Category Archives: Alaska

Lean into Vulnerability. Or: Go Full-On Kintsugi

“i can tell where your scarz are just by the way you smile….”

This powerful first line in my favorite poem by Taalam Acey flashed across my awareness today. I remember seeing Taalam perform “Scarz” in Anchorage, on a cold and Alaskan-amber evening in the Wilda Marston theater.

I remember how I felt that day much more clearly than I remember the day itself.

I remember feeling very white and not acceptable, yet I stayed after the the show and bought a CD. I remember feeling very exposed, very seen, like his words pulled the veil off my smile and took away my choice of what I controlled to be seen, and what remained hidden. So much for the serenity prayer – these words busted my shield and exposed me, but it was okay. In a shikata ga nai* kind of way.  His voice meant safety.

I remember feeling inspired to use words in a way that would hit like Taalam’s words hit me, because they went so deep, and were so clearly expressing what I felt I wanted, what I needed, and what you are seeking too: to. be. seen.

“I can tell where your scars are just by the way you walk…”

I had to use the restroom during the break but almost didn’t go, because what if he, or someone else with these clairvoyant powers was watching me? What if they could read my brokenness just by the way I set one foot in front of the other? The dissolution of my marriage was five months from being complete. Relief and fear of what life will be like, single again, took turns inside me.  My son had left the nest to live on his own while attending college in Anchorage, and I had yet to fully re-define myself. I wasn’t aware of my husbands betrayal yet, but deeply confused about the crimes I committed in my heart to free myself from the bonds of this toxic relationship.

But this is my process, and I don’t want it to be known just yet, not until I am sure I come out on top. I don’t dare show the fear, so I hide it behind a double dose of relief. If he can tell my scarz by my walk, I’m not gonna get up because I don’t want him or anyone to know. Hold your pee, Ki.

It’s the contradiction of needs: as much as I want to be seen in all authenticity, I want to be ready, control the moment, almost like making sure I can check my emotional make-up, and baggage at the door. I was not ready to be vulnerable just yet. That’s when I noticed the wetness around my throat, and cheeks. I wasn’t ready (think Kevin Hart) but ready had me in its clutches and ripped my soul open so the tears could run me a bath of soul searching and self soothing comfort.

I could not disconnect the words from the voice, the message from its author. I felt safe, yet exposed, and I wasn’t ready to be. Here all of a sudden was this man who is sensitive enough to see past and through my armor. Here is a man who knows pain and allows me to be me,  and all the others in the audience to be them, scars and all. Here is a person who cares enough to take a look at that which is unpleasant, that which others don’t want to see.

The air in Wilda Marston felt fresh, electrified, energy palpable.

Our deep need for authenticity is the first thing we hide when we make new connections.

Our deep need to be vulnerable is the thing we deny first, and for the longest time, when we make an appearance, introduce ourselves to new people, make new friends, reacquaint with old ones.

Why do we do this? What are we fearing most?

Loss of respect? Loss of confidence? Loss of clout? And even if… then what?

What if the loss is perceived, but not real? What if we don’t ruin our reputation but instead gain a more accurate one, show up more authentically?

Do we need permission to be vulnerable? By whom, other than ourselves?

Mostly by our own ego?

What if we allowed the thought that the people who matter in our lives will see us as we are, regardless how hard we try to hide our scars?

What if taking a chance and showing our scars instead of working so hard to cover them up will actually liberate us to go full-on kintsugi**?

I noticed something else.

As much as I would love to have more people around me who are aware and care about my scars, I want to be that person who sees.

So I learned to listen.

This is why I coach.

Taalam’s full poem as read by him:

“I can tell where your scarz are just by the way you walk.

And every assault that you have endured

has ensured your every step.

And you are blessed

regardless of the animals that have attacked you.

And you are pure

no matter who has abused you.

I know an angel when I see one.

And when our kingdom come,

it will be you, I and the sun.

And we will be one.

We will create children and our children will create us.

Then every night by the light of the moon

I will kiss away your scarz to Abbey Lincoln tunes

and I will drink perfume

that tastes like you

out of a vessel with a waist like you.

Then I will draw our bath water warm

so we can soak till our souls are reborn.

And you will be safe and secure in my arms

and it will always be this way.”

Taalam Acey

  • Japanese concept, transl. “it can’t be helped”. Anywhere between fatalistic acceptance on something that makes no sense but is an installation by some authority, and letting go of the need to control something we are not meant to control.
  • *Japanese tradition of gilding repaired broken porcelain where the cracks are. from Wikipedia: Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

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some people are suns.

some sun days are perfect.

some sunsets are promises already kept.

some voices light a fire in your mind and make you bounce with the clouds.

some people are suns.

i am grateful for all these somes. the sum of it all is joy.

manche tage sind vollkommen.

manche sonnenuntergaenge sind eingehaltene versprechen.

manche stimme rührt den verstand zu wolkensprüngen.

manche menschen sind sonnen.

ich bin dankbar für all diese “manche”. die summe aller ist freude.

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Some Days


Some days, balance eludes us.

Some days, our hearts and souls are so heavy, that it takes something extraordinary to give us peace. Sometimes, our hearts and souls are so ecstatic, that it takes something extraordinary to calm them.

The aurora does this for me.


Looking up in the darkest night, I see this ever so faint, diffuse glow. Initially, it might be impossible to discern whether it is a thin veil of clouds, or the beginning of the electrons’ dance. If the glow moves in waves, comes and goes, I usually stay looking up, regardless how tired my neck gets, because it is just too magical to look away.

As my eyes follow the light, curtains may form, or arcs, as if an invisible horse in the sky swishes its tail to swat away stars – are they poking its butt? I de-light in the celestial show, and my thoughts turn humorous, and creative. The crisp air that comes with auroral nights in boreal forests clears my mind and nourishes my lungs. Taking in night air energizes me, and I dare not move my gaze in the arctic stillness.

This intent focus always brings about a grounding, a genuine balancing of the heart. For a moment, whatever was too much, too heavy, too happy, too painful, too light is forgotten. In its place is nothing but awe and wonder, and with each curtain waving across the firmament my neurotransmitters jump with joy and connect happy neurons.


Of course I know very little about the brain and how all this powerful chemistry works, but I tell you what: watching polar lights brush paint across the arctic night sky is a sight to see, and it will have you oo-ing and ah-ing and getting all excited and sparkly like your mom’s christmas tree. No matter how tired I am when I catch my first glimpse, I usually am wide awake by the time I set up the camera and grab my down coat and sorrels, and when I have enough pictures and go back inside, I feel relaxed and peaceful, and sleep comes easy.

So yes.

Some days, our hearts and souls are so heavy, that it takes something extraordinary to give us peace. Sometimes, our hearts and souls are so ecstatic, that it takes something extraordinary to calm them.

Maybe it is a sunset, or a sunrise, that can do it for you. A thunderstorm with a vibrant rainbow. The first snow, or autumn rain. Nature provides so much for our spirit and soul.

The aurora does it for me.  And while it neither takes away the sadness nor the ecstasy, it levels both to a bearable, healthier degree.
I know that you, too, will find your aurora. Maybe you are going through some heart-heavy times right now. I wish that you find your Northern Lights. That you sleep with more hope, knowing that the day will return when you, too, believe again that the Universe has your back.

If you could use someone who will listen without judgment, maybe to share some tools that will help you move forward, use the contact form or email me at to schedule a free call to assess what you need and what I can provide.

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A Heart Full of Joy Has No Room for Fear

Fisherwoman’s Paradise

I had caught a nice trout and was wading amidst an army of pink salmon, when first a blond, then a cinnamon brown bear appeared to get lunch. They fished about 500 yards upriver from where I stood, grounded and glowing with excitement, assessing the situation and realizing I was neither mobile nor fast enough to run if the bear decided I was the better fish to catch.  I remember assessing the situation;  this was too precious a moment to worry, so what the heck, enjoy and trust that intuition will signal what moves will be best, and the universe will take care of the rest.

The bear pounced a bit here and there seeking the fattest Humpy, until it finally stared directly at me, and as I slowly lowered my gaze, I knew it was time to move. It allowed me to retreat slowly, continued to fish, but did not seem impressed with what the creek, a small jewel for trout and salmon along the Parks highway in South Central Alaska, had to offer.

A Waste of Heart Space

I pulled myself out of the stream, took my trout and two humpies, and a camera full of blurry, rainy shots of my “cinnamon girl”. Time to dance back through the alders to the spot where I had to ford through the creek once more, before I reverse-rappeled myself up the muddy slope to my car.
There is truly no need for fear. It is a waste of heart space.

Life happens, and it doesn’t care how we feel about it. We choose whether we are fearful, or joyful and excited during any of our life’s moments. It doesn’t change what is happening, but it does change how whatever happens will impact us.

We can choose. Fear, or less fear. The fuller we are with joy and excitement, the less room we have for fear and worry.

I love to choose joy.

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that’s deep – a me/ducation

see, when i say that’s deep
i mean
what u just said will leap
off the page, is the tip of a peak
so i lean, glean, pulling your fins, reining you in
by the skin on your temple’s bling
not gold just perfect eyebrows swooshing in
come sing softly, move
towards me and whisper that beat from your heat to my need
over peat
moss and leaves crossed and
train tracks and brain wrecks
blank checks on bounced decks
i brought you the key
but u had me
before on that chain
lost my train
of thought
strain that caught
salmon king
on sisal string
as humpbacks sing
and swangsters swing
to the drum of my ears’ fears
anxiety pierces the walls of trust
so i must
run up that hill
my pump is still
and my breath can chill
at 2 degrees looking down on
myriads of atomic insomniacs
wearing lilacs
on leather straps
dancing on seedy laps
taking them under wraps
folding skin into wax
bees knees bend easily breezy and sleazy
don’t know what it means to geave and leave and be a fiend to sheeet
but urban diction taught me today
that kick rocks means get lost
and that there are seven ways to say fuck you
and not all are rude
and then there is “holla”
which should come with intonation guides
for definition number six alone prides three unrelated meanings:
1. hello.
2. i want to get all up in your goodies. who says that?!
or, number 3. good bye.
this serves as a prelude to
all sorts of deluded combabulations and funfaktations
slice of life lice are rife
use your tongue like a knife on this blithe
fakadillio ~ i’m your wyfe4lyfe if u can handle the strife
life in ak is not your average game
watching hulu as i skin a moose with my ulu
and when i hear strip i see little malls losing grip
on small business economy
unless you are living subsistence there’s no true autonomy
in this wily land
we measure
wealth and treasure
by the pleasure
we get from breathing ice fog
parting blizzards like floetic wizards
eating salmon dog
call ’em chum or chinook our gargantuan kings
rocking rings of black ’round their bellies when
kiluitchaq* is cooking fireweed jellies
 in august
we swing our hoops those 5 foot loops of gillnet
still wet
a day after the run
comes in at the resting mid july sun
waves of sockeye
thrash by
roll and rock my
neoprene too fly
oversize suit; i’m not sure why
it seems like
there’s nothing more sexy
than that salmon heart
and beating for seven more minutes
in my hand
yet committed to ending the journey
not on this gurney of white plastic coolers
but spawn grounds upstream
will never be graced with this buck salmon’s semen
but i gotta go and get my flow from the arctic glow of
aurora at night as my northern starr gleams thru the seams of our
night sky
universes standing by
meteors fly
as i lie
on the snow looking up to see why
we would think to be so special
do you know?
*inupiaq: lock

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