i am Diane
i am from young love
from passionate firsts

i am from quiet readers & avid swimmers
from bacon & ice cream
gardeners, quilters & creatives

from Catholics, Methodists & Presbyterians
nice, quiet, mostly German, white folks
and liberals with loud voices

i am from teens & trauma
with lack of trust & no shortage of fear
from broken dreams & suburban hell

i am from preppies & plaid skirts
where competition is the game
and abstinence the preferred plan

i am from land of the big & bigger houses
places built in spaces stolen. claimed
where safe, clean & nice mean white

i am from a herstory of 
isolating as an instinct
questioning everything, especially me

i am from a land of lies
full of stories we tell ourselves
about who we’re supposed to be   

i am from a sea of whiteness
where we don’t see color
and can’t imagine being a racist

i am from tv that didn’t play 24/7
programming that blurred at night
long before MTV killed the radio

i am from buy more, be smaller
fake it ’til you make it
bury your emotions and secrets

from beer in the tap & wine on the table
loud fights & fucking behind closed doors
public displays of a drunken ego  

from drawers full 
of diet pills to empty your plate 
because there are starving children in China

i am from Sunday family dinners
with blame & shame on every knife
where defensiveness & denial ruled.

I am Diane
I am from Amazons
from wimmin around the globe

I am from lovers of love 
creators of life, touchers of bodies & souls 
space holders for death

I am from cellular material 
from stardust
from You.

abusive is not a word…

“abusive is not a word I would use to describe you”

These words and a few others dropped into my text messages last week, along with a screen shot of an ex’s fb post. Here’s the thing… I don’t enjoy claiming that word for myself or my behaviors… and yet there is truth in there.

I’ve been clear about that for years now, and spoken publicly about it. When I talk about it with friends and lovers they often get protective of me, because of herstory they know or have heard. And because it sometimes boggles their mind… “how can you, one of the nicest people I know, be…” (abusive, racist, homophobic, etc)

It’s simple really. I’m hoomon. Raised in the toxic soup that is our culture and the one that was my home. And because I’m more tortoise than hare, it has taken me a long time to work through my shit and drop a lot of heavy baggage.

Yes, I have been in abusive relationships. And also, I am not simply a victim. I want to be clear here; I am speaking for myself only. This is not a commentary on your particular story, although I believe many of us need to be willing to look deeper at our shadow side.

My childhood herstory of mental, emotional & sexual abuse gave me a toolbox full of skills like stonewalling, passive-aggressive communication, gaslighting, addiction, and condescension. Partner these and people with their own variety of these skills… bam… more toxicity.

It took one separation counseling session with my ex-husband for a therapist to help me see that it was an abusive relationship …which pretty much sums up my 20s. It took a few more years for me to take ownership in some of that. I’m NOT saying the relationship would have lasted any longer, or even been less abusive… I AM saying that I see places where I could have behaved differently, and where my addictions got in the way of anything resembling healthy.

One of the interesting things about being in serial relationships is finding the stuff we carry into the next one and watching how it plays out… I learned about stonewalling by living with an expert at it, which also allowed me to see where I had done a damn good job of it myself. When we broke up I also realized how much I’d blamed her.

Then I got an up-close look at all the ways I can be defensive… and intimidating. Having someone look so fearful, even if only for a second, gave me a jolt. I no longer recall why we were fighting, simply remember being stunned that she was afraid I would hit her… which I would never.

OK. let’s pause, take a few breaths, and hydrate before going further…

Abuse is… insert your definition here.

No, I have never hit anyone. Yes, I have touched someone without presence.

No, I have never thrown/broken things. Yes, I have thrown words/irritated wounds/escalated situations/broken communication.

No, I don’t abuse anyone consciously or intentionally. Except myself, I realize as I type this. I still sometimes make choices that are not in my best interest. I want to shift that statement, change it, erase it, hide it. And yet, it’s truth. One of the lines I walk is enabling & learning to being gentle with myself.

My addictions have included: excessive alcohol, sugar, spending, work, tolerance of bad behavior. Some folks, including me, wonder if some of the relationships I maintain exist due to that last one, or for some other unhealthy reason. Wonder how I can share time with them. Help them. Take them to the liquor store. Breathe life and love into them.

Here’s the thing. I hold space. For all of us. In all of us.

We are all so much more than these bodies and the stories they hold. We are spirit. We are stardust.

And we are hoomon.

…with a body of rooms, as poet/performer/encourager/lifesaver E Nina Jay declares in her book of the same name.

And sadly, yes I have a bully in one or more of my rooms.

…maybe you do too.

Yes, there are different “levels” of abuse, just as there are racism or any other -ism. And when we STOP defending ourselves or others because we’re not abusive/racist/homophobic “like that” and START simply accepting the truths, we can move forward with healing.

Let’s not do oppression politics or whatever the fuck it’s called, in any aspect. Hurt people hurt people. Fact.

Stay in your lane. Keep focused on healing your wounds, and I’ll keep focused on mine. Thats’s how we make change happen.

Now and for future generations.



sometimes i can only work in brief (or even miniscule) spurts before i have to walk away…

sometimes i want to run away again…

sometimes i want to disappear…

sometimes i hate the parts of me that are your worst traits…

sometimes i remind myself we are all doing our best every moment…

sometimes i take in a slow breath and realize my shoulders are up around my ears…

sometimes i ask myself if this/that choice is because of an addiction to…

sometimes i remember how much i love you…

sometimes i allow myself to feel the pain…

sometimes i spend/smoke/drink/eat/binge too much instead…

sometimes i am better at being gentle with myself…

sometimes i am better at being gentle with you…

sometimes i really fuck up…


sometimes i get it right.


sometimes i wake up smiling…

sometimes i root in deeper…

sometimes i don’t fight the current…

sometimes i stop dragging my feet…

sometimes i listen closely…

sometimes i act in big ways…

sometimes i remind myself to soften…

sometimes i sit in my shit…

sometimes i stand…


sometimes i move forward.


sometimes i look back…

sometimes i cry/shake my head/roll my eyes/yell/scream/laugh…


sometimes i dance it out.


sometimes i feel lost/adrift/alone/confused/disconnected…

sometimes i feel sad/angry/furious/despondent/something…

sometimes i feel content/joyous/hopeful/bouyant/certain…


sometimes i feel.


sometimes i escape… or try to…

sometimes i remember respite is necessary…

sometimes i lay down guilt/fear/shame…

sometimes i pick up ease/worthy/divine…

sometimes i pray… to Mary/Buddha/Jesus/God/Goddess/Mother Earth…

sometimes i sing along…

sometimes i stretch body/mind/soul…

sometimes i create… for me/you/all of us…


sometimes i share.


sometimes i eat all my vegetables…

sometimes i only want to see you smile…

sometimes i touch/teach/garden/plan/scheme/paint/coordinate…

sometimes i merely amuse… in all the ways…

sometimes i inspire…


sometimes i desire.


sometimes i shine a light…

sometimes i let yours glow bright…


sometimes we dance together…

sometimes we swim apart…


sometimes we love in action.

love in action.jpg

looking inside out & upside down

upside down

We are ALL in transition, ALL of the time. Every SINGLE second. EVERY. ONE. Each second of the 84,600 seconds that occur in a day is different than the second before. Ergo, we ARE transition. We are CHANGE.

Whoa right?! Sit with that for a moment. Let it REALLY sink in…

You’ve already changed in the time it’s taken you to read this far…

It’s true. In some ways, or many.

It might be too much to think about being change, and change happening so fast, so let’s slow down and talk about our bodies a bit more generally. Have you heard of Crash Course? One of my favorite learning/teaching aids that can be found on youtube and patreon. Big thanks to Diane Shew for this resource. Watch this Crash Course video intro to Anatomy & Physiology… it’s only 11 minutes long… you can do it! Understanding and listening to our bodies are things we should ALL be learning about and focusing on.

If you can’t make it through the video because it isn’t closed captioned, or for another reason, here are three take-away terms relevant to our current conversation…  anatomy, physiology, homeostasis… don’t know what they mean or want more clarity in understanding? dictionary.comis your friend!

When you’re ready to go deeper, this next video is called That’s Why Carbon Is A Tramp. Prefer the abbreviated version? “Keep this in mind… even the sexiest person you have ever met in your life is just a collection of organic compounds rambling around in a sac of water.” When I think of organic compounds, the visual that comes to mind is dirt or soil, that has clumps of clay, sticks and stones in it.

different perspectives


First some definitions. (If you’ve been in my classroom or around for a while, you know that the dictionary & thesaurus are some of my favorites. I suppose that contributes to one of my favorite nicknames “Resource Queen”.) Anyhoo…

transaction = noun

the act of transacting or the fact of being transacted.

an instance or process of transacting something.

something that is transacted, especially a business agreement.

Psychology . an interaction of an individual with one or more other persons, especially as influenced by their assumed relational roles of parent, child, or adult.

transactions, the published records of the proceedings, as papers read, addresses delivered, or discussions, at the meetings of a learned society or the like.

relation = noun

an existing connection; a significant association between or among things:

the relation between cause and effect.


the various connections between peoples, countries, etc.:

foreign relations.

the various connections in which persons are brought together:

business and social relations.

sexual intercourse.

the mode or kind of connection between one person and another, between an individual and God, etc.

connection between persons by blood or marriage.

a person who is related by blood or marriage; relative:

his wife’s relations.

the act of relating, narrating, or telling; narration.


I remember the day… a Sunday five years ago walking around the streets of San Francisco with two of my favorite loves… that I first heard someone be described as transactional. It was a lightbulb moment giving birth to more language for me, and propelling me further on my journey to becoming a person who always acts in a relational manner.

You may not have heard of these concepts, or may not have had language around them, and or may not yet understand. Wherever you are with it, let’s take a breath or ten, sip a favorite beverage and just be here together…


Hydrating, breathing, finding stillness and stretching are all important… especially when taking in new information or upgrading and integrating. And particularly for those of us who sometimes have difficulty staying present in our body. So if you need to get up and stand in the back, quietly knit in your seat, excuse yourself for a bit, it’s perfectly ok. Learning to take care of yourself is a vital piece, if not the foundation, of the coursework. Join us whenever and wherever you can.

Our current society, especially white culture, is primarily focused on individualism. I’m an only child for the first fourteen years, so that resonates with me on many levels. And while self-reliance, free thinking, and pursuit of profit are concepts I can get on board with, too much of a “good” thing and all that…

Too much individualism can lead us to transactional relationships, boot-strap thinking, centering whiteness, and a lack of empathy, among other things. Too much collectivism can lead us to slavery, the Holocaust, cults, and a lack of thinking, among other things.

Much of our early learning in relationship has bargaining involved. “If you ______, I’ll let/give you ______.” As we get older we might expect people to do things for us because we did _______ for them. Be willing to hurt someone’s feelings because our were hurt first. Do things we wouldn’t except that_____.

We often enter/continue relationships thinking about what we get out of them more than what we’ll give. We’re subconsciously taught about transactional relationships in business, in dating, at home, in church… “It isn’t happening because I’m not praying enough/being grateful enough/being good/pretty/smart/successful enough.” Our trauma experiences, poverty thinking and societal pressures add a volatile cocktail to the mix.


I agree with Rohanti Ravikulanthat all relationships are transactional at some level. To say otherwise would simply strengthen my inner hypocrite, who I try to keep at bay. Also, I am clear that we need to respect ourselves as well as others as we give and receive, in all aspects of life. Boundaries are an important on-going lesson for me and many of us, likely for everyone who is involved in relationships of any kind.

Reciprocity is also a thing. A practice that allows for mutual benefit… and hopefully balance, if considered from a relational perspective. When we’re too focused on the benefit, and not enough on the relationship… as Rabbi Aryeh Weinstein wrote ‘when we are living transactionally, we’re not relating to people, but rather to things. Moving outside of the transactional relationship means respecting, developing a rapport with, and demonstrating true love to the other person.’

If I, as a teacher or practitioner, am more focused on the money/benefit than the student/client, we have a problem. A business and therapeutic relationship means that the student/client can be more focused on the outcome and we’re still good.

If I, as a daughter/sister/friend/lover, am more focused on what I can get out of the relationship than on the relationship/person involved, we have a problem. And vise versa.

As I mentioned, this is a continuing part of my journey. Let me know the perspective from where you are on your path and what your thoughts are, I’m always curious.


These are articles I found interesting to read and think you may enjoy, this is NOT an endorsement of the individuals or websites. Always do your own research, take what fits and consider the rest.

Transactional Relationships by Rabbi Aryeh Weinstein

Is your marriage more transactional or relational? | Alethia Counseling

What are some good examples of transactional relationships that you know or may have experienced and was it good or bad for you?

How to Create Transformational Relationships Instead of Transactional?

Shifting a bit, we can learn about…

Transactional Analysis 1: ego states & basic transactions

riding the waves


Although I’ve never surfed on a board, for a long time now I’ve used surfing as an analogy for life. I have played/swam/stood in/floated/ridden on/got knocked down by waves in more than one body of water. Most recently in a warm part of the pacific ocean, where the sand was dark and the currents strong.

Getting knocked down by a wave can mean things like salt water stinging your eyes and filling your nose, losing all sense of direction, being pushed and pulled under the water, breathing in water, losing your shit, suit and/or glasses, sand scraping your knees, even death. The power of water is fierce.

Life often feels like the ocean. Where the swell can be huge, blocking out all view of the shore, if you’re anywhere near land even. The waves are constant if not consistent. Trying to stay afloat, to ride the surf, quickly gets tiring… surrounded by splashing waves and a tugging undertow.


One breath at a time, one wave at a time… jumping & bouncing to say above the line… looking for the wave that calls, to jump on and ride in to the shore… where rest waits…

…until the water (life) pulls you in again.

resting place



at the address

which is my current home

a place that houses

so much

more and less

than calm


thirty moves to get here

full circle

and spiraling beyond

thank goddess

for all that is and can be


a resting place

for me and you

be it a cave

grandmother tree

body of water

army of lovers

book of poetry

sounds of music

or somewhere else


blessed are we

who are able to find

some resting space



some time

to curl up

and go within


slow down


jump off


the gerbil wheel

away from

the rat race


finding calm is

needed for all


space and time

to breathe easier


opportunity to nurture

our nervous systems

a different way of living

than the chaotic

oppressive systems

touted as a better life

reflections on this egg day


Today I’m thinking about perfectionism, fear, sin, religion, nature, patriarchy, capitalism, family, life, death and love. Pretty much the same as any other day for me.

I haven’t posted here in a month or so partially because of the first two. And then I was reminded that showing up is all I have to do… it’s doesn’t have to be perfect. Or even great, wise or magical. I can just be me, and speak from my heart. soul. share bits of my self that may/may not resonate with you. And it’s all good. Because I Am. perfectly imperfect. just like You.

Remind us all that it’s okay to test out the water without jumping in head first. Dip our toes in. Stick a waterproof camera under to capture another perspective. Look at that view and see how it fits/feels/looks.

Breathe it in… using what works and is needed, exhaling the rest.

Years ago when my bio-dad died, I was feeling grief and regret at our lack of time and connection, his wife admonished me about my previous visits to their home… when I’d spent time taking pictures in nature rather than sharing with humans. She had always wanted us to have a better relationship, as she understood the pain of losing her mother early in life. It was he and I that didn’t really know how to manage that well. Other people’s feelings and fears had long before gotten in the way of what might have been.

I always had some vague memories/sense of him from infancy and toddlerhood, but until I showed up at his office after graduating high school, our only contact was a brief phone call I made to him around age 12 and a letter with the signed legal name change paperwork he mailed to me at 16. In it he mentioned that I could always ask him questions, when I did years later in an email, he pretty much told me to ask his long-time friend. Ummmm… okay. My mom told me I could ask questions too… in ways that let me know she hoped I never would. So I pretty much didn’t.

I always understood how young they were, high school seniors with big lives ahead of them. First time, condom broke… abortion illegal, unwed mother shame, guilt, resentment… Indiana wedding because they were too young in Ohio… partying that led to divorce…

…eventually another marriage that led to a new “dad”, which is a whole other story. A story that adds to the fact that when I did go around, occasionally, in my 20’s and 30’s… I could barely be present with him and his other daughters because of my jealousy at their healthy, happy family life.

A few days ago, as I was going through the photos from a recent trip and found this one, I said to Kelly (who is pictured), I wish I had also taken a picture of this scene without you in it. (Luckily, she kind of understands me and my artistic side and didn’t have hurt feelings.) …because Nature you know… my church. …

…and beauty, without humans getting in the way, messing it up…

…and perfectionism. and desire to control to view/image/story…

Look at the photo again. Death and messy is still there, even without humans.

And the photo is still beautiful, even with signs of humanity,

It’s all perspective. And it’s all life.

Live it.

Show up.

sit/stand/cry/scream/play in the mud of life

Let the water wash away the dirt. Get messy & sweaty again. And come back to the water. For respite. nourishment. cleansing.

That is my version of resurrection.

Now go get you some malted/chocolate/deviled eggs!

Love, Di

up until now

Twenty plus years ago I moved away for sanity and possibility. Spent the next two decades moving from place to place often, through careers and relationships not as often, running away from and running toward. Last year I moved further away and took a partial sabbatical for more healing and clarity. This year I moved back to the origins and am really digging in deeply. Like much in life, it’s not always easy or pretty. And still… necessary and needed. One of my core beliefs is that we exist in this life school to become better humans. Somedays I wish I didn’t know this because life might be so much simpler. Most days I’m grateful I remember.

If you’ve been in my classroom, office or home, you likely know that in addition to a passion for personal growth and professional development, I’m a big proponent in the “right tool for the job”. This is NOT to say there’s only one tool for any job. This IS to say that some tools are better than others for the task, the time, or the person doing the work. JUST like practitioners are sometimes a better fit for the work needed, time, client/patient.

During the past two years I have worked with Staci Jordan Shelton in several of her week-long Unraveled offerings, and this year am participating in the 9-month ASCEND program. If you’re not familiar with Staci, follow her on FB or Instagram, you won’t be sorry!  One of the questions she asks is about the lies holding us hostage…

Recently one answer to this questions was “Up until now I believed that I would never have enough or be good enough.” While I know these things not to be true on some level, it’s definitely as Staci says, a lie that holds me hostage. I’ve been unraveling this knot for some time now, and like all the creatives I know… sometimes setting it down and working on another project. Part of what I like most about working with Staci is that she shows up with compassion and understanding for our complexity while still expecting work to be done. She is an excellent guide, coach, teacher, leader and mentor for me… in more ways than she may know.

On to some deep(er) vulnerabilty…

Another lie that holds me hostage is one many of us are familiar with… that I can fake it ’til I make it. I will always remember hearing both Laura Allen and Allissa Haines talk about not doing this. And thinking to myself, is there really any other way? It’s the only thing I know. And isn’t every one? …it took me years to understand the difference between “fake it ’til you make it” and “imposter syndrome”, and to unpack them both. It took me years of teaching Ethics and loving Women of Color to understand the depths of my own struggle as a person who never saw black and white, only saw grey. It took longer to understand the depths of my depression, anxiety, fear, anger, codependency, and ability to self-sabotage.

Shame and fear are at the root/knot in all of this, as they are with many things, and I’m too tired to let them win any longer. What that means for me is that I have to continue following through on the calling to share my thoughts and stories in a big, wide-open way. And that still terrifies me.

…damn, I really didn’t know this was where we were headed today…

…and that’s how my process is… I read, listen, feel, share, sit in/with, play, read, listen… (which likely looks to many like nothing much is happening, and sometimes feels that way to me) …then when I’m able to get a relatively large chunk of time and space alone, things eventually flow and shows up in words or visual art to share. I’ve learned (am learning) to appreciate and understand it as such…

Doing that, understanding my rhythms and appreciating them for what they are, allows me to schedule my time appropriately… which avoids burnout, makes me not want to kill myself or escape, and allows me to work more clearly and deeply with clients. My focus the last few years has been the word soften, asking that of client’s muscles and my self in the care of me. Being gentle with myself can be challenging in some ways, and in others I’m still way too lax. For me, that last sentence is the focus of the work in ASCEND… unraveling, alchemy and accountability in creating a life I want, not just the life I’m already blessed with.

Thanks for showing up and sticking around this long. I appreciate you.

Blue skies,


PS> Thank you to Dolores Fisher, who loved on me in many ways during our years connected in person, and was the first person I knew to sign off that way.




every time I arrive

it happens

the feeling of

sinking in

unable to get out


so I sit in it

feeling overpowered


over it all


then find a


and pull

gently easing


out of the depths

and move



ever so grateful

for god & friends


that offer guidance

help, love &


to save my life



(photo thanks to unsplash.com)