365 Day Challenge-Day 38 Stopping Thoughts

You can naturally stop your thoughts if you focus your attention fully on your in-breath and your out-breath. After one or two minutes of practice, the quality of your in-breath and your out-breath will improve. Your breath will become deeper, slower, and more harmonious and peaceful, whether you are lying down, sitting, or walking. By practicing mindful breathing, we bring the elements of harmony and peace into our body. Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy New Year! You made it. Here’s to new beginnings, a clean slate, a chance to to change and improve ourselves, our relationships, our businesses. Wow, all of a sudden I feel completely overwhelmed with my list of improvements necessary to start the year off right!

Is anyone else feeling like this?

Today’s lesson is the perfect antidote to the ‘new year, new you’ overwhelm that can easily start with the best of intentions and progress to panic and resolution burn-out. Mindful breathing.

The beauty of taking a moment to pay attention to your breath is that it is so simple and it works almost immediately. You can practice anywhere just as you are; no need to purchase a membership, special equipment, the right shoes.

If you were to scrap all other resolutions and best intentions for improving yourself, your relationships, and your business this year and solely focus on the practice of mindful breathing each day, I would wager that the spillover effect would surprise you. Meaning you would see improvements in all aspects of your life because you are creating space for harmony and peace.

Happy New Year, Happy Breathing!


PS If you would like talk more about building your business while maintaining harmony and peace, feel free to reach out to me,

365 Day Challenge-Day 37 Enjoy Becoming a Buddha

Becoming a Buddha is not so difficult. A buddha is someone who is enlightened, capable of loving, and forgiving. You know that at times you’re like that. So enjoy being a buddha. When you sit, allow the Buddha in you to sit. When you walk, allow the Buddha in you to walk. Enjoy your practice. If you don’t become a buddha, who will? Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

Simple but not easy.

Being enlightened, being loving, being forgiving are all fairly simple concepts. And I love the gentle reminder of today’s lesson that when we bring each of these elements into the moments of our day then we have in fact begun the practice of becoming a buddha. Yet it is remarkable how quickly our days can take an unexpected turn which may take us out of the present moment, thus taking us out of our practice.

Each morning before I get up, I select a word for the day. If I am anticipating a particularly full day or a day with lots of moving parts then I may select a word like faith. As in having faith that everything that needs to get done that day will get done. One of my favorite words is curious. Curious is a great word for days that may involve lots of meetings or following a day when I felt like I was more judgmental than I would like to be.

The best part of all of this may be that you can practice on yourself. Be loving with yourself, get curious about your reactions to certain things, have faith that you are enough right here and right now.

Becoming a Buddha could be one of the most effective business growth strategies for the coming year. Are you curious what that could look like for you? Let’s talk,

In gratitude,


365 Day Challenge-Day 36 For All Generations

We have to live in a way that liberates the ancestors and future generations who are inside of us. Joy, peace, freedom, and harmony are not individual matters. If we do not liberate our ancestors, we will be in bondage all our life, and we will transmit that to our children and grandchildren. Now is the time to do it. To liberate them means to liberate ourselves. This is the teaching of interbeing. As long as the ancestors in us are still suffering, we cannot really be happy. If we take one step mindfully, freely, happily touching the earth, we do it for all previous and future generations. They all arrive with us at the same moment, and all of us find peace at the same time.  Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

Timing is everything! Once again I find myself in the position of having originally looked at this passage only to dismiss it, if I am to be blunt. Not like it doesn’t apply to me; rather what does it mean, what do I do with this today? This weekend came the moment when I realized what this lesson means to me.

Let me just say with full disclosure that I consider myself very open-minded and willing to try new things, new ways of being. For heaven’s sake, I teach other professionals to access their creative superpowers which is all about thinking outside of the box! Again in the spirit of full disclosure, I found myself relying on some very old thinking, and it is no surprise when I tell you it was not my best thinking.

The good news- I caught myself and challenged my reptilian brain to consider a different way of thinking based on the current situation, not an old story. Upon reflection I will venture to say that this is critical piece of moving outside of old thinking: To allow the current situation to inform your thinking, along with permission to course correct based on new information. The only historic perspective that is relevant would be an evaluation of past demonstrated results, and to be clear the demonstrated results are very different from old feelings.

Liberating yourself from old thinking is a way of honoring your ancestors and the generations to come. Giving yourself permission to access situations based on present day information AND make changes as needed is a way to create more peace and joy in your daily life both personal and professional. Habit, fear, stress-these are all things that keep us entrenched in our old ways. There is a measure of comfort in our regular way of doing things. Growth and change is not always comfortable because with it comes the unknown.

What if we committed ourselves to one action a day to create more peace in our lives?

Please share your thoughts,

In gratitude,


365 Day Challenge-Day 35 Agonizing Questions

When we agonize over questions like, ‘Who am I? Where do I come from? Was I wanted? What is the meaning of my life?’ we suffer because we are caught in the idea of a separate self. But if we look deeply, we can practice no-self. This is the realization that we’re not a separate self; we’re connected to our ancestors and to all beings. Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

When I discovered Your True Home, the everyday wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, I was drawn to the simplicity of a daily meditation and was inspired to share my thoughts about each entry as it related to my development as a business owner and coach. My coach and consulting began with an emphasis on helping small business owners and single proprietors build and grow sustainable businesses they love. I expanded my service to offer leadership training, team workshops, and corporate consulting. My inspiration, my big why is to help people bring more of their ‘creative’ selves to their work and feel more engaged and activated.

I read this passage several weeks ago and wasn’t really sure how it related to my life at the moment or to my business. Funny thing about timing is that now it makes total sense! As I have been moving my business model to accommodate group trainings and wanting to work with larger companies, I have been slow to embrace this expansion of my business because I felt like it was very separate from where I started. This could not be farther from the truth. Offering corporate training is a way to help more people love their work and bring more creativity into their everyday lives.

Think about your own personal or professional journey; have you had the experience of growing in your expertise or experience when you begin to welcome all the parts of your past and present? How about when you looked at your life through the lens of what has been shared by past generations? What skill or talent do you possess on a ‘cellular’ level that you may not see it? Let’s talk about connecting your business to the collective you,

In gratitude,


365 Day Challenge-Day 34 What the Buddha Taught

For forty-five years, the Buddha said, over and over again, “I teach only suffering and the transformation of suffering.” When we recognize and acknowledge our own suffering , the Buddha-which means the Buddha in us-will look at it, discover what has brought it about, and prescribe a course of action that can transform it into peace, joy, and liberation. Suffering is the means the Buddha used to liberate himself, and it is also the means by which we can become free. Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

Suffering is unpleasant. At the very mention of the word, I can immediately think of several different instances, I would rather not relive. Then immediately I begin to contemplate pain vs. suffering. Related, often used together, but not really the same, right? In fact, I would take pain over suffering any day. Why? Because suffering seems to imply a long drawn out experience of discomfort. Maybe this has been my experience because the events I tend to associate with suffering felt as if they would never end.

Today’s lesson gives me hope. What if suffering is not the interminable condition I have been thinking it is and rather an opportunity for transformation? The key is the willingness to greet our suffering with open arms and get to know it. (I say this like it is so easy.) I for one have spent a good amount of time avoiding any contact with suffering; it does not mean that it was not there. However, suffering was something be avoided at all costs, with any distraction at hand. Maybe that is why it has always felt never-ending. This leads me to the next bit of hope; if I get curious about my suffering right away then in theory, the faster I can move into the transformation phase. It is worth a try. Peace, joy, and liberation sounds good.

Are you a creative professional, entrepreneur, or business leader who is stuck? Ready to transform your discomfort, inertia, or overwhelm. Let’s talk,

In gratitude,


365 Day Challenge-Day 33 The Great Insight

This is the great insight of Mahayana Buddhism: everyone can become a buddha. What Siddhartha achieved, all of us can also achieve, whether we are a man or a woman, no matter what social class or ethnic group we were born into, or whether we practice as a monastic or as a layperson. We all have the capacity to become a fully enlightened buddha. And while on the path to becoming a fully enlightened buddha, we are all bodhisattvas. Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

I am fairly certain that I am not a fully enlightened buddha. Yet, I like the idea of being a bodhisattva, especially after I read a few definitions. Here is one from Wikipedia: In Buddhism, Bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for anyone who has generated Bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

I like the idea of having a compassionate mind about anything, particularly as there is an increased need for compassion in general these days, and I like being a part of the collective good.

This is going to be a busy week for me as I am headed out of town for a conference. I have several projects I want to complete and smaller details that need attention. This is one of those weeks where in the past I might have a tendency to over-schedule myself, give myself a really hard time about not completing the myriad of tasks I set out to do, and collapse in sheer exhaustion once I finally get on the plane. It is going to be different this time. I am clear about what is really and truly a priority for each day AND I am allowing for a few surprises. Yes! Can you imagine? So, in essence I am planning for the unexpected. I am going to welcome spontaneous moments and unforeseen twists in my week.

Why am I inspired to enthusiastically greet uncertainty this week of all weeks when I have so much to do? Spaghetti on the Wall, the journal I created to develop a practice of discernment, has helped me to realize a few things.

#1-I have long considered myself a ‘linear’ type of person and I am not sure if that is accurate.

#2-I like having several different types of projects on my plate and I actually am energized by the intersection of seemingly unrelated projects.

#3-Spontaneity and the unexpected are important ingredients to my personal and professional growth and need not be feared.

#4-Balance does not mean all things are equal or the same. Balance is a verb where I actively acknowledge when certain areas of my life require more of my attention than other for the collective good of all parts of my life.

Are you ready to embrace the unknown, the unforeseen, or the surprise in your day or week? Let me know if I can help, or grab your own copy of SOTW.

In gratitude,


365 Day Challenge-Day 32 Constant Transformation

Impermanence and selflessness are not negative aspects of life, but the very foundations on which life is built. Impermanence is the constant transformation of things. Without impermanence, there can be no life. Selflessness is the interdependent nature of all things. Without interdependence, nothing could exist. Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

Impermanence and selflessness suggest to me a unmooring of all that I hold to be dear-Consistency, Structure, Stability, Self-reliance. I know all the schedules and structures I put in place are simply coping mechanisms, ways to try and control the unknown.

Growing up my life felt like it was constantly changing. My mom might decide at any given moment that she was ready to move again which could imply a change of school along with an address change. Each new school meant being the new kid again-new to the teachers, new to the students, new to the culture. I hated it. I just wanted things to be predictable. I envied those people who had lived in one house their entire lives. By the time I was 30 years old, I was married with 2 little boys, a white picket fence, and a dog. It was all I had ever wanted. The uncertainty of my childhood had left me with an aversion to change and an unrealistic belief that certain outward signs indicated security, like a 2-story farmhouse!

I could not have been more wrong. Shortly after the birth of my third child, I realized that I was numb and growing less connected to myself each day. All the outward signs indicated life was good. Getting married, raising children, caring for a dog, owning a home, these things meant that my life was on track; on a very specific track that demanded commitment, permanence, consistency. In 2002 my life went off the rails, I asked my husband for a divorce and what ensued was several years of uncertainty and change.

Yes, I would do it again and yes, I think I could do it better. Things were pretty messy and crazy for a while. And yes, I still look for structure and schedules to provide an anchor to my life.

However my transformation has been most pronounced in that I have more clarity around what systems I can put in place to dissuade my anxiety caused by uncertainty while allowing for change/growth to happen in other areas of my life. This is a constant process for me. The selflessness I work on too. It shows up in my life as faith in the interdependence and interconnectedness of life. I have demonstrated results that things do work out for the best eventually and not always in the exact way in which I had envisioned. Again this is a process to remind myself of what actually is within my control. And the truth is very little.

In gratitude,


Same but Different

A few days ago, I used Lyft for 3 different rides. I will go on the record saying that I generally use Lyft as I find their drivers to be nicer and I hire the regular service. If I were to share the basics of each ride, driver, and vehicle then it would seem as though I had the same person for each ride.

The drivers were young males.

The cars were small sedans.

Each driver was listening to the radio.

From there the differences began to emerge, rapidly.

My first driver, I sat in the front seat.

I was waiting outside for him because I did not want him to cancel. My destination was barely two miles away.

Of course the minute I was secured with the seatbelt (try and cancel on me now!), I apologized for the short ride. He quickly replied that it was no problem and that his day was just starting. The radio was playing a sports broadcast. I asked if it was baseball. It was football. My driver loves football and looking forward to the upcoming season. His team? I asked, “The Cowboys.” to my surprise. He explained that it is his dad’s favorite team and all his favorite teams he got from his dad. I then noticed the CSULA lanyard hanging from the rearview mirror. He shared that he was a recent graduate. It took him five years because he was working to pay as he went. His degree is in Broadcast Journalism and he was now actively looking for a job in the Southern California market. His passion-sportscasting.

We talked more about his job search and next steps.

I wished him well and I really meant it.

I am convinced he will find something given his positive attitude.

I tipped him immediately and more than I normally tip.

Driver #2, I sat in the back seat due to crutches taking up the front seat.

I watched him from the App miss the turn and then take what seemed like an eternity to turn around. Upon arrival, I greeted him with my customary ice-breaking questions-How was his day? Did he just start his day or is his finishing up?. I also asked about the crutches. Turns out he had a torn ACL which did not require surgery. Or perhaps he was electing not to have surgery( As the ride went on I realized that it would be a mistake to make any assumptions.). It was never made clear as he was not much of a talker. He did have a podcast on the radio. The title of it was Climate Change. It caught my attention because I had just passed on attending Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Training due to conflicts in my schedule. I began to listen and I began to be confused, my assumptions at work. The person spoke in measured tones about the movie Avatar. He went on to call out James Cameron as a hypocrite, and it went on from there. I see the words Climate Change and I just assume the content will be discussing the significant world events and repercussions due to climate change. I assume that the content recognizes it as an actual crisis. As soon as I was processing that my assumptions regarding the content were wrong, another episode started. Now the same mild-mannered host was talking about Tariffs and Trade Wars. Again it was this smooth voice reminding us of individuals from both sides of the aisle who have complained about Nafta and that somehow we should be grateful for a trade war. I think it was at this moment I checked out. The content was disturbing. It was so carefully crafted and packaged with what felt like a dangerous agenda. Now I know that the views shared on the podcast are not what I believe. I believe I possess the ability to listen to opposing views and apply my critical thinking skills to recognize that most issues reside in a grayscale not in world of easy answers.

I exited the ride disturbed by the combination of this dark, fear-based podcast being ingested by a very quiet, almost sullen young man. Again I am making several assumptions. Maybe he was listening to it for a class, maybe he was really going to research some of the claims asserted by the host as absolute truths, maybe he has a dark sense of humor and plays these to see what, if any reaction he can illicit from his rides.

I will never know.

I was relieved to be out of his car.

I did not give him a tip.

Driver #3, I sat in the back seat. I was tired at this point and looking to get home as quickly as possible.

The soundtrack for my final ride of the evening was the equivalent of alternative elevator music. My driver was friendly. I actually shared with him that his (nondescript) music was refreshing after my last ride. I tried to describe the podcast, and he responded that he believes the government is capable of all sorts of deceptions. At this point I was tired and not sure where this conversation was headed, therefore I steered us towards more neutral territory. I learned that he was engaged and set to be married soon. He was driving to supplement his income for the wedding. He was really excited to get married. He is a musician with a YouTube channel. He was in the process of rebranding.

Like the music on his radio, the ride had been innocuous and for that I was grateful.

I gave him a tip.

We are lucky to have diversity in Southern California, a diversity in our opinions, our professions, our dreams amongst all the other ways in which diversity presents. I began to write about my experience with my three same but different drivers focused on the young men. Now in conclusion the part I find more interesting is the role my assumptions played in all my conversations. What assumptions am I bringing to interactions at a conscious or subconscious level?

Here is a short list of synonyms for assumption: supposition, presumption, belief, expectation, conjecture, speculation, surmise, guess, premise, hypothesis

The synonyms clarify the way in which operating by assumption, a belief accepted as truth without investigation, is liability. A liability because assumptions have the potential to create distance where there need not be.

I am going to work on shelving my assumptions. I am going to work on asking questions and listening, especially when I am uncomfortable.

In gratitude,


365 Day Challenge-Day 31 Awareness of the Body

In sitting meditation, the first thing is to be aware that you are in a sitting position. Then, you can sit in a way that brings you calm, solidity, and well-being. We can notice the position of our body in each moment, whether we are sitting, walking, standing, or lying down. We can be aware of our actions, whether we are getting up, bending down, or putting on a jacket. Awareness brings us back to ourselves, and when we are fully mindful of our body, and living in the here and now, we are in our true home. Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes all of this awareness, mindfulness, and consciousness is exhausting for me. I know that it is good for me like vitamins or daily exercise, but there are days when I just want to binge on Netflix and popcorn accompanied with a good glass of red wine. Am I a bad person? Am I lazy? Honestly, I don’t think so. I do think that I can tend to overthink, just about anything, and I can tend to want to do all of these ‘good for me’ activities perfectly.

Okay, I just had my breakthrough moment, ready for it…Perfectionism is exhausting. Yes! Oh my goodness, it is funny because you figure things out then you forget then you have to remind yourself-or at least I have to do that. Yes, I forgot how exhausting and frankly, joy-sucking perfectionism is. In my experience, perfectionism does not allow of spontaneity and can completely suffocate the learning and growth we get from FAILURE.

I have been watching my fair share of Netflix this summer. One of my favorites right now is My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman . In the episode with Tina Fey, she discusses her background in improvisational comedy and the freefall of failure. She describes the moment when you realize you are tanking, you are failing, then you land and you are still alive. It did not kill you to fail.

There are so many great moments in this conversation between Dave and Tina; I just want to share one more. They reflect on success and failure and the power of failure to make a much more significant impact on your psyche, your memory, etc.

Here is my second breakthrough moment of the day: Success is easy, failure is harder. (At this moment, you may be thinking, Kristan, this is a breakthrough moment? Really?!) And failure provides that fertile ground on which to enjoy your next success. I am going to be encouraging myself to fail this week, a lot. Who wants to join me?

Share your thoughts, ask me questions, order Spaghetti on the Wall, hire me for coaching, AND have a terrific week.

Here is my email

In gratitude,



365 Day Challenge-Day 30 No Beginning and No End

We usually try to hold on to life and run away from death. But, according to the teaching, everything has been nirvana from the nonbeginning. So why do we have to grasp one thing and avoid another? In the ultimate dimension, there is no beginning and no end. We think there is something to attain, something outside of ourselves, but everything is already here. Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

One of my favorite expression is ‘simple, not easy’. I complicate situations, a lot! For me when things like other people’s feelings, my fees for my professional services-money, or other people’s opinions, their judgement are at stake then simple is not always easy. It is easy for me to get tripped up.

So, today’s lesson speaks to me on a couple of levels:

#1 keep it simple

#2 remain in gratitude

By the way, if I approached everyday just focused on these two practices then life would be very sweet.

However, I complicate my life most when I pretend that something is okay when it is not. This is a powerful dishonesty to oneself, to the people in your life, to your potential. I know this one very well especially because I tend to place the comfort and wishes of others before my own.

Why would I do this?

  • I tell myself that it doesn’t matter-It does matter whether it seems like a big thing or a small thing. The small things add up very quickly.
  • I want to be liked-Do I really want to be liked at the risk of pretending to be someone else?
  • I tell myself that I do not have enough information-Acting in integrity takes courage sometimes, simple not easy. 🙂

The other part of today’s lesson refers to our quest to attain that which is outside of ourselves. I would imagine most of us can relate to this whether it was the time you thought another class would make you ‘more professional’ or an expensive purchase would make you feel more accomplished. When we look for affirmation from the outside, and it can be exhausting. Why are we reluctant to acknowledge our own knowing, talents, our own ‘enoughness’?

This is another form of dishonesty that I know well. I will ignore my own experience, talents, abilities when I am stressed or when I am distracting myself from really tackling the task at hand. If the buck stops here, meaning ‘everything is already here’ then what if I fail or it doesn’t go as planned.

What now? I don’t have the answer. AND I do know from my own experience that the more I live into my truths then the better the results.

I offer business coaching, team training, and workshops. I published Spaghetti on the Wall as a simple and easy tool for discernment, available for purchase now. If you would like to learn more then contact me,

In gratitude,