What to do when you find out Marie Antoinette is a distant relative

Marie Antoinette, my distant relative

During my health crisis earlier this year I became increasingly interested in my blood relatives and distant ancestors. An intense yearning grew within me to know where I'd come from in this lifetime, to map where the cells of my sacred vessel had originated, and to trace them back in time over continents and countries. Though I had given thanks and acknowledged my ancestors before in ceremony, and particularly my matriarchal lineage, I was curious to know names and places and spiritual proclivities reaching back. I was keenly aware that the wounds, blessings, celebrations and hardships of our ancestors runs in our blood. It's in our cellular memory. Their stories are woven elegantly into our own. Without them, we would not be here at this greatest time in human history.

So over the course of the year I delved into ancestry records uncovering relatives as far back as the 1600's in Europe and also decided to venture into the world of 23 & Me and do genetic testing. I definitely ended up with lots of information to digest, from Quakers to Shamans to Celtic monks to slave holders to the fact that Marie Antoinette and Luke the Evangelist are distant relatives on my mother's side. Royal blood. Not too surprising to my Queen archetype…. But in the end it helped me to know myself a bit more, and to shine a light on why I'm here now.

Genetic vs. Spiritual ancestors

We all have ancestors -- it's a common thread we all share. It's something we can all relate to, and it's a great starting point to build a spiritual foundation in our lives. It connects us to the fabric of our very existence and brings awareness to the intricacies of what brought us to this threshold in history.

Have you ever stopped to wonder, "How many generations of my ancestors have worked with hope to make my life possible?"

There are also our spiritual kin or ancestors, those mentors, teachers, friends and in my case fellow priestesses, who are near and dear enough to our hearts to also be considered our chosen family. They are the ones who have influenced and shaped us with their wisdom and presence. They have held us in their compassion and closeness when we needed it most. They have shepherded our talents and stood up for our wildness and pure authenticity when no one else would.  Whether they are old Hollywood starlets, transgender luminaries, or radical activists, they have a place here, and deserve to be honored just the same.

Samhain, celebrating Halloween a little differently this year.

Samhain (pronounced (sow-in)), also known as Halloween in our Western culture, is the night when the veil between this world and the Spirit world is thinnest. That means it's an ideal time to connect with our ancestors or anyone who has transitioned from this plane -- not unlike the Mexican Day of the Dead (or Día de los Muertos), which begins on the same day. It's a sacred time to call upon those who came before us and honor their journeys, taking time out to recognize their strength, survival skills, and the choices that brought our own genetic lineage to where it is today -- for without them we wouldn't be here. I knew that I wanted to honor my ancestors in a significant way this year with the work I've been doing. Hence, the Faces of Our Ancestors Retreat that I'm co-facilitating upstate on Halloween weekend (I hope you'll join us! It's going to be epic!).

Make Your Own Ancestral Altar

Day of the Dead (Ancestor) Altar

Day of the Dead (Ancestor) Altar

It's important for our grounding here on earth to be in right relations with our ancestors. This could mean doing healing and forgiveness work if there is unfinished business between you and a deceased family member, or just taking time out to celebrate and honor them.

I've talked about creating your own altar or power place before, but consider making an ancestral altar this Samhain and honoring those who came before you this year -- not only your blood relatives, but anyone who has had a tremendous influence on you and helped to shape you into the Beings you are today. Pictures of your ancestors, objects of remembrance, maps, family heirlooms or anything else that reminds you of your Beloveds can go on the altar. Make it a dedicated space away from the hustle and bustle of your life and visit it regularly. Include a candle and anything else that invokes the sacred for you. Be sure NOT to include any images of living individuals.

Claim Your Birthright

Do you hide part of who you are? Do you look forward to the Halloween tradition of wearing masks and costumes?

This year consider doing it differently. If you can't join us for the retreat, I invite you to create your own sacred experience at home. Begin by lighting a candle at your ancestral altar, then close your eyes and breathe deeply. Think about who you are in the world today and know that everything within you is the sum of all your ancestors. Going thousands of years back, the generations of your ancestors all culminate within you now. Think about your own gifts, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, knowing they all came from an original source. Take this time to honor the ancestors who made it possible for you to be alive today.

Take the time to speak your genealogy that you are aware of as far back as you are able to go. With each name, say a bit about their individual lives as you know them.  A sample:

I am the daughter of Charles Edward who fought in WWII
and lived to share his experience…

Live your Divine Legacy

I deeply believe that we're here to live our lives as a great masterpiece for the good of all, and part of that is living our Divine Legacy. There will never be another one of us. Our ancestors ensured that we would be alive at this time in history. Don't we owe it to them to reach our peak potential in this lifetime?

As we step into our greatness and delivering our gifts in the world, let us call on them for assistance and guidance. As Christine Valters Painter so eloquently suggests, "sometimes we forget this great "cloud of witnesses" and "communion of saints" who travel alongside us through life offering their wisdom through the veil."

They are there for us, just waiting for us to make contact. Allow this Samhain holiday to transform your relationship with your ancestors and fuel your journey in this lifetime.

I invite you to share below how you'll honor your ancestors this season. Include any pics of your altar or ancestors that you'd like to share and how they've helped to shape you into the human you are today!

Scott Dinsmore: Forever living on through his legend...

In honor, memory and celebration of Scott Dinsmore and his beloveds.

I am saddened that this blog is written under such tragic auspices, but as many others have said, it wasn't an option NOT to write something in honor of such an amazing man that I was blessed to know.

Some of you may have heard me talk about Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend, in one of my workshops, courses or talks. Or perhaps you've seen his super popular TedX talk. Or likely you know someone who was impacted by his work in the world that helped them to live their passion instead of just going after a paycheck. He was a great inspiration to many and our paths crossed more than once, but the last time was unexpectedly at World Domination Summit in Portland in 2013 just one week before my wedding. For he is no longer with us on this plane.

Scott died at the young age of 33 earlier this month while living his legend, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of a worldwide tour with his wife Chelsea, in a freak rock slide. I found out the news right after it happened, but was honestly too shocked and in disbelief for the long sorrowful days that followed. I leaned into Spirit knowing that there is a greater plan, that Scott did indeed Live His Legend and that he will go down in history as doing such. If anything, it may even strengthen his incredible movement. However, whenever a radiant soul leaves us seemingly too soon, it leaves us rocking and reeling, queasy on the uncertain waters of our world.

Jesus also died at 33 and look at how he impacted the world in that short time…(tweet it)

We can never know when it's our time to leave this plane of existence, but we can live fully in each moment and choose to unleash our full soul expression in the world. None of us are exempt from hardship and suffering. It is an essential and integral part of life. We can go into magical thinking so easily if we're doing 'God's work', our soul work, believing that we're safe. But nobody gets a pass on death. It is the inevitable and mysterious fate that will meet us all.

When those we love and admire leave us too soon, we will inevitably suffer. And all we can do is hold those who were dearest to Scott in our hearts and send them love and strength to get through this incredible heartbreak they're in.

There is no greater reminder to truly LIVE fully, NOW

Though, his early transition does leave me with many questions and ponderings about living our soul path & bringing our full authentic expression to the world, and the grave importance of doing so NOW, not later. Part of me wants to rush out and scream from the rooftops, but I know my body needs quiet, calm and turtle medicine now so I must respect this path while holding the desire to rush into GO BIG or go home with my own soul work in the world.

But when it comes down to it, there is no greater reminder to truly LIVE fully, here-now-in-this-very-fertile-and-juicy-moment, than death. (tweet it)

We have been given this precious moment, this wild and wondrous life on earth in this most powerful time in human history. The grave question is what are we going to do with the opportunity? How are we going to fill our tiny delicate moments? How are we going to choose to spend our days?

Scott's early transition only heightens my belief in the importance of living into our full soul expression NOW, not later, and truly living our dreams and our legend in this lifetime. Our lives are waiting to become great masterpieces for the good of all. His story begs us to get rid of all that isn't serving us so we can truly be the change we want to see in the world. To dance with resistance and desire and chutzpah and consistency in showing up fully for the party. Not waiting, but boldly going forward with courage and determination.

This is what Sparkling Shamelessly for all to see looks like...

Scott didn't know his time here on this plane was limited, but he DID live every day to the fullest anyways
Scott didn't know that the Mountain he dreamed of climbing would take his life, but he DID possess the fierce courage to climb it anyways.
Scott didn't know that his once little hobby blog, Live Your Legend, would become a global movement, but he DID forge on anyways expressing himself fully and sharing his passion with the world.
Scott didn't know that his own personal legend would live on, but he DID walk his talk everyday anyways

These are all true hallmarks of someone living their greatness each and every day. Won't you live into yours for us?

Jonathan Fields said it best, "He was like a kid on a quest to build the coolest sand castle in the history of all sand castles, and all the world was his sandbox."

Let this be a reminder for us to PLAY each day, to allow ourselves to be lit up by what we love, and to treat life as the precious gift that it is. Each moment is a sacred container that we can choose to fill with our greatness & buried inner gems. (tweet it) Let's light up the world with our own internal acre of diamonds for the good of all. Like Scott, let's build our own sandbox, the sandbox that only we can build. The world is waiting for us dear heart. Let's give em all we've got!

Share the power of Scott's impact

Did Scott impact your life in some way or did hearing his story? Tell us how in the comments below and share it with the world! We'd love to see your sandcastle!

The Great Silent Summer Sabbatical

Earlier this summer I decided to just disappear...

...to quietly go off social media, to unceremoniously stop sending emails, to silently make a new website, and to just get quiet overall and turn inward. I didn't feel the need to make some big announcement or outline my plans and broadcast them. I just simply got quiet. And it was the best gift I ever could have given myself. This healing journey I'm on has required more of me than I ever imagined it could. My strength, my courage, my patience, my humbling, and most of all the transformation of my fear.

My body could no longer handle the pace at which I was living or the choices that I was making. My soul was starving and crying out for attention. So I stopped. I let go. And I had no choice but to say "ok." Lead me. I'll turn the bulldozer off. I'll DO LESS, and BE STILL MORE. I'll make it my new mantra. Instead of pushing, hustling, visioning and scheming I had to humbly put everything on pause and just walk away. And truly take to heart the adage, "if you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans." I had to open to receive what I need most instead. And that was some time to just disappear, without any plans or agenda, just silence…

And a curious thing has happened during this time.

Everything I needed still came to me: opportunities that I would have previously sought out showed up at my doorstep instead and everything FLOWED with ease, almost effortlessly. So I said yes, and thank you, and more please. Like the news of my first RETREAT this fall! Or opportunities for affiliate promotion like my dear friend Jen & her Manifestation Masters Program. Or speaking gigs, like the Sacred Stories Summit. Any of these would have been amazing on their own, but they're just glimpses of the bounty that has arrived. I've super powered my gratitude practice because of this, and also because never knowing how I'm going to feel causes me to REALLY appreciate the days I feel good - and can function almost normally.

There are also opportunities that have crushed my heart to say no to as well, because I just don't have the same bandwidth as before. My yes must now be a screaming HELL YES for me to proceed. There must be total alignment, both internal and external. Though there are a lot more NO's that are happening than I would like, I have to be extra discerning at this time.

This great silent summer sabbatical has brought piercing clarity and discovery, but also deep grief and loss. It's helped me to truly see what's serving me and what's not. And it's forced me to make difficult decisions (like moving, and changing the way I'm working with others and finding a diet and home that truly nurtures me from the inside out). I've been shown in technicolor the old patterns that are still holding on in my life, both behavioral and karmic. It's forced me to look at the choices I've made in my life up until this point (with the help of the Supermoon this weekend) and to take a hard look at my motivations. To see the places where my soul has been buried and bulldozed in favor of ego or unconscious motives.

As Mark Nepo says in his brilliant & poignant book Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, "Unless rooting and opening, unless listening to what is near but beyond us, we will forgo the soul's birthright to blossom." I have been challenged to listen deeply now to that part of me that life is trying to awaken, the soul's intimate yearning.

And so things are going to be changing around here...

...For the better. I wanted you to be the first to know. You can expect not only a new look, but also more of my blazing brave he(art) to shine forth in the months to come, a massive increase in value, a greater level of service, and lots of authentic soul expression, from art to poetry to prose when I am able to give it. Because I am no longer going to hold back. I have been humbled and ravaged and worn down, but it's left me with the sparkling core of what matters most and the work I was put on this earth to do: bringing light & healing to the broken places (and people) in our world.

I want to take the opportunity to tell you now that I am so grateful for you, your support, your love, your courage and your sparkle. I hope you stick around for the ride, dear heart. I promise that it's going to help us all to Sparkle Shamelessly & shake the world together.

We Have an Epidemic on Our Hands...

I am no stranger to feeling unsafe in my own skin.

I’ve personally experienced bullying almost every year of my existence on this earth. At first it was in school, before the Internet really took over and bullies could hide behind a screen and IP address. Whether it was being called a “fatty” (since I grew up as an obese child), or a “freak” (since I used to style myself in outrageous clothes borrowing from my mother’s fab 70’s wardrobe she had abandoned), I was used to the abuse. And this was just the gentle jeering. It happened again as a young adult when I moved to New York and used to go out on the town with my creative partner, all dolled up in our latest self-created avant-garde fashions. We would experience bullying that ranged from laughter and pointing to straight up violence and anger for our difference. Finally, I was jeered at in the queer community for choosing to marry a partner who was a biological male.

For some reason, certain people always make it THEIR concern, the way I appear on the outside and how I carry out the affairs of MY life. 

We live in a country where fat shaming, gender shaming, and generally shaming people for who they truly are runs rampant. We are so busy trying to look like celebrities in the magazines that we’ve forgotten how to show gratitude to our bodies, the beautiful vessels that allow us to walk on the planet. We are so trapped in the illusion of separateness that we miss the basic understanding that I am you and you are me, and that we need this dichotomy to survive and thrive in our world. We have moved so far away from our Oneness that all we see are the blinding dividers of perceived ‘difference.’

Instead, we are busy filling our bodies with metal, needles, rat poison, silicon and more instead of loving them and feeding them nourishing substances that will heal the body naturally. Even the recent lack of indictments in the case of Eric Garner & Mike Brown are a form of body shaming, making black individuals feel less than, unworthy and worst of all UNSAFE in their own skin.

What we HAVE is an epidemic of body shaming, but what we NEED is an epidemic of acceptance. (tweet it) 

We’re taught to stay in our lane, to color in the lines and to do our best to look like everyone else. Just go into any chain store around and you’ll find the same mediocre, styleless clothes reproduced thousands of times over. But I get it. That’s safe. By wearing them, you don’t put yourself at risk to the bullies of the world who haven’t learned the art of acceptance, of self or other. Taking that harder path is painful and often times traumatic, but for me worth the priceless experience of getting to be fully me each day.

But the truth is that we each have a soul expression unique to us: like a snowflake, it is entirely original and impossible to reproduce. Each of us living our truth is needed to complete the intricate web of humanity in which we co-exist. (tweet it)

We are at a time where moving towards acceptance and overcoming our obsession with form is crucial for our survival and health as a species. We must re-learn that it is the formless that matters most: the formless: our Spirit, our comfort in our own skin, that which is immaterial.  What we create with our hands and shape into the reality of the fabric of life, our great work.

So get over your tendency to shame yourself (and others) and start focusing on YOUR gifts instead. Why you’re here at this most crucial time in human history. It’s time to unleash your true self!

Let’s end this epidemic of shaming together!

Action Steps for greater acceptance in our world:

Immediate Actions You Can Take For Social Good & World Change

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

It was a true honor to participate in the Social Good Summit LIVE this past weekend in NYC. Hosted by Mashable, the UN Foundation, Ericsson and more, it was the first event of its kind: an epic 3-day global conversation with participants from more than 163 countries, including over 200 meetups all focusing on how to use technology for social good and world change.  Film company One Day on Earth even set up a studio in the art gallery of the 92Y, splicing videos from various countries in real time to accompany the heavy hitting lineup of global leaders, visionaries, artists, celebrities and more.  Overall, the common goal at the Summit was to shorten the distance between identifying the world’s problems and implementing creative solutions for sustainable change.

What was clear is that a great many people are moving more towards their heart centers & embracing radical empathy. They WANT to do GOOD! They just need the tools, platforms, connections & buttons to click in order to do so.  There are those individuals that are still in ‘professional denial,’ though, fueled by the industries that want to keep the status quo – and they continue to destroy our planet and the reality of a sustainable future in the process. Don’t be one of them! Below are some highlights from the Summit & ways that you can easily get involved. The idea is to not just uplevel your own life, but the life of all beings in our global village. Geographical divides are no longer a barrier to unified action. With technology and social media, anything is possible!  And as Maggie Fox from @ClimateReality stated, “You’ve got your Time, your Dime & your Voice. Use all three all the time.”

Climate Change

Social movements are essential for political change and climate change is still the #1 issue facing our planet today. The cases of extreme weather and its effects are all around: natural disasters, rampant storms, flocks of birds falling out of the sky dead & everything you see around you each day. If things don’t change, our species could be extinct in 200 years. Increase the noise around the country about climate change. Learn the realities of “Dirty Weather’ that is being caused by all forms of unrenewable energy.

Actions you can take today

Modern Day Slavery

We just passed the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, where we truly became a free country & stated that slavery would no longer exist. But the reality is that there are more slaves in the world NOW than there were in 1862. Transnational organized crime brings in 820 BILLION DOLLARS each year, with human trafficking pulling in 32 BILLION of that total.  Slave labor & human trafficking are a global dilemma. These horrible practices have permeated every continent and could even be in our neighborhood, but we often fail to see them.

Actions you can take today


“Every country can develop. Every country can end poverty.” – Jim Yong Kim @Worldbank (click to TWEET)

Mobile devices are one of the top 5 advances in the world to lift us out of poverty. Technology is helping to foster equality.  Through companies like mPowering, women and young mothers in developing countries are using cellphones to empower themselves (see more at their web site, http://mpowering.org/) . The potential of every young girl needs to be realized in our world.

Actions you can take today

  • Enter the mWomen design challenge to benefit and break down barriers for millions of poor and marginalized women (www.designchallenge.mwomen.org)
  • Join the @Worldbank campaign #Whatwillittake to end poverty and boost prosperity. Send ideas via Twitter. Help bend the arc of history to end poverty much sooner than predicted.

Foster Peace

“Over 1.5 Trillion is spent on armaments right now & 700 Billion for military, yet only 300 Billion on peace.” @JeffDSachs

You must connect with people and their stories so you can relate on a heart level. We all have hopes, desires, dreams aspirations, loves. Open your eyes to what’s going on right in front of you. Your empathy and connection will grow. You can’t forget to see yourself in others.

Love grows. It’s a commodity that expands once you start to use it. @ForrestWhitaker(click to tweet) – Artist and UNESCO Goodwill ambassador

“Together we can solve the problems and educate the world.”

Actions you can take today

Youth Education

There are 61 Million kids not in school around the world. Every youth in the world should have access to the same learning materials. The Global Give Back Circle, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, is helping to bridge the occupation gap and give youth in developing countries access to learning opportunities.

Pregnancy and childbirth is the #1 cause of death in teenage girls around the world, largely due to lack of knowledge & access to education. Child marriage is also an issue. Allowing a girl to learn about her health and wellbeing can change the future of our globe.

Actions you can take today

  • Follow and engage with @10x10act, an engine to educate girls throughout the world with a full-length film coming soon.
  • Support the Connect to Learn program as part of Ericsson’s sustainability initiatives.
  • Be the spark of change for a youth. Visit www.giveforyouth.org

Empowering Women & Girls

When you see how a country is treating their women and girls, you’ll know how likely they are to prosper.” Holly Gordon of @10x10act (click to tweet)

There are 600 Million adolescent girls globally. A large majority of those girls is seen as a liability and not an asset. Healing gender roles is one issue, but if you start with educating, empowering and connecting girls it will serve the future overall by providing stronger families, communities and a planet. There’s a huge value proposition at the end. Educating & empowering girls & women sets off a ripple effect. When you’re helping one woman, you’re helping every woman.

“We also need enlightened men around us to change the discourse.” @AmericaFerrera @ONECampaign

Actions you can take today

  • Engage with The ONE Campaign supporting economic empowerment for women
  • Tell a girl in your community or family about GirlUp – a “for girls, by girls” organization that’s part of the UN Foundation
  • Message from the teen advisor for GirlUp – @SofiaCSnyc “Help my generation find their voice and use it so we can create huge change.”
  • Developing countries like Honduras want more collaboration than charity. How can you help generate collaboration?

Child Mortality

19,000 Children are dying a day.  Join the www.apromiserenewed.org campaign, whose goal is to reduce child deaths worldwide.  146 countries have already committed to helping every child have a 5th birthday.

There is also the issue of Stunting, which afflicts over 160million children. When you go without proper nutrition before the age of two your brain can’t develop, and these children don’t have a chance of reaching their full potential.

Actions you can take today


1 Billion people in our world today are hungry. 2 billion people are malnourished. Poverty, lack of access & deficient knowledge are just a few of the causes.

Actions you can take today


Today’s children are the 1st generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Ironically, as middle and low-income countries become more economically developed, we’re increasing our mortality rates thanks to modern “conveniences.”  Technology can enable the solution, along with making physical activity a priority on a social level.

“The next generation should demand the ability to reach their full potential. Greatness can be found at every level of the human spirit.” – Charles Denson @Nike #move


Actions you can take today

  • Make sure you (and your friends, family, and colleagues) engage in 60 min of physical activity a day and begin teaching the value of being active.
  • Inspire others to #move

Global Health: Fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

One death is too many. The love of human[ity], us caring about each other makes all the difference @jimmy_wales(click to tweet)

@globalfundnews is working on an incredible campaign called #thebigpush to help end deaths from these three diseases.

Actions you can take today

  • Become part of the Big Push – Click HERE to visit the site, donate & post your picture to join the ranks of people globally

Spirituality in the Digital Age

“Action without love is irrelevant.” @DeepakChopra (click to tweet)

Social Media is influencing the brain and our evolution, raising human to a critical mass. We must think wisely of how we will use it. Social networks regulate the energy of the Universe and are spurring the evolution of the human identity into a global identity. We are laying the foundation for a global brain.  Technology is our creation. Let’s use our creation to bring about healing. At-one-ment. We are not just connected, we’re inseparable. Let’s help everyone increase their capacity for happiness and wellbeing.

Actions you can take today

  • Ask yourself. What kind of world do I want to live in?  How can I make that happen?

Take ACTion

This is just the tip of a massive iceberg, but it’s never too late to join the action & help change the world. The key is to not get overwhelmed. Empathize and prioritize.  Advocacy starts at home – do what you can from where you are. Amplify your voice. Connect your brain to your heart. Utilize your creativity to change lives. Think of happiness and wellbeing for ALL instead of just 1%. Get out what you want to say and create a call to action.  Generate conversations. Take leadership. Engage in thoughtful empathy. The world needs you. NOW.

“Give me 1000 inspired people and we can change the world.” – Paull Young @Charitywater (click to tweet)

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