The Success Solution

Thanks so much for helping.    Click HERE for the 4 questions.

I’ve finally turned the practices I’ve developed over 15 years of coaching clients into a system for achieving big goals in a better way.

The system is individualized to the users’ personality, preferences and strengths. While the steps to success are practical and simple, users will learn how to optimize their neurology and biology, and overcome unconscious conditioning, so those things no longer block them from success. They’ll learn how to operate in a way that is authentic for them, brings out the best in them and others around them. It’s designed for entrepreneurs, executives, artists and activists.

I’ve been developing this course for over 3 years and I’m excited to launch it in a few months, but before we do I’d love to know your answers to these four questions, to make sure we’ve covered everything.

Click HERE to answer the 4 questions.

Thanks so much,

Make summer last longer.

Last weekend I was at a wedding in Sequoia National Park. It was full of music and colour and animal masks. The giggling groom in his purple suit and lavender mohawk set the merry tone. After the last child arrived on a fiberglass unicorn and the bride settled in next to her mate in a gorgeous white gown with a multi-coloured train, the officiant invited all of us to take a moment to become present. To ourselves and our surroundings.

I immediately felt what I was sitting on. As I did, my body relaxed into itself, fully supported by the bench beneath me, the friends around me,  and the trees surrounding us all. The moment I became aware of my body, I heard the birdsong enveloping us. A symphony had been playing all around me, but I’d not noticed until I stopped to become aware of myself. Now I could hear sounds within the sounds, rich and layered and soft at the same time.

I felt the evening air on my face and my silk shawl caressing my shoulders. My ribs moved out in every direction with my breath as I expanded through the quiet inside me.

It all took a minute. Maybe two. But everything changed in that short time. It’s an over-used and somewhat corny expression, but “time stood still”.

Before that shift in time, I’d been excited and happy and wondering what would come next, but I’d not been truly present to all that was happening around me and within me. By taking a moment to become aware, I slowed everything down. There was a shift from my experience before that moment and everything that came after.

We’re all so busy, connected, and distracted much of the time that it can feel like life is speeding by. The easiest way to slow down time and make more of it, is to simply become present. Any time.

Summer is a great time to do it.

If you want to make summer last longer this year, take a moment every day to become present.

  • Step outside in the morning and feel the sun on your face.
  • Walk barefoot on the grass and let it caress your toes.
  • Listen to the sounds of birds singing, kids laughing or squirrels fighting.
  • Look at your food before you eat it and give thanks to everyone and everything involved.
  • Notice the changing position of the sunset each day. Watch it until it drops away.
  • Taste that bite of peach like you’ve never tasted it before.
  • Hug someone and feel your body breathe.
  • Savour a kiss as if it’s a summer night and you have nowhere else to be.

Enjoy a moment everyday and summer will linger in your soul.

I’d love to hear how you slow time down and make summer last.

What are you thirsty for?

After years of drought, looking at parched landscapes and hiking barren mountains, we got rain.

Everything is lush and teeming with life. Landscapes are every shade of green and bursting with kaleidoscopes of colorful flowers. Water’s tumbling over rocks, down hills, creating creeks and pools where salamanders are busy making salamander babies.

Our once thirsty soil is vibrant and alive, expressing itself in full bloom.

What is your soul thirsting for? 

We all go through periods of drought at times. Life loses its luster and we feel kinda flat. We can even lose touch with our longing.

But like rain on California’s dry earth, there is something that would bring your soul back to life.

Give it to yourself.

The world wants you to bloom.


Feel free to share this with anyone who’s going through a dry time, and maybe find a way to be a cool drink of water to them.

I took this photo on a walk last week. It’s a field of California poppies that stretch as far as the eye can see.

How about a little compassion and awe?

Years ago my mom pressed her ear against mine. “No” I told her, “I don’t hear it.” She has tinnitus that’s so loud she was sure other people could hear it.

When I meditate my body often tingles. Last weekend I asked my husband to press his body up to mine and hold me after my meditation. “No,” he told me, “I can’t feel it”.

What do my tingly body and my mom’s tinnitus have to do with anything?

Each one of us is experiencing something that only we can feel. Whether it’s dark thoughts or high hopes, debilitating anxiety or ripples of peace, the thrum of ecstasy or a sharp pain in your left kidney. Everyone has an inner world that’s layered and complex and wholly their own. Yet we often assume that what we feel and think and how we experience the world is the same as others do. We think we know them but we can’t, not fully, no matter how close we may be.

We can never truly know the agony of his childhood wound that hasn’t healed. Her family’s trauma that she carries in her bones. The secret desires he’s too afraid to share. The passion that makes her rev like a racecar.

But we could live awe and wonder with ourselves and others because even with these internal worlds that could bring us to our knees in sorrow or in joy, we manage to get up, get dressed, get to work, feed the kids, and be mostly good to one another.

And when we don’t, wouldn’t it be nice to feel compassion for ourselves and others, and trust we’re all doing the best that we can.

Feel free to share this with someone who may not feel understood right now, because you want them to know that they’re still loved.


It’s not about being present.

I want to say a bit about being present, cause the command to “Be Present” is everywhere: On t-shirts, pillowcases, tattoos and Instagram posts about desert turtles.

Being present has become one more thing you gotta do and one more thing to feel bad about if you’re not doing it.

But it’s not about being present. (in my humble opinion)
If you’ve ever meditated you know it’s not about focusing on your breath, or mantra, or image, or sensation … and staying focused.

Meditation is about lovingly, gently, smilingly coming back to your breath or mantra or image or sensation… again and again, and again.

You don’t become present and stay that way (okay, some humans actually do. I certainly don’t). You are present and then you’re not. And you come back to being present again.

You’re brave and then you’re not. And you find a way to be brave again.

You’re kind, and funny, and quick, and thoughtful and fit and ambitious, and successful, and generous, and peaceful … and then you’re not.

The gift you give yourself and the world is to accept it all, just as you’d accept your mind wandering in meditation, and then gently come back, again and again, and again.

With love, Debra

Elevate Your Life to a Work of Art

There’s a simple ingredient I’ve been using in my life and sharing with clients. Here are some of the symptoms we’ve been experiencing when we use it:

  • A deeper sense of peace.
  • Heightened intuition.
  • Greater connection with self and others.
  • More creativity.
  • Easier decision-making with greater clarity.

It’s the same ingredient you’ll find in abundance in art galleries.

It’s White Space.

It’s what draws attention to the art, allows us to really focus on it and feel its effect on us. I love to look across a nearly blank room, see a work of art and notice how my breathing changes. I love to discover the way it makes me feel.

If galleries crammed works of art together like wallpaper it could be more efficient, save time and money. Several shows could open at once. But it wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

Without white space, poems are just a jumble of words and music is just a wall of sounds. A conversation without white space is people talking at each other, but it’s not a dialogue.

When I left my first marriage I moved out of our home that I’d spent months renovating and into a small apartment with a mountain view. At first, I had only a foam mattress, linens, clothes, a pot, a bowl and a pair of chopsticks. There was nothing to sit on but the carpet, nothing to look at but the mountains and white walls. What I discovered was peace.

When my eyes looked around they could easily settle outdoors. When I ate I could feel the texture and weight of the clay bowl and wood chopsticks and taste each bite of food. That was my first experience of living with white space. I was very careful about everything I brought into my home, making sure it gave me joy and didn’t upset the balance of space. This was a beautiful contrast to my crazy busy world where I was booking meetings months in advance with little space in my day.

Now I consciously surround my days with white space. It elevates my life to a work of art.

Stress has become such a norm in many of our lives that we’re used to feeling tight and constricted. Even as we rush to fit in a yoga class we feel our tensions rise.

But I know that I’m not unique in my longing for white space. When I work with my clients they often use the word spacious to describe how they feel about the changes in their life. They experience more peace, tap into their creativity, feel better about themselves, enjoy relationships more and access their own unique greatness.

Sometimes the idea of white space is scary. You’ll be alone with yourself, your thoughts, fears and desires without distraction. Many people stay busy to avoid that. But you’ll find if you ease into adding white space a bit at a time and be gentle with yourself, you’re quite a wonderful person and more deserve to take up more space.

Here are a few simple ways to add white space and elevate your life to a work of art:

    • Give yourself a 2 – 5 minute break before shifting from one project to another.
    • Turn off all technology during meals.
    • Go for a walk outside during your workday.
    • Close your mouth and listen more in conversations.
    • Close your eyes and taste your food.
    • Set an alarm and meditate for just two minutes.
    • Turn off all distractions and let yourself focus on a task for an hour.
    • Create a simple ritual for morning or night that gives you a sense of space.
    • Clear clutter in a part of your home until that space is a source of peace.

I’d love to hear how you’ve added white space to your life.

Never give a gift with strings attached.

When you give a gift, really give it away.

Never give it with strings attached.

That expectation of something coming back in return will lead to disappointment.

Maybe even resentment.

It will definitely kill your joy.

When you give a gift… Let Go. Let Go. Let Go.

Your love will soar.

PS. The same thing goes for accepting gifts. Never take one with strings attached. It’s not really a gift.

Your sensuality can bring peace to the world.

I’m pretty sure you’d love to be a part of the solution, bringing more peace, love, and acceptance to the world.

You know you can’t give what you don’t have, but how do you find peace inside you during these troubled times?

Meditation is one of the proven ways to experience more peace, acceptance, and compassion, so you could start there.

  • But what if you don’t have 20 extra minutes each day to chant and breathe and be calm
  • What if you’re already meditating regularly and still feel anxious at times?

By using the sensuality of your body as your guide, you can find the peace within you and share it with the world wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. This will help ease you into meditation if you don’t already practice. It will extend your experience throughout the day if you are already practicing.

Meditation is simply the practice of focusing your mind on an anchor. When you do that your mind stops jumping between the future and the past. You land in the present moment and can access the peace that is always inside you. The more specific the anchor is, the greater your focus will be.

So why not let your anchor for meditation be the sensations in your mouth every time you eat?

Your mouth is a dark moist cave of pleasurable potential. Eating is a sensuous act. By focusing your attention on

By focusing your attention on the flavors arousing your tastebuds and the juices filling your cheeks, every bite can draw you into the pleasure of that very moment.

When you are truly present in the moment as a living experience rather than a lofty concept, you touch the still peace that is always inside you, even during turmoil.  When you access that peace you experience a calm joy as well as compassion and acceptance for yourself and others.

Keep it simple and make it doable.

If you’ll give your full attention to just one bite of every meal, you’ll fill your day with sensuous, meditative moments.  The moments of presence will link together until more and more of your days are experienced in this simple state of peace.

When your thoughts and actions come from that state you are a beacon of peace and love in the world.

All of us rush through meals at some time, barely paying attention to this sacred act. If you’ll pay attention to just one bite, you’ll alter your relationship with time and fill yourself up with nourishment.

Here’s a guided eating meditation from my book The Power of Pleasure.


Thanks to Elizabeth Grojean for knowing how to enjoy a peach, and to Cheryl Himmelstein for capturing the moment.

Eight ways to Override Overwhelm at Times like This

It’s easy to get overwhelmed right now.

It seems everywhere you turn it’s fires,  floods or your friends and family in crisis.

But there’s a way to override overwhelm, be of service, and live in peace.

Keep turning in the direction of beauty.

Because no matter what else is going on, beauty’s right there. She sits on the shoulder of death, she flows in the tears of heartache, and she dances in the chaos of destruction.

Now it may seem irresponsible and even heartless to turn towards beauty when there’s so much suffering going on, but here’s why I recommend you try it.

With news and social media, we have more information about tragedies all around the world as they happen. We can be up close witnesses to earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and angry white supremacists, even if it’s all happening thousands of miles away. We see it on the news and our friends post it online where we can watch it again and again.

And while a friend of mine said, “Now is a time we have to be vigilant”, we’re at risk of becoming hyper-vigilant;  fueled by anxiety we watch for potential threat everywhere, increasing our stress levels in a vicious cycle.

Though technology has evolved rapidly, our biology has not.

When you watch a disaster on a screen your nervous system responds as if it’s real. It prepares to fight or flee for your survival while you sit unmoving, glued to the image. That can leave you traumatized. A study shows that people who had repeated media exposure to the Boston Marathon Bombing showed higher levels of acute stress than those who were actually present at the bombing.

By staying informed and vigilant are you helping, or are you doing more harm? You’ll know by the way you feel. Letting yourself go down the rabbit-hole of exposure can put you in survival mode and you may not even know it. It can lead to anxiety, depression, problems sleeping, digestive issues and a host of problems that can make it hard for you to be part of the solution.

So what are you going to do?

Turn yourself in the direction of beauty. 

  • Look at things that make you feel good. Whether it’s your kids, some flowers or a work of art. There is still beauty around you.
  • Laugh. Get with friends to laugh, play games, tell jokes, make music together. Sh*t’s still funny, even now.
  • Shut off technology. Give your nervous system long breaks without any electronic input. When I recommend social media breaks to my clients 100% of them feel more creative, optimistic and better about themselves when they do. I know I do too.
  • Let yourself feel. Weep, mourn, feel your fear. It’s not a time to override what is real. Let the feelings move through you so you don’t get stuck.
  • Move your body. A great way to shake the images and thoughts from your mind is to shake your body. Dance. Walk. Run. Jump on a trampoline. It doesn’t matter what. Just move!
  • Give where you can. Whether it’s donating to a cause, volunteering your time, calling a friend who needs cheering up or saying a prayer, give and you’ll feel less helpless.
  • Be silent. There is so much energy coming at you all the time, and an endless list of things to do. Take a few minutes every day to be silent and listen to yourself. Rumi said, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” There is such loving wisdom inside you. It will guide you in exactly the right thing to do if you will listen. Sometimes withdrawing from the world is the most powerful way to be engaged.
  • Rest. Get more sleep. Take naps. Give yourself a break from pushing too hard. Times of great stress require great recovery. If you’re feeling stressed by it all, rest more. Ideally after you’ve moved your body 🙂

Some would call the way I live “sticking my head in the sand” because I can’t feel good when I  expose myself to too much of what’s going on. I don’t watch really violent or scary movies. I haven’t watched the news in over a decade and I don’t log much time on social media, but what I need to know still reaches me.

I’ve been able to give to organizations helping victims of floods and fires, without watching any footage. I check on friends in area of danger, without monitoring the threat. This Sunday I’ll show my support at the local Racial Justice meeting that’s being disrupted by White Supremacists, because a neighbour told me people were needed.

The above are just 8 ways to turn towards beauty. These simple practices can calm your nervous system, strengthen your capacity to handle stress, and make you better able to help when needed. If they work for a weakling like me, imagine what they might do for you.

How do you turn towards beauty, even at a time like this? I’d love your ideas in the comments below.

Love Debra

Tweet these ideas and help others override overwhelm.

Gratitude. When Less is More.

You’re probably thinking you don’t need to hear one more thing about gratitude. Everywhere you turn people are telling you how important it is to be grateful. You get it. Thank you!

You probably know that being grateful won’t just make you feel better. It will impact others around you as well. It’ll improve your relationships. Boost your self-esteem as well as your physical and mental health.

So the more the better, right?

Well … yes … and … no.

Thinking about all the things you’re grateful for, and expressing your gratitude can do wonders for you. But I’ve noticed that we can treat gratitude the way we treat many things in life. We rush through it – stating all the things we’re grateful, racing to the end of the list. We jam gratitude into a practice because we think we should, and we do it without really experiencing it. Like “I love you”, we can say it without feeling it.

Maybe that’s not your experience, but if you’re curious whether less could be more for you, try these two different ways:

1. Gratitude of Many:
  • Notice how you’re feeling right now and say three words that describe it.
  • Now think of all the things you’re grateful for.
  • Say them out loud if you can. (Otherwise make a list silently in your mind).
  • Stop once you’ve listed all the things you can think of.
  • Now notice how you feel. Use three words to describe it. 

You’ll probably notice a change in how you feel because gratitude opens your heart and gets you in touch with the love inside you.

2. One Gratitude:
  • Notice how you’re feeling right now and say three words that describe it.
  • Think of one thing you’re grateful for. JUST ONE.
  • Have you got it? Can you see it in your mind?
  • Say why you’re grateful for that.
  • What difference does it make in your life? Be as explicit as you can.
  • How does that difference make you feel? Feel it and describe it. (even if you just describe it silently in your mind)
  • After you’ve done that, notice how you feel right now. 

For me, feeling the depth and breadth of just one thing for which I’m grateful easily shifts my energy, mood, and being in a profound way. I’m very interested to hear what works best for you.

If you liked the One Gratitude practice feel free to try it every night before you go to bed. It’s a simple way to ease into sleep.

I’ve just started sharing simple practices like this and others you won’t find here, on Instagram, so feel free to come join me over there.