Category Archives: acceptance

what’s gay got to do with it?

Director’s note:  It’s been almost 17 years since Ellen DeGeneres made headline news with her coming out story. Below, thinkpeace workshop Intern, GARMIN, asks us to look at why the media continues to focus on celebrity sexuality. We appreciate the bravery that it takes to come out in today’s world and still, we wonder when we will live in a world where we simply value love, in all forms.  Imagine!
I’m mad. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. Now, it’s not often that I am these things, so you know when I am it’s for a good reason. In the past week two celebrities came out as gay. Now, I’m NOT mad about them being gay, in fact quite the opposite– I’m stoked for them; props for being you. I’m mad and angry and frustrated because why the hell are we still talking about it? Why is coming out still such a big deal? Should every person come out regardless of their sexual or gender identity? Should my friends come out and say, “Hi I’m a straight cis-gender woman?!” I don’t know. I do know that I am so over talking about this.

A couple nights ago my best friend Anne (sometime you’ll meet her if she ever agrees to let me interview her) and I were debriefing the week as we often do. I was explaining my frustration to her about all these celebrities coming out and it being such a big deal and on the cover of every mediocre newspaper and magazine in the US. She looked at me, smiled, and shared this quote by comedian Liz Feldman, “It’s very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or, as I like to call it: ‘marriage.’ You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn’t gay park it.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I get it. I get coming out. I came out as queer to Anne in August 2011, and then it was a whopping 7 more months before most of the people in my life knew. Coming out is hard, those 7 months were the hardest months of my life– hiding isn’t fun, fear of rejection isn’t fun, the jokes are mostly not funny, and it is oh so liberating. Liberating to be yourself and step into your full authenticity.

Last May, when DOMA and Edie Windsor were in the Supreme Court fighting for rights, I wandered up to Capitol Hill to see what the general vibe was, simply out of curiosity. I saw something fascinating: two clear sides, a “YES! We support equality” side and a “NO! You are a bad person” side. Quite simply, while this wasn’t all that surprising it was interesting because it did support my theory about the data that had just been released, “The coveted 18-34 age group is “85% positive toward gay rights and gay marriage and gay inclusion.” And so what does this mean?! It means a majority of my peers, ages 18-34 could care less what you are, its people of older generations who don’t agree with it. And it’s also not surprising that the heads of the top 10 most circulated newspapers in the US ( are over 34. So to get to the gist of it real quick, it is them, the heads of the newspapers who are influencing whether or not a story on the latest celebrity coming out gets the front page or a little tiny sentence on “page 6.” This is HUGE. We are being spoon fed society and culture based on the interests of a handful of older, mostly white men and so it makes perfect sense that they will give us what THEY believe matters most. For a bit of contrast, let me offer this: Huffington Post, run by notable media mogul and PowerGirl Arianna Huffington, reported on Ellen Page coming out not as a “Hey Look, another celebrity comes out!” instead, posting all of the positive tweets and comments Page had received with a short blurb on her coming out. I’m not saying that all men-run newspapers and magazines are bad and women-run newspapers and magazine are good– I love the New York Times Style Section as much as the next person! I’m saying that we need to get clear, PowerGirls, on where our media is coming from!

To come back to my original frustration, I don’t have any clear answers or theories on why we are still obsessively talking about celebrities coming out. I understand that if your favorite celebrity comes out and you are struggling to come out, then it might provide some hope for your own situation. And I don’t think that is enough substance to justify talking about it mercilessly. And so, PowerGirl, this week I challenge you to check out where your media is coming from, who they are, what do they want you to get, and then go make your own decision. Figure out what you believe. From the words of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, I give you this, “It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference! Live on and be yourself.”


As always send me your thoughts, comments, and questions:


(Intern’s note: This is the fourth interview in our ‘possibilities’ series here on the thinkpeace blog.  We believe it is just as important to share our own stories as it is to hear about other powerful women who are living into their own greatness. They show us that no matter our age, financial situation, location, abilities, or stage of life, you can create possibility for your life. This is my friend Ella. She goes to my school and she’s super cool. I don’t think I have to introduce her, she’s that cool.)

 Meet PowerGirl Ella Quimby


The Interview:

Age?  23

Nickname in Middle School or High School?

Technically Ella is a nickname, since my full first name is Ellamarie- but I’ve also gotten Elle, Ella-bella, Umbrella, Quimbles, EQ, Eyya, among others.

 What did you want to be when you were growing up?

An actress. A firefighter (still want this). A pilot (still want this too). A diplomat. A mermaid (definitely still want this).

What do you want to be now/what are you doing?

For the last five years I’ve been pursuing my combined loves of Photography and Education. If all goes according to plan, I’ll finish up my Master’s in Teaching in May. I still want to be too many things. People keep assuming that I’m going to settle in to a classroom next fall- I won’t. I’ve never been one to stay still for a long time. A good friend of mine is working on finishing up his PhD in Vancouver, BC, and he’s got plans to found a wilderness therapy program for struggling adolescents in Haines, AK. We talked once about me coming out there to work with him, maybe that’s where I’m headed right now.

(If you want to find out more about that and/or donate to his program, you can visit the Alaska Wilderness School Facebook page at )

Flavor of Ice Cream that most describes you (not your favorite… the one that describes you)?

Is there a coconut vanilla swirl flavor? Maybe that’s too obvious… (I’m half Pacific Islander). I don’t like chocolate at all but maybe a chocolatey-coconut sort of flavor with cherry bits. Not the maraschino kind, real cherries.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

At the moment? Exhausted. In general… transient? In a positive way, though. I like to keep moving, keep pushing.

If you could flashback to your high school self would you tell her anything? If so, what?

Oh man, what would I NOT tell her? That in eight years you will look back on this time in your life and realize you should have treated yourself better. You should’ve been easier on yourself, let yourself have more fun. You’re fourteen, for goodness sake. Let yourself have more fun. Get up to stupid stuff, you won’t let yourself have time for those things later. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to work harder. Stop letting yourself believe the awful stuff people say. Take more chances.

 What do you love most about yourself?

I love that I have learned to love myself more often than I don’t.

Which one person has changed the course of your life? And why?

That question is literally impossible to answer. I am nothing if not the best parts of the people I surround myself with, and I give daily thanks for my ridiculously amazing circle of family and friends.

How do you motivate yourself?

Lately it’s been a lot of countdowns. Two more weeks until you’re done with this, four more months until you’re done with that, three more days and then you can let yourself watch six episodes of Battlestar Galactica and not leave your bed for the whole weekend. In general though, I’m motivated by new experiences. I worked my booty off this past Fall in school and at my jobs so that I could take four weeks to drive around the Lower 48- I had mountains of things to catch up on when I made it back to DC, but I didn’t regret it for a second.

On the blog and in staff meetings we have been talking about being a “YES!” to our lives… what does this mean to you?

Saying YES to my life means saying YES to opportunities- it means saying yes to loving myself and how far I’ve come in life, saying yes to coffee and Korean food with old new friends, saying yes to solitary punk rock dance parties in my car. Saying YES to myself also means sometimes saying NO to things I know I don’t want- toxic relationships, letting myself be taken advantage of, people in my life who think they know what’s best for me.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing girls in the world? How can we change the course of this?

There is no one answer. All of our -isms are intersectional- sexism, racism, classism, the list goes on. As an Educator, I spend a lot of my days thinking about the ways in which traditional education systems are structured to make sure oppressed minorities remain that way- in the next ten years, I’d love to see sweeping changes made to the very foundations of these structures, although I wouldn’t even know where to start or what that might look like.

What’s your next bold move?

By next September, Alaska- or Northern Ireland. On a smaller and more immediate (though no less bold) scale, completing my Graduate degree. There are a handful of people in my life who are betting on me to fail- they’ll be waiting a long time to collect.

live in the questions

This week we are starting a new series ::: live in the questions. 

In his book, Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke writes, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

We here at thinkpeace workshop don’t have all the answers. We do have a lot of questions. Lots of them. We have ideas and thoughts, and dreams and wishes. We agree with Rilke that having questions and living into them is as equally, if not more important than the answers themselves. Living into the questions is one of the ways that we expand outward from our inner circle to our communities; we live outward. And so in this series we will introduce a thought and a variety of questions. Think about the questions, talk about them with friends, write and make art about them, and then share your thoughts with us.

“Change is choice. Choose wisely.” This was the quote given by the Head of School in her opening convocation speech on my first day of high school.

I love talking about change– change in ourselves, in our world, in others, and change as a concept. I could talk about it from day up to day down. It’s absolutely fascinating to me. And yet, in my research for my thesis I’ve been finding that women, and particularly teenage girls, are less content than ever. One of the most shocking facts I’ve found is that “7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.”  I will be super upfront with you- I don’t have the answers. I don’t have the magic solution. I don’t know how to get girls to believe in themselves more. If I did, our world would be completely different- so much stronger, more beautiful, and lighter. However, what if, just as a possibility, we chose to love ourselves exactly as we are in this moment? What would that be like? What possibly could come out of imagining that possibility? What would it be like to be completely enthralled with yourself (not in an egotistical way, just a genuinely loving way)?” How would we see the world differently?

Live into the questions PowerGirl!  Email me your thoughts:

work it, girl


it’s in you already

Work it because you’re worth it ::: Manifesting your goals. 

Manifesto, n. : a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer

There is a scene in the beginning of the movie version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in which all of the girls sit around in a circle in an old church, light candles, and create a manifesto.  A manifesto of what they want their experience to be with the traveling pants; stating to each other the rules, wishes, and desires. While their manifesto isn’t written, it is spoken aloud with great dignity and energy. When they all reunite at the end of the summer they recount their adventures, triumphs, and less than desirable experiences with both the pants and the manifesto of the pants.

The past two weeks we have talked about reflecting on our past year and then setting new goals for this year. This week we will conclude this series with putting our goals into action. How do we make things happen in our lives? How do we live wholly and globally? How do we best show up as ourselves more often than not?

Lucky for you, manifestos aren’t just a thing that happens in movies or books. You too can manifest whatever you want in your life.


(For the sake of examples I’m going to use a goal I had in the past of running 800 miles in one year.)


No, really say it out loud. Tell your people. Your friends, family, Facebook, on the morning announcements at school, your teachers, co-workers, yoga teacher, track coach, hair dresser. Tell all the people. No, really- ALL OF THEM. When we tell our people we get an instant accountability system. There will people (without your prompting) asking you how your goals are coming.  I can’t tell you how many people would ask me if I ran yet today or what my total was for the year so far. The neighbor would see me in the grocery store and would say “Hey, I haven’t seen you running this week. How’s your mileage goal coming?” And instantly I would remember how many people are rooting for me to succeed which would push me forward.


Baby steps. Big goals are going to seem overwhelming. They are going to be intangible, impractical, wild, and so far out there. Until they’re not. 800 miles divided by 52 weeks- about 15 miles a week. And then further- (3) 5 mile runs or (5) 3 miles. And then you look at your week. Where do I have an extra hour 3 times a week? And you plug it into your calendar. Schedule it in. Just write “GT” (goal time).


A vision board, a sculpture, a piece of paper with a drawing that reminds you of your goals, the goals physically written on the mirror, a collage, a pile of rocks, anything. Seriously. My visuals have changed from year to year. I always write them on two separate index cards; one which I keep on my body 95% of the time and another copy above my bed that I see every night and every morning. I have done just about every form of visual– the one that I have found to be most successful for me is to make a cup or a bowl and then eat/drink out of it every day. It brings to mind all the things I want to grow into.

Finally, PowerGirl, be gentle with yourself. You weren’t created overnight and your goals won’t manifest themselves while you sleep either. Time, persistence, and an unwavering knowing of what you want will get you to your goals.

“Everything you need is already inside you. Just do it.”

root down to rise up

roots and shoots

Root down to rise up; this is probably the most common phrase you will hear in any yoga class. And yet it describes so many different areas of our lives. I think it’s nearly impossible to move forward or grow up and forward if we don’t know where our roots are. That concept is one of the reasons why I love this time of the year– it’s a looking back, reflecting, evaluating, and then moving forward time. This will start a 3 week series on the blog, each week taking on one of these topics; reflecting, setting new goals and intentions, and manifesting. Personally, I think that we as a culture make these tasks so freaking complicated, complex, long, and way too difficult and so in an effort to break that down, I’m going to try my hardest to make this process as simple as possible. I think in the simplicity we can find that this process can be so incredibly helpful in learning to live into our full potential, power, strength, and keep us moving in an upward, unrelenting, forward motion.

This week we reflect. I’ll use myself as an example and then you can do your own reflecting, thinking, and sorting through.  I always love to start with numbers: What were your numbers? What did you do a lot of? What did you do a little bit of? What is an accomplishment to you?

This year I’ve been on 29 flights. I lived in DC, Alaska, and New York. I visited Seattle, San Francisco, and New Paltz for the first time. I went to 4 conferences/professional development workshops. I hiked 3 mountains: West Butte and Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, and Giant in the Adirondack Park. I only went to the hospital 3 times, 2 for myself. (THIS IS HUGE. The year prior was 11). I read The Lorax aloud approximately 100 times. I worked 253 hours at my cupcake job. I lost my iTunes library twice and I only kissed one person.

Then to the tangibles: What were your goals, if any? How did you do on them?

My goals/intentions for last year were:

1. Yoga 4x a week.

2. Learn Tennis.

3. Camp push up challenge.

4. Practice making friends.

5. Cultivate gentleness.

I think we as a culture can fall into a trap of ultimatums, either yes or no, without any middle ground possible, when really that’s only as true as you make it. And so all my goals and intentions came with the asterisk of trying my best; that’s all the universe can ask of us. With that in mind, I “accomplished” all of them except number 2. As much as I put intention into it, yoga came to the forefront of my life and tennis didn’t come into fruition, and I’m ok with that. We learn, grow, and become the people we are supposed to be at our own pace. My pace this year didn’t include tennis.

Finally, I think the last part to reflecting comes with finding themes: what themes, thoughts, patterns of living, or constants appeared in our lives? What were the hardest moments? What were the easiest moments?  Where did you shine the brightest?

In my life this year the themes that surfaced were finding ease, limiting drama, letting go of things that don’t serve me, finding and expressing gratitude, and being authentically and truly me with no apologies. I think my hardest moments were admitting I need help and then letting people help me; this is still a huge struggle for me. My easiest moments and the moments where I shined the most were at camp in Alaska; I got down, dirty, gritty, and real with the people around me and I taught from my heartspace and not my headspace.

And so where does all that reflecting leave us? What’s next? I think it’s more thinking, processing, lingering, and reflecting until next week when we will transfer those thoughts into actions for the next year. What do you want more of in this next year? What do you want less of? What isn’t serving you and your life? What makes you oh so happy?


let the gratitude flow

In Alaska this past summer (at the summer camp for girls I was working at), we talked about gratitude every single day, often multiple times a day; we read books about it, made up phrases about it, and shared it every single night at dinner. In the simplest way I understand it, gratitude is a specific and life changing action, thought, verbal or non-verbal communication and the subsequent acknowledgement. It is however, different from thankfulness. Thankfulness is often associated with exchange of goods or services, gratitude is something that penetrates your soul. As we head into this Thanksgiving week (or as my community of people call it the “Collective Feast of Liberation”) I think it is more imperative than ever that we think about the places we are grateful and where our gratitude flows out of us.

“Sarah. SARAH. Have you seen Taylor??? TAYLOR. WHERE IS HE???”

“Um… I don’t know. He was just here.”

“Samantha. Have you seen Samantha?”


My mom walked towards the foyer of our old Victorian-era house and I watched as I saw her heart literally drop in her chest. The door was wide open and Taylor was gone.

Due to the side effects of the drugs I am taking for my Lyme disease, most of my memory has been temporarily lost. There are a few events, people, and moments I haven’t forgotten. One of them is as clear in my mind as the day it happened; the day Taylor, my Autistic brother, wandered out of our inner city house and went missing.


As we ran down the stairs we saw our crazy neighbor Margaret holding our then new kitten, Samantha, in her arms. I don’t think mom said anything to Margaret, she just started running. Running through the traffic-filled streets, screaming and looking for Taylor. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever felt my heart pump so fast since that day.

Last week’s New York Times Op-ed highlights this issue. (  The journal Pediatrics estimates that nearly 49% of people with Autism are prone to wander. With the rate of Autism now being 1 in 88, that’s a large number of people with Autism who are out in the world wandering.

Fortunately, we found Taylor that day. He was being carried by a man around the park near our house. I don’t ever want to think about the idea that we could have not found him that day. I’m not sure I would have been able to continue functioning if that was the case. However, not all parents and siblings are as lucky as we were. The case for a 14 year old Queens, NY boy is still active and while he is the most recent case, unfortunately he’s not the only one.

For many years after, I blamed myself for the fact that Taylor wandered out of our house– and yet I know that it wasn’t my fault. We had more locks on the doors in that house than a maximum security prison. Taylor is smart and can undo locks better than most locksmiths I know. He has wandered out of our current house many times even with deadbolts, spring locks, key locks, click locks, chains, and push and twist locks. He is just a smart kid with the desire to roam. And yet I worry, it wakes me up sometimes in the middle of the night. I never want to discover that my little brother is missing ever again.

Every morning that I wake and see him cuddled up and fast asleep in his bed, as I will this week when I head home, my body breathes relief. That sense of relief I feel is my gratitude– gratitude that we all made it through the night safe. Gratitude that I get another day to see his bright shining, smiley, loving face. And gratitude for myself that I have done my job as his sister to keep him safe.  In turn, my gratitude has a transference of energy, love. I love on that kid so much more, more kisses, hugs, fist bumps, late night drives through the country listening to Taylor Swift, hikes, and more “YES’s” than “No’s” come out of my mouth. Love that so greatly permeates time and space, love that goes deep-  as deep as the canyons and as high as the moon. Love that begins and ends with gratitude.

And so I challenge you PowerGirl, to truly dive deep this week into your soul and find the places where gratitude flows out of you.


(Intern’s note: This is the second interview in our ‘Possibilities’ series here on the thinkpeace blog.  We believe it is just as important to share our own stories as it is to hear about other powerful women who are living into their own greatness. They show us that no matter our age, financial situation, location, abilities, or stage of life, you can create possibility for your life. I met Jessie late in the summer of 2011. I was immediately captivated by her warmth and love– and the fact that we attended the same high school. She was a vital player in my coming out as queer. I can honestly say with my whole heart that she meets people where they are, holds space for who they are and want to grow into, and genuinely cares for humanity.  She has been and continues to be one of the most influential people in my life.)


JJ teaching GARMIN to chop wood, PowerGirl style!

Meet PowerGirl Jessie Justin

The Interview:



Nickname in Middle School or High School?

Sometimes people called me by my last name “Justin”, or “J”.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Someone who could help people. Counselor or therapist…

What do you want to be now/what are you doing?

I want to be an art therapist in a school or private setting, with individuals and groups. Or/and, a facilitator for workshops/groups about social justice, white privilege, race, etc. Or, combine all of the above.  I am currently working as a mental health clinician visiting families in their homes, helping folks manage the stresses in their lives and navigate the federal and state programs that are in place to help support families in need.

Flavor of Ice Cream that most describes you (not your favorite… the one that describes you)?

Oreo is my favorite and probably best describes me. Sometimes it’s just a vanilla base, but often the cookie crumbles get pretty mixed up in there so it’s not as basic as it’s often described. The Oreo is sometimes crunchy, sometimes soft and mushy — I am sometimes hard shelled, but sometimes rather vulnerable. Sometimes when you bite in you get a chunk, a good chewy experience. Other times you can just ease right on through, simple as that. I can be both intense and easy going. There are lots of different types of Oreo ice cream… Each brand is different.

How would you describe yourself in one word?


If you could flashback to your high school self would you tell her anything? If so, what?

I would probably tell myself that it gets better — every year gets better and better (but I don’t know how I would have believed that when I was younger).  I was told something in high school by someone I respected, it shifted my world: Stand up straight, take your hands out of your pockets and put one foot in front of the other.

What do you love most about yourself?

My ability to be a witness. Sometimes to be a bridge.

Which one person has changed the course of your life? And why?

My mom. She’s my mom. She was one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and a really good friend. She was a do-er. She was a change maker. She was someone who would love me, and someone who would challenge me. She helped me grow and be aware of the world around me.

How do you motivate yourself?

Good question. I try to check in with my feelings, my desires, my needs — combine them and head in a direction that seems like it will help me participate as a whole human being.

On the blog and in staff meetings we have been talking about being a “YES!” to our lives… what does this mean to you?

Being a YES, not just saying yes: positive attitude, hope, setting self up for successful steps.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing girls in the world? How can we change the course of this?

Very big question.  Ultimately, to narrow it down to “the” issue — sexism. What falls under this topic: internalized sexism, identity, sexuality, social equity, financial equality, all the oppressions, rights, etc…

What’s your next bold move?

To live my life through love and freedom. Make positive change for myself and others, while not oppressing others or myself in the process.


open your arms and hurl your grenade

YouTube Preview Image

About a year and a half ago I heard a poet say “if you’re not writing the things you need to write then it’s a waste.” Those words clung to my soul and I have consciously tried to live them each day since and yet last week when I sat down to write this post, the words stopped at my finger tips and refused to come out. I know why. I know why, I have fought myself on this many times– putting thoughts or feelings to paper makes them real, it gives them life, it creates proof either for or against you and the part I often forget- it liberates you.

Like Ash Beckham {in the TedX talk above}, I have lots of closets. There have been plenty I have come out of and I could tell you about any number of them- the big ones and the small ones; the queer one, the dyslexic one, the artist one, the chronic disease one, the autistic brother one, and so on and so forth. And yet, there is one closet that I have stepped out of only partially. I say partially because my immediate family and friends know and yet, it’s not a thing I talk about, mention, bring up, or advocate for blatantly. It’s a thing that still sits behind a clear sliding glass door.

Two weeks ago I celebrated my one year anniversary of living. I know what you’re probably thinking: “GARMIN, aren’t you twenty-one, how can you be living for only one year?” Just hang tight. Not long before the time of Halloween and Hurricane Sandy last year I found myself standing about ready to jump out of my fourth floor bedroom window out on to the busy East 29th Street in New York City. Fear, undealt with events, trauma, flashbacks, and masked depression had brought me there. As I stepped one foot up to the ledge, my phone rang. It was my friend. She said “Hey there buddy, what’s up?” Frantically not knowing what to do I said, “I’m standing on the ledge of my bedroom about ready to jump out. I’m done.” Slowly, calmly and gracefully she talked me down from the ledge, and back into my bed and then put me on hold while she called our mutual friend who could help me. The next day I managed to get myself out of bed and went to a support meeting. A week later I found myself home at the kitchen table sobbing and recounting what had happened to my parents who had no idea. And there it was: suicide. Attempted suicide. One more breath and I could have been dead.

Just like that I had another closet- a closet of a past suicide attempt. When people asked why I was late to studio or why I randomly went home on the weekends, I would make up something instead of saying “oh, I had to see my therapist or I was having a hard time getting out of bed because I was sad.” And then not long before my one year anniversary of living I decided I was done- this time done in a different way. I was done hiding. Hiding that I had once attempted suicide or that I am on anti-depressants or that I still go to therapy to help undo all that crap that led me to that ledge. I decided that the next time mental illness, depression, suicide, or any related topics came up I was going to say something. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to wait long. In one of my classes this fall, upon talking about bullying and suicide in the art classroom, a girl said “well, it’s the person’s fault if they get to that point of committing suicide.” I interrupted her and I said, “IT WILL NEVER BE MY FAULT THAT I WAS STANDING ON THAT LEDGE.” I continued on to support my statement and the room fell silent. There I was. Stepping out of my closet and choosing to ‘throw my grenade’, as Ash describes it.

I wish I could tell you that I was met with “Can I have a pancake?” like Ash. Alas, unfortunately it’s not always like that.  And that’s ok. The point is the fact that you have the guts, grit, bravery, and courage to throw your grenade, to put it out into the universe, to go liberate your heart, and to live into your authenticity. It’s not easy. In fact anyone who tells you that coming out of any closet is easy is lying. There is a reason we have stayed in our closets for far too long- it’s a scary world out there. It took me three months to tell my best friend I am queer and nearly a year to tell my parents, and these are people who I knew without a doubt in my mind would continue to support and love me.

While I personally love, love, love this video for all its content and ideas, I think she glosses over the moment in which you do actually step out of the closet. It’s liberating. Seriously, liberating. The only way I can describe that feeling is like flying through the Mexican jungle on a zip line with your arms wide open, smiling, and giggling, combined with the anticipation of Christmas and your birthday, winning a million dollars, and crossing the finish line of a marathon.  Seriously. Open your arms, take that step, PowerGirl, and hurl that grenade as hard as you possibly can. I promise you won’t regret it.


Director’s note: If you, or someone you care about, are feeling empty or hopeless, please reach out. No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. In the U.S., call 1-800-TALK (8255) or go to . Internationally, go to and click on HELP. You matter, you really do. We are so glad you’re here. Check this out  and…thank you for living!

I first met GARMIN not too long after the event she describes. We were participants at a workshop on white privilege, power, and social change. I was captivated by how honest and open, curious and supportive, focused and determined she was, with her self and with others. We spent 2 1/2 days together, learning and discussing and holding each other accountable. On the last day of the workshop we all faced each other and told each other what we appreciated about the person across from us. When I got to GARMIN it was just so easy: I appreciated her integrity and grit that was so beautifully blended with a giant, warm, sensitive heart. It was clear that she  was going to reach out, help others, share of herself, and live authentically. When she asked if she could intern with thinkpeace I was delighted to look into her friendly, mischievous and highly alert eyes and say, YES. I am so glad that she is here, alive and ready to live a great big life as a thinkpeace powerGirl!

for the women: YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

So, why are we having a  thinkpeace workshop for women?

It has been a funky few weeks. Some people have said that Mercury is in retrograde. Others have said that humanity is slipping into an abyss and that there’s nothing that can be done about it. What I have seen and felt is that there’s a real negative energy vibe going on… and I think there is a way to break that and cultivate positivity in our own lives and that of others. Liz and I have frequently been asked to do a thinkpeace workshop for women. The time has arrived! Recently we’ve had conversations with some of our teen thinkpeace girls about issues they’re facing and have realized that we continue to deal with similar ones as adult women. This tells us that there are tools that we need to learn and utilize as adult women so that when we encounter road blocks on our life paths, we have the inner resources to face them. We believe that women continuously struggle with the idea that we are not enough. Because of that, we all too often cut each other down as a means of building our selves up. The simple truth is that YOU are important! Now, how can you get to a place of believing that truth?

Have you ever felt that if you put anything ‘out there’ that wasn’t facebook perfect, people would judge you?  So many of us are afraid to share our deepest selves. What if you had a place where you could be completely open with yourself, a place to shine light into the cracks of you? At the thinkpeace womens weekend workshop you’ll express yourself and let all those inner truths out through art and writing, sharing and movement. We’ll explore some Yin– a single still yoga posture which becomes a time of inner reflection, meditation and, hopefully, peace. The nervous system is calmed, the mind stilled, and in this state the body returns to its natural healthy rhythm. This type of yoga is how we will start our day, and close it. We’ll take this time to focus on breathwork, and self-compassion.  We will create vision boards and guidebooks– works of art that express what we hope to manifest in our lives. Sharing these ideas with other dynamic women will crack us open and inspire us to go deeper. Have you ever had moments where your mind just seems to spin around and never quiet down? Has this kept you from feeling capable and worthy and falling into the belief that that there is this magic something that you have to do or be before you can feel at peace? Yin and art expression will start you on a journey…

Welcome to thinkpeace workshop for women. The truth is EVERYONE IS VALUABLE; EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT. It is not a competition and you don’t get more points by dissing someone else.  What if we behaved as if we were as valuable as we think others are? What if we all treated each other with great respect? At our weekend workshop you will be met with kindness and the community of women around you will share of themselves and be curious about you. Through one-on-one sharing and small group interaction, we will break down the barriers that women inevitably put up. We will create an environment of trust and support as lifetime friendships are created.  Thinkpeace workshop for women is a place to allow yourself to be vulnerable, feel deeply, share and support in safety, and learn to trust yourself and others.

We are meant to feel peace. We are meant for joy, creativity and life… not the kind of life that you merely endure each day– the kind of life that makes you shine! If you are having difficulty finding ease in your life, and knowing how to provide it for yourself, it is time to hit the reset button!  Peace and ease aren’t found in the validation or acceptance of others, they aren’t found in acquiring things, and they aren’t found in breaking the glass ceiling or in the adoration of our children and their successes. It won’t be found after you have proven your worthiness in some way, or after you have given enough or worked enough or dieted enough or swallowed your own voice often enough. It is not found after you have been accepted into some social circle or relationship. We have created art projects for this workshop that will help us get our hearts and souls focused on things that are beautiful and light, colorful and deep. They will help us figure out what really is true for each of us and how to hold onto that when the going gets rough. The reality is that soul-deep peace is found in your very own truth… the real stuff. The stuff that we tend to keep in a closet because of fear– fear of acceptance, fear of rejection, fear of being seen as not being enough. It’s time to let it out and be who we are meant to be: joyful, creative sparks!

The truth is, you are important and are a gift to the world. When you hold your head up high, and walk through life knowing your truth, you give others hope and that they can do the same. We will share that strength with women around the world through our work on The Pad Project. It’s the thinkpeace philosophy: that our connection with ourselves makes us better equipped to reach out and give to others. Our common experience as women with cycles connects us and yet, women in developing countries are not as fortunate with sanitary options to protect their bodies and ensure opportunities for education and employment because of their periods. We will create reusable pads that will give them the freedom to pursue their hopes, needs, and dreams. You really can and will make a difference.

What if you could do the things that open your heart to the kind of woman you want to be,  the kind of person that you admire and respect and have an opportunity to support women less fortunate than you? What if you could think peace for a weekend that you then carry within you for a lifetime… Open your heart to it. Step into it. Hold hands with it. Dance with it. Sing out loud about it. You, yes you, are important! Bring your vulnerable, unsure, hurt, curious, brave, noble, unselfish, complicated self to thinkpeace workshop for women. Think it. Create it. Share it. Grow with us– the best is yet to be. Imagine!

say ‘YES’ to the gunk


I am more than enough!

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it hits you with a ton of bricks, or a constant tree-blowing-in-a-hurricane-smack. Sometimes it’s yucky, complicated, intense, fall-into-a-vat-of-molasses-not-good. Sometimes it pushes us to our edge and then lets us fall down the cliff.
And then we have to move through. It doesn’t matter the content of the gunk, it could be anything from your dog died to your best friend’s girlfriend cheated on her to you got bad results back from the doctor. Regardless of the content, we are the ones that give meaning to them. They either change us and propel us forward, or they break us. Both are valid responses. And yet, we have to keep going and trudging through the gunk to get to the green grass. It’s in the gunk that we find what we are truly capable. It’s where we find our inner PowerGirl putting on her mud boots, rain jacket, and stuffing her pockets with snacks for the journey. It’s where we find ourselves. It’s where we learn to stay with the discomfort.
Learning to ‘stay’ is not a skill I excel at. I haven’t lived in the same place for more than 18 months since I was 13. Why? I freak myself out. Things get hard and I freak. I book a plane ticket somewhere and peace out. I run because I haven’t figured out how to stay with the not-so-fun feelings. And yet, wherever I go, I find myself there again. All the things I ran from end up following me– just taking a different shape. You would think that after thousands of frequent flyer miles I would have figured this out. I would have figured out that the person I’m running from is there in the whole journey.
And so, with that, I’m clearly not the one to take advice from in the area of ‘learning to stay.’ However, I do get the gunk and the yuckiness and the trudging through. I get that.
The answer of learning how to ‘stay,’ leaning into the discomfort, and trusting that tomorrow is going to be better than today is not a straight forward one. There are no easy answers. As much as I wish I could say, “Hey, take this pill, eat this thing, say this, and do this and you’ll be cured” I’m glad that I can’t. Looking back on the crap that I’ve been through in the past is what often what encourages me to move forward. It’s where I find a tiny spark of mojo, and grit.
In addition to looking back in order to look forward, I look to my people: my middle-of-the-night-know-my-darkest-fears-and-still-love-me-people. I say “Hey, I don’t know. This is hard. Can you help me? Will you encourage me to be the best me and go through the gunk?” I have yet to be met with a “no.” In fact, quite the contrary, the response is usually, “YES. I’ll stand with you. Let’s brainstorm how to ‘stay’ and own the feelings.” My people often remind me to go back to my core, to fall into the things that make me and make my heart happy. They tell me to go to yoga, to go paint in the studio, to go drink a second cup of coffee, to listen to new music, and to watch re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy.
It’s all a process. It’s a one-step-at-a-time-one-breath-at-a-time-moving-through kind of process. It’s a knowing that things will get better, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they will get better. It’s about trusting in the process and that the universe is conspiring for your good. It’s a steadfast will for pushing for more. And in the end there will be more sunshine, more laughing, more joy, and more dance parties.
And so my dear PowerGirl, lean into the discomfort, lean in. Say “YES” to the gunk.