“The mystery lies in the use of language to express human life.” – Eudora Welty
I’ve been a hair stylist, yoga teacher, studio owner, newspaper columnist (old-school blogging), a nutrition coach, and a full time mother. I served rum runners on the beaches of Key West. I lived in a 1972 VW pop-top camper van for half a year. I think the fact that there is a digested wasp in every fig is beautifully brutal. I still engage in the occasional romantic affair with my angst. Luckily, it doesn’t take me as long to cut it out. I have outsourced a ton of my remaining memory to the cloud. I publish things all over the place. The book will be out soon. I promise to tell you when. I defend video games as a parenting practice. I’m obsessed with the way light occupies space. I have friends who are so mind blowing I sometimes feel like I need to wear a helmet to happy hour. I’m still afraid of being alone.
I am intuitive and ambitious with a healthy dose of cynicism. I crack jokes about artisanal woo, but secretly I love that shit. Because it works.
I like you already.
I am one of those life-long-love-affair-with-words kinds of people.
You may be as well. Birds of a feather and all that.
People like Steinbeck, Dostoyevsky and Garcia Marquez, Arundhati Roy, Junot Diaz, and Rushdie taught me the power of narrative. I learned how the consumed words of others might go to work inside of me, articulating untamed things as if they were my words all along.
I learned the generous nature of language, stripped and true and freely offered.
Learning to tell my own story was mad sweat and blood, a gradual opening and unfolding, divulging, unclouding, cobbling, retreating, and retrying. Also it was, without question, the most liberating practice I’ve shown up for.
The results of this work restructured my entire foundation, lent stability to my relationships and allowed me the opportunity to stop spinning and start serving. My predilection for adventure became a need for stability and transparency. My cavalier disregard of convention and the law, grew into a deep respect for efficacy and social justice. I developed a clear understanding of how to make a soul connection with others.
Fortunately, my gallows sense of humor has remained.
Among other things, I’ve chosen to be open about the two years I spent in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute ecstasy. At first that was out of necessity more than bravery or foresight. I did it to protect my clients from confusion, to maintain control of my story, to defy stigma and, most importantly, create a life for my son that doesn’t include shame.
That’s what owning your life does. It separates it, and you, from shame.
When you own your life, you share life. When you share it clearly, it can separate others from their shame.
Ditching shame means we can stop asking the world to take care of us and be in service to the world. You want this, right? Of course you do. I want it for you too.
Finding peace with the dark stuff connects us to a level of humanity that can’t be fabricated. It makes us unique in our field–and accessible to clients. It clarifies our intentions and brings the exact right clients our way.
And it turns out I’m really, really good at wrangling the stories, transforming them into lyrical tools.
Eventually, more people were contacting me with their heavy, hard-to-talk-about pieces, ready for reform. The truth is, everyone has these truths they hold close to their chests. Truths, that in better frames, better lighting, can vastly liberate and empower their lives and projects.
It’s possible to move from judgement, through curiosity and into grace.
So, I started teaching people how to tell their lives, not as a grief story with moments of love, but as love story, with the inevitable moments of grief.
Now I write, teach classes, speak publicly and work privately with writers, influencers and entrepreneurs all over the world. In addition, through Defy Ventures in NYC, I teach ex-cons how to transform their hustle into straight businesses by telling their story in a way that engenders compassion and support, rather than judgment and fear.
It’s a funny thing about us as humans that tenderness, the humor and the humanness, is the first thing we want to see in others and the last thing we want to show them in ourselves. Skillfully allocating your tenderness with thoughtful, directed intention will always sow the seeds of deep unity. If you are in the business of educating and uplifting, it will initiate persuasion.
The skills can feel elusive, sometimes esoteric. Sometimes they are wildly fundamental. We have access to all of them.
- Strong bodies and minds.
- The ability to set, and keep, intention.
- Trust in self and others.
- Connection with core motivations, not “shoulds” or rhetoric.
- Thoughtful presentation.
- The subtle art of not being an asshole.
Through high-level health practices for powerful presence and cognitive coaching to tap and release the vein of your most powerful stories — the ones that will immediately vibrate on the same frequency as your audience’s readiness — I help game-changers be their most magnetic.
Game changers like you.