The Haunting: Confessions of a Money Thief

It’s a new year and a great time for letting go of old things, so I’m here to confess – I was a thief.

In 1970 I stole $5.

This may not seem like a great crime to you, but it has haunted me for most of my life.

I was ten-years-old at the time I committed this crime.  One day before school, I found 50 francs sitting on the kitchen counter.  (It was the equivalent of $5 as we lived in France at that time.)  I was curious about the money as I seldom saw money just lying around our house.  It was colorful and had a big bold 50 printed on it.  I wanted it.

I waited for a few minutes to see if anyone would show up and claim it.  Nobody showed up, so I reasoned it was mine and I took it.  Major mistake and life lesson in the making!

Spending the money on after-school snacks, later that day, when my mother asked me if I had seen the 50 francs, I lied and said no. Her face told me that she didn’t believe me but couldn’t prove it, so she didn’t say anything.  I could feel her pain, worry, judgment, disappointment.

The moment I took that $5 a lot more than money was lost.  I lost my integrity and a lifetime of “money issues” was born.  I was caught, tried, found guilty, shamed and thrown in jail by the same judge – me.  Imprisoned by my own guilt and shame, I locked the door and threw away the key.

I have lived with the guilt of that singular act for most of my life.  It has haunted me and has informed how I relate to money and people.  With money, it has kept me wondering if I’m worthy to have money, to hold money, to deal with money.

With people, it has made me extremely anxious, cautious and meticulous about making sure I don’t mess up my payments or underpay – least I be judged.  In fact, I believe I that for many years I unconsciously attempted to “right my wrong” by focusing more on giving than receiving – as if it would atone for my sin.  These days when I make accounting mistakes and I owe someone money, it drives me crazy – until now.

At the age of 57, admitting this flaw, this childhood mistake makes me sweat.  How will people judge me when they read this?  The truth is…it doesn’t matter.  Regardless of what people think of me, it’s time to let it go, to stop the war within and live from a different resonance.   It’s time to set the 10-year-old thief free, but how?

Once I was aware of this old tired story that was still running my life, I had a choice to either continue living from the resonance of fear and anxiety or I could embrace a different resonance. Through compassion, forgiveness and letting go of toxic judgments, I chose love. 

Twenty years ago, I did not love myself and I certainly did not love money.  Heck, I wasn’t even conscious of money and I didn’t want to deal with it, let alone be in a relationship with it.  Money seemed…complicated, slightly dirty, only for the truly wealthy and generally icky.  (Hmm, wonder why it didn’t stay around too much...)

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that not only can I love myself, I can love money.  Now, I can see and hear some of you scratching your head and saying, “What?”  “You love money???”  Yes.  When my perspective of myself changed, my perspective of money changed.  It was no longer something complicated, dirty or icky.  I started to view money as an energy, a flow.  

Fast forward several decades and through that love and respect for money, I’ve learned how to earn, save, and spend money in ways that are in alignment with my goals.  I’m also beginning to learn how to better invest and track money.  I can even see the gifts I gained from stealing that $5.

That incident made me super-conscious of how my actions impact others.  It gave me the foundation for being honest and taught me a lot about instant karma.  I learned compassion for others who struggle with money, earning, saving and personal value.

These transformations came about when I decided to be in relationship with money.  How was I being with money, and how do I want to be?  True to form, I consulted my guru, Google, and looked up the qualities that support a loving, successful relationship.  After writing down numerous words, I pushed my guru aside and sought the wisdom of my own heart.

What was I seeking in a relationship with money?  What does money want from me?  Listening to my heart brought forward qualities of honesty, respect, compassion, communication, loyalty and commitment, joy and intimacy.

Bringing loving, compassionate awareness to my relationship with money was a slow process. Not sure how this was going to unfold, I challenged my belief systems. I asked myself to expand my consciousness around money, wealth and prosperity, and since I believe that everything is related to Spirit, why not money?  I also see that all life unfolds in the context of a relationship, and if all life is relationship, then how have I been in relationship to money?  Could money not be a path to greater awakening and enlightenment? 

Looking at money as a relationship that I value, and that offers value in return, has changed my life.  While I still have moments of fear and judgments, it doesn’t rule my life.  Learning to love money is setting me free.

While I’ve come a long way in the past decade with my relationship to money and wealth, I’m not “there” yet.  (By the way, we never get there.)  I’m not an expert; I’m a work in progress, and in 2018 I’ve decided I want a deeper, more intimate and meaningful relationship with money, gratitude and wealth.  I want to understand what drives my actions and inactions around money.  I want to get to know and engage money on a whole new level and to learn why sometimes I cling to money and sometimes I spend it with abandon.

You may hear more about my money relationship over the year to come as I intend to be open, honest and vulnerable about it.  Why?  Because I don’t want to live with one iota of guilt, shame, anxiety or depression around money.  Forewarning folks, I've given myself a “get out of jail free” card and I’m coming out of that closet.  I'm coming home – and this, my friends, is true wealth, true prosperity. 

If you, too, want to establish a loving relationship with yourself, money, wealth, life and prosperity I can recommend two books: The Art of Money by Bari Tessler and Lost and Found: One Woman's Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life by Geneen Roth.

Oh, about that $5?  I suspect I’ve repaid it several times over, but if not, I’m putting a check in the mail – today.  You can rest assured, I've already paid the interest on it, several times over.


The Lost Soul

The Lost Soul: When You're Looking for Direction

Angel looking into shell.jpg

Sometimes I feel lost.

In those moments, I have often asked, “what does Spirit want from me, and what do I want for myself?” 

Such an dualistic inquiry often sends me into a tailspin of searching, reaching and trying to figure out what Spirit wants from me, even as I try to figure out what I want for myself.  It’s exhausting and leads to feelings of loneliness, feeling lost, isolated and dispirited.

In a recent conversation with my friend, Fernand Poulin, we were exploring our desires.  I asked him if he ever asked himself what he wants in/for his life and also what Spirit wants from him.  His response was illuminating.  He said he asked himself “What does God want FOR me, and am I making decisions that are in alignment with that?”*

In an instant my “efforting” and exhaustion was gone.  When I asked, “What does Spirit want for me?” the response was immediate, simple, clear and elegant. The answer, “Love is your foundation.” 

What I understand that to mean is that LOVE, not as an emotion, but as the uncompromising, strong, energetic resonance of life itself, is the foundation upon which to live my life.  My personal quest then is to align my vision, thoughts, actions and prayers with the resonance of Love.  This is where I can put my focus, effort and energy.

So, Spirit wants me to base my life on LOVE?  Love is my foundation, my rock, my core, my basic resonance?  I’m down with that!

Oops.  I forgot about the alignment part.  Easier said than done. 

On a daily basis, I’m challenged with living in alignment with the resonance of Love, to embody it and to walk my talk.  The cat scratches, the dog bites, the car tires need replacing, the body aches, the rain is pouring, the bills are coming in…and on and on and on.  And these are just some of mundane aspects of living.  What’s going to happen when I’m really challenged?

To help myself, I turn to the three basic principles we adhere to in the programs we teach at WhiteWinds/FeatherStone Institute.

1.     Presence is primary.

2.     Compassion completes healing.

3.     Love is the medicine.

While I teach these principles, sometimes I need a reminder to apply them to my own life, and it helps to know that the greatest power in the universe wants this for me.

So if you want to find your way through life and to live with Love as Your Foundation, here are a few suggestions:

1.    Presence is primary:  Your presence, your engagement with life is not only needed, it’s necessary.  This is what showing up is all about.  These means you don’t put your life on hold, you stop waiting for someone or something to show up and make it better.  The quality of your presence also matters.  Most human beings, like plants and animals, tend to grow well when tended to with love, compassion and regular nurturing (meaning exercise, good food, clean water, connection with others and creative expression).  How are you tending your life?

2.    Compassion completes healing:  Compassion is built from empathy – not sympathy.  It means we deeply understand what another is feeling without pitying or feeling sorry for them. Compassion, however, is incomplete unless we also apply it to our own lives.  Too often we are kind and caring towards others but we forget that we are deserving of our own compassion. Despite the missteps we may take in life, it's important to treat ourselves kindly.  Yes, accountability is crucial to learning and moving on, and you may need to make amends for your actions, but let’s lay down the whip, learn from our mistakes and move forward.

3.    Love is the medicine:  LOVE, as the core energetic resonance of life, is not the same as emotional love.  For me, that core vibration is the ultimate “Truth in Action,” the essence of God. While it has no personal agenda, LOVE always reflects back to us where we are, or are not, in alignment with our highest calling.  If you’re not in alignment with your highest calling, become curious, allow yourself to see what is stopping the flow of LOVE in your life.  If needed, get some help in the form of feedback from an honest friend or coach.  An honest friend is worth their weight in gold!

*Side Note:  For some of us, the question of “What does Spirit/God want for me?” can be fraught with peril.  It all depends on your perspective of Spirit/God. 

Depending on your culture, religion, family and life history your perception of Spirit/God may be tinged with paradigms that are more fearful and punishing than loving and kind.

As the granddaughter of a Baptist minister, despite the kindness of the man behind the words, I heard a lot of fire and brimstone in his sermons.  Luckily for me, my mother left behind her harsh and guilt-ridden perspective of religion, and with my father’s help encouraged her children to explore and experience a variety of faiths and traditions.  This left me with a rich heritage and appreciation for the common ground I see in most religions and spiritual paths.

Depending on your cultural and religious upbringing, you may hold in your mind an image of an angry God, a remote Spirit that is more vengeful than compassionate.  If this is your experience, I encourage you to seek out a more balanced view of what life and Spirit has to offer.  In my experience there are many paths that lead to Love.  Which will you choose?

A Call to Love

Dear Friends,

I am a quiet person.

Witnessing the unfolding changes in the United States and the world with open eyes, I have noticed how “unquiet” and strong my opinions and preferences are regarding present day circumstances.  Oh my goodness do I have strong opinions!

Read more

The Perils of Showing Up!


Yesterday, I showed up. 

For CrossFit. 

I had entered the dragon's lair and I thought I was going to die - right then, right there.

It started innocently enough.  After a several years of dealing with hyperparathyroidism, I was telling a friend about my concerns around how much strength and bone mass I had lost.  He's a fitness buff and a kind soul, so he suggested that I join him at his gym as his guest.

I was little leery due to past experiences at gyms, but didn't think I had much to lose.  I was wrong.

As the day came closer, I became more anxious.  I had visions of a warehouse-style gym filled with big iron bars and huge weights, and where extremely fit people were running around, jumping up and down, lifting massive weights and swinging on the bars.

I thought about canceling.  I thought about coming down with a sudden case of the flu.  I thought about asking God to call in a flood, a small tornado or some minor pestilence. (Yes, I was desperate.)

Unfortunately, I had this little problem with integrity.  Recently, I made a commitment to myself to show up fully in all areas of my life.  For me that means being present and conscious in all aspects of my life and with my commitments, spoken and a unspoken, to self, others, and Spirit.  So asking God for a minor disaster in order to get out of a commitment, well, let's just say it wasn't in alignment with the way I want to walk through life.

So back to the flu, flood, tornado and pestilence.  Since they didn't show up, I asked a key question that helps keep me on track when I get a little sideways with my desires, 

"How am I showing up?"

Life had offered me an opportunity (through my friend's offer) to deal with a concern (my strength and bones).  Was I going to show up?  I made the decision to go.

At 7 am I left our house, and by 8 am I found the gym - in a warehouse, and it was everything I feared.

There were huge weights and bars and big a metal contraption with people swinging from bars.  People were jumping up on high boxes from a stand still, lifting huge dead weights, working with kettle balls and doing a thousand pull ups (slight exaggeration).  The energy was primal and no doubt about it, these people were fit like nobody's business.

Intimidated, I stood to one side in my black yoga pants, purple tennis shoes and lavender fleece jacket.  For the first time in my life, I felt like a "prissy" girl, and I am NOT a prissy girl.  I was a tom-boy, for God's sake!  Growing up, I rode horses like a bat-out-of-hell, got thrown over fences into the pig pen (that might explain a lot), climbed trees, swung on vines and rafted the river - well, okay, so the raft sank - you get the picture.

Still, this was out of my comfort zone.  My friend was nowhere in sight, he hadn't shown up, so I pulled out my iPhone and engrossed myself in reading emails - hoping no one would notice me standing on the sidelines.  (Note to self, purple does not blend in with warehouse gray.)  Maybe I could just sneak out...?

No such luck.  The 7 am class ended and Mike, the leader, came over and asked if he could help me.  I said I was waiting for a friend, but he was late.  Mike, kind as ever, said, "why don't you go ahead an join us while you wait?"

Gulp.  "How am I showing up?"  I signed the waiver and the adventure began.

It started gently enough - rolling a small, tennis sized ball under my feet to stretch and loosen the muscles.  Then came combinations of exercises.  Mike was very helpful and scaled the exercises to my fitness level.  He made sure I had the correct posture and understood what I was doing.  Even at this minimalist level, after a one-hour class, I discovered a lot about my body.

The combination of exercises let me feel my body in new ways.  Every aching imbalance showed show itself.  I found muscles I didn't know existed, and I found out that I don't have muscles where they probably should exist...and, I survived.

I discovered I could last an hour in a primal, foreign environment and not die.  In fact, I was able to walk out of the gym under my own power.  (Something that has not always been the case in the past.)

So, today, I'm listening to my body speak as I sit on the couch, and asking myself if I'll go back.  The couch is pretty comfortable, but maybe that's the problem - it's comfortable.  From the couch, my view on life is limited.  It offers only one perspective.  If I leave the couch, things might get uncomfortable.

If I'm to fully show up in life, I'll have to leave my comfort zone.  I might feel uncomfortable.  I might not survive.  Trouble is, there's only one way to know and that way is to show up.

So, on that note, I gotta go - life is calling and I've promised to show up. There is a peril to showing up fully.  You'll have to face your shadow dragons - those things that cause fear (Fear = false evidence appearing real).  By showing up fully, your life will change.  You'll gain some things and you'll lose some things. 

Oh, and by the way, remember when I said, "What did I have to lose by going to a one-hour class?"  Turns out I had a lot to lose - I lost fear.

How cool is that?!!

With love,


P.S. Below are four steps you can use to help you Show Up! more fully in any area of your life.

1.  Ask yourself, "Where in my life do I truly want to show up more fully?"  Examples might be, health, wealth, family, work, spirituality, creative expression, etc.

When I started to feel the aches and pains of lost muscle and bone, I asked myself how much to I really want to improve my health?  How much do I want better health? Do I want it more than that extra hour of sleep in the morning?  Do I want it more than another hour on Netflix? Do I want this more than my comfort zone?  Am I really willing to show up for this?

2.  Recognize that showing up or not showing up is your choice (responsibility), and commit to showing up fully in this area of your life.

Responsibility has a bad rap.  When you break down the word, it actually means "response ability."  Who wouldn't want the ability to respond to their own life?

Don't take out a contract on yourself, instead, use commitment.  A commitment is a form of intention without the promise and fear of "punishment" inherent in a "contract." 

Exercise your choice to fully show up, in a moment-by-moment manner.  You may not have kept your commitment in a previous moment, but this is a new moment.  A commitment is an ongoing process, not a one-time deal.

3.  Exercise a Higher Resonance:  How you show up is also a choice.  I use a daily dose of "Vitamin C," composed of courage, curiosity, and compassion, to increase my resonance.

It takes courage (heart) to go after what you truly want in a way that does not use the whip of fear.  It also takes high does of "Vitamin C."  Without courage, curiosity and compassion, I never would have stepped foot into that gym or found out that I have what it takes to pursue my desires.

Fear is a short-term, low resonance motivator.  We use it to control and manipulate behavior.  As such it can never create lasting change from a place of high resonance. Examples of different kinds of thinking behind low and high resonance are:

Low Resonance: I should go the gym because if I don't build muscle and bone strength I might fall and break a bone.

High Resonance: I want to fully show up for my health because going to the gym gives me the opportunity to improve muscle and bone strength so that I have the strength to live my dreams.

4.  When feeling challenged, face your shadow dragons by repeating steps one through three and you'll find yourself showing up fully, giving yourself the gift of living life - no matter what.