I’ll Have What Byron Katie’s Having

For nine days I sat in the basement conference room of an LAX hotel a few feet from personal growth icon, Byron Katie. She has been running this immersion program, The School for The Work, for decades.*

We were asked to surrender all our screens, snacks, makeup, outside books and even flirting.** This first exercise was unexpected but I think it was the critical piece to my painful thought detox.

Why’d I do it anyway?

I’d already learned this technique in my training with Martha Beck. Recently though, Martha shared with her coaches that if we really wanted to learn from the master, we’d better jump on this. Martha begins her own coach training with The Work, reasoning that the ability to question your painful thoughts and beliefs is the root of living your true purpose. There is nowhere to go without it.

Also. Rumor has it that eighty year old Katie, as she is called, would run the program for the last time. I wondered if she’d be less engaged at the alleged end.

As soon as she began from a cushioned white arm chair back lit in blue light, something became clear.  This spritely white haired woman with piercing blue eyes is in the prime of her life.

You might be thinking sure, if I was rich and famous I’d have a bunch of handlers who made sure I was too.

Katie has no such folks. Two of her grown kids helped out with logistics along with her loyal sound guys and a few master trainers. For as big an impact as she has around the world—there were 280 participants here from everywhere— she has no “people.”

With irreverent humor and deep curiosity, she taught us the simple instructions to a happy life. 

And just so you can put this pain-relieving modality in context with the multitudes of others, one Stanford study Katie mentioned says it all. To alleviate depression and anxiety, pharmaceutical drugs are 30% effective. Medication plus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy improves to a rate of 60%. Doing The Work blows doors on them both at a whopping 91%.***

She puts it this way, “other than what you are thinking and believing, this is heaven on earth.” We tested that theory when we did an exercise in town involving total strangers. It’s true. After doing this work, peace is everywhere.

But I am getting off track here. I really want to sell you on how f-ing vibrant this octogenarian is so you’ll buy into her techniques and go try it yourself. Just to be completely transparent about the end game here.

Who doesn’t want to find the fountain of youth?? I know I do. I absolutely believe this is it.

This is what she is capable of in the eighth decade of her life. Our sessions ran from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. only breaking for meals. The Work goes deep. Sometimes it exhausted me to the point where I fell asleep and an ink pen and destroyed my favorite pants. You really need to get decent rest if you are going to be changing your life, ijs.

Katie leads every single session, delegating nothing, not even reading from the slips of paper in the suggestion box where folks asked other participants not to “hijack the elevators.”

Before she developed this work, Katie had a multitude of mental and physical health issues to the point where she had to be institutionalized. Her personal relationships were a disaster.

Now, this woman absolutely radiates love. She is able to answer questions with music lyrics and do call backs from a week’s worth of inside jokes. Katie’s grown children, both graying themselves, participated and contributed openly. Once they came up to demo an exercise. Katie shared how they both came to “The Work.” Upon observing the dramatic change in their mom, they asked her to teach them so that they could overcome their own stultifying thinking. Steven Mitchell, her renowned author husband, perched himself in a side stage chair to learn like everyone else.

The reason Katie moves through life with the ease and purpose of someone decades younger is that she does not carry the burden of eighty years on this planet.**** Katie radiates joy and unconditional positive regard. This is the net effect of nearly a lifetime of questioning beliefs in the way that she teaches.

By Friday, Katie asked us to complete a phrase about the impact of what we had learned.

The sentence began like this:

“I now feel free to _______.”

She asked us to pass the microphone and speak in our mother tongue. Voices from all over the world said things like this:

I am now free to see the beauty in everyone, including me.

I am now free to love and be loved.

I am now free to drop my stories about people and love them.

I am now free to listen.

I am now free to receive criticism as a gift.

I am now free to be quiet.

I am now free to take my time with everything and just notice.

I am now free to let go of being hyper vigilant.

I am now free to consider a question without feeling the need to please the questioner.

I am now free to have a thought and not believe it.

I am now free to receive what comes with love.

I am now free to listen to myself.

I am now free to be a kid again.

I am now free to believe that there are no strangers.

I am now free to see rejections as simple directions. (Like if someone says leave me alone, I just do it.)

I am now free to not follow the rules.

I am now free to be myself.

I am now free to be silent and not explain myself.

I am now free to liberate my heart.

I am now free to forgive myself and to see that it is possible.

I am now free to treat my ego with love.

I am now free to approach people.

I am now free to connect soul to soul.

I am now free to receive love through anyone.

I am now free to accept no without taking it personally.

I am now free to be happy on my own.

I am now free to be less violent with myself.

I am now free to connect with any human without expectation.

I am now free to say no and have that be enough.

I am now free to see everyone as my teacher.

I am now free to love without resistance.

I am now free to be unprepared.

I am now free to let you be.

I am now free to meet people where they are.

I am now free to dissolve boundaries anywhere and put them up where I choose.

I am now free to feel peace in any moment.

I am now free to experience intimacy with everyone. 

I am now free to see the world as friendly.

I am now free to know that strangers love me.

I am now free to see kindness.

I am now free to meet my thoughts with love and acceptance.

I am now free to follow my instincts regardless of what others think.

I am now free to receive love in all its forms.


So. I’ve recommended plenty of self-help stuff. If you do nothing else, consider this. There is simply nowhere to go personal development-wise if you are thinking and believing your own painful thoughts. The Work is a daily practice. Begin with the Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet and go to One Belief At A Time Worksheet. Katie suggests beginning with mother, father, sister, brother, and see what comes up.

It may just be the key to your freedom.

To learn more, take a listen to her podcast, check out the book or attend her live zoom calls which you can find more information about on

If you want to be free, it’s time to get to work.



If you are a client, we have likely done this work together. If not, this is your golden opportunity. What are you waiting for? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Call at

Curious about coaching? Learn more at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my weekly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!


**Until now, I didn’t realize I flirted so regularly. I now recognize it as a fawning response. A full detox of all the things I believe I need to maintain baseline comfort revealed so much to me. It just isn’t true. I don’t really need anything. Just the stillness inside me.

*** Here’s a few studies. The Harvard one was discussed at The School. I am headed out for a run soon so google it if you are curious.

**** I’ll show you what I mean with this example. One day, Katie taught about what happens when we hold negative beliefs about groups of people. The exercise was on prejudice. As we had done many times, we completed a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on the matter. Katie invited an incredible trans woman who did hers on Cis Gender folks up to share. (Nelle is a power house and among my absolute favorite folks.) Katie asked if she’d answer some questions. With Nelle’s permission, Katie opened the floor to all 280 of us. She began with a few of her own, demonstrating that, as a Cis, heterosexual white woman, this was totally new territory for her. You could tell by her questions that Katie was totally curious and free from judgment. At the end, she turned to us and said, “you can be brand new at 80.”

Honestly it sounds so inadequate now that I am sitting on the plane home, surrounded by weary travelers who didn’t share this experience with me. You might be thinking she sounds like a lovely elderly lady. I invite you to question that thought.


What Is Love Anyway


A couple of months ago over fancy tacos, a dear friend said something I have played back in my head many times. She’d being feeling rudderless. Because I can’t help myself, I asked her some coachy questions. I’m not supposed to do that in a stealth way but I’d had a couple of margaritas.. so shoot me.

“I honestly have no idea what I want. What I am even interested in. No clue what’s next for me.”

I know that place. Being about everyone else to the point where you are a stranger in your own skin. It is REALLY hard to live there.

It made me take more seriously this practice of self-inquiry. You’ve heard it here before. If you didn’t take up the practice then, here’s your second chance:

What do I want right now?

I am thirsty actually. I’ll have some water.

What do I need?

To get better organized. Try your witchy new planner from Natalie Miller. Since it’s mid-February maybe upgrade to that from the phone calendar?

How do I want to feel?

F!cking amazing. And I’ve got solid plans for that..


One little sign post at a time leads you home to yourself. Trust me, you need to go home now.

If you aren’t supplying the directions to yourself routinely, I am begging you. Please do it. We are all going to die someday. I have this on good authority.

Asking these questions is an act of self-love. The foundation of all love, actually. All vitality and magic. Really. You want that.

With no answers to these questions, it’s impossible to make the kind of self-honoring decisions that lead you to your best life.

In this month of formally honoring love, it brought me to the question of what I really want love to look and feel like. All month I have been rolling it around and watching it take shape inside me.


I’ve made my list. This is what love is to me.

  1. Real love means you don’t need to be any kind of way except yourself. All of you. Not just the shiny, happy parts. The crumbly bits that break apart way too easily are invited too. The ones that require picking up and reassembling with tenderness. Love welcomes all of who you are.
  1. It is releasing the list of expectations that our culture has convinced us that we should be and should expect our partner to be. The perfect lover, co-parent, best friend, confidante, masseuse, cook. Instead we allow the space for them to be who they are without judgment. You love them because of all their uniqueness. Not in spite of it.
  1. (This one should have been first, but who cares.) You can’t really have the good kind of love if you don’t start with you. Self-love builds empathy in every direction. Liberation in every direction. It is the space from which all love grows. If you neglect yourself, love for others gets all twisted up in lack. It feels controlling and sticky. Self-love looks like getting the proper support for your own growth so you can show up as your best self. And be available to receive the love you want. It means caring for yourself physically, mentally and spiritually FIRST. It is the only way you can show up for another person. Self love is not beating yourself up for not being the way someone else wants. It is being your best version and making no apologies.
  1. Loving you means I want what you want for you. No matter what that is! It’s being fully who you are and holding wide open space in your heart for the whole person. You get to say what feels good for you. You get full agency over your life. Love is total permission.
  1. Love is curiosity that allows you to be fully seen. It is making no assumptions about what you have before you in that other person. Releasing control over the narrative. Control is the opposite of love. You only want to control what you don’t trust. Trust and love are inextricably linked. To love completely, you must trust completely. We don’t own anyone. And we don’t know anyone until they invite us into their world.

  1. When you love the version of yourself in the presence of that other person, you know you have found it. Your highest good is magnetized by them. If that’s not your partner, ask why not, no matter how scary the answer.
  1. Love is when the giving of it feels just as good as the receiving. It is fully embodied with the knowledge that we are all one, with each other and with our Creator. Aligned with our power and the expansiveness of freedom. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Do you want that too?
  1. Real love heals. Sometimes it hurts…when we are broken open to expand our capacity. Ultimately it absolutely and completely heals, if we allow ourselves to deeply surrender to it. If we know deep in our bones that we deserve love, that we are worthy of it and give our souls the permission to both want it and to open to receiving it.
  1. Real love is growing. Inviting the other person to reach their full potential. Not demanding. INVITING. Neither of you shrinks from stepping into the brightest, most vibrant version of you.
  1. Love is a peaceful knowing. It is the coziest. And wildest. It is freedom.

Happy Love Month everyone. And welcome to my once a month story.

When you are truly open to the exact kind of love you need, the universe will bring it right to you. It really really will. And then you get the sense that it’s all going to be okay.



WRITING PROMPT: What do you want right now? How do you want to feel? What tiny steps can you take today to get there?

Ready to start looking within? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Call at Curious about coaching? Learn more at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my monthly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on elizabethheise.comand subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!


Time To Hit Pause


On New Year’s Eve, I hit send on a piece entitled A New Year’s REVOLUTION, containing 23 invitations for the new year.*

I started with this one:

“I will ask myself what I want and what I am willing to let go of to get there. Because you can’t just keep cramming more into your life. We must first subtract to make room.”

This week I answer the question of where I can subtract.

Here. I choose to create space for the newest version of me to emerge right here.

The former version of me began sharing these Friday Stories during the quiet days of the pandemic. The found time created by the GREAT Pause, complicated as it was, presented opportunities when everyone’s calendar of commitments abruptly ended. I filled that space with this writing practice where I have done so much of my own soul searching and created a wonderful community of readers interested in joining me. Your notes back to me about what my stories brought up for you have meant the world. That pause was not of my own choosing, but boy did I make the most of it.

The older version of me, despite decades of therapy, said yes to nearly everything I thought I should do. The metric I used to make decisions was whether or not I’d feel like a bad person if I said no. If something I actually wanted snuck in there, it was my good luck. It was the rare decision that was born of what I actually wanted. It’s pretty stunning how long it takes to see that pattern.

Now I understand that way of moving through the world resulted from deep cultural conditioning and habitual codependence. It’s quite a bit better now, but I must consciously build healthy boundaries in every daily decision. It does not come easy for me AT ALL. But it is well worth the discomfort and growing pains.

When you are doing things so people won’t be mad at you instead of acting from your deepest desires, you aren’t living an authentic life. Adding more and more and more just to keep the peace with your inner critic isn’t what any of us actually wants. It is misery making.

The good news is, I am now a woman who says no when her body sends a signal. Because of that, a quiet peace has descended upon my inner critic. We are now on the same side. Her new role is to tell me I have permission to be who I am.

So that brings me to this piece of news. Instead of continuing to add, I will subtract. I will send a story monthly instead of weekly.

I will miss the practice. And I will miss checking in with you each week too. My favorite thing about Fridays is the sense of community I feel when you, dear reader, engage on the topic upon which I’ve shared. It really is so fun.

But, over all things dear, I choose me.

So, I look forward to hearing from you, maybe less frequently here now that we’ll have more time between stories. Perhaps more on my essayettes on Social media, if that’s your thing. ( on Instagram.)

Sending you love and the hopes that your inner wisdom is coming through louder and clearer these days too.



WRITING PROMPT: What do you choose to subtract to make room for more of YOU to emerge?


Curious about coaching? Learn more at  Intrigued? You are invited to schedule a free Discovery Session at And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my stories come to your inbox? If not, you are welcome to sign up. Click on and subscribe. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading.



Giving In To A Mindful Morning

Photo credit: Cameron Lee

I have a confession.

I don’t get mindfulness meditation. No offense to the practitioners. Focusing on something, watching thoughts, listening to your breath, so many things! It doesn’t relax me. If it works for you, mazels. To me, transcendental ( just makes more sense.

So when we discussed mindfulness communication techniques in our DBT* parenting skills class this week, I inwardly eye-rolled. I assumed it was too thinky for me.

Then yesterday happened. Here’s the background:

No one in my home loves mornings but me. The silence, solitude and sunrise, so great! One of my teens holds them in particular low regard, specifically mornings before school. Getting him out of the house on time is such an effort that—after two years of me being the primary person— my husband Mark and I made a schedule of who is it. Tbh as a mother hen to the core, I prefer to do it myself. For my own self-preservation though, I had to get off this baby chick for a few mornings.

In the past, it has involved yelling, foot dragging, begging and threats. Not pretty.

Take yesterday morning. After an invigorating chilly run, I felt ready to clock in as the designated handler. Quietly entering his dark room, I raised the shades halfway, allowing the rising sun to gently wake him. Mark had taken a long run so this guy would have nobody disturbing him but me.

“Morning my boy, time to get up,” I said, softly.

No response. Plenty of time, I’ll come back.

Ten minutes later:

“Do you want to take breakfast to school or make it here?” I asked, attempting to Becky Bailey him like the old days. He flopped toward the window away from me.

“Ok, kiddo. I’m getting in the shower and won’t be back. Please be ready to go in 20 minutes.”

When I was dressed, I walked passed his now mostly closed door. I could see movement and—was that a pair of pants coming off a hanger? I took it as a good sign that he was getting dressed.

I knocked.

“I’ll be in the car.”

I went out to the garage and started the car, feeling moderately confident.

Three minutes to spare, plenty of time for him to still walk to class. 

As the minutes ticked down, the time cushion disappeared. My heart rate began to rise and my teeth clenched.

And then I remembered the mindfulness work. During the class I recalled thinking, how the f>ck am I going to stop and do that in the heat of the moment?

Having nothing to lose but more of my sanity, I trotted out the techniques we had practiced, asking myself a shorthand version of what we had learned in class:



What do I pick up with my senses?

Notice my thoughts.


Put words to what is happening without evaluating or narrating.

Drop all judgments.

If it’s something that cannot be observed through the senses, it’s an opinion.


Become one with what you are doing.

Go with the flow.

Be in the present moment.

Focus on effectiveness instead of being right.


I am sitting in this car getting increasingly agitated as time is ticking down.

My heart rate is increasing, teeth are clenching, chest is tightening.

This guy is driving me freaking bananas. 

When will I get to have an orderly morning?

Why is this STILL so difficult?

In that moment, I noticed more of what was happening around me. The purr of the engine of my car. The brilliant blue sky. My hands on the wheel.

I unclenched. Just this act of noticing allowed calm into my nervous system.

Then I experienced a flood of compassion for my son with the following thoughts:

He is doing the best that he can.

He hates every single day he has to go to this school.

Getting up to do something you hate for days on end must feel absolutely awful.

When he finally came out, he got in the back seat.

“Do you have my phone?” he asked.

“No,” I said mentally patting myself on the back for my un-codependence. But then he ran back in the house.

F$%@k! I should have grabbed his phone.

I observed all the pre-freak out body sensations once again and breathed.

Cultivate the ability to observe physical sensations. 

Become the observer with open awareness. 

When he got back in the car, I adjusted the rearview mirror to look into his eyes.

“Listen. I know how hard it is to find the motivation to go someplace that sucks for you. Despite all that, you are getting your work done and making excellent grades. You’ve got just a few more months. I am proud of you.

We enjoyed a quiet ride and off he went. With one minute to spare.


This was a good lesson for me to hold my beliefs lightly. Mindfulness is not too thinky. It helped me be effective where I had previously felt sucked into an inevitable escalation. This practice is an excellent regulator of difficult emotions. Practicing non-judgmental observation truly helped me find greater empathy for my son and I am so grateful for that most of all.

When you observe what is happening in the moment and don’t judge it, you are left with the sense that it’s all going to be okay.



Ready to start looking within? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Call at Curious about coaching? Learn more at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my weekly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!

* I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen Dialectical Behavior Therapy from the vast array of options, however Miriam Harrison in Miami is wonderful and invited us, so DBT it is.


A Ruthless Woman


Yesterday at 4:35 a.m., I woke up with the following thoughts:

You didn’t check on Jane when she landed in LA. Finn needs a pep talk for his interview. Check to make sure Jackson gets up for school. Tell Mark the cough is probably because he’s forgetting his supplements.  

On my run, I reflected on this tendency to mind my family’s business and ignore my own needs. I do it with friends too. Making sure they’ve had enough air time to express every little thing before I allow myself to make a peep. Sometimes my role as a woman feels like compulsory codependence.*   

Similar dynamics play out for other women I know. Too many to even talk about.

A dear friend I bumped into outside the grocery store last weekend had been volunteering that day and hadn’t been around to wake up her teenage son. He slept until afternoon and didn’t do any homework.

“If I am not there, everything goes to hell,” she said, looking exhausted.

So many of us do this to the point of feeling totally drained. Resentful even. It’s a sure sign that we are over-giving to others and forgetting ourselves.

The good news is, this learned behavior can be unlearned. We may have grown up watching our mother or father (did anyone’s father do this?) never say no to people or communicate in unhealthy ways. But that doesn’t mean we also have to enact these behaviors in our relationships forever and ever.

Bit by bit, I am choosing to check in with myself first. I am inhabiting my own body a little more each day. Instead of looking outside myself for people to control and problems to fix, I am pausing to reflect on what is going on inside me. When I am minding my business, I can allow my insides to reflect my outsides—listening to my body and acting on it.

As a result, my instincts and self-trust are growing stronger. Forgive the crude example, but it’s as simple as going pee instead of holding it until a more convenient time. It’s as complicated as declining physical touch when your body says I don’t want to. This goes against all cultural messages that tell us what we should do. Take care of everyone but ourselves.

Likewise I am self-honoring in friendship, declining invitations where the investment of energy and time is high and the chances of mutually fulfilling connections are low. More and more, I say no to big groups. I am making my needs known and not apologizing for it.

Listening to my inner guidance is working. The inner voice is now loud and clear. And I feel better. More myself. More at home in my body.

Don’t get me wrong, doing this is super uncomfortable for me. But prioritizing myself has become an imperative I can no longer ignore. I am choosing to align with who I am.

There are plenty of women who don’t feel safe enough to do this. I realize I am immensely lucky that I can exercise this much agency. I will do it for all of us.

As one might imagine, listening to myself instead of the shoulds has started trouble. Our society doesn’t love a woman who puts herself first. There are all sorts of names for that kind of woman. The world prefers an over-giver. A woman who is all sacrificing, tireless. Self-less.

A woman.




A few weeks ago in a couples therapy session, my husband and I were asked to name three qualities we admire in the other but don’t verbalize. These were mine of Mark.

  1. He’s really beautiful and sometimes I stop listening to what he’s saying and go blank thinking that.
  2. Mark is super focused. He can depo prep for umpteen hours, sacrificing everything to do his best work.
  3. Once when we first met, I was kidding around with him and he’d had enough of it. With no trace of a smile, he turned to me and delivered a chilling warning. “I can be ruthless,” he said. It was hot.

Our therapist Josiane explained that the three qualities we most admire in each other but don’t articulate are ones we need to cultivate in ourselves.

I understand the first two but I didn’t get the ruthless thing until now. I believe that being a woman in our culture who listens to her own body and honors herself first is considered ruthless. Selfish, most certainly. Ungrateful, without a doubt.

The opposite of a selfless woman is a ruthless woman.

I am letting go of the worry of what others think of me for following my instincts. I am unlearning the compulsory codependence of wife, mother and friend. It’s my new organizing principle.

So. Who is with me?

When you endeavor to be yourself and do as you wish, you get the sense that it’s all going to be okay.



WRITING PROMPT: What do you think about a woman who puts herself first? Where do you put yourself?

Ready to start  doing some work on you? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Call at Curious about coaching? Learn more at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my weekly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!

*We throw the word codependent around a lot. Here is the definition from “Codependency refers to an imbalanced relationship pattern. In this pattern, one person assumes responsibility for meeting another person’s needs to the exclusion of acknowledging their own needs or feelings.”


New Years REVOLUTION 2023


It’s almost the New Year.

I have an idea. What say we screw the resolutions. The unused gym memberships alone will tell you they were made to be broken.

You know what cannot be broken?

Intentions. Desires. Values.

They are softer and truer. There is nothing to change. These qualities live inside us. One choice at a time, we will make them manifest out in the world.

What we write we invite, so let’s do this together. Let’s ask ourselves what we want. What is true for us. Allow it to rise to the surface of everyday life.


Because we have permission to want what we want.

Here are my 23 invitations to the universe.

And to myself.

  1. I will ask myself what I want and what I am willing to let go of to get there. Because you can’t just keep cramming more into your life. We must first subtract to make room.
  1. I will say YES to what feels empowering and NO to what doesn’t, cultivating the supportive over the draining.
  1. I will fuel myself with peppermint tea, meditation, nature, movement, and good conversations.

  1. I will adopt practices that feel sustainable and energizing and allow the others to float away.
  1. I will live my values of truth, wholeness, integrity. Sometimes I won’t. And then I will forgive myself for being a f-ing flawed human.
  1. I will feel my own feelings and stay out of other people’s business. Most of the time.
  1. I will meet my own needs first. I will recognize when I have NOT done this and do better the next time around.
  1.  I will not feel guilty for caring for myself first.
  1.  I will give away only what I have already given to myself knowing that I give from the overflow.
  1.  I will face challenges with curiosity, not worry, dread or negativity. I will breathe the crappy stuff out.
  1. I will allow my feelings to flow through me and release them instead of batting them away or storing them up like nuts for winter.

  1.  I will speak kindness into my ears.
  1.  When someone’s behavior is bothering me, I will ask myself what it is about them that is waking me up to what I dislike in myself.
  1.  I will respond to others with compassion instead of reacting in judgment or anger. Sometimes I will suck at this and apologize. And I will still be kind to myself.
  1.  I will assume everyone is doing the best they can, including me.

  1.  I will remind myself that all I ever have is this moment.
  1.  When someone asks me for something, I will take time to decide, seeking the stillness necessary to allow my own truth to emerge.

18.  I will ask myself how I want to feel. Then I will make choices that create those feelings inside me.

  1.  I will allow myself to be.

20.   I will treat myself like a human being.

  1.    I will dare to do what I want.
  1.    I will love and appreciate myself first.
  1.    And THEN I will have the capacity to love and appreciate others.

So. What about you? I would love to hear.

Happy New Year, baby. Let’s do this.



WRITING PROMPT: What are your intentions for the year? What are your values? Desires? Needs?  

Ready to start doing some work on yourself? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Session at Curious about coaching? Learn more at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my weekly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!


The Ripple Effect Of You


On day one of my first college math class, the professor spoke in shorthand with students seated up front. As he expanded the equation on the chalkboard behind him, they nodded and made notes.

In the back row, the befuddled among us murmured about dropping.

At the university center, I stood in line to find another course.

“What you need is Physics for Poets.”

The class wasn’t really called that, but the name captured the vibe. It would explain how the world worked to folks like me who needed a good story to understand it all.


Those concepts helped me realize my impact on everything around me. One raindrop falls on the surface of a pond, forming a concentric ring that ripples out, altering the whole. We are all interconnected. Nature, the universe, our tiny selves.

Even if we think no one can tell what’s going on inside us, our thoughts and actions affect everyone and everything around us. It’s all energy.

As another year draws to a close, I think about the concentric circles I have created with my one raindrop.

My own ripple effect has expanded into communities of writers, coaches, therapists, yogis, and friends, co-creating a beautiful kind of expansion for all of us. For me, a go-it-aloner, this feels like a pivotal moment.

With a small drop of my own truth, here’s what happened.

  1. A sister coach and I are connected to the point where we have similar dreams. It’s the wildest thing you ever heard. You actually won’t hear about it because Vegas rules are in place.
  1. In a recent writing class,* the prompts served the work of my soul so precisely it’s downright spooky. Stories that would have folks clutching their pearls all over the suburbs emerged. The writers were unbothered and shared their own toe-curling tales. The more we allowed, the deeper the truth we alchemized together. The experience was extraordinary.
  1. At our annual holiday celebration, my oldest friends and I started a new tradition to show up with a BIG question to ask. Learning more of their stories made it my favorite holiday together ever.
  1. My husband and I are endeavoring to know more about one other too—26 years and counting—with a talented therapist and coach. We haven’t been this present with each other since I don’t know when.

  1. I am having ALL the fun in Natalie Miller’s group. On the Winter Solstice, we created a ritual to call in our deepest desire for the coming year. I actually didn’t know about the materials we were supposed to bring but I had a handful of crushed juniper in my backpack, some sweet almond oil and a nearby candle with just enough fire left to get the job done. I’m sure it worked.
  1. And finally, Tantra Yoga. What could I possibly say that could explain what is happening there. I’ll have to gbty.

The net effect has me feeling sparkly. I do not take my good fortune for granted.

With all of this self-discovery business, a brilliant writer friend reminded me of the privilege of privacy. The concentric circles of safety I have cultivated around me make my personal evolution possible.

During these final days of Hanukkah, I am thinking about Hannah, sister of the Maccabees who stood up to protect her sisters.** She was the only one willing to disrupt a system that lead to the triumph of light over darkness. She dared to speak the truth and started a rebellion.

So. I propose we cultivate a willingness to speak truth in the new year. Maybe give folks a bit more credit for being able to handle it. Perhaps our hesitation is more about trying to protect ourselves from vulnerability than anything else.  

With our privilege, we can create the conditions necessary for truth to be accessible to those who have no access to it because it threatens their safety.

Happy New Year.


Writing Prompt:  How safe do you feel sharing your truth? How does it compare to past versions of you? What is your willingness to tell the truth in the future?



Curious about coaching? Learn more at To schedule a free Discovery Session, reply to this email or contact me at And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

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What Patterns Are You Leaving Behind?

Here we are at the end of another year. I find it mildly shocking that I have lived in Miami for nearly 30 of these. To the version of me who showed up here in 1995 with plans to make it brief, that sounds way too long to be true.

A scene from an interview shortly before I came to town pops on my mental movie screen.

In preparation for a legal research position with the federal government, the FBI conducted a thorough investigation of my past. Agents in dark suits and shades knocked on former front doors, asking roommates and neighbors all sorts of prying questions.

I received some concerned phone calls inquiring about what I had gotten myself into.

Sitting at a large conference table across from me, the crew-cutted agent asked what had accounted for the TWENTY-SIX different addresses. I had really put them to work.


I suppressed the urge to provide my usual answer to that question: I killed a guy.

As these fellows did not appear to be in a joking mood, I kept that one to myself.

Over the years, however, I’ve thought about the question. Why all the moves?

My latest answer is this: I had been desperate to leave all those places because I didn’t feel at home in my own skin. I had focused all my energy on being what others expected of me, leaving no room for my real self. Not saying the things or finally just saying the things and then quickly bailing out, I left a trail of abruptly ended relationships in my wake.

Then I’d pack and leave.

That may sound totally bananas, but that’s how I rolled. I rarely checked in about what I actually wanted for me. My needs lingered below the surface and when they inevitably rose to the top, it was time to go.


These days, however, impressing others is not my first order of business. I’m not going to claim I am cured of the disease to please nor that I do relationships very well. While living here, I have faded out of plenty of social situations where I felt unable to be real. I can’t do small talk anymore so if that is happening, I will be brief or not at all. I am no longer so concerned about being accepted by people who aren’t even into me. I can now face the discomfort of being who I am a little more each day.

As Glennon Doyle says, humaning is hard.

But here’s the good news:

We CAN have the life we truly want but it takes this trifecta:

1. the belief that we f-ing deserve it,
2. the knowledge that our own inner guide knows best; and
3. the courage to step into it.

Here’s a quick way to determine if you are doing life on your own terms.

Do big decisions require a panel of trusted folks to tell you what to do? Then you may have some work ahead of you.* It’s possible your most valuable resource remains untapped: your own intuition.

If you get still and quiet, your inner knowing will tell you everything. And if it’s saying nothing, give it time. If you’ve ignored that voice for a while, it may need a bit to clue in that you are listening now.

We’ve covered this territory a lot but it always bears repeating: the inner guide communicates through the body. Physical sensations are trying to tell you something: a tight throat, a throbbing temple, a flipflop in the belly. For me, tingly toes are my signal that I am on the right track.

If this sounds weird, try it first and then decide.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that living this way is all easy breezy perfection. Not hardly. Following your true path can be terrifying. I have had to walk into some very uncomfortable situations recently, with the faith that I will only reach my full human potential when I am embracing all of who I am.

And for me, doing it this way means I don’t have to feel suffocated, pack up and catch the next Uber to the airport. It’s #worthit wouldn’t you say? I can stick around because I am now at home wherever I go, just being me.

If you honor who you really are, accept all parts of you, you get the sense that it’s all going to be okay.



WRITING PROMPT: What’s coming up for you as you take stock at the end of the year? Notice any patterns you are you growing out of? How can you tell? What would your current self say to your younger self?

*Aaaaand here’s my pitch! Ready to start doing some work on you? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Session at Learn more about this work at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my weekly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!



Here’s Your Permission Slip


Around mid-year in fifth grade, a girl named Rosalyn joined my class. She had moved to Albuquerque’s tiny South Valley, carrying an air of worldliness. Wavy black hair cascaded down her back. Her clear blue eyes, set off by an alabaster complexion suggested a maturity far beyond elementary school.

I’d never seen a child dress like her. A blouse with rich hues of purple and red, her pants a light gray. The fine fabric made me want to reach out and rub it between my fingers. She had a style that seemed to belong to her.

As I observed how she navigated her new environment, hot envy rose up inside me. Everything about her seemed so on purpose.

Rosalyn’s resting face didn’t require a smile. She looked everyone in the eye. Her manner with our teacher, Mr. Bruce, suggested she didn’t show up to impress him, or any of us, for that matter.

Of course, I compared myself. I didn’t carry any air. My air belonged to everyone else, filled with predictions of what they wanted from me. On my resting face sat a permanent smile, no matter what was happening inside me. My clothes were not special. The kitchen scissors left me with a nondescript kid-do.

Unlike me, Rosalyn fully inhabited herself.

I have longed to walk through the world like her ever since. As if I belong everywhere.

In the forty-three years since I met that striking girl, I have inched closer to self-acceptance. Unlearning who I believed I needed to be for other people has been a lifelong process.

Do I sometimes feel frustrated, believing I should be further along? YES. Yes I do. You have a front row seat to that every week.

But starting today, I am giving us both permission to be where we are at this very moment. If we were supposed to be different right now, WE WOULD BE.

I am not suggesting any of us settle for so-so or forgo opportunities to evolve. What I am saying is this:

You are never too late on your own journey.

Our level of consciousness is exactly where it should be right now and the circumstances in which we find ourselves are exactly what we require to get us to the next level. That is simply how it works.

The way to test the truth of that is to feel how that idea lands in your body. Does it allow you to feel expansion or contraction?

Here is a hint: TRUTH feels like freedom. And freedom is the sensation of unfurling, unfolding, opening out.

You are exactly where you need to be. 

Right now.

I promise.

How does that feel?


AND ALSO. Of course we want progress because moving on up  makes us happy and excited for the future. We all want that.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change.” -Carl Rogers

When we are always looking at what we want to improve, where we want to be, and what steps we must take to get there, our precious energy is being spent and our thoughts are focused on what we are not. And how far away we are from our destination. Carrying around the weight of non-acceptance blocks progress and increases resistance to change.

So how do we move forward in a more self-honoring way?

Ask yourself this question:

How do I want to feel? 

The answer must not depend on what someone else will do for you or that they agree with what you should have.* The answer comes only from your empowered self.

To illustrate how this works, I’ll give a disempowered example that could use reframing:

I want to be cherished.

That state of being depends on the actions of another person doing the cherishing, so that’s not it.

The question becomes:

How will I feel when I am cherished? 




So, how do you get there? Keep asking yourself this:

What do I want?

I have gotten in the habit of asking it often. Right now, I want more peppermint tea and to ice my janky knee.

So I got up and did both of those things. Now I feel happy and motivated to finish this piece and get ready for my workshop. I will keep asking myself these important questions. And doing what I want. And building greater self-trust. Better intuition. To tap into my next right thing.

When you begin to honor your own wishes something shifts. You are no longer pushed by the pain of living in a way that doesn’t serve you. You begin to feel pulled by the vision of how you really want to live. One self-honoring choice at a time.

When you are in the habit of asking yourself what you want, you will be guided towards the kind of life that is not just okay, but EXACTLY what you always wished it would be.

Sound good?  LET’S GO.



WRITING PROMPT: What do you want right now? How about in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? How do you want to feel? What are you willing to do to get there?

Ready to start  doing some work on yourself? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Session at Curious about coaching? Learn more at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.

Do my weekly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!

*This bit of brilliance comes from a real coach’s coach, Natalie Miller, who I have written about before. I love her stuff so much, I joined her very witchy Cauldron. It is a game changer for me. Check her out at 


‘Tis The Season To Eat Your Feelings


Our handyman brought us a sweet potato pie for the holidays, like he does every year. One forkful of its decadence kept me “evening it out” until 1/4 of the pie had disappeared.

The savory sweetness wasn’t the only thing that drew my fork to that pie all night.

A difficult conversation with my son had left me with a lot of unexpressed FEELINGS. I had missed the critical part of our exchange where you tell the person how you feel.

Interpersonal effectiveness in a hard interaction ideally goes like this:*


I saved this graphic on my phone just in case something comes up

The easy to remember acronym is DEAR MAN.

Describe the current situation, sticking to the facts. Tell the person exactly what you are reacting to.

“You told me you would be home by dinner, but you didn’t get here until 11.”

Express your feelings and opinions about the situation. Don’t assuming the other person knows how you feel. Use phrases like “I want” instead of “you should,” “I don’t want,” instead of “you shouldn’t.”

“When you come home so late, I worry about you.”

Assert yourself by asking for what you want or saying no clearly. Do not assume others will figure out what you prefer. No one can read your mind.

“I would really like it if you would call me when you are going to be late.”

Reinforce (reward) the person in advance by explaining the positive effects of getting what you want or need. If necessary, clarify the negative consequences of not getting what you want or need.

“I would be so relieved, and a lot easier to live with if you do that.”

Mindfully stay focused on your goals. Maintain your position—don’t get off topic. Keep asking, saying no or expressing what you want until it is clearly received. Ignore attacks or attempts to change the subject.

“I would still like a call.”

Appear confident and effective. Make good eye contact, offering no apologies or retreating.

Negotiate. Be willing to give to get. Turn the problem over to the other person. Ask them for alternative solutions.  Focus on what will work.

“What do you think we should do? I am not willing to just stop worrying about you.”


Even though I have practiced this communication style a lot, I’ve had difficulty remembering the feelings part.

Vulnerability doesn’t come easy for me in person. (Writing it all down and sending it to your inbox? Piece of cake. I am all dessert metaphors all the time.).

After the conversation in which I kept my feelings hidden: I ate. So. Much. PIE.

And this is the price I paid for stuffing my feelings:

A rough night’s sleep and a leaden morning meditation. It is usually an energy cleansing, vibration-raising moment that leaves me tingly and ready to enjoy the day. After pie night, however, I fell asleep and left late for my run.

Out on the road, my morning refresher felt more like a slog through molasses.

I headed out to school drop-off behind schedule, hit construction traffic and got yelled at by a stranger for attempting a questionable cut through.

Choosing not to express my feelings skipped the self-honoring part of asking for my needs to be met. It messed me up for a full day afterwards.


I also missed establishing a better connection with my son. When you tell people how you feel, you allow yourself to be SEEN by the other person. Instead, I had left an empty pothole inside to be filled with stuff that doesn’t belong in there. Like pie.

So. Next time, when I have a hard conversation, I will be more mindful of all the critical pieces and intentional about what I want out of it. I WILL SAY HOW I FEEL.

When you express your feelings to another person, you create a connection between the two of you. When you feel connected to others, you get the sense that it’s all going to be okay.



WRITING PROMPT: How are you at expressing your feelings? Do you notice what happens when you forgo the opportunity? How can you engage with others in a more self-honoring way?

*This is from the book and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy parenting skills class we are taking. This little graphic is very handy. If I can get the feelings part down, it will work better.

Do my weekly stories come to your inbox? If not, you are invited to sign up. Click on elizabethheise.comand subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading!

Ready to start  doing some work on yourself? Email me to schedule a free Discovery Session at Curious about coaching? Learn more at  And if you are family or a friend, I have an amazing coaching community ready to partner with you.