Why you might be feeling stuck… and a way out

One of my favorite coaching techniques is something called “Parts Work.”  The work is rooted in the idea that humans are comprised of a variety of internal parts… the shy part, the outgoing part, the grumpy part, the joyful part, etc… and they all are serving important purposes, using the best tools they know.

Often the feeling of “stuck” comes from the sense that 2 (or more) parts of yourself are in conflict.  And the most common conflict I’ve noticed over the years is between the “Freedom” part and the “Structure” part.

There is a part that values spontaneity, wildness, and the freedom to do what you want when you want. 

There is another part that values safety, security, ritual, and the predictability of schedules.

Photo by   Jeremy Bishop   from   Pexels

Photo by Jeremy Bishop from Pexels

What’s interesting is that both parts ultimately want the same thing…  for you to feel happy and fulfilled.  

Checking things off the to-do list, and being on time helps you thrive.  Saying yes to something fun at the last minute also helps you thrive.

The best part is that when they work together, stress melts away, clarity shows up, and you maximize happiness. 

It’s like a tree with strong roots (structure) that supports large, long branches to dance in the wind (freedom).

The paradox about freedom is that you can have more of it when you have solid structures in place.

For example, committing to my morning practice helps me flow with the unexpected later in the day. Knowing when appointments will happen keeps me from worrying about when those things will get done (teeth cleanings, oil changes, taxes etc.) so I can enjoy a vacation more.

I’d love to hear if you’ve noticed your parts being at war, and what ideas you have for helping them collaborate.  Leave a comment below!

What if the other shoe drops?

“I feel so inspired. I have momentum and confidence! … but what if it doesn’t last?”

Sound familiar? I’ve had many clients recently expressing something similar.  It’s that sense that the “other shoe” may drop at any time, that a good feeling cannot be trusted to last.

I think they expect me to reassure them their high vibes can be permanent.

Instead, my question to this particular client was “What if it doesn’t last, and that’s ok?”

There was an extended pause... I felt her relax, instinctually feeling the truth of that. My breath slowed to match hers.

And then we had a discussion that may be helpful to you too.

We talked about cycles, seasons and flow.

You see, we live in a culture that honors action, momentum, productivity, results... the outward, fire-like energy of summer, socializing and taking charge.

Yet, humans are not designed to be in this state at all times. 


Nothing in nature holds this kind of energy non-stop. 

  • Crops grow best when the soil has time to be fallow. 

  • Animals have active times, and resting times. 

  • The moon is not always full.

  • Flowers are not always blooming.

Summer is just one season, one that we can enjoy, and trust in its return. And summer would not be what it is without winter. 

A little story to illustrate what I mean...

In college, I lived in a small Ohio town. Walking to class in a winter storm was brutal (it was literally uphill both ways from my apartment!  It was also downhill both ways, but that’s beside the point). ;)

When spring finally arrived, the collective delight was palpable, people sitting on their porches, soaking up the sunshine, and chatting with neighbors. It was a great time to make new friends, to throw a party, and enjoy that uphill journey to class.

When I moved to sunny central Arizona, I thought maybe this delight would be a year-round thing, but it wasn’t. Without the winter to cocoon, reflect, and imagine the coming of spring, there was nothing unique about beautiful weather. In fact, many people (including me after a few years) rejoiced in storms and cold weather!

So far, it may sound like winter is simply there to help us appreciate other seasons. But it is much more than that.


The winter “lull” contains incredible gifts. It’s a time to reflect, release what is no longer useful, and gain clarity on what is important moving forward.

Of course, right now it is summer, but cycles and seasons within us occur each month, week, and even day. 

Do you ever have a great idea in the shower? Or upon waking? Or while walking, or driving your usual route?  You are experiencing the benefits of that “other shoe drop”! If there had been no lull, such clarity may not have become available.

There’s a wonderful TedTalk on this topic you might enjoy by Manoush Zomorodi here.

Although we can honor the challenges of the “ebb” in “ebb and flow,” it becomes less burdensome when put into perspective, when you remember that it isn’t a permanent state, and that there are gifts to be had within it, even if our society doesn’t celebrate it.

I’d love to know how this lands for you, and how you embrace your inner winter season. Please leave a comment.

To Your Success,


Feeling stressed about traveling? This may help…

Have you ever felt like this?

“I need a vacation after that vacation!”


“Everyone gets to relax except me (aka mom)!”


“I’ll get excited once we leave. I’m too busy getting ready!”

As I prepare to travel, I vacillate between the excitement and the overwhelm.

The overwhelm comes in when I am…

  • Trying to plan every detail, and every supply that we might possibly need. 

  • Taking our family’s every single need as my sole responsibility.

  • Expecting my house to be totally clean when I leave.

  • Worried my business will suffer while I’m away.

And yet, all of these things are simply outdated myths. They are stories I have internalized about where I derive my value.  We’ve been taught that to be valuable is to be productive. 

The reality is that we are inherently valuable, and life is to be enjoyed. The reality is that I can’t prepare for everything. Stepping away from everyday life contains more gifts the more I let go – this is true for my children, my marriage, my home and my business.

Do you feel the truth of that in your bones?  And yet, it can be challenging to live in opposition to the old myth.

I’d like to offer you four tips that my help you have a better vacation experience. (Travel tips tend to add to my overwhelm, but these are designed to relieve it!)

Mom and girl beach.jpg

Travel Tips:

  • Allow for unplanned time. Release the need to plan and prepare for every moment of a trip. It’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen anyway. Leaving some spaciousness in your plans will give you greater opportunity to have new experiences, and feel rejuvenated (rather than depleted) when you get home.

  • Pack light. How many times have you carted around extra items “just in case” that you never used? Give yourself an opportunity to trust that supplies will be available as you need them.  Bring a few essentials, and then enjoy the freedom of less luggage!

  • Experience boredom. Waiting for a plane, train or car? Revel in the opportunity to have nothing to do! Observe the world around you, let your thoughts wander, notice how your body feels, take some nourishing breaths, maybe do some journaling. Our society’s “go, go, go” mentality is quite literally killing us. Why not slow down, and smell the flowers? (This is especially good for kids)

  • Talk to strangers. I’ll admit this one is still difficult for me, as an introvert and, frankly, as a woman. Yet, when I trust my gut about a stranger, and decide it’s safe to connect, miracles usually occur. This is especially true when I’m visiting a place for the first time. Local people (or even other visitors) may mention an activity or destination that I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. They can give directions. And, sometimes, become a new friend!

  • Follow your heart. If you feel a jolt of excitement to do something you hadn’t planned (or to skip something you had planned), go for it! Life is to be enjoyed. Vacation is not meant to be obligation.

I’d love to hear what you might add to this list, and ways you’d like to experience vacation differently this year. Leave a comment below!

PS: Many families in the world right now are not traveling out of choice. Please join me in support of organizations making sure that refugees have what they need.  The International Rescue Committee is one that I support. You can donate here!

AND you won’t want to miss this….

Are you afraid to say this word?

I've been thinking a lot about consent, and the fear of saying "no."

As women, we are taught that consent is the default state. Only if really needed do we remove consent, and there must be a solid explanation for doing it. In other words, our default answer is "yes" unless we absolutely must say "no."

But what if it were the opposite? What if "no" is the default answer unless there was a good reason to say "yes"? I proposed this idea at my retreat last weekend, and it lead to a lengthy, rich discussion.

  • One woman pointed out that children are often shamed for their first word being "no" when in reality it is a vital communication tool.

  • Another noticed that she feels resentment from saying "yes" so often.

  • Another noticed that when men say "no" they are "putting their foot down" and showing their strength; whereas a woman may be seen as too stern, stuck up, or worse.

This is still a growing edge for me. I find myself leaning toward yes without taking the time to consider if my answer truly is yes.

Photo by Tonya Lewis Photography

Photo by Tonya Lewis Photography

Here are a few ways that I've found helpful to support me in saying yes only when I really mean it (I'd love to hear what you'd add to this list!)

  • Pause and take a breath (or 3) before responding. Giving myself a pause interrupts the automatic response so I can feel more into my true answer.

  • If, after the pause, there remains hesitation, I do not say yes. I might say "not now" or give myself more time to decide.

  • When I am not a yes, I say no as soon as possible. I do my best to be lovingly honest, and avoid explaining my no, especially if that explanation puts the responsibility on another person.

For example, if a friend asks me to help redecorate this afternoon, instead of saying "Oh, I wish I could, but my daughter has been really clingy so I need to be with her today." I might say "Thanks for thinking of me, but no, I don't have availability today. Good luck with the project!" This frees us both up. She can invite someone else (no need to try to work around with my excuses), and I can simply spend time with my daughter like I want to.

  • Keep in mind that "No." is a complete sentence. Others' reaction to my "No" is not my responsibility.

  • Practice receiving "No" without judging the person who said it. I find my respect goes up for people in my life who can clearly decline my request without justification. This way, I know that when they say "Yes" they really mean it!

Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, what you might add to this list, or what you feel inspired to implement. Let me know how it goes! Please leave a comment below.

A surprisingly simple method to ride the waves of this season

I was just sitting in a circle of women discussing the “wave” many of us are feeling.  The ebbs and flows of life are often heightened this time of year. Joy. Grief. Inspiration. Doubt. Expansion. Contraction. Sunshine. Rain. Inhale. Exhale.

For me, it’s been the flow of facilitating powerful events, followed by health concerns at home.  When I’m leading a retreat, I’m expanding, and inviting participants into that expansion. When my little ones are hurting, I contract, closing in, protecting home.

There was a time that I would have created a less-than-helpful story about this.  A story like “things can only get so good, and then it’s time for the other shoe to drop.”

But now, although life feels quite full, and some moments stressful, my sense of self goes with the flow.

How? What’s different?

Many things have contributed to my journey.  In the coming months, I’ll be sharing something about each one.

Today, I offer air.

May 17 Blog.jpg

Let’s take a nice, deep breathe right this very moment…. Inhale…. Exhale… Ahhh…

Air is our most basic need. We share the air we breathe with everyone else on the planet, past, present and future.

The wind has the power to clear away, and transform.

Fresh air is healing.

Air is the central element of Spring.

Here are a few ways I’ve been welcoming air into my life:

  • As I write this, I am taking deep breaths along the way. There is expansion and contraction in the writing process.  My breath helps me work with it.

  • I led a retreat last weekend. At just the moment we were putting intentions into the creek nearby, a breeze came through, carrying our wishes.

  • As I sip coffee, I notice my breath rippling across the top of the liquid.

How might you connect with or benefit from air? I’d love to hear your ideas, and how you’re navigating this season of your life! Hop on over to my blog and leave a comment.

PS:  If you’ve wanted to attend one of my retreats, there is a unique opportunity coming up to join in for a full day experience in the beautiful, cool pine forest of Mountainaire, Arizona. (Notice the word “air” in the name of the location. We will enjoy fresh air for sure.)

Note: Most of my retreats are part of an ongoing group experience, so this is a rare drop-in opportunity.

Plus... if you want to make a weekend out of it, the venue has a few spaces for lodging! (Booked separately)

june day retreat-01.jpg

Bumpy Start to the New Year? 4 ways you've been set up for disappointment...

It's a new year! Ahh... the excitement... the pressure... the disappointment...

I was leading a workshop on Saturday all about visioning our lives for 2019.  Part of the dialogue was about the ways the new year sets us up for disappointment. Most obvious are the resolutions we make and quickly break. But why does this happen? It occurs to me that there are 4 main flaws in the usual way of celebrating the New Year. I'd love to know what you think, and what you might add to this list. And, because I believe the new year can be a nourishing experience, I offer alternatives for each flaw...

1. The start of the year comes just as winter begins.
Winter is a season to hibernate. It's a time to cozy up, to reflect by the light of a warm fire, to honor and let go of the previous year.  You're just getting started with this internal time, yet you're asked to be in massive external action to improve your life.

Instead... what if you honored the winter season? You could certainly set intentions for the New Year, but take your time to feel into the pause, leaving ample time (and generous grace) before taking action.

2. Resolutions assume you are broken.
"New Year. New You"  This slogan gets me riled. It assumes that who you are is not right or enough. And if you're not able to reinvent yourself in January, you're a failure. (It's also used to sell you products that promise to "fix" you in some way.)

Instead... "New Year. New Level of Love"  This deepening love begins with love for self, forgiveness of past mistakes and wrongs, and appreciation for your continued growth.

Photo by Tonya Lewis Photography

Photo by Tonya Lewis Photography

3. Resolutions ask you to add to an already full life without support.
A New Years Resolution can feel a lot like this... "You already have a lot of responsibilities, and routines. Without letting any of them go, it's time to add in time at the gym, a new way of eating, and a new way of being!" The worst part? You're expected to accomplish this through will power (aka without support)!

Instead... winter is an ideal time to clear clutter in all it's forms: time, objects, and unreleased emotion. Imagine how it would feel to focus on creating space for what you want to experience next (rather than rushing in). And imagine feeling supported through this process. I believe this would make for a more a meaningful, positive New Year ritual.

4. New Year rituals miss the mark.
Like many holidays, the New Year celebration comes with a sense of obligation... you must stay up late, drink alcohol, and be a new person in the morning!

Instead... what if you welcomed the New Year with stillness, and reflection? What if you allowed the New Year ritual to be nourishing rather than obligatory, to feel inspired about growth (and look forward to more), rather taking on a punishment for being "broken"? 

Photo by Blue Russ at January 2019 workshop

Photo by Blue Russ at January 2019 workshop

If ongoing ritual that lifts you up, and connection with other inspired women is something you'd benefit from this year, there are just 3 spots left in "Life Your Purpose" - let 's hop on the phone to discover if this the right fithttp://blue-russ.genbook.com/
(Learn more about this 3 month experience that includes retreats here)

May your love grow,

5 signs that it may be time to change your career

Inertia.  You know the feeling.  The more you keep doing what you're doing, the more you keep doing what you're doing.

I was trapped by inertia this spring, continuing to identify myself as a health coach because I had been one already for so many years (6 years to be exact).  But it had been at least a year since I was lit up about wellness.  I was no longer reading about nutrition for fun, I was avoiding talking about my work, and found myself recycling old content instead of sharing new, inspired content...  that's when it hit me.  I was experiencing (and resisting!) a career transition.

Funny enough, in my case, I was transitioning to a career... as a Career Transition Coach! Looking around, I realized that all of my clients in the past year had been women feeling stuck in their jobs, seeking a path to more fulfillment.  For each of them, I had combined powerful habit change strategies with job coaching resources from my previous career... full circle!

Blue contemplating at Arcosanti.jpg

Whatever your experience, here are 5 sure fire signs that you too may be embarking on a career transition:

  1. At the end of the day, you feel depleted.
    Tired is different than depleted. Even if you were tired, you used to also feel fulfilled at the end of your work day (or imagined you would). Now the clock seems to slow down, and you're dying to be done with your work day.

  2. You're way more interested in other careers than your own.
    The books and articles you read are unrelated to your work. You're curious about how people got to do really fun or crazy kinds of jobs. You daydream about doing something, anything, but what you're supposed to be doing at work right now. (Like reading this blog post perhaps!)

  3. You avoid talking about your work.
    Whether with current friends, or new people you meet, you dread questions like "What do you do?" or "How are things going at work?"

  4. You easily connect with others around hating work.
    Perhaps you don't mind talking about work with your friends, but only to list and compare complaints.

  5. When you reach a goal or promotion, the excitement is short-lived (or non-existent).
    You finally reach that goal you've been working toward, or that promotion you've been wishing for... and drum roll... nothing. The excitement that should be there isn't. Instead there's a sense of "Is that it?"

It is challenging to change careers.  From bills to pay, a family to feed, fear of what starting over may be like, concern about what others will think, to lack of clarity about what exactly to pursue next (what if you pick the wrong thing?)... there are many reasons we remain stuck in a career we no longer enjoy.

I'll be sharing more tips and tricks I use with my clients in the coming months.  And, if you'd like to chat personally about your situation, hop on my calendar here.  These are my favorite conversations!

In the meantime, please comment below how you know (or knew) it's time for a career change!

Does travel mean an end to healthy habits?

As my family prepares for summer travel, I thought of you. I'm wondering if this sounds familiar...

"I do pretty well at home, but when I travel, it all goes out the window!"

This is one of the things I hear most often from my clients...They're referring to food, physical activity, daily meditation, positive self-talk, and more. I used to feel this way too!

Yes, there is a way in which travel disrupts our usual routine... and it doesn't have to completely derail our efforts to nourish ourselves. What if it could open up even greater opportunity to take great care of you?

This summer, I challenge you to notice what you ARE doing to nourish yourself when you travel.

  • Are you nourishing your sense of adventure?
  • Are you allowing yourself to relax?
  • Are you actually quite physically active - walking, biking, swimming?
Mom and daughter explore the beach


Celebrate all that you are doing right! And, I invite you to consider ways you can bring nourishing habits from home onto the road. Here are few ideas to get you started:

  1. Look into healthy eating options before you leave. Where are the Farmer Markets, and healthy restaurants where you're going?
  2. Bring quality snacks, even if it's packaged. Avoid those starving moments that have a way of driving your car into a drive-thru.

    One of my trip staples is literally the easiest way to consume fresh raw fruits & veggies daily (in a capsule) --  Juice Plus+. They also make a shakes & snack bars that can serve as a meal - they are surprisingly tasty & filling!  All Juice Plus+ products are made without pesticides, herbicides, gluten, dairy or GMO's.  That's why they're my favorite!
  3. Schedule "nothing" time. Be sure to leave time and space to simply relax. It's ok to NOT see and do it all so you can enjoy what you DO see and do more.

Nourishing yourself will give you energy to enjoy your vacation more fully! What would you add to this list? Please leave a comment below with how you will you nourish yourself this summer.

Mother's Day - fresh gift ideas

I have to be honest. Mother's Day disappoints me every year.

I know it's just an arbitrary day to celebrate Moms, and I shouldn't have expectations, but I do. I want the day to be relaxing… I wish all the chores would be done…. the food prepared… and the day planned by anyone but me.... in short, the chance to fully unwind. And I want the same for my mother. Somehow, it hasn't happen that way.

This year, I’m taking a different approach to Mother’s Day, and I invite you to join me.

First, I am asking for what I want!  I may not get it all, but if I don’t ask, I definitely won’t receive.

Second, I’m looking into unique gifts, and am sharing a few below. Take a look. If you’re seeking a gift, I hope you gain some inspiration. If you’re a mother who would love to receive one of these gifts, please share this message to your loved ones. 

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #1

Let her sleep in, and take the kids out for at least 6 hours, leaving her with a clean house.
That's it. That's what she wants. 

Bonus that puts this one over the top of awesome: Arrange for her favorite restaurant to deliver food while you're gone. And chocolate. Definitely chocolate that she doesn't share with anyone.

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #2

Why not give a gift that truly keeps on giving?! 

I love my aeroponic garden so much, and have asked for this gift so often, that I now own 3 of them!  A few highlights:

  • Grow up to 28 plants in a 3 sq ft space
  • Grow indoor, outdoor, on a patio, balcony, school, anywhere!
  • No dirt, no weeding, far fewer pests (easy to grow organic)
  • Uses just 10% of the water of an in-ground garden (water is recirculated)
  • Use any seeds you like!  (No root veggies, but all else is possible)

My friend calls it “Gardening for Dummies” – No, Mama isn’t a dummy, but she doesn’t have time for complicated!

***Learn more, and order online here.  (Or hit reply with questions)

Tip: Set up Mom's new garden for her!  It’s super easy to maintain after that! (my kids take care of mine)

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #3

Give her MAGIC… 

Sign her up for Magical Mother’s Day!

Photo by Grace Marcellino Photography

Photo by Grace Marcellino Photography

I'm delighted to team up with Jennifer Hoeprich (of Moxie Midwifery & Moxie Meditation), and eight of our favorite healers to offer this annual nourishing event..."6 Hours of Awesome" is how Jennifer describes it. And boy will it ever be!!... Massage, reiki, henna organic lunch, sisterhood, guided meditation... by the end of the day, we will be a bunch of blissed out Mamas...

The best part? It’s NOT on Mother’s Day… it’s a week later. So, if Mom is disappointed with how Mother’s Day went, she has this event to look forward to! ;)

Magical Mother’s Day
Saturday, May 19th from 10:00am to 4:00pm
Mesa, AZ
***Check out the full details (and grab one of the final 8 spots) here.

Please add your gift ideas in the comments below!

3 Tips to Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

Perhaps you've been here... trying to be everything to everyone, and then getting frustrated with the people you care about the most for needing too much from you.

This happened to me yesterday morning. At the end of a busy week, I was looking forward to an opportunity to ease into Saturday.  But my plans were disrupted by others' early morning needs -- my cat's need for food, my daughter's need for reassurance from a nightmare, my husband's head cold (can I cover for him at the Community Garden today?), and then a business partner had a last minute request. I found myself overwhelmed, and angry about what felt like a plot to keep me from relaxing. I lashed out at my husband.  "You don't have a fever, you're fine!" I yelled.

And then I caught myself.... I wasn't angry at the people (and cat) I love for needing so much, I was angry at myself for my inability to meet those needs. I also felt helpless in a larger way. So much conflict, action and change is happening right now. How can I contribute to a better world?  None of my actions (calling, marching) feel adequate. It was a perfect storm for those old self-judgements to come up...

"I should be able to handle this."
"I should do more." 
"I should be patient and kind at all times. If I'm not, that means I'm a bad mom."

As one of my mentors would say, I was "shoulding" all over myself!

In the past, I might have continued "shoulding" all day (or week!). But now I recognize mornings like this as a gift. It was a clear reminder to honor my capacity, and to communicate it proactively. I was reminded to prioritize self-care while allowing myself to implement it imperfectly (ie. sometimes morning yoga becomes afternoon yoga when my daughter requests a snuggle). And it reminded me that I have a choice about whether to allow those old self-judgements to control me.

I apologized, took responsibility for my actions, and requested help. My amazing husband made breakfast, while we created a strategy together that would meet everyone's needs. This included him curling up with the kids and the iPad so I could take care of myself.

I wasn't always able to experience a frantic morning as a gift. It's taken a lot of reflection and guidance to come to this place (plus a lot of studying about how the mind and body work!) In case you catch yourself in a similar pattern, I'd love to save you some time by offering you a few key tips...


  1. Name and feel your feelings. 

    Ever try to stop laughing when you have the giggles? Does it make you laugh more or less? It's the same with all emotions - suppressing them makes them stronger. And, as we all know, being in the midst of a tantrum throws reason and quality decision making ability out the window. 

    There is science behind this. For example, UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb shares in his book The Upward Spiral that simply naming the emotion activates the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (the "rational brain"), which reduces the emotional amygdala reactivity. (1)

    What are you feeling? Name it. Write it. Speak it.
  2. Dance, even if you don't feel like it. 

    Once you've called out those emotions, let them move through you! There is a direct link between your brain and body. The brain feels an emotion, which causes the body to react, which contributes to emotion. It's a cycle that can self-perpetuate. Luckily, you can stick a spoke in the wheel... Changing your "motion" literally alters your "emotion." 

    Swedish researchers recently found that adolescent girls who took the dance classes improved their mental health and reported a boost in mood—positive effects that lasted up to eight months after the classes ended. How amazing is that?

    This, by the way, is one thing I did to take care of myself yesterday. I turned up some tunes and danced around my house - my daughter joined in! (I've also done it a few times while writing this!)
  3. Reach out for support.

    Ever felt better about your life after connecting with a close friend who showed you compassion? It's easy to get tripped up expecting to be able to do and handle it all alone. The truth is, we need each other. According to Melanie Greenberg, in her book The Stress-Proof Brain, "research shows that social support is one of the strongest buffers against the negative effects of stress on mental and physical health." (3)

    The key to reaching out is to find those people who believe in you, help you gain perspective, and nudge you to be a better person (vs. put you down, or feed into negativity or gossip).

Interested in more personalized guidance?  Book a chat with me. I'd be honored to help you navigate your best path to more joy, and less overwhelm.

Photo by Grace Marcelino Photography

(1)A neuroscience researcher reveals 4 rituals that will make you happier. Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/a-neuroscience-researcher-reveals-4-rituals-that-will-make-you-a-happier-person-2015-9
(2)The happiness trick you haven't tried. Prevention. http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/dancing-shown-help-boost-happiness-and-mental-health
(3) The Stress-Proof Brain by Melanie Greenberg, PhD. New Harbinger Publications. 2016