False Events Appearing Real

It’s been years since I spun scary scenarios instead of sleeping. Of late, I can count the number of major life stressors on two hands. From illness to massive changes in my close relationships, kids leaving home to college application season…and those are the light ones. I recall the halcyon days when that last issue got its very own newsletter.

If I allowed my mind to run how it could all go wrong, I’d have no hope of a decent night’s sleep for the foreseeable future.

I don’t think we are ever given more than we can handle, so it must be that my capacity has grown over the years or I wouldn’t have all this great material.

So. What to do in such a state? We all have our stuff. Whether it is actually BIG or we are making it that way, the resulting dysregulation to the nervous system is real. Before you can do any problem solving, the first order of business is to restore a sense of safety in your body.

The only way to do that is to stop. Rest in comfort. Breathe. Move. Connect with people who get you. Whatever calms you down. There is nowhere to go if you are in freak out mode.

As your body settles and your brain becomes capable of problem solving, creative solutions are available if you know how to access them.

In a recent coach swap with one of my favorites, I was asked to come up with a metaphor for this collection of problems. The right brain is where creativity, curiosity, and presence lives. Left brain worry makes us blind to what is happening because we are too busy hand-wringing to notice anything real. Engaging the right side can help us find our own way. I’ve written about it before but I’ll give you a little demo here. It works well in a coaching session, but I’ve also done it in workshops and on my own. There’s no limit to how this can work for you.

You start by thinking of an object, a place or an animal for whatever problem you have. You may not think you’ll come up with one but that’s just your left brain talking. Engaging our imagination triggers the right brain to go to work. Our left side, which is the verbal brain in charge of running the show all the time, gets a much needed break from rumination and overwhelm.

Clues gathered during a metaphor exercise in the right side can supply information to the left side to problem solve. The right hemisphere does a better job because it doesn’t waste time in the future or past, isn’t subject to social conditioning, trauma or any of the hardships our intellectual brain has suffered. There are no “shoulds” on the right. It’s a party in there all the time.

Back to the trash ball. In the session, my mind’s eye observes how this massive collection has gathered up everything in sight and now towers over me. In the exercise, I use a hose to water down the trash ball which is held together by mud, slowly dissolving it, allowing me to see each item for what it really is. Appliances to keep, debris to collect and toss out. After I sort through it all, fresh green grass is revealed underneath.

So what did this metaphor say about my life? The water is the sustained effort of attending to each of these big changes, showing each for what it really means to me and helping me decide what I want next. Breaking things down into manageable steps, and even some non-steps for the super stressful ones.

The one way through is to stay present so that the information I need to make decisions is available to me. That is all right brain. Music, poetry and laughter can also keep us ground us in the present moment, noticing everything. Those moments are the beauty of life and can really feel like magic.

Little by little, I will assemble the necessary components for the next iteration of me.

When you act from a place of calm, curiosity and presence, you find your way. Doing so creates space in the world for those around you to do it too. When we discover the way that works best for us, we get the sense that it’s all going to be okay.



WRITING PROMPT:  What is your list of shoulds? How does it make you feel in your body? How would you like to feel?

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 and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading.



Walking Back The Cat

Despite hyper vigilance to protect myself—I’ve been the one weirdo in the airport still in a mask—Covid finally found me. I had a good run, though. Three years and four months post-global shutdown. To the remaining Covid ninjas out there, let this be your cautionary tale. Re-order that PPE.

I must have known to be extraordinarily careful given how it has landed. If you are treating this strain like it’s just a cold, you are half right. The virus part barely registers as illness. A sweaty night or two, body aches, some dizziness. But the post-viral inflammatory response has been impressive. A leaden fatigue requiring all business to be conducted horizontally, bizarre full body spins and a cognitive fuzz that, mercifully, has begun to lift.

So. If I’m so cautious, how’d it happen?

To use a Navy term, I had to walk back the cat  i.e. retrace my steps to see where I split off from my integrity to make a choice around which I didn’t feel right. Doing so, I knowingly exposed myself to this still serious illness. At twenty-one days post onset, it has just TODAY begun to lift.

Weeks out from the decision that canceled all summer travel plans, ten training runs and 4 sunrise bike rides, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect.

Here’s what happens when you have an inner knowing that registers in your gut. If you don’t listen to it much, it gets very quiet and you live your life by committee. Most of us rely on intellectual reasons for doing things. Sometimes they are flimsy, sometimes really good. But. The left brain only has access to 20% of what we actually know. The other 80% of your information comes from your nervous system which has nothing to do with reason. You cannot verbalize what is in your gut. We often forget that we too are animals with instincts. We have been gifted with the same tools to keep up safe as any four legged, furry creature.

So. Ignore your intuition and you betray your innate knowing. On some level, I knew. I recall it registered as a little ache. That was me splitting off from myself. If you think it doesn’t catch up with you, take a second to notice that it does. Sometimes it’s in small ways—you don’t drink enough water and get a headache. Other times you enjoy three weeks of bad-trip style Covid.

It’s a challenge to listen to that inner voice when we are rewarded for self-sacrifice in this culture and conditioned by those messages that taking care of other people matters and our own needs do not.

Is it possible to stay true to yourself all the time every day?

I will grant you that most of us don’t have the luxury of speaking our minds in every situation or making the move that feels most aligned at the precise moment we feel it. Imagine if you told your boss what you really think of the office policies that serve no purpose other than to annoy you. Self-preservation comes first, obviously. But. Slowly and with intention, you begin to observe what feels right and what doesn’t.

This week, I was reminded again of the two questions Wayfinder Master Coach Natalie Miller likes to ask to cultivate the inner knowing.

What do I want?

What do I need?

One little choice point at a time, you begin to notice what is already there. To move into a life that matches up with your truth. Ultimately, that truth is a kindness to everyone around you. Doing things you don’t want to carries a low vibration that the other person may not get consciously, but they will feel it.

Always keep in mind, people who value truth in all things will always be for you. Will always be kind to you. Truth enures to all of our benefit. When you share yours, people know where you stand. They know YOU. To be fully seen and heard is a basic need for every one of us.

If there is an ache inside of you to be known, I ask you, what are you waiting for?

From that place of knowing, from living the same inside as you do outside, your true life unfolds.

Love, Elizabeth

WRITING PROMPT: Where can your insides better match your outsides?

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/X. Happy reading!

Know what you really know
Feel what you really feel
Say what you really mean
Do what you really want
-Martha Beck



Happy Pride To Us All


If you’ve been with me a while, you may have noticed the pattern: I scan the landscape of my life for a troublesome little stone, pick it up, then skip it across the pond of my personal growth. The whole exercise had a logical end point.

Except it didn’t. I’d repeat the process in perpetuity. Searching for what was really bothering me and never finding it. The stone wasn’t reaching the bottom.

Welp. I found out what it is ya’ll:


I am gay.

How’d this happen to me, long married to the greatest guy ever, with whom I have built a life that looks like a dream? My whole thing is ‘self-discovery.’ How did I miss something so bloody fundamental?

Excellent question.

Allow me to set the stage. As a personal growth coach, I am trained in dream analysis, body compass and other techniques which allow access to the truth in the body and subconscious mind. May sound woo/ridiculous but it’s a real thing.

One morning a few months back, I woke up from one such dream knowing with 100% certainty that I am not straight. It showed up in my body as a fact, plain and simple.

That same morning, I told my husband that something big was going on with me.  

“I’m here for you no matter what,” he said and meant it. His support has been unwavering.

So. My mission became to figure out where I was on that continuum from gay to straight, which I had learned about in my Human Sexuality class as an undergrad lo those 35 years ago.*

In the months following, I stockpiled books, podcasted and therapist shopped. I needed clarity around my identity so I could begin to figure out how it would affect all of our lives. Every night, I chewed the crap out of the inside of my mouth grinding my teeth while I tried to sleep. 

During our evening walks, I’d share what I’d learned with my husband. After one miserable day, I told him I’d read that it takes a person in my position somewhere between two and eight years to land on a definitive answer. When I discovered that, I was like NOT TO ME IT DOESN’T. I promised him I wouldn’t keep us in suspense like that.

One kindly therapist who identified herself as more of a crisis counselor told me I didn’t seem to be troubled in that way. She said folks like me really needed community more than anything. That this can often be a terribly lonely time.

That tracked with my research. I’d heard a story about a woman who had realized she wasn’t straight but felt so alone that she re-closeted herself to regain her sense of belonging. That struck me as so sad.

This therapist introduced me to the perfect person—someone who immediately knew me in a way I hadn’t know myself. I finally found the missing piece to me. And it happened nearly over night.

Once it was underway, I realized my identity pretty quickly: super f-ing gay. My husband referred to it as SFG in the sweetest Valentines Day card I have ever received.

Solid as that felt, I really wanted to unlearn whatever baggage kept me closeted for so long. I wanted to show up to the LGBTQ community free of the harmful conditioning that prevented me from knowing myself. I’d heard stories about the new gays putting their foot in their mouth and that was not going to be me.

In that program, we examined all the areas in which we had been conditioned out of gayness: compulsory heterosexuality, internalized homophobia, people-pleasing, misogyny, to name a few. At the end, I felt ready to be an excellent gay citizen of the world.

Sidebar to all this though. A part of me objects to the idea of coming out. Who comes out as straight? NO ONE. The second you say gay or, God forbid lesbian, people sexualize you in a way no straight person ever is. A straight person’s private life remains just that.

So why am I doing it?

So that folks see us ALL, especially here in “don’t say gay” Florida. The gay community includes a woman like me too, a very hetero looking, white-privileged married woman in the suburbs. We are EVERYWHERE. I want white conservatives who thought we had plenty in common to see that yes, we do. And because of that, we all share a community with the trans kids who are being targeted by legislatures across the country. They deserve to feel safe and be loved for who they are. Likewise to gay Black, gay Indigenous, gay People of Color who face violence and discrimination on a scale nobody around here could ever appreciate. We are one community. See us all, please. We are you.

And lastly, I want to share that gayness is not a negative force in the world.** Shame is. Silence around this speaks shame to me and I won’t live in it. My family will not be “damaged” by my coming out. We will be rearranged in unexpected ways as a family. We will expand and grow. As humans doing a hard thing, we will experience difficult emotions and that’s okay. We get to feel our feelings without blame or guilt or apology. That’s for when you do something wrong. Gay is a state of being, not something I did to anyone.  

On our quarterly coaching call with Martha Beck this week, she addressed it all with me:

“Find your center, live in integrity. You have already embraced who you are.  Just keep coming back to your true self. And as far as coaching goes, it’s time to expand your practice. You are equipped to coach people coming out in midlife. You have walked through fire and now have a great gift to offer the world. If you stay creative, calm and curious, all the people in your life will have a much smoother, easier ride.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Happy Pride to us all.



WRITING PROMPT:  What makes you different from other people? Have you shared it? Why or why not?

*Btw the universe of identity isn’t even viewed as a straight line anymore, as one queer friend pointed out. There are spheres and spectrums of identity in all colors of the rainbow.

**It’s actually so fun! It’s my favorite thing about me. And it’s allowed me to accept myself on a level I never thought possible.

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. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Thank you for reading.



One Brave Bite


A few years back, Oprah interviewed Lady Gaga at her wellness tour down here in South Florida.* Gaga described how she lives with chronic pain and had learned to take things slow. She didn’t love the term baby steps though. Gaga’s self-honoring way of moving through the world evokes more intentionality and empowerment than that term captures. Instead, she calls it, “taking one brave bite at a time.


I’m with Gaga. And the idea of taking a bite appeals to me much more anyway.

Martha Beck refers to navigating this way as, “the slow accumulation of tiny efforts.” So much more humane than our Grind Culture that has us believing we aren’t doing enough ever.

The not enough thinking is quite destructive. We are taught that self-criticism makes us better people. That the harder we are on ourselves, the more motivated we are to do better. Studies show it’s actually the reverse.**

Contrary to what we’ve been fed, self-compassion promotes personal improvement. Self-criticism decreases motivation to do anything. When we tell ourselves we are no good, we then envision ourselves acting in ways that make us feel worse.

It becomes like a massive garbage ball that can flatten us if we allow it. We don’t take care of ourselves which decreases motivation and productivity. A mind embattled in depression and anxiety creates a body that is symptomatic. We might still get the job done but man have we made it HARDER. It is a major energy drain to flog yourself relentlessly.

When we are kinder to ourselves, we feel better. And when we feel better, we do better.

Because we overlay so much of our lives with negative self-talk, it all feels more daunting. When that happens, we can go even gentler. A fellow MB coach asks clients to identify a ‘non-step’ in the direction they want to point themselves. Something that takes the pressure off but puts energy towards the life they want. When they don’t feel ready, but they do feel a little flutter. A non-step looks like researching the options or finding the people who have done “the thing.” Something light and soft that will point you there.

Because of all the plate spinning going on in my own life and the lives of the people closest to me, my brave bites become apparent only in the present moment. The second I start future casting and, worse yet, predicting bad outcomes by worrying, I become deaf and blind to all the information available to me in the here and now.

And there is not just information in the present moment, there is also beauty, even in the most trying circumstances. Like the friends who are there for us when it gets hard. The support in nature to absorb tough emotions. And, my favorite, the magical evolution of our relationships when we honor our own needs. All so beautiful.

When I am not fast-forwarding my life to something scary, I have full access to my truth. I am intuitively guided. Then, when chaos hits, I have the ability to access peace and make decisions that grow that peace instead of diminish it. I am able to direct myself toward the life my heart desires. Moment by moment. One brave bite at a time. The slow accumulation of tiny efforts. And when it’s all too much, a non-step for good measure.

SO, dear reader. Whatever you are facing, whatever you’ve got swirling all around you, you can do this. Just stay right here where all the intel is available to you. Be guided in peace and calm.

When you allow yourself to take in what is happening around you, you get the sense that it’s all gonna be okay.



WRITING PROMPT: What non-step can you take that will focus energy towards your heart’s desire?  

*Find the full interview of Gaga and Oprah here:

**In Natalie Miller’s latest episode of Mindwitchery, she describes a 2015 study on Regret Theory. Each of the subjects had done something that caused them feelings of regret. The people who treated themselves kindly adopted new behaviors. The ones who viewed themselves as the kind of people prone to screwing up just did more of the same. You can learn about Self-Compassion Theory in the May 25, 2023 Episode of Mindwitchery or check out the work of Kristen Neff at

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 and subscribe today. And if you like, come find me on the socials: on Instagram and @heiseelizabeth1 on Twitter. Happy reading.



When Oblivion Is Calling Out Your Name


I am fresh from a weekend on the Oregon coast where forests open to the ocean, with trees so tall they reach the heavens above. A verdant, magical fairyland.

You’d think mystical woodland creatures had scurried around planning this writer’s retreat. Pretty close. These aren’t your everyday, walking around folks. This band of self-described misfits are my people.*

Corporeal Writing co-founder Domi Shoemaker (striped shirt above) started out by declaring, “we are not the types to make you do sh!t.” This crew is about self-honoring practices. Here in old growth, Sitka Spruce country, the idea was to process pain and grief and express it in prose and poetry. With the support of wise old trees and one another, we turned pain into art.

Lots of vulnerability rose up in this space. It fueled our creativity to make stuff. Spending time in this incredible natural setting helped soak up the extra intense feelings. All this activity happens in right brain and produces sensations of connection and calm. It is so my preferred way to do vulnerability.

The playground of the brain’s right hemisphere is my favorite territory. It’s where I problem solve, dream, write and let go. It is free from social conditioning. Truth lives there and when it shows up, I don’t question it.

The work that happens in that right side is generative and real. My mission is to find direct pathways that take me there. For me, the most direct route is music. When I am inside an epic drum solo or soul stirring ethereal voice, I become one with it. My stressed out, self-conscious ego totally vanishes. It’s honestly such a relief.

Among these natural wonders and artists, Bastille’s Oblivion played in my mind over and over. Tears welled up.

Are you going to age with grace? 

Are going to age without mistakes?

Are you going to age with grace,

Or only to wake and hide your face?

Before we had language, we had music. Singing. First, we hummed. Music occurs in the right brain where neurons are long, reaching backwards, forwards and into realms we can’t conceive of intellectually. Compared to the short, stubby neurons in the left hemisphere, it’s a way more connected place to be. Our culture trains us to live in that left brain where limited thinking, pressure and social and religious conditioning operate to reign in our wild hearts.

I’m here to tell you though, the right brain is where the magic happens. It’s the place I want to be all the time. Some left handed people have more going on in the right hemisphere than most. I am left handed so maybe that’s why it’s my preferred hangout. It’s where I coach my clients and ask right brainy questions to guide their problem-solving, desire-discovering and barrier-busting. It is RICH territory, totally free from cultural constructs and trauma. It accesses what we really want for ourselves. And sometimes that’s a real f!ckin surprise.

So. This song. It feels like it’s about me having the courage to show who I really am. To walk with purpose into the unknown. To trust that what, in retrospect, seemed like a wrong turn was actually meant to be exactly as it was. Or else it would have been different.  

When oblivion is calling out your name

You always take it further

Then I ever can.

Are you going to age with grace?

Are you going to leave a path to trace?

We weren’t trained to cede control. My recent health scare reminded me that the unknown is all we ever have, regardless of what we put in place to avoid the inevitable. Control is an illusion. And the only way to move through it is with self-compassion. Grace. Trust. To surrender to the force greater than ourselves. The one supporting us on our path. And to always remember that what we want, wants us back. And that by staying in alignment with our own desires and unlearning harmful conditioning, we make ourselves available for all that is meant for us.

There is one aspect of this that we can actually control: what we think and believe about ourselves and others. If we question thoughts and beliefs that cause suffering, we can turn thoughts around to where they feel like peace in the body.** That is the only way to recognize truth. It feels exactly like freedom.

I will leave a path to trace. My journey will help others. And it is not only up to me. This path is a co-creation. Yours is too. And what a relief. I’ve been feeling so alone in my pursuit to figure out what all this is about, where I am meant to be, for a lifetime. And I don’t have to anymore.

When you realize you are held by a force greater than yourself and relax into the mystery and wonder of it all, you get the sense that it’s all going to be okay.



WRITING PROMPT: Do you recognize the difference between your own inner guide and the cultural and or religious conditioning that has convinced you of what you are supposed to want?

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.

*Where else will you get a writing space called “Sunday Spoonies,” a group just for people dealing with chronic pain. Or a dedicated LBGTQ session called Alphabet Island. Space for every kind of human, writing genre, and those of us who try to resist any labels at all. This is a group that welcomes you as you are. If you are like me and have always felt on the outside looking in, check them out.

** This is a practice. And if you do it consistently, it will turn your everyday life into heaven on earth. I guarantee it.


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.”