step out of the every day to see the beauty in your life


I yelled.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

The noise, that is.

It was naptime after all.  It was the one time in the day when I get to enjoy QUIET.  It’s when I don’t have to answer questions every 10 seconds or “look, look, look, mommy look” at every little thing going on in the back seat of the car.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

On the drive to pick up his big brother, he wanted to listen to music.  I wanted to listen to a podcast. He wanted to talk. I wanted silence.  The toddler wanted to kick his big brother and make him scream.  I wanted them both to be asleep ALREADY!

After I lost it…I looked in the rearview mirror and saw those big tears swell up in his eyes.  Yes, it had been a stressful moment.  Yes, I had been “on” way too many days (and nights) in a row with no breaks.  Yes, I was feeling exhausted and I was gripping, clinging, CRAVING a “car nap” so I could zone out and recharge before picking up the 1st grader.

But I hated that I yelled and made him cry.  I pulled over.  We talked.  We hugged.  I said I was sorry.  “Even mommies get frustrated sometimes.”  We rebooted and off we went, now in the rain.

They didn’t nap.

I didn’t get the quiet.  But I did learn from my own outburst that it was time for a break.

And so…today…I took that break. I went to a kickboxing class and then walked around the farmer’s market (one of my favorite places) alone.

It felt amazing.  And this new sense of LOVE filled up all of my senses.

Seriously, I don’t know if I was high from working out or the fresh veggies made me gaga, but my senses were heightened.  I was completely present as I noticed the fresh strawberries and the greens.  I smelled the herbs.  I watched the farmers smiling as they sold their freshly picked food.  I saw the mom walking the market with her teenage son.  I saw the beautiful pregnant woman anticipating the birth of her new baby. I thought about my sons, at home with their daddy, and then the tears flowed.

This time tears of complete joy and gratitude. There is just so much beauty in the world.

Taking a break helped me reconnect to the amazing beauty that is in my life (that’s hard to see through tired eyes sometimes).  I’m grateful for my life.  I’m grateful for the gift of being a mom.  I’m grateful for all the imperfect moments of this journey, because every day it teaches me something new about life.

Life isn’t perfect.
Life as a mother isn’t perfect either.

We lose it sometimes.  The noise never ends.  And the mess…well let’s not get started on that.

But that’s ok.  We are doing the best that we can.  And our best is good enough.

Feel the gratitude in your heart.  And get a moment to step away from your daily life.  Because when you take a break from the every day, you remember…there is beauty in the noise, the mess, the chaos, the freak out moments and the tears.

There really is beauty, even in the weeds.

Your Personal Reflection:

Are you in need of a break?  Listen to what you need most in this moment.  What are you most grateful for?  Can you see the beauty around you, even in the chaos?


Enjoy a few of my past posts:  Let Go of Distractions & Be Together and Dear Mom.  And if you haven’t see it yet, here’s the music video I created with my brother and sister:  Being a Mom.



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when you feel like you don’t belong


You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

~ Maya Angelou

I went to a party recently and old feelings of not being “part of the group” came up.

Do you ever feel that way?

Have you ever been in a group but feel like you don’t really belong?  Or that you are on the outside looking in? Or that you just don’t fit in?

Those are the feelings that came up after trying to talk with someone at the party who puts off this vibe that she doesn’t want to talk to me.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve tried talking with her and I leave the conversation feeling the same way every time.

My old self may have obsessed about this experience with thoughts like, What is wrong with me?  Why doesn’t she like me?

It felt quite liberating that when those old feelings did indeed come up, I was able to laugh (not instantly, but soon after) and remind myself, Shan, not everyone needs to like you.  And just because she doesn’t want to talk to you doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.

I was happy to see that rather than obsessing about it for days and wondering What can I do to make her like me?, I was able to realize that it’s not me, it’s her thing.  I was able to let those negative thoughts go and stay grounded and kind towards myself (and her).  Instead of letting my mind call her names or talk badly about myself, I simply became aware of the emotional trigger.  Old feelings of “not being good enough” crept in, and yet, I let those feelings come – and here’s the big thing – I let those feelings go.

So often we experience highs and lows in our day.  We meet a variety of people.  Some we click with and some we don’t.  And it’s so easy to focus on the lows or the difficult people.  The highs feel good.  When you are feeling great and you are in your comfort zone or surrounded by your peeps – ah – easy.  But when you are feeling insecure or find yourself in a new experience – ugh – it can be tough sometimes.

It sucks when you feel like you don’t “fit in”.

It hurts when it feels like others are deliberately excluding you.

Making assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling doesn’t help the situation. It’s good to speak up when you need to, especially when you want clarification or find yourself in a situation where someone isn’t treating you kindly.

When we worry about stuff that happens and can’t LET IT GO…that takes up mental and emotional space (and often times physical – look around your house – what stuff are you still holding onto?). The space in our minds or in our hearts (or in our homes) gets filled up with negative thinking and old habits (or junk) that ultimately creates blocks (and dust).  It becomes quite draining.

Those mental and emotional blocks depletes our vital energy.

Stop worrying about what others think of you.  You won’t always feel like you belong.  And that’s ok. You will find your tribe.  In the meantime, don’t change yourself to “fit in” but rather, be yourself.  And be kind to yourself along the way.

Let it go.

Let it go.

Let it go.

Becoming yourself is part of the journey.  Embrace who you are.  Who you really are.  You are complete and whole and imperfect and that’s what makes you…YOU.

Your Personal Reflection:

Are you wasting your time and energy obsessing about the past?  Or worrying about what others think of you?  What negative thoughts or old habits are depleting your vital energy?  Take a moment to observe something in your life that you are ready to let go of.  Take a deep breath.  Exhale.  Close your eyes.  Smile softly.

And remember, you are enough.  
It’s time to let your inner beauty out into the world.


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your life is an adventure


We never quite know where our life path will take us next.
Get your helmet on and as best you can…enjoy the ride.
Your Personal Reflection:

Adventures can be exhilarating, but the unknown of what’s to come can be really scary.  What part of the adventure are you on today?  Are you feeling excited about the new things emerging in your life?  Or are you scared as hell?  A little of both?

What can you do – in this moment – to prepare for the adventure you’re on and to face the fear of not knowing how it will unfold?


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finding love in the present moment

love in the present moment

You can listen to this blog post by clicking below.

He looked at me.  He deeply looked into my eyes.  So much so, that it stopped me in all my rushing about.

He drew me in.

Eye-to-eye, there we were, staring back at each other.  As though we were looking into each other’s souls.

Holding each other.  Loving each other.

He didn’t look away.  He barely blinked.  He smiled softly.  My eyes filled with tears.
I didn’t look away.  I barely blinked.  I smiled softly.  And time froze.

Right then and there, when my 4-year-old asked me to hold him like I did when he was a baby, I was sucked into the vortex of the present moment.

In that moment – nothing else mattered.

The laundry piles.  The dirty dishes.  The I-HAVE-SO-MUCH-TO-DO mantra that I tend to yell at myself inside my head…it all went away.  It completely vanished.

What mattered – in that moment – was feeling, sensing and breathing…the LOVE my child and I were feeling for each other and for our life.

My sweet, 3-foot teacher, reminded me of the importance of stopping…of slowing down…of paying attention.

The importance of connecting.

The importance of being.

In that very moment, the one my soul will never forget, I remembered that it is possible to reconnect to inner peace, joy and love even when outer world is rushing by.

In all the hustle and the busyness, connecting to the present moment is possible, and when we do…we realize magic is happening all around us.
We just got to slow down enough to see it…

Your Personal Reflection:

Stop.  Look around you.  Listen.

Become more aware of how often you let “phantom stress” or feelings of overwhelm keep you from experiencing and appreciating the present moment.  It is possible to not let overwhelm and stress keep you from living a more peaceful life.  Notice the next time you let your “to do” list keep you from slowing down and deeply connecting to the people in your life.

What can you do – TODAY – to feel the love in the present moment?


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when it feels overwhelming, return to your breath

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.

~ Thích Nhãt Hanh

Life throws us some curve balls.  It’s not always smooth sailing.

What do you do when you are caught up in the swirl of stress and overwhelming feelings in your life?

Sometimes, I simply FREAK OUT.

I yell. I cry. I feel like giving up.

And then, I remember, it’s all going to be ok.

Let yourself feel the feelings that arise when you are freaking out.  When you’re not quite sure what to do, return to your breath.

Your breath is a gift.  And it’s a powerful tool that you can use when you feel stressed out.

I’ve made this short video for you to share how I use the mantra, BREATH, as a reminder when moving through the tougher moments in life.


Click HERE to download your own copy of the Return to Your Breath reminder.  To find an affirmation that resonates with you, check out Affirm Your Life.

Hang in there.
You’re doing great.



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learning how to shed self-doubt

making my story video

This is me, making my latest video, while the kids watched an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  One take, unedited and thankfully I had the stuffed sheep as my sit-in so I could set the focus!  It’s all a part of being a mom

Are you in need of some quiet or inspiration or a boost to your energy? Take a few minutes to watch the video I made just for YOU.

In the video I share part of my story, what brought me to this moment and why I created A Free Spirit Life and Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery.

I share how I’m learning to shed outward distractions, negative thinking and old habits. I share how I let self-doubt grip me for years. And how I learned to release those inner fears so I stopped believing “I wasn’t good enough” and started embracing a life that is truly unlimited.

You can overcome the obstacles keeping you stuck.
You can learn to embrace the mess and imperfections.
You can find more joy, peace, and happiness in your daily life.
You can live more connected to your intuition and creativity.
You can learn to trust and follow your heart and how to find your inner courage.
You can learn how to break free of fear so you can leap towards a bold, abundant life.

I’m still learning.
I’m still stumbling and fumbling and tripping along the way.
Let’s do it together.

Watch the video to learn more of what has helped change my life from one gripped with fear, to one that’s like…what the hell…let’s go for it.

What is going really well in your life?
What are the habits that keep repeating?

What are you ready to break free from?

Email me and share a little of YOUR story.  I want to hear from you!




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take good care of your heart


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you can change your life

Maybe you want to get rid of the clutter in your life.
Maybe you want to connect to other like-minded women.
Maybe you want to make space in your busy life to nourish your creativity.
Maybe you want to invite more peace, simplicity and ease into your day.
Maybe you want more stillness and less busy.
Maybe you want to find time to do what you love.
Maybe you want to feel more joy.
Maybe you want to nurture your inner dreams, or be more present, or live with intention and purpose.

Whatever it is, YOU CAN change your life.

Start today.

Join us for Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery!

This 5-week online experience has helped hundreds of women face their fears so they could find the courage to live a more authentic, connected, abundant life.
To learn more, visit here.

Questions? Email me and I’m so happy to chat more.
Class begins January 26th!

Winners Announced:

Thanks to those of you who took the time to share my new Being a Mom music video!

The winners of my random drawing for 3 spots for the next session of Inside Out are:

Debbie Hines, Jessica Naccari and Karen Skelton!



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relax into the new year, Being a Mom video & your chance to win!


Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

~ Etty Hillesum

I have SO enjoyed a slower pace over our holiday vacation. I feel like I worked my butt off to get to a place where I could RELAX. Before Christmas, it was as though I was pushing to get somewhere but could never quite catch up.

Yuck. I really don’t like that feeling.

It took a sore throat and a feeling of exhaustion to snap myself out of it.

After the last meal I prepped and the last present I wrapped on Christmas Eve, I felt a shift come over me.

Be still.
Be. here. now.

On Christmas day we stayed in jammies, only to change for our walk in the woods, and then back into jammies once again.

It was exactly what I needed – what we all needed – as a family.

And I’ve been trying to hold on to that RELAXING feeling of Christmas ever since.
In fact, my chosen word to focus on over the next year is…RELAX.

It’s hard isn’t it? We get so caught up in the pace of daily life and all that is thrown our way.


Why is it so noisy out there?
What are we rushing for?
Where are we really going anyway?

I’m not sure.
But I do know that my inner voice is nudging me to…RELAX.

I’m embracing the rest of our holidays by going slower.
By celebrating LIFE.

And by celebrating ME as I turn…(gulp) 40! (How did this happen?)

In honor of my dedication to relaxing, I’ve decided that what I need most during my birthday weekend is to enjoy special time with my family and friends doing what I love most of all – simply being together. I’ll have time with the boys, time at a spa, time going out with my girlfriends, and time alone to journal and prepare for the New Year.

I’m excited to reflect on my last 39 years and to celebrate the life I’m living right now.

I leave you with a music video that my brother, sister and I collaborated on over the last year.

We wrote, produced and even sang the song (with the help of my musically talented bro as a way to celebrate the joy (and exhaustion) that comes from motherhood! It’s raw and simple and documents a small piece of our lives with our little ones. (And it took so dang long because we’ve filmed and edited the piece in between all the nursing, diaper changes, school drop-offs, lunches being made, late nights with sickness, grocery runs…well you get it…)

I hope you enjoy it! Please feel free to share.

For your chance to win a spot in my upcoming (perfect way to kick-off the New Year) online class, Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery
simply share a link to the video wherever you’d like (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest…).

Here’s the link:

Shoot me an email about your share and I’ll enter you into a drawing for a chance to win one of 3 FREE spots in the 5-week experience that could change your life.

Go now…BE you.

Walk slowly.
Breathe deeply.
Dream boldly.
Live freely.

And savor the stillness inside and all around you, right here and now.






inside-out-ecourse-side-bar-buttonRegistration for my popular 5-week online course, Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery is now open!

For details on the course, and my new RETREAT, visit HERE.

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how to find peace this holiday season

finding center
I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.

~ Confucious

Thank you for being here!  I hope you are enjoying some nice family time and a happy holiday weekend (for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving).

Not sure how you feel about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but I’m kind of tired of the emails, the commercials and the ads that are fighting for my attention and trying to get me to buy, buy, buy, more, more, more!

There is just so much NOISE out there
And sometimes, I find that the constant distractions in the world make me feel cloudy, stressed, confused and even lost. Do you ever feel this way?

Life throws a lot at us. It’s quite easy to get knocked off center again and again and again. And I’m seeing that part of the practice in mindful living is learning how to get back there, because it’s in this peaceful, present moment space where your pure love, JOY and contentment are always within reach.

Not outside…but within.

So what exactly does it mean to find center?

Your very essence – who you really are – is at your center. When you find center, it’s like going to the place where you feel at home. It’s when you feel most present. It’s when you feel in the flow. It’s where you feel…peace.

Making a connection each day to this inner place will remind you what matters most in your life.
When you get distracted and stressed and overwhelmed, it’s important to have awareness of your center – and know how to get back there.

Whether you are full of joy during the holidays, or they bring you dread, it’s all too easy to get swept away by outward pressures to be more, do more, buy more, and give more. When we fight feelings of not doing or being enough, it’s almost inevitable we’ll end up over-committing or over-eating or over-spending to feel better in the short term.

Finding center and remembering what matters most is about being a part of life, but not getting consumed by it.

We can go to the mall or buy gifts for friends and family, without spending our grocery money. We can create a “to do” list and set intentions to make gifts, but we can also be realistic that we can’t do it all. We can indulge in sweets and the fun food of the season without bursting at the seams and feeling sick afterwards. We can volunteer and be of service without sacrificing our own needs. We can say “no” and let go of “shoulds” and feel ok with not over-doing-it, because we come from a grounded place of love and peace (not a confusing place led by regret, worry and fear).

This is what happens when you stay connected to center.

The more you become aware of your center, and recognize what knocks you off or triggers you, the easier it is to get back to a more grounded, compassionate place. It’s this connection to center that helps you feel an inner peace, when the anxiety and overwhelm creep in. It’s this connection to center that allows you to feel more calm, even when the outer world is seemingly moving at lightening speed.

It’s this connection to center that reminds you how to love and how to be kind – to others AND to yourself.
Be kind to yourself this holiday season.

Eliminate the noise.
Slow down.
Find stillness.
Connect to your center.
Free your spirit.
Love yourself.
Change your life.

I appreciate you deeply…



Interested in learning tools & techniques on how to stay connected to your center?

Join us for Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery!

Learn how to listen to and trust your intuition, and how to cultivate the courage you need to live out your inner dreams so you can be yourself and create a life you love living every single day.
Visit HERE for all the details.

You will receive a FREE Inside Out audio book at the end of our course just for signing up!

(Gift certificates available and past Inside Out grads get a discount.)

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