It wasn’t the kind of thing I’d normally say “hell yes” to – another shiny, sparkly sales page for another sparkly coach with all the right convincing words and people to join for this amazing conference.

But that night in Federal Way, after dinner with my parents…after browsing through random coaching websites as usual… I came across this conference, and knew I had to be there.

So here I am, in this room with a hundred and twenty perfectly preened women all with self-imposed job titles like “Sparkly Life Coach”, straining serious muscles to keep from rolling my eyes at every other comment that comes out of the speaker’s mouth.

I WANT to be non-judgmental….but I’ve just has so many issues with this whole “coaching world” for years, and am so unhappy in my own current state of work, that I can’t help but judge everyone else around me.

They’re all living their dreams. Sure, they’ve all made up their own job titles and niches, and you know what? More freaking power to them. They’re coaching moms to find their mojo, stressed-out office babes to break free of cubicle living, and unicorns to fulfill their creative visions. Sure, it’s fluffy – but they’re making money and having fun doing it. Who am I to judge? I’m spending my time building other people’s businesses and bitching about the fact that I don’t have one of my own.

So I’m living with this healer, by the way. Maytawee. Turns out she’s a total celebrity in this small town in Canada. In fact, her monk in Thailand prophesied that she should come here. Now, she has a following and is basically a spiritual figure. The moment I walked into that Airbnb, I knew: it wasn’t the conference that drew me here… It was Maytawee.

The energy in her home was immediately as nourishing as a warm, comforting nest that i never wanted to leave. Her assistant Jonathan, a soft-spoken young man from Montreal, exuded a gentleness and love that I can’t explain. That first night, I returned home from a brief meetup at a pub with some of the women, and just cried as I told him that I feel I’m more meant to go on a barefoot spiritual journey to India than I am to sit in a conference room with a bunch of coaches in sparkly gold heels.

They shared a beautiful dinner with me, and we sat into the kitchen late into the night talking about healing, spirit, our existence as spirits living in a human body… and what to do when we’re working with people who are ready to leave their human form. She told me stories of her days as Eckhart Tolle’s personal assistant, working with the Dalai Lama, living as a monk in Chiang Mai for 4 years, and building her own retreat center in Chicago. She told me how she was gifted a 200-year old Buddha statue from Burma with special permission from the King of Thailand.

Spending time with these people my first night felt like a breath of fresh air. I felt alive….and somehow, aligned (as overused as that word has been during this conference.) This was alignment – this was where I was meant to be.

I’d been spinning in pretty much the same cycle for 3 years. Working for other online entrepreneurs, supporting them, doing assistant work. Writing their books, building their websites, running their retreats. I was building this hard, angry rock of resentment and self-loathing deep inside my belly. I felt trapped: this lifestyle afforded me location freedom – but at what cost? I had no grounding, no community…. I was building businesses, but not my own…. I never stayed anywhere long enough to build a relationship, a yoga studio, a student base….nothing. To make matters worse, I had been repeating nasty cycles of entrapment with my ex, an up-and-down roller coaster that always ended up worse than it began.

I had an empire builder inside of me…. A firey leader, a speaker to draw the crowds to their feet with emotion….. A world-changer, deep healer, spiritual muse.

But here I sat, in this sparkly conference room full of coaches with job titles I personally loathed, seething as the speaker giggled about her “tweetables” and squealed about “how totally awesome it is to build a school in Nicaragua!”

Side note: I am not a cynic by nature. It’s just too easy to go there in this type of environment.

So here I am, taking all my sparkly notes on the sessions but silently stewing in my own cynicism about it all. Looking at my phone, I see a slew of drama-infused messages from an unhealthy past ex of mine. I just absolutely cannot.

Two nights earlier, I had returned home from the conference (actually escaped just before the end so I wouldn’t be pinned into any dinner plans) and Maytawee offered me an Ajna light therapy session.

Laying on the bed, the lights began beaming into my brain and the kaleidoscopic swirls of colors and shapes began. I was tranced into another world…. One where my brain was somehow connected to something larger than myself… far larger. Partway through, my heart started beating really quickly and I had to place my hand on my belly to remind myself to stay grounded, that I was okay, I was okay.

After the session, I shook for a while. Maytawee and Dannika held space while I shook and moaned (yes…literally) then cried, shook some more, breathed deeply…. So deeply. Maybe deeper than I ever breathed before. Maytawee said this was “skeletoning”. I was releasing pent-up fear and anxiety from early in my life. She held my back, said “there is no more betrayal…. I have your back… it’s over… the betrayal is over….. You’re here.” As I breathed in deeply I felt more whole than I had in a long time. I felt so safe with them, and with myself. I wanted to just fully let go, let everything go.

So at this conference, we’re talking about breakdowns and breakthroughs. Writing our stories. Hmmmm. It’s supposed to go: Where you are now, breakdown, breakthrough, lessons learned, and then all the awesomeness that your client is supposed to get from the experience you had.

Here’s the kicker though: the “Where you are now” part is supposed to be super awesome and amazing, because this is the life you’re selling to your client.

Um. Somehow my “breakdown” box isn’t big enough to fit all the events I have to fill it with. Where I am now….. Pretty sure that isn’t supposed to be resentful about your work, feeling pretty damned lost for your life purpose, in debt, single for 2 years but still entrapped in toxic cycles with your ex, and dealing with some fun newfound hypochondria and anxiety about hair loss.

Breakthrough? Hmmm. I tap my pen to my face…. Can I just make this part up? I make some side notes in my journal. Is a breakthrough something you wait for… or something you decide? It’s super inspiring and all to hear all the stories of these women who went from the depths of despair and then triumphed, so now they’re flourishing as coaches with $10k launches and 3000 list size. That’s totally awesome. But how do you make the fucking breakthrough?

It all sounds so easy for them. Hmmmm. Pen tapping… now there’s ink on my face.

More squealing. I look around… contorting my face to keep it in a normal position. Seriously? Nope….everyone’s eating it all up. Standing ovation now. Kay.

Thursday morning, Maytawee and I eat breakfast together. She makes this incredible spinach and goat cheese omelette for us, with gluten-free buckwheat bread. SO. GOOD. It’s so lovely spending time with her… she KNOWS things. She sees. She told me I’ve been around many lifetimes. That I’m meant to be a healer. That I can heal with my voice, with my touch.

She asked me what is the work I want to do with people… after feeling into it, I replied that it’s connecting people with their inner truth and light inside. She then asked me how I will know when someone is in touch with their truth and light inside. I told her – I will sense from them a deep softness, openness, connection. She told me – you must cultivate this in yourself, before you can help anyone else. You must evaluate every decision in your life against this. Will this bring out my softness, openness, connection? You must stay in alignment with this. I must. To heal.

Thursday night. We’re going to a pyramid for Tibetan sound healing just as Mercury retrograde ends and the fall equinox begins. Oh, and it’s also a vortex with the potential to completely shift your blueprint. Couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

I hop on a motorcycle with Dannika, this cool chick who met Maytawee in Chiang Mai last year and is now studying with her. Speeding through the outskirts of Kelowna off to this winery, I’m pretty floored at how awesome life is when I just let the fuck go. There’s no way I could have planned this sort of evening…. And it happened for me. This is where I’m meant to be.

We step in the pyramid, and it’s packed with people eagerly awaiting the spiritual ceremony with Maytawee. This pyramid… it’s got the same proportions as the pyramid of Giza. There’s a MASSIVE crystal hanging from the apex, and wide copper beams stretching from the apex down each of the four sides of the pyramid, to spread the powerful energy of the crystal.

In the center of the pyramid, just underneath the apex, hangs another fixture with another crystal and an upside-down pyramid. Dannika whispers over to me, “underneath that crystal? Is a vortex. You have to stand underneath and feel the energy.”

We proceed with the Tibetan bowl meditation… it is lovely. The sounds of these beautiful bowls fill the pyramid and all of us within with a high vibrational energy of love and connection.

Afterwards, I move underneath that hanging crystal under the apex, and immediately am swarmed into an ecstatic hug with Dannika and another beautiful woman who I soon learn is Deborah. Short story, she’s an incredible healer and yoga teacher, and we may end up collaborating on a retreat soon. Magic in the vortex, for sure.

After cleaning up the pyramid, we all head down to the “Coolie”, a mud hut type structure containing a fire pit, where we dance wildly around the fire to the drum beats, tribal style.

Now, before this ceremony I had written down all that I intend to release at this equinox, this transition….. All really, really important shit to let go. Let me emphasize. Really. Important. Shit.

Fear. Anxiety. Lack of clarity. People-pleasing. Saying yes when I mean no. Judgment. Resentment. Grudges. Indecision. Scatteredness. Doubt. My ex.

To name a few.

As I raise the paper to send it my final gratitude and release it to burn like hell, my sisters around me raise the energy, wildly trilling their voices, excited to help me burn my past and step into a clear and bright future. They cheer me on, and I give my paper one last blessing and release then toss it into the fire. Unfortunately, it misses the flame and i have to reach in the fire to grab it again. One more time….no go. Grrrrrr. I grit my teeth, knowing that burning this paper is proving every bit as difficult as it’s been to release the actual things written upon it.

One woman suggests I crumple it into a ball, which i do…. Then toss into the flames, and watch with glee and triumph, all of us howling and dancing wildly, as the paper singes, flames, then separates into pieces to rise up through the flume at the top of the coulee, rising up into the sky never to be seen again.

Friday.

I’m feeling solid, ready to face the final day of the conference, though still with teeth gritted a bit. I spend an obscene $5.10 on a matcha tea latte from the local cafe, only to realize it’s basically liquid sugar in a cup and I can only drink a third of it without feeling sick.

More stories. More coaches, More giggling, squealing, and tweetables.

I’m feeling really fucking lost by this point. I feel like I’m meant to be a healer. But I need more training… I can’t exactly just start healing people right now. I want a business. I’m done with support work. But I just can’t be on board with stuff this way. I feel uncomfortable with ALL THE WOO and yet that’s who I am. I’m a holistic healer – right? But don’t I need more training?

I’m starting to actually feel dizzy, looking around the room at all the women with coaching businesses. Why do I feel like I need to be different? Why does it feel like this is all the same? So cliched. That it’s somehow…just…. Not real? They’re all supporting each other in this “thing”….. That isn’t even REALLY a thing? Kind of just an incestual coaching pool…. All coaching each other?! Is this conscious business? Or is it just a fabricated way to create unrealistic amounts of money for things like “Your 10 Steps to a Profitable Sales Funnel” and “Branding Course for Aligned Coaches!”

I want out. I just….can’t, with this. I can’t, with the tweetables, with the squealing, with all the sparkly sales copy and fucking cotton candy matcha green tea that probably doesn’t even have any real adult caffeine inside.

This one lady comes up….brown hair, exuding this vibe of “I don’t give a fuck.” I sit up a bit, my interest piqued. She gets into her talk, and I immediately relate with her when she starts to talk about meeting the “super mega perky blonde” host of our event. Anyway…. One part of her talk really kicked me in the lady balls. She was getting into all of our excuses we give ourselves for not taking action…… and said, “You’ve gotta just PULL UP your big girl panties.. And GET TO WORK!” Yeah, girl! Officially the only quality 15 minutes of this conference that i feel happy about spending my $500 on. Anyways.

So by the time lunch rolls around, despite this moment of uber-motivation and resonance from badass speaker chick, I’m still just lost as FUCK. I have a call with my client, so I doodle around a bit with some client work for a few minutes, waiting. Feeling aimless. Feeling like I haven’t got a project, haven’t got a business… the words just rolling around, pounding around in my head. I’m smart. Tech-savvy. I KNOW how to run a business. I KNOW what to do. I am intuitive, empathetic, sensitive, and a healer. I have studied yoga, coaching, psychology, planned retreats, started a podcast, written books, blogs, newsletters. But I don’t have a business. I don’t have a project to call my own. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

To top it off, I’m dealing with this extreme obsession around my hair, feeling totally ugly like the only woman in the room with stringy, straggly hair that I just want to shave off because it’s affecting my self-esteem so much. I feel like I’ll never make it as an entrepreneur, I’m a joke, fraud, ugly, and what the almighty fuck am I even doing here.

So my client and I get on the phone, and essentially I just start to cry. Being the wonderful coach he is, it’s totally a safe space and he wants to talk to me about this. I explain a bit about the mismatch, what I’m feeling inside, the drive i have to serve powerfully, to heal, coach, guide, be a spiritual leader. To be a spiritual light. This is my mission. To guide people to their light within. To guide people to their light. To ignite the light within. To ignite the light within each and every single person on this planet. And shine together.

Crying. Crying that I’m not living my mission. Crying that I’m stuck in support work. (NOTE: crying about this TO MY CLIENT for whom I do support work. I did not say that this was either a smart idea or a high point in my life by any means.) Crying that I’m in cycles, that I’m single, that I’m still in contact with my fucking ex and I’m still doing fucking assistant work and I’m around all these blond buxom women with shiny websites somehow coaching people about life and this ISNT SPIRITUAL and I DONT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING AND JUST STOP STOP STOP.

I’m in my head. And it’s making me insane.

I get off the call with my client, and I feel for a minute. What’s going on here? I want to lead. I want to speak. I want to heal. I want to create and transform.

I want to be a fucking entrepreneur.

I want to not fucking work for anybody else.
THIS IS BURNING IN MY SOUL.

So why the almighty fuck am I crying on the phone to my client about how all of this is NOT the case?!

WHAT DO I EXPECT HIM OR ANYONE ELSE TO DO ABOUT IT?!

I sat there a minute. Thought about the fact that I should be leaving the cafe to attend the afternoon sessions. Thought about that some more. Thought about the fact that I was still having hair anxiety on my Skype call with my client. And what a bullshit waste of time that was.

I just sat there. Thinking about all of this. Then feeling all of this.

One overpowering thought/feeling came over my being. And it was this:

This is the last time I want to ever feel this way.

I don’t care what it takes. I know I will feel upset again, I will feel lost, or like a failure, and I will probably feel anxious, doubtful, and fearful at some point.

But I will never again feel or act like I haven’t got a mission.

I just sat there and realized. I can get coached all I want. Talk about my feelings. Learn from others. See the role models. Get the advice.

But no one is ever going to start this for me.

It is possible that if I don’t start this – if I don’t take everything that’s inside and actually TURN it into something REAL – it will never manifest into reality.

I want you to understand. I just sat here and realized this. Realize, as in a verb – an active verb that lasted for several minutes. You know, the way that you can spend some minutes walking, or reading, or eating. I spent several minutes realizing.

Then I got up. Went to the washroom. Took a good hard look in the mirror at myself, and looked at my higher self for a minute.

That self that knows: not only have I GOT this – I AM this. Always have been.

All the stories? The “not good enough”, the financial lack, hair anxiety, clinging to my ex…. It’s all just mental shit, brain stuff that isn’t serving my being. I know this. In SUCH a deep way.

It’s patterns that feel comfortable albeit painful, that are easier to engage in than to break.

I know all this.

It’s just that all the struggle will make the reward so much sweeter in the end – and the journey so much more powerful overall, for myself and for those I aim to guide through their own.

Smiling at myself…. I’ve known this all along. It’s just that now, it’s time to quit fucking around and get to work.

So I part my hair on the other goddamned side. Find the rogue bobby pin in my sack, and release that mental story just like the paper flung into the fire.

Delete my Voxer messages because, so over.

Toss the conference workbook in the recycling because, sparkle. And, my backpack is too heavy.

Order an Americano because TO HELL WITH FROO FROO GIRLY MATCHA DRINKS.

I’m done. And best $500 I’ve ever spent.

I head over to the gorgeous library across the street, adult coffee in hand and fire burning in my belly for the first time in I can’t remember how long.

It’s time to write this story….

And start my business.