Somewhere Between A Priest and A Prostitute

Being a therapist, you’re being hired by the hour. You’re helping people, but at the same time you’re holding people’s innermost secrets. You’re somewhere between a priest and a prostitute.”  ~ Dr. Greg Cason, from the Bravo show L.A. Shrinks

This quote really resonates with me because my clients are often surprised by how free they feel to express themselves during a coaching session. They often express themselves without inhibition, and are amazed at their candor, saying things like, “I’ve said things to you I’ve never said on my knees to the Great Almighty.” I take this as a sign that I’m doing my job well. I want clients to know they are absolutely safe, and free from the judgment so often heaped on them by society, family members, religious organizations and spouses.


Human beings cannot grow in an atmosphere of shame, blame or judgment. In fact, the simple act of listening without judging is probably the most effective therapy tool of all. The practice of coaching founds itself on the idea that people can heal themselves if they only have a still, present partner acting as a clear mirror.

The archetype of the priest is someone who will let you confess your sins, absolve you of guilt, and compel you to change your ways, so you can go on to live a more spiritually-centered life.

The archetype of the prostitute is someone who is all-accepting–someone who will take you in and wrap you up in her arms, no matter who you are.

Both of these archetypes–the priest and the prostitute–have much in common with the professions of therapist, coach and counselor. It is our job to take you in, warts and all, and show you yourself in a mirror clear of judgment, anxiety, worry and blame. That’s the magic of the therapeutic process. You do the healing, we, as therapists, priests and prostitutes, only do the holding.

It’s a very warm, very spiritual, and very beautiful process. And it feel sacred to those of us who are gifted with your trust.





Sometimes I coach myself.

snowdayRelationship Coaching Ahead.

Disclaimer: This post doesn’t use nearly enough transitional sentences. Thoughts are spelled out as they come. Read at your own risk.

Sometimes I coach myself.

I have my own coaches, therapists, and witch doctors, but very often, I’m just the best person for the job.

I teach this tool to my clients, so maybe you’ll learn it too. (Self-coaching is also very budget-friendly.)

Ok. So this was the general place I was in before coaching myself:

He shouldn’t be so critical.
He shouldn’t be so persnickety.
He never wants to have any fun.
This day is miserable and cold.

After coaching myself, I was more like this: 

I’m so critical, I’m even critical about you being critical!
I’m so persnickety: I am unnaturally bothered by how you do things differently than me.
I never want to have any fun–when I’m focused on your faults. 
This snow day is a great opportunity to find my own peace and my own pleasure and lean back and share it with you.
Here’s the tool, based on Byron Katie’s The Work:
Think of a belief that is making you miserable. For example, “He is so critical.” 
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know it’s true?
3. What happens to you, how do you feel, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
5. What’s the exact opposite of the thought? Find a few good examples. 

So there.

Self-coaching or life coaching– it’s all about reframing the cray-cray.

Carry on.



Are you my client?


Are you one of my clients?

  • I help shy people get passionate in all areas of their lives.
  • I help frightened people get brave–in love and at work.
  • I help people who want to understand their erotic minds.
  • I help people who feel lost and ashamed.
  • I help women get their groove back.
  • I activate men.
  • I help husbands and wives whose marriages feel dead.
  • I help wounded healers heal themselves.
  • I help people understand their ADHD, and how to harness it.
  • I help the sexually wounded drop the shame story.
  • I teach people how to follow love and beauty.
  • I help people understand their passions, and support them as they achieve their dreams.

If this sounds like you, or something you want more than anything, then I invite you to call me at 404-313-7770 right now for a free coaching session.





Troublesome Turn-Ons

I’m working on an information product right now. It aims to help my coaching clients who are erotically attracted to people, situations or behaviors that are bad for them, like unavailable partners, compulsive pornography use, or other compelling, but unfulfilling turn-ons. In a conversation today, I realized I’m writing about erotic mindfulness. I’m pretty excited about that term.

Here’s an example of what I mean. This is a real client (identifying factors have been changed) and this was my actual response:


What is your first name?


Where are you located?

Sunnyvale, CA

What do you want to achieve in the next year by hiring a coach?

The men who appeal to me most are always unavailable, usually straight. As a Religious Scientist, I believe that God always says “yes” to our heart’s desires, so when I’m not experiencing what I want most, it must be ME blocking the manifestation. My spiritual counselor has recommended my working with a relationship coach to help me get unstuck. I’m determined to find my right partner but very much afraid of being hurt and disappointed and not being good enough. I need a coach to help me work through my fears and learn how to put myself out there effectively.

My response:


Hi Barry! You sound like my ideal client.

I specialize in helping people with troublesome turn-ons. It sounds like you have a pattern of being attracted to men who are unavailable. You may have a disconnection between what you’re attracted to and what is good for you, emotionally. It sucks when what we are attracted to the most is also what hurts us the most. I can help you identify your core erotic themes, and shine some light on the ones that are causing you problems, and then we can gently set new goals. Just understanding our erotic themes, and where they come from, can often change them. We have control over our erotic mind, just as we do over our “daytime” mind. We just have to let go of limiting beliefs.


I hope this person picks up the phone, or the laptop, and makes contact. I’ve got the medicine for the pain he’s experiencing. Looking forward to helping more just like him.

How To Stop Feeling Like Crap Right Now!

To begin, I’ll diagram the anatomy of one of my own shame spirals:

  •, I started thinking about that awful thing my ex-husband said about me. (That was on the couch.)
  • Then I started thinking about how divorce is inevitably going to hurt the children. (That was in the kitchen, while looking for chocolate.)
  • Then I started thinking about how I was repeating the pattern of divorce in my family. (By now I was in the bedroom, changing into yoga pants.)
  • Then I was sobbing uncontrollably ‘realizing’ what a horrible mess I was in general. (In bed, now, under the covers and the pillow.)

This was me about 10 years ago, everyday. Now I hardly ever have a shame spiral, but I do talk a lot of people off the ledge of the spiral. Here’s what I’ve learned about stopping them.

1. Realize you’re having a shame spiral.

This sounds obvious, but it’s a separate skill. It’s just like recognizing hunger sensations, or anger cues, or that-feeling-you-get-just-before-you-get-a-cold. Some clues that you’re having a shame spiral are

a. feeling low energy

b. feeling really disappointed in yourself and

c. heavily medicating with food, wine, or Netflix.


2. Isolate the crappiest thing you’re feeling bad about.

In this instance, the crappiest thing was the last one. I’m going to hurt my children. Again, this seems simple, but it’s key. And there will be many crappy thoughts if you’re having a shame spiral, so just pick the worst one. Write them all down if it helps you isolate them.

3. Decide to stop feeling bad about feeling bad.

You’re feeling bad right now, and that’s okay. Beating yourself up about having a shame spiral isn’t helpful. You might even be grieving the loss of something important to you, and if this is the case, allow yourself to cry about that loss. In my case, I was sad about losing my family. It was a loss. I ended up creating an amazing family again–one that includes my ex-husband and my kids, and my husband and his son, and our son together. But I had to grieve the loss of my first little nuclear family. But the good news is that grief comes in waves–like ocean waves, or labor contractions. They come and go. You can learn to ride them. (Periodic distraction with Netflix and comfort food is totally okay during times of grief, by the way.)

4. Find an opposite thought, and 3 pieces of evidence to support that thought.

I am going to hurt my children becomes I am going to help my children. Evidence: 1. I am going to talk to them about the divorce. 2. I am going to get them counseling that they need. 3. I am going to help them by showing them how to grieve–a valuable life skill.

5. Connect.

This is a great time to call a supportive friend, or your life coach, and talk. Talk about how you are feeling bad. Talk about how you’re feeling bad about feeling bad. Talk about the loss you’re experiencing, if any. Talk about your opposite thought, and any evidence you’ve collected about that thought. Ask for more evidence to support that opposite thought.

When you’re going through a shame spiral, your mind is a dangerous neighborhood. Don’t go there alone. Now you have a 5-step plan for stopping shame in its’ tracks. Leave a comment below and tell me about your crappy thoughts, and the opposite thoughts you’ve found!





What Would Aphrodite Do?

NickMorleyWhat Would Aphrodite Do?  This morning, an artist I know sent me a link to an op-ed piece in the New York Times called “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” In it, Juri Koll writes that almost all the artists he knows have a day job, because they can’t make ends meet otherwise.He compares the number of art-degree graduates with the number of galleries representing fine artists, and uses these statistics to point out how unlikely it is you’ll find representation as an artist.I’m not surprised my client found this article. She’s having financial challenges, and as I’ve learned from Martha Beck, we tend to seek out, and find, evidence to support our own limiting beliefs. This article was evidence–in the New York Times–that supported her limiting beliefs about the possibility of succeeding financially as an artist.What the writer of this piece didn’t acknowledge?

  • He didn’t mention that his story was basically a well-illustrated pack o’ lies.
  • Or that we are all energetic beings capable of performing magical, unexplainable acts when we tap into universal energy.
  • Or that our beliefs shape our reality.
  • Or that you can find statistics to prove just about anything.

(Just for kicks, here are some statistics proving that in order to give a really popular TED talk all you gotta do is muse about how French coffee spreads happiness in your brain, and wear a lot of red.)

Here’s my coaching:

This article paints a pretty dismal picture of your chances of succeeding as an artist.

 The mind is like a computer, it searches around for evidence to support whatever thought you give it. Today, you’re collecting evidence to support the thought “Success is not possible for me as an artist.”


Some limiting beliefs you could work today: 

 “I have a dismal chance of being successful as an artist.” 

 “Success is not possible for me as an artist.” 

THE WORK (from
Byron Katie)

1. Are these beliefs true?

2. Can you know they are absolutely true?

3. What happens to you, physically when you believe these thoughts? Do you feel more or less energetic? Ready? Hopeful? Courageous?

4. Who would you be without these beliefs? Would you be more or less likely to succeed?

5. Then, turn it around. (To the opposite thought. For example, “I have a good chance of succeeding as an artist.”) 



6. Now find 3 genuine specific pieces of evidence to support this new belief. (A good place to start this search for new evidence that you have a good chance of succeeding as an artist might be the New York Times. Or MICA’s Career Center. Make sure to check out the Alumni success stories.)

And then, because I’m working on an eCourse tentatively called “Life By Aphrodite: Using the Art of Seduction to Have Enough of Everything” I had to ask myself the question: What Would Aphrodite Do?


Well, first she’d frolic. (She’s a big fan of frolicking.) Then she’d put on her magical Spanx, drape herself with all the jewelry she owns, ask “What’s a day job?” and drop into seizures of laughter. Then she’d find a way to cause a bitter rivalry between art galleries and make some poor collector fall desperately, abjectly, hopelessly in love with her… The course I’m developing will break this down into action steps, but you can start frolicking anytime…


Stay tuned for more “What Would Aphrodite Do” posts!


I’m grateful today for…

  • Having a guest room available to host my friends and family at any time.
  • Laundry detergents that open immediately. You turn the cap, and you’re ready to pour. It’s so awesome–without plastic seals that take 10 minutes and usually involve the taste of soap/lotion/cleaner in my mouth because I give in and use my teeth.
  • My AOC big screen, that’s linked to my MacBook, on the dining room table, which makes it easier for me to breathe while I toggle between mail and Chrome and Messages. I love it.
  • My food processor, which I have just watched the videos for, that chopped up fresh ginger, celery, carrot, bok choy and garlic for me yesterday. The Lo Mein was rockin.
  • A big keyboard and bluetooth mouse. Love.

7 Ways to Figure Out What You Want To Be When You Grow Up

“Most people would be really happy with my job,” you say. “It’s for a great company, really…my boss is good to me, for the most part. I should be happy,” you say.

Except you aren’t. Somewhere deep below the surface, under many years of icy deferral, are your dreams.  It’s no wonder you’re feeling cold and numb. Here’s a list of ways to Find Your Passion!

Let’s thaw you out!

1. Visit your bookshelf. A couple of years ago, I went through all the books in my bookshelf and organized them into categories. I did this for practical reasons–Where’s my book about facing codependency?!–but it ended up teaching me a lot about my own true desires. I sorted my collection into categories, and was inspired to create websites and coach offerings as a result. Maybe it can do the same for you. Here are my book categories:

  • Psychology/Self-Help
  • Sexuality
  • Health/Medicine
  • Parenting
  • Literary/Popular Fiction
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Poetry
  • Writing/Creativity
 What would your bookshelf categories look like?


2. Remember what you liked to do as a kid.

This is a picture of me from my 7th grade yearbook (first kid, first row). It was probably the worst year of my fashion life–crazy shell necklaces, leg-warmer socks, layered curly hair(ohmygod, it was almost a mullet. But it was Miami Country Day in 1985.) I hadn’t grown into my legs, or my nose, or my bra. I was pretty miserable, but I took solace in reading novels and writing poetry and essays. For me, reading and writing allowed me to lose myself, even during difficult times.

What did you do for fun as a kid?

3. Remember what you excelled at in school.

I was good at literary criticism. I got all A’s whenever I was asked to write about novels by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker or Maya Angelou, especially. I understood women’s painful history–and their stories.

So what were you good at?

4. Check your mailbox to see who is marketing to you. 

I like to spend money on massage, fashion, lingerie, quirky antique replicas, and finely-made gifts for people I love. My passions are related to gift-giving, physical touch, beauty, and a wee bit of fantasy/nostalgia. (Hello Downton Abbey!)


What do you like to shop for? What do you spend your money on?



5. Look in your closet. What are you prepared for? Are you trekked out in fleece hiking gear? Do you have ballgowns you’ve never worn? Do you have an entire “vacationing in the islands, perhaps on a sailboat” wardrobe? (Yes.)

What kind of clothing do you buy most? What colors and fabrics do you wear? What does that tell you? 




6. Create a vision board. If all else fails, sit down with a pair of scissors and a stack of magazines and start tearing them up. Don’t think. Just start snipping and ripping. Go for stuff that makes you go “ahhhhhh.” Go for stuff that gives you tiny butterflies in your stomach. Go for what you are attracted to, but don’t really know why. The answers will become clear–after you’ve made a vision board and put it on your wall. Let it sit there for a couple of years and one day you’ll realize you’re living your fantasies.


7. Invite jealousy to tea.

 (I think I got this one from SARK, but I use it so much I feel like it’s mine.) Your jealousy is one of your greatest teachers. Don’t try to rid yourself of jealousy–use it as good information! If you’re jealous of someone, someone who has the dreamiest job for example, make a mental note. You want what they have. And not only that, but you were meant to have what they have. Jealousy is just a premonition of future joy.Write down all the people you’ve been jealous of, and what they have that you want. Because you will have it.


Freak Flag: First Responders!


I posted a survey online. (If you haven’t taken it yet, you can do so here.)

I have to say, these are fascinating answers! If these first responses are any indication, my circles are concerned more with their careers 75%, than their love lives 25%. They mostly seem to want to win the lottery or find spiritual enlightenment, or both. Quite a few of them have colorful sexual desires. If they were going to hire a life coach, they would be looking for solutions to financial or business problems, and the courage to change their lives for the better.

  • To motivate me to get my website monetized.
  • I can’t be successful financially
  • I’m scared and stuck and need a push off the edge of the cliff.
  • I want to achieve my life goals.

I have to say, I didn’t expect that so many respondents would be as spiritually-minded as they are, while also having a hard time financially.

This is just the first review of the responses. I’m hoping more will trickle in. Can’t wait to start creating a coaching program, with all these goodies in the basket.

Beauty Adventure: The Makeup Show in Orlando

Sometimes I just don’t know how the benevolent Universe finds me, but I’m so glad it does. I’m going to a Makeup convention in Orlando next weekend. If you like cosmetics, beauty, fashion, hair and ideas about all of them as much as I do, you’ll understand why I’m so thrilled. I never thought that as a career coach, I’d end up helping so many people in the Fashion, Design and Beauty business, but I’m so glad they’ve found me.

I’ll be ghostwriting a book about “beauty from the inside out,” so this is the research leg. I get to immerse myself in the intricacies of bridal makeup, learn about all the careers available for creatives in this industry, network with other coaches, artists and experts, and brainstorm with my awesome clients.

I cannot wait.

Don’t let anybody tell you your dream job is impossible. It’s out there, looking for you, right this minute.

esterique aidan makeup artist

Imagine a makeup party this beautiful!


The Importance of a Ripe Watermelon

girl with watermelonMy life is insane right now. I won’t go into the specifics, but my family is flung to the far reaches–Toronto, Brooklyn, the other side of Decatur. But I am thinking of watermelons in this moment. And it is all about this moment. That I know for sure.

Most watermelon varieties mature in late summer and early fall.

Here’s how to know it’s ripe: It should sound hollow when you thump it, and the greenish white patch on the bottom has turned yellow. Then it’s ripe.

That is all.

Latest Advice on Dating Over 40: Lisa Clampitt of The Matchmaking Institute

dreamstimefree_532638I asked Lisa Clampitt, co-founder and owner of The Matchmaking Institute, a professional matchmakers trade association based in NYC, for some dating advice for my women clients in Atlanta who are older than 40, but ready to jump back into the dating world.

The first thing she said was to contact Sarah Kathryn Smith, who runs Eight at Eight, a dating party dinner club. Apparently Sarah is the go-to person in the South for matchmaking services, and also offers her services one-on-one.

The second thing she said was that it’s not fair, but women in their later years have to do most of the “heavy lifting” when it comes to dating, especially online dating. (Although many dating sites and services are free for women.) Here’s her advice for one of my dearest clients, who is in her 50s (but looks 35) and is very attractive and adventurous.

  • Women need to be proactive. Don’t wait for them to find you, especially online, because the search functions eliminate lots of great women over 49 (and a lot of great guys under 6 feet tall).
  • Your profile needs to be amazing. You needs fantastic pics, and a great write up. Hire professional photographers, writers and stylists to help.
  • Start chatting everyone up. Wherever you go during the day, start talking to people. Successful dating is about making lots of connections, and expanding your network.
  • Consider going out at night to places guys like to go: sports bars, cool openings, MeetUp events, the frozen food section of the grocery store (apparently many bachelors don’t cook).
  • Put away your judgement. Be open to different looks, different body types, different personalities
  • In general, a friendly, open and happy person is going to have more success in the dating world. So find new ways to be more friendly and less judgy!

All in all, I think this is great advice, and working with a life coach can help you tap into your friendly, open, non-judgmental self–which will make you look even more fantastic in your professional profile pics!

Thanks, Lisa!



My favorite poem, about beauty the brave, blazing open


by Mary Oliver


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open–
pools of lace,
white and pink–
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities–
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again–

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

Marital Sex: Why ‘Playing Hard To Get’ Still Works

Female legsEver notice how cats play this little game of hard-to-get with themselves? They’ll lie under the dining room table stalking a sock, and then attack, reaching around the chair leg. They could reach the sock directly quite easily, of course, but reaching around the chair leg is just more fun.


Would You Like This Gift Wrapped?


There’s something to this. It’s true of our sex lives, too. A thing is much more interesting, sexually, if it’s wrapped in corset lacing, hidden, secret, forbidden, unavailable, taboo, wrong, hard-to-get or just out of reach. For the same reasons cats like to make things a little difficult for themselves, we like to make sex a little complicated. Some of us are attracted to people who aren’t quite available. When we’re embroiled in a very wrong and illicit affair, we burn in anticipation of our next meeting. Maybe we get turned on by some fetish that is totally unacceptable in the light of day. And sometimes, just being told we can’t do something, like make love in our parent’s house, makes us hotter’n Georgia asphalt.


The Thrill of The Chase


And what happens when you just hand the cat the sock? She’ll play with it absently for a while and then wander off, giving you this look that says, “You just don’t get it.” We like having to strive for sex. We like all the mysteries, the confusion, the anticipation. We like to reach around things to get there. Sometimes the thrill is even in the chase itself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say it’s the anticipation of sex that was the hottest thing about some encounter.


The Secret Formula


Jack Morin is a San Francisco psychotherapist and sex therapist who spent twelve years writing a book about the psychology of arousal. The book is called The Erotic Mind, and in it, he introduces a formula for arousal:




His basic theory is that when we are attracted to someone, but something stands in our way, we get more excited than we were before.


We know this already from films, literature and personal experience. There are the classic stories of the agony and rapture of unrequited love. There are the Romeo and Juliet tales, the forbidden-fruit loves, the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” romances. And of course, somewhere along the line, most Americans were given the distinct impression that sex was bad, so the “naughtiness factor” is fairly common in sexual fantasies. If sex is bad, we think, then I am bad. Once we realize this is not true, we can just make fun of it and pretend to be bad. And then being naughty feels really good.


Start Acting Like A Child!


At some point in our long-term relationships, we get comfortable. We stop acting like playful children, and we grow up. We relate to each other as adults. Transactional Analysis teaches us that we always relate to each other in one of three ego states: Parent, Adult or Child. In the early stages of romantic love, we are like a couple of kids: we are shy sometimes, we discover each other’s bodies, we have playdates, we fight, we lose ourselves in the wonder of it all. This is known as Child-Child relating. As we grow, many couples discover they can nurture, or parent the other. This is called Parent-Child relating. And just as couples begin to settle into the safe, easy, comfortable bonds of love, poof, out goes the flame. They are relating to each other as adults, and there’s nothing sexy about comparing finance charges. Child-Child ego state relating is where it’s at, sexually.


Which is all to say: When you hand over your sexuality like an old sock, your partner will inevitably look at you as if to say, “You just don’t get it.”

If You’re Sexy

If you’re sexy. If you’re irresistible. If you’re tapped into your essential, sexual, artful, passionate self–you’re a threat to the Powers That Be. This is why Eve–women who represent all that is naked and essential and full of desire–has been maligned for centuries. You have the power in you. You do. Not the church. Not the Corporations. Not the money-laundering executives. You do. And the only thing stopping you from harnessing that extremely effective power is the doubts about yourself that have been instilled in you since you were a baby. You have everything they want–the ability to make people plead for more of that thing that makes them feel good. Authentic Pleasure. Authentic Joy.

We all,

we all,

we all,

we all,

we all,

we all want the same thing.

You can give it to them. Don’t doubt yourself. Harness your own self-love and reflect it back to your myriad admirers. All they want is to accept, cherish and adore themselves–as they should. You be the first one to show them. It’s you. You. Show them how it’s done.

She wants to get back with her cheating ex-boyfriend.

LoveThis is a great example of my ideal client.

Meet Tiffany.

She is very upset about a recent breakup, where her boyfriend cheated on her. She wants to forgive him and get back together, and wants a coach who will help her make this happen.

Here’s my initial response.


Dear Tiffany,

I’ve been a group leader for women with relationship problems for over 10 years. I suspect you need someone to help you tap into your inner resources right now. I’m also a certified Martha Beck life coach, and I’m trained to help people in crisis.

Most relationships deal with cheating at some point–it’s just a fact. But at this point, you need to decide whether you’re better off with reconciliation, or plain-and-simple separation.

Sometimes, a separation is a great opportunity to discover who you are outside of a relationship, and your role as a romantic partner. Other times, fear is driving the bus, and I’d advise you to go ahead and risk putting your heart on the line.

A lot depends on the situation and the character of the people involved. If this is a one-time thing, he may just be afraid of commitment, and acting out of that fear. On the other hand, if this is a pattern–maybe he’s done something like this before?–you may be dealing with someone with an addictive personality and a compulsion to cheat.

With the help of a good coach, you can tease out the truth. I hope I can help you find the answers you’re seeking.


Hadley Earabino


If you relate to Tiffany, please send me an email at Chances are, I can help you a great deal. Looking forward to connecting with you.

How To Create Your Dream Job: Photographer

1463017_691404950884418_1954358473_nThis is a series of posts about women I personally know who have created their own creative, fulfilling and sustaining careers. It may take a few twists and turns, but your career path can lead you to exactly where you’re meant to be. These friends remind me of this truth whenever I catch a glimpse of their latest adventures. I hope they inspire you to make your own dream jobs come true.

Dream Job: Photographer

Julia Noack


Today Julia Noack runs her own professional photography practice. She loves her job, and gets to hang around with newlyweds, babies, puppies, and the happily engaged. She is well-paid, enjoys a nice mix of computer work and going out into the field, and she works for herself. Not to mention she’s booked solid– and winning awards left and right.

When I met Julia, at a women’s study group, she was pursuing a PhD in Sociology, aiming to be a college professor.

“Academia and teaching high school left me drained, exhausted, and always dreaming about what I’d like to be doing instead.”

We all noticed that she took the hands-down-best photographs at weddings.

“Photography had always been a hobby of mine,” she said, “It wasn’t until I took a class on photographing people and started photographing friends and their families and kids that I really started thinking about turning my hobby into a career.”

Fast forward 5 years…

Julia is the 2013 Photographer of The Year for St. Louis Weddings, and has won The Knot Best of Weddings award three years running. And she just got booked to shoot a wedding in Rome, Italy in late 2014! (How awesome is that?)



She met with a career counselor, and learned her biggest interests were creative and social–but her PhD program was keeping her mostly isolated, working on a master’s thesis in a computer lab.

She experimented by working in a portrait studio, and after about 10 months realized she was really passionate about photography and loved working with people as a part of the job.

At that point she decided she wanted to set herself apart from the hundreds of photographers setting up shop. She took a year off, took out some student loans, and invested money to go to school full-time at the Hallmark Institute of Photography, in Massachusetts.

“It was a wonderful decision,” she said.


“My knowledge and skill level jumped by leaps and bounds during that year, and I built a portfolio by assisting for wedding photographers,” she said. “When I set up shop, I had a decent body of work to show and was confident in my skills and charging for my work. I think it would have taken me 5-10 years to get to the same point if I had not made the decision to go back to school and had tried to just learn as I went. So it was great for me and business really took off almost right away.”


“I probably work longer hours now than I EVER would in a more “normal” job,” she said, “but I still love it and feel really fortunate that I can support myself doing something that I now feel is an essential part of who I am (I can’t imagine NOT being a photographer at this point!).”

The sociology piece–or at least the love of people that got her interested in sociology–isn’t missing either.

557256_449235798434669_1043665544_n (1)“I get invited into people’s lives at very happy times and am fortunate to witness and share beautiful, intimate moments and emotions, and I get to capture them for couples and families to cherish forever and pass down to future generations. I think that’s a pretty darn cool gig.”

Her portraits of babies, dogs, engagements and weddings are phenomenal–both technically and artistically. And, as she says, “I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job.”

I love watching her career explode. Every time I turn around, she’s won another award,  been featured in another magazine, or has taken on a new beautiful niche. She’s in St. Louis, but you can hire her for destination weddings and other events here.

To hire Julia, visit her at or email her at



It can be disheartening, when you’re just starting out, to read newspaper stories about the “death of industry” and the god-awful state of the economy. But in watching my friends and clients create their dream jobs, I’ve noticed a pattern. The economy waxes and wanes, industries grow and shift, people get bored and need a change. Things change–constantly. But when you’re headed toward your North Star, that state-of-being-true-to-yourself that never changes, your world just works. Jobs create themselves for you. People reach out to hire you. Magazines start giving you awards and people sign up for your retreats.

It takes courage, but living your dream job is a distinct possibility. These women are living proof!

For more information about Hadley Earabino’s career coaching, visit her website at

I Thought I Was Dying for 24 Hours: The Story

photo copy 2I’ve had this cold I couldn’t shake. Started with sinus congestion. My 3 year-old, Evan, had it too. Then it was body aches, weakness and fatigue. I spent most of last week in bed. This week it was shaping up much the same, only now I had a cough, too. By the end of the 2nd week, I relented and went to the doctor.

There’s an “Immediate Physicians Med” two doors down that just opened. My husband, Kevin, went there for a Z-pack (antibiotics) recently, and said it was an easy, clean, comfortable experience. Figured I’d get an antibiotic or a pat on the back to wait for the virus to take its course.

A chest x-ray followed, to rule out any pneumonia. Then some blood work. Four test-tubes of the stuff.

About half an hour later, the doc comes back in. She’s looking at my chart with a serious expression.

Apparently I have no white blood cells. I have a minimal amount of 1 of the 5 they account for.

They take another tube of blood. The technician was obviously nervous. They run the test it again.

Comes back the same way. No white blood cells.

“What could this mean?” I asked, “Well,” the doctor said,”We need to run them again, it could be a mistake.”

“But you ran both sets 5 times. What if it’s not a mistake?” I said.

“Well, then you start talking about Leukemia. Or some kind of major infection,” she said,”We’ll send them out to a private lab to hand test them. You’ll have confirmation of the results tomorrow.”

And then she gave me a hug, which really scared me, and wrote me a prescription for Diazepam.

And here I descended into hell, on the right hand god the father almighty, on the left hand a bottle of Valium.

An entire day of shock followed. One full of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Trying, unsuccessfully, to stop myself from reading the WebMD articles on causes of severely low white blood cells: Autoimmune Diseases, Severe Infections, Cancer, Leukemia, HIV.

My husband is out of town, so it was only me and Evan. I called a friend, and she insisted I sleep in her guest room until I got the results. She fed me mashed potatoes and meatloaf with asparagus. I couldn’t finish it. The valium helped me fall asleep when Evan did, around 9 p.m.

The next morning, I got up at dawn. Head spinning with alternating fear mongering thoughts. I never knew I had so many  meditation techniques! I was focusing on the breath. I was doing Lovingkindness meditations. I was doing nothing, and watching my thoughts. I was using my Insight Timer app. I even managed to get my nails done and sit at my favorite Thai restaurant crying over some delicious Nur Nam Tok. (I really don’t care who sees me crying at this point. Luckily it’s very dark in the restaurant. The staff just thought I had allergies. The waiter said he has hayfever too!)

That morning, I visited my therapist, and we got Emory Hospital to do another WBC workup, and guess what?

I have a totally healthy number of white blood cells.

It was a lab error. Plain and simple. My liver is good. My kidneys are good. My red blood cells are good. I have more than enough of an immune system to go around. Crisis averted.

I am still in shock. I think I just saw the other side.

I don’t feel like celebrating, really. Or radically changing my life. Really I just feel like doing more nothing.

Just want to be a human being.


We Live Like This!

FUB1In thinking about this Homeric hymn, where a human and a diety desire each other, and super-human creative powers result, I realize this is what happens when we align ourselves with our true desires. When we forget ourselves, forget our mortality for a moment, and see only Love and Beauty, we can accomplish anything. Our paultry human fears shrink away when subjected to the blinding spiritual light of the Divine. In this story, the triste was initiated by the Goddess herself, but we can, at the very least, make ourselves more available for her. And if we can let Aphrodite into our lives, we might incite a raucous riot of unbounded creative energy.

How To Create Your Dream Job: Aerialist!

melissa1This is a series of posts about women I personally know who have created their own creative, fulfilling and sustaining careers. It may take a few twists and turns, but your career path can lead you to exactly where you’re meant to be. These friends remind me of this truth whenever I catch a glimpse of their latest adventures. I hope they inspire you to make your own dream jobs come true.

Dream Job: Aerialist

Melissa Coffey

Melissa is the kind of woman who creates her own fantastic reality. Daily. On any given Tuesday, you can find her performing in a flaming cabaret, setting out for Burning Man, doing partner yoga, or hosting a Thai massage party.

“I’m living my life in leotards and leg warmers. And fur.” she says.

After she graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design and Marketing, she designed her own clothing line. When that proved too time-consuming, she went on to design lingerie for a company that recruited her from Neiman Marcus. When that wasn’t enough, she created her own performing arts company, Dances In Air.


“It is all about having control of my time, even if I have to sacrifice having more cash for more time with my kid,” she said.

She did all of this while raising a developmentally disabled daughter. And she’s a single mom, so security and flexibility were key.

Melissa’s strategy involved dipping her toe into a job before she made her move. “I found all of my jobs by actually starting them before I was done with the previous job,” she said.

“I am such a slow mover that I had to be hired from one, and then take vacation days so I could start training at another to see if I liked it. I definitely took the route of doing both until I had nice cushy security in the new one. I had to be sure I was really over one and really going to survive the next one.”

Melissa Coffey PerformerSometimes burning the candle at both ends got a little too challenging, she admits.

“At the next job it was so hard for me to let go of my career as a designer, even temporarily, that I did both for years until it became ridiculous to ask my body to do both jobs, [along with] teaching, performing, [and being] a designer and a mom. I have a rule not to have more than three careers at a time.”

(I feel a special connection to her work, because I gave Melissa her very first trapeze class, for her birthday. La, la, la!)  She now works as an aerialist performer on silks and trapeze, designs costumes and trains professionals all over the world.

A Basic Vocabulary of Trapeze

A Basic Vocabulary of Trapeze

She also publishes aerial dance and circus arts training videos, and held a Circus Arts Retreat in Costa Rica this past January. She plans to escape winter with another exciting, authentic, dancing-in-waterfalls-kind-of-retreat in 2015. You can connect with her at and (Click on the orange DVD pic for a link to buy a copy!)

It can be disheartening, when you’re just starting out, to read newspaper stories about the “death of industry” and the god-awful state of the economy. But in watching my friends and clients create their dream jobs, I’ve noticed a pattern. The economy waxes and wanes, industries grow and shift, people get bored and need a change. Things change–constantly. But when you’re headed toward your North Star, that state-of-being-true-to-yourself that never changes, your world just works. Jobs create themselves for you. People reach out to hire you. Magazines start giving you awards and people sign up for your retreats.

It takes courage, but living your dream job is a distinct possibility. These women are living proof!

For more information about Hadley Earabino’s career coaching, visit her website at