Change your heart. Change the world. EVOLVE… there's a bit of love in every transformation.

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Need a Hug?

In working with people and their relationships with others, I specialize in family relations and their effects on youth.  Every day I sit with young people who are struggling to make friends and maintain safe boundaries around others; including parents, daycare providers, teachers and other young people.  On a typical day, my younger clients have spent their day hitting, bullying and provoking the people around them to gain physical contact from another human being.

That’s weird isn’t it?  These young people are instigating conflicts when ultimately all they really need is a HUG.

“Today, neuroscientists have learned that when humans get emotionally upset, our   bodies react to manage the increased energy. These physical reactions bring discomfort at best and at worst are unbearable. What can we do to obtain immediate help when we are distressed so that we don’t have to resort to superficial balms like drugs or psychological mechanisms like repression? What kind of relief is affordable, efficient, effective and nontoxic?

The answer is touch. Hugs and other forms of nonsexual physical soothing, like hand-holding and head stroking, intervene at the physical level to help the brain and the body calm down from overwhelming states of anxiety, panic and shame.”

For many of us, a hug would cure so much of what ails us: stress, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, loneliness.

A hug or casual embrace has fallen into neglect in our modern, technologically connected world.  Even in our intimate households, the familial embrace is on a decline: fewer parents and children snuggling on a couch watching a movie or siblings huddled together over a game.  We are literally creating more physical barriers between ourselves as the generations develop.  Our advancement has increased our dis-ease.

WE NEED HUGS.  Our children and youth need hugs.  Our friends and spouses need hugs.  I need a hug!  You need a hug!

Why?  As outlined in Psychology Today, children and even adults who receive a sufficient amount of physical contact through hugs and embraces are more likely to be adventurous when trying new things and creative as they have an increased sense of freedom and safety.  Hugs make people nicer and more positive which helps to reduce stress- lower stress results in better overall health.  Researchers have discovered that hugs and physical touch decrease elevated blood pressure and alleviate fears.  In addition (and we don’t need research to tell us this) hugs just make us feel closer to one another.

The HUG has already become a commodity as there are “Cuddle Clubs” and “Snuggle Salons” popping up across America.  Today, most hugs are FREE.  Get them while they last!


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“What’s Your Name?” asks Amal Kassir

A few days ago, I invited you to start building relationships by saying a simple “Hello”.

Amal Kassir encourages you to take it one step further by asking a stranger, “What’s you name?”

Published on Dec 14, 2016

Watching the news, it seems like ethnic divides are ever-deepening. But how can we solve these complicated problems when each side lives in fear of the other? The answer is simple, argues Syrian-American poet Amal Kassir – it starts with, “What’s your name?”

Amal, a young Muslim-American and native Coloradan, found a platform for her voice growing up working in her family’s restaurant. She has been writing poetry since she was a child and has performed in eight countries, sharing her verse everywhere from youth prisons to orphanages to refugee camps.


If you struggle to meet new people because of any reason, send us an email and we’ll walk with you on the journey.

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From Enuma Okoro

How cultural collisions crack open new sides of our own stories

Published on Dec 1, 2014

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Writer Enuma Okoro explores how people of differing cultures can be at home within a diverse society. She queries the perception of iconic women around the world and proffers that ‘stereotypes come from a modicum of truth but never give us the full answer’, She challenges us to learn from others because ‘people from different cultures can teach us so much about how to make our way in the world’.

Enuma Okoro is a Nigerian-American raised in four countries on three continents. She is an award-winning author of four non-fiction books. She is a widely sought-after speaker and communications consultant and in June 2012 had the honour of being the first woman of African descent to speak at the historic American Church in Paris. (Martin Luther King Jr. was the first man of African descent to
preach there in October 1965). Follow her @tweetenuma.

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Relationships Lost…

Over the years I have worked with many singles and couples who struggle with trusting others.  Believe it or not, the difficulty comes from our growing separation and independence from one another.  Yes.  The more time we spend on our own, toiling to become self-reliant, the greater increases our world of distrust.

Why?  Simply put, we lack the ability to trust others because opportunities to meet and know strangers grow infrequent.  As we get older and as society constantly modernizes, opportunities to participate in open dialog become less involuntary or happen less by chance.  We are no longer IN school like the baby-boomers and Generation X.  Thanks to technology many of our educational programs are moving to online models which have reduced moments for cultural engagement and discussion.  We change work environments less often and for many of us the work environment is a home office.  Farewell water cooler conversations about weekend plans that teach us about the habits and rituals of our neighbors.  We have stopped communing for the sake of leisure.  Life is now on a schedule, itemized to the second on a Sunday from sunrise soccer games to forgotten family dinners.  We download our favorite songs.  Now there is no reason to visit a record store where we might bump into someone who looks nothing like us (totally opposite in fact) and share our zeal for Dishwalla, Dionne Farris, or Dvorak.  And because bookstores have been usurped by an internet mastermind, what is the likely chance we will run into our soulmate in the classic lit section reaching for the same French novelist?  All hope is lost!

How can we get our ability to trust back?  How can we build new and improve our existing relationships?

Let’s start with a friendly smile and a very simple greeting, “Hello.”


Next week we’ll talk about letting go of doubt and those preconceived notions.  😉


Want help improving your relationship(s)?  Send me an email.

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2015 Resolution- Finishing That Degree!

I have been an academic adviser for more than 10 years. My specialty is working with non-traditional learners, mainly adult students. Based on U.S. Department of Education statistics, in 2014, approximately 20% of college/university enrollments were of students 25 and over. However of those students, only 30% will complete their degree. Why do adult students find it difficult to graduate?

Reason #1: Life gets in the way of accomplishing academic goals. Work and family obligations remain first priority for many students. Although for the majority of those students, improving their career opportunities and ensuring their family’s financial stability were the prime motivators for pursuing higher education.

Reason #2: Stress. Stress is everywhere. But without a functional support system to help keep students on track, earning a degree just adds wood to the fire. This feeling is heightened for adult learners who grew up hating school. I often hear, “Oh geez, I hate math” or “I’m a slow reader”.

Reason #3: Illness, whether self or a close relation, has a strong impact on one’s academic success. When hit with long-term illness or injury, adult learners overlook the aids institutions provide to assist students in maintaining successful academic enrollment; leave-of-absence, semester holds, incomplete status and more.

Reason #4: What they didn’t know. Few people actually read through the 40-100+ page student handbook before they sign the acceptance and receipt statement. The policies established by their institutions aren’t meant to hinder academic success, but rather keep it relevant. Many degrees have completion deadlines. Some have transfer credit restrictions. While others hold strict GPA requirements for core classes or financial aid!  Unfortunately, when caught up in the rhythms of life, adult learners may find themselves stuck in such instances.

If YOU are embarking on such a journey, starting or reinstating your post-secondary endeavor, please seek the guidance of an academic adviser. Many colleges and universities provide them (sometimes mandatory) to active students, whether you are full-time or part-time. However, be aware that not all advisers are the same. In many cases, their job is to help you register for courses and locate campus resources and that’s all.

If you encounter difficulties beyond those instances, seek additional guidance. Consider a mentor or an outside professional, like myself. I have been peer reviewed and published with the National Academic Advising Association. I am an active member with the National Tutoring Association, a former contributor for the Association of University Women, and a certified holistic life coach.

I wish you success and prosperity in your 2015!

Coach T

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Call Me A Quitter…. It’s okay with me.

I love smoking. For those of you who have never been a smoker, you might not understand why smoking is such a difficult habit to quit. When I started smoking, it was a social affair. I smoked on the school parking lot with my friends. I smoked because it gave me the jitters and mellowed me out all at once. I smoked outside on a bench during a frigid snowy winter storm after my first adult breakup. I smoked with Gin & Tonic in hand on my 21st birthday. I smoked after losing my virginity. I smoked at some of the best parties of my life. I met my bestest friends over cigarettes in bathrooms, and basements, and bars. I LOVED SMOKING.

Now in my mature years, well of course I know the dangers of smoking. But, I could have gotten lung cancer because I’m an asthmatic or wrinkles around my lips because I like drinking from straws. I might have developed a stomach cancer not only from the nicotine leaching out into my digestive system, but quite possibly from all the aspirin I would have taken (instead of smoking) to combat the migraines I got from annoying bosses and irritating spouses. I already had yellow teeth from antibiotics and steroids taken during infancy and I was fortunate to be obsessive about fresh breath. I LOVED SMOKING!

I quit smoking on December 15, 2014. That was easy… Then came Tuesday. I cried. I got angry. I went a tad bit mental negotiating with myself the pros and cons of buying just ONE MORE PACK… “If you just smoke one, then you’ll be able to focus and stop obsessing about the taste and the smell and the feel of that cigarette on your lips… on your fingers.” And then I really could see my addiction. I LOVE SMOKING. I LOVE SMOKING!

But I stopped smoking. I stopped buying. I stopped bumming. I stopped associating. I miss smoking. I miss that wheezy feeling smoking gave me and the way my car used to smell of cologne and tobacco. I miss angrily lighting, puffing, burning, and smooshing cigarettes when I’m pissed off. Instead, I follow my natural human instincts when I’m stressed- I run. When I’m overwhelmed with emotions- I sing. Now, instead of smoking when I’m happy and socializing with my friends- I dance.

So yeah… Call me a quitter.

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Welcoming Heart

Greet the new year with an open heart. Your heart may be painfully broken, bruised, satisfied, or bursting with jubilation! Whether regretfully or with anticipation, welcome this new year with courage. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Allow yourself to be gracious. Allow yourself the opportunity to learn and grow. Welcome what may greet you in return and love the transformation.

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The meaning of “Holisitic”

From the Oxford Dictionary, “holistic” is a philosophy “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.”  In the world of health and wellness, the holistic approach is care that incorporates the whole person; body, mind, and soul.  In this stressful post-modern era, we actually increase our discomfort and unhappiness when we try to isolate singular issues or symptoms apart from the bigger picture.  This can often lead to depression and anxiety.

The next time you have an upset stomach or if you’ve been diagnosed with IBS, trace back the last 24 hours of your life and ask: what have I done (or not done), what have I eaten, where did I eat that, why did I eat it, what mood was I in, what were my thoughts then and now, and how do I feel (bloated, tired, lethargic, nauseous, itchy, hot/cold, etc)?

Holistic Me, ever EVOLVing…

I love Mac-N-Cheese.  But, I love Mac-N-Cheese for all the wrong reasons.  M-N-C is my go to food when I feel unaccomplished or stuck in a social rut.  When I eat M-N-C I’m already depressed and the good feeling of warm salty cheese in my belly ultimately makes me crave something sweet.  So then, I must have ice cream or cookies.  The carbs and the sugar give me a great high in the moment but then are followed by a harsh crash and feelings of lethargy.  I never go to the gym on M-N-C nights and because I don’t go to the gym, all the good creaminess of the cheese and ice cream make me feel bloated and even more down the next day. 

The change I’ve made to counteract my low self-esteem days and improve the balance of my body-mind-spirit:  go to the gym and lift weights (feel strong), take a long hot steam and sweat (feel relaxed and get a great glow), make a plan to accomplish a small goal to reach a higher level (I can do that!), share my feelings with a trusted friend or confidant or even write in a journal, and finally… avoid that high calorie, high fat, delicious yellow pasta.

With love and kindness,

Coach T.