It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Tama Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, left her law practice to write and help others create their most extraordinary lives. She is the bestselling author of This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love, and Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! and A Year without Fear: 365 Days of Magnificence. Her...
Tama Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, left her law practice to write and help others create their most extraordinary lives. She is the bestselling author of This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love, and Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! and A Year without Fear: 365 Days of Magnificence. Her most recent book is Thriving through Uncertainty: Moving Beyond Fear of the Unknown and Making Change Work for You. Go to www.TamaKieves.com for oodles of support--and download her FREE guide on moving past fears and unleashing your calling.
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Having the Courage to Be Who You Really Are

courage

I have a question for you that just might unlock a secret and set your life on fire. 

Where do you hide your juice and authenticity? Where does your “self-image” thwart your self-expression?

I’ll put it another way. Do you sometimes “position” yourself to look/act the way you’re “supposed to”? I have news for you: The part of yourself you’re trying to deny-- is the dynamite that has all the power.

I muscled through my days as a corporate lawyer, hiding my poet and my mystic—even from myself. I remember those years as I listen to a coaching client sigh: “I’m a vampire. The real me only comes out at night when I play music.” But for me, there came a day when I wasn’t okay being the walking dead anymore. I had to breathe. I left my law firm—and I also left my identity. And I wrote my first book, This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love the manifesto of freeing myself that I needed to read.

You would think that was the end of hiding myself. But it’s not true. 

It turns out that growing is a continuous process of moving into the parts of ourselves we both love-- and fear.

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I’m Holding This Door Open for You

closeup-woman-hand-holding-the-door-bar-to-open-the-door-with-glass-picture-id1220253344 The Doorway

You’re standing at the doorway.

On one side of the door, you can decide that life has not turned out the way you desire. It’s unfair. It’s too hard. Maybe the same thing keeps happening to you-- or not happening.

You might feel anxious or discouraged. It’s a young techie’ s world. Or a blonde’s. Or someone luckier and other than you. You don’t have real money. Stable true love. The recognition or freedom you deserve. It almost works out sometimes. But then it rains. You lose your ticket. The job is taken away. Your lover turns out to be a tiny bit misleading, what with being married to 8 other people and all. And the disappointments seem familiar, and yet cut you to the bone, because some part of you knows, it doesn’t have to be this way.  

This is a life that is “happening to you.” This perspective denies your power. I am not demeaning your feelings of frustration. It’s just that I have something more useful in mind.

You can walk through this doorway.

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Loving Everyone More This Season-- Even When You Don't Know How

two-kids-standing-on-a-stairs-holding-a-lantern-picture-id494320850

(This message is dedicated to all of us who long for more meaningful relationships, even with people who mean the most...)

My father is no longer alive. But when he was alive, I always had the fantasy that I would have an intimate conversation with him. It would be a bit like the Brady Bunch dad, cut with some Gandhi, Tony Robbins, and my favorite therapist. He’d ask me, “How would you describe the meaning of life? ” Or “How can I support your essence most?” But, instead, my father, a practical and private man asked, “So, what’s the population of Denver?” I’d cave with disappointment and shrug my shoulders as an answer and a rebuke.      

“Delta flies over here at least twice a day,” my father said, as though this was a clue to all existence. We sat together on the front porch of our house in Brooklyn, way before Brooklyn was cool. I flew 2,000 miles to be back home, and not on Delta, to see my parents, and this is what he wants to share with me. Flight patterns of major airlines. I am already telling the story to all my friends in my mind. I am drowning at this point in my life and crave support. But that’s not what’s for dinner here.   

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Being Grateful for Yourself, Your Unusual Life, and Your Courage—A Thanksgiving Power Practice

thanksgiving

(This has become my annual Thanksgiving message, so you may have read this before, but please read it now, because I want you to celebrate yourself!)

Some of you may be celebrating this Thanksgiving with hugs, easy conversation, turkey, and pumpkin pie. Yet some of you may feel stranded, like the marble that rolled away from the group, stuck with the dust bunnies in outer space or abandoned under the buffet. And some of you may feel stranded in broad daylight, surrounded by people, feeling invisible, or worse yet, as visible and mangled as a car wreck.

 

For many, the holidays can bring up discomfort.

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How to Discover the Gifts in Front of You

giftsinfrontofyou “One does not see anything until one sees its beauty.”

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is told she could have gone home at any moment. She manages to click her heels-- instead of punch a fist into a wall-- or a witch. I want to help you click your heels, find home base, and maybe even rock the world of those around you—especially during the holiday season. 

Let’s stop looking for love in the future—or hunting the wizard. Let’s find the love that’s right in front of our faces, because it is here, right now. A Course in Miracles teaches, that if we’re not seeing the love, we’re not seeing. Well, that makes me a big fat bat-- but lately, I’m turning into an eagle.

I’ve been what I call “mind blind.” So sure I knew things, and that things would always stay the same, --that I couldn’t see precious opportunities in front of me. 

The other morning, I woke up sad and peeved with myself. I was thinking about these photos, tons of them, black and white, faded and yellowed, with Polaroid serrated edges, stuffed in a desk drawer in the utility room of the house I grew up in. Bits and pieces of my father’s early life. Even letters he wrote on composition notebook paper as a soldier. My father, one of the great mysteries of my life. And I had never asked about them. And now they’re gone. He’s gone. And everything had been right there.

I look back now and think: how could I have lived for more than two decades in that house and never looked at those pictures? They had always been there.

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3 Ways You Exhaust Yourself—and how to revive your thrive

stressed-senior-woman-at-home-picture-id1044148964 3 Ways You Exhaust Yourself—and how to revive your thrive

I am seeing more zombies lately, and I’m not talking about Halloween. I’m talking about the walking tired. Deadened eyes, pale skin, broken hearts. Yes, we live in interesting times. But I’m more concerned with the casual sadness we inflict upon ourselves.

What if you’re not drained? What if you’re pained …and the pain is a cry for honesty, passion, and the dazzling happiness that is your soul’s intrinsic birthright?

This month I offer you these three revolutionary questions to ask yourself. And to answer with the rest of your life. (So please don’t go for perfection. Let’s do this gradually…and consistently…because you’re worth this life-changing change!) 

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Introducing You to the Best Magic in Town

little-girl-is-sitting-on-the-pier-and-playing-with-the-mysterious-picture-id699867182 The real magic of your life…
Have you ever thought that everyone else has a perfect life, and that maybe if you could figure it out—you’d get there too? I’d like to introduce you to the real magic of your life…

It was my last day in New York City. I was leaving Central Park to catch a Southwest plane back to Denver. Of course, on the last day of my trip, it wasn’t biting, make-you-want-to- scream-out-loud cold. It was spring, suddenly spring, suddenly this warmth that could make you forgive anything. I was in Central Park with horses with purple plume feathers clip clopping by, pulling carriages of lovers and tourists.

And I longed to hold on to the feeling, the feeling of such goodness, like your first great kiss or getting a call back from an audition. And then I saw the Bubble Maker. He was a scruffy man with a knapsack and red pants and he was dipping this huge dipper into liquid rainbow gloppy bubble goo and spreading it, making a long, big, iridescent glob of magic. 

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Slow Times are Grow Times

misty-morning-canoe-with-the-reflection-of-mt-hood-or-picture-id478656470 We have to find our way back to the stars

Many of us will hit fear season, the winter of our work. It’s when things go inky, evaporate, slow down to a crawl, or simply collapse on the side of the road. It’s when insecurity whips up like candy wrappers in a tornado. Most of us see the slack times as the pink slip of self-employment or some bad plague from which we will never recover.

But every creative success story seems to require a plunge into pain. It’s the emotional jalapeno that wakes up the creative grit to succeed. It’s when you call up your will power, leave chance behind, and summon the immensity of your own unspeakable strength. Nothing is happening on the surface. But know this: there’s a surge of growth mounting within you.

When I’ve hit dry skids in my speaking and coaching business, I have often gone on wild red alert. You would think the aliens had finally arrived, closed Starbucks, and brought the end of civilization with them. Friends say comforting things like “The land needs to be fallow before it yields new crops. It’s all a period of gestation.” But I am gestating demons, bankruptcy, and new strains of anxiety attacks. I am growing crops of hallucinations. I’m not so good with this passive little time out for spa days and redirection.

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The Only Road to Everything You Want

road-to-the-rainbow-picture-id1193144986 Into the life you desire

We commit to real change, and then we resist it. This cosmic dance has been going on forever in every ballroom since the beginning of time. Remember those New Year’s intentions?  Then you know what I mean. What’s up with that? Let’s talk focus….

I’ve committed to write more this year. It’s what I want. Now that I’ve said it, I know I will drag myself into my writing room-- and it will feel as though I have to hoist a dead whale body out of the way---just to sit down and type out a sentence—and this is my “bliss,” mind you. Naturally, I’ll want to pet my cat until she’s bald, then wash my hands, then research how did soap get invented, and then perhaps start a small organic soap company on the side that employs underprivileged women in third world countries. Oh, but I’ll stay put. I’ll write. Because I’ve committed to this focus.

There is a part of myself who will wheedle: “Maybe tomorrow. You’ll feel better tomorrow.” Then there’s the one who’s painted her toenails Purple Passion, during writing time, and stomps her imperial feet. “I don’t want to write,” she bellows.  Another part of me bargains. “I’ll answer email now. Do the dishes. Work on taxes. Okay, okay, I’ll exercise!”  

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True Acceptance, Big Desire and Uncovering Your Wild, Right Life

beautiful-business-woman-squatting-next-to-the-table-picture-id635964812 Feed the desire for what you really want AND practice true acceptance of what is

I’m in the biz of helping people live their wildest dreams. I’m also a champion of discovering the wild genius of your current life. These two tracks must go hand in hand-- or else they can undermine you. After two decades of being in this field, I want to give you the best of the best of effective focus. So let’s talk about how to use the innate strategy of “big desire”—and that bad boy super power “true acceptance.” Together, big desire and true acceptance are an unbeatable dynamic mindset duo—guaranteed to take you into the one amazing life you’ve always wanted.

Why Desire is Everything

In my career coaching, I rarely listen to my clients’ “reasonable” desires. I’m a conjurer with a glittery heart. “What do you really want, like what’s too good to be true to want?” I ask. “Only the real dream has the power,” I remind them.

Real dreams have the power of Godzilla, extinguishing miniature ideas of “why things can’t work.” That’s why I hunt for purity. I know the crazy truth is your secret code. It’s holy. It’s mystical. It’s involuntary. And it makes you giggle. The truth is safer than the denial of truth. The truth will take you all the way.

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Chase Grace, Not Guilt: You Have Your Own Way to Succeed

walking-into-sunset-picture-id614715674 Chase Grace, Not Guilt: You Have Your Own Way to Succeed

Is there something you need to act on in your life? 

I have coaching clients that ask me to “kick them in the butt,” twist their arms, stick dynamite into their voodoo dolls, and make them do things they don’t want to do. But I’m not a fan of sadism. I already worked as a high-powered lawyer in a corporate law firm once, thank you very much. Now, I prefer grace. I’m of the mind that sometimes you don’t want to do something, because deep in the big sky of your being, you know there’s another way, an original suggestion summoning up, or simply another day. I have no need to micromanage the infinite resourcefulness of my clients. Still, they insist that they’re just lazy, and if only they could be jack-hammered into shape-- as in have their spirit broken-- they’d be inspired. Yes, of course.

I’ve been down that twisted road myself. Here’s a glimpse from the notebook of an anguished past: 

“How hard could it be, to pick up a freaking phone and make the call I need to make? Anyone else on the planet could do this. But for me, cold calling this organization feels like taking off my clothes in slow motion, in front of my entire junior high class, on some bad contest-type reality television show, like ‘What Thighs Not to Have.’ It’s so not what I love. And for once, I’m willing to consider that just maybe it isn’t because I’m catastrophically timid or inadequate at a cellular level. 

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The End of Feeling Lame, And The Beginning of Endless Progress

country-highway-to-heaven-picture-id157381963 The End of Feeling Lame, And The Beginning of Endless Progress

I don’t know about you but I’ve often felt like I must be doing it wrong—missing the secret ingredient to life. But that’s so over now. I’ve seen through the veil. I’m rocking out to a new hymn. It’s a shift in focus I’m going to share with you:

Screw “doing it wrong.” I’m doing things. I’m making wacky, inevitable progress.

I’ve put wobble girl in the closet. I’ve muzzled Ms. Perfection who would like to ask a few more questions throughout the next decade, get it right, before ever getting it wrong.  But I’m showing up to the party now.  I’m wearing a tiara or a tent, but I’m going forward. I didn’t get the memo. I may never get the memo. Maybe I haven’t life-hacked a thing. Maybe I don’t even really know what life-hacking means.

But here’s what I do know. I’m showing up. I’m going to be that zombie in a bad B movie. I’m going to keep getting up again.  Because life will eventually bow to those who do the legwork. I am not wasting one more stupid minute on wondering why I always do it wrong, do it wrong, do it wrong. Here’s my new religion, one that has me singing halleluiah to a wide-eyed, stumbling part of myself:

 I am doing it. I am doing it. I am doing it.

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Hope for the Frustrated, Ambitious and Impatient

Hope for the Frustrated, Ambitious and Impatient Hope for the Frustrated, Ambitious and Impatient

As a lawyer turned writer, then as a creative turned business owner, not to mention as a plain old human being, I have often felt helpless. Flustered. And full of self-hatred and shame. I often assume, no, I know, that everyone else knows how to do everything just right-- and frankly this makes me sick.

But I am moving past “helplessness” and it’s like seeing the sun rise for the first time.

I want to take you with me. If you have ever felt inept as though you can’t run a business, write a screenplay, find a lover or an answer, or roll up your yoga mat evenly which, personally I think is a covert form of hell, I want to tell you a story about going past imaginary limits. It’s a story of self-forgiveness. It’s a story of hitting your full potential. Actually, it’s a story of folding a goddamn blanket. But it’s really a story of unfoldment, of how to teach yourself to do anything in this world you want or need to do.

I’d been visiting a friend who is a famous author and speaker and staying in her charming guest house in San Francisco. “What do you want me to do with the bedding?” I ask her, as I’m leaving early the next morning and won’t see her. “Oh, fold the blankets back up and leave it at the foot of the bed with the others,” she says casually. I try not to twitch or gasp. I was hoping she would say “Just leave it in a reckless heap like you leave everything. I’ll take care of it. I’ll be the good mommy.” But no such luck. I am on my own here. With bedding issues.

In the morning, I pack up and the only thing I need to do is face the dreaded task of “folding the blanket.” I stare at the crumpled outrage. Obviously, I was fighting Godzilla in my sleep. Then I study the other white blankets at the foot of the bed, deriding me, white cotton folded with German engineering, resting like smug doves.

My stomach clenches. I am going to screw this up. I am a screw up. I am going to create a lumpy, ugly, bulging inept pile that announces either raw disregard or reprehensible incompetence. I think about writing a note apologizing. I feel like an idiot. Folding things neatly. I missed that class in kindergarten. I was probably having a cigarette or a Jujube.

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The Gift of Uncertain Times

The Gift of Uncertain Times The Gift of Uncertain Times

This is the gift of uncertain times: It’s a strength to be undoing that which no longer works for you, yes, even when you think it does. Undoing is progress, not mayhem.

The artist Pablo Picasso wrote, "Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction." And the philosopher Nietzsche said, "You must become a chaos before giving birth to a shining star." These are not poetic elaborations. They are descriptions of how a metamorphosis works. First, things fall apart before they fall together.

A mother doesn’t have to understand or even trust the birth process to give birth. Your next expression wants to be born. Great and mighty forces marshal their strength around you. It’s your time. You’re uncovering a new way to breathe and feel safe in the world, even though you can’t imagine it. Change may wear a wolf suit. Still, don’t be fooled. It’s wild, abundant magic come knocking on your door.

It’s okay to feel as though you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t. You can't supervise creativity, alchemy, reinvention, evolution and the divine flower rearrangement of your life. Yet if you trusted the Energy behind this miracle of change, you wouldn't want to control a thing. You'd throw everything you had into the blender and watch it yield a grace beyond all reason.

Here's the work. It's not about staying in control. It's about staying in love.

I know this isn't easy to do. But you can take the fun bus or the misery bus, because either way you’re going for a ride. If you want to thrive, this is your practice:

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How To Be Unabashedly Alive

How To Be Unabashedly Alive How To Be Unabashedly Alive

The ego, or the self you imagine yourself to be, has a thousand goals. But are they really yours? And are they your sweetest goals?

A whirlwind Western world worships productivity, as defined by how much we “get done.” But I’d love to see you become “undone” with joy. Because let me assure you of this: Learning how to be unabashedly alive is a very productive goal.

I want you to be free. Freedom doesn’t mean you’ll run away to Istanbul or forget to pay the rent. It’s a remembrance, not a forgetting. It’s remembering who you really are. It’s too easy to lose sight of your nimble, guided self in the everyday tasks and habits, not to mention the self-talk that cripples you, makes you feel behind, even before you’ve sipped your morning coffee.

It’s preconceived ideas about what we “should” be doing that prevent us from listening to our hearts in any given moment. But you can stop this “virtue” in its tracks. Set down the laundry or report, even for a minute. Your deep self wants to talk to you. Do you want to listen?

We don’t always realize what we’re not getting done by “getting things done.”

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Why You May Not Feel Secure-And How You Can

piggy-bank-with-face-mask-financial-crisis-and-market-crash-due-to-picture-id1212172858 Why You May Not Feel Secure-And How You Can.

I want to talk to you about money. Actually, I want to talk to you about your real bottom line. Because if you’re like most of us, you may be trapped in an equation that doesn’t equate. Yes, money is important. But there are pearls of greater price. Take this little journey with me-- because I want to talk to the common sense of your uncommon maverick heart.

First, let’s just acknowledge: It’s expensive to be unhappy. You have to continuously prop up a life that cannot and will never stand on its own. 

Way back in my lawyer days, I remember rushing back to the office from a therapy session, sixty minutes of honesty with myself, wiping away tears, then slumping back into my zombie existence. I was crawling on thorns to survive my life. Then I had a realization. I make good money. But it costs too much.

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In Praise of Those Who Are Wondrously Stumbling

young-woman-with-hat-at-forest-picture-id628517478 In Praise of Those Who Are Wondrously Stumbling

The comedian George Carlin once said, “The caterpillar does all the work and the butterfly gets all the publicity.” I am fan of caterpillars, those who are dissolving their own skins to become who they are meant to be. We who continue to grow, perpetually enter the goop of change, or butterfly soup. It’s incomplete. It wouldn’t look good on a photo shoot.

As you move along your path, you may feel angry, held back, sad, unseen, or empty. It takes so much courage to be developing or undoing or daring. Yet please don’t let the in-between space convince you that you lack anything. Being in transition doesn’t mean you’re broken. It means you’re breaking away from the old, an identity, maybe a set of assumptions or an understanding or a world that no longer fits you.

It’s easy to sit on the sidelines in the lounge chair of life and be a spectator, or a critic of those who are facing their lives head-on. But I’m a sucker for those of us who are daring to make something of this time on earth. Real life is always taking place in the middle of things, not just in the polished perfection of an illusion of the end goal. How you live in the middle really is the quality of your life.

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I Have Given Everything All the Meaning It Has for Me

closeup-of-a-buddha-statue-picture-id143174943 I Have Given Everything All the Meaning It Has for Me
I have just bought a Buddha wood carving, I’m told from a temple in Thailand. I am thrilled with the depth he brings to the room. I love the faint color of pink on him, rubbing off with years. It’s funny. When I see this picture through my mother’s eyes it looks like a beat up worn wooden board with an image, not really attractive, of someone else’s God. Like ours wasn’t good enough? “  Why on earth would you hang that in your living room?  Wouldn’t you like a landscape?” says my mother in my head.
 
I can’t help but think of A Course in Miracles quote:  “I give everything all the meaning it has for me.” My mother is right. This is old wood that would burn well in a fire.  I am right, too, the compassion and presence I feel emanating from this carving is palpable. For me, this image represents freedom and compassion in the face of all circumstances. Everything has the meaning I give it.
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A Love Letter from the Divine…

divinemoment A Love Letter from the Divine…

A Love Letter from the Divine….

I want you to know that I love you very much.  It doesn’t matter to me if you eat fudge ice cream in your vintage underwear in the middle of the night.  And I think you’re precious, not following through on your Gratitude Journal yet, fourth year running.

Beloved, I’m not the least bit concerned with those unsavory thoughts about your ex.  I am not limited to momentary facts.  I know your shimmering nature.  I know how AMAZING you are.

But if I’m honest, I am a little concerned about this.  I wonder why you don’t trust the desires that have always been yours.  You strive to ignore your wildest dreams because they feel so good, but I thought that surely you’d recognize their unrivaled power because they feel so good. 

Please know I supplied you with unstinting resources and a hunger strong enough to make any of your desires come true.  And surely you’ve noticed a few of the lines I’ve written for you in some of the self-help books you’ve read.  I keep putting those books out there and you even keep buying them.  But, still, I find you sitting in the corner as though you are an orphan child, as though you’ve been abandoned without a key, a charm, a brand new GPS system and an entourage waiting just for you.  I even hear you whisper, “I don’t know what to do.” 

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Bet the Farm on Your Own Life—Awaken to Your Own Authority

alpine-meadow-picture-id509867622 Bet the Farm on Your Own Life—Awaken to Your Own Authority

As I continue to grow my work, my message, my reach and my life, like those who are just beginning this path—I find myself  on the “hero’s journey,” the walk into a mythical forest.  It’s dark and dank and on so many days I wonder what the hell I was really following.  Maybe I don’t want to be a stupid hero. Maybe I just want to be saved. Worse yet, maybe I’m not following anything except a delusion– and now something stinky, clawed, and real is following me.

And then there are those other days. These are the days when you walk through the darkness, resolved, accepting the fate you chose.

You decide to bet the farm on your own life.

You call yourself a pilgrim instead of a fool.

You walk deeper into your life. And then, just a few steps further from the darkest patch of forest, you come upon a clearing, a meadow, a thousand yellow buttercups, or red Indian paint brush and the sun gleams in a way that paints your name, your nick name, on each petal of every flower and you know in an undeniable way that you are exactly where you are meant to be; it’s a greater sense of security than any amount of money could offer you. It’s hitting the mother of all jackpots, the great sweet Power Ball of the Universe.  

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