1. I’m an only child, raised by a single mom.  I spent the first 11 years of my life without electricity & essentially in the wilderness.  Although the first 4 were also within a small community, my being was attuned at a very young age to quiet, to the sounds of nature, and the darkness of living without artificial lighting.  I had insomnia for years when I moved to San Francisco at 20, and the pace of the world (even in my current small town) is still often far faster than I would prefer.  My capacity for enjoying large groups is a cultivated capacity.
  2. I still get nervous before I teach.  Something I do when I get nervous is show up early & worry that I’m late.  When I was a child I was so anxious about missing the bus that I’d get to the bus stop 30 min early & then spend 30 min worrying that I’d missed the bus. I just did this on Wednesday for a call in The Collective, where I accidentally started the call 30 min early & then worried about why no one was showing up…until I checked the time & realized I was early 😛
  3. I love God, and some of my favorite worship music is Christian.  I love churches & Gospel.  THIS ONE is my current favorite.
  4. I judge slow drivers that don’t pull over to let people (me) pass.  I know this is an opportunity to slow down & enjoy the moment.  I know I could be more compassionate.  But the truth is, this is an area of my life where I feel unbridled judgment, annoyance & frustration.  Sometimes I yell at these drivers.
  5. I love country music, and not at all ironically.  Not all country music.  I do have standards.  But a lot of it, and not just the ‘good’ stuff.
  6. I am not a vegetarian & never have been.  Except for a period of time in my late teens when I claimed to be a vegan, but really just had an eating disorder.
  7. The first person who ever hired me as a coach told me (after experiencing my teaching at a 5-day live event) that they hired me because they thought I would drown kittens if that’s what needed to be done (in service of love & truth).  I think they saw something very true about me, that I am both proud of & want to hide, which is my ruthlessness.  On the light side this shows up as a no-bullshit fierce sword of love & truth.  On the shadow side this shows up as a lack of patience when I think people can do better.  Despite having softened a LOT in the 20 years since this comment, this is still part of me — and not a part I want to get rid of.
  8. It took my ex-husband & I 10 years to get divorced after we separated.  It was literally the hassle of the paperwork that had us (both) wait so long.  I am deeply grateful that we were (and continue to be) able to work through money, separation, business, and custody without needing any formal or legal agreements.  
  9. I (the female) make (significantly) more money than my partner (the male).  Neither of us is upset about it.  There are ways in which my relationship is very non-traditional, and there are also ways in which we have very traditional roles within our relationship & family.  I am still teasing apart which of these are chosen & which are over-culture inherited.  I imagine this will be a life-long process.
  10. Despite being sex-positive & believing in open communication with my kids about all things, I feel incredibly awkward talking to both/either of my kids about sex.  I imagine my mother was raised in a fairly repressive family/culture around sexuality; from that she attempted to be very open with me, which I found intrusive & invasive.  I can feel within myself the tension between taking responsibility for having these conversations with my kids, not wanting to overstep their boundaries, and also wanting to create an environment in which they feel that all topics are welcome & their bodies are beautiful, delightful & sacred.
  11. I did not graduate from college — and, in fact, barely completed one year.  Schoolwork has always been easy for me, but I found the college experience miserable.  I had a hard time connecting with other students, I was homesick & lonely, and I just couldn’t find my way.  I am sure many of my fellow students were struggling as well, but at the time it seemed like everyone except me had college life figured out.  I took a nap one afternoon after my high school boyfriend broke up with me, and when I woke up, I knew I needed to go home.  For me, going ‘home’ meant going back to the Zen Monastery I grew up in, rather than back to live with my mother.  I stayed there for the next 3 years, practicing Buddhism & living in a small valley in the heart of the Ventana Wilderness.  I often not-so-jokingly say that I finished my undergrad at the monastery.
  12. My hair is currently the longest it’s been since I shaved my head at 16.  All through my childhood my best friend & I both had hair all the way down our backs.  We really look nothing alike, but people used to think we were sisters — I think because we loved (and still love) each other so deeply.  I think she may have cut her hair first, but I followed close behind, shaving my head in my junior year of high school & keeping it shaved for the better part of the next 4 years.  I grew my hair out in my early 20’s when I dated a man who connected the length of my hair to the strength of his masculinity, and when I broke up with him I cut it all off again.  I kept very short hair until about 5 years ago when I decided to see how long I could grow my hair, and the process of holding steady through all the awkward stages of growing out has been a deep practice for me.  Sometimes I am still surprised when I look in the mirror & see a woman with long hair looking back at me.
  13. I used to be an atheist.  I think I felt very connected to God when I was young, and lost that connection through some harsh pieces of life along the way.  I was angry at God, so I rejected God.  When I was 16, I went on a backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierras put on by my high school.  One of our evening activities was informal debate.  One night I was given the side of arguing FOR the existence of God, and my final argument was to gesture to the wilderness around us & the vast expanse of stars above us, saying something to the effect of, ‘How can there not be a God?’  In that gesture, I shifted something in my own self, and I couldn’t deny what felt true in my own argument.  I am still sometimes angry with God, and there are times God’s presence feels far away & I ache, but never since then have I doubted or denied my experience of God.

With Love,

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