Sitting with Ambiguity

I like to plan. If you know anything about the Myers-Briggs personality test, I’m an INFJ. I need everything planned out – in order – so I can have a handle on all moving parts. Lists are a must. And oh my goodness the spreadsheets! I do love me some spreadsheets! With color coordination! Things though don’t always work out as planned. I hate change and I hate spontaneity;  both cause me anxiety.  Being a business owner (and living life), however, bring up both, so I’ve learned to deal with these as best as I can.

As of the last few months, my business made a big change. I formed an LLC with my business partner, Eryn (check out her blog, and we’ll be moving into a bigger office soon. She and I work well together because we complement each other’s strengths. She’s also a list maker which works well for trying to get things done! Despite our best planning, our many many many lists, and our diligence, things have NOT gone according to plan. At all. Therein lies the lesson I’ve been learning these past few months. Patience, trust, and sitting with ambiguity. We’ve learned that other businesses don’t have standards as high as ours. We’ve learned that others don’t have the same urgency to get things done like we do. And we’ve learned that things take way longer than expected.

As I’ve been reflecting on the past month’s craziness, it reminds me of lessons which horses have taught me over the years. Horses live in the moment. They are not on human time-tables. Humans, however, often have agendas, time restraints, and a multi-tasking brain.

Human: It will take 5 minutes to go get my horse from the field.

Horse: It will take 30 minutes because I’m on the opposite end of the field and you’re gonna have to chase me.

Shelley and Eryn – We’ll look at a bunch of bigger offices and be able to find one in a month.

Universe: Make that 4 months.


Human: It will take me 15 minutes to groom my horse.

Horse: It will take you an hour because I rolled in mud.

Shelley and Eryn – We need to pick out paint and carpet samples for the space to be ready on October 1st.

Universe – The city still needs to approve the construction permit so the space won’t be done until November 1st.


Human – In the next half hour ride, we’re going to work on collection and canter transitions.

Horse – In the next half hour you’ll struggle to get me to relax because I can feel your stress, anxiety, and irritability.

Shelley and Eryn – In the next week, we need to do A, B and C.

Universe – And X, Y, Z, #65, √3, ♣, Ω… and be sure to do it all during your evenings and weekends.

The thing with horses is if we learn to just be in the moment, and go with it, there is less frustration because there’s no expectations. If there’s no expectations, we aren’t disappointed. Now that’s not to say we should be completely agenda-less, but it’s allowing the ebb and flow of whatever comes up. Obviously with running a business, we can’t be agenda-less either. And while I can’t quite say I’m totally anxiety free, I’m getting better at sitting with the ambiguity in that whatever happens will happen…and it will all work out in the end. The space will be ready, although not when originally planned. We’ll move the current office, although it will be on my birthday weekend. We’ll be in a temporary space for about two weeks until the new office is ready, and even though that isn’t ideal, we’ll make it work.

Hopefully, in another month, Inner Path Counseling and Wellness will officially have its new office space. Unless something else comes up. And if it does, we’ll take a deep breath, go with it, and figure out a solution. We’ll also add it to the list of gaffs that we’ll look back on, shake our heads, laugh, and wonder how we got through it all.

Eryn and I after doing the paperwork for the LLC. Inner Path Counseling and Wellness was official!

Eryn and I

Cassie helped us pick out flooring this week.

Cassie helps

Business cards are done!

business cards

Topic for next month – Self care!


He said, “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

-The Velveteen Rabbit

Be confused, it’s where you begin to

learn new things. Be broken, it’s where

you begin to heal. Be frustrated, it’s

where you start to make more authentic

decisions. Be sad, because if we are

brave enough we can hear our heart’s

wisdom through it.


Be whatever you are right now. No more

hiding. You are worthy, always.

S.C. Lourie



Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so in honor of this I’d like to share a poem by one of my clients. She is a talented local Chicago-land writer. Her writing has been featured at the Brevity blog, Cease, Cows, Literary Orphans, Rose Red Review, Tiny Donkey, Thank You For Swallowing, and many other publications. Thank you so much, René, for allowing me to share this piece!

Putting on Eyeliner with PTSD 

does this makeup make me look smokey slutty sophisticated safe

soft weak or like a raccoon like a ghost a victim should I wash it off

can I not just wash it off make it all go away let me start over

let me it never happened pretend it never

happened. Pretend it looks good. Pretend.

After traumatic endings, there are no fresh starts. No fresh mornings, no fresh facing of the day. Your worldview changes, your face to the world changes, your facing yourself in the mirror in memory in mind in the morning at midnight.

At night, I at least understand what triggers the triggers. Because at night, the body takes the position of the horizon & the mind drops upon the body & burns like the setting sun. & the eyes, washed clean, are helpless to memory. In the morning the world must be faced, you might see him you might be reminded you might break down in the most inconvenient moments the most public spaces.

The deliberate darkening of the eyes, lined thick and messy as the mind, is as good a defense


               violation prying being seen not seen

               as the steady sturdy posture of a tree.

For safety, turn yourself into a tree freeze trace a Cleopatra eye with shadow

& blend the wing for that smokey

                                    sickening feeling.

                                   Turn yourself into a raccoon running

                                   round a tree a memory running round

                                   your eyes a woman running a woman


Blend rage blend pain blend shadows for a smokey eyed effect.

Smoke goes to beauty. You deserved it. You brought this on.

Drive him wild with mystery with resistance with no & no again &

            again & return

            to rage to bed now when the morning horizon has made distance from

the burn of the sun.

It’s hard to get that effect of a sophisticated eye

a straight sweep of liner

a steady application

                           with an unsteady hand.

On days like this every day actually I tend to shake too much

& the mascara smears.

I look like I’ve been crying I have been crying I am always crying

& I put on too much blusher, choose a color too red for my complexion.

             Red for rage. Red for unrested. Red for return & return again

             rage every night every morning.

I’m a raccoon a zombie a boxer w/two black

eyes shaking hands beating killing


Does the horizon shake & rage like this as the sun gets closer

             as the burning gets redder does a tree fight or flight

             does a raccoon go blind in the full memory of light

             full light of memory

does this makeup make me look smokey slutty sophisticated safe

soft weak or like a raccoon like a ghost a victim should I wash it off

can I not just wash it off make it all go away let me start over

let me it never happened pretend it never

happened. Pretend it looks good. Pretend.

Start again. Trace a clear line & tell. Keep

a steady hand sturdy mind surviving heart.


– René Ostberg

originally published in Awakened Voices (

Just a Reminder

Hello Friends,

Just a reminder that YOU matter; YOU are worthwhile. If you haven’t done so, do something today to take care of yourself. Self Care doesn’t have to come in the form of big things like buy a car or getting a massage (although those are nice!) Self care can be…petting your dog/cat, reading, eating something and ACTUALLY TASTING IT, watching a movie, enjoying the snow or sunshine, listening to music, etc. There’s always ways to self-care, even if it’s just for a few moments each day. You deserve it. Take care of YOU.

Image credit:

Self Care

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year…we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman

Cassie and I hope you had a great holiday season and we wish you Peace in 2018.


Today I Choose Self Compassion

After a long day, I came home to enjoy a nice dinner and catch up on what’s happening with everyone on Facebook. And there it was. Another one of “those” posts. There’s a lot going on right now in the media regarding sexual assault/sexual harassment/survivors/etc and subsequently it’s a topic people are posting about. This also happens to be a topic that is within my expertise wheelhouse; a topic which I deal with everyday at work. So when I say one of “those” posts, what I mean is that kind of post where I feel obligated to reply. A post where, because of my knowledge, I feel I have to put in my two cents because either the initial post or the threads thereafter are so off base, full of misinformation, or blatantly offensive, that I must jump in. And usually I do. However tonight, I just can’t. I have no more energy to give, and even less tolerance if I should have to read any more myths or offensive statements about the aforementioned topics.  I contemplated the feelings that came up as I fought the pull to open Facebook back up and engage in that conversation, and I realized the pressure I put on myself to always be the voice in (attempting) to right the wrongs.

If you’re a Social Justice Warrior like me, I’m sure you’ve encountered similar situations, if not online but in person. Should I engage in this argument? This texting battle? This dialogue? My conclusion today is no. No I don’t. I can take a break. I DESERVE a break. There will be battles, discussions, and people to educate another day. Right now I choose Self Compassion. It takes energy to fight the good fight. I am allowing myself time to rest and others to step forward and have their voices heard. It is not my job to educate everyone.

I share this with you in hopes that you will practice Self Compassion should a similar situation arise. Take care of YOU when you feel you need it most. Tonight I’m distancing myself from anything having to do with work (ok after I write this blog post 😉), drinking tea, laying under warm blankets, and cuddling with my pets as I watch TV. What are you doing to practice Self Compassion?