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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Yeti and U-Turns.

(10 minute read)

It’s been a while.

I’ve been known to take these month-long creative breaks. It is something I want to change. Writing a blog post at the moment is almost like pregnancy AND childbirth in one to me. I feel a lot more comfortable with something less laborious, and that’s something to try out soon.

One reason for my blogosphere silence is usually just life happening: work, moving, processing what propelled me to move, observing how I feel in my new house with new roommates, and how far out of my comfort zone I’m stretching with this. Things germinate slowly with me, so  have the delightful, creative chaos that made me wonder why I ever wanted to live alone, ever, and on the opposite end of the experience the arbitrariness of it all, where just one thing changes that tips the scale. But that’s a whole other story to be told on a different day.

The other reason for is something that some of you might be very familiar with:  I decide it’s about time for a new post, but there are five things cooking simultaneously on my mind-heart stove, and I simply can’t decide which one to pick. My resistance grows as I notice -especially right around the holidays and all through the beginning of a new year – the virtual world exploding with posts, stories, ads, more articles, more ads. Tired before my morning tea, I dig myself out of the avalanche of “best-ever-stories” I’ve been consuming for almost an hour. There is really no reason for me to add to the mess of blessings. So I just keep notes, a lot of them.

My motto is still “Upgrade to Simple” – less is more, minimalism rules, but at the same time I love sharing what inspires me. So I’ll try to bring my notes to life (and make space on my phone in the process), but I also decided to pick two to three newsletters a month that I’ll actually read.

Today, I made time to read one by a fellow coach and fellow-Olympian, wellness-coach Shelly Haas, who wrote about self-inquiry this week.

Like many introverts who present as extroverts in their professional life, I love my solitude to recharge, and I best do it on hikes, long drives, and meals by myself.  Inspired by the question, “what needs attention?”, I packed some water and apples, the good camera, and set out on a journey of self-inquiry and Olympic discovery.

I am learning – I’m not fond of rain every day. I enjoy fog and the ambience it brings, I love snow and miss it something fierce right now, and I have love for rain in corners of my heart, but just like beets, it’s good and necessary, but I don’t want it every day.

I figured since I found some snow in Mt Rainier yesterday and spent almost two hours hiking through pouring rain, I’ll try sandy beaches in today’s precipitation. Off to Ocean Shores, but then my iPod was making funny noises and I got distracted and forgot to drive straight on the 8 and took a right to Shelton instead.

I get disgruntled for a minute. My phone tells me there’s a U-turn in a mile and a half, but then there isn’t, so I’m even more grumpy, and then, as the next U-turn shows up, so does the sun and blue skies and mountain views (!) right ahead, so I give the U-turn the finger and move straight ahead.

I used up my high speed data and 128 kbps are to maps what years are to light, so I decided to wing it and follow the sunshine intuitively.

One turn led to another, and I ended up at Lake Cushman.  Just as I was appealing to the gods of pull-outs “why on earth would you not put a viewpoint alongside such a gorgeous lake?”, I passed a large viewing area. U-turns were a thing today. Waterfalls adorn the road, and the further back I drive, the greener the water becomes. Hemlock, fir and cedar trees line the the banks of the lake. The water levels seem remarkably low after all the rains we’ve had, and I wonder if this area is sheltered and gets less precipitation after all.  We’re in the off season, so the port-a-potties are clean and smell flowery. There are a number of staircases built for easy lake access. Giant tree stumps stand in clans with smaller ones, heavy boulders here and there, and I am having a joyfully unique walking experience altogether. It is warm, 10C, balmy, a promise of spring that I reject – in my home state Alaska, February marks the coldest month of the year with a couple of guaranteed weeks of bitterness around -30F…

As usual, I’m roaming the area until long after sun down. I take my time driving back, enjoying the soft pink sunset triangle in between mountains above the lake, and it seems only a minute until I am in Hoodsport, getting hungry. Hunger comes and goes, I’ll be fine until home; I could grab some bibimbap at Trader Joe’s, or … what?! “King Salmon Dinner w/Clam Chowder & Salad $9.95”.

Another U-turn.

At home, King Salmon is even expensive when you catch it yourself (gas, king tag, etc.). This is either not salmon, or … well, let’s not judge, I tell myself, let’s have a look and a conversation.

As I am standing outside the order window, a chicken approaches me to say hello. It looks a bit grimy, but friendly, and parks itself right next to my feet. I order the King Salmon dinner and sit down in an open annex to the kitchen. I am the only guest, two to-go orders have been picked up, and a young man brings out a large tray with a very large plate and bowl. The salmon tastes amazing. It’s moist and light, absolutely fresh and delicious. Half the plate is covered with fresh, crisp romaine lettuce and a light ranch dressing, and a home-made biscuit. When the young man, whose name is Bruce, asks how everything tastes, I ask him to nuke the soup, as it is a bit too cold for my taste. Within a couple of minutes, Bruce brings a whole new full bowl of soup. No nuking here – he just scooped from a fresh batch of soup.

We start talking – about the salmon he serves, and his food in general. Everything that can be homemade is prepared right here in the kitchen. That includes breakfast (did I hear him say “all day” or was that wishful listening?) with his grandma’s homemade sweet-potato pancakes, and their homemade ice cream. The chowder was one of the best I’ve had in the state, and I’ve had them up and down the peninsula all the way down to Long Beach, and then on the East Coast and in Alaska – Kelsey’s tonight was top tier. The eatery is named after Bruce’s mom, and is a true family business – all fresh, organic, homemade, with family recipes that go back 50 years.

I’m getting used to questions about Alaska, and almost everyone I talk to has a connection to my state. Bruce knew the Kenai Peninsula, and he proudly shared that he picks up his fresh Alaskan salmon and lingcod every morning at 4:30 at the airport in Seattle. His connection to the Kenai includes a story of loss, friendship, and, over some unexpected turns, he talks about his chickens. He keeps 12 on his property and their eggs supply him with enough for his daily recipes – business involves even the feathered family.

“Meet Yeti, the silkie by your feet,” Bruce introduces me to my rather quiet dinner companion. “Yeti is 18 years old.”  The Silkie Yeti has certainly seen fluffier days, but clucks approvingly, and looks at me knowing full well that I will not share my food. He shall hang out anyway, this is his place after all, not mine.

Yeti connects us to another story of friendship, cross-generational, full of respect and ingenious collaboration, and more loss, and love, and family, and survival, and age, hippies, and stubbornness maybe, as he takes another to-go order.

“So where are you from originally?” He laughs when I tell him Germany, and we talk travel and touring and how #45 and his nonsense is impacting my Alaska tours with guests from overseas.

Bruce packs a to go cup with ice cream for me. Huckleberry cream-cheese, cold deliciousness for the way home.  His business has been going great, even in the winter months, and he speaks with joy and excitement about what they have changed to make it more practical, healthy, and more successful.  I almost want to come back tomorrow for breakfast, but no need to be excessive, not even if it is to find out more about how they made Kelsey’s flourish within 2 years.  But I will, some day this year, before the summer madness.

So this is today’s story.

I know, I know. I could’ve just said “hey, there’s a cool eatery in Hoodsport, right on the road, that has King Salmon dinners for less than 10 bucks, plus it’s all organic and they have chickens that talk to you and lay the eggs for your pancakes”, but I can still do that, in a tweet or two.

This was really more about self-inquiry. Remember Shelly’s question?

What needs attention?

My resistance is a great thing to look at. Where do I turn away instead of toward? And when I turn toward, what is the real reason I seek this?  Wherever we experience push and pull, those places are worth paying attention to, on the inside. And I resist where I see profit over people. I lean in when it looks like people over profit, and then connection, sustainability, and balance.

On the outside: Bruce’s lovely family business needs and deserves attention. Their commitment to serve needs attention. Their reverence for family history deserves attention. His big-picture sustainable, whole-hearted, wholesome foods business also does. And the love he doesn’t spell out, but that is so obviously there, for people who are real, who fight an honest fight, who love and live by their own rules, who do no harm, who rescue animals, who light up the lives of others. There is a lot of story here, and that deserves attention.

I feel an urgency when it comes to people’s stories. Here is a simple place that serves good wholesome food with real dishes and silverware, and it is economical and healthy and sustainable, and people oriented.

The riches here deserve attention. It’s not about the money, people. It’s about you, about us.

To serve, and to nourish.

Happy day, Lovelies!

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Upgrade to Simple

Sunset at Evangola Beach, NY

What if you could slow down time for whenever you need to pause?

How different is it to watch the sunset on the beach in slow-motion?

In less than 2 minutes of slo-mo video, how much calmer, how much more mindful do you become as you observe?

How much does the slow-down invite reflection?

Upgrade vs. Improvement

It took me about that time to realize that we are bombarded with not just updates, but even more so with upgrades. These come as solid promises of improvement. Upgrading is a thing. Whether it’s cars, phones, laptops or insurance plans, upgrading usually costs you a bit more money for a promise of increased speed, comfort, class, functionality.  Sometimes, these upgrades are practical. They change how we do business. They accelerate how we communicate with others, produce results, or get information.  Upgrades seem to make the use of computers, phones, or memberships, and our perception of how safe or comfortable we are, better in general.

But upgrades are not always improvements, or necessary. You are upgrading your phones, computers, memberships for which purpose exactly? Get more done? Have more free time so you can do what you really want to do? Or is the ultimate goal to be an early adopter of always the newest thing, because it’s the sexy thing to do?

If upgrading makes you sleep better, smile more, and be kind and generous, go ahead. But if you feel pressured and don’t quite see how all this upgrading makes any more sense than making up your face to look like a fishing lure, slow down.

Free Will is a Beautiful Thing

You have permission to be in defiance of the upgrade craze. You are allowed to choose what upgrade means to you.You have the right to decide that simplifying life, using and re-purposing things, concepts, ideas, processes, is the only upgrade worth your while. For now. You have the right to explore, test-drive, and discard if this belief doesn’t work for you. But I do encourage you to try it. Try upgrading to a simpler life.

Do you really need all this stuff? Or do you need more space?

Do you really need to do all this? Or do you need more time?

What do you really need? And what do you really, really want?

When you decide to upgrade to simple, you embrace the beauty of what is already there. Your consumer footprint is light and small. There is some wisdom in the old adage If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

You leave no trace, except that smile on your face.



By on | Human Nature, Uncategorized | 1 Comment [Read More]

When the Mind is too full to be mindful

{3 minute read}

Today is going to be a day of mindfulness. I confirmed that intention after waking up.

I wanted eggs for breakfast. I’m usually not ready to eat until about 2 hours after getting up, and at least 30 minutes after I’ve had coffee. It was 9:30 on a sunny Buffalo morning when I decided breakfast is eggs.

Bought fresh eggs last night. Found eggs with sell-by date 12/02/16 in fridge. Good ones. Organic, level 4, pasture raised healthy eggs. How long do they keep? It took me three attempts to call the farm. I distracted myself with coffee, Instagram, Facebook, and running to the bathroom. Farm says they can’t answer the question, referred me to the USDA. I look up their webpage as I am holding to speak to a person, but it takes so long to load so I check my phone and get distracted by all the email notifications. One from a coaching colleague who sent an adorable family picture. I have to write to her and thank her, before I forget. In the meantime, I am boiling 4 of the old eggs to see what they smell like. Oh, I forgot to call the USDA. Shoot, wasn’t I on hold just a minute ago? Call dropped. Their website says 3-5 weeks after the sell by date, the eggs should be used. Ugh. Wait. My coaching buddy responded right away. Happy me! The eggs smell notsogood. I toss them and apologize to the universe and all the hungry people in my neighborhood. I boil fresh water.

I decide to get a grip on this frazzledness and set the timer for 5 minutes after I lower the fresh eggs into the boiling water. I will give myself 5 minutes to respond to my friend’s note.

I find myself getting up for no reason, headed towards the stove. I set a timer, so damn Ki, stay put until it rings. I write to my friend, and get up again. I notice that I got up for no reason … 3 times.

The timer finally rings.  I pour out the hot water and scare the eggs with cold water. Makes it easier to peel them later.

I had to write this down.

Today, and this week, maybe longer, is a day, a week of focus. That was my intention when I went to bed last night, and when I got up. I wanted to spend my time mindfully. Aware of what I am doing. Observant, not judging. I noticed that with so many incentives, inspiring thoughts and impulses, my mind is full. Being mindful, I noticed my mind is too full to focus. What helped was structure, and the boundary set by time. Having the limited amount of time for a task, or an activity segment, helped tremendously. I noticed how long those five boiling minutes were. I noticed how much I was able to get done in that time by simply sitting back down after getting up for no reason, and focusing on replying to my friend. I wouldn’t lose time, because I had set the timer.

It’s 12:30 now. Lunchtime. I will be eating my breakfast. I am hungry now.

Mindfulness will have me set the timer again.

It helps keep things in perspective.

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How to Keep your Cool when Life puts you in the Hotseat ~ Newsletter Excerpt

{5 minute read}

Five Fairly Simple Transition Tips:

My top five things to balance and empower yourself in any life transition:

Tip 1: Be still, and assess the situation  Yes, I am borrowing this from bear encounter safety training 101, because it works so well and is applicable to pretty much any situation that involves change or surprise. Being still is not a “Mannequin Challenge”. Being still means focusing on the moment at hand while you take deep breaths and assess where you are, what you have, what lies behind you, what lies ahead.  

Tip 2: Prepare. If your transition is an anticipated move, preparing yourself is a no-brainer. However, sometimes, the transition you are facing comes suddenly. Taken by surprise, we often rush ahead and soon find ourselves checking off never ending to-do lists. Whether you were laid off or your partner announced the end of the relationship, whether you are having immigration issues, or you are taking advantage at the last minute of a promotion that requires you to move abroad – preparation is key in maintaining your balance and sanity. I listed more specific steps for careers, relationships, immigration issues and international transition, or relocating nationally and internationally in my mini-transition guide Seven Northern Lights.

Tip 3: Self-care. Again, a no-brainer, you might think, but it is surprising how many of us forget to take good care of our physical, mental, and emotional needs.  In the stress of a transition, treat yourself. You won’t have time to think much, so just choose what’s best for you, not what’s quickest, easiest, cheapest. The slice of pizza works for a day, but not every day.  

Get your clean water, your fruits and vegetables (sources of the cleanest cell water obtainable), and your clean protein to feed your body.  

Squeeze in a 30 minute walk at least three times a week, even if it is just a walk around the block. Try getting to the park at least once a week. Connecting with nature, walking in a forest, is as medicinal as taking aspiring, if not more. 

Laugh often – surround yourself with funny people, check funny instagram memes, watch funny shows or blooper videos, or take two wooden matchsticks, stick them vertically in your mouth against your bottom teeth, and try to maneuver the tips into your nostrils. (Definitely get back to me on how that went, with pictures or video please!)

Turn off the noise, find quiet, meditate, pray, read before sleep so you get sufficient amounts of restorative sleep.

Hug. Hugs are perfect, you never just give, you always get one back, right?   

Tip 4: Assume Innocence – Everyone can become a Friend One thing that truly made a difference for me when I changed locations – I learned to give people a chance. As and introvert, I had to learn to make the first move. What I learned over time was that we have a lot more in common than is obvious at first sight. I concluded a few years ago that all of humanity essentially want the same things: knowledge of our purpose, someone to love, something meaningful to do, and someone to love us back. When I approach or respond to strangers with that thought in my heart, first encounters are disarming. Try it, and let me know how you felt, and what happened. I really want to hear your thoughts and feelings about this, because it transformed how I connect with people, and I am curious about your transition experience. I am still an introvert and recharge in blissful solitude or in the presence of only few, but my efforts at making friends are much more successful, and a lot less anxious. 

Tip 5: Routine. I learned this after an unanticipated transition: starting a routine after you relocate, or after a break-up, a loss, or any crisis will help ground you, give stability, and a sense of control. To move out of confusion into more clarity, having a routine is helping us settle in. Start small, and build up. A routine can consist of:

a daily 30 minute walk, or

a small, informal tea ceremony at home. It can be that 

time set aside for journaling, or

exercise, stretching with a buddy or by yourself, or

your favorite, uplifting tv show.

Adding time for meditation, prayer, and contemplating things that you are thankful for daily will transform your transition days into gentle powerballs.

So much for Ki’s keys to a smoother transition. You can read more and be inspired by the amazing Alaskan Aurora Borealis here.

My biggest goal, and wish for you, for 2017 is this: Upgrade to Simple. Transitions are more fluid that way. I don’t need any more stuff. I am letting go of complicated. I release heavy. Saying bye-bye to difficult. Farewell to drama. Good riddance to what doesn’t serve us anymore. 

Welcome the Upgrade to Simple.

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So I decided I am a Solopreneur… A Small Business Story

{7 minute read}

I am an entrepreneur. A solo-preneur. Solo, the only employee in my coaching business. My small business.  So small I don’t need an office. Just a laptop, wifi, and a phone. And a lot of idealism, willingness to listen and to be coached and mentored, a lot of patience, inspiration, resilience, fearlessness, and trust. Trust that I am where I am supposed to be in my journey, and that all my work eventually will pay off.

My small business is just blossoming. I am a Transition Strategist and Certified Professional Life & Business Coach. I work with professionals who are experiencing the challenges of a major change in their lives. This can be a career transition or a transition in their personal lives. My clients are moving through lay-offs and break-ups; they are on quests for their purpose and driven to define their legacy.  Amidst all these different transitions, I treasure cross-cultural career moves, because they come with their very own set of challenges, especially for the trailing spouses.

Entrepreneurship has changed my life! I love every part of the process, but it is hard work. Thinking about it, I have always been an entrepreneur, a solo-preneur. At age 14, I hijacked my parents’ living room and the grand piano to give piano lessons to an 8-year-old girl from our village. I continued taking students for the next five years and eventually had two whole afternoons blocked off in the living room. Thank you Mom & Dad! Thank you, brothers Andreas and Johannes – your willingness to share and understand was supporting me in ways I can only now fully appreciate.

When my students advanced beyond my level and I happily referred them to my prodigy brother, I started a new entrepreneurial identity and became a language tutor for ESL and French, and private ESL teacher to adult learners. I went on to offer translation and interpretation services in my home country Germany, and was more or less accidentally discovered as a voice talent. I took on voice over jobs for commercials and dubbed tv documentaries for a local tv station. My radio show “Cult and Culture” was a volunteer project that earned me a Sunday morning show on a local radio station, again as a freelancer. Throughout all these ventures I kept my day job or went to school. Later, after moving to Alaska, I worked as a freelance photographer and made minute amounts of money selling prints.  It was a perfect world, as I usually enjoyed my paid work tremendously and my small freelance projects just enhanced the fun.

However, after my most recent full time position, teaching at the university, was -by supervisor’s order- reduced to just retaining students and not letting anyone fail, whether they reached the class goal or not, I realized if I don’t want to compromise my values and ideals any longer, I will have to find a way to serve others with my full skillset independent of an employer. I did a lot of soul searching and applied to many different positions that I thought might fit, underwent a few assessments and finally came to the conclusion that the most honest and straightforward way to honor my gift and give my all to my global community would be as a life and business coach.

So I sold my house and moved my belongings into a storage unit or my son’s home, and took what would fit into my car and two suitcases, and signed up for coaching certification training with iPEC in Toronto. I went back and forth between Alaska and Canada for tour guiding work, but focused on coaching, practiced, learned about the business, practiced, studied, and practiced some more. I coached remotely, via Skype, with willing clients in Germany, Austria, Italy, Brazil, and several U.S. states, and of course Ontario, my training turf. The more I saw results, the bigger my passion to give 110% – give my all and that extra mile, if necessary.

I had to learn everything about being an entrepreneur, and I am not done learning. I have to work part time to make ends meet but this does not deter me from my goal. My biggest obstacle was a spoof ban from Canada that so far no one has been able to fully make sense of. Ten days after my certification I was stranded in upstate New York after trying to re-enter Canada to wrap things up before flying back to my home state of Alaska. I wasn’t allowed to even go back to grab a couple of clothes, let alone taking the time to talk to our attorney and making a decision on how to proceed properly.

Since I was prevented from driving home through Canada, I stayed in the Buffalo/Niagara area until my personal belongings had been brought to me from the place I had stayed near Toronto. It took several months, and during this time I worked part time in Niagara Falls. My remaining waking hours were invested in building The Ki Line, my coaching business. In the past six months, I learned about marketing and client creation in two entrepreneur bootcamps, built my presence on several referral platforms, expanded my website, pro-bono coached six clients, created three new clients, wrote 47 proposals and nine articles, posted 17 youtube videos surrounding my own forced transition and thus created a space where my clients can identify and find their own journey reflected, even if only in parts.

Over the next years of growing my client family, I will develop a transition facilitation model that will help anyone in transition to simplify their lives and thus facilitate any transition. It will impact mobile entrepreneurs as well as professionals who are making a permanent move to a country considerably different from their home.

My biggest “helpers” and tools have been several entities and platforms. Most prominently,  the entrepreneurial culture of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, with its Innovation Center and d!g, the co-working space that stands for “Design-Innovation-Garage”, and all the genius people who create magic there; the supportive team of coaches from my training group, but also Noomii and Thumbtack,  free advertising on virtual platforms such as Craigslist and Kijiji, and most recently LinkedIn ProFinder. Out of all the referral programs, LinkedIn ProFinder stands out. It helps a lot in this continuous process of business building as the ProFinder leads are so much more detailed than leads and requests on other platforms, and the options for pros to respond are also more liberal and expansive. If LinkedIn continues to improve and weed out bots and less sincere, ill-intentioned requesters, ProFinder could be an excellent tool for me to connect with my ideal clients. I am inspired to learn more and work more with LinkedIn as I continue to explore other advertising strategies. In my situation, as a Transition Strategist working through transition as a solopreneur, having one referral program to focus on would be a blessing.

So yes. I am an entrepreneur. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life. There are cloud 9 days, then again days when I question whether this can possibly work.  A day in the life might start hopeful at sunrise, but by 11AM and a look at the bills vs what’s in the bank the joy curve plummets below zero. Lunch might bring a new networking connection, by 3PM a new lead signs and I am near the entrepreneurial heavens again, but by 7PM my website kills the “About” page for no obvious reason and the article I worked on for 3 hours disappears, unretrievably.

In honor of balance, I continue and ride this solo-preneurial fever curve. I am singing with Alanis Morissette in my head…I’m broke, but I’m happy. I’m poor, but I’m a fired-up coach who makes a difference. I am kind, and determined, both as a coach and an entrepreneur. I’m scared beyond description sometimes, but my heart is fearless. I have to keep moving, as I push my clients to keep moving.

So far – it’s been propelling me forward.

Where are you going?

Not sure?

Would you like some help figuring it out?

Call me!


*My “BoomingModel” experience deserves its own article. Check back soon!

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Innovation or In-Ovation? The 43North Experience

{2 minute read}

Pardon the pun. Innovation is huge here in Buffalo, so there is no question.  The 43 North Experience will have us all in awe, and in ovation in face of so much applied genius.

When I followed a really good lead to the Design Innovation Garage, also known as D!G, I learned that entrepreneurs and small businesses can use this former warehouse space to work and build their business. Before you climb the “Steps to Success” in the D!G space, you traverse the hall of 43N, 43 North, an incubator that is inspiring by its mere existence.

A Governor’s Vision

The way it was explained to me, 43 North is a vision turned competition. Not unlike the Ki~Line tagline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo envisioned, empowered, and succeeded. He envisioned a rebirth of Buffalo, set the intention to “make a bold, fearless, beautiful, entrepreneurial city on the rise” together, empowered the vision, intention, and the city with the “Buffalo Billion” initiative and the energetic collaboration with the New York Power Authority, and succeeded in a win/win for everyone involved.

No Free Lunch, but 2 Million Bucks

Start-ups who participate in the 43North competition can win a significant amount of money, a decade of tax relief, expert mentorship, and incubator space on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus’ Innovation Center. There is a catch: winners must bring their business to Buffalo. Clearly, there’s no free lunch. Looking at winners from past competitions, it appears like keeping the business in Buffalo is the right thing to do – a win-win for the entrepreneur and the city.

This past week, 43North and Buffalo celebrated finals.

This Happened.

Out of 542 ingenius submissions, 142 made it to the semifinals on Wednesday. 16 finalists went into the qualifying round on Wednesday, 10 finalists came out of the finals award round this afternoon, and eight teams won $500,000 each. Winner of $1 million was Oncolinx, a start up that is developing cancer treatment that will make chemotherapy redundant. No more “treatment” that kills the good cells along with the cancerous ones. Instead, the are developing a drug that will activate the bodies own immune system to attack and remove only the cancerous cells. All teams had amazing ideas and concepts and products.

Buffalo continues to transition into a role model community for the rest of the nation. Buffalo is transforming itself, its people, and is impacting innovation and health across the country and the whole world. Bravo Buffalo, bravo 43N, yay Western New York!

Your Turn!

If reading this inspired you, and you want to pursue your own journey into a career transition, or entrepreneurship, call me! I can help you with that! Phone number is on the Contact page.

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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.

By on | Alaska, Joy | 0 Comments [Read More]

The ॐ “Aum” in Trauma: Where is the Gift in …? 

How often do you go through some “stuff” and wonder why? You hurt emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, any-ly ~ and before you can even allow yourself to accept that this happened to you, the question keeps popping up over and over again: why this? why me?

It’s a good question. GREAT question actually.

Most people make one big mistake with that question.

They stop.
They stop at the question and close the door, locking themselves in a room with their defeat and the inevitability of arbitrary bad luck.

What if I could guarantee you the answer? Or rather, not I, but what if life will answer, guaranteed, if you just give it…… time?

Sometimes it takes only hours, sometimes years, often somewhere inbetween – but each transition, whether forced or voluntary, bears a gift.

How about not stopping with the question. I want to invite you to stay open to finding it. Your choice.

I have shared the story of my own recent, and forced, transition in videos over the past six months. I realized something along the way, already a while back, but I was in denial about it.

Today, I have the courage to share. It’s lengthy, but it’s honest. I share, because it proves that the gift is there. The ॐ = the “aum” in trauma.  I expect to see more blessings as I continue to move forward and grow.

I’d love to hear from you, especially if you are or have been in similar phases of change. Forced, voluntary, expected, unexpected. I’d love to learn about your gift. And if you are still stuck at “why” – let me know if you’d like help with that.


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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 ki@thekiline.com to schedule a free call to assess what you need and what I can provide.

By on | Alaska, Human Nature | 0 Comments [Read More]