Counseling with Coaching for Women

Are you looking to create the relationship and life that you love? Do you feel like you give so much that your own needs are not attended to? Looking for compassionate support to move through blocks in your life? As women, we can tend to give to others to the expense of our own needs.  We can be riddled with self doubt and anxiety.  We can get stuck in comparing ourselves to the other women around us.  We can long for intimacy, but fear abandonment so much that we stay frozen and along.  We can doubt our own ability, and our own value in the world and therefore limit our own careers and dreams. As a counselor who integrates coaching, I am passionate about supporting women.  I create a safe place for women to get the attention that they need, in order to create a life that they love.  I help women feel confident in who they are, feel respect and love for themselves. As a woman, I see how systematic it is that women struggle with prioritizing themselves and their dreams.  I am committed to women valuing themselves, and to helping women get all of what they want out of life.   Read more »

An interview with Tad Hargrave on Transforming the hopelessness around marketing

Recently I did a series of interviews with people on the theme of transforming hopelessness.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Tad Hargrave (  In particular, he had some great things to say about hopelessness as it comes up in business marketing (his specialty).  Tad is an amazing resource for conscious business owners who want to market with heart. 1) Can you tell us a little about how you help clients shift out of their hopelessness and back into their power? Hmm. I think there are a few levels. Part of what’s needed by most folks is context. They need to know the bigger picture of how marketing works. It can feel totally hopeless-making to be in a big new city without a map and no one to give you directions. Sometimes that’s all people need. On a deeper level, people are often working really hard to climb the ladder or success only to find it’s leaning against the wrong wall. Like, they’re trying to grow their business but, deep down, they’re not excited about growing that particular business, or growing it in the way they’ve been told they should. So, sometimes we need to get people free from all the shoulds and find out what they really want to do and how they really want to do it. When people can can find their authentic voice and direction in their work it’s amazing how their own hopelessness changes. Learned helpless means we think three things about our problems. First, that they’re PERMANENT (they’ll never go away), second, that they’re PERVASIVE (it’s every area of our life) and third that they’re PERSONAL (it’s who we are deep inside). Sometimes people need to see a lot of inspiring examples of what others like them have done. Sometimes they just need encouragement that their ideas aren’t crazy. Sometimes that need to be reminded of how much wisdom they already have – how much they already know. In one of my recent blogs: – I shared this story about a woman who was feeling really stuck in deciding her direction and by going a bit deeper she got some freedom: A few weeks ago, I led a little workshop at Hollow Reed here in Winnipeg. I was here leading a workshop last October and was completely charmed by the place and the people running it. We had an intimate little group of seven people who were all just the cat’s pajamas. A highlight of the evening for me was when we were talking about this whole question of niche. Because it was a small group we could go around and have everyone share what niche they wanted to fiddle with. One woman – a spiritual counselor – shared that she felt kind of stuck. In the winnipeg workshop 300×225 you deepest wound is your truest niche“I love to work with the entire family to help them resolve things. Get everyone together. But, I feel like a bit of a fraud because I wasn’t able to do that with my family. I’ve done all I can but they’re not wanting to fix things.” I could feel where she was coming from. How can you promise to take someone on a journey you were unable to complete yourself. If you’ve ever tried to position yourself in that way – it’s really stressful. “Well . . . maybe,” I offered. “Your best niche is to work with people who’ve been unable to heal the difficulties in their family and are now left with trying to heal themselves and deal with the realities of that. And maybe you might even end up working with the whole family down the road . . . but why not start with those people? That’s a path you’ve absolutely walked down yourself.” Her eyes widened, “I could do that and feel so authentic about that . . .” 2) What resources or suggestions do you recommend people refer to or do when they are feeling stuck or overwhelmed? That depends entirely on what they’re stuck with. Emotionally – I’ve been loving The Work by Byron Katie. 3) As someone who values the connection between the personal and the global, how do you see the work people do on their helplessness as connected to what is happening on a global level? Wow. Interesting question. I’m a big believer that we need every kind of response to what’s happening in the world from direct political action to healing work to creating alternatives. And I think the natural response of humans to the suffering of life is to want to help. But sometimes people tell themselves that they can’t help, that it’s too much, that they’re not ready or worthy yet to help. And that just means less people directly involved in the healing of the world. i work with green, local and holistic businesses – I want to see more of them thriving. there will be less of them if people let themselves get stuck in their helplessness. And as we liberate ourselves – others are liberated. I think the Marianne Williamson quote nails it. I know that whenever I’m around someone who has really done their internal work, or has created some sort of masterpiece project – or is just beginning one and is so full of excitement and commitment – that i’m reinspired. like a log on a campfire -relit by the logs around me rather than a torch on my own. the relighting isn’t intentional. it just happens. we inspire people we’ll never know we inspired. unintended consequences. For more information about Tad, check out his website: Read more »

Citizens of the Earth, take heart

I once read a book on reincarnation called “Life Between Lives” by Michael Newton.  In general, I have mixed feelings about reincarnation. Sometimes I believe that it is a metaphor for the many lives that we live in one lifetime. A grand description of how over and over again we are offered the chance to start again. For example, I don’t know about you, but my childhood feels like 5 lifetimes ago.  It has a dream quality, like it was lived by me, but it was not me too. And with each new day, each new moon, each year, each moment, we are given the chance to do things over again.  We are handed millions of chances to start over, do things differently or change.  Change in fact, is the one constant.  It’s one of the things that I love about the Movie Groundhog day.  Bill Murray wakes up with the same day over and over again, and each day he gets to try something entirely new. Well, regardless of the truths of reincarnation, one of the things that Newton says is that souls that reincarnate to earth consider themselves a kind of warrior.  According to Newton, there are lots of different places that a soul can reincarnate, a lot of those places are much easier than earth.  So those of us that return to Earth, have a certain pride in daring to come back here.  We are “hard-core” souls in a way.  Because, sometimes it can be damn hard on this planet.  Seriously. Sometimes this idea gives me a lot of comfort. I imagine us getting ready to be born, about to jump into some sort of crazy tunnel.  We turn to a guide or friend and shout “Okay, here I go, back to Earth!”  We dive in, screaming or whooping, ready for our great adventure. And then….we forget.  We forget that we were warriors, proud of our journey to Earth.  We forget that we came here to grow and be challenged to the fullest, that we chose this life, chose to be here at this time. Most of all we forget that we are capable, that we can handle and that we are equipped for the journey that we have taken on. So, here is a little reminder.  Citizens of the Earth, take heart.  Take pride in the great task you have taken on.  You are up for the challenge.  And when you look around at the people you pass by today, imagine that they are also your Earth companions.  That they too dove into the wild adventure of being on this planet. We are fierce, we are brave, we are citizens of the Earth. Read more »

Transforming Hopelessness #2

“The doorway To your creation Is your wanting. Desire gave birth To the world.   Let yourself want my friend, Each wish is a blessed Treasure.   Let yourself want my friend, The Earth longs To hear your Whisper.   Let yourself want my friend, For your yearnings Are not too big, Not impossible In the scope of all That is.   Let yourself want my friend, I promise it won’t break you But bring you closer To your Greatest Power. ” -Sefora Janel Ray   Wanting.  Desire.  Longing.  It’s crazy how we can sometimes keep ourselves from really feeling what it is that we want.  I’ve noticed that with a lot of my clients, they are really clear on what upsets them, or what is not working, but they have no idea what they want.  And if they figure out what they want, they are not clear on what that would actually look like.  Knowing what it is that you want, and what that wanting looks like is an essential step to creating a satisfying life.  It is also a really important practice to having happy relationships.  So many couples know what they hate about what their partner is doing, but they haven’t identified what it is they want to experience with their partner. Why aren’t we clear on what we want?  A lot of us have received messages in our lives that what we want isn’t possible, or that it is selfish to want.  Sometimes we are just in a habit of complaining.  And sometimes we just haven’t created the time to sit down and ask ourselves, “What do I want? What does that look like?”  I think that we often don’t realize the great creative power at our fingertips.  And the doorway of that power is our wanting. So what is something you are struggling with right now?  What do you want?  What does your heart long for?  And what does that look like?  What does it feel like? Revel in the power of your wanting! Read more »

Transforming Hopelessness #1

Hopelessness—it hits most of us, one time or another. Sometimes I feel like most of my clients are trying to convince me that some part of their lives is hopeless.  They have all kinds of reasons that they can’t have the relationship, the career, the health, the money or the peace that they want.  At the same time, a part of them desperately wants to know that it is actually not hopeless after all.  It’s like a clash of the two movies “Reality Bites” and “Field of Dreams”.  One part of them is despondent and depressed, and the other part is hoping beyond hope that if they build it, they will come. Which role do I hold?  I hold a place of possibility and belief.  I believe completely and fully that my clients can have what they want out of life.  I believe what they dream of is possible. But let me just say, I am not coming from a magical thinking, “if they just say a bunch of cheesy affirmations it will all just happen” perspective.  I know that there is practical work that we all need to do, in order to accomplish our dreams.  I also know that there truly is hope.  It is possible.  Let me say that again: It is possible. How do we live with a sense of possibility?  How often do we listen to our friends and community from a place of believing in what is possible?  How often do we bolster the dreams of those around us?  Or do we align with people’s fears?  Do we agree with them, and help them grow doubts? I notice the pattern of agreeing about hopelessness a lot with women when they are talking about dating.  One woman might say “yeah, there are just not a lot of good men out there” and then another woman say’s “yeah, you are so right about that.”  Ladies, how is this supposed to help at all?  Of course there are great men out there; I meet them all the time.  The world is full of great men; there are literally hundreds of thousands of them. Okay, so how do we start moving out of hopelessness into possibility?  The easiest place to start is often with other people.  For some reason, we are generally able to support others better than ourselves in the beginning. Start with how you listen.  Did you know that how you listen to someone can dramatically change their experience?  If there is a friend that is struggling with something they might feel is hopeless, as you listen to them begin to imagine what it will look like when their situation is resolved.  Imagine them capable, worthy and competent to solve whatever is plaguing them.  Imagine all the possible ways that their situation might get worked out.  Imagine them happy and joyful. Hold all of this possibility while you are listening to them compassionately.  Then, if it makes sense, tell them how you can see them getting exactly what they want.  Tell them about your image of them being capable and worthy of all they want in life.  Share with them the image you have of them fulfilled and happy. Then, notice what happens.  How do you feel speaking these possibilities to your friend? What kind of reaction do you get?  Does it lift your mood at all? Practice listening for possibility, and let me know how it goes! Read more »

The Dragon’s in Our Lives

I love this poem from Rilke: “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” I think about it a lot when I am working with my clients.  So often we have strong feelings of pain, jealousy, disgust or rage that seem like awful feelings.  In a way, those feelings are dragons.  They seem gnarly and evil, snarling at us to pay attention to them.  They also feel out of control and like they are causing havoc in our lives. But most of the time when one of these “dragons” come up for my clients, my response is “Great!”.  Usually the person has something that needs tending to.  And that’s where the princess that needs saving is.  Usually under all of the rage or pain, there is a helpless part of us that never got his or her needs met.  It might be a lonely 4 year old, or a scared 7 year old huddling in the corner. So what do we do with that little prince/ss inside that needs saving?  Save them of course! We are after all, the hero that we have been waiting for.  It can be a little tricky sometimes, but if we can see past the dragon of feelings, to the younger part that needs saving, we can often soothe that young part.  We can identify what that young part of us needs to hear and say it to them. So, you might be thinking “What do you mean Sefora? Talk to myself?  Isn’t that a bit strange or psychotic?” Yes, I do mean talk to yourself.  Although this doesn’t have to be out loud.  And if you think about it, you are probably already talking to yourself all the time–just critically.  I mean how many of us have internal dialogues that say “you really shouldn’t have done that” or “come on, get your act together!”  So I am suggesting that you try saying some nice things to yourself.  But specifically, saying something to the sweet, little, young, scared part of you the things that it needs to hear.  Examples are “I see you”, “you’re safe”, “you’re loved”, “you’re beautiful” etc…  It helps to actually imagine a young child you that really needs assurance. If you can soothe that part of yourself, then you really do become the knight in shining armor.  Over time, the need to have someone else save the day lessens as well. So go for it.  Be the roaring dragon, be the princess needing saving, and the prince all in one swoop! Read more »