Complicated Gratefulness

Things are not simply “grateful” or “blessed!”
Sometimes we are blessed in areas where we haven’t got other things we wanted, and we are learning to love lives that we didn’t ask for.

(btw, this is my friend Bethany W., not me! We both like our names.

Becoming Bethany


I am standing on top of 2,500-year-old temple ruins in southern Mexico and my breath catches in my throat. I look out over the green grass and the rocks and the perfectly blue sky with a smattering of clouds and as happens so often when I see something unspeakably beautiful, I can feel tears welling up in my eyes. The moment is so brief but holy and lyrics of a Gungor song come to mind:

I see it all like a hymn
The constant refrain of the echo and change
And all is beautiful

There is no giving without any taking
There’s no love without any loss
Everything everyone building and breaking
Oh I see the grace of it all
All is beautiful

I did not travel here on some spiritual pilgrimage or even a vacation. I am actually here for work and we took an hour break from panels…

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Expectations, and Surviving them.

The other day, my friend couldn’t order a London Fog to try because the shop was out of Earl Grey.

“What a disappointment!” I heard myself say, with good cheer.

And that was profound.

Because for whatever reason, I grew up feeling like disappointment was THE WORST EMOTION you could possibly have. Or incite in others. Or observe being had.

I mean, some part of this is that I am highly sensitive to other people’s emotions, so. Any negative emotion wasn’t great. But disappointment? THE WORST.

To be avoided at all costs.

This leads to a rather obvious decision: don’t expect anything.


or whatever. I mean, maybe no one died of merely expecting something and not getting it, but why risk it?

We moved across the country when I was 9, and at that point I cottoned onto a concept of deliberately holding no expectations of a new place or environment. When we moved to Japan about 4 years later I was quite determined to not be at all anticipating anything, because it was so outside my realm of experience.

It worked, on one level.

But fast forward to now–and learning about how helpful making a concrete vision for your life is. How necessary it is to acknowledge your emotions.

Even disappointment.

And I also have realized another thing: if you think you don’t have expectations, you are probably fooling yourself. Now, it is possible to not know what to expect of a new place but when you are preparing for it you need some information going in.

Working with your expectations, consciously, means you can also work with your disappointments–consciously.

Not to say that I was wrong to arrive in Japan with a blank slate. There was literally nothing a 13 year old girl could do to prepare for that.

But it’s a survival mechanism I no longer need.

Lately, people have been telling me, “You smell good!”

This is always a relief, but it’s kind of funny when it seems more an automatic blurt-out than something people are thinking about saying.

EOs are pretty powerful things.

It’s particularly nice because as someone who uses a lot of natural remedies there has been a certain amount of trial and error in the area of grooming.

(I still haven’t figured out hair. I have genetically great hair, which means people ask me how to improve theirs, and I’m like, “All I know is shampoo and conditioner aren’t it.”)

I don’t know if this is a metaphor for something but let me wrap by saying: it’s nice to smell good.

Even if it seems to be in a way that causes a kneejerk compliment.

New Blogging Sketch Practice!

For a person who loves blogs and all their facets, I do avoid blogging quite a lot.

I’ve got a new campaign! I’m going to write for about 20 minutes every day, and if I’m not finished with it, I still have to publish it.


The thing is, daily practice is the only way to get better.

I may be doing some vlogs as well.

What’s today’s blog going to be about? Well, that is the question.

I could post about the fantastic time I had at the Sirens conference or how much I’m looking forward to next year.

I could post about the fact that I’m upgrading what I offer my one-on-one coaching clients.

I could tell you all about the amazing steam train that stopped in Claremore yesterday afternoon, or the way the fog was amazing this morning on my walk.

Instead, though I think I’ll wrap this up after a linkbloggity and 10 minutes to give myself an icebreaker and a chance to improve tomorrow.

Till then, nerdlings!


~ Bethany, Your Friendly Neighborhood Health Coach

Internal Post-Mortem

I’ve made some mistakes lately. Not like Headline the News kind or even really bathroom gossip kind, just slips of the tongue or awkward reactions.

The kinds of things that anxious people spend quality time thinking about when things get quiet, for no good reason.

Which bothers me, because I thought we were good, my brain and me. Letting things go and processing appropriately. Why is this stuff bothering me?

And maybe the fact I haven’t quit coffee like I want to is part of it, and maybe it’s weird sleep…

But I just had a thought:
Maybe it’s because I’m taking risks.
That’s why I feel more vulnerable when the mistakes are made–why I’m more vulnerable to make them in the first place.

I’m getting out of my spheres of easy competence.

Maybe it’s not weird to be dwelling a little long on the tells that I’m not where I want to be, yet.

But I do know a pretty good process now for letting them go when I’m done learning from them.

I hope that’s what’s happening here.

Calling It

The other day I had a mild (?) panic attack.

It was quite fascinating!

Because I spent the greater part of my early life in a sort of anxious haze, I had never really thought about whether I had panic attacks.

It’s quite possible I haven’t had one before, at least not one so clearly delineated. There was a series of circumstances that caught me by surprise, I was nervous about something else, and I found myself getting trapped in an emotional whirl.

Because I’ve been doing some investigation of my emotional triggers, I recognized it as a phenomenon of brain chemistry that was actually quite distinct from what I felt I should be processing intellectually.

“So this is a thing that’s happening,” I marvelled.

Now that makes it sound rather surgical. Of course what really happened is that I was walking out the door, asked for keys, was on a bit of timeline–and found out I had to drive a new car I’d never driven before.

And it made me scared and angry, and for a few minutes I wasn’t sure why, but things were NOT GOOD.

I decided, once I realized this was a state not entirely rational, that I would give myself some extra time. Went out to the car, came back in to get more ready. My mom, picking up on my not-so-subtle mood, asked if I was alright.

It felt like a relief to tell her–it just had triggered anxiety.

For one thing, it was great to feel how much of an outlier that experience was to me, now. To have vocabulary that allowed me to step back from it.

To be able to take charge, even though my emotions had been going haywire.

Of course, I put a gob of EOs on, too. And later in the evening, when I couldn’t figure out how to turn on my headlights and was on the highway with someone helpfully flashing their lights in my rearview window, I did not panic.

I mean, I freaked out, but only the rational amount.


Small steps like this are sometimes are huge shifts for our thinking!

If you’re thinking about how to transform your life, including work on how you interact with your emotions, my coaching program is designed around enabling that.

Check out my webinar this Friday, September 30th 7PM Central: Unlock Your Agency

Big Magic – In a Light Package

The first time I picked up this book, I’ll admit I scanned it, and then put it back. I had it out from the library, and when there was someone next in line, I let it go back.

It seemed light, and I have read so much on creativity I thought it wasn’t very relevant.


Then I listened to Brene Brown (Rising Strong) talk on Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, and their synergy was so great. I immediately got Rising Strong to read, and also recommitted to trying Big Magic.

And they made great companion reads. While Rising Strong gets into the nitty-gritty of recreating your patterns of failure, Big Magic talks philosophy about creativity. And while it IS a light read, it tends to very lightly draw out some of the darkest myths of creative work.

And then illuminates them with more balanced, truthful ways to think.

This book is one that’s going on my very short list of books to actively push on people. (Like Rising Strong!) Because it’s light enough to breeze through–while also collecting so much of what we need to hear about retraining our beliefs on creativity.

How did I not realize this book was my jam?


I will be giving away an e-book of either Big Magic or Rising Strong to one of the attendees of my webinar on Thursday!

Unlock Your Agency: Three Tools to Become the Hero of Your Life

September 30th, Friday, 7pm Central on ZOOM


I’m trying to figure out my book’s cover.

This may sound a bit silly to those of you who understand publishing, especially when you know I’m thinking traditional publication. Especially when I tell you I’m going to start WRITING it on October 1st.

I, too, would have thought so at one time.

We’re taught to manage our expectations by pretending we don’t have any, though, and I’m currently in rebellion against stifling the stage I’m going to call dream-storming.

(Daydreaming + Brainstorming)

See, instead of blocking out my hopes and expectations, I’m trying be as concrete as possible so I know what I’m aiming for.

If I know what kind of cover I think this book should get, I have a clear idea of how I’m going to present it to agents, publishers, and even critique partners.

What about this infant story will make people think “YES I want to read that”?

I haven’t thought about this before at this stage in the process, but I’ve also never outlined a book formally before writing it, either, and I think both are going to improve my process. If I know who (besides me) will be picking this book up off the imaginary shelf, and can visualize how the cover will appeal to them, I can also think about how to approach the book.

I’ve learned how to hone a book to what I’m intending through revising. Now I’m thinking about how to forecast it, too.

So often I read things where the description sounded awesome, but the book I built in my head was not the one I had in my hands.

It takes skill, cunning, and a little luck to make a book that other people want to read, and even more to describe it so they know it’s their jam.

I wouldn’t want to disappoint my imaginary readers!

So while I’m not going to actually break out the .Gimp art, I think I’ll keep dreamstorming, thanks.

Though, no joy so far. Maybe if I spend a few hours on Pinterest…


Ready to stop quashing your dreams and start living them?

Does that sound like a tall order? I’m holding a webinar called Unlock Your Agency on the very topic of how you can start getting more power over how your life happens.

Unlock Your Agency

on Zoom, Friday September 30th, 7pm Central

What a fizzled drama taught me about AGENCY

A show I really loved just ended with not a bang, but a whimper.

It was really too bad, because it had a lot of meta about storytelling. The premise was that a webcomic character starts to change his story when the writer makes choices he doesn’t agree with. Talk about a huge question about agency and humanity!

So when the finale didn’t let the heroes determine their own ending, but instead put a lot of the power and emphasis back on the cartoonist (who through the show was unheroic and running from his responsibility) it seemed more than a waste.

It seemed like the screenwriter was failing themselves, self-sabotaging.

Boy, does that strike close to home.

While I am glad to be where I am, I also know that if I had been more confident of my work earlier in life, I might be making money writing by now. If I had been less wishy-washy about profit, I might have a successful online yarn store.

If I hadn’t allowed my self-doubt to keep me back…I might not be questioning myself so much right now about my coaching, future, relationship status.

One of the main things flaws in the drama is that the characters we assumed were the heroes didn’t have flaws they had to overcome. In a story, it’s the most compelling if we see a hero fail–and get back up to try again. Try something different. Face their failure and finally acknowledge when they’re wrong. Have to overcome that.

And while the cartoonist (erstwhile villain) does have a major flaw, I wasn’t satisfied enough in his ending to feel he earned the hero seat, either. He gave up on himself because of his flaws.

He’ll never go on to write a better webtoon that’s plotted more responsibly. But I hope the scriptwriter behind the drama WILL.

Maybe she’ll join my Unlock Your Agency webinar…

Because one of the main things I’m going to cover is what I’ve been discovering about failure: you have to own it. You have to use it to learn more about yourself.

Right now I’m getting quite the education. I hope you’ll join me next week as I share some of the tools that make owning your flaws a hero’s journey–not the end of the story.

Unlock Your Agency: Friday, September 30th – 7pm Central


The Disproportionate Fear of Firsts

When I called a college the other day, I had to psych myself up for it–I even called a doctor’s office with a little question as a sort of trial run. (Killing two birds with one stone: if the doctor’s office call was all I had, I would have dreaded it more.)

I got through a phone-tree to a person, who directed me to the right office, where I left a message. And I congratulated myself, scented by all the courage-enhancing essential oils I’d put on, for doing it. It wasn’t so bad. I was an adult!

I happened to miss the call I got back the next morning.

Still in my pajamas, I immediately, calmly rang back. Got a phone tree–zero for operator–got through.

Had a very confident conversation with minimal blethering-on (I feel the bio was appropriate to establishing connection, if slightly long) and then got off the phone feeling like I had deported myself with honor.

All without real pants on.

Why are we so afraid of doing things for the first time?

I think in a lot of cases, it’s the lack of connection. I called someone who doesn’t know me, and has power of judgment. When she called me back, I knew I had succeeded in at least making a small connection.

Being vulnerable enough to make that step toward connection is a big deal.

What’s something you’ve been hesitating to do because of this kind of personal risk, big or small?

What do you need to actually go do it?

I can set you up with some EOs! Or a coach who makes it a bit more rewarding.

(If you think I don’t do things so I can brag to Coach Carmela about it, you’re dead wrong.)

~ Bethany

Your Friendly Neighborhood Health Coach


Taking action despite fear is part of what separates the hero from the extra. Interested in learning how you can act the hero part more in your life? Come to my webinar, Unlock Your Agency – Friday Sept. 30th, 7pm Central on Zoom!