I have been called many things in my life– strong, compassionate, wise- and the “B” word, as in bossy. I’ve spent hours at kitchen tables and RiNo coffee shops, dispensing advice and Kleenex, bringing clarity to the confused and donuts to the distraught. These caffeinated, altruistic moments can get messy. Dreams are shared along with struggles. Questions and voices and glasses are raised, ideas get thrown around, sentences get interrupted, and napkins are nervously shredded. In other words, magic happens. Nothing feels better than a problem-solving download with a very good friend, then saying goodbyes with a hug and a plan.
Danielle LaPorte- “We all just want to be seen and heard. No exceptions.”
This dynamic works best when it works both ways and within my trusted circle I am uplifted, held, and given a swift kick in the pants when I need it. Friendship, connection and community are as old as time and perhaps never as vital to our well-being as they are in today’s crazy swirl of a world where we are bombarded with information and disinformation. The time we spend together gives us the opportunity to listen to one another with our hearts, share our insights and practice empathy. It lifts us up, makes us more generous human beings. Why is it so much easier to fix another’s ills than it is to cure what ails you? Because blindside is never 20/20.
Dr. Seuss — “When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
The idea of being paid to help people get unstuck and on track with their thoughts, habits and desires sounds like a good thing for an empath, doesn’t it? People tell you where they think they want to go, you help them hone in and be specific, then craft a strategy on how to get there; like Google Maps for the soul. When we listen carefully to one another, when we talk freely, we share our goals, obstacles and frustrations. What we’re often missing is the awareness of what we already know, and because answers are inherent in the question, it sounds pretty simple. So simple, we slap our foreheads when the answer is right under our…knows.
A Life Coach is different than a therapist, mentor, shaman or babysitter. Each of these are useful, respectable professions (often sharing the same tasks) a life coach wields more than a riding crop and whistle. The coach’s superpower is accountability. Even the friends we check in with daily, accountability from a pro is altogether different. There is $kin in the game, a weekly Zoom meeting, and someone who is not only listening, but taking notes. Dreams and goals are chunked out, tasks are broken down into actionable items and timelines are integrated into strategy, and your Life Coach isn’t going to hijack your session talking about her latest Tinder disaster.
While great friendships evolve organically over time, finding a great coach requires its own investment. Surfing the Internet you’ll find great adjectives on their websites- passion, empowerment, confidence, transformation, tools– (and who doesn’t want more of those?) but it takes more than keywords to find the right fit. et’s take a look at what they do.
- Identify true desire.
- Identify any obstacles or objections to desire.
- Align resources to achieve desire.
- Search for where the manifestation of this desire lives.
- Connect manifestation with recipient of desire.
- Ensure manifestation, recipient and desire are in alignment.
- Write offer, go under contract, schedule inspection… oh wait.
The next time someone tells me I should be a life coach, I’ll remind them I’m a Realtor. We make many choices, some make life better while others go wildly wrong. Choosing a friend, mentor, lover or life coach can enhance the quality of your days and nights. Choose wisely.
When it comes to stuff, there is always too much, much too much of the time.
All of it needs my attention, nothing gets enough of it and like everyone I know, I’m sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. The dishes don’t do themselves, the mail keeps piling up, the pet sheds, the news howls, the weeds grow, and the laundry perpetually plots against us. Just when you’ve finished folding the last load, hot from the dryer on a sweltering day, you peel off your dirty clothes and the cycle begins again. Tabletops are rarely clear, drawers are full of long-lost keys and screws and parts unknown and the Christmas decor… don’t even.
There’s my own stuff, and the boys’ stuff, and the stuff the boys bring home from “the bins” to sell online that seems to multiply, and there’s all the stuff that’s been left behind. I swear I’m not a hoarder, I just have too much stuff. I’ve cut way down on buying and try to take two things out for everything that comes in, but I’m losing the battle and the war. Maybe it’s the spin of the news cycle that’s got me twitterpated, but I find myself waking up to the rotating clutter of life and the world at large. It’s America, after all, and we’re nothing if not a consumer culture but it is insane.
Our collective obsession with stuff is the emotion we attach to it. My brother dies. Stuff. My husband dies. More stuff. All of this stuff is too precious to be tossed because that feels disrespectful, right? Losing the person is unbelievably hard, letting go of a shoebox full of “How are you? I am fine” letters written by a love-struck middle-schooler should be easy. But it isn’t. I’m overly cautious, telling myself I’m saving things for the boys who may want to wander through these someday, even thought they’ve shown no interest over the last four years, and heaven forbid when my time comes, they’ll be stuck with a slim life insurance policy and a bunch more stuff.
Still… it feels like you’re erasing an existence.
What’s stacked in the garage, taking up space on shelves and in rafters, isn’t what overwhelms me… at this point. I’m concerned with what is right in front of me; the clothes I move from closet to closet as the seasons change, skirts too small and pants whose rise has grown short over the year, the shoes to be tripped over, and that folded laundry that’s yet to make it into the drawers. On Memorial Day weekend I spent a little “down time” looking at the feng shui of my home, trying to clear the chaos by moving furniture while listening to self-help podcasts on my iPod. Feng Shui is an interesting concept regarding the auspicious placement of your stuff to create good “chi”, which is all a fancy way of saying spring cleaning with magical intention followed by the dance of the tchotchkes.
The entire ritual made me feel better. Space was opened up, things were grouped in harmonious ways and, if the Internet is right I should be rolling in money faster than a wire from the Prince of Nigeria. While obsessing on the Bagua, best mirror placement, and the right corner for the lucky bamboo, I learned of a lesser-known feng shui practice. Getting rid of twenty-seven things a day for nine days. This is meant to empty what is too full, making room for more abundance (i.e. stuff). Both 9 and 27 are lucky numbers but something tells me that in the days some 3,500+ years before the invention of the magnetic compass, your average Chinese household didn’t have much more than twenty-seven things. Maybe that’s why they didn’t go a full two weeks.
Simplifying my life is an ongoing process, complicated by the need to make a living, the consumerist barrage of American lifestyle and some basic fears of letting go. Drawn to the efficiency and magic of it, I will embark on this journey, ready to pitch 243 things in less than a fortnight. I’m sure it it will take a few rounds before I’d make it to the garage, but it’s a start. I’ll let you know how it goes next week… if I don’t chuck the computer.
Did you know that Denver Botanic Gardens is ranked one of The World’s Most Beautiful Botanic Gardens? I’ve walked there every month for a year, sometimes more. Comfortable with the sweetness of time passing, I walk with friends or I walk alone. I always have an extra ticket…
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]You may have seen Brene Brown’s TED Talk before, maybe not. I watched it again today and I’m sharing with you because it’s soooo good. I hope you enjoy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Ever wonder what to do or what’s going on around town? Me too. That’s why I’ve created this easy cheat sheet for Denver Events running from July through October. You’ll find arts and culture, music and barbecues, pet-friendly gatherings and social soirees at your fingertips. Print it out, save it to your phone, grab your sunscreen, a blanket, a friend (furry or not), pack up the family or head out alone to any and all of these great events. They’ll remind you what makes living in Denver so spectacular!
Oh, and if you’d like to beat the heat looking at houses in Denver’s hot real estate market, we can do that too! I’m air-conditioned.
Let’s face it, courtship has never been easy. Where Victorian times had their parlors full of would be suitors perched on uncomfortable furniture with a maiden aunt breathing down their cravats, the 21st century has an app. Today’s dating game has replaced the calling card with a 240 character bio, a bathroom selfie and a photo of your dog. Rather than his recitation of poetry and her piano recital, we settle for few texts, a brief phone call and a face-to-face for a bit of sniffing over tapas and craft beer.
The search for love changes and evolves as we wander through life. In youth we’re still finding ourselves, our careers and our passions, even as we seek another. We crave romance, a Hallmark card soulmate, or perhaps “The One” to fill a driving desire to start a family. Years after the big things have been done and you find yourself single, how do you find the next “One”? You hope, of course, you’ll meet the old-fashioned way; at the art museum, the grocery store, the dog park:a friend will introduce you or… you’ll go online.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time –Maya Angelou
This where it gets complicated. Profiles that lead with “I’m just a simple guy…” –(code for I haven’t read a book since college), photos of a grown up man in a baseball cap and mirrored shades (can you say creeper?) or Colorado favorite, standing on top of a mountain in a spandex suit with your bike held over your head (the cult of the super-fit)– make me think being single ain’t so bad.To me life’s next “Big Thing” is the way I choose to spend every moment between this breath and the grave, so choosing who to share this precious time with takes intention, an open heart and a bit of research. As a writer and Realtor my online profile is wide open. A simple search for Tracy Denver brings me up on the fist page, which makes it easy for a potential date to know a lot about me with a few clicks of a mouse and though I’ve never shown up to find someone so well-prepared, before I meet someone in LoDo after dark I’m going straight to Google.
Most of the time you strike out but when you find they have a blog, you’ve stuck cyber gold. Writing a blog is the epitome of sharing… sometimes over-sharing. Whether it’s business expertise, travel stories, life experience or how often you floss your teeth, you tell us who you are. You write about the day your cat died, I see how you handle grief and loss, the time you left it all behind to travel the world tells me you’re independently wealthy, incredibly irresponsible or in search of nirvana. A month in Spain, a week in Columbia, a year in India all have different connotations, don’t they? Bloggers tell their story, put it out for all the world to see and most likely forget about it… but it’s out there.
Most people like to live in illusions- J Krishnamurti
You read the blog, had the date, started the relationship,and conveniently forgotten what you’d learned before you’d pulled up to the first valet. Still, you surprised when the story unfolds exactly as written. We all do this. It doesn’t take a blog to get the information, we get it from friends and family in the way they behave, in the emotional well we return to time and again, knowing it is dry. So, what is it in us that chooses to ignore what we know in favor of what we want to believe is true? Real time politics show us that even Trump’s own words do not dissuade those who want to believe in him. The world woke up after the #Brexit vote, shocked by the results, raging at reality and reeling from effects that global economists have predicted for months. We share information on Social Media to support our beliefs without checking the source or the facts. In a world of spin, Tweet, best intention and illusion, how does one discern the truth?
The heart wants what the the heart wants- Unknown
To know the heart, yours or another’s, it takes silence and the stillness to listen carefully. Listening is a skill to be cultivated in our noisy world. Not only must you tune out the distraction to truly hear the other, it takes great patience to listen deep within oneself. Attention must be paid to the clanging, the white noise and the story. What is the truth of the story being told and how is that filtered by the one you create? Sifting calmly through the actual information, careful not to judge, is more productive and requires more of you than spinning fantasies and making excuses. Illusion mimics scar tissue, protecting an open, tender heart from that which it already knows. Know what you know.
And if someone tells you they rarely floss their teeth… believe them.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It was less than 24 hours after the shock of The Purple One’s untimely death that the Denver Film Society announced they would open the annual Film on the Rocks program two weeks early to honor Prince with a screening of “Purple Rain”.
“The film was the thing from the first moment of the sad news”, says Film Society’s Festival Director, Britta Erickson. “We’d just announced our 2016 line-up, but it didn’t take long to pull the trigger on making a decision to add the show.” The epic event, and it had to be epic, meant securing an open date at the Red Rocks venue, negotiating the film rights from Warner Brothers, and pulling together some of Denver’s most talented musicians for a local all-star tribute.” Kristin Nolan stepped it to round up more than 170 performers from a wide range of musical styles, they rehearsed, sound-checked and jammed. In a syncopated collab between Denver Arts & Venues, Denver Film Society and Ms. Nolan, all of this happened in three weeks.
And. It. Was. Epic.
The Red Rocks Amphitheater became a lavender sea as fans and their families filled the seats, squeezing close together to accommodate the record-breaking FOTR crowd; a sell-out at 9000 within 24 hours. The party started appropriately when Andy Rok and the Real Deal took stage to with The Artist Formerly Known’s party anthem, Let’s Go Crazy, as we waited for the dusk to descend. So much more than Prince cover bands, each of the thirteen groups offered an original rendition— Flobots, Shady Elders, Ian Cooke Band with Kevin Johnson of The Bright Silence, Elin Palmer and members of Chimney Choir, Bluebook and more. Wheelchair Sports Camp brought the funk, others were spot on in style, spirit and soul; and some brought a more personal tack with their arrangements that, if not the immediate pop-song ear-worm, revealed the strength of Prince’s music. The Heavy Heavies brought me to my feet, while jazz singer and KUVO hostess, Venus Cruz, brought me to my knees.
The evening turned toward the sacred when 115 members of the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus took center stage for the grand finale; a splendid rendition of Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever”. Hearts were shaken and stirred. This heavenly choir stepped back, allowing the other 60 artists onstage for the title track of the evening, Purple Rain. The stars were out, the house was standing, swaying, singing, and by the time we got to the ooo-ooo-ooo-oooo at the end of the song it was as if there was a great shaft of purple light and love beaming from Morrison, Colorado to the celestial sphere.
Moments later, the movie started to a roar from the sated crowd and just as I remembered— Morris Day was campy, Apollonia was stunning, and Prince… my god he was a star.
Film on the Rocks opens its regular season on May 23rd with Grease and continues with summer favorites, The Big Lebowski and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, cinema greats, Citizen Cane, standouts like Deadpool and closing in September with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. July 27th brings another tribute to another fallen star with the 1986 David Bowie film, Labyrinth. Summer nights just got epic.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
How do you mourn someone you’ve never known? How can loss be so palpable for one you’ve never laid a hand on? There’s been enough death and destruction in our lives lately for us to be not only too familiar, but inundated with it. We know the leaden days that follow endless succession after a personal loss, we are all too intimate with hollow nights where space expands to hold the echo. Paris, Belgium, parents, pets, and people who have touched our lives through bringing their talents so richly to theirs- now gone. How can the days feel empty with the loss of one who never filled them?
I’ve cried over a celebrity death twice before; when John Lennon was shot and the tragedy of Princess Diana. I lived around the corner from the Dakota on that cold December night and I joined the disbelieving vigil, passing candles and singing songs with strangers. With Princess Diana’s death I couldn’t take my puffy eyes off of the news coverage, watching over and over as if truth could be digested one soundbite at a time. That seems so long ago. It was all so unreal; one very macro, the other was a personal experience, and now these shocks and stunners have become so close together, they teeter on the mundane. Until Bowie.
“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” – Stella Adler
After a childhood trying to pass as normal, this freak of a teenager found out that there was an English glam rocker hanging out in a club on the Sunset Strip. A high school friend would pick me up, toss me a bag with my outfit for the outing; hot pants, halter and glitter platforms and I’d ch-ch-change from suburban cheerleader to glam-child on the I-5 as we sped toward the center of the Universe; the Sunset Strip. The Strip, post Jim Morrison jumping off the Whisky A-Go-Go, was resurgent with a glam and reckless 70s energy to counter the macramé of my suburban safety and Rodney Bingenhimer’s English Disco was where we’d encounter the Starman. Like Elvis, only better, he was an artist like the world has never seen: exciting and dangerous, a legendary chameleon who could embody the character and the story, our story. The Patron Saint of the Outlier, equal parts showman and shaman, David Bowie burst from my dreams in Technicolor, alien, human, godlike and humble. He gave me the vision of a world beyond my straight-A sister and the fear of spending my adulthood in a world that felt so alien. I wore the grooves off his records, slipping him into the Hi-fi stack among the Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond and CSNY of my elder sibs. I saw him live every chance I got, slithering my way to the front of the stage like the nubile blonde that I was.
During my New York years, he was HERO; LODGER & LOW wafting through the loft, or waiting by the stage door after seeing him in The Elephant Man. David Bowie was an artist I claimed as my own; interesting, relevant, fluid. Bowie’s impression upon my youth was seminal. He not only gave us permission to be our different selves, he demanded we celebrate it, challenged a generation to take creativity to the limit and begin there.
I got home late the night he died, went to bed with a broken heart, knowing the world would be different. I couldn’t bear to see the pain on social media the next morning- perhaps if I don’t don’t logon I can pretend it never happened. But it had. Like everything has. And though I knew I’d have to face the tributes, the Ziggy profile pics and the music- oh god, the music- flooding the airwaves. It was an unavoidable reminder of what we’d lost, and what we’d gained.
In the months that have passed since his death, I’ve wondered why this death was so different. Not only for me (whose Plan A was movie star, Plan B- bear Bowie’s babies), but for millions around the globe. This star extinguished reminds us of our youthful promise to be wholly ourselves. A sobering, somber moment as we check in with our velvet covered middle-aged selves to see how our quest for artistry may have morphed into the mundane, or disappeared in the pursuit of money. For me, this is the challenge, to return to the edge and begin there once again.