I arrived on earth with a sixth sense and desire for connection. Sensitive, observant, curious, full of questions & wonder with the world. Intensely present, heart-centered, artistic, and smart. A tiny mystic who internalized everything.
~ Why Fierce Heart™
We’re the sum of our stories.
I was born a ‘too much’ girl. My parents saying I could see in the dark, and strangely, my earliest memory is in the dark stairwell of my Grandma’s home. Below me a dark hallway, and the kitchen across it. I can still see the blurred blaze of light of the big window at the foot of the stairs. I’m alone. Sent by my mother who I haven’t seen in weeks. Because I was too much.
At 17, I left home. At 19, I grabbed the dream of marriage to the man I loved. The story of that marriage included a dark secret of abuse I hid for four decades. Because once I got away, I was done with labels & judgement from others.
The thing is, I also hid how I changed myself to leave that marriage. And how I took the steps to change my circumstances. Alone, with no guidance, support, or help. Calling on my courage & too muchness to save my own life.
And that one story I hid so long created a legacy and changed the world:
I’m sitting in a classroom, in University for the fifth time to get my bachelor’s degree. I overhear two young women talk about their recent dates, of almost being raped. “It’s just a chance you take on campus,” one says. Blood rushes my head. My ears buzz. I know violence to the body. Know how they’d flinch when blindsided. Know how they breathe free when it doesn’t happen. That they’ll perhaps even hide it inside themselves, too.
I swore right then there’d be a Women’s Center on that huge university campus by the time I graduated 18 mos. later. A place women could gather, tell their stories, find allies & support, and be safe.
I was shy, and I stepped forward to my Voice as a fierce advocate connecting with students, faculty, and administration. I discovered that what I’d done my entire life in every job – listen so people felt heard, & speak to where we connect – could serve a greater good. I learned the power of a Vision, how it would happen, even as I heard again & again it was impossible.
The Women’s Center opened on the eve of my graduation. Since then, it’s served hundreds of thousands of people. In 2018 alone, not counting all who stepped in or called, 57,ooo people engaged with The Women’s Center.
Why I do what I do.
Years after my days at that University, I’m walking the hilly streets of Asheville, NC. The Applachian mountains circling the city are gorgeous. The 1920s historic buildings I love glow magically in the sunlight.
It’s fall, my favorite time of year. The air feels perfect on my skin. Like being in water not too warm, not too chill. My life is good, even one of ease compared to so many others’.
And yet, something’s terribly wrong. Because I feel empty inside. The thought startles me. Even more startling is the thought “I’ve lost my Voice, again.”
Rattled, I turn to what engaged me in the past. I take a univeristy graduate class in documentary. My project on the power of place, something that hits deep in my Soul. I go to galleries and places I once found exciting & stimulating. Have lunch with friends.
The dullness persists. By angels or luck, I’m led to a prompted writing circle.
My interest in culture & psychology is rejuvenated. I fall in love with stories once again, and discover I see the stories beneath the obvious stories. I write a novel, and discover I hear the characters speak like William Faulkner said he did. And when author Ron Rash honors me by saying “I know the people and place well,” I realize it’s real.
Later I see I’d rewritten my own story in that novel, taking me to a deeper understanding how I’d transformed my life in the process. And the knowledge how many times I’ve done this, and that anybody can.
I finally got that my differences were Gifts. I’ve always seen webs of patterns & connections in ways that most others don’t. . .inter-dimensionally. Have always felt things differently, from color to sound to the beat of the unseen.
My parents swore I “saw in the dark.’ It’s been a double edged sword my entire life. The heartache of acting on a person’s potential vs. who they show up as. And the gifts I use serving so many people I’ve encountered and worked with my entire life. It’s a choice I had to learn.
Ultimately, I guide and teach people how to see with new eyes. Take them to the core of expanding their insides and connecting with themselves….with resilience, creative thought, and possibilities.
I’m committed to amplifying the genius of others. I want them creating their Vision. I want them making the positive impact they know in their hearts they can. I see them as Fierce-Hearted, too.
Read more here.
Where We Connect
I’m a multi-passionate Vision keeper, way-shower, shift agent, consultant, author & artist who sees in patterns & webs of connections. I say the word Love a lot. I confess awe, wonder, and curiosity are in my DNA.
I love reading and writing, because they’re like living a good life for me. We settle into the world, get to know folks, ride through their ups and downs, share their angst and triumphs… and feel touched in ways so something shifts inside us.
I madly love the natural world and long to travel, because both are about culture, rhythm, place, and experience.
It’s how I approach life and my work, whether as corporate advertising account manager, micro-brewery owner building a business, activist establishing the ‘impossible‘, or way-shower, helping people be the heroes of their dreams. Creating and connection always at the core.
I’m also a mother, wife, good friend, grandmother, educator, advocate, and mystic who claims recovering perfectionist, optimistic realist, and deep connections with the Universe. Perfect days and beauty in any form make me happy.
Ask me about myself I’ll tell you I prefer tea to coffee, walking to running, sunrises to sunsets, quiet to lively, exploring to shopping, light filled rooms to cozy caves. A huge dose of solitude sustains me, as does driving through uninhabited landscapes,. You’ll think me extrovert when we meet, tho.
My love for the Appalachians lives in my novel Flight. My soul-connection with the high desert of Northern NM lives in my second novel, in progress.
Read My Works
The Writer’s Block Myth – A Guide to Get Past Stuck & Experience Lasting Creative Freedom‘
#1 Bestselling Book. A creativity mindset bible described as the best book about what being a writer is.
“Kenya 2018 – The Mara” The Wayfarer, Vol.8 Issue.1 – Homebound Publications
A poem inspired by my stay in the middle of the Maasai Nature Preserve.
“The Altar of Birds” The Wayfarer, Vol.3 Issue.2 – Homebound Publications
2014 Pushcart Prize nominee poem
“Know Yourself Better than You Know Anyone Else” a contributing essay in Patti Digh’s What I Wish for You: Simple Wisdom for a Happy Life
“A Writer’s Life” guest blog on Marginalia with Nancy Peacock
“The Honey Hour,” short story, The Ekphrastic Review, May 1, 2018
If you like to listen, you’ll enjoy my FUN & informative audio guide, The Creative Life for People Living in the Real World
Awards & Recognitions
- Summer Literary Seminars Prose & Poetry Contest 2018 – Finalist
- Pushcart Prize nomination 2014: The Wayfarer, Vol.3, Issue 2 – Homebound Publications
- Ruminate Magazine Poetry Contest 2014 – Semi-Finalist
- Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize 2012 – finalist
- Panhellenic Outstanding Women’s Award (NC State University)