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I’ve got five kids, I’m a queer feminist, and I just might be the only life coach in the world who doesn’t believe in the Law of Attraction.

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This past weekend I traveled to Kentucky to honor the life and death of my maternal grandmother.

Her family gathered from Tokyo, Seattle, Portland, Florida, and I brought the snow down with me from Alberta (sorry guys!). There were tears, sure, but there was a lot of laughter too— especially recounting some of Grammy’s more colorful phrases, the ones you could hardly believe were coming out of the mouth of such a faithful church-going choir-singing taking-care-of-shut-ins pillar of the community.

Needless to say, those stories were our favorite.

And we played killer rounds of double solitaire each night, because traditions are sacred, slamming down cards and cackling, cracking ourselves up over— well—absolutely nothing and everything.

It’s almost impossible to attend a funeral without pondering what it is that makes up a life. Is it the experiences we have? The people we love? The things we make? What is a legacy, anyway?

It got me thinking, not surprisingly, about what I want to leave my own kids with. Whether I’m doing work that will still matter after I’m gone, and whether I’ll leave behind anything that lasts.

The thing I kept thinking about was how we all touch each other’s lives whether we mean to or not. Just our being, our presence, has an effect on the people around us. The way we live gives permission to others.

This can be a good thing or a bad thing, of course. One surly person saying nasty racist things in a room opens the door for more of that. But when one person lives their life with as much courage and kindness and authenticity as they can muster, it paves the way for more of that, too.

When I think about you, my wonderful readers, I think about how much impact you’re having every single day. You’re all over the world, in different towns and cities, in wildly varied communities and cultures, navigating different paths with different rules and challenges and opportunities.

And it’s easy to forget that all the little, seemingly inconsequential choices you make with your lives can have a huge impact on the people around you.

Your clear boundary shows your kids that they’re allowed to set boundaries too.

Your impassioned speech in the meeting tells the new hire that she’s entitled to have an opinion and share it.

Your red lipstick shows someone it’s all right for her to be both smart and sensual.

Your interpretation of the policy sets the precedent for every person who will come through that office, maybe for decades.

Your divorce whispers that you don’t have to stay miserable your whole life.

Your laughter shouts that joy is possible even after heartbreak.

Your purchase proves that there’s a market for that local sustainable product.

Your comment lets the secretly gay kid know that they are safe and not alone.

Your potluck dish inspires new respect for quinoa.

Who KNOWS the impact you could have?

The funny thing is that sometimes I think that we affect people even more when we’re not doing the “important things” that feel like our big work. Which makes sense, because most of us are only doing our “big work” for a small portion of our hours and days, and we spend a lot of our time just going about our business, living our lives.

I spend a fair amount of time feeling worried that I’m not doing ENOUGH, I’m not doing things that are BIG enough, blah blah blah, and I bet you do too, because that’s the kind of engaged caring passionate overachieving humans that you are.

But this week what if we just focused on living our lives with as much kindness, grace, and integrity as we can bring to them? What if we try to be the biggest versions of ourselves right down in the tiny details of life? My hunch is that if we keep doing that, the big things will show up and take care of themselves. Like all those little choices are building our integrity+courage+kindness+joy muscles in us so we’re ready for the bigger leaps when it’s time.

I’m taking my kids to the movies this weekend, and we’ll read stories and play cards, and I’ll tell them stories about my Grammy and try to get as many vegetables into them as I can, and maybe somewhere in there we’ll make a mess with glue sticks and feathers and stickers. And I’m going to try to remember that it all matters— and you remember that too, okay?

much love, 


March 16, 2018

What I learned from Grammy


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I write things for women with big, gorgeous, COMPLICATED lives. I help women become epic fucking badasses… but I still retain my right to cry at every diaper commercial ever made.

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Sustenance for the journey -- notes from a fellow
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