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Tubman's Glory is Ours as Well

I admit it, when the news first broke about Harriet Tubman being chosen for the new $20 bill, I was disappointed.  For about 30 seconds, I mourned the loss by my top choice from the short-list.  Eleanor Roosevelt has always been one of my heroines, with her tireless advocacy for the homeless and dispossessed of the Great Depression, and all the courage that took, to allow herself to be so hated by the big-money interests, what we would call the 1% today.  She cared about women, about children, about animals and natural resources, about infrastructure and about the power of the vote.  Members of the 1% who break ranks and stand for economic and social justice - a country that lives up to its hype - deserve great praise.  Eleanor worked monster days to get fractious enemies to collaborate on the initial UN documents.  The fact that the UN isn’t as effective as she/we all hoped it would be doesn’t change the glory of her dedication to that hope.

But it was only 30 seconds.  I’ve always admired and adored Harriet Tubman also, another woman of enormous personal courage, who maintained a sharp tell-it-like-it-is tongue for those who needed a swift kick and a kind heart for those in affliction – that difficult combination.  Contrary to what some of her admirers have been saying, she was not a one-issue woman.  She didn’t just care about ending slavery.  She didn’t just care about the economic and social plight of newly-freed but resource-destitute black farmers, and the urban black poor.  She also championed women of all colors, who were no more powerful than slaves in the mid-19th century, who were beaten and killed with impunity, who had no power to obtain a divorce or retain custody of their children if they were dumped by a husband wanting a younger model, or even travel as they chose.   She cared about factory workers who signed contracts forbidding them to quit or complain of abuse and ill treatment, and who also could be killed by goon squads with impunity if they tried to organize or blow the whistle.  She annoyed abolitionists who sanctimoniously condemned black slavery while making a fortune on this factory-slavery, by calling them on their hypocrisy.  She cared about the treatment of animals, horses in transportation and on farms, and pets in the cities.  No one is perfect, and she had plenty of human blindness and flaws, but she tried hard to make the world a better place for us, her spiritual descendants, and for that, she absolutely deserves the place of honor on America’s most popular bill. 

Jackson will be gone soon, although not entirely; he will be on the flip side of the bill.  Perhaps the next generation can get rid of him entirely.  Much ink has been spent on his racist, genocidal actions against the native people of the south.  He was also an awful president, per se.  His spoils system fit the backwoods money-grubbing mentality of his peers on the frontier, but as a responsible principle to run the government of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious supposedly-better-than a child’s view of “fairness,” it’s appalling.  The fact that historians are reluctantly, and not whole-heartedly stating the obvious – He was an awful President; any one of the other candidates would have been a genuine statesman in comparison; OMG <shudder> - is a belated step in the right direction. 

And a big shout-out to the writers who have managed to discuss all the various candidates for the new face of the bill without resorting to cheap racial reasoning.  Soapbox commences:  No, everyone who says that Harriet was their original #1 choice isn’t a better human being than people who originally had a different candidate in mind, even if they are telling the truth.  All the potentials were wonderful, admirable people who would honor our country’s currency and ourselves for recognizing their value.  No, people who had a warmer spot for a different woman aren’t racists.  If we used that word sparingly, and for people who are truly and provably motivated by hate, then the real tribulations of my sister and two brothers, and my black friends, would not risk being trivialized by over-use.  I don’t want to see the word “racist” trivialized.  The pain that true creeps like Donald Trump cause is too serious.  End of soapbox.

Everyone’s favorite bill is getting a face to be proud of.  Glory, glory, hallelujah!  One giant leap for all of us….

Why Joy? And Why is Joy so Hard?

What do you think is the most popular category for re-pins on Pinterest and for responses and shares on Facebook?  Inspirational sayings, right?  As a culture, we are starving for uplift.  How did we end up in this place?

Part of it is a reflection of economic realities.  Prior to the Reagan years, labor and management had a more equal balance of power.  With the near-demise of labor unions, the real wages of most Americans have dropped sharply, more and more of us have only part-time or contingent work with no benefits, we are working longer and have very little realistic hope of a dignified and comfortable retirement.  Having economic fears and anxieties simply means that you’re aware and paying attention.

Our health is a legitimate concern as well.  For the first time in history, life expectancy and overall health measures of adult Americans are declining.  Our young adult offspring have less hope and opportunities.  [If none of these categories apply to you, have compassion and generosity for the rest of us.]

In a reality where glib “don’t worry; be happy” platitudes are lacking in wisdom as well as empathy, how can someone like me insist that Happiness is the goal of ALL of my programs?  My answer to you:  Blast away all the external Barriers to joy that you possibly can and then learn the Secret Sauce that allows you generate joy internally.

So why am I such a joy advocate?

The first reason is physical health.  Anxiety and worry depresses your immune system, raises your blood pressure (which damages kidneys and arteries and leads to premature death and an end to sexual function), and wrecks your skin.  If you want to live longer, stop wasting money on supplements and potions and practice Reiki, EFT (tapping), meditation and daily movement.

The second is that joy is infectious.  All your other problems start easing, when you approach other people with a glow.  You can talk your bankers into outrageous rule-changes, you can encourage discounts and more-time-to-pay from nearly everyone, you can blind hiring managers to your flaws and weaknesses, and you can convince everyone else to have hope for their future as well.  You can even have the faith to commit to healing of long-festering problems (with me) if your expectation for your future changes.

How do you shift yourself away from dwelling on all your legitimate sources of dismay?

Well, you don’t want to ignore reality.  That is one beef I have with some less-than-wise proponents of Positive Thinking.  Did you know that in the 1950’s, the early advocates of civil rights for women and minorities were accused of fostering disloyalty and even treason because they were bringing up “negative” views of American society?  Don’t ever, ever allow a preference for a positive twist on your situation to morph into suppressing your first duty to tell yourself and others the truth about your life.  Black Lives Matter.  Women’s lives matter.  If this is “negativity,” then thank god for it.  Walk away from anyone who tries to suppress or muzzle your grasp on Truth.

But joy can be part of Truth, too.

Carve out time in your day, every day, for joy.  Joy is your natural state when you are fully present in your body, in your reality.  Stress comes from moment-by-moment time travel to the past and the future.  So -

Ø  Stop rushing from place to place, so you have time to breathe deeply and look up at the clear blue sky or the new daffodils or the cute dog walking your neighbor. 

Ø  Have less things on your to-do list, if you have to, but make time for Reiki, tapping (EFT), yoga and meditation. 

Ø  Give yourself time to breathe and be still, accomplishing nothing tangible, unless you count better physical health, sharper thinking and – joy. 


As one of my inspirational pins reminds me, “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.” [On Pinterest – SoaringDragon]

And make time, at least once a week, to be creative

Ø  Get some inexpensive ($5) watercolors or acrylic craft paints from the craft store, some painting paper or cheap canvases and swirl some colors around.  It’s called abstract art.  Don’t show it to anyone or ask anyone for an opinion.  If you get a negative remark, tell the person to shut up.  When you let go of the desire to “do a good job,” and get others’ approval, not only do you create great art – because “great art” is anything that is an authentic reflection of your feelings and your vision - but you will feel such an intense upwelling of pure joy, it will take your breath away.

Ø  Build something.  Get craft supplies or a kit and make something.  It doesn’t even matter what.  It is the PROCESS of the creation that reduces stress, gives you new insights into your life and makes you bubble with joy.  I used to build furniture.  I still build and create useful objects every week.  You can get addicted to stained glass and mosaic kits.  That is my fun time, and if you try it, you, too, can contemplate giving up your TV.  Go to Michael’s or Joann [never Hobby Lobby], just walk around and when something catches your heart, don’t talk yourself out of it, second-guess or shame yourself.  Buy it. Take it home.  Try it out.  Keep going into mindfulness, to keep the critical voices at bay. 


Ø  Embrace colors.  Color has amazing impacts on your brain.  Painting the prison walls calming colors really does reduce conflict.

Ø  Learn a new skill.  I keep telling people that crochet is so simple, children learn it easily.  I can crochet in the dark, with my eyes closed, while watching scenery go by on a tour bus, because it’s a simple tactile task.  With crochet, you can create stuffed animals, a nifty protector/carrier for your smart phone, purses, clothing, housewares galore.  My smart phone carrier has compartments for phone, charger, USB, earbuds, a credit card and ID.  I can use it as a purse for short trips where I don’t need a gazillion ID cards.  Knitting is fun and leads to the same bumper crop of clothing, gifts and beauty. 

There are literally thousands of cool things to learn – and learning something new brings joy.   Sign up for something on Coursera, The Great Courses, Udemy or another learning site.  When you are learning, your pre-frontal cortex lights up, and when it lights up, so do your joy circuits.  And your Pride in Yourself circuits.  You deserve to feel that good.  Learn something.  Konnichi-wa!


People like the Dalai Lama, who encourage you to seek joy in the midst of your troubles (while also having compassion for your legitimate pain and difficulty), are your true North Star if you want a life that soars.  You deserve to soar with dragons.  Take action today! 


Who Am I?

I’ve been where you are, thinking that I could only truly harbor joy in my heart when every desire of my life was being fulfilled.  I learned better, and so can you.  We’ll start by clearing away the fixable external problems. Victoria Leo offers programs guaranteed to blast through your barriers to bring you physical health, peace of mind and soaring goddess energy!  Is your career or dreams of entrepreneurship keeping you up at night?  Do you need freedom from worry and lack of faith in yourself?  Do you need physical health?  Every program also teaches you how to generate joy from within.  There IS a secret, magic formula and I will teach it to you!

Victoria offers both science-based and spiritual solutions that really work! Visit and choose the program that will transform your life.  You deserve to soar with dragons! Victoria’s Facebook group Healing Minds, Healing Bodies welcomes you, as does her blog SoaringDragoninJapan. You can find her books on Amazon, Nook, Kobo or at your local bookseller.




The 3 Reasons Why Watching CSI-type Shows Will Bring You Career and Business Success

All right, so if you’re not already addicted, you don’t have to start.  But if are already a heavy consumer of modern who-dunnits, you also don’t have to stop.  [If you are living a high-stress life situation, you do need to limit your viewing.  Too much violence and mayhem, even if most of the focus is on intellectual cleverness, has a well-studied negative impact on your longevity and health.]

So what do these puzzler shows do to you, that has a positive impact on your life and career:

1)      You get into the habit of not jumping to conclusions.  In real-life crime, the most obvious suspect usually did do it.  Spouses, gangs, drugs and alcohol: that’s where real detectives look.  But in the puzzler shows, your brain gets programmed to stop and do 360 interviews, digging for what’s hidden, before you come to any conclusion.  

Think about what this would be like as it plays out in your career and personal life.  Stop, breathe, get your pre-frontal cortex involved before you let your limbic system lock on to  the first (stupid) thing that occurs to it.  What would your life and career be like if all your ideas were fully vetted by your thinking brain before it gets cast in mental concrete? What if everyone around you, especially management, did this? Oh. My. God.


2)      You collect actual physical evidence before you believe anything.  You collect evidence that could potentially contradict the first batch of physical evidence.  No stone is left unturned.  Real law enforcement doesn’t have this kind of budget.  But our fictional detective processes, where science is the real hero of the show, are thorough, meticulous and don’t believe anything unless there is lots and lots of irrefutable evidence for the conclusion.  

Translate this into your own career life.  I’ve watched shoot-from-the-lip jerks be admired and promoted, more times than I can count.  But I also have lived the corporate life long enough to have seen what happens when managers realize, a year too late, that they bought the sizzle and ignored the steak.  The sizzler is sent packing.  Listing the possible options with pros and cons out loud, while your thinking brain is doing its diamond-sharp analysis as a background process, allows you to, at worst, promise a data-driven robust conclusion later in the day, and at best, end the oration with your really wise, “steak” conclusion.  Nice place to be, either way.

3)      You get shot, stabbed or conked on the head regularly, but very rarely dieunless you were hoping to leave the series for a new job anyway.  If we could deeply believe the maxim of all the wisdom tradition – “It’s going to be all right, long-term.” – we would be more willing to try things.  Some new ideas fail.  Most are so-so.  Some are spectacular.  All of them reward your courage and vision with growth.  

If you watch enough cliffhangers that turn into recoveries, you might start believing that you are bullet-proof as well – not enough to get you stupid, but enough to give you courage to jump off a mountain with a skilled tandem hang-gliding partner.  For a millisecond or so, before the lift grabs you and saves you, you are dropping through the air, with no force but gravity working on you.  The more times you drop and are saved, the more certain you become that, whatever happens in your career, you will walk away alive, with lessons and knowledge that no one can ever take away from you. 

If we all did this in our non-TV lives, human history would take a dramatic turn for the better, as would your career or small business.  Try it and see!


Victoria C. Leo creates blast-through-barriers programs for career professional and entrepreneurs.  email

Could a Real Problem be Completely Fixed in 90 Day? YES, It Could!

I was reading a book on addiction  today, and realized that amid some very valuable content, I also learned something very important about myself.

No, I'm not a serious addict!  I have a hard time saying No to yarn sales and Kindle videos, but....  The learning was in aid of my profession, honest.

What struck me was that this counselor only knew about the action plans of cognitive-behavioral therapy and the rewards of behaviorism - both very valuable for helping drive transformation! - and never, ever mentioned the most powerful and quickly-transformative technique of all.

Clinical hypnotherapy with someone who's been through a long, thorough training and assessment program is the closest thing to magic we have in behavioral change.  As I read about the year-long processes the poor sufferers had to endure, I wanted to reach through the page and shake the author.  

Now, don't anyone misunderstand what I am saying!!  I am NOT arrogantly and stupidly offering the Miracle Cure that so many consumers today sign up for.  There are no Miracle Cures in behavior change.  If you were emotionally and/or sexually abused in childhood, yes, indeed, it will take years of hard work to craft a new mind, heart and emotional core that is equivalent to who you would have been if the abuse had not taken place.

However, if we're not talking about that extreme, I CAN turn your life around in a 90 day intensive program.  People with weight or physical pain issues can change direction.  Writers can banish Writer's Block forever.  You can blast through a whole slew of barriers in 90 days, and never see the dang wall go up again.  With skilled hypnotherapy, problems are gone for good.

Hypno works so well because it goes so deep, right to the source of the problem that is causing you the surface difficulty.  All my programs can wipe problems away permanently because they use a powerful mix of hypno, Reiki energy healing, spiritual healing, tapping (EFT) and professional life/health coaching. 

Spring is coming!  Tis the season for hope and transformation.  Don't hold back because you don't believe a solution can be this easy - just 30-90 days.  It can.  You could be free of your nagging problem.  Why not be?

Visit and look at how quickly and thoroughly your nagging headache of a situation could disappear.

The Hidden Power of a Math Holiday

Math is beauty, it is poetry, it is love made manifest in equations. It is relationships of area, of motion, acceleration. It brings moving heavenly bodies together and might even do the same for human beings. When I see all these interdependencies in a an almost-infinite cosmic web, I think "what could be more glorious or more spiritual than math?"

Happy Pi Day! (3.14 every year!)

2nd Quiz

Quiz 2

1. Your sympathetic nervous system needs to send a signal to your adrenals and release the adrenal cascade on a millisecond basis to save you from death and danger.  Your parasympathetic nervous system has a much harder job: "mopping up" all those stress chemicals through biochemical means takes hours.  That's why you can flare up in an instant but take much longer to completely calm down.

2. Vitamin K is an essential element of the blood clotting cascade.  A serious intestinal disease, by disrupting Vitamin K production by specific bacteria, can make you more susceptible to uncontrolled bleeding from cuts, internal hemorrhage, etc.

3. Cortisol signals your fat cells to hold on to fat. We evolved in a world where "stress" equaled starvation, not a corporate power grab or nasty in-laws coming to visit.

4. They are talking about System 1 (see Kahneman) or (almost the same) the limbic system, which pre-processes all sensory incoming data, and then decides whether it thinks it can handle it solo or whether it needs advice from the pre-frontal cortex and other System 2 structures.  No, you don't have separate brains.  We have the same structures as other primates, other mammals, even as far back as reptiles in some cases, but all of these have evolved in their connections and are unique to humans in that sense.  The whole reptile/human dichotomy is of limited utility.  Read Thinking: Fast and Slow, and learn to talk about System 1 and System 2.  Or buy my CD.


If you won the right to the $5 CD, go to to learn about it, and then call 253-203-6676 or email with questions or guidance on how to order.

A FUN Anatomy Quiz - and a prize for mistakes!

This is a somewhat different quiz in that you get a huge discount on my comprehensive 18 hour CD (MP3) How Your Body Really Works if you miss at least one of these.


Please note:  the real answers here are based on anatomy and physiology as known to science, printed in A&amp;P textbooks as proven by science/medicine.  Ideologies may disagree with facts, and if you do, just move on.  Facts and opinions can't argue with each other; they are fundamentally different things.






Quiz 1: 

1. High blood pressure causes irreparable kidney damage; it shreds the gentle structures in the glomeruli of the nephron. Once your kidneys are wrecked, you die.  Get your blood pressure checked.  Get it under control.  I have ideas....

2. Nope.  Bone STORES calcium.  It is used by your nerves, to transmit impulses, and by your muscles, as the final GO signal for muscle cells to contract when ordered to by a nerve.  This is why if you drink sodas, don't exercise, don't get enough calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, your bones will weaken.  The nervous and muscle systems are life-or-death (think about your heart and diaphragm), so bones will give up calcium to preserve them.

3. Metabolism and other chemical reactions only occur in a narrow pH range.  Bones, see previous answer.  Kidneys release hormones and respond to hormones to release more water or release more ions, to change the pH of the blood.  Your lungs will pump deeper and faster to get rid of more CO2 if there is too much acid in the blood. Carbon dioxide is the major contributor to blood acidity under normal conditions; it dissolves in the blood as an acid (not really carried by hemoglobin like they told you in 4th grade).

4. The brain neurons that control thirst are right next to the ones that control hunger.  The incoming sensory neurons can terminate in the wrong place very easily.  That is why you should always have a nice glass of liquid when you first feel hungry - in case it's really thirst.




5 Top Reasons Why You Need to Focus on THIS Form of ME Time

Some of us don’t give ourselves any Me Time at all, because we’re convinced, for family, gender or cultural reasons, that taking time for ourselves is selfish.  Some of us take our relaxation primarily with evening television or by physical pampering like mani-pedis. 

I’ve shown you how having Me Time is the least selfish thing you can do for your family and career in another post.  Now that you’re  convinced that you need Me Time,  you are ready to consider spending anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour on most days, entirely engrossed in your most creative, fun activities with absolutely NO guilt!  How does this sound?  Look what joys await you when you get up from the zoning-out-with-TV habit:

Ø  Diving into library books and magazines on crochet [come sit down next to me!]

Ø  Watching videos, and YouTube – humor, how-tos, history, science, drama, cute kittens.

Ø  Chatting with friends

Ø  Reading, especially about hobbies or interests that engross you (deep-ending in histories of Elizabethan England, Ancient Scythia or WWI)

Ø  Picture-intensive books about travel, garden makeovers or visual hobbies (art, crafts)

Ø  Listening to catchy, upbeat music.

Ø  Listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

Ø  Building or making physical objects, from bat houses and cat houses to human furniture.

Ø  As well as more specialized joys, like feeling the joy of warm water all around you, or taking a virtual bike-ride along the wine valleys of the Loire.

Now THAT’S what I call Me Time!   Are you ready to plunge into all this fun?  Good, because I want to give you the 5 powerful reasons why you want this particular form of Me Time:

Reason #1: Your chances of developing 14 different forms of cancer, plus diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease plummet.  Your blood pressure and blood cholesterol plummet.  You add an average of 7 healthy years to your lifespan!

Reason #2: Your enthusiasm for life and your positive energy will soar, without you having to recite affirmations or engage in any other life changes!

Reason #3:  You’ll get fewer colds, you’ll be less liable to depression even when the days are cold, cloudy or rainy, your sleep will be easier and sounder and you’ll be able to successfully race for the express commute bus.

Reason #4:  Your career will improve because your mind will be calmer, your confidence will skyrocket, your ideas will be more creative and clever, and your increased energy as evidenced in your sparkling eyes and easy smile will convince management that you are overdue for a promotion to more responsibility.  If you own a business, people will be drawn to become customers because of the magnetism of increased confidence, which also manifests in smarter business decisions.

Reason #5:  You will be a kinder, more patient and understanding parent (with less effort), and all your personal relationships, including your marriage, will be happier and calmer.

So HOW do you get all these benefits and enjoy all that Me Time?

Are you ready for the Secret?  Take a deep breath, because it’s really, really powerful.

Here it is: Go to the gym, or community center, at least three days/week, and engage in other vigorous movement on the other days.

That’s right, it’s exercise! 

I go to the gym to get Me Time to deep-end in imagining new crochet projects while I walk on the treadmill or use a stationary bike.  My clients revel in the guilt-free joys of reading and taking vicarious trips, including the creative lady who bike-trips along the Loire.  She bikes in place and can taste all that lovely wine in her imagination!  Others enjoy guilt-free video, phone chat (quietly) or Facebook time as they bicycle or treadmill.  Gyms always pipe in catchy, upbeat music to help keep you moving as long as possible.  Home shops can be hives of vigorous movement as you build and create.  Once a week, hubby and I take a water aerobics class and laugh and giggle together as we leap, jump, and practice-box in the soothing warm water; after class we catch up with our friends. 

And it’s all guilt-free fun, because you are doing the #1 thing that you need for optimal physical and mental health, a happy life and a successful career. 

Are you convinced that you hate exercise?  Want to bet I can’t change your mind?  OK, the deal is on!

Step #1: Sign up for my transformative, fun class here:   This class focuses on the most powerful organ in your body – your mind.  It is in your concepts and beliefs that you turn away from the most powerful Me Time on the planet, with all the amazing benefits it brings you.  Exercise literally puts money in your pocket as it adds years to your lifespan.  For $19.95, it’s priced to be super-easy for everyone.  So go ahead, sign up!

Step #2: When you have completed the class, call or email me and book a FREE Getting Unstuck appointment.  If you complete my class, I will DOUBLE your free session to a full hour, and we will get to work demolishing the barriers that are holding you back from all the fun of the most powerful Me Time ever.  That’s my gift  and it’s worth a whole lot more than $19.95.  Maybe we can solve your time problem or blast away your other barriers and hand you your heart’s desire on a plate in one session.  Maybe we will only get part-way there.  The important thing is – you get a $70 value for only $19.95, even if my class doesn’t do for you what it has done for everyone else who’s ever taken it.

Are you willing to bet that I can’t make a Me Time addict out of you?  Sign up now at

Who Am I?
Victoria Leo creates comprehensive change programs that give you the greatest possible bang for your buck, using clinical hypnotherapy, professional life coaching and master-level Holy Fire and Karuna Reiki energy healing, as your individual needs dictate.  She has master’s degrees in both psych and biology, and advanced certifications in many common medical and life-change problems.  Victoria has been working with clients in person and via videoconferencing for over 20 years.





Short Cuts that Really Aren't. Or When is Truth just Truth?

We've all heard the joke about the efficiency expert who thinks waiting 9 months for a woman to produce a child is a process that can be improved; just get 9 women to work at it for a month!

 Doesn't work that way.

 Neither does the new craze for shorter, more intense gym (especially weights) workouts.  The reasoning goes that we are all stressed for time, why waste time?  So far, so good.  But you have to understand that some truths are Truths; they are not a matter of personal opinion, and you cannot use willpower, vision boards or any other mechanism to overcome them.  

 Good:  Warm up with a treadmill or other slow, rhythmic, aerobic moves for at least 10 minutes.  Then do your shorter, more intense workout, realizing that intense HAS to use perfect form and correct placement of limbs and weights, because if you are too heavy or too intense and you make even a small mistake in placement, you are going to get injured.  Injured removes you from workouts anywhere from two days to the rest of your life. 

 Bad: Jump right in and start pushing and pulling at high intensity.  Muscles and fascia that have been over-stretched or over-tense during hours of work and worry, usually in the same position, are really ripe for a major injury.

 So - impatience can kill you, just like your parents told you oh so long ago.

 Take your impatience and treat it like the problem that it is.  Breathe deeply for a full minute.  Allow your muscles and connective tissue to relax a bit.  Pray.  Reiki.  Meditate.  Stare into the abyss until the urge to think that you can overrule the physical laws of nature, what your physical self needs, dissipates and you are returned to sane, rational humanity.  

 If you only have 10 minutes, don't go to a gym.  Walk up and down the stairs at your job or home, at a walking pace.  Don't run.  You only have 10 minutes and you're not loosened up yet.  Or do yoga.  Cats and cows, boys and girls.  You can do it in a dress, in a cubicle, so you can surely do it at home. 

 If you only have 20 minutes, walk on a treadmill to warm up for ten, then do intervals of rapid or hard work, with a slower pace. for another 10.  Cool down by walking for a few minutes.  

Any strategy is better than going from overstretched and over-tense straight into an intense, especially weights, workout. 

ANY time you feel "I have to" preceding something that violates the laws of physics or biology, know that as a signal to change your faulty thinking. A law that is equally true on Earth, Ganymede and all the planets and moons of the Andromeda Galaxy is not going to bow down to your demands.   

Two plus two will always, always equal four, not twenty four, no matter how busy or important you are, or think you are.  I permanently crippled my hands by exactly this kind of crazy decision-making, and it took me five years of rehab and you don't want to know how much pain and suffering to regain most of my function (and life), but the life lesson has left me with a permanent twerk toward a sane approach to facts. Truth exists, apart from opinion.  Much of what we think of as fact, is truly opinion - but not everything.  

Slow down.  Breathe.  Make a sane assessment of what is truly possible (Truth) and commit to that.  Let go of everything else


6 Tools and Techniques to Develop Healthy Self Love

For some people, brought up by caring parents who wanted us to be generous and humble adults, the difference between healthy self-love and unhealthy selfishness, arrogance and narcissism, was not made clear to us.

In consequence, we grew to adulthood happily prepared to take care of everyone around us, be a rock of care and concern for all our loved ones, while relying on the attention of others to see to it that our own nurturing - emotional feeding - gets done.

That's not the way things are supposed to roll.  With due respect to our well-intentioned parents, hoping to steer us away from self-absorption, they missed the healthy balance point.

Self-love, so far from being a character flaw, is the foundation upon which every other healthy ediface of adult love and character is built.  

Let me explain what healthy self-love is, and give you some specific techniques and tools that you can use to build this capacity within yourself.  It's never too late!

New Year's Resolutions 1: Your Burdens, My Burdens




If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough….. Henry W. Longfellow


I am a big fan of resolutions to improve health (lose weight, stop smoking, exercise, change eating) and improve one’s money situation (new job, promotion, more clients, less time wasted with poor organization).  My profession, after all, is healer and change agent.  Using hypnotherapy to effect deep changes and energy healing to reduce anxiety and stress, with life coaching to set up goals, rewards and timetables, it’s a very powerful toolkit and it gets very powerful, fast results.  What’s missing?

Nothing, if your goal is the utterly admirable ones of physical health and the end of limiting beliefs about yourself.

But that’s not all there is to a human life.  We also have a striving to be better people.   All of my tools work really well to help people to extinguish the lingering remnants of harm from childhoods with imperfect families, traumas from adult life like criminal assaults, natural disasters and war, as well as personal imperfections that can’t be traced back to a particular cause or event. 

It’s noble, I think, to truly want to cause less pain to others by wanting to be less quick-tempered, more patient, more kind and understanding or more generous with praise and focus on catching people doing something right.  All of these and more have been resolutions of my clients over the years.  Removing the defect entirely is wonderful, but when we are talking about deeply engrained barriers like this, even removing a layer or two of habitual patterns is a victory.

There is one challenge that I think underlies all the frustration, the envy, and the anger over the Good Luck in others’ lives, and that is what I’d like to talk about today.  We look at others in the superficial way that we do when we are assessing others’ lives, we see what we think they have, we compare it to what we know we don’t have, and anger arises.  We spin stories about why we don’t have, and why they do.  That story becomes our truth and we live our lives believing the story.

Let’s break this whole conundrum apart, piece by piece, and let’s start with a really common example: you have a particular burden holding you back and I don’t.  One of my many clients who is also a coach or healer tells me that it’s harder for her than for me, because she has two young children and I don’t; in fact, I have an easy life all around.  You’ve done this a million times, and so have we all.  Even I, who am super-aware of the fallacy, occasionally fall into the pit before I realize what I did and jump out.  The truth that we need to learn at a deep level is that we actually DON’T know a damn thing about what burdens our fellow humans are bearing.  All we know is what is public and obvious. 

People assume I don’t know how black people suffer because my hair is blond; they don’t know that I grew up with African American brothers and a sister.  People assume I have no burdens because I tend to be cheerful and don’t ride in a wheelchair.  During flu season, people learn that I have immune system weaknesses that make illnesses very common, but if you meet me in summer?  Nope.  My other health concerns are private; that doesn’t mean they don’t exist or don’t hold me back in myriad ways.  Only their closest intimates (usually) know that a person had a deeply-abused childhood, has been a victim of violence or is battling their way back to wholeness from the effects of PTSD.  And you don’t know any of this.  You know your life.  You don’t know the truth about the hundreds of people you are telling stories about every year. 

The underlying purpose of the story-telling that Person X has fewer burdens than me is to have a ready-made reason for why s/he has something and I don’t, an ignoble goal if ever there was one.  If you find yourself wanting to push back on this wisdom, now you know why your limbic system doesn’t want to let go of the Everyone Has It Easier Than Me story. 

How to overcome this (frequently wrong) story-spinning?  Every time you hear your mind coming to a conclusion about someone, especially after a short acquaintance, STOP.  Take two long, very slow, deep breaths and remind yourself that You Don’t Know A Damn Thing About This Person.  If you are in I Don’t Know territory, your mind is open to collecting additional information.  As soon as you have spun a story, you will interpret all new sensory information (what they say, do, twitch, etc.) through the filter of whether or not it fits in the story. 

The goal of this exercise is NOT to turn off your intuition – absolutely the contrary!  We jump to the story that we can trust a person based on our limbic system liking the person’s welcoming smile and generous offer of home-baked cookies.  But sociopaths and garden-variety manipulators are very charming and “nice.”  You need to reserve your story-making/judgment until you have a lot more data.  Only a true sociopath can keep up the smokescreen forever.  The others will start to slip up.  If you are paying close attention, you’ll notice it and step out of range.  If you have your “S/he’s a great guy/gal” story/frame in place, you’re by definition no longer paying close attention. 

Acknowledging your own burdens – you are building a career or a business and want to be a good parent as well; you are battling asthma or ADD to get to your goals – allows you to generate goals that fit your physical and mental limits.  You won’t choose the same goal or timing as some outside entity thinks you should.  You know what you can realistically do and if you don’t, call me and we’ll figure it out in a coaching session.  You can walk from Panama City to Washington DC or from a Auschwitz to Hiroshima if you just keep putting one foot in front of another and don’t give up; my mom the dedicated peace activist did both, in her 60s.

For 2016, let me suggest this additional Resolution for your consideration:  slow down the creation of stories.  And when you hear yourself getting ready to conclude that another person has less burdens than you, remind yourself that you know all the secrets of your own soul and absolutely nothing about theirs.

Are You on Fire to Know Your Life Purpose?


January, the first month of the new year.  What glorious feelings of new beginnings start to stir. 

Mixed in with all the ideas that are easily actionable, like losing weight and exercising more [take my new class] are the very different stirrings of the heart that is starting to yearn for a new engagement with life.

I know what my true path in life is, and I am living in full-time.  One of my passions is finding great resources for my clients.

Elizabeth Gilbert loves it.  So do I.  A charming new book on how to find and follow your passion, titled The Crossroads of Should and Must (Elle Luna), coughed up some gems that I rarely find in such books. 

After explaining the difference between Should and Must, and explaining that some Shoulds will become Musts, because they are righteous and good – like supporting and nurturing whatever children you may create, intentionally or not – she talks a lot about the Must of your life, the work that you have to do in some way, somehow, because it’s what you were born for. 

And this is the place where so many well-meaning people, from Marsha Sinetar to Marianne Williamson and dozens in between, have gone aground. 

Have you heard “Do what you love and the money will follow”?  When you’re in your twenties and sometimes thirties – when you don’t know much about life and are prone to confusing the desperately wished for, for the even plausibly possible – that phrase resonates strongly.  It is accompanied by a manifesto on having passion and intention, whence your longed-for brilliant future magically manifests.   Decades later, having received some belated education in how business works, I discovered that success occurs in the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what a significant portion of the rest of the world wants desperately and has money to pay for.  You can create the world’s most fabulous canal boat ropes, because you are a history enthusiast, but there isn’t enough of a market there to keep a flea alive. 

Luna addresses all of the key worries that assail my clients when they are considering going deeply into the question of what they love: what about money?  What if what I love doesn’t pay enough to support my family?

Here’s her answer:  “If doing what you love doesn’t pay the [necessary, not extravagant] bills, then you must find another way to make money.  Period.  Being able to pay your bills can create the temporal and mental space to find your calling.”

As I explain in my Take Back Your Lost Heart, it isn’t more noble to work at Other work and do your Calling part-time until you have the income that you need to support yourself in reasonable comfort.  Not to mention the other things that contribute to your peace of mind.  The responsibility to provide children with safe and secure housing, education and as much of a leg up in life as you can.  The peace of mind that paying all your bills in full at the end of the month gives you.   Philip Glass, who worked as a plumber to ensure he had the cash flow he needed, while also pursuing his love as a Broadway composer is the poster boy for this, as is of course Albert Einstein, who used his slow-moving, un challenging work in the Patent Office to set his mind free to soar. 

Call me for a Getting Unstuck session today!  We will explore your search for your calling and I will give you the inspiration and the practical tools that will get you started on the road to your dreams.  You CAN do it!  Put wings on your dreamsso they can soar, and put feet on your dreams so they can become reality.  victoria.leo,



Should You Buy a Genetic Identity Product

Genetic identity products like the 23andme product I purchased recently have been wildly popular.  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took the medical portion of the product off the market until concerns about how the info would be used could be addressed.  It’s so easy for someone who doesn’t have a deep background in genetics to misunderstand what a predisposition could refer to. 

As a larger issue, there is a real danger of employers in the US getting access to genetic information, because they WILL refuse to hire, and WILL find excuses to get rid of any person who might (big word there!) have a medical problem in the future – that their health insurance company would have to pay for.  The real villain in that scenario is insurance that is tied to an employer, not a basic right of citizenship, because it gives your employer a powerful motivation to get rid of you based on your potential for expensive health problems.  If your health is an issue for you and the community that pays for all its citizens, your employer is out of the loop.

But back to products that promise to give you insights into your genetic identity.  The 23andme product that I bought for myself and my husband included some basics from the nuclear DNA and from mitchondrial DNA with (for men only) some info from the Y chromosome.  To recap:  Your nuclear DNA comes from your mother and your father, and gets shuffled around in each generation.  Your mitochondrial DNA comes from the egg that started your journey to life, so it is entirely from your mother.  [Your dad’s sperm has nothing but nuclear DNA to make it as light and fast as possible.]  It doesn’t mix and match with every generation, but provides an unbroken, except by mutations, lineage from some very ancient woman.  Men’s Y-chromosomes also provide an unbroken lineage, except for mutations, from a very ancient man. 

Another aside: a group of Jewish South Africans who claimed biological descent as Cohens (a priestly family in ancient Palestine) were never believed because to all outward appearances they were just black South Africans.  But a Y-chromosome study proved them right; that DNA came from ancient Palestine and was similar to other Jewish Cohens who were still living in their ancestral home. 

I will admit that I paid the money ($180 for the two of us) for entertainment purposes, and that’s a good way to approach any consumer product.  We both could see the known outlines of our ancestry popping up in the numbers. 

What everyone except me misinterpreted and what I want to talk about is the small amounts of DNA in which I resemble folks in east and west Africa, Oceania and East Asia.  The immediate assumption is that I have a distant ancestor from those places.  I wouldn’t mind if I did, and it could be.  A more likely explanation is the mundane genetic fact that similarity doesn’t necessarily mean direct ancestry It most likely means that I have some very old DNA that hasn’t changed since all of us were encapsulated in 2000 individuals living in East Africa, 60,000 years ago.  A bit of it went west to west Africa, a bit of it took off into the Middle East and from there travelled to East Asia and then to Oceania, and the rest became the Neolithic farmers who moved into Europe, killed off the hunter/gatherers and took their land.  Horticulture and agriculture allowed my ancestors to feed more kids and breed more fighters, it was that simple.   My mitochondrial DNA supports that narrative.  There are a lot of fascinating details, that I am keeping appropriately private.  I’m less Neandertal than the average European. 

And I am re-assessing the “purely entertainment” motive.  Right after I received my genetic info, I researched more about the various identified groups and genes and found myself profoundly moved.  One of my course offerings is a fascinating journey to consult with one’s biological forebears.  It has been inspiring and profoundly healing for many people.  Looking at the geographical distribution of those maternal haplogroups led me to take the journey myself, psychically touching those women who lived so long ago.  [Email me for more information on the course.]

We can get so wound up in our daily to-do lists that we forget to, as my course encourages, visit with our very distant ancestors, to put a larger perspective on our lives.  All 10,000 generations of them changed their culture and their world in all the small ways that a person’s life does.  

We have the opportunity and the privilege to be beacons of love, comfort and inspiration in our own time.  This little glimpse into the past reminded me of my duty to do my very best with the life that all these fascinating ancestors have given me.

Not my Circus.... Not My Monkeys!

I bought a plaque a few years ago: it says NOT MY CIRCUS.  NOT MY MONKEYS.  I know, it's pretty funny.  But if you really meditate on this simple "joke," how profound it really is.  

How often do we get caught up in someone's else's drama, someone else's emotional snares, because we get "hooked" by one of the Three Horsemen of Disaster:

>  We are trying to change someone.  You know you can't do that, right?  Really know it?  Take a long, slow deep breath.  It isn't even your business.  You weren't put on this earth to tell other adults - regardless of how much you love them or how much DNA you share with them - how to behave or what choices to make in their lives.  If they are harming you, get away from them.  Otherwise, not your circus.

We are trying to force an outcome.  This doesn't mean the same as changing someone's nature or their take on things.  It usually means a circus involving more than one person, which is more insane than a circus with just one flying monkey.  You can't make things come out the way you want them, no matter how many vision boards you create.  God may or may not exist.  What's for sure, is that it ain't you.  Let go.

We are trying to defend ourselves. The worst of the three! In addition to not being able to control other people's behavior, you also can't change how other people think, including how they think about you.  Even if you are being judged based on something other than facts (or the facts that you know).  Even if it's terribly, horribly unfair.  Even if no one asked you what "really happened."  Even so.  You 100% cannot, and will not, ever, ever, ever have the power to control your image with others.  They are going to think what they think.  They are going to talk about you.  They are going to spread false rumors and tear down your reputation.  Your integrity is what you know about yourself.  Your reputation is what others know about you.  Guard the one; ignore the other.  What others think about you is not your circus.

Keeping other people's circuses from poisoning YOUR peace of mind is probably the #1 challenge of this time of year, the season of family togetherness and - love?  

Martha Beck had a suggestion years ago about how to survive family holidays with less-than-optimal families: she suggested that you and your sane friends each create a Bingo card in which each segment represents a Circus event (Uncle Harry gets drunk; Dad starts a rant about race; Mom asks me when I am going to get married - or divorced).  Keep track as the holidays pass.  The first person to get a winning Bingo row calls the others and we celebrate.  By taking the focus off the Circus and onto the game, it helps the players to avoid being hooked by the obnoxious comments that tempt you to "defend" what never needs defending - your life choices.  [If you break a law, you might need to defend your choices to a jury or risk prison, but otherwise - no.]

If you can chuck all those monkeys, peace of mind is a cinch.  Call me for a training session on who owns the Circus.

Those Yearly Holiday Newsletters - Pain or Pleasure?

 I admit it.  I love to write yearly newsletters.  I even enjoy – for a totally different reason – receiving them. 

Yet so many of you don’t – and I completely understand.  I agree that many of them are non-stop brag-fests that can leave you feeling less-than.  If you believe them.  And that’s the key to enjoying them! 

If you choose to read newsletters with the expectation of being amused at people’s attempts to convince you (and themselves) that their life is so totally, mermerizingly perfect, they will succeed in entertaining you, minus the comparison-induced depression. 

Think about it: you know the reality of your own life and it’s never perfect.  If you compare that reality with the glorious, victorious image projected by others, of COURSE you will think that they are doing so much better in life than you are. 

Take a deep breath.  Take another.  Take a third, nice and slow and deep.  Ready for a revelation?  Here it is:  you can read, laugh and throw it in the dustbin.  Laughing is good for your cardiovascular system.

You can also, if you are patient, help guide these misguided souls into more authentic communication with you.  You start by getting off the From Success to Glorious Success treadmill yourself.   

When my husband was facing a devastating layoff, I was matter-of-fact about our worries for the future, and a request for prayers.  I share all the things I’m trying in my business, not just the stuff that worked.  

The big key to why good people (not the jerks of the family) really enjoy our yearly newsletter is that I make it funny.  Sometimes I poke fun at us, like the year I was so frustrated with my boss at the university where I was teaching that I took out my frustrations on the back hedge.  You can understand the depths of my anger when I tell you that I saved us $1000 in hedge trimming services.  You can laugh when I asked for power tools for my birthday and hubby said absolutely not, that he likes having a hedge not a low shrub! Or The Astronomy Widow tells a funny story about hubby’s obsession.  The crazy antics that pet parents get into when one of the darlings is sick and needs a pill.  The Abbott and Costello-esque Victoria-does-home-repair. 

Every issue has a deep point or two. One of us details a profoundly moving experience at a funeral.  We share how we honored the 10th anniversary of earning a new graduate degree, that put no money in our pocket but enriches our life every day.  A brave mama deer is killed by the local cougar, and her two orphaned fawns are adopted by another mama deer, who successfully raises all four to adulthood. 

If you create a document that shares from the heart, instead of showing off, you might encourage a wiser approach to life among others.  The Grand Canyon grew over millions of year through the constant action of insubstantial water on seemingly solid rock.  You never know what influence you might be having, and you are 100 times more likely to be influential if you stop trying to be! 

As Shakespeare has Hotspur tell Glendower, “Tell the truth and shame the devil!”  If you start creating yearly newsletters that are fun, that are real – though edited for privacy and need-to-know – and that are from the heart, you next task is to not give a damn what any recipient thinks of you, your life and your newsletter.  When you are in that blessed place, you can mail your yearly snippet-of-life out with a joyous heart.  A gift that is given with absolutely no strings attached leaves you joyous and free.  A creation that does not rely on being praised floats high in the sky, free of anyone’s ability to trample it in the dust.

Don’t give up yearly newsletters, grasshopper.  Enjoy the creation.  Set them free to float on the breeze, to whatever new world they may land in. 


Have a Joyful Holiday Season Without Losing Your Mind - Or Your Job

So many things culminate in November and December.  At least six major family and religious holidays.  End of year git-er-done deadlines at work.  Everyone’s deepest non-rational needs and craziness being triggered.  Kids enraptured with the magic of lights, desserts and all the decorating at home.  One’s own remembered delights and memories of magic can be ruthlessly tamped down in the service of Reality, but since deep desires can’t really be tamped down, you find them popping up at the most inopportune moment.  Spending more money on gifts and travel than you soberly would choose to allocate from the resources you have. 

Can we really be surprised that so many people, especially parents with full-time jobs, wish they could just fast-forward to January, when they are being honest with themselves?

The good news: there is a way out of the madness!  You need to solve these three problems:

  • You’re not paying complete attention to work when you’re at work.
  • You’re not paying complete attention to your family and/or your personal needs for joy and magic when you aren’t at work. Exacerbated by not having enough hours for your non-work life.
  • You’re spending too much money.

Let’s take them in turn:

You’re not paying complete attention to work when you’re at work.  Yes, I know that you think you are.  But if you are not giving your children, your spouse and your desire to enjoy this special time of the year its due, those concerns will leak into your work time and you will be constantly fighting distraction.  Or the guilt at your long hours when you know that your family really wants to share this time with you will take up cognitive bandwidth, even when you’re not aware of it.  Or you’re shopping online when you need your cognitive resources 100% focused on the supply-chain problem.  So you can solve this problem by solving problem #2, right?  Let’s do that.

You’re not paying complete attention to your family and/or your personal needs for joy and magic when you aren’t at work.  This is exacerbated by not having enough hours for your non-work life.  Your kids need your undivided attention in order to thrive.  Your spouse needs to know that s/he is undisputed #1 in your life.  Full stop.  If you want to live a long and happy life, have kids who cry buckets at your funeral and a spouse who sustains you for a half century of adult life with his/her unvarnished appreciation and adoration, you need to deserve that.  Full stop.  Kids remember these holidays.  You can’t buy them off with toys and other “stuff,” not in the long run.  They might get all excited about the stuff, but what will keep them away from drugs, early sex and general life stupidity is the strength of their connection to you. 

Your spouse needs your help in cutting down the workload, firming placing 90% of the obligations in the No pile.  S/he needs you 100% emotionally present in the evenings, for the joys of decorating the house, making desserts, writing a yearly holiday letter.  S/he needs your 100% emotional presence as you explore a new light show, or visit an ethnic holiday you know nothing about, or do a service project together.  The end of year holidays are about love, about family, about goodness and generosity and caring for others.  They are about joy.  You, my friend, need joy.  You need to sit your kids down and tell them about holidays when you were a child.  You all need a dose of magic, as much as you need to step away from consumerism.

If you are truly present when you’re not working, you can pour it on 100% when you are working., and head home at a reasonable hour.  And by that, I mean no later than 6 PM.  Don’t even think about trying to negotiate this.  If you are 100% focused, you can get a reasonable amount of progress every day toward your organizational goals.  Do it, and then leave, guilt-free.

You’re spending too much money.  There are so many reasons why your spouse deserves your undivided attention during your non-working hours, and one reason is that when your spouse has what s/he needs from the love of their life, they will be more amenable to walking away from the Shoulds that generate too much spending. 

  • Gift only children. Buy them educational toys. No gadgets, unless it’s a group gift from several families.
  • Or have a Pick a Name Out of the Hat at Thanksgiving.
  • Or create things. I crochet while I’m relaxing with videos.  You might have talents at baking or crafting or building.  Sometimes I inflict my art on people.  They can throw it out and re-use the frame, I don’t care; having them know that I love them is all that matters. 

Unless you have more money than the Queen of England, you are probably spending too much.  You need much more money for retirement than you think you do.  Your kids need some seed money for college.  The animal welfare groups need a big donation.  The polar bears are drowning and the planet needs saving.  These things matter.  You can deal with selfish people trying to guilt-trip you into shopping now much more easily than you can deal with an unhappy retired life or kids with crippling education debts. 

Work with your spouse on an announcement to both families about your firm commitment to reserving the holidays for love and service projects.  Write a heartfelt letter about teaching your kids the value of sharing and caring, including creating small and meaningful gifts.  Wrap one or at most two nice educational gifts for your kids under your own tree or other symbolic object.  Whether you are pre-parenting, post-parenting or non-parenting, the same rules apply. 

All the holidays are about Light – the Light of wisdom, the Light of love, and the Light of joy.  They all dispel the darkness.  Focus on wisdom, love and joy, and don’t confuse them with “stuff.” 

So you see the solution!  When you fix the “time-at-home” problem and the spending problem, you automatically resolve the distractions that are keeping you from career success in November and December.  When you fix the “focus on work, then come home” problem, you automatically resolve the deprivation that you are inflicting on yourself, your vulnerable children and your spouse.  Life isn’t linear.  It’s a web, in which the solution to one part of the web relies on progress elsewhere.

You deserve to excel at work this holiday.  And you deserve excellence in your husband, father and human being roles as well.  You can do it!  Let the Light shine!