A reach artist

Here’s a concept for you: A reach artist

When I met with Amy Sullivan in October we talked art and artists. She mentioned a couple of artists in a gallery, noting almost under her breath about one of them, “she’s a reach artist.”

When asked, Amy said a reach artist for her sets a benchmark. It’s an artist she admires . . . and who she’d like to stand side by side with in accomplishment some day.

She studies her reach artists more in depth. Not just what their doing artistically, but how they experiment, how they push themselves, the paths they take in their career, the galleries they exhibit in, the way they market.

For Amy, a reach artist is an aspiration. One that is tangible and leaving clues on how she too can get there.

Do you have reach people? Those individuals who embody where you’d like to be in the near future?



It can’t keep us from our purpose, unh uhn

But doesn’t everyone want to be happy?

Maybe not. Life is too short to do what doesn’t matter, to waste your time on things that don’t amount to much. What we all want is to know our time on earth has meant something.

We can distract ourselves with pleasure for only so long before beginning to wonder what the point is. This means if we want true satisfaction, we have to rise above the pettiness of our own desires and do what is required of us.

A calling comes when we embrace the pain, not avoid it. Tragedies, unfortunately, are inevitable. Bad things happen to good people, whether we want them to or not.

What determines our destiny, though, is not how successful we are at dodging hardship but what we do when it comes.

Pain and suffering, though intimidating obstacles, are not strong enough to keep us from our purpose. In fact, they can sometimes be the very catalysts for such discoveries.


Crisis means to sift

What do you do when hit with colossal disappointment?

Here’s a suggestion. Take a cue from Glennon Doyle in Love Warrior, in which she says:

Crisis means to sift. What is left when you go through a crisis is what matters.

I’m reading a gobsmacking memoir by Jewel. Here’s a post from her book Never Broken about gigging in bars with her dad from the age of 5.

Run out and buy Jewel’s book. Hers is a hippy poetess adventure of a life lived in broken pieces . . . yet with some of the most haunting reporting you’ll ever find from within the resurrection point. Points. She lives through a number of crises . . . and each time digs something new from within.

Jewel’s family busts up, her car and guitar are stolen — the one that she’s living in — she lives on the streets of California.

What you see Jewel do is go to ground zero. She retreats to paper and pen. She asks herself questions. She lets it all fly. Her fear, her distress, her angst, her bewilderment. She sifts.

She uses a technique her mother taught her. Of writing out what she wants . . . then ideas on how to get there . . . and then she chooses some and writes down actions to make those ideas work.

She sifts.

What is left when you go through a crisis is what matters.

A crisis always means loss. Loss of love. Of a relationship. Of financial means. Of health. Something valuable is suddenly taken away — the car you live in, for Jewel; our business income, for us during the crash.

In a crisis you are given an eerie gift. The gift to find out what remains after the sifting.

There’s no better way to your own resurgence than to go mano a mano with your most intimate self on the page. You and a pen and a piece of paper. Spilling out your loss . . .

. . . And then pivoting to wonder.

Pivoting to what’s important. What matters so much to me that I’m going to hold on to it no matter how hard I’m shaken by life? That is what you’re asking when everything feels broken.

And that’s your gold. Your soul treasure. In each crisis there’s something in you aching to be born. You can run from it and run from crisis to crisis. Or you can accept the gift.

Get present inside your crisis. Until you unearth a little seed of knowing. Some small almost insubstantial force that makes itself known to you. That feels like it’s part of something vast and forevermaking.

Because it is.

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Spirit feather

As is our ritual, I took the dogs outside for a pee. Me too. Sometimes I go with them. In solidarity, of course.

There, inches from my stream, lay this feather.

The light caught it magnificently. It lay there whispering on the grass, resplendent in its translucence.

I believe this: You have to follow the signs.

I’m a believer in anything that heightens my experience in this world.

Finding a feather is like receiving an invitation to soar. A white feather evokes purity, spirit. It tells you your path is opening up before you.

I share this feather with you today. Because it’s for you too.

Your path is illuminated. 

Your path is a glide path. 

You have wind beneath your wings. 

You are meant to fly; you are meant to be borne aloft. 

Step forward.

That choice you’re confronted with? Make it. You are supported.



“The morning that transformed my entire life”

During the 2008 crash Hal Elrod suffered through a financial collapse. Which spiraled into an emotional collapse. Depression and thoughts of suicide came . . . then this. This realization, leading to this change:

Our outer world will always be a reflection of our inner world. Our level of success is always going to parallel our level of personal development. Until we dedicate time each day to developing ourselves into the person we need to be to create the life we want, success is always going to be a struggle to attain.

I ran straight home. I was ready to change my life.

Our First Challenge: Finding Time

I knew that the solution to all of my problems was that I had to commit to making personal development a priority in my daily life. This was the missing link that would enable me to become the person I needed to be able to consistently attract, create, and sustain the levels of success that I wanted. Simple enough.

. . . . . . .

Aw, Come on –Not in the Morning!

Then, I considered doing it in the morning—but I resisted. To say that I was not a morning person was a gross understatement. The fact was, I dreaded getting up in the morning, particularly waking up early, almost as much as I hated running.

But the more I thought about it, the more a few things started to make sense.

By committing to my personal development in the morning, it would give me a positive motivational kick-start to my day. I could learn something new in the morning. I’d likely be more energized, more focused, and more motivated for the rest of my day.

. . . . . . .

By doing personal development in the morning, I wouldn’t have all of the excuses that accumulate during the day (I’m tired, I don’t have time, etc.)  

If I did it in the morning, before the rest of my life and my work got in the way, I could guarantee that it happened every single day.

Finally, I just didn’t really see any better time to do it.

. . . . . . .

Our Second Challenge: Doing What’s Most Impactful

Then I encountered another challenge—what was I going to do for that hour that was going to make the biggest impact and improve my life the fastest?  

I could read, but I’d done that before, and I wanted this to be special.

I could exercise, but again, that wasn’t getting my juices flowing.

So, I pulled out a piece of blank paper and I wrote down all of the most life-changing personal development practices that I had learned over the years, but never implemented—at least never consistently.

Activities like meditation, affirmations, journaling, visualization, as well as reading and exercise. I chose the six activities that I thought would have the most immediate and dramatic impact on my life, assigned 10 minutes each, and planned to try all six the next morning.

. . . . . . .

The Morning That Transformed My Entire Life 

Teeth brushed, face washed, and a glass of water in hand, I sat up straight on my living room couch at 5: 05 a.m., feeling genuinely excited about my life for the first time in a long time. It was still dark outside, and something about that felt very empowering.

I pulled out my list of life-changing personal development activities I had learned over the years but never implemented. One by one, I implemented each one.


Sitting in silence, praying, meditating, and focusing on my breath, for 10 minutes. I felt my stress melt away, felt a sense of calm come over my body and ease my mind. This was different from the typical chaos of my hectic mornings. 

For the first time in a long time, I felt peaceful.


Having always made excuses why I couldn’t find time to read, I was excited to make time this morning and start what I had always hoped could become a lifelong habit.

I grabbed Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich, off the shelf. Like most of my books, it was one that I had started, but never finished. I read for ten minutes, and picked up a few ideas that I was excited to implement that day.

I was reminded that it only takes one idea to change your life, and I felt motivated.


Having never before harnessed the power of affirmations, it felt amazing to finally read the self-confidence affirmation from Think and Grow Rich aloud. The affirmation was a powerful reminder of the unlimited potential that was within me — and within each of us.

I decided to write my own affirmation. I jotted down what I wanted, who I was committed to being, and what I was committed to doing to change my life.

I felt empowered.


I grabbed the Vision Board off my wall. I had created it after watching the movie The Secret. I rarely took time to look at, let alone use it as the visualization tool it was intended to be.

For ten minutes, my focus shifted from image to image, pausing at each one to close my eyes and feel, with every fiber of my being, what it would be like to manifest each into my life.

I felt inspired.


Next, I opened one of the many blank journals I had purchased over the years. Like all of the others, I had failed to write in for more than a few days—a week at the most.

On this day, I wrote what I was grateful for in my life.

Almost immediately, I felt my depression lifting, like a heavy fog which had been weighing me down. It wasn’t gone, but it felt lighter.

The simple act of writing down the things I was grateful for lifted my spirits. I felt grateful.


Finally, I got up off the couch, remembering what I’d heard Tony Robbins say so many times: Motion creates emotion.

I dropped down and did pushups until I couldn’t do one more. Then I flipped over onto my back and did as many sit ups as my out-of-shape abs would allow.

With six minutes left on the clock, I inserted one of my fiancée’s Yoga videos into the DVD player, and enjoyed completing the first six minutes of it.

I felt energized. It was incredible!  

I had already experienced what was one of the most peaceful, motivating, empowering, inspiring, grateful, and energizing days of my life—and it was only 6: 00 a.m.!

Nothing Short of a Miracle

For the next few weeks, I continued to wake up at 5: 00 a.m. and follow through with my 60-minute personal development routine.

. . . . . . .

My stress levels dropped dramatically. I had more energy, clarity, and focus. I felt genuinely happy, motivated, and inspired. Thoughts of depression were a distant memory.

You could say I was back to my old self again—although I was experiencing so much growth, so rapidly, that I was quickly surpassing any version of myself that I had ever been in the past. And with my newfound levels of energy, motivation, clarity, and focus I was able to easily set goals, create strategies and execute a plan to save my business and increase my income.

Less than two months after my first Miracle Morning, my income was not only back to the level it had been at before the economy crashed, it was higher than ever before.

I knew this powerful morning personal development routine was something I would eventually start sharing with my private coaching clients, so I needed a name for it. 

Considering that the transformation I was experiencing was so profound and happening so fast — having gone from broke and depressed to financially secure and excited about life, in less than two months — that it felt like a miracle, the only appropriate name was The Miracle Morning.


You do some things just because (like this)

See this portal to nowhere? It’s the entrance to a cat run in the backyard of a Statesville, North Carolina home.

Five cats in one house need some leg room.

Artist Amy Sullivan repurposed these antique glass doors as the entryway to her cat corral. The cats come in via a tube through a window. Very Habitrail. But without the rodents.

With this doorway for the humans, it takes on an Alice Through The Looking Glass quality.

You do some things just because.

For the surprise of it. For the jarring sense of spectacle. For the whimsy. For the splash it makes.

Because it’s you and you want to warp the reality around you. You want to bend it to your liking. Everyone has a reality field . . . it’s felt most in those who pulsate strongly who they are.

You can’t walk into Amy Sullivan’s backyard without feeling in the presence of something alive. Someone alive to possibility.


” . . . and work backwards from there”

In conversation with a friend I expressed my exasperation with the obstacles my Dad was throwing in the way of getting the proper care he needed . . . he’d fallen and wouldn’t let us get an ambulance for him.

He’d managed to get into his recliner and refused help.

Mike threw out some ideas . . . before I could swat them all away, one of them lodged. One of them seemed feasible . . .

I thanked him for finding a way of helping my Dad even when he didn’t want it . . . even when my own sense of futility about the whole mess blocked me from a solution.

“Part of it is you have to assume there’s a way, then work backwards from there.”

~ Mike Cohen


When one door closes another door opens, but it can be Hell in the Hallway

When one door closes, another one opens, but it can be hell in the hallway. 

The hallway is that place between jobs, between relationships, during a major illness or after a permanent change or crisis. Life as you know it has ended, and you’re not sure what’s coming next.

. . . . . 

The hallway in contrast is marked by a definite door closing, an unmistakable shift in circumstances. It’s a change that initially might beat you down but inevitably calls you higher. This experience is an opportunity for nothing less than spiritual transformation.

. . . . . 

All hallways begin with something that has ended, and the experience might look and feel like profound loss at first, might seem as if your life has gone terribly awry.

But change is the only way life can be made better, and “better”often requires leaving behind what was merely good.

. . . . . 

[Take] fighter pilot Charlie Plumb, who was shot down and held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for six years. He first considered it a colossal waste of time. Yet years after he was freed, he said it was a “beautiful gift.”

A gift!

Trapped in an 8 by 8 foot cell, not knowing whether he would live from day to day. He said nothing could have taught him more.

“There’s great value in getting blown out of the sky once in a while,” Plumb said in a speech. “There’s great value in that wakeup call that forces you and me to re-examine the way we’re doing business. Said a little differently, adversity is a horrible thing to waste.”

(emphasis mine)

Excerpted from Hell in the Hallway, Light at the Door: How to Move Gracefully through Change into Renewed and Abundant Life by Ellen Debenport


Somewhere in Mississippi

Somewhere in Mississippi there’s a welcoming rest area off of I-10 as you leave Louisiana heading east.

In Ernest Hemingway’s short story A Clean, Well-Lighted Place two waiters discuss an old drunk. It’s late. This guy is the last patron.

One waiter wants to give him the bum’s rush and get him out of there so they can go home. The other waiter understands all you need sometimes is a place to go to that’s clean, well lit, with a sense of order to dispel the darkness.

I read this story in my early twenties, maybe even my teens. The simplicity of the narrative belies its impact. You catch the whiff of despair underlying existence for many.

At some point you realize that maybe just maybe you can be that clean, well-lighted space for someone who needs it.

Your space might be listening. Or your space might be sparking a sense of camaraderie wherever you alight. Or your space might be connecting . . . truly connecting with those on the periphery.


A vision page on the fly

A couple of days ago I launched a public vision page . . . one of my (almost) daily practices that has made a significant difference in my life.

Here I’m posting an example of a vision page on the fly. I had maybe 5 to 8 minutes between two early morning events . . . and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to connect and launch my day.

So I went supernova on it. Blasted it out with a series of statements on what I wished for the day. To set it in motion.

Even a quickly jotted vision page can funnel you in your preferred direction.

Speaking what you want has power. Writing it has even more . . . it tunnels into you and out of you simultaneously.

You might think your to-do list or your planner is your focusing tool, but it’s not. That is your means of execution.

Bring the entirety of your being into alignment before you begin your day — before you execute — and watch the sparks fly. The enjoyment sparks.

A vision page is a means for bridging mind and spirit. Handwriting it completes the triad, engaging your body too.

Try it for a day, for a week. On the fly or more in depth. A vision page is a powerful focusing agent. Fusing sometimes disparate aspects together, so that you spring forth with uncommon calm for one so energized for the day.

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