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Owning Your Authority

On cooking shows, mystery ingredients, transformation and Amy Palko

Cooking shows are one of my guilty pleasures. Specifically the kind that challenge the chefs with mystery ingredients. Ooh…what will they do with that processed cheese and shredded coconut? Those morels and doughnuts?

Because, of course, the real question is, what would I do with the processed cheese and doughnuts.

The rub, of course, is that the judges expect the chefs to transform the ingredient into something symphonic…but not so very much that the essence is compromised.

This is where it gets tricky.

It’s easy to hide processed cheese in a mélange of emmental and kirsch to make a cheese fondue. Quite another to transform it in such a way that the, umm, 'integrity' and essence of the processed cheese not only remains in tact, but is in fact, highlighted. The star of the dish.

Tricky to be sure.

Stepping into your starring role, and frankly ALL transformative journeys, can feel like a high-stakes version of this sort of cooking show.

I THINK I want to step into my starring role, but what happens when I go deep? Will I discover something that will compromise the essence of who I am?

Ah. Here it is. The essence of the soul cannot be transmuted.

[Tweet "The essence of the soul cannot be transmuted."]

And Step into Your Starring Role is about getting to the essence of who you are. The role you were born to play…THAT role is YOU.

Got that? Your starring role is YOU.

As the luminous luminary Amy Palko discovered. And thank sweet merciful heavens she did.

In her words.

Before Step into Your Starring Role, I was really in a place of confusion which was circling around feelings of invalidation. I was casting around for guidance on what the next step for me on my journey was, and I was coming up with nothing. I couldn't see even a fragment of a "big dream" that felt authentic to me. And so I was investing time and energy, albeit reluctantly, into dreams that I felt were "sanctioned" - dreams that I thought it was ok, even natural, to aim for. But they were a wrong fit. And so I ended up treading water, while in my heart of hearts, what I knew I really wanted was permission. Permission to want what I want.

The new reality is that my dreams are not someone else's dreams. And that my dreams and their dreams can coexist without cancelling one another out. That we can all want what we want, and that's a beautiful thing. I now see that my search for permission was leading me back to me, because I am the only one who can give it.

Amy-Palko-option-1I can write poetry. I can do goddess readings. I can tell stories. I can commune with the sacred feminine. I can generate real and resonant connections just through sharing my truth, through sharing my heart. And that this can be enough. That I am a juicy creatrix, and that I can either deny that part of myself, or I can let it free… and life feels so much better when I let it free.

And if that were all not enough, I have also aligned with my values in a way I never knew possible. I have learned ways to deal with my critics, both inner and outer. I have found out that making the ask makes everything so much easier… and that ease is not a dirty word.

I have learned that my starring role is to be Amy Palko. And that I don't need external validation to step into that role. I just need to give myself permission to live it. And I do.

SIYSR has made it possible for me to stop pushing and start allowing. This looks like welcoming interns to help me hold the energy of my Goddess Guidance group. This looks like travelling to San Francisco to co-host a workshop on women's desire. (TG note:: if you're in San MUST check out Liberating Lilith...sublime. If it weren't the same weekend as my daughter's birthday, I would be there in a heartbeat.)

This looks like curating a new poetry collection. This looks like feeling out the edges of a larger writing project that is sitting on the cusp of articulation. All while continuing to deliver in my business. In fact, knowing that my business benefits exponentially when I take care of my number one resource – me.

Can you feel the deep sense of ahhhhhh in that? The essence of Amy Palko remains in tact, in integrity. The results? Deliciously symphonic.

So...getting ready to Step into Your Starring Role? Doors open March 17th. Get on the list for early bonuses.

Limits & Limitlessness: The Ampersand Series

{This piece is part of a brand new suite of posts called The Ampersand exploration of two sides of the same coin. See my why in the footer of this post.}


Limits offer parameters. They create order and safety and understanding. Limits can be helpful structures that, at their best, serve to cordon off danger, clearly delineating where something ceases to be safe. Knowing where the line lives can be quite empowering.

Speed limits. Alcohol limits. Bandwidth.

“I mean, most parents would be proud of a kid like that - good-lookin' and smart and everything, but they gave in to him all the time. He kept trying to make someone say 'No' and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him 'No.' To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That's what we all want, really.”  - S. E. Hinton

Yeah. We can stand solidly in a limit. And FOR a limit.

Enough is a powerful proclamation.

The trouble with limits

Most limits are rooted in ancient cultural traditions, maths and sciences. They often represent our best guesses at the time that they were decreed. And still, they are mostly human constructs…and we know how fallible humans can be.

By definition, limits create scarcity. Within the container of limits, there’s only so much space, creativity, money, opportunity, room at the top to go around.

And when we buy into the structure of scarcity…well, you know how well that tends to work.

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." - Richard Bach



What’s not to love about limitlessness? It means that everything is possible. Imagine that. REALLY imagine that. You can create anything, ANYTHING you want. From here. With exactly what you have. An infinite array of choices and options and chances and outcomes are yours if you just make up your mind and set course.

Just like that.

(Did that paragraph set your heart ablaze, or have you wanting to hide under your duvet? Either response is perfectly sane.)

The trouble with limitlessness

“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” - Carl Sagan

The reality is that the very notion of limitlessness often creates a sense of agoraphobia. Untethered existence and uncharted territory CAN feel very isolating. For some. Which is why we created limits in the first place. We can’t wrap our heads around this magnitude of possibility, so we create structures to contain things. Rules and constructs. Glass ceilings. Social stratification. Beliefs. Whether we realize it or not.

And here’s the funny thing about limitlessness…we may feel like we’re operating from there...until we hit an edge. We may not even be entirely aware that we’ve hit an edge.

Sometimes we feel literally stopped and blocked and can get the help we need to see our way up, over, or around it. But sometimes it’s more insidious…and we can only sense it when we catch ourselves saying can’t, shouldn’t, always, never or some other action-stopper. But when we realize it? Oh, how that stings. The pain of being here again. Knowing that a choice needs to be made. Rest here or break on through to the other side.

If you’ve hit a limit

  • Don’t panic. As above, limits aren’t in and of themselves a bad thing. Nor are they, contrary to how it may feel, a decree from the heavens that you are on the wrong path. They may indeed be a construct of our belief system about our capacity, and they might also be a signal from your being that you have done enough. For now. Either way…
  • Pause. Take a breath. (Or 10.)
  • Get curious about the limit…why’s it here? What’s it holding back? What’s it keeping you from?
  • What’s beyond the limit? (This may not be entirely clear. And that’s okay…still proceed to the next prompt:: Expanding into the grace beyond the limits of what you can see is an act of courage.)
  • Does the idea of busting through that limit fill you with excitement or dread?

NB:: They can feel like the same thing (the way extreme cold can feel like extreme heat) but with one massive difference:: excitement fills your being whereas dread depletes it.

Once you have that clear, you’ll know what to do. Either::

  • Assemble the resources you need to nourish you and bolster you and sustain you as you do the work of breaking through the limit;  OR,
  • Rest.

Your being knows even when your mind isn’t entirely certain.

Between limits and limitlessness lies discernment that is yours to explore.   twitter-bird-tiny-blue


the-ampersand-series-option-1Why The Ampersand Series?As a Libran Life Coach, I’m pre-programmed to see both sides…of everything. This can be an annoying trait to my nearest and dearest who just want to vent to me, but it can be a massive service to my clients. Blessing & Curse. (Which, by the way, I can see in everything). So much of my writing touches on polarity. This & That.

Enter The Ampersand Series. Blog posts that shine a light on both sides:: Effort & Surrender. Limits & Limitlessness. Easy & Hard. An invocation to find our own places of discernment between the extremes. To love our ampersands. If this speaks to you, sign up to receive my posts. So much more to come.


Dear "Who, me?"... We're through.

Dear “Who, me?” – Hello old friend. I’d love to say it’s good to see you again, but this letter is about being honest. So, I can’t start with an untruth. I’ll start here instead.

We’re through.

Don’t get me wrong. You’ve been a faithful and loyal companion. Every time something wonderful has come along, or an opportunity has landed in my lap, or I’ve been complimented, you’ve been there with me, by my side. How do I know? Because beneath your veils of innocence, you’ve always delicately but clearly asked:: “Who, me?”

Oh, I get it. You’ve wanted to keep me humble. You’ve wanted to make sure that I’ve stayed on my game, never resting on my laurels…whatever that looks like. Your seemingly innocuous “who, me?” does a magnificent job of taking the wind out of my sails. It’s a mighty wind, but you’re truly powerful. You with your wide doe eyes.

I know that you’re just one member of the Impostor Complex clan that lives in my being. I know your kin:: “I’m not ready”, “I got lucky” and “they’ll find out that I’m a fake soon enough”. Your sweet softness masks the sharpest edge though, “Who, me?”.

At my best, I remember to receive compliments with the two words feared most by the Impostor Complex :: thank you. At my worst, YOUR two words send me back to the recesses of my insecurities. To dark places. Who, me? indeed.

If I sound fed up, it’s because I am, “Who, me?”. I truly thought we were through a while back. I thought you’d packed up your bags and moved along.

But when Ronna said she was traveling across three time zones to spend the weekend earlier with me this month, I heard you in the arrangement-making conversations. Your whispered “who, me?” echoed her every response.

Me:: What do you want to see while you’re here? Ronna:: Just you. You:: (Who, me?)

Who do you want to see? Just you. (Who, me?)

What do you want to do? Be with you. (Who, me?)

YES. Me.

You’ve been a steadfast teacher. You keep sending me to dark corners of my self to show me where there is lack. To keep my God-given light hidden from me…the very light that others can see so clearly. But it’s through your work on me that I can actually see that my mind, my heart, and my light are quite enough to bring all of the joys that I desire in this life.

And I can see this::

Going into darkness is not a reasonable response to joy. twitter-bird-tiny-blue

It’s that light that brings me the opportunities, grace, acknowledgments and gifts that I desire. And so it’s standing in that light that I will hold my arms wide open to receive.

I’m coming to see you. We’d like to interview you. You got the gig. Write the book. I’ve wanted to work with you for years. I made this for you. I love you.

YES. Me.

So, yeah. We’re through “Who, me?”.

I’ve learned what I’ve needed to learn and I release you. May you transform into a kinder, more compassionate way of teaching. And may the outcome of your work be the same:: that the next person you visit be empowered to stand in their light and to root deeply and firmly into YES. Me. For good.

So long,


++++++++ This post is part of the Let it Go Project: a collection of stories leading up to a beautiful releasing ritual, hosted by Sas Petherick on the 30th of January. All the details for this free event are here. Be inspired by other posts in this project, and share what you are ready to let of of on the Let it Go Project Community Page. For good.

Read (beyond) the label.

We want to be received for the fullness of who we are. There can be no doubt. Never is this more palpable than when we are complimented for a certain way of being. In the moment and at our best, we receive it and feel appreciated. (Even as we may squirm a little in discomfort. Yeah, it’s what we do.) But how many times have you gone back to the compliment and felt a pang of longing for a more panoramic view of your being? A pang of “but I’m so much more than just ______, aren’t I?” A desire to be seen for the whole being that you are.

There’s an excellent chance that that very compliment is one of the formative labels that you were assigned when you were very, very young. (There may have been more, but it’s the one you heard the most often.) You wore it with intention as a way of being understood and seen in the world.

“Little Miss Sunshine”? Check.

It’s been a home base of sorts. When you go to a party, you know how you’re supposed to act. What’s expected of you. Bring the lampshade, Wild One.

But the compliment feels incomplete because it IS incomplete. It is but one shining facet of the brilliance that you are.

No, no, please don’t disown it. It’s the stock base of the soup that is your deliciousness.  But it’s just ONE part of the soup. It’s the other ingredients that give it depth and substance. The otherselves that you keep high on the shelf for fear that people won’t like the taste.

See yourself the way you want to be seen


Take some time to consider the following::

  • What label were you given when you were younger?
  • Where do you still default to it?
  • What praise do you seek?
  • What criticism do you avoid?
  • How are they related?

And one final place to look: what assumptions are you making about what people expect of you?

Next time, see what happens when you leave the lampshade at home.


Track your wins

Tanya Geisler - Instagram Graphics - Nov 1.png

It’s easy (really, really easy) to track the losses. We do it all the time. We are constantly tallying up the disappointments and every last place where we feel like we fell off of our path.

Couldn’t close the deal.
Fell short. Fell down.
Struck out.
Zigged when we could have, should have zagged.

But given how much you resist “easy” anyway, let’s not do that.

Let’s go for the hard instead.

Let’s track the wins.


Scan the past 10 days and note the many, many graces that wound their way to you.

The unsolicited invitations.
The "just because" cards.
The manna-from-heaven new client.
The "I miss you" texts.
The "Can you lead on this?" vote of confidence from your boss.
The whispers of encouragement from unseen forces.
The delightful review from a fan.
The "Can you read this over because I trust you?" requests.
The yeses.
Every single "I see you" acknowledgment.

And, of course...

It’s not just about the nods of recognition (even though they feel like great swaths of velvet).
Let’s also track the moments you felt your own power.

You felt your own yes-ness.
You came face-to-face with your purpose.
You stood your ground.
You made the call.
You kept on going.

"Track your wins. And when you run out of room on the page, flip it over + keep writing."