I messed up.

Phoenix souls . . .
I messed up.

Embracing Wholehearted Living (our current theme) also means owning up to my mistakes. Once I've realized that I MESSED UP, it's time to change!

Photo Apr 25, 12 28 53 PM.jpg

I've been working to educate myself on social justice, white privilege, and how my platform can be a force for good.

In this eye-opening search, I've gotten uncomfortable about my own language within The Phoenix Soul--one term in particular. Tribe. When I named our feature interview almost four years ago, Truth Tribe was meant with the best of intentions. But good intentions while doing harm are, quite frankly, a load of crap.

I didn't realize then that my intention behind the word--a broader sense meaning kindred, a gathering of souls like family--wasn't enough. Using this word  when native and indigenous people are still being oppressed and marginalized IS causing harm, even though I didn't realize that until recently. 

And THAT, of course, is white privilege. The very fact that it didn't occur to me.

I'm truly sorry for causing harm. For appropriating this important word. For not understanding the significance. For diminishing this word's meaning.

I know better now. So I will do better.

I'm brainstorming/soul-searching RIGHT NOW for a new name for our feature interviews and will announce the rebirth as soon as possible, and will work to remove any "tribe" language from our page.

Thank you for reading.

with love & respect,


more than this // The Phoenix Soul: Wholehearted Living

Dear soul,

I know you are weary.
Worn thin.

You catch yourself mindlessly scrolling, binging videos of whatever comes along, consuming so-called culture, but you still feel empty. Yearning. You are craving . . . something.

Your soul cries out: 
Life is more than this.


There's a way to enliven your heart. To plug back into your soul-source and not just your devices.


To feel your ache and your healing, your grit and your grace, your grief and your celebration--and honor it all.

We're looking for the way, too. You aren't alone.

We're asking questions of the heart. We're waking our numbed existence. We're shaking up, shaking off, rising into our most embodied and wholehearted lives.

  Artwork & image by Amanda Fall; published in TPS: Wholehearted Living

Artwork & image by Amanda Fall; published in TPS: Wholehearted Living

Phoenix soul, I dare us to bring our whole beings to life–every rumpled, weary, tough, tender part of ourselves. Bring our fear. Bring our excitement.
Our grief and our glory. Bring our whole (broken, fragmented, stitched back together, made real) heart. All our phoenix risings. Bring it all.

Power resides in embracing the AND. Hurt and healing, muddled and clear, grit and grace. Our so-called failings and daily tiny triumphs. Live it all. Love it all. This is our life. This. No matter what we are doing, let’s do it with whole (aching, singing) heart. Together.
— letter to reader, TPS: Wholehearted Living

Will you come listen to soul-whispers with us?
Will you come back to life?

with love & awe,

"please don't wait" // Truth Tribe interview: Kara Ashley-Gilmore

You aren't alone. Relief is possible. 

Kara Ashley-Gilmore spent years of her life mired in anxiety, doubt, perfectionism, even "moments of debilitating panic." 

Now a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate, art therapist, and mixed media artist in North Carolina, Kara draws on her personal experience to help her clients find relief.

Through her business, Mountain Creative Arts Counseling, Kara offers individual counseling and a weekly anxiety support group for people who “feel crushed by the weight of their worries, dread their next panic attack, and live with overactive inner critics.” She also facilitates art therapy and private art workshops.

I've been a follower of Kara's on Instagram for quite some time now, and appreciate how she utilizes art therapy in her own self-care (one of my own favorite tools for mental and emotional well-being). She walks her talk.

I'm thrilled to welcome Kara to our Truth Tribe with her feature interview in The Phoenix Soul: Brave First Steps. Find her full interview here, and enjoy excerpts below.

As someone who has had a life-long dance with anxiety, I especially appreciate Kara's mission and dedication. I asked her what role anxiety has played in her own life. She answered, in part:

Across all areas of my life, anxiety has kept me small by preventing me from going after the things I really wanted, from expressing my truth, from being seen, and from taking risks. I spent a lot of time living according to self-imposed rules of how I thought a responsible teen/adult should act: work now, rest and play later; hide your feelings; don’t trust strangers; stay in the job that’s making you sick because the retirement
benefits will be worth it in forty years.

Underneath all these rules was fear: fear of what others would think about me; fear about financial security; fear of being rejected; fear of failure; and fear of the anxiety that naturally comes from uncertainty.
— Kara Ashley-Gilmore, Truth Tribe interview, TPS: Brave First Steps
  artwork by Kara Ashley-Gilmore

artwork by Kara Ashley-Gilmore

I asked Kara how she finds bravery in the face of self-doubt. Here's part of her reply:

I remember how I want to feel in life, and how the choice I’m contemplating will help me get there. Repeating this mantra usually helps me take the first, small step: “There is no wrong move, only the next move. Life is a series of decisions, and actions based on the outcome of that decision. Mistakes are proof that I am learning, and what other people think of me is none of my business.”
— Kara Ashley-Gilmore, Truth Tribe interview, TPS: Brave First Steps
  artwork by Kara Ashley-Gilmore

artwork by Kara Ashley-Gilmore

Kara also shared encouragement for readers who feel stuck in anxiety or self-doubt, what art therapy is and how it facilitates healing, how destructive thought patterns hold us back (and how we can begin to let go), how she discovered passion for her calling, and more. You can find Kara's interview in its entirety here, along with more of her vibrant artwork. 

Phoenix, how has anxiety been a part of your life? Has creative expression brought healing? Come share your thoughts with us in the Sanctuary, our private Facebook gathering.

You aren't alone. You can find relief.
As Kara says . . . don't wait. Help is here.

with love & respect,

Join fellow brave-steppers in these life-affirming pages (instant PDF):