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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.

Hi, I'm katherine


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new year, same me

*My Story

Maybe in the next three days I’ll get caught up on 80,000 emails and feel smug and relieved by my birthday! Maybe I’ll write that novel I’ve always thought I’d write! (Yes, in three days.) Maybe suddenly millions of people will miraculously find my books (yup, in 72 hours) and I’ll hit the bestseller lists! Maybe I’ll decide I like to exercise, don’t enjoy wine any more, and positively WANT to go for healthy bracing walks!

Oh magical thinking.

Nothing like a birthday to bewilder one. How did I grow so very middle aged? And yet why don’t I feel like a grown-up? I thought that at some point Feelings Of Adulthood would kick in automatically.

Apparently not.

I use my birthday as my own personal new year, so this coming week I’ll be heading off on a winter solo retreat to ponder this past year and dream up the next one. For an introvert who lives with six other people, these solitary days are like a hot misty pool of comfort and renewal into which I cannot wait to topple.

Still, this year I’m setting off on my retreat with immense gratitude and utter heartache. How is it that I get to go read novels and ponder things alone for three days knowing my family is loved and safe– while other parents are grieving unspeakable tragedy? It isn’t right. Deep down we know it isn’t right, even if we don’t know what to do about it, and that kernel of knowing is an important part of our humanity. It’s what keeps us stubbornly believing in a better world even though we don’t have a lot of proof that we can make one.

The scale of sheer human suffering is so big that my mind and heart don’t even know what to do with it. We weren’t designed to take this much in, they tell us, but excruciating suffering has always been part of human existence. Maybe it’s that we weren’t designed to feel– or act– so helpless when confronted with it. Maybe that’s what is causing us to feel so wild and so despairing.

Some moments I grieve, others I shut down, every day I call my reps, I keep showing up for my work and my people, and on my best days I make a little art about it all. I am refusing to give up hope of a way forward for us messy terrible beautiful humans, on this beautiful hurting planet, in spite of so much evidence to the contrary.

But this past week, I found myself spinning, caught up in total overwhelm + a sense of futility that turned into a paralyzing state of indecision. I literally spun in circles in my room/office, stepping one way then another.

  • Should I work on the poems that seem absurdly privileged and inconsequential in light of the world’s hurts?
  • Should I work on this new idea I have, that’s all of us searching together for moments of Saturated Presence, reminiscent of the ritual I held last week?
  • Should I write a marketing mail about the fact that I’m opening my books soon for next year’s coaching clients? (The panicked business coach in my head is panicked that I am doing anything besides this.)
  • Should I organize my house? Cull our possessions before the holidays? Paint the chipping spots on the floor? Order presents?
  • Or perhaps I should sit and meditate, bring peace to my own mind and heart, which are after all the only thing I have control over.
  • I should probably say something useful and insightful on the internet that also manages not to hurt anyone, which is impossible, plus I don’t have any words all I have is a silent screaming. Pretty sure spraying that on the world isn’t helpful, but maybe neither is silence.
  • Laundry. There’s always, always laundry.
  • Wait– this life is so brief, nothing could be more important than hugging my beloved humans, cupping their soft cheeks in my hands, and gazing adoringly into their eyes. They will love that. Especially the teens.
  • I need to plant bulbs, and call the guy about the dead tree, and oh the holidays–

like that.

I can go around and around, and while I’m spinning, I’m standing utterly still.

It is so easy and terrible to spin instead of doing something, anything. I’m not accomplishing anything, but neither can I sink into rest or meditation or even plain old being when I’m spinning.

So I was writing in my journal, asking what I should do next. Trying to step out of my own paralysis. Trying to get a vision, a direction, instructions.

The answer that came surprised me. It whispered,

Begin where you are.


Where I am was in my room, surrounded by baskets of laundry.

So I folded some.

And thought about the world. And made a little art on Instagram with it.

Begin where I am.

I’m not sure what that means, but I can’t stop thinking about it.

I am in this room, in this home that houses seven people who I adore with all my heart, in this little island community. I am here with these words that bubble up in my heart, these longings that take me out amongst the trees, by the sea. She tells me again and again that she loves us, she loves us all so much.

I’m here with heartbreak and fury and frustration and arguments in my head with imaginary people, here with soccer practices and candles and groceries and tea.

Begin where I am.

After I’ve called my reps and sent my donation to Medecins Sans Frontieres I hit a wall of helplessness. But here– here, right here, there are people I can care for.

My beloveds. My community. My clients. My neighbours.

There is plenty of hurt close to home. Maybe, while not forgetting what is happening far away, I can turn my helplessness into action by caring for what is right in front of me. People, trees, animals, dirt.

Even my own tender heart.

Can I begin, here where no one is watching, to put down my weapons? Can I use civil words even when my children are squabbling? Can I speak a kind and blunt truth to my husband? Can I bite my tongue with my teenagers, who need my presence more than my advice? Can I chat with the lonely neighbour? Can I buy from my local farmers? Can I take my life and turn it into stories that make me feel less alone, and make other people feel less alone too?

If I cannot do these simple things, I can’t imagine I’ll be much use at the bigger things. So they are practice, and they are also my practice.

This is my question for myself, on my birthday:

Can I remember that we are all connected, all across the globe, through the galaxy probably, definitely through the ethers– can I keep my heart wide open and entwined with every strand of the universe but also begin, with my clumsy hands and my feet, right here?

I will try, friend. I will try.

I will begin where I am.

Which is almost 47. Bewildered. Heartsore. Perpetually behind at both email and laundry. But holding onto this life and my hope with both hands.

Birthday Year

Just 7 minutes, because you're absurdly busy. 7 minutes to clear your mind and refresh your spirit. 7 minutes to thank your fierce tender holy sacred tired body. 7 minutes that'll leave you centered, grounded, & clear-- like the epic fucking badass you are.

a free grounding meditation

take 7 minutes for your heart

& come home to yourself

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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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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
traveler to remind you of your own magic.