Recoding Failure, Coaching Opinionated Women & Fatal Presuppositions

Businesswoman with pen in front of whiteboard. Isolated on white background.
Plus, a real client case study of someone I am SO proud of at the end. 😉

Many of my clients get referred to me after having been to coach after coach and not getting what they need to go forward in life or business. These strongly opinionated and passionate women want to fill a desperate need they see in the world, but typically don’t know how to start, and may not have enough support around them to achieve a goal like that.

Women perhaps, like yourself.

I specialize in helping women like you to bring big, important and often difficult projects into being. I do that by creating a transformative environment grounded in deep trust, full support of you as an awesome gift to yourself and the world, and the inability to do or say anything wrong. In this transformative container it’s possible to try on new behaviors, beliefs, identities and states of being.

In short, it becomes truly possible to create the world you want to live in.

And – this is real important – anything goes. It absolutely has to for you to feel safe enough to take the deep dive into transformation that you need to in order to create the changes you want to see in your world.

You can cuss & swear in session if you want to – heaven knows, I do from time to time. You can complain about how unfair things are…then enjoy creating the fairness you want to experience in your life and in the world, together.

And I swear to Goddess, I will never tell you “Life is unfair – get over it”. I would never insult you like that. That’s not productive and it doesn’t let you feel safe to fail.

And you need to fail. In fact, it’s mandatory in the creation of any Great Work like you’re contemplating. Whether that’s doing the Sistine Chapel one better or creating a simple, workable life for yourself that has a lot of what you want and none of what you don’t…you need to fail, fail fast, and “fail forward”.
In fact there is a hugely important bit of recoding you need to do around failure – There is no Failure. There is only feedback, data and collecting and learning from that data in order to get to the right answer as swiftly as possible.

Failing is one of the coolest things in the world because it bring you invaluable data about how you need to proceed to go forward. But our culture has so demonized this kind of data-gathering as a Bad Thing that most people feel unsafe to share that they’ve found yet-another way not to accomplish their objective.
Them: “EWW…you FAILED. Failure is bad. Therefore, You = Bad.”

Waah! No fair at all! As a coach, I actively WANT you to share the failures with me so we can celebrate them. Any coach worth their headset will agree.

Celebrate? What am I, crazy?

Well yes, just a little bit and in a good way, but that’s beside the point.

We celebrate failures because we hold the coaching container as one of sacred space and part of that being to “fail forward”. That is, when you find another way not to do it, it points to one or more ways to actually get the thing done right.

So talking in safe space about how something didn’t work actually helps create your future success, and do so all the quicker.

So it’s important to first celebrate success as it cultivates the habit in you of actively seeking that which brings success, and to celebrate what you may have once viewed as failures because they are brilliant research that helps you find the way to the Promised Land all the faster.

You’re held here in whatever place you are coming in the door, and it doesn’t matter if that’s bright and chipper or bitchy and gloomy. We’ll work with it. Because…even your Glooms are sacred.

You can also come into session being upset about your friends and family not supporting your project or laughing at your dreams of a better world. Or that your lovely new outfit got splattered with mud, or the milk was sour and you couldn’t have coffee this morning without it and you can’t think straight without coffee. (it happens) Whatever crazycakes are going on, it’s All Good.

As a Business turnaround coach, I am that support you need to go forward, and you can lean on until you learn how to support yourself and even after. I’ll teach you how to create support in your life that arrives naturally, without efforting, and creates the world you want to live in.

I’ll also help when you’ve “tried it all before and it didn’t work”. Because I have more than an inkling of why that is.

There is a Fatal Presupposition in the traditional model of life and business coaching – that you KNOW what you want to do, or should be doing. In my experience, the answer to that is not always at the top of the pile. Sometimes you DON’T know what you should be doing, and you seek a coach to help dig it out of you. But they either respond with a plain vanilla worksheet that doesn’t help, or with the tired old saw:

“well, if you did know, what would you do?”

Not only will I never be so simplistic and reductionist in answer to your legitimate questions and difficulties, I promise never ask you that question at all.

“If you did know…” was once a very powerful transformation question, when it was used in the right place at the right time and very, very sparingly. Today, this question and those like it that are taught in coaching schools are used as a standard reply, every session, five or six times a session and usually by coaches without depth background in human processing. This is not their fault, but it does signal the need for further training and experience.

When you ask a question that ends with “…and I have no idea how to get that done” your coach should respond with a transformative conversation about the subject that ends up with you getting much closer to or even landing right on the answer you need.

Here’s an example of a real coaching conversation that took place between my client Nell* and I, this past week. As you’ll see, Nell quantum leaped from “I have no idea” to “I’m going out and implementing as soon as I hang up the phone”.

This is in my own style – each coach coaches differently – and shows just one way that you can access your own inner wisdom that knows better than anyone, what you should do and when.

(* name changed to protect client privacy)

Nell: “I think I want to help hungry children get fed, but I don’t know where to start. There are so many charities out there, how do I know I’m working with the right one? How do I maximize the energy I’m putting out there? How do I know what to do next?

Me: “Let’s look at that. So, when you have been really effective at getting hungry children fed, and you can see their happy smiling faces and know that you had a part in making them smile – how does that make you feel? What part of you feels that?”

Nell: “My heart feels warm and my stomach feels light and giddy!”

Me: “Great! So that’s one Passion Point, and your frontline Filter: Warm Heart + Light/Giddy Stomach. That will tell you what your next move is. Here’s how. Put one hand on your stomach, the other on your heart…now consider your first option of charity to work with. How do your stomach and heart feel?”

Nell: “I just had a huge dropping sensation in my stomach, like an anvil fell clunk onto the ground. My heart lost its happy.”

Me: “That’s absolutely wonderful – this is the kind of sign you’re looking for. That means this charity is not for you – that’s how you tell, by how your stomach and heart are feeling.”

Nell: “Is it really that easy? How do I know I can trust my own instincts here? I have no experience whatsoever of that charity we just tested.”

Maryam: “Because you’re working with the energy in your body which hooks up to the energy in the rest of the universe, and which contains the energy of that charity. You have enough info for your energy to go out and interface with the energy that charity is putting out, so you’re naturally going to be an attractor for the right kind of charity now.

Somehow, there’s something there that would not be right for you to get involved with in the charity you were just considering though, and that’s important. It could be a perfectly great charity, but for you in particular, would be a wrong move because their working model might conflict with the way you work, or it’s not a perfect match for your own goals.

That’s just a for-instance, but it’s generally something like that. Using your Passion Points really helps you hone in on what WILL work well for you. Now, consider the next charity on your list…”

Nell kept working through her list of twelve charities until she reach the last with the same result as the first.

Nell: “Ok, so they’re all a bust! What on earth do I do now?!”

Maryam: “Here’s a radical idea Nell – are you ready for radical?”

Nell: “I’m ready for the whole damned left wing right now, bring it on. ” (Nell’s a firebrand, did I mention that?)

Maryam: “What about forming your own charity, or other kind of structure to do this work and get these kids fed? Quick – don’t answer with your head, how do your heart and belly feel?”

Nell: (pondering) “Wow – that feels like champagne bubbles in my belly AND heart! And I remember that the first charity I mentioned I actually have a friend that just joined the board.”

Maryam: “And that’s your second Passion Point, those champagne bubbles. They’re teling you ‘BING!’ This is the one to go for!”

Nell: “Can we end early today? I really want to call them up right now. I just Googled, and the kid on their homepage is EXACTLY the kid I dreamed about helping last week. Oh. My. GOD – what a coincidence! I feel like I’m on freaking fire! I’m soooooo excited again about this, I can’t wait to talk to their HR Director!”

Maryam: (to Nell’s retreating back) “Nell, there are no coincidences.”

Maryam’s MoM 9 Hour Coconut Deodorant

*** Maryam’s MoM Coco-Deo *** If you’ve been following my fifteen year search for a non-aluminum organic deodorant that really works, Eureka! I’ve found it! This is the BEST of all my other recipes, and you’ll never guess what’s in it. MoM! That’s right, Milk of Magnesia. Yep, it’s actually a thing – don’t knock it, like coconut oil it really works, and costs pennies per pit. We’re going to combine them here for a super effective product. Into a non-metal bowl put 1 part gently warmed, liquid coconut oil, 4 parts plain, unflavored Milk of Magnesia, 5-10 drops each of essential oils such as lavender, rose geranium and sandalwood to soothe the skin and add a pleasant scent if you want (though they are optional). Add enough arrowroot powder to thicken the mixture to your taste, and whisk to remove lumps. Depending on how much arrowroot you put in, you can vary the texture from a thick lotion, which I put into the re-purposed pump bottle on the right, to a medium paste that I put into Goo Tubes like this green one here. Shake before you apply!! It will separate slightly. The paste form is extremely stable and won’t spill in bags or on planes. It also self-powders as it dries. You can either let it air dry, or use a blowdryer on cool setting. 😊 I get about 10-12 hours odor protection from this mixture which is better than the aluminum deodorants or any of the organic store brands ever gave me. Enjoy, and let me know how you do with this! ❤

A photo posted by Maryam Webster (@maryamwebster) on

A Midlife Woman Is Unstoppable

woman-unstoppable-deserves-betterYou’re unstoppable. Definitely. Especially when you think it’s all going downhill and younger women are taking over the planet, your mind is going south, you can’t remember your kid’s teacher’s name, if you’ve mailed the mortgage payment or it’s on autopay, “what-the-heck-was-I-thinking starting a business at my age?” or “screw it, I’m done!”.

Especially then.

If you’re in a rut right now, if you’re stuck and hurting and scared as hell to take a step forward…the ONE remedy, the thing that really works is: to do the thing you’re the most frightened of doing.

Trust that the net, the friends, the new community, job or place to live or whatever else will rise to catch you as you soar out over what might look like empty space.

The way towards freedom, towards better-than-this is not empty. It’s just so very full of your negative projections of doom you can’t see what’s really there: friendly faces and loving, gentle hands. Catching you. Whether you know them now, or they are blessings yet-to-come, they will catch you, and raise you up.

They are there. Waiting for you to step up. I am living proof of this. I stepped into the Void, with nothing but Trust and the net – finely woven of people I knew and resources, situations and people I had yet to meet – arose and supported me as they do all who journey bravely into the Unknown.

That infinitely strong and resilient net will emerge at just the right time to support you too. Just step.


Step again.


*photo: David Avocado Wolfe

How To Release Attachment To Criticism: An Enlightened Approach To Bullying & Bigotry


I just wrote to a coach who asked me how to not care about criticism. I thought it worth sharing more widely.

I asked what kind of person I would have to be to stand and face excoriating judgement and criticism and have it not faze me. The answer was, knowing deep within myself that every impulse and urge I have, as long as it harms none, are divinely inspired, right and sacred for me.

Pick a prophet, another type of person who is here to help others. None escaped judgement. Yet they stood in the middle of that fire of withering scorn, confident and comfortable in their convictions about their message and purpose. It is no different for you and me with our messages and purpose.

As people who care deeply about others, as helpers, as coaches, we were born, you and I, to liberate, change and inspire people to live their best lives. To lift them up, and hold the sacred torch of their dreams when they cannot. To hand it back to them, and help them remember who they truly are.

Remember that, when the stones are thrown and mockingbirds screech, and you too will stand firm and comfortable in your choices, in who you are.

It takes practice. Every day for me is a practice, especially during the (thankfully now rare) times when someone I admire or wish to befriend tries to knock me down. But then, I remember why I am here, that the person jeering is blind and cannot see that, and the fact that they jeer means they are probably blind to their own purpose too. And that creates a space for compassion for them that eliminates feelings of inadequacy or shame on my end.

Then I remember that we are really One, and anyone who would mock me for being slow, disabled, old, or (insert any target of bigotry here) must be in some awful pain themselves, not to get that I am a mirror to them, every bit as much as they are to me. And that causes compassion to flow even stronger.

Most of the time I keep my sense of self and everything is fine. Sometimes it doesn’t work though, and I end up feeling crestfallen and shamed for daring to be a fat, disabled eyesore in their perfect world. I walk away slowly, acutely aware that my occasionally odd gait (which I sometimes can’t control) irritates them even further and they are jeering even more as I leave.

I take the first breath, and then the next.

I remember my purpose here is sacred, that I am that person’s teacher even as they are mine, and give thanks for that rare opportunity. That’s when I remember to meditate. To keep breathing.

It’s a practice. Every day.

I am here to free us both. I can’t make others’ decisions. I can only choose how I will feel and react.

I choose peaceful.

I choose loving.

I choose…to empty my mind and simply be present to What Is.

*Photo from Robert Dilts 2012 presentation on The Hero’s Journey in Mountain View, California.

Wildflower Meadows and Farmer’s Fields: A Thought Transformer

Do you look at chipper people talking about how wonderful the spring or summer is and want to slap them silly?

It’s been a difficult year here for a lot of people after a winter that kicked everyone’s butt pretty hard. It was way too cold. My heating bill rivaled the national debt as did almost everyone’s. There was a lot of illness around the campfire too, as well as broken and limping relationships.

Some of my clients have come out of it into the beauty of spring still grumping about how horrible it was, back then. They complain of happy people’s smiles, the hand holding of joyful couples, people laughing and connecting like it were a bad thing.

I was just as miserable when I lived in England during the 1980’s. My back was starting to go bad before the car accident that broke it and made me a paraplegic. I was in pain, upset about everything and bellyaching to anyone who would listen. Not a good way to live.

However…one of the happy duties I had in my job as a Social Worker for the Blind and Partially Sighted was to visit my clients in their countryside homes. To do this I deeply enjoyed driving out of Cambridge where I lived, through the Cambridgeshire fens and past farmer’s fields and wildflower meadows.

The working fields of wheat, rye, barley and the brilliant saffron flowers of oilseed rape (where canola oil comes from) interspersed by hedgerows were lovely, but the wildflower meadows like this picture, were a balm to my weary spirit.

In England there must be a natural meadow for every five or six farmer’s fields, to maintain the biodiversity of wildlife and native plant species. Hedgerows maintain biodiversity under masses of shady branches, where rare herbs and food plants can grow, and smaller animals like hedgehogs, field mice and birds shelter.

Having hedgerows and a bit of shelter allows the small things, those thoughts and inklings that may not have time or space to fully express in the harsh light of the open fields.

Working fields are life as we live it, both our jobs or careers as well as daily life, family and relationships – the work we do through time.

But the wildflower meadows…that is where the creativity can happen, chaos blooms in a profusion of scent and color, and new worlds are quite literally, born.

So a thought exercise for you today is:

What is your Meadow to Field to Hedgerow ratio?

Is it where you want it to be?

What would you like to do about that?


Important Safe Sweetener Update

Rethining-Truviaincluding my recommendation for safe sweets!

Truvia, which many of us have been using to avoid the harmful effects of sugar and neurotoxins like saccharine and aspartame, et. al., proves to have some harmful effects of its own: it’s a pesticide, and made with GMO corn. 

Fruitflies will readily eat Truvia’s active ingredient, erythritol, which kills them in short order, and faster the more that is consumed. This source notes Pyure is a brand of erythritol made with no GMO’s, as a possible alternative, but when it’s erythritol that’s the toxin, not whether it’s GMO or not, why bother?

What do I use?

Raw organic stevia, either powdered or in liquid drop form. Sure it takes some getting used to, but now that I have, I don’t mind it at all. I literally cannot drink or eat things with sugar in them as the taste is far too overwhelming, even if  low amounts are used.

In the interest of fair play I should tell you that there is some speculative theory that stevia gets metabolized similarly to hormones and may have a mild contraceptive effect in humans (according to one study done on rats) but the evidence is thin enough on the ground for it not to warrant a lot of notice by the nutritionists and doctors I trust. We’ll keep a weather eye on that, but for now, stevia is widely considered safe. As with anything, just don’t OD on it.

What does it do for me?

I am losing brain fog, colds and infections that were once common (I never get sick) and oh yes, quite a few pounds too, by dumping added sugar. Along with plenty of fresh fruit in my diet, Stevia is better for me. (see research links below)

There is a small 0.5% amount of stevia plant extractive, rebiana, in Truvia as well, but stevia has been cleared by the studies: “…stevia was not the cause of the problem. They also tested Purevia (a stevia-only product) and found it was safe for fruit flies. Only erythritol, the main component of Truvia, replicated the toxic effects on fruit flies.”

Fruit flies or not, this is another pesticide I don’t want in or near my body. I don’t trust the regulatory agencies in this. This is my decision. Make your own, and make it informed.

And as always, DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH:

And on Stevia, particularly the way it was banned in various countries including the USA at the behest of the multinational sweetener producing companies – Stevia is banned no more and is in heavy use in Japan and the USA by the health conscious:


Breast Cancer Health Tip & Organic Deodorant Update

10384197_10152543830261264_6563328698896303912_nOrNourish Organic Deodorant, Weleda Rose Deodorantganic Deodorant fans, after 14 years of making my own very effective coconut oil based deodorant to avoid the breast-cancer causing aluminum and other compounds in commercial products, I discovered this combo:

Weleda Wild Rose deodorant spray


Nourish Organic Fresh & Dry in Almond Vanilla scent

They work together astonishingly well to kill odor with a beautiful light scent for up to sixteen hours.

Don’t believe the negative reviews of Nourish on Amazon though I will tell you that sometimes the ingredients crystallize out and can be a bit scratchy to apply. If this is a problem, (the main ingredient is coconut oil which can get hard in winter), simply warm the top of the container with a hair dryer for a few seconds and it will go on like silk.

Weleda is mostly essential oils and essential oil derivatives, such as geraniol from rose geranium oil, citral from grapefruit seed extract, eugenol from clove oil and the like, in a water and alcohol base.

I spray that on first and follow with Nourish, which is coconut oil and shea butter based and has no aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens or any other health-compromising ingredients.

Follow with a dusting of cornstarch baby powder and you’re ready to go!

Several fragrances of both brands can be found at Whole Foods and other healthfood stores, and are worth the steep price for the health gains you get, but are much cheaper on Amazon and other herbal product sites around the web.


Your Built In Truth Detector & Having It All

(originally written by request for as featured Luminary )

If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I’d want to pass along…

In life there will be doubt, in even the strongest of minds and hearts. When in doubt, trust the body to lead you through it. Hand on heart, and the other on your stomach, ask if an option you consider is right for you. The heart will warm and feel light with a yes, the stomach will woman-multiple-options-wonderingshrink and feel leaden or cold for a no. Your body may differ, but it will always give you equally clear signals, of what is best for you.

Don’t trust what your tongue says as it makes its arguments for or against a position. Face it, the average tongue will lie for chocolate cake!

But the heart and stomach are true and loyal advisors who will never steer you wrong.

Likewise, these bodily “Truth Detectors” will tell you who is a true friend and who is false. The true friend will leave you with a light, warm, comforted feeling, the false one with a feeling of sickness or cold heaviness in the pit of your stomach. Think of two friends – one you love and one you mistrust. Hand on heart, hand on stomach – how does your body feel when you consider each?

Exactly. That’s how this Truth Detector works. And you have it with you, all the time. Comforting, isn’t it?

Tread lightly in your journey on the earth. Endeavor to leave no trace of yourself, whether outdoors or in. Take extraordinary good care of this beautiful planet that is home to us all. Many more will come after you. Leave a clean home for all to live in.

lovemyselfAnd as you interact with others, remember that the most important thing is that you are literally the essence of love, you are very much loved, and it evolves you and others to be loving to all you meet.

Love is the central emotion that powers all good things to come into and bless your life. The more you give love freely and without putting the price-tag of “that person must now love me back” on your gift, the more freedom the universe has to send love to you. Be open to love returning to you in a surprising form, and give thanks when it does come.

That’s the formula for always having more love, or more of anything else.

Sometimes it’s not easy though, and we feel that the entire universe is against us. That’s when you need to keep a single-minded vision of where you’re going in front of you at all times, to direct and guide you towards that end goal – especially if it seems thousands of miles away.

Give life to that goal image – make it walk, talk, breathe and move. Go to sleep with it and wake up with what you desire more than anything. See it, feel it, embody it in yourself – especially if you can’t yet do it. The more you trial-run doing a thing you really want like this, the more power the universe has to pull that goal towards you effortlessly and quickly.

Of Shame and Symptoms

Menopause LaneThere is nothing shameful about menopause. It is a time of triumph and freedom, of accomplishment, of knowledge gained, marinated and harvested, to be shared, to enrich and benefit the world. Whether your mission is to raise an awesome healthy family, finally write your book, start a new career or chair a multinational charity — as a woman powerfully coming into her own at midlife, you have strength, experience and knowledge the world desperately needs right now.

Sometimes however, we feel ashamed of growing older, of skin that no longer looks young and bodies whose functions are changing in difficult and sometimes intensely upsetting ways. I felt that way when the Midlife Shift began for me, and everyone from friends and clients to professional colleagues have shared — often in great secrecy — that behind their everyday smiles, they’ve felt the same. And this secret shame caused us all to collapse in on ourselves and hoard our energy, witholding our brilliance, feeling small, irrelevant and down on ourselves.

When power is dammed up by hoarding our wisdom and energy, it can manifest as hot flashes. For many of us these “power surges” are a sign that there’s a stopper in our machinery somewhere.

When I had hot flashes I asked myself where I was hoarding and then shared my wisdom and energy, un-damming the flow. With the flow re-established (and a little of my own special mojo applied), the hot flashes went away.

Evolutionary Question:  Where are you holding back, and where can you un-dam your flow of wisdom and energy? How can you release into the place of peace that awaits?

You can start right here by giving your sisters the benefit of your wisdom, below. Comment and share your brilliance with us!

Taking Roses To The Max: Making Rose Absolu

Third and Last Article in the Roses for Wellness Series: Making Rose Otto or Absolu by Cold Extraction for Midlife Health & Wellness

Rose0Rose otto is also known as attar of roses or rose absolu / absolute, and is the purest form of rose oil. Cold extraction without using heat preserves the high oils in the scent the best, but you’ll get very little scent from the amount you’ll be able to make at home. However, a little bit goes a long way.

When I was a student in Medicinal Herbalism and Aromatherapy at the Saffron Walden (UK) school in the 1980’s, we mustered out at dawn to gather organic highly scented  old-fashioned perfume roses with exotic names like Therese Bugnet, Zephrine Drouhin, and Don Juan, as well as very newly introduced English rose hybrids such as Abraham Darby, Gertrude Jekyll, Jubilee Celebration, Mary Rose,  Heritage, and classic Damask roses.

You must gather the roses while the dew is still on them in early morning, before the sun has touched the blooms. Once the sun has touches the blossoms you’ve lost half the essential oils, so get up early!

1) Remove the petals from flowerheads and stems, and submerge the petals in spring, distilled or highly filtered, non-chlorinated water in an enamel, glass, stainless steel or copper vessel to cover the volume of petals by twice their volume.

Figure about a quart of packed petals to 2 quarts cold water. If you don’t have a 4 quart glass vessel, a well-scrubbed and impeccably rinsed stock pot will do.

2) Cover with cheesecloth and put in a cool, dark place.

3) In 24 hours, you can skim the essential oil, or otto/attar of rose from the top of the water. It will look like scum, but smell divine. Remove it with toothpicks, or a non-absorbent enamel spoon or non-metal / non-plastic knife edge, and put into a dark glass jar. The small blue or amber glass bottles sold for aromatherapy and about the size of a thimble are ideal.

4) In small production, you’ll probably only get a fraction of a teaspoonful, but this is enough to make a very high end rose water by adding the otto to a few quarts of fresh water and shaking vigorously.

5) Or, reserve the otto to mix with a neutral carrier oil such as grapeseed, almond or jojoba, to make your own perfume essence.

6) To extend your homemade perfume, make a light cologne by adding the rose otto to an atomizer filled with a tablespoon of vodka or grain alcohol and a half cup of distilled water. Shake before spraying and beware using if you’re outdoors in the daytime as bees will be irresistibly attracted to you. As will potential lovers! Rose is one of the scents that blend well with human pheromones and extend their attraction power.



Next article up: Taking Roses To The Max

First article in the series: Cool How To: Making Your Own Rosewater

Second article in the series: How To Use Rosewater for Health & Wellness

Page 1 of 4112345...102030...»