was literally running out of air and my gear was all messed up.

I slowed my breath. Made sure my BCD was constantly being deflated. I reassumed myself that while my air supply had dropped, I had backups – I could draw on my dive master’s tank or my husband’s if I had to. I heard a hissing sound behind me which signaled another leak which I could have spiraled on about but I knew I was already heading up and would be OK.

I reminded myself that freaking out would help no one, and certainly NOT the current situation. I reminded myself I had a choice. That despite feeing dizzy and short of breath, I did not have to freak out. I needed to stay calm, and if I did pass out, at least I did everything I could to not contribute to it.

It all turned out fine

Aside from being reminded why it’s always a good idea to bring your own BCD to dive (especially in in developing countries), I learned a few things about my character. I often reframe super challenging situations as “final exams” for the work I do with managing my mind and emotions. This was no exception. My husband is really really good at this too, and it helps when I start to spiral.

Once in the boat, I whined to him how it was super annoying because I couldn’t relax and this was supposed to be our “date” for this vacation since my cousin was watching our kiddo, Maia. He says, “Yeah, I’m sorry that happened. But any experience – even one like this – is good to have, because you know more now.”

“Well shit,” I thought, “I guess that is why I married you! You remind me of my best self!” You see, he was filling in for a voice that I have heard before from within me – my voice of resilience and antifragility.

I learned about the concept of antifragility recently and it resonated with me so much that I had to share it with you since it’s totally related to resilience. Something – or someone – that’s antifragile increases its capability to thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, setbacks, mistakes, attacks, or failures.

It increases in capability the more it fails.

Sort of like learning to walk. The more you fall, the stronger you get. You HAVE to fall to get good at walking. It’s part of the deal. The more you fall, the better you get at it. When it comes to this, we are antifragile. We don’t say “Oh no! Don’t fall! That’s not supposed to happen!” We know that’s part of the learning. Same with riding a bike. At first, you fall more than you ride the bike. While related, this concept is different from being resilient or robust. Not only can you stand up to things, but they make you stronger.

A great example of this is something I learned while geeking out on my first Master’s degree at UC San Francisco. I was on my ortho rotation and learned that bones heal stronger after a fracture than they were prior to the injury.

Another analogy is going to the gym. Your muscles are antifragile. The more stress you build up on them, the stronger they get. Instead of viewing challenges or failures as something to protect ourselves from, the anti-fragile see these “problems” as opportunities for growth. A chance to test themselves and push themselves to new heights.

When we label ourselves as being “sensitive,” we can indeed do that in a way that’s compassionate, especially when you go through something that seems vulnerable to your mind. But when you use it in a way that leads us to be overly hurt/offended in the world, we don’t take risks since we are always trying to protect ourselves. This makes us weaker because we avoid the failure, the embarrassment, the mistakes. We don’t expose ourselves to challenges. So we don’t grow. Many of us stop at “robust.” At “strong enough.” We are happy just surviving it.

This is related to the concept of post-traumatic growth. Many people survive a trauma and become stronger not in spite of it but because of it.

Take resilience to the next level. Consider adding this to your collection of characteristics. That you are anti-fragile. You can use challenges, failures, mistake and stressors to make yourself stronger. You will use the things in life that challenge you as free weights.

You’ll say “bring it on!” Bring on the weights. The exercise. Remember how I teach that life is 50/50? You can use the other half – the half that is more challenging – to buff out emotionally;)

In Buddhism there is the concept of the “god realm” where people live eons in perfect bliss. Excellent food, beautiful surroundings, perfect bodies and great sex. The monk that taught me the concept of the god realm followed this description with, “Kind of like California!”

It all sounds great until the goddesses and gods notice the first petal of a rose starting to wilt. The they notice the foul smell of stagnant water. And because they have lived life without any suffering, when they realize it won’t last forever – that everything is impermanent – their suffering is more extreme because of it.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

My Most Embarrassing Rage Moment

Ever show up in a way that you’re soooooo not proud of? We often don’t talk about it because we’re ashamed. But we’ve all been there. It’s true. I wanted to share with you one of my most embarrassing moments of being bitchy, because the turnaround is amazing.

We’d finally returned from a long trip from Nepal (rickshaw pic to the right), and I finished up my Soulcrafting retreat in Colorado with el maestro, Bill Plotkin. I returned to Alaska refreshed, renewed, tapped in and turned on…and somehow still managed to rip some unsuspecting nurses a new one when I went to pick my mom up from dialysis that Monday.

It was ugly. I was shaking from fury. I could feel my head pounding and my vision narrowing. All I could think of was, “If my mom dies because of some dumbass, I’ll never forgive myself.”

But perhaps we should back up a little.

I was feeling quite raw after my retreat. It had been almost 2 years since I took any time for myself alone in the wilderness. And that’s even with me including a solo trip to Hawai’i when I was 7 months pregnant…and not exactly in wilderness. Let’s just say it was high time for my retreat to be happening.

I had some amazing numinous experiences with nature in the desert of Colorado. We’re talking communicating-with-trees-and-plants-and-other non-humans kind of numinous. Completely sober. Yes, it’s much easier to have a chat with a Mormon Tea plant in the desert with the aid of certain psychedelics, but after my years of experimenting with such things, I now get off on being able to get there on my own devices.

I had moments of collapsing to my knees, sobbing with deep gratitude, deep love, and profoundly deep grief at all the suffering going on today. I cried so hard, at times no sounds came out of my mouth (you now that one, right?). And other times it was so loud it echoed back at me from the canyon walls. I committed to a long journey in those sacred canyons – one I am deeply immersed in to this day. I returned with the most overwhelming appreciation for my loved ones, and I was particularly excited because my mom was visiting us in Alaska after just starting on dialysis after her heart attack earlier that fall.

Then, one Monday morning, she woke up with a fever and chills. She had a temperature of 100.4 degrees F, and was fatigued with a headache. Important note: one of the more common complications of dialysis and causes of death is sepsis – systemic infection. Dialysis patients are much more prone to serious infections for myriad reasons. And older people sometimes don’t even get a fever with infection (or a very high one).

I called the dialysis center and said that my mom’s kidney doctor in the SF Bay Area wanted blood cultures to check for systemic infection, and that if they wouldn’t do them there, I would have to bring her to the ER. They agreed to do them there when we dropped her off that day. I asked if I could give Tylenol for her headaches, because then she would not have a fever as high when she showed up and they said it was OK.

My husband told me to not rush home and that he could bring her. He promised to make sure she got blood cultures. He dropped her off, asked the nurse if she would draw blood cultures, and she said yes. I go 5 hours later to pick up my mom, right before they close, and there are no blood cultures.

No. Fucking. Blood Cultures.

No blood cultures that would help us feel confident that at least whatever was going on was not a potentially life-threatening infection. I asked what happened since I had called three times to confirm they’d be done AND my hubby made sure too. The nurse said she evaluated my mom upon arrival and my mom didn’t have a fever high enough to warrant blood cultures.

I was livid. My mom was tired. Had a raging headache. Was weak. She had lost so much weight since I saw her last. And now they were about to close.

I. Went. Off. I am pretty sure I turned red. I threatened to call the better Business Bureau, to speak to the supervisor the next day, to get them all written up for this clear act of negligence. They called the nurse I spoke to earlier and she said she forgot to pass on the message to the new nurse that she had agreed to draw blood cultures.

I felt so…powerless. I had done everything short of dropping everything and walking in there and making them draw the blood cultures in front of me. I called THREE times after we had made the plan to make sure. My husband verified. I. did. so. much. And still, I had no control over what people would end up doing. Now, if my mom was indeed septic, we had lost precious treatment time. And they didn’t even draw a CBC, but I won’t go there.

All I could see was my mom going into full blown sepsis in her frail state. Me wishing I had not been so lazy and letting my husband take her in. Her dying because of one thing I could have easily done to ensure she received quality care – watch them do it.

It has taken me a long time to learn to trust and delegate. And this shit wasn’t helping.

After enough of my ranting, they agreed to draw the blood cultures. I quietly, and in complete contrast to my earlier tirade, said, “I wish I didn’t have to get so pissed for the right thing to get done.” My mom got up, I walked her outside, helped her over the cold snow and ice, and into the car. I couldn’t speak a word. I was so scared (and fear is often where anger stems from, BTW). I am sure my mom thought my silence was because I was so pissed.

Later that night, I felt deep shame. Yes, people had made a mistake. A mistake I tried to prevent by calling and double checking and checking again…but not again. Yes, my mom could indeed have a bad outcome because of this.

But that was no reason to be a bitch. To be mean to another human being.

I then went to a place of self-compassion. I acknowledged that I was afraid my mom would die and that I could be partly to blame by my lack of vigilance. My fierce and rageful ranting was because of my love for her, and my wish that is wasn’t so easy for a loved one to leave forever.

I vowed to call the nurses in the morning and apologize. The next day, when I finally had a calm moment, I called the center and the same exact nurse answered.

“Hi there – it’s Ana Verzone.” “Yes?” I could tell she was not excited it was me.

“I wanted to apologize for the way I got so mad at you yesterday. You absolutely didn’t deserve that. I thought I had done everything to prevent that mistake from happening, and it was so scary to see that even then, it didn’t matter. Things hadn’t been done, and then I was afraid my mom would die from an infection. I am really sorry that I treated you that way.” She replied, “OK. Thank you. You know, I told everyone, ‘This is all because she loves her mother so much.'”

I couldn’t believe it. I thought for sure that she went around saying I was the biggest bitch ever and that they should try to get my mom transferred or something. But she…forgave me. What if I hadn’t called back? I would have forever thought I was hated by her.

I broke down crying. I breathed out, “Thank you for understanding. Thank you for managing to be compassionate and to try to see where I was coming from. You have no idea how much that means to me. Thank you.” She saw through it and saw that I was scared.

We hung up.

I felt human again. I am grateful for so many things. But right now, one of the things I’m going to hold particularly dear is the near-magical capacity we have to empathize with another.

And to forgive.

I can’t help but invite you to consider this gratitude as we come upon Valentine’s Day – that others have had empathy for you, understood you, and forgiven you when you were being human in the messiest of ways. And even if not everyone did, there can be gratitude that you can offer the same gift to others.

Today, I dare you to either ask for forgiveness, or to forgive someone. We are all human, in this together. Which is it going to be for you? Forgive? Or ask for forgiveness? And yes, you can forgive yourself.

Often, that’s where this all starts.


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

The Fear of Being Average

You know that thing we do when we compare ourselves to others until it hurts? It’s totally normal. In fact, one of the most common causes of suffering in us humans is the desire to see ourselves as “above average” (a different way of saying we want to see ourselves as better than others) – and the vast majority of us suffer from this…which is why we compare so much. To see where we stand. When I first read that factoid as I was researching info for my next course (one on self-compassion!), I really really really wanted to feel that I was not victim to this desire (because that would be kind of average, right?).

But I so. totally. am. I have an overwhelming fear of being…average. I don’t want an average income. Or an average marriage. Or an average car, travel schedule, house, wardrobe, or stack of graduate degrees. I don’t want average grades, careers, weekend trips, or stories to tell by the so-not-average campfire.

I want a fucking extraordinary life. Waaaaay above average.

I have had a fear of being average since I learned what was possible if you proved you were above average in this world (aka school). Being above average got me out of the ghetto and into my Freedom Junkie way of living. It got me amazing opportunities: scholarships, grants, adventures, jobs…lots of good things. I was terrified of what would happen if I ever lost my ability to rank as above average. Indeed, the idea of losing my mind like my father did (he had schizoaffective disorder) was the scariest thing I could imagine. It was my above-average mind that…kept me safe. The fear of being average was such a big part of my life that it even drove me to hound my urooncologist when I was first diagnosed with kidney cancer to find an alternative to removing my kidney and chucking it.

I was sitting in a meeting with him at the uro-oncology unit of UC San Francisco (he happened to look like the Dalai Lama in a lab coat, which helped with our negotiations;). He told me that my tumor was in a part of the kidney where all the blood vessels come together, and that to remove the tumor while my kidney was still attached to me – and have a good chance of complete tumor removal without causing other severe complications – was very, very small. So they would have to just remove my kidney altogether.

Then he said the thing that got me researching my ass off: “Don’t worry. You’ll be fine with having one kidney. In fact, studies have shown that people who donate a kidney have the same level of happiness as the average American.”

Oh heeeelllllz no, Dr. Man.

“Ummm. No offense…but I am way happier than the average American – and I plan to keep it that way,” I replied. What I I didn’t say out loud was that the idea of being an average American was freaking me out. I just saw myself watching TV on a couch and having the big adventures of my life be camping out for Black Friday sales. I got on the internet that night, and while I was watching multiple YouTube videos of the surgery I was about to undergo, I saw an interesting blip on my Google search page: “UCSF: #2 renal transplant facility in the country”

Hmmm. So if the issue is they can’t cut the tumor out safely while it is attached to me, why not remove my kidney, cut the tumor out, confirm the margins are clear, then put it back in me?”


I called my surgeon the next morning. “Interesting. I’ll see what the tumor board has to say,” he said in response to my suggestion. (Since this was such an involved surgery, you have to get the OK from everyone on the team – in this case, uro-oncology, the transplant team, and other hospital folk.)

The next day he called: “OK. We decided that we can try the autotransplant – but one of the main reasons is because you are a rock climber and have a higher risk for trauma than the average person, and thus may have a higher need for 2 kidneys.” Woohoo! Being above average saves my scared ass again! (But that is soooo not the point I am trying to make here;)

What’s poignant here isn’t the fact that I got the team to try a new surgery. What alarmed me was that the fear I felt when thinking I might end up average was all-consuming. Yes, the outcome was great for me in this scenario – but it always haunted me that it was my fear of being average that was the driving force. That it had been the driving force behind so many of my actions in the past.

So what’s wrong with striving to be above average when so many cool things can come of it? Like awesome adventure travel, getting to keep your organs, and free tuition, to name a few? When you have a “fear of being average” as your main motivation, you are also susceptible to a deep, wounding type of suffering, because your happiness is based on something outside of you: how you compare to others.

And as long as your happiness depends on where you stand in relation to others on the scale – even for something as noble as adventure or compassion or generosity – you will never have the kind of deep, radiant confidence (aka ziji!) that comes from knowing your own inherent self worth. So you know those days when you internet troll or just perseverate endlessly while comparing your life to others on Facebook or in “real life” – someone in a similar field as you or in your social circle or tribe – and you wonder why they seem happier or more loved or more famous or more exciting or more wealthy or more adventurous or more kind and compassionate or more relaxed … or more anything than you?

Yeah that. That’s from our fear of being average. The Comparison Carousel. Round and round. “Where do I stand now?” we wonder. All. freakin’. day. It’s exhausting.

I used to think only my friends and others with FOMO (fear of missing out) had this type of fear, and that it was this fear that helped them have such amazing lives of adventure. But then I started to realize that we all have the fear of being average. It’s why scapegoating is so common when times get tough – when there is an economic depression or scarcity of jobs, racism and discrimination increase as people strive to prove in a scarcity environment that they still have the one-up on others.

Don’t take this lightly, folks. This tendency to want to be above average creates more suffering in us as individuals, as well as worldwide in small communities, large countries, and in international relations. You may not realize the degree of suffering this causes if you manage to stay “above average” in the categories important to you or your culture for a long time…until you start to get exhausted running the race; start to fall behind; or finally find that person who is smarter than you, prettier than you, sexier than you, more adventurous than you…just better than you all around (all else created equal). And you will find that person. There is always – always – going to be someone “better” than you are at something (except, of course, at your own unique purpose;).

When that happens, you feel crushed. Or suddenly depressed, even though you have achieved some amazing shizzle in your life. Or you feel devastatingly not enough. I know some of you may be wondering if this means we should all strive to be “average.”

Absolutely not.

This life is precious, a gift like no other; to be born in your body on this planet with the ability to create life experiences and a mind to dream…its all a miracle and you would be a fool to not take full advantage of it and make the most of this life. I want you to live an extraordinary life.

Because of that, what I do want to encourage is this:

Do not let your motivation be to feel like you are better than others, or “above average.” Let your motivation in life be to live your best life. To live your gifts into this world. Screw what anyone else is doing. Only you know if you are living life full-on. And that is all that matters.

After all, in reality, we are all average. As Dr. Kristin Neff, a Developmental Psychologist from the University of Texas at Austin (and self-compassion geek!), points out, “To be human is to be average.” It’s true. We all have our strengths (the things we do really really well), and the things we do just so-so (sort of average)… and we also have our weaknesses – those things that we just suck at, or have a lot of room for improvement.

The key to sustainable happiness – and indeed the true inner confidence that follows – is to accept that we are all beautifully average. The world needs us all to be average at most things! Then, we can focus on our gifts – those things we do really really well – and leave the rest to the other average humans that rock the things we suck at. We don’t have to do it all or know it all (ahhhh…isn’t that relaxing!?). While the reality is that we may need to stand out from the crowd to get certain jobs or attain certain accomplishments, we don’t have to be better than someone else to be happy.

Indeed, the opposite is true. Embrace your averageness;) Live an extraordinary life on your terms. When you release the desire to be above average and embrace your true gifts and the preciousness of this life…ahhhhh – that is when the fun begins. The freedom. The adventure. That no one can take away from you.

Since this tendency to have a fear of being average exists in almost all of us, don’t beat yourself up about it when it arises. Just notice it. Notice it as part of the average human experience. Then do things differently. Choose to be motivated from your own heart’s desires…what makes you happy, no matter what else others are doing.

Stop comparing.

When you see yourself comparing, ask yourself what you really want in this life, and what is one action you can take right now to move you closer to it. Embrace your “average,” and focus on extraordinary living from your heart Recognize the common humanity in all of this – that you are not alone in your fear of being average.

That we all fear it. And that is it precisely our averageness that beings us closer as humans….And it is precisely the unique gifts that every single one of us has that, when expressed fully, make this life extraordinary. It is savoring each moment, staying present, being kind to ourselves and each other, manifesting your gifts and living this life as the greatest adventure of all time that will give you the radiant inner confidence to know you are crushing this whole carpe-the-dang-diem thing.

Only you know when that happens. And that’s all that matters.

Try this:

(adapted from Kristin Neff’s book, “Self Compassion”)

1. make a list of 5 culturally-valued qualities you have

2. make a list of 5 culturally valued qualities you have in which you are average

3. make a list of 5 culturally valued qualities you have in which you are below average

Now, can you look at this list and embrace it fully? Can you accept the fact that we ALL have traits in which we kick ass, fall within the bell curve, or need to leave to someone else – which ultimately makes us all…average? And can you feel in your bones that just because you – and everyone else – is actually quite average does NOT mean you cannot live an extraordinary life?

It just means you are finally…free.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

You Need This Skill for ANY Relationship

Do you remember how proud you were when you set your first “healthy boundary?” I do.

I remember finally planting my metaphorical foot down after months of frustration. I told someone I was dating that I wasn’t going to tolerate anymore flaking or not showing up when he said he would. I deserved my time to be respected. I set my boundary and … he listened!

Well done! I thought to myself. Should have done that months ago!

But…he didn’t listen for long. In the end it was a battle of me re-setting boundaries, trying to control his behavior, then him complying…and eventually breaking them again. Then I’d withdraw to “enforce” the boundary…rinse, repeat.

When I was first taught about boundaries, it was in the context of women who do too much forother people, and not enough for themselves. It came across to me that I had to be firm and defend myself against others asking me to do things I didn’t want to do, or allowing them to act in ways that were not healthy for me. Sounds like a good idea right?

While that sounds like a really good idea on the surface, the way I was doing it ended up leading to not-so-good things for everyone involved. Things like Anger. Frustration. Control. That last one is the biggest thing – it turns out unbeknownst to me, I was using boundaries to control other people’s behavior. I was giving ultimatums like “you do/don’t do this…or else!” This is not a healthy way to set boundaries – yet it is the way most of us were taught to set them.

Most of us set boundaries based on how we can change how someone else behaves, and not on our power of choice and agency to do what is best for us. The healthy way to create boundaries necessitates remembering a very important thing: that boundaries are all about YOUR behavior.

Whaaaaat?! That’s right. The focus of a healthy boundary is actually not about the other persondoing or not doing what you want at all. They are all grown up, and whether you like it or not,they “get” to do whatever they want.

I know. It sounds crazy. But stick with me for a long minute;)

A healthy boundary is all about what you are going to do. It is a consequence you set that is completely based on an action you will take.

For example, if your mother is constantly belittling you when she calls, you can create a boundary. You can say, “Mom, it is not OK for you to belittle me when we talk. I love you, but if you start to do that, I will let you know I am going to hang up, and we can talk again when belittling isn’t part of the conversation.”

Then, if she does it again, you say, “OK mom, I love you, and I’m going to hang up now. When you’re ready to talk without doing that, we can chat again.”

You don’t continue to try to change her or “make her stop.” You just take care of yourself.

You may have noticed a few other things in this example:

1) The boundary isn’t about something petty.

Some people want to set boundaries around things like getting people to stop giving them unsolicited advice, or doing something annoying like talking too loudly. That is actually attempting to control someone and not letting them be themselves – which is not OK.

Boundaries are set for big-deal items: emotional or physical boundaries. People do not get to hit you. People do not get to emotionally abuse you (like the belittling in the example above). People do not get to break your trust.

You may wonder – Hold on, girl! What’s the difference between setting a boundary and making a request for my preferences, then? Can’t I ask someone to stop something that annoys me?

YES! Make all the requests you want!

If someone is not crossing a physical or emotional boundary but is simply annoying you, choose to either share your time and energy with them, or not. Make a request, or not. Requests don’t have “consequences.” The person either does it or not, and you do the work to learn how to be happy either way.

If you choose to still be around them, let go of trying to change who they are. Don’t forget to not let whether they comply or not affect your happiness or your sense of empowerment. It really isn’t appropriate to create boundary around something you’re simply being annoyed by. That’s usually solvable by you changing your thoughts about what’s going on and not taking them personally.

That can be a big-girl-panties concept, but I know you’ve got this;)

2) Boundaries (unlike simple requests) have a consequence that is about an action you will take, and you need to follow through on this.

Using the example above, if your mom/partner/friend belittles you and you don’t hang up like you said you would, that removes the strength and purpose form the boundary. It also tends to eat away at your self-respect and selfesteem.

You end up not trusting yourself, which is usually worse that the original breach of the boundary anyway.

3) The boundary does not come from a place of anger.

Your happiness should not rely on this person’s actions. Therefore, the boundary is simply to honor yourself, and you can choose to not take it personally and step away from the unhealthy situation. No drama. Just, “No, thank you.”

Let’s see more examples of what this all looks like:

If you have a friend who is constantly late and this wears on your time and energy, you can choose to stay friends with her and say, “I get you’re often late, it’s what you do. But it’s hard for me when I waste my time when I’d rather spend time with you. So, if you are more than 15 minutes late, I’m going to leave.” Shazam! You honor who she is, and you honor your needs.

In this example, you are choosing to stay friends with this person, and creating a boundary that respects both your needs. You can also choose not to remain friends with this person if they don’t follow through. In either case, you can walk away – without drama.

In my relationship example in the beginning, choosing to leave when it was clear my emotional boundaries and trust were not being honored would have been better than trying to control someone else’s behavior. I could have said, “If x, y, z behavior continues, that doesn’t work for me.” Then I would have left – which ended up happening anyway – but it would have happened with me being in a much more empowered place – and much sooner. That would have saved both of us a lot of time and energy and suffering. And way less drama.

I know some of these concepts can be a bit WTF for you right now, but let it simmer awhile. Check it out and observe the difference between people setting healthy boundaries vs. trying to control someone else’s behavior.

As one of my favorite spiritual teachers would tell me, “Check your mind. Check it for yourself.”


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

How to Get Shit Done

Let’s be honest – we all have a hard time doing shit that we say we want to do sometimes (or a maybe lot of the time!). Like exercise in the morning. Eat less sugar. Drink less. Write that book. Have that difficult conversation with a toxic friend.

We’re diving into how to get things done in Freedom School this month, and I was thinking a lot about why it can be soooo hard to do something we really want to do.

On a Saturday.

Yeah. I know…I really DO geek out on this stuff;)

Why do we have ongoing to-do lists? Why do we tolerate a sense of overwhelm, stress, busyness, and a constant feeling of things being incomplete?

I wrote this reaaaally long post in our FB group that I thought I’d share with you here, because it addresses some of our struggles with getting shit done. If you have a low attention span today, just read the bold parts

First, let me ask you: What is it in your life that you’re struggling with that prevents you from getting what you want done?

And here’s what I want you to think about it: if you always kept your word to yourself, if you always did what you said you were going to do, if you always followed through on your best-laid plans, if you always were disciplined in the actions that you wanted to take, how would your life be different than it is now?

One of the reasons why some of us humans underutilize the special part of our brain that allows us to plan into the future (it’s a uniquely human trait!) is becausewe’re constantly letting ourselves down.

We make plans, and then we don’t follow through on those plans, then we just think making plans is a waste of our time and we stop doing it and we live our life in “default” mode. Doing what we’ve always been doing, instead of what we wantto be doing.

It takes much more effort to overcome our primitive brain – that’s focused on instant gratification – than it does to live in default mode, to just keep doing what you’ve always done. It’s so much easier to just keep doing what you’ve always done.

Doing things differently requires – or seems to require – more effort, and our brain is meant to be efficient. Default is way easier.

I remember when I first started being a coach and I started setting big goals for myself and my husband (then boyfriend) came to me one day and he’s like, “You know, it’s so crazy what you do,” and I said, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “You just say you’re going to do something and then you just do it. It’s wild to me.”

Now, I want you to think about that. Why is that so wild? Why is that so surprising? Why are some people just talk? I don’t think it’s because they mean to be, I just think they don’t know how to follow through with themselves.

It’s super important to do what we say we’re going to do – it builds self-respect and self-trust and a sense of pride and integrity.

So what’s a busy freedom junkie supposed to do?

1. The first thing that I want to tell you is that in order to overcome your primitive brain, which will be the loudest part of your brain, you have to plan ahead.

Calendar your to-do list. I just wanted to get that out here in case you didn’t read anything else.

BUT before calendaring items you need to create that to-do list. Get it out of your head because some of you have all these unfinished to-dos in your brain and you don’t realize that having

to think about them over and over again and the feelings that they bring up of incompleteness, is negatively affecting you. So it’s really important to empty it out onto a piece of paper. For some of you, you could probably write for 10 minutes. It’s totally fine.

What will happen when you’ve done this list is your brain will basically have nothing left to complain about because it will all be on the list.

2. Now cross off the items you really don’t have/want to do.There are a lot of “shoulds” we tend to have one our to-do lists.

And remember (this may be controversial…but that’s how we roll!):
You don’t have to take care of your children. You don’t have to bathe. You don’thave to eat. You do not have to wake up in the morning.

You don’t even have to live.

You have freewill as a human. There is nothing on that list that you have to do. You certainly don’t have to vacuum. You do not have to cook dinner. You do not have to do laundry. You don’t have to do any of it. So stop telling yourself that you “have” to do any of it.

Like Ajan Buddhasana says, “Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. No one to be.”

There are things that you think you think you “should” do, but you don’t want to do them, and you don’t have to do them. I give you permission right now to just never do them. Take them completely off your list!

You’re likely going to have consequences for not doing them. I want you to decide it’s OK to have those consequences for those things that you’re not going to do. Just like your reasons.

Let it be OK to not invite some people over if you’re not that into them. To have your groceries delivered instead of going to the store (one of my FAVES). To let your kiddo go to after-school care so you can get in a workout. To eat mac and cheese because you spent so much time writing your new book that you’re too tired to roast veggies.

I didn’t even do the Christmas presents thing this year. We were in the Philippines. I rented a house with two pools and a karaoke bar and invited the whole family and 30 of us partied for 3 days. No presents. I thought there’d be a huge rebellion. Nope. Apparently people prefer a 3-day party with karaoke 😉

3. Then you break down the items that made the cut – that you REALLY want to focus on – down into smaller steps.

This is super important – especially if you have a really hard time doing shit like going to the gym. Break it down into: I’ll get dressed for the gym at 7:30am. I’ll drive there at 7:45am. etc. Sometimes “going to the gym” seems too big, so the smaller steps help. This also makes allotting enough time a bit easier.

4. Now put ALL of these items into your calendar.

Here’s why: you have to consciously and deliberately supervise the primitive brain.

Now, what does the primitive brain like to do? It likes to get pleasureimmediately. That means resting, that means overeating, that means candy, that means alcohol, that means drugs if they’re available; anything to get a little short hit of pleasure is what that primitive brain has evolved to do for us.

Some of us just aren’t using our brains for what we want our brains to be able to provide us. It’s like you’ve gotten this amazing package of software in the mail and you’ve just left it in the box. That’s how some of us are using that higher portion of our brain.

But the thing with calendaring is that when you work, you’re going to be so much more productive, because if you give yourself a whole day to get your to-do list done, you know what you get done? Mostly nothing.

5. Once everything is on the calendar, you throw away your to-do list.

Now you just rely on your calendar. Ongoing to-do lists drain energy. When you put something on your calendar, consider it’s as good as done. Do it.

Remember: When the times comes, you’re going to want to eat Cheez-its in front of Netflix because your primitive brain is like, “That would be so much more fun.”

But you’ve already decided ahead of time because you know what your brain does ahead of time? It uses the prefrontal cortex, which always has your long-term best interests at heart. It’s always thinking, “If we do all these things, then we’ll have this book done and then we can sell the book.” Or, “If we do all these things, then we’ll have a business.” I”f we do all these things, then we’ll have a clean house.” “If we do all these things, then I’ll lose weight.”

If you don’t do all the things then you just stay where you are and your default mode is to just keep doing what you’ve always done.

When you overcome those urges for that instant gratification to switch into thedelayed gratification and to do the work that gives you the delayed gratification, that’s when your life completely uplevels

because you start obeying and working from the prefrontal cortex which has your best long-term interests at heart instead of acting like the primitive toddler brain that is the loudest, yelling one.

So when you come to 12 o’clock and it’s time to clean the closet and your primitive brain is rebelling, you can say, “I hear you, your opinion is noted, and we’re going to clean this closet out,” because at the end of the day, you’ll have the clean closet and the blog post written and the kitchen will be clean and dinner will be ready and you will feel PROUD.

And you won’t have done it in such a frenzied, panicked, exhausted way. You will just be honoring yourself the whole time.

Here’s what I’ve noticed to be true: When you do this, it actually energizes you because you’re honoring yourself. You’re following your commitments. You’re not thinking about all the stuff that you haven’t done. You’re not worried about all the procrastination that you’ve done. You’re not rushing because you have so much urgent stuff to be done. You’re just honoring your calendar.

Whew! OK – I hope that helps you have some ideas for how to really start getting some momentum on those things you’ve been putting off.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

7 Signs You’re Living a Boring Life

Did you know I was an only child?

I sometimes wish I was spoiled, but I wasn’t. My mom was on a mission to ensure I never was – and often took it to an extreme. In any event, even though I was an only child, I grew up with 9 boys (my “cousins”). I saw them every day before and after school and on weekends. They taught me how to share and how to play tough, and made me always play Princess Leia when I really  wanted to be Darth Vader (no one else wanted to play a”girl”). But still, there were many, many  times when I was bored.

Bored out of my fu*king mind.

So bored, in fact, that I would cover my face with my pillow and cry. I remember vowing one night that once I was out of the house, I would do my absolute best to not ever be bored again.  And for the most part, I took that to an extreme;)

But there are still times I still found that feeling creeping up on me!  Some moments that pop into mind are:

:: when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for graduate school and found myself going from living out of my Volvo station wagon and sleeping under the stars, to sitting more than ever  inside concrete buildings and only seeing stars through a small, triangular window in my tiny urban room.

:: after I had my baby – and being freakin’ exhausted  seemed like a good enough excuse to talk myself out of doing anything  half-way interesting

:: when I got my first full-time job as a midwife, and my vacation time went from months off each year to just a few weeks…I found some similarities in all these instances and wanted to share them with you.

I tell you – it creeps up on you and you don’t want to be caught sleeping when it does! Here are some tips to help you bypass boredom so you don’t get side-swiped by it like I did:


1) It takes you a really long time to get out of bed  – because there’s no really good reason for you to hop out and carpe the dang diem  anyway!

2) Watching TV or movies is the #1 way you spend your free time.  This could mean that you are busy watching other people’s interesting lives instead of getting out there and living your own. Exception: the occasional guilty pleasure series marathons with friends or lovers 😉

3) You are jealous. A lot.  Jealousy is a sign of desire.  It’s not a “bad” feeling or a sign that you are some kind of corrupted person. It means you want  something. When you’re living a kickass life, you are jealous way less often. This is because you either compare yourself to others way less, or you are living a life you really, really  like. When you’re not living a live you  love, you get jealous of other people who are – or who at least seem like it.

4) You spy on people via Facebook or other social media – and rarely post.  This is almost like spending too much time watching TV/movies. You were put on this gorgeous planet to experience it and DIVE IN!

You were put here to feel wind on your skin and the dizzying drop of your insides when you swoop down on a swing or rollercoaster (yes I still LOVE swings!), to dip into the chilly waters of an alpine lake, to have epic  orgasms and accidentally step into cow poop while wandering market streets in India, to wake up with the moonlight shining brightly on your face, to laugh deep deep belly laughs with your friends. Not to scroll down a screen watching other people do it.

5) You have crappy sleep.  A day well-lived is one where you collapse into bed tired and content. You’ve exercised, you’ve gotten done what you wanted to get done, and you feel a satisfaction that a life well-lived gives you. And you sleep deeply because dang, a life like that needs it!

6) You don’t feel sexy.  Sexy is more than something you feel in your body. In fact, that is the smallest part of sexy. Feeling sexy is mostly about how you perceive yourself. And you know yourself best, sistah. You can’t lie to yourself about if you’re living your best life. You know the truth. When you are doing cool shit, you hold your head high, you’re not afraid to talk to people because you want to tell them what you’ve been up to, and you strut your shizzle. Living an exciting life is absolutely the best ingredient for sexy.

7) You don’t have any energy and may be sporting the Boredom Belly.  If you’re like me, when you’re bored, you eat emotionally, and this is usually food that isn’t the best for maximizing your Thrive. It’s usually stuff like carbs or sugars or heavy, poorquality fats or salts. These all sap your energy and you end up pooped as a result. You may even have the Boredom Belly, as I like to call it – belly fat is associated with stress and high-carb eating, among other things also associated with a boring life.

Can you recognize yourself in any of these? No worries, amiga! I’ve got some ideas for you to turn that train around:

:: Do a cleanse  – this will give you something to focus on other than other people’s Facebook profiles, and will up your energy factor so you can more easily get out there and start having some amazing experiences! It’s a great way to kickstart your mind and body. Click here for more reasons  to uplevel your body-mind connection.

:: Unplug  – When you don’t have the distraction of watching other people’s lives, and when you also suddenly have more hours in the day to do cool shit, there is way more possibility to bring excitement back into your life.

:: Try something new every day.  When you break habits – even things as simple as eating something different for lunch, driving a different way to work, reading a new magazine – your brain is primed for new experiences and is more likely to be comfortable with change . Which means you’ll more easily step out of your boring patterns, and be way more likely to do some new cool shizzle

:: Plan an adventure.  This doesn’t have to be a trip with your family to a politically unstable country with a fuel crisis and food shortage like the trip I took with my hubby and baby a couple of years ago. It could really be as simple as going out to a nearby lake at night, and sitting at it’s edge watching the stars and moon reflected on the surface; or going to visit a part of town you’ve never been to: ever had a Korean spa experience in your local Korea Town? Ever smelled the spices and sundries or stared at the dried bodies of various reptiles in the apothecaries of China Town? Take an intro Capoiera class, or ride your bike around town and simply get lost.

Those are just a few ideas.

The point is, it takes effort to have an adventurous life.  It doesn’t just happen. If you wait for sh*t to happen, it won’t. So you need to commit to it.

We have a big trip coming up to the Philippines, via Thailand. I don’t feel like going. I’m tired. I’m in the middle of a HUGE launch. I have tons of videos to record and a shit-ton of work to do ahead of time since I know internet will be unreliable a lot of the time.

I know…small problems in the scheme of things, but the point is I don’t want to go right now. But I know how committed to adventure we are, so I bought tickets anyway. Once I’m there, I always am so glad we decided to take a trip. Sort of like working out – I’m rarely in the mood, but always glad I did it once I’m going.

 If you don’t want to be bored, you need to commit ahead of time . Plan things. Book things. Know you won’t be in the mood – but do it anyway. If you waited until you were in the mood, chances are, other things will take priority.

But the trick is that when you prioritize adventure, the other things still end up being taken care of  – they just wiggle their way into the nooks and crannies of your life, between the adventures.

So go ahead – commit to the adventure. To not being bored.


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

12 Essential Questions

A lot of people ask me what I do for the New Year since resolutions seem to resonate less and less with how people wanted to enter into this important transition. After all, more resolutions are broken than kept, and that doesn’t feel like a way to enter the New Year with integrity.

With the traditional resolutions, people often find themselves stuck in the same place year after year – even with having the best of intentions and setting achievable goals that seem totally doable. Goals they really really want! Some have been wanting them for decades! Let’s stop that stuckness right now.

It’s time to shake, woman…shake! 

It’s time to step into your wildness, your true desires, your heart-centered visions for your life with the most astute observation, integrity, wisdom, generosity and compassion that you can muster

Before deciding what you want to create in the upcoming year and setting your intentions for those, it is absolutely essential to reflect upon and learn about yourself and your patterns so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes and find yourself in the same old rut – again. Not doing this is why many intentions – aka “resolutions” – fail.

It’s only in knowing what we do right now that we can choose how to do things differently, or choose what patterns to keep and which to let go of. Doing things differently when something isn’t working, and keeping up the things that actually serve us, is how we create better experiences in our life – and lasting happiness too. Yummm right?!

That’s why I want to share with you my personal list of favorite Year-In-Review Questions to help make sure your whole being is prepped for making your next year the Best Year Yet. I’ve found that I create the most success in my life – personally and professionally – when I take the time to reflect on the past with the intention of learning and growing (and not for ruminating or lamenting!).

While creating goals and setting intentions are an important part of actively creating a kick-ass New Year, I’ve learned that BEFORE we do that, we need to reflect on what journeys we have been through, what has happened within us in the past year, so we can approach the next year more skillfully and with deeper wisdom.

I believe this is why “resolutions” are now often seen as clichéd and de-valued. People usually enter into resolutions without mindfulness, true emotional investment, or reflection on what would really make a difference, and a solid plan. Those things are the difference between a “good idea” and a “goal.” A good idea is just that – an idea. A Goal/Intention/Resolution, on the other hand, has a clear vision and a plan – a plan based on reflection and wisdom gained.Starting here is an essential part of building a good foundation for your next year.

After years of doing this every December, here are my favorite questions to ask myself. Have fun doing this! You are going to learn and grow from it, which means you’ll be far less likely to make the same mistakes and be more able to create your ideal life. Juicy, baby!

Pick a time when you have some quiet, uninterrupted space, light some candles (I’m into candles;), pour a glass of your favorite beverage, take a few moments to breathe deeply and calm your mind, and start in on creating the life of your dreams.

12 Essential Freedom Junkie Questions to Review Your Year - and Learn To Make the Next One Your Best Year Yet!

1) What am I most proud of from this past year?

2) WHO helped me achieve that – and did I thank them?

3) WHAT helped me achieve those things (habits, systems, choosing helpful mindsets, letting go of toxic relationships, etc)?

4) Who (or How) was I BEING in my life when I was most content this last year (confident, laid-back, present, slowed-down, adventurous, generous, healthy, compassionate…)?

5) Where could I have invested more energy (and “energy” means time, money, emotions, attention)?

6) What blocked me from investing that energy?

7) How can I remove some of those blocks/obstacles for the upcoming year?

8) What and/or Who did I take for granted this year?

9) How can I honor those people or things more next year?

10) What did I do to nourish my spiritual growth (retreat, regular practice, new supportive relationships, etc)?

11) Was it enough? If not, how can I add to that?

12) What was my take-home lesson from my most intense or powerful experiences in the past 12 months? (Everything happens for a reason!)

I dare you to take one action today based on these reflections. When you write things down – and share them – they take on even more power. If you’re shy, feel free to simply journal or send an email to me about what you plan to do. I’d really love to hear from you!

Have fun reflecting on your past year. It’s a truly valuable and simple “Jedi skill:” to actually learn from our past!

*** If you’re interested in a really awesome way to make the next year your best one yet, join Freedom School. It will set you up to live the best version of you in the year to come. This is an amazing group of rebel women committed to creating lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. You can even gift a Freedom School membership to someone that you know could use the boost and come together! You’ll dive into getting clear about: what you want, how to clear your life of the things you don’t, skills for living an authentic life so you are out there being YOU and not what other people want you to be, and more.

If creating the life you love includes drinking less in the New Year, Freedom School also gives you access to Drink Less, Feel Free, a 4-week program where you learn ways to free yourself from overdrinking. The tools here worked for me – and hundreds of others. You can also give it as a gift to someone you love that has repeatedly told you they wish they didn’t always overdrink. Life is too short to waste hungover or feeling guilty, right? Plus, saying you’ll do something and then not doing it screws with your self-confidence. This program is set up to give you the support and accountability you need.