It Didn’t Seem Like Much At The Time

It didn’t seem like much at the time.

I saw a flyer taped to a light pole on 19th and Castro in San Francisco. It said something about a forum on same-sex marriage. It was 1999. I’ve always been politically aware and involved and told my then wife, Molly, of my intention to attend. She had guests visiting from out of town, her ex-girlfriend, had come to stay with us and brought her current girlfriend.

Molly dropped me off at the Harvey Milk school in the Castro and they went off to brunch. I walked in, backpack slung over my shoulder, and took a seat in the 7th grade classroom.

There were a handful of guys, two of them were school teachers, Tom Henning and Brian Davis. Tom spoke about getting signatures for a pro-marriage equality ballot initiative which was interesting because Senator Pete Knight had created a ballot initiative to pass a law taking away same-sex marriage rights should same-sex marriage be legalized in any other state.

I picked up some literature and a few copies of the petition for people to sign and we walked to the corner of 19th and Castro with an ironing board and officially started signature gathering for same-sex marriage. No one was particularly interested in signing the petition. Two hours later Molly picked me up.

“How was it?” she asked.
“Interesting,” I said, always my standard reply. “I’m going to start gathering signatures.”

I’m sure her ivory tower ex-girlfriend made some remark about the patriarchal institution of marriage. I didn’t care. I knew real rights for real people trumped academic deconstructionism.

It didn’t seem like much at the time, but going to that meeting was the catalyst for becoming a pioneer in the marriage equality movement. That meeting was followed by years of personally engaging in signature gathering, marriage equality conversations with thousands of people, public forums, marriage license counter requests, demonstrations, a marriage equality bus tour across the U.S., a marriage equality rally at the U.S. Capitol, two published books Why you should give a damn about gay marriage and Love Warriors, multiple documentaries, countless radio, TV, and news interviews, and 16 years later marriage equality across the country in June 2015. One meeting can change the course of your life. Following one intuitive hunch can launch a thousand steps in your life. Following your heart can take you places you never dreamed of going.

What is one thing you’ve felt a calling to do? Follow your calling! Follow your courageous heart

My Weird Miracle

My Weird Miracle

Last month I was invited to speak to the National Association of Bar Executives at the American Bar Association Conference in San Francisco on the topic of LGBTQ Diversity.  I was a little harried when I arrived the night before because my flight was cancelled at the last minute and I had to change airports and arrival time. I checked into the Hilton, stopped by the gift shop for some chocolate around 7pm and debated whether to review my presentation before or after dinner.

I decided I would feel more enthused after dinner. So, I left my luggage and laptop bag in my room and ventured out for food. I stopped at an Indian restaurant that had photos of Bill Clinton with the owner. Apparently this was a favorite haunt of he and Hillary’s pre-White House. I enjoyed my meal and then returned to the hotel at 8:00 PM.

When I got back to my room my laptop bag was missing. I looked everywhere and found it nowhere. I remembered having it on the BART; surely I didn’t leave it there. The lobby, perhaps I’d left it upon check in, though I swear I’d taken it to the room.

I raced to the reception desk. “I think I may have left a laptop bag here about an hour ago.” I told the receptionist who phoned security. Security came and asked me to describe the bag. “Yes, we found a black bag with a computer. We’ll bring it up, “ he said. I sat and waited in the lobby for 15 minutes until they arrived with the bag. My heart sank when I saw that it wasn’t mine. I filed a report, and then made some tearful phone calls.

I believe in the power of prayer/focused positive energy to effect change.

I posted a request on FB for prayers that my laptop bag return to me. I believe in the power of prayer/ focused positive energy to effect change. I also got a return call from the Agape Prayer Line and asked for prayer.

I mentally retraced my steps. I asked the young man working in the gift shop if he’d remembered seeing my bag. He said, “Yes, you had it balanced atop your suitcase.”

“Thank you, “ I said, confirming that I indeed had it when I arrived and checked into my room. I remembered that someone was vacuuming in the room next to mine and I contacted security to give them the additional information. Then, I went back to my room and tried to manage my anxiety.

I’m a writer. Everything is on my laptop; screenplays, books I’m working on, presentations. I do back everything up on an external hard drive, but it had been at least 6 months since I’d done that. A lot can happen in six months. What was worse, is that I always keep a zip drive at home with my most recent drafts of my work, and it just so happened that I’d put the thumb drive in my bag because I’d printed copies of a screenplay I’m working on for my writer’s group. I was beginning to question my karma and clearly questioning what I’d been thinking to manifest such unfortunate circumstances.

I had to take a hard look at my thoughts.

Some good things were on my horizon that required me to stretch and come out of hiding. I realized that this opportunity for growth was triggering me. What better way to stay small than to lose my proverbial voice—my writing, books I’ve been working on for years?

I did some powerful work on myself, including calling my own coach to explore this possible karmic self-sabotage. I realized there was some grief that needed to be expressed.

Every time we grow and embrace something new, we let go of something else, even if it’s a lesser version of ourselves.

I had some tears to shed that had to with past losses, fear of change and losing control, which ultimately meant letting go and letting the Universe support me. I also had to surrender and trust that the Universe had a plan for me and that if I was meant to release my computer it would work out. At the same time, I kept holding the return of my computer in my mind. I worked to tap into the feeling tone of my computer coming back to me.

One of my friend’s texted me and told me she’d lost a whole draft of her book and had to re-write from scratch which she did and it’s now a widely successful book. Another friend contacted me and told me what I needed to do for my computer’s security and how to handle the situation with the hotel. She’d been through this before and said it was common.

I called my girlfriend and we talked and I shared with her some of the things that had been coming up for me that I hadn’t yet shared with her. We had a very rich conversation and while we were talking I heard a knock on the door.

At 11:30 PM I opened the door and the security guys were standing there with my laptop bag. I broke into tears of joy and thanked them. I was so relieved!

I looked inside. Everything was there, including my journal and the thumb drive.

“Have you taken any medication today?” They asked me.

I looked at them and laughed. “No,” I said, “Why do you ask?”

“Are you sure you weren’t in Tower 1?”

“No,” I said, and reviewed for them exactly where I’d gone in the hotel since I arrived. They told me they found my laptop on the 10th floor of Tower I. They looked at me perplexed.

I don’t know how my computer got there or who took it from my room. At one point I was told they had cameras and that they would check them. Then later I was told that they were no cameras. I don’t know what’s true in regard to their security procedures. It’s probable that it was an inside job.

What I do know is that miracle consciousness and prayer work.

I believe in the positive energy of all my friends on Facebook holding the return of my computer in prayer and I believe in the power of miracles consciousness. Thanks to all who sent their positive energy my way. I hope we can all continue to reach out in times of challenge and send one another loving thoughts. Focused positive intention is powerful Our love is powerful!

Below is a picture of my beloved computer.


Just Keep Swimming!

In September 2000, I attended Tony Robbins’ Life Mastery Workshop in Hawaii. I climbed the 40 foot tall pole, gathered up my courage and my legs and stood straight up on the top of the pole. I had a moment to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the ocean before diving head first toward the swinging trapeze bar which hung six feet in front of me. It was exhilarating to say the least.

I also really wanted swim the half mile across the lagoon with Tony, but I was late and everyone was gone when I arrived. I looked at the murky water, jumped in, and began swimming across the lagoon. Gung ho!

About halfway across, I freaked out. The water was dark, my arms were getting tired and I was alone in the lagoon. The original adrenaline rush I’d had when I plunged in was gone and the shore seemed a long, long way off. I’d never swum this length before and was unprepared for the onslaught of panic that filled me. I began thinking about how people drown, not because they can’t swim, but because they freak out. Here I was in deep waters, freaking out. I had to get control of my mind and start focusing on getting my limbs moving forward. I just kept telling myself “just focus on what’s in front of you.” Little by little, I got myself across the lagoon and on to dry land. What a relief!

Not one to let an experience go by, I began to examine what had happened.

When we begin something new, like Frodo and the others preparing for their journey in Lord of the Ringscourage3, we are excited and optimistic. We may be nervous too, but there’s a sort of bravado and naiveté about what we will meet on the path. In the beginning we are fueled by adrenaline and by the novelty of our new adventure. But once we’ve said goodbye and left the Shire or dry land, and have begun our proverbial journey, we begin to meet with obstacles and adversaries that attempt to thwart, even destroy us, our creative projects/business endeavors/missions.

Sometimes those adversaries are external and come in the form of naysayers, family or friends who deem us foolish, or rejections from agents, publishers, art critics, lending institutions, etc. Sometimes they come in the form of sirens, those people who distract us from our purpose, and sometimes those adversaries are our own inner demons that come out and scare the hell out of us.

Yes, our own inner demons that tell us we’re not going to make it, that we are failures, or that we should just give up. Those internal critics challenge our audacity to think that we could ever be successful musicians, artists, actors, writers, entrepreneurs, healers, parents, etc. Often times these demons come out when we have left the comforts of shore or the shire, when we have made major decisions, and have gone too far to turn back. These inner or outer voices of doom and gloom can absolutely paralyze us, cut us off at our knees, and keep us from moving forward.

This is the time where we’ve got to turn to faith, to trust the process even more, and especially in the absence of proof or evidence. We must muster a deeper inner knowing that we are totally guided and totally supported by this friendly Universe that doesn’t want us to sink. The Universe wants us to continue reaching for our dreams, to continue to move forward. We must trust that we will reach the shore, that we will realize our dreams as long as we keep dreaming them and keep moving towards them.

This is not an easy process! There’s a saying in Alcoholics Anonymous, “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle.” There’s another saying, “It’s always darkest, before the dawn.”

Don’t lost faith. Don’t give up on your journey of the courageous heart. Trust in the perfect unfolding of your life, knowing that when you choose to follow your heart, to listen to your inner calling, you will step into the divine flow, get your miracle, and the sun will rise and shine on your life again.


The Language of Love and Spiritual Partnership

DavinaKotulski2015-0388_WebRelationships, sometimes we live with them, sometimes we live without them.

We don’t just want a relationship; we want a happy one, a healthy one. We want to feel loved, understood, and cared for and we want our partner to feel loved, understood and cared for. Unfortunately our intention to be good at something doesn’t translate to skill, if it did, a lot of us would be rock stars and rappers, triple lutzers and amazing dancers, and I would personally speak Italian, Spanish, and about three other languages fluently. If we want our intentions to translate to real skill, to effective communication, then we must actually study what improves communication in relationships and then do our homework.

I know I’m starting to get tangential here, so I’m going to bring it back to my point. Couples and individuals come to me all the time for counseling or coaching because their relationships are falling apart and neither partner feels loved or appreciated.  Some of these relationships may truly be dead on the vine for various reasons and remaining in the relationship may not serve the highest good of one or both of the partners, which I will discuss more below. However, some relationships can come back to life with a major love infusion and some ground rules for communication.


When couples work with me I ask them to get at least one copy of the book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by psychologist John Gottman. I love this book because it outlines right away the communication styles that couples can choose to engage in that will show respect for their spouse/partner and those communication styles that must be changed or the relationship is doomed to fail.

Years ago I wrote about the 4 Horsemen of the Relationship Apocalypse that Gottman discusses in his book when my own marriage was on the rocks. While that marriage ultimately did not last, my former spouse and me found the book extremely useful and we were able to significantly improve our communication with one another, which gave us several more years to grow together. For other individuals, improved respect and communication may be just what they need to facilitate a conscious uncoupling, which is it’s own form of success in the case of divorce or dissolution.


Recently I picked up a copy of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Chapman identifies 5 ways people feel loved and communicate love. Each one of us has a primary love language or way we feel most loved by our sweethearts or spouses. When our partners speak our primary love language to us and we speak theirs to them everyone wins! In his words, our love tanks are filled.

The Five Love Languages are:5-love-languages

1. Quality Time

2. Acts of Service

3. Physical Touch

4. Gift Giving

5. Words of Affirmation

Chapman’s book gives several case examples of how common it is for a spouse to communicate their love in one language, but not in the language that the other spouse feels the most loved, which often leaves both partners feeling unappreciated. Of course we don’t just want our lovers to speak one dialect. It’s most romantic when our lovers speak several or all of the love languages to us at some time. Likewise if we want to be fluent in the language of love the more dialects we speak to our lovers the more appreciated they will feel. Chapman includes a quiz in the book to help you identify what your primary love language is and explains how to speak all five.

I’m now recommending this book to all of my clients in relationships, even the same-sex couples I work with, though unfortunately the book never mentions same-sex couples and much to my annoyance uses the clinical term “sexual intercourse” instead of just saying “sex” or “love-making” revealing the author’s conservative background and quite possibly a propensity to be limited to the missionary position. Okay, enough about that.


To be clear, not all relationships will last until death do us part, nor should they.  Some relationships will spring back to life or get out of the marital rapids with improved communication skills and filled love tanks. Yeah for those couples that are willing to do the work, have a new skill set and do ride off into the sunset and live happily-ever-after. Other individuals may have fulfilled their spiritual contracts with one another and find that it’s time to make a new covenant so to speak. This is especially true for conscious people on the spiritual path whose commitment to their spiritual growth and their relationship with God takes precedence over all other commitments. Yes, there are quite a few of us odd ducks out there.

Gary Zukav’s book Spiritual PartnershipThe Seat of the Soul and his book Spiritual Partnership both discuss the importance of being true to one’s spiritual path and explores the notion that some marriages are also spiritual partnerships, while others are not. Some marriages may begin that way but relationship dynamics can change. Additionally, as individuals wake up spiritually they may realize that the marriage is not in alignment with their spiritual growth and unfoldment. For individuals who are on the spiritual path it is better to dissolve a marriage/relationship that stymies one or both partner’s spiritual growth and development, rather than remain in that marriage/relationship if the partners cannot shift the dynamics.

This is not an easy thing to hear and some people might disagree and argue that people should stay married no matter what. Certainly if that’s in alignment with one’s spiritual belief system and their spouse’s beliefs than I would encourage that couple to get lots of support to find a way to make it work. However, if we’re talking about someone putting their belief system on another person’s relationship I would kindly say, “mind your own business.” We can never know what another person’s destiny is, their spiritual path and contracts, or what Spirit has in mind for them. I would invite that judgmental busybody to keep her/his limited human mind and opinions to themselves.


For those individuals who find themselves at odds with their own value system with regard to their marriage and spiritual path, or really afraid of being judged by being true to themselves by releasing a marriage or relationship that no longer supports their health, well-being, and spiritual growth, I would quote Shakespeare to them “To Thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

I would also advise them to surround themselves with supportive friends and get professional support like a life coach, therapist or spiritual counselor, someone who can help empower them in consciously moving forward in a way that is loving to themselves and to the partner they are uncoupling with.  There are many great resources out there for couples or individuals who want to mindfully/consciously uncouple.

For those of you who are not in a relationship right now but want one or want to find ways to feel loved now or attract more love into your life, Chapman has a book called The 5 Love Languages for Singles and you can also pick up Arielle Ford’s book The Soul Mate Secret about how to clean up the past to make room for your beloved.

If you feel like a relationship is the last thing in the world you want or if you want to be a better lover of yourself (Yeah Baby!)–Check out the transformational book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant. It’s really a great little book about self-love and self-acceptance. It’s really true, you’ve gotta love yourself first.

And speaking of love, have I told you lately how much I love and appreciate you for all the ways you show your love and support to me. When I have my down days, I feel into you my powerful network of friends, clients, students, readers, collaborators, and colleagues who I get to share this journey with. Thank you!!!!

Wishing you all a love-filled, joy-filled 2016!





Happy Summer Solstice! My California Summer Adventure

This is a powerful time to step into the light and out of the shadows. This is a perfect time for play, joy, personal transformation and self-love.

I love the summer. For me it’s a time to get out of my routine and connect with nature. I love to go to the beach, take hikes, go camping, and enjoy being alive.

That was not always the case. There were times in my life where my schedule belonged to everyone else. Those times were heartbreaking.  Literally, I felt my heart breaking because I was not being true to myself.

I don’t live that way anymore. Now, I follow my heart and let the Universe support me. It sounds corny. I know it does. It sounds corny to me too, yet it’s such a powerful and satisfying way to live.

Lao Tzu the ancient Chinese mystic who preceded Jesus and Buddha talked about The Way living life in harmony with nature and following the heart’s guidance. It’s called the Tao Te Ching. My mentor, Wayne Dyer, talks about the Tao in his book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.

Another way I understand this is that I am walking the path of the mystic. Walking the path of the mystic means that I am willing to get still and listen to my inner guidance. It means meditation is a part of my daily life to clear the clutter of the world from my brain. It means that I get to let everyone else’s ideas of what my life should look like go. I get to be free!

As you know, we’re constantly getting bombarded with other people’s agendas for us. We’re brainwashed on what to eat, what to buy, what soap to use, how to view our bodies, and more.  By tapping into our inner voice we can begin to get into the flow of life, into our natural, organic self-expression. When I do this my life is exponentially more satisfying. I am living more authentically, authoring my own life.

Walking the path of the mystic also means being in the present moment and allowing our actions to be directed from a place of centered, grounded inner knowing. I always make better choices from this place and my life works together in perfect synchronicity when I do. I get to trust that what I need will be there for me every day, rather than spending time worrying about the future or the past. It also means prioritizing my self-care, something we really lack in this fast paced, low touch, high tech world.

If this appeals to you I invite you to check out my upcoming speaking events and the LIVE workshops I’m co-facilitating with Dr. Rev. Joan Steadman, former Spiritual Leader of the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living.

Davina’s California Summer Speaking Events and Live Workshops:

Celebrating Our Diversity -LGBT Diversity Program

USP Atwater Atwater, CA

Friday June 25th, 2:00 PM


Meditation in the Salt Cave

The Salt Studio in Pasadena, CA

Sunday July 18th, 6:00 PM

Reserve your spot online:


Past Life Group Regression Session

Salt Studio-Pasadena

Monday July 27th, 7:00 PM

Reserve your spot online:


Tapping into You Inner Knowing!

The Launching Pad, Berkeley, CA

Friday July 31st, 7:00 PM


A Day of Self-Love: Honoring the Human and Divine Workshop

Oakland, CA

Saturday August 1st, 9:30-4:00 PM

More info below.


Metaphysics and Mysticism

Unity Ukiah,

Sunday August 2nd, 9: 30 AM

Walking the Path of the Mystic: Awaken Your Inner Mystic Workshop

Unity Ukiah,

August 2nd, 12: 30 PM-3:30 PM


Have a wonderful summer!

Much love to you,



A Day of Self-Love: Honoring the Human and Divine Workshop 
Treat yourself to a day of self-honoring exercises, visioning, meditation, fun and connection!
We have an exciting day lined up for you!
Join Rev. Joan Steadman and Dr. Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Author and Life Coach for a day honoring mind/body/spirit.
  • Davina will lead a group past life regression.
  •  Rev. Joan will lead self-care and self-honoring exercises.
  •  We will meditate, do a visioning for your spiritual unfoldment, and discuss any current twists and turns on your spiritual path.
  •  You will have a wonder-filled day of delving deeper into you!

Click here to register now for Early Bird Special!

Early Bird Special Ends July 15th–Limited Space-Register Now!









Walking the Path of the Mystic: Awaken Your Inner Mystic Workshop 
Join Dr. Rev. Joan Steadman and Dr. Davina Kotulski for a 3 hour mystical workshop where you will: * Tap into your Divine knowing and learn how to awaken your inner mystic.
* Access the inner wisdom that guides us in our spiritual transformation.
*Explore the laws of manifestation from the metaphysical and the mystical perspectives.
–Early Bird Special $35
–Price $50 at the door.
Early Bird Special Ends July 16th–Limited Space-Register Now!
Davina Kotulski

Have you had an NDE? A not-doing-enough experience!

“I just feel like I’m not doing enough.”

These are words I often hear from my coaching clients, usually the ones who are doing a lot (raising great kids, running their own businesses, involved in wonderful creative projects, volunteering and being of service, having incredible successes at work). Somehow there’s a disconnect between their amazing accomplishments and their sense of worthiness and awesomeness.

Only this time it wasn’t a client saying these things. To my horror, the words we’re coming out of my mouth! I was having an NDE- a Not-Doing-Enough experience! I was bemoaning my sense of lack of accomplishment to a colleague of mine. It’s a good thing it was a phone call, because she might have pimp-slapped me if we were in person. There I was stuck in old-paradigm thinking. It really had a hold on me.

Ever had an NDE_

I was annoyed with myself! I know better and she knew I knew better. Quantity is not quality. We live in a quantum field where things happen exponentially, not linearly. And more than that, I know that my worthiness is not equivalent to my busy-ness. I know that that B.S. (belief system) is a conditioned belief of the capitalist culture I was born into. It’s an ugly by-product of free market thinking. Yuck!

Still there I was, stuck in the muck of not enough-ness thinking. Not to mention that even if I used that old paradigm thinking and the old school formula I could prove it was total crap. If I did the math, so to speak, I could rationally conclude that I was doing great. I’d just booked four new creative and talented clients whose goals and projects I am totally delighted to support and who are already sharing with me how empowering the coaching or counseling sessions are for them. I had also just started co-leading a spiritual workshop with my mentor. Heck, even a year ago I would have been thrilled just to be in a class of this type with my mentor, let alone getting paid to work collaboratively with my mentor, co-leading a fantastic class where I get to connect and support a diverse group of men and women across the country who are committed to walking their spiritual path. Yes, I was also experiencing HIBS! Hole-in-the-bucket syndrome. Ever had that?

It’s a horrible syndrome where all your good leaks out a hole of not-enoughness in your bucket. Total absurdity!

My friend asked me if I saw her and our colleagues as “lazy” or “not doing enough.”

“Not at all,” I said, realizing I had a nasty double-standard for myself and showing again that we often are the hardest on ourselves. I had slipped and fallen into that old paradigm of feeling I needed to justify my worthiness with busy-ness! Doh!

And the silliest thing was that it was brought on by having an extra day off where I didn’t have to do anything or be anywhere for a few hours. I had free time to read, write, go for a walk, or sip a cup of coffee at a café. I had spent years working 60 plus hour work weeks and I’ve designed a life where I never have to do that again  and yet, some part of me couldn’t handle the luxury I had created for myself. The free time had evoked a feeling of free-floating anxiety. I was living the dream and I had to undercut my joy by making myself wrong. It was suddenly clear that I still had to work to unlink busy-ness with worthiness. Darn it!

Perhaps you are still under the influence of this stinking thinking too and want/need to clear this old paradigm thinking so you can experience more joy and fulfillment in your life. (Reminds me of my friend and colleague, Suzanne Falter-Barnes’ book, How much joy can you stand?)

If you suffer from NDE and HIBS let me remind you as I remind myself. I am inherently worthy. You are inherently worthy! Your worth is not linked to how many appointments you have in your calendar, your net worth, the number of FB friends or fans you have, the number of books you’ve written, published, or sold, the number of IMDB credits you have or scripts you’ve sold, the number of sales you’ve made, your twitter or Instagram followers, how pinteresting you are, the # of houses you own, the # on your scale, how tight your abs or gluts are, how many marathons you’ve run, how many letters or degrees you have after your name, the number of golden globes or awards you’ve won, or even your kids GPA, etc. etc.

We are worthy! As is! Our lives matter! We don’t have to be better than. We don’t have to prove anything. That’s a hell of a trap! We don’t have to be good or good enough. We simply are!

Yes, we are bombarded with commercials and other messages that would make us think we stink and need fixing, but the truth is we don’t. We are perfect, whole, Divine beings and we don’t need to buy into race consciousness or consumer manipulated notions of lack and limitation. We don’t need to succumb to the ego mind that tells us we are not enough so that we will go outside ourselves to try to fill the insatiable empty ghost with food, booze, sex, relationships, drugs, pharmaceuticals, shopping sprees and other addictive, thrill-seeking behaviors, or even the socially acceptable workaholism.

As George Clooney told the applauding audience as he received his award, “you may as well stop clapping, it will never be enough.” Truer words were never spoken. When we are hooked into our worth coming from the outside it will never be enough.

So, today I recognize and remind myself that I am inherently worthy, nothing to do, nothing to be, nothing to prove, nothing to strive for. I AM and that is more than enough.

#Loveyourself #Iamworthy #Nothingtoprove #Courageousheart

It’s never too late to say “Thank you!”

It’s never too late to say “Thank you!”

After going through a rough patch in my life I remember getting a LinkedIn message from out of the blue from a guy who worked at my graduate school. He wanted me to know that some actions I had taken on his behalf 15 years ago had really helped him through a tough time and he wanted to thank me. To say the least, I was stunned. First because I’d forgotten all about it, secondly because I thought that was so sweet that he reached out to me 15 years later, and thirdly because I was getting the feedback that I what I had done mattered. It was a really beautiful gift on so many levels.

This week I began thinking about the people who made a difference in my life.  For example, two and a half years ago I need help moving and several wonderful people took time to help me load boxes into the U-Haul and carry heavy furniture, nothing fun about that. I was so grateful for their help. In fact, I still feel grateful that they gave of their time and came to my rescue.  I decided to send them all notes of gratitude. I wanted them to know how much their generosity was appreciated.

It’s never too late to say “thank you.” There is no such thing as being too appreciative or too grateful.

Today as you reflect on your life and all that you are grateful, consider making a list of the people who you are grateful for, the people who have made a positive difference in your life be it the barista who remembers your name, the neighbors who pick up your mail when you are away from home, your friends who cheer you on, your co-workers who agree to switch shifts or lock up late so you can go on that date or get home early to be with your family. Today remember the people who have blessed your life in big and small ways and if possible, tell them, share your appreciation. You can send them a card or just a quick e-mail or text. Not only with this make their day, it will make yours.  Remember “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”

Onward and Upward in Gratitude

What Ellen Means to Me.

Ellen-DeGeneres2What Ellen Means to Me

I remember exactly where I was the day Ellen’s “Puppy Episode” aired, that was the episode when Ellen’s character announced “I’m gay.” It was May 1997 and l was in Aurora Colorado at a Department of Justice hostage negotiation training and I watched from my hotel room. I was so proud of Ellen’s coming out.

One year previously, I had come out in my government job interview. “Applicant states she is a homosexual.” The report read. “Confirmed with applicant’s current employer and landlord that applicant is an out homosexual.” This was important because it meant my homosexuality could not be used to blackmail me. Even though they could still choose not to hire me because I was gay, I was and am out and proud and had nothing to hide.

So Ellen’s coming out meant a lot to me. It was clean and clear and courageous! I personally though the show got even better when we got to watch Ellen with her TV girlfriend. But the network didn’t and they started posting parental advisory warnings. Then they cancelled the show and now one wanted to touch her. As her character said in one of the last episodes “Now instead of not having sex with men, I’m not having sex with women.” She’d become a television leper.

Shortly thereafter her relationship with Anne Heche ended and Anne quickly married and had a child with a man. My heart went out to Ellen. I knew she’d done the right thing by coming out and being courageous and yet it seemed like after she did her world fell apart.

Years later, in September 2001, I read an Advocate interview with her where she talked about the break up and all the ways she struggled with having her show canceled. She talked about how she dealt with her depression and how Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” helped her. She said that after you’ve gone through a hard time then when “the next bad thing that happens you know you can deal with it.”  She also talked about the importance of working out, writing about your feelings, and not giving up. “If you don’t push yourself than you just give up.” She said. It was Ellen’s endorsement of Tolle’s “The Power of Now” that got me to pick up the book and I too found it transformative.

In the interview she also talked about her variety show. She’d filmed it and then decided to do a sitcom instead and pulled it which I thought was smart. I thought the idea of a variety show was totally weird. Ellen interviewing musicians and other celebrity guests, sounded boring to me. In the interview she said “I think everybody thinks that the network changed their mind about the variety show. It wasn’t them. It was me. It was a hard sell to get somebody to decide to put money into a variety show-a show that hasn’t worked in a long, long time. And people have tried. I had to convince them that I could do it and that it would be great. My idea for it was the old-fashioned Carol Burnett. A show that was funny just for the sake of being funny. It was not mean-spirited. But the problem was that after we tried it, we started realizing that the time the Carol Burnett show was on, there weren’t all these other shows to compete with, all these other channels. And I didn’t know how to make it different, you know, I was just looking at it and thinking, a weekly variety show is going to be really hard.”

I remember agreeing with her when I read this almost 13 years ago. It seemed silly and highly likely to fail. Well, the rest is history. Her sitcom didn’t last long and the variety show soared. Her career exploded in unimaginable ways. Everyone knows her. Even as I write this, the older Latino couple I’m chatting with told me that Ellen inspired them because of how she dealt with her break up with Anne Heche and her perseverance and humor. She gets to dance with straight women on her show, who I’m sure have a little Ellen crush and she’s married to a gorgeous actress, Portia De Rossi. Ellen gets to make people laugh for a living. She gets to showcase good deeds and interview celebrities. As he said on one interview, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, enough already!”

We all go through challenges in life. Times where our lives fall apart, where the things we’ve been working on just don’t seem to come together, times of heartbreak and sadness. Times that seem filled with unending loss and disappointment. When I’m having one of those moments or one of my clients is, I think about Ellen and her amazing comeback. Ellen is an amazing LGBT role model and she is a role model of courage for all of us of how to get back up again when life has knocked you down and keep moving toward the horizon of your dreams. And that’s what Ellen means to me.

September 2001 Advocate Interview with Ellen

The Joys of Travel!

When is your next vacation?  If you don’t have one scheduled, I highly recommend you start planning one.

Vacations get you out of your routine. When we are on vacation and traveling to new places we are more present, more connected to our senses, which means we are more embodied. This is important! When we are more present in our bodies, we spend more time listening to our hearts, and less time ruminating in our heads.  Travel is your time to break free and listen to yourself. This is your time to tap into your internal compass and to listen to your intuition.

When you take a vacation you strengthen your connection to your humanity, ultimately you become a more sensitive being. Vacation keeps you human. Vacation reminds you that you are more than just a cog in the wheel. More than just a widget maker or counter. When you are on vacation you have the time and energy to look around and notice the glorious beauty around you. You have time to stop and smell the roses and to become present with your surroundings. When you travel you learn about other cultures, other customs, other ways of spending this precious lifetime.

I remember the first time I traveled to Italy and was astounded that they don’t have “to gIMG_3324o” cups in cafes. It was simply not done! You drink your coffee out of a nice cup and you enjoy the moment gathering with others at the counter. Most places didn’t do take-out either. You eat there. At the time I drank my coffee and ate my bagel while I drove to work. Brushing the crumbs from my lap when I got out of the car and raced to my desk. Just knowing there was a place somewhere else in the world where people were mindfully eating and drinking shifted my perception of what was possible. Today, I don’t eat my breakfast on the freeway and I’m a much happier person.

What might you learn if you were to get our of your rut and go explore? Where have you dreamt of going? Belize? Paris? Egypt? Alaska? Thailand? Peru? Kenya? New Zealand? South Africa? Hawaii? There’s a big beautiful world out there just waiting to show you her many wonders.