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Alyssa Dver

Courageous, Kickass Confidence – A Conversation with Alyssa Dver

 

Chief Confidence Officer, CEO & Co-founder of the American Confidence Institute, Alyssa Dver is the expert on the brain science and social secrets of confidence. In individual and group programs, Alyssa shares confidence-building tips, tools and techniques at MIT, Wharton, Harvard, IBM, Spotify, Wayfair, Pepsi, US Air Force, State Street, Liberty Mutual, Staples, Royal Bank of Canada plus many other companies, conferences, associations, and non-profits.

Kickass Confidence: Own Your Brain. Up Your Game.” is Alyssa’s 6th book. With a popular blog and web show, Alyssa is also a finalist judge for the Stevie’s Best Employer & Women in Business Awards.

Thank you, Alyssa. It was such a pleasure chatting with you!

You can listen to our talk here on Spreaker:

 

Or listen on iTunes (and if you love it please leave a review)!

You can also listen on iHeartRadio

or Spotify.

Alyssa Dver

The Courage to Let Go: A Conversation with Cara Beckett

I had the pleasure to interview my friend, Cara Beckett, recently on my show. She is one of the most interesting people I know and I know you will feel the same way after listening to or reading our conversation!

Beginning her training in bodywork in the early 80’s, by 2002 Cara realized that the mind, emotions, energy and spirit played an integral role in the body. After training in a number of mind-emotion healing modalities, she began working with spirit, using first Source Synergy to help people make seemingly magical changes; then a process called QET. Since then, Cara’s work has become more of a synergistic process; working with her own intuition, spirit (what Cara calls Source) while taking clients deeply into connection with their own consciousness.
Her weekly, one-hour talk show on CFBX 92.5 FM has run for most of 15 years (currently titled Consciousness, Ego & Enlightenment.) Cara has had or currently has clients from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, the USA, Canada and the Dominican Republic during her coaching career since 2002. Her podcast is available as Undo The Ego on most podcast platforms. Her approach now is highly based on the work of Dr. David R. Hawkins. Cara’s spirituality is interwoven in everything she does. We are spirit. We can be nothing else, even though we might believe that we are nothing but blood and bone.

 

Thanks Cara!

Listen to our conversation on Spreaker:

 

or Listen on iTunes (please leave a review),

Spotify,

or iHeart Radio

Or you may read the transcribed conversation here if you prefer text:

 

Debbie DiPietro:               Welcome to courageously go where we will venture into places we’ve been afraid to go, women at the world. We’re going to start a movement, a movement towards courage. Welcome everyone. My name is Debbie DiPietro. Your host of Courageously Go, and this is the show where we have a conversation about courage at global conversation. I really believe that when we live from our hearts, wonderful things can happen for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for the world. These are our essential truths: I choose courage. I use my voice. I embraced the new I welcome challenge. I continue to grow. I am a woman of action. I courageously go. If any of those resonate with you, then you are most certainly in the right place and I welcome you. Now it’s time to welcome to this week’s guest. Her name is Cara Beckett and a little bit better background, very interesting lady beginning in her training and body work in the early eighties by 2002, Cara realized that the mind, emotions, energy, and spirit played an integral role in the body.

Debbie DiPietro:               After training and the number of mind emotion healing modalities, she began working with spirit, using first source energy to help people make seemingly magical changes. Then a process called QET. Since then, Cara’s work has become more of a synergistic process working with her own intuition spirit, what Cara calls source, while taking clients deeply into connection with their own consciousness. She has her own radio show. She has a one hour talk show on cf Bx, 92 point five FM. It has run for almost 15 years, currently tired titled Consciousness, Ego, and enlightenment. Cara has had a, currently has clients from all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, the USA, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. During her coaching career, since 2002, her podcast is available and it’s called undo the ego and it’s available on most podcasts platforms now. Her approach now is highly based on the work of Dr David Hawkins. Her Spirituality is interwoven in everything she does. We are spirit. This is her belief. We are spirit. We can be nothing else, even though we might believe that we’re nothing but blood and bone. I’d like to bring her on. Cara Becket. Welcome to Courageously Go!

Cara Beckett:                     and thank you Deb. I’m really appreciating the opportunity to be here in your show and to connect again with you and your listeners. Thank you.

Debbie DiPietro:               Oh, you’re most welcome. I’m, I’ve been excited to reconnect with you. We’ve known each other for a little while now due to the, just the wonderful technology we have nowadays. I think we connected back on a, on a, on a Facebook group, learning about online course creation and then we became friends on our personal Facebook and, and here we are. So I just love today’s technology in that way. You can really connect with people from all over, which I think is tremendous fun. And uh, so let’s just, you know, we’re into the new year now, so I know you have a lot of things interesting things going on, but what are you particularly excited about for 2019?

Cara Beckett:                     Well, I’m really excited about the opportunities that we all have. Like the world is in upheaval out there. You just have to look at the news, but at the same time you can take this as an opportunity to, at the very least be more positive about things to find positive things to focus on. Or You could use this to go more deeply into your spirituality. Either approach will help you make 20, 19 one of your best years ever, if not the best year ever. And it will help the world move forward into a more positive version of the world.

Debbie DiPietro:               Yeah, I would agree with that. And you know, as we all know that you can get kind of stuck on that CNN cycle or reading the news, the notifications on your phone and it can, it can kind of be either bring us down. So. So what would, what would you recommend to us to stay positive and uplifted despite all the news and in this new cycle we’re currently in?

Cara Beckett:                     Well that’s actually a fairly complex question. It sounds so easy, right? Just write positive. What I would say to you instead is to learn to get out of your head. It’s your head that’s negative. It’s your hand that’s fearful. Get down into your body, get into your spirit and things will look very, very different from that perspective.

Debbie DiPietro:               No. Yeah, I, I, and then. And what would be a good first step? I mean, I guess getting a meditation and I know that I’m, I’m one that that is, I have struggled with that for so much, you know, I have a very active mind, you know, ruminating especially at night and I am getting better about having a meditation practice and that’s helping me a lot and also if I can discipline myself, Cara, keeping the phone out of the bedroom at night and not putting on my cnn app or the various apps I have or even on twitter and getting the latest news at 11:00 PM when I should be getting my brain ready for sleep. That’s not the best approach. You know, it’s, it’s definitely not. I’m going to have to that in, in two parts. Okay.

Cara Beckett:                     What I do at night is I listened to an inspirational or spiritual audio, audio shanty, for instance, put sewed audios and then I can just focus on that instead of letting my mind around loose. In terms of getting into the body or into the spirit meditation. Yes. Many people think meditation is the only way. It’s not the process of yoga. Nih dre is the total body relaxation. That’s a process that will help you get down into your body. There’s a number of audios out there. I’ve got several out myself that talk you more into a feeling of your body. A much similar but more deeper. That’s a better word, deeper than the audios we used to get back in the 19 seventies and eighties. I know I’m dating myself here, but I was. I was a nervous mess back then, which is how I know about this now.

Cara Beckett:                     Back then it was, well feel your arm getting heavy. It’s heavier and heavier and it was okay, but there’s certainly a number of audios out there that will help you relax more deeply into your body now so that you can sleep and being in your body like that and listening to some kind of very positive but quiet audio, not a Rah Rah Rah kind of audio. I just shanti that I mentioned there. He’s a really good one because he doesn’t tend to have a lot of audience interaction, so the volume tends to stay quite similar as opposed to having an audience laughing and something like that at night can keep you away off the CNN cycle and much more focused on who you really are on. That can give you a lot of courage to go forward in the morning.

Debbie DiPietro:               Oh, that’s great idea. I really, I don’t really do much meditating at night. I’m, I have a nice morning routine where I have found some nice things on Youtube or even  Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey have teamed up. You might be familiar with their programs, you know, and, and they, they have, they have that. That’s kind of a nice, a nice way to start the day and there’s always a good message for us to kind of meditate on mentally and I find that helpful. So. So I’m, I’m interested in you. You just have such an interesting background. So. So let’s start off with what about the bottom a work? Is that something you’re still doing with your clients and what does that entail?

Cara Beckett:                     I don’t really do body work anymore. I, I did some training in polarity therapy and a few other different body work modalities and they’re great and then I did some coaching training, NLP hypnosis in particular, and they’re great and then I learned more about energy work and in terms of working with someone’s body that would be more of what I do now such as Donna Eden’s work or touch for health where you go through and you make sure the muscles as a body are all talking to each other correctly or doing a complete reset of the body’s energy systems. That can be really helpful, especially if a person is very tired or if you’re injured.

Debbie DiPietro:               No, I know they. You’re able to work with people just on the Internet. Right. Because I’ve worked with you before when I was really grieving the loss of my cat last year. It was really amazing. We just got on Skype together and you know, maybe you can explain that because that was really, really something and it was very helpful to me in, in, and I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that, that have never heard of this kind of work before, but it’s, it’s, it’s quite healing and it’s amazing what you can do, how you can help people. It’s kind of unique. I don’t think a lot of people understand it or know about it. So I’ll just, maybe you can explain that to us a little bit.

Cara Beckett:                     Well, that’s working more at the level of spirit. Okay. And some time ago, it sounds so counter intuitive. I might take a few minutes down to this question, so I hope that’s okay. Absolutely. We have time. Okay. When you talk someone down and into their body and out of their head, the head is no longer running the show or what most of us would call the ego. It’s not running the show and with that you can get a person deeply in touch with how they really feel at the body level, not the head level. And at the body level, you can make amazing changes very, very quickly because you’re finally focused where the real issue is. If you’re still in your head and your head chattering about this, that or the other, then you just kind of go in a circle. But if you can sink down into the body and actually feel the body sensations of the emotion, it’s an amazing thing because as soon as you start to feel them, they will start to loosen up.

Cara Beckett:                     Now doing that work in your own can be challenging. It’s not something I recommend that listeners just leap right into. However, if you’re working with someone else who is also deeply in their body with practice, you will be able to make a connection with the other person and that other person can almost act like a ground for you. Yeah, my app. Yeah, and by acting as that ground, your energetic reactions that are floating around in your body are able to dream through the other person’s ground. At least that’s the best way I’ve been able to come up with it. And at the same time, I don’t think it’s just energetic. I think it’s a meeting of two people at a very spiritual level that they’re moving closer to becoming the one we hear about how we’re all one. This is a practical application. I’m thinking of people moving closer to becoming one so that the helper can help the other drain, that negative emotion or that disabling emotion and help you become free. Now that person can’t force you to do it. Yeah.

Debbie DiPietro:               You have a willing. Yeah. Right. Yeah. That’s a good way of putting it and that’s really how I experienced our work together last year over my cat and it was. It really was kind of like that are becoming one and you even picked up and even though we don’t see, we don’t converse very regularly, you just somehow picked up how hurt I was over the loss of my beloved cat last year, mew and and you reached out to me and in the end and it was kind of like out of the blue, you reached out to me and you’re like, Debbie, do you want to go on a call with me? And it’s not like I’ve ever do any. I’ve never really done anything like that before in my whole life, but there you were and I, and I guess I was open minded enough to say I didn’t even know what it was you were offering me to be honest, but like I’m like, okay, I trust it. I, I, I know, I know you’re a good person. I trust this and I was really in pain and in and the. It was in a really interesting process. You, it was like it. Even though we live thousands of miles away from each other, it was like you were just with me going through that, right? Yes. Yeah.

Cara Beckett:                     That is exactly how it works. And once you down and into your body and a deep enough level, it turns you into a very well. Even an empathic person is a bit of an understatement because you can feel the emotions in another. Even though they’re, as you say, thousands of miles away and you just, you just pick it up and you feel it. You don’t have to carry it, but you feel it. And I will say it does have its disadvantages until I learned to get my ground deep enough and strong enough. I went at one point, I went to a show and it was a live show of music from the 1950. So this was, I mean I must’ve been the youngest person there and I was sitting in the back row and people around me were very excited and I was so thankful I was in the back row because my body was literally being thrown by ways of emotion.

Cara Beckett:                     And fortunately the fellows that I was sitting with was another healer in his ground, has always been very, very strong. And he just reached out and grabbed my hand and I just felt all this energy moving through my body down into the floor. And it was like. So yeah, learning to be a big ground. And if people, if my clients learn to be a big ground as well, all those things that keep you awake at night, all those things that make you nervous and upset, it becomes a lot easier to just let those flow through you and be gone. Interesting. And I had that thought when I was working with you because you were taking a lot on, you were taking kind of, if you will, receiving my pain and my negative emotions and I’m thinking of you. I’m like, well, how is Cara? You know, it just seemed like that was a lot so that there you must have a lot of tools for yourself to keep yourself strong and grounded as you’re doing this very important healing work for other people, for your clients is, it’s, I, I, that’s just tremendous.

Cara Beckett:                     As I work with clients, I generally end up teaching them to make their ground stronger and stronger. So I take on less each time, if that makes sense. And that does. Yes. Yeah. At the beginning it’s like I don’t want anyone to see me. I try not to do in person work. I try not to do a lot of video work because people might be horrified if they see their emotion, for instance, throwing me backwards in their chair. But it’s funny, you know, like a one year old, I’ve got a granddaughter, she just turned one. She’s adorable. The other day she stuck her fingers way back in her mouth and promptly threw up and it meant nothing to her. She just kept on going like. Because if it meant nothing and as adults we go, oh, I must be wrong. Exactly we do. But in my case it’s like I’m that one year old and the body might get thrown around or not because I’ve got to be a better ground. There’s less reaction in me, but it means nothing. So I don’t want people to see it because they’d be horrified. But it means nothing. Literally. It’s like I’m one year old and so.

Debbie DiPietro:               Well it’s very unique but very important work that you’re doing. So thank you and I before we still have time, but I don’t want to forget. If people want to do learn more about what you do and possibly work with you, how would they reach you? I want to know a one our listeners to know how know if there’s a website or a social media platform where, what should people, how can people find you?

Cara Beckett:                     Probably the easiest way is Facebook, Cara Beckett. I don’t think there’s too many of us out there. I also have a group undo the ego on facebook, so if you’re in doubt about which back at checkout the Facebook group, undo the ego. And also this is moving more into the area of Dr Hawkins work. My website is undo the ego.com or rather my main website. I also have a secondary one which I haven’t kept up. You know how it goes. I love a loving self.com.

Debbie DiPietro:               Alright. And I, I know you mentioned this, this David Hawkins, and this is an important part of your training and in the work that you do. So let’s, while we have some time, what is, what is his teachings all about?

Cara Beckett:                     Well, he wrote a book in the early two thousands, late 19 nineties called power vs force, and it was fairly controversial. He used muscle testing, which was the controversial part, to lay out levels of consciousness from zero being dead to 1000 being at the level of Jesus or Buddha, and it’s a lot of rhythmic scales. So a small change on the scale or sometimes called the map or the levels of consciousness makes a big difference. Now, as part of his teachings, he also talks about how to let go of the ego, that it’s the ego that makes us unhappy. It’s the ego that’s running those programs that keep people awake at night. It’s the ego that’s in our head. It’s the ego that does this knee jerk reaction. And I just found that so inspirational, so, so helpful. I’ve never heard of enlightenment until I read his work and as soon as I

Cara Beckett:                     saw that I’d have to take that back, but I won’t go into the details on that. As soon as I heard about enlightenment, I just had to do something further with it and when I found his work, it was like, okay, here’s a pathway that I can follow and he’s put out quite a body of work and while he always regarded his map, but the levels of consciousness as his most important work along with the idea that you can muscle test and find out the good in something. For me it was the idea, the whole concept that we have an ego of being in our head and that that’s what’s been running things and it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a better way, and then from that I was able to find the better way, which was the work I’ve done with sort of synergy and Magic that led into my own work here. So I do recommend reading his work. It’s not for everybody. A lot of his books are very difficult to read. I have to say that it’s just, I found them so incredibly helpful.

Cara Beckett:                     Okay, well we’re going to run out of time. . I just got the few minute warning here, but you know, this idea of enlightenment or even just removing, it’s harder to remove the ego but at least not have the ego run our lives and how that mind that monkey mind always going and, and you know that that just sounds so lovely. If I, if for for many of us who, you know, we live busy lives and there’s a lot of anxiety and stress that goes on for most of us on a daily basis. What can we, for the late video, most of us out there are really is advanced in, into this stuff like you are, but just for, for, for just a regular everyday person. Is there something you can advise us to do too? I know we mentioned meditation early in the conversation, you know, enlightenment. Is that something? And now we’re at. We have two minutes left, so maybe just a few sentences of, you know, what we can do if we wanted to explore this further,

Cara Beckett:                     well, the first thing I would do is say, learn to go into your body because that seems to be the fastest way of getting out of your head. Meditation is using your mind to try to force yourself out of your head. I would suggest using your body and from there still the emotions of the body, not to egos, chatter about them and let them go from there.

Debbie DiPietro:               I know we’re almost out of time. When you say use your body, what is that mean exactly? Because I. I’m trying to visualize that for. For our listeners out there, what does that mean is I’ve been going for a walk. Does that mean doing yoga stretches? What is using?

Cara Beckett:                     What do you mean? When you can move your consciousness, which is normally weigh up in your head, normally from your eyes, go through a process of first feeling your shoulders, working your way down, feeling your way down through the body, not visualizing

Cara Beckett:                     It’s feeling. Feel your toes right now. I bet you weren’t even aware of them until I mentioned it.

Debbie DiPietro: That’s true. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Interesting. Well, we will have to have you back.. I think we can spend another half hour or so just talking about this very thing. Very interesting and I wish we had more time with you, Kara. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your beautiful, wonderful energy and in sharing your time with us on this, on this beautiful January day. Thank you. Thank you. And Ladies Out there and and gentlemen, thank you for listening to our show this week. I am Debbie DiPietro. You’re welcome to check out what I’m up to on my website, credits that go.com. I have a couple of interesting online courses right now, including a challenge to try new things for the new year, so check me out at courageously.com and ladies, until next time, remember this, it’s our time to shine. Let’s make it so and courageously go !

 

Alyssa Dver

I Will Never Forget Losing My Mother to Alzheimer’s: A Conversation with Elaine Pereira

 

Within the span of only a few years, author Elaine C. Pereira was forced to cope with the deaths of her sister-in-law, brother, father and the rapid decline of her mom. But the most difficult challenge of these life-changing events was the time spent as a caregiver when her mother struggled with and eventually surrendered to Alzheimer’s.

The experiences, both tragic and funny, and lessons learned during this journey of compassion led Pereira in her early retirement years to write a book on the experience, I Will Never Forget:  A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia.


Pereira is committed to advancing Alzheimer’s awareness and dispelling the myths about dementia through community presentations, speaking engagements and book sales. She donates from each book sold to help support Alzheimer’s research.

 

Thank you for this important conversation, Elaine!

 

Listen on iTunes (and please leave a review)!

Listen on iHeartRadio!

Listen on Spotify!

Alyssa Dver

Courage, Love, and Faith…Coming out LGBTQ in the LDS Community.

The Georgeson family Christmas photo 2018. From L to R: Alan, Marissa, Michelle, Konrad, and Blake.

Recently I had one of the most meaningful (and difficult) interviews on my show. When I was a young stay at home mom in Maple Valley, WA (a bedroom community 45 miles SE of Seattle), I had the good fortune of having Michelle Georgeson and her family move into the brand new home next door to us. When I first met Michelle, we both had toddlers (my Stephen and her Konrad).  She was not working either (at least outside of the home) and we immediately bonded. We both had our second children around the same time (my daughter Aimee and her son Blake). Blake was literally the “boy next door” and Aimee’s first and closest playmate for the first few years of their lives.

I invited Michelle and Blake to come on our show, Courageously Go! because this past year has been a very challenging year for the Georgeson family to say the least. One year ago at age 20, Blake came out as LGBTQ – meaning Blake identifies more with being a female than a male. This would be tough news for any parent (even among the most loving and accepting ones as I know Michelle and Alan to be)- but what most of you don’t know is that the Georgesons are life-long faithful members of  the conservative LDS, Mormons, or the Church of the Latter-Day Saints community.

I originally had invited just Michelle and then we got to talking and thought if Blake would like to join in, she was most certainly welcome to do so. She courageously agreed to participate in this interview.

You may listen to our conversation here on Spreaker:

Or, you can listen to the episode on iHeartRadio, iTunes, Spotify, and many other outlets.

Michelle and Blake: I would like to thank you for your courage to share your story with all of us. I love you both and your whole family so much. No doubt, you have many challenges ahead of you but I know that with the love you have for one another, God, and the supportive community you are blessed  with your church you will figure this out. I am confident that once this story gets out you will  also receive an outpouring of love and support from our global community as well.

I love you.

Debbie

If you would like to read the current official stance on the issue of being  Mormon and Gay I found this post on the website of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints.

We welcome your comments. I know Michelle and Blake would love to hear from all of you.

Blake back at school after the holidays at Central Washington University. We wish you a great semester!

For those of you who would prefer to read our conversation, here is the transcribed text:

Debbie DiPietro:               (music) Welcome to Courageously Go! where we will venture into places we’ve been afraid to go. Women of the world, we are going to start a movement towards courage. Hello, everyone. I’m Debbie DiPietro. Welcome to Courageously Go!

Debbie DiPietro:               I am really interested in having a global conversation about courage. Why are we doing this? It’s because I believe that when we live from our hearts by choosing courage, the life of our dreams and a better world for all are truly possible. No matter our age or circumstances, we never need to feel stuck or alone.

Debbie DiPietro:               We have our central truths here, which are as follows: I choose courage. I use my voice. I embrace the new. I welcome challenge. I continue to grow. I am a woman of action. I courageously go. And if any of these statements resonate with you, you are most certainly in the right place and I’m thrilled that you all are here with me today.

Debbie DiPietro:               And just a very quick update if you visit my website courageouslygo.com. With the new year starting, we have a very special challenge for all of you. When you’re on my website, click on the tab ‘the challenge’ and I have a very special challenge for all of us. For 21 days, we’re going to do something new, and use the code ‘courage’ and you’ll have a special discount. So go check the website out.

Debbie DiPietro:               And now I’m very excited about bringing on two special guests that are very near and dear to me, and we’re going to share a story with all of you today here on this show. And the story really starts back in the mid-90s when I was a young mom, and my husband and I … This was before my daughter was even born, and we had our son Stephen who was just a toddler. And we purchased a starter home in a cute, modest middle-class neighborhood in Maple Valley, Washington, which is a bedroom community of Seattle, and we purchased a nice little house with an undeveloped lot to the west of us. So it was nice. I could look out my kitchen window and I had privacy, and there was just a nice lot with blackberry bushes and trees.

Debbie DiPietro:               Well, of course developers came along and bulldozed this lot, and for several months, we got to watch a home get built. And I’m tepidly wondering who’s going to move in next door to us. Who’s going to move in? It’s pretty close quarters. I hope I like the people who move into this house. Well, sure enough, the person and the family that ended up moving into this house to this day remains my best friends, and the mom and wife of the house is truly a sister of mine, Michelle Georgeson. And from the moment that we met, she had little Conrad, who’s my son’s age, and then we had our babies Aimee and Blake right around the same time.

Debbie DiPietro:               And she was my very conservative Mormon girlfriend, very grounded and mature, and I was kind of her little bit of a wacky liberal Jewish girlfriend Debbie, but despite our differences, we just clicked like sisters in love. And this is the topic that Michelle and Blake really wanted to focus on as we have our talk here on the show, that let all things be done in love. And despite our differences, we became sisters and we looked out for one another’s kids. And Blake was my daughter’s very first little babyhood friend and they played together, and her kids are like my kids and my kids are like her kids. And so I just wanted to give you a little background on that.

Debbie DiPietro:               The Georgesons family, they’ve been their whole life very connected and active in their Church of the Latter Day Saints community there. And Michelle has done various volunteer work all of her life through the church, and Alan and their kids as well. Blake grew up in the church. Blake became a black belt in Tai Kwan Do and she was an Eagle Scout, and she’s now 20 years old and a college student.

Debbie DiPietro:               And we’re going to turn this over now to Michelle and Blake. They wish to share with us their past year. It’s really just been exactly a year now since Blake came out as transgender. And to say the least, it’s not been an easy year for their family, and they’ve been so courageous and have agreed to join me here on the show to share their story. So Michelle and Blake, welcome to Courageously Go!

Michelle:                             Thank you, Debbie.

Blake:                                    Hello.

Michelle:                             It’s nice to talk with you this morning.

Debbie DiPietro:               It is, and I’m really thankful to have you both. And initially, we were just going to have just Michelle on, but Blake, you’re stepping it up here and being brave and joining your mom here. So why don’t we go ahead and jump in? It’s not a super long show and I want to be sure we give you guys time to share with us your story.

Debbie DiPietro:               So about a year ago, what happened? How did this happen?

Michelle:                             Well, I noticed last year when Blake came home from college for Thanksgiving that she was extremely depressed, and I was very concerned about that. And it was just a quick trip, and so we didn’t really have time to go see a doctor. And so I just said, “Let’s just give it a month. When you come back from college, we’ll go see a doctor and make sure that you can get antidepressants.”

Michelle:                             And this is my viewpoint so Blake was going through a lot more than that, but when Blake came home for Christmas on December 19th, she came out to me. And I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know that this was what she was going to tell me, and it was very emotional and I was very concerned for her health and her mental state. And I basically just wrapped her up in a blanket, told her I loved her, and just held her while she cried. And it was a very tender, touching moment that I think if I can share with most parents, if they ever have a child that comes out, that’s the number one thing they need to do is just love them. And I’ve always loved Blake so it wasn’t like it was uncomfortable because we’ve always been really close, and so I felt that if Blake knew that she was loved that we could be okay.

Michelle:                             And since a year ago, life has changed quite a bit, but still the foundation of what we’ve gone through has always been through love and open communication. I don’t know what your view of that is, Blake. Your end might be a different than mine.

Blake:                                    Well, so I guess a year ago and a little bit more is when I realized I was trans. And during the time I was going to Utah State University, I was studying hard and I had just started a new semester. But as soon as I started the new semester, I kind of had a hunch that I wasn’t going to finish it because I just was kind of reaching a point where I really had to tell someone. I really had to make the jump and just do what I know I needed to do.

Blake:                                    So when my mom came to visit me for lunch, I just kind of said I wanted to go home because I just wasn’t really feeling good in Utah. And so she just kind of took me home and like she said, she just kind of wrapped me up and loved me, and it was a really great time. I felt really safe with her, and she made that experience the best it could have been because it was really hard for me at that time. So it’s been a year now.

Michelle:                             What a difference a year makes. I know.

Blake:                                    Yeah, and it’s been getting a lot better each day, so.

Debbie DiPietro:               Well, you’re certainly blessed, and I can attest to this, Blake. You’re certainly blessed with very loving and grounded and supportive parents.

Blake:                                    Definitely.

Debbie DiPietro:               Let me ask you this. Yes, is this something you’ve been … Had you been struggling with this for a long time, Blake, or-

Blake:                                    Yeah. I’ve always had these feelings that I just kind of … I didn’t really understand my feelings, and they didn’t seem normal and fit with everything I was being told in the world. I didn’t know what the feelings were and I couldn’t articulate them very well. And just over time, I ended up getting really good at repressing and bottling up my emotions and just kind of not giving myself the satisfaction of letting my emotions really out and showing people how I feel. So over time, that just kind of weighed on me and I just had to do it.

Debbie DiPietro:               Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I guess when you’re away from home and in college, it all kind of came to a head for you, it sounds like.

Blake:                                    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Debbie DiPietro:               Yeah. Well, Michelle, so Blake’s home and I remember you and I … this was some months ago, maybe in the summertime. Maybe about six months ago, I remember I was at a conference and we kind of touched base. Do you remember that talk?

Michelle:                             Yeah.

Debbie DiPietro:               I think we had a couple of talks. I know you definitely had your challenges with this, and so maybe you could share with our audience just some of the challenges that you had and just maybe share with us your experience if you can go back a little bit.

Michelle:                             Sure. So at the beginning, it was all about just surviving day to day. As a parent, you want your kid to be happy and safe and productive no matter if they’re trans or not, and that was my main focus was to get Blake help. So we got Blake a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a doctor that can help her with her hormone levels. She started HRT. In our religion, the body is very important and we’re supposed to treat it with care and love, and I think that’s the same with mental health. We needed to make sure that Blake was happy inside and out, and as Blake has transitioned to the more female, I see a happier, brighter, lighter 20 year old.

Michelle:                             And Blake as a child was always very fun and loving, and then when Blake hit puberty, Blake was more and more quiet as the years went on. And I didn’t know Blake was suppressing so much but in my mind, I was like, “Why is Blake so quiet? Blake won’t share anything,” and was always a good student and always had a girlfriend. No signs whatsoever. People like to ask me, “Did you know?” I had no clue. I think most people that knew Blake had no clue because Blake could suppress it so well. I think a lot of LGBT kids can suppress and hide a lot of how they feel to fit in, which is a very lonely place to be.

Michelle:                             And I myself joined a private Facebook page that supports Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints parents with LGBTQ kids, and that has been a huge support channel that I wasn’t alone because not only did I have to make sure Blake was okay, my husband and I were kind of losing it in the process of, “How do we balance out our faith and our religion that we have a deep testimony and belief of God and then to have a child that says, ‘Well, I’m not in the right body’ and that kind of contradicts a lot of what our religion’s about?” And so I’ve had to have a lot of conversations with my Heavenly Father about how can I fit both into my world, my family, because I have had too many deeply spiritual experiences that I know that my religion is right, and so I needed to make sure I could fit that what into what Blake was going through.

Michelle:                             And pretty much what it came down to was love, and I follow Christ’s teachings. That’s what Christ was all about. Christ visited all different kinds of people, and most of the people that Christ visited were people that other people didn’t want to take care of. And I feel like in my church, I’ve been very open about it. I have a wonderful bishop who asked me to give a talk about it. I’ve had a state president who I’ve met with that has counseled my husband and I, and a lot of what they had asked … Instead of me going to them for counsel, what they would say to me was, “Teach me. What can we do better? What can we learn from your experience?” And it’s all so new, especially talking about it at our church.

Michelle:                             So me just being an advocate and being open I think has opened up a lot of doors and conversations, and I think things that might seem scary aren’t so scary if you’re knowledgeable and loving and not forcing your ideas or opinions but more just having conversations and letting people ask questions. And they’re like, “Is this offensive?” I’m like, “No.” I don’t get offended. I want to talk about it. I want to make sure if there are other kids in our church or in our neighborhood or community that they know that they can come to the church and house and be safe and know that there’s someone that’s going to be their ally.

Michelle:                             That’s kind of been what I’ve been trying to do, but that’s taken a full year to come to pass. And I still have many years to learn, but I just feel like there were definitely times when I closed the bedroom door and cried my heart out. There were times where I just said, “This is too hard.” There were times where I got angry. I mean, all of the things you … because some people think, “Well, did your son die?” And I’m like, “I don’t really think of Blake as dead.” That just sounds so horrible to me. To me, Blake’s becoming who Blake always was supposed to be. And that’s wonderful as a parent to see your child figure of who they are and then express that. So I just feel like this is just the better, improved version of Blake.

Debbie DiPietro:               There are so many layers here. It’s hard, I mean, I think for any of us to really … I think we all just … I’m overflowing with compassion and I just can’t even imagine, really, Michelle and Blake, what you guys have gone through this past year. And many of us don’t really know a lot about your church and the Church of Latter Day Saints. Maybe just give us a little bit of background so it gives us an idea, who are not familiar with your church, really what you’re maybe possibly up against. And I’m really glad to hear your local church community there is supportive of you now, but does the church have an official doctrine or do they have a statement about being homosexual, about being trans? What is the church saying about this? And that way we know what you’re dealing with.

Michelle:                             Sure. Well, if you go on lds.org, there’s an actual official statement, but just off the top of my head, basically, if you are same sex attracted, homosexual, any of those things, that’s not a sin. They know that’s not a sin. They know that you’re not choosing it. They know that you’re born that way. So I think that’s kind of a misconception. People think that Latter Day Saints think, “Oh, you’re just choosing this lifestyle.” That is not true. They definitely recognize that you’re born this way. They consider it a sin when you act upon it sexually, and that’s with someone who’s straight or gay. Basically, any kind of sexual interaction would be only in marriage, and they also oppose same sex marriage.

Michelle:                             So that leaves a lot of our LGBT folks kind of out of the loop like, “Where do I fit in?” And that’s definitely something that I struggle with, and I’ve mentioned that to my leaders. My testimony isn’t based on that one line. My testimony is based on thousands of other things, and the gay marriage is something that I just have to kind of put on a shelf. I’m going to have to hold off on that, but my whole testimony is not based on that one line. So that’s the church’s stance.

Debbie DiPietro:               And when you say ‘testimony’, what do you mean by that?

Michelle:                             My testimony is based on my belief that the Book of Mormon is true, and we also believe that the Bible is true. And my testimony is based on that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we have a prophet today that speaks with God, which is President Nelson.

Debbie DiPietro:               Okay. And Blake, how are you doing with the church? It sounds like you have a lot of good support there at home. Is the church still a part of your life? Maybe we can hear it from your side.

Blake:                                    All right. Well, the church is still pretty relevant. I mean, I live in a church-oriented home. My family is Mormon, and it’s still pretty relevant. I’m actually going to go to church this Sunday because my friend Zach is coming from his two year mission so I’m going to see him. And overall, I don’t know. I just see my parents do it. I don’t know, really. It’s kind of still there.

Michelle:                             I asked Blake once if it bothered her if I went to church because I know that some of my friends that have LGBT kids, their kids make their parents feel horrible for supporting a church that’s so against them. And Blake said it was fine, and I feel like I allow Blake to be who Blake is and Blake allows me to be who I am, and that still can happen in the same home.

Michelle:                             It’s not like the church is so against gay people that they’re not allowed to come to church. I think it’s hard to figure out, “How does this all work?” And I don’t know how it all works. I have no idea how it all works, but I know that it works a lot better when people are loved and supported and allowed to come anywhere with open arms, whether it’s inside the church building or inside our home. And nothing’s ever going to change or be different or have a different viewpoint if we don’t allow all of that to come out.

Michelle:                             And so with Blake coming to church on Sunday and Blake’s really good friend … They were best friends growing up. Zach’s going to be coming home from his mission. He’s going to be giving a homecoming talk, and Blake hasn’t seen Zach in two years and Blake’s really excited to go. And I just think that shows a lot about our congregation, that they will love Blake walking in that door. It won’t matter to them that Blake’s there. If anything, they’re going to love it. And who knows if there’s another little boy or girl in the congregation that might look to Blake and be like, “Wow. Okay, you can still have a great life and be trans.”

Michelle:                             And I think that because I’ve been so open about it at church, when Blake comes to church, it’s not going to be a big moment. It’s just going to be like, “Oh, hey. There’s the Georgesons sitting on the same row they’ve sat on for 20 years.” This is just where we sit. People know us, and I have wonderful friends. I have a wonderful family.

Michelle:                             Not all my family has been real great about it. Same with my husband’s family, but they were the kind of people that just … We’re all on different paths of how we’re going to come to terms with it. But for the majority, my mom, my siblings, and my husband’s parents, all wonderful, wonderful people, and it’s been quite the journey. If I could tell my year ago self this is where I’d be a year from now, I would have never guessed it as I was sitting at the hospital crying, so.

Debbie DiPietro:               Well, it certainly sounds-

Michelle:                             There is hope.

Debbie DiPietro:               Yes, you certainly sound a lot more accepting or more at peace, I guess, with this than when I talked to you last summer, I would say.

Michelle:                             Yeah, totally.

Debbie DiPietro:               Right? And if I’m hearing this correctly, this Sunday when comes to church to see Zach, is that the first time Blake’s gone to church in a while? That’s what it sounds like, but I just want to clarify.

Blake:                                    It will be the first time I’m going to sacrament meeting. I did go to this Christmas creche recently, which is just a Nativity display and it’s more for just fun. But Sunday, I’m going to Church, and I also bought a dress to go. So hopefully, I won’t steal the attention away from Zach.

Debbie DiPietro:               This is a big deal. How are you feeling about it?

Blake:                                    I’m excited and I’m also a little nervous going back, and all my memories might come back. And I don’t know. People might look at me, but it’s like I’ll get to be myself, and I’m not worried about … I know I’m going to enjoy it and I’m going to enjoy seeing Zach again. I don’t think he’ll mind that his friend changed into a she, but-

Debbie DiPietro:               You’re such an inspiration, Blake.

Blake:                                    Thank you.

Debbie DiPietro:               I’m excited for you. I mean, I can imagine if there was something about me that I would have to suppress all my life and to finally just sort of … It must feel like an enormous weight or burden off of you. Do you feel lighter in some ways?

Blake:                                    Yeah, definitely. I feel like the changes in the past year have been just crazy. I feel like I’m just way more open and my emotions come out, and I don’t know. I feel a lot more normal too.

Debbie DiPietro:               Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, I wish you guys weren’t … Go ahead. Go ahead. I’m sorry to interrupt you.

Blake:                                    Oh, I don’t know. I guess I was really emotionally pent up, and now that I’m feeling emotions and letting it out, I’ve actually started to make music and just kind of use that as an artistic output to sort of just send a message, I guess, and just sort of have fun with it. Yeah.

Debbie DiPietro:               Okay.

Michelle:                             Some of the things I’ve noticed that Blake has done differently: Blake’s been creating a lot of music. Art is a great way to heal, and Blake’s never made music but Blake’s creating wonderful pieces. And Blake also loves children. Children have always loved Blake, and Blake had a summer job working at a daycare and the kids loved her.

Michelle:                             A couple of the kids were around our neighborhood, and they would come and knock on the door and ask if Blake could play. It was just so sweet, and it was so healthy for Blake to be around kids because they didn’t see a boy or a girl. They would say, “Are you a boy or a girl?” And Blake was like, “Well, I’m a boy but I feel like a girl inside.” And they would be like, “Oh, okay. Well, do you want to come play with me?” There was no questioning after that. Some of the parents were a little freaked out, but the kids could have cared less.

Debbie DiPietro:               Right. Yeah, kids are great.

Michelle:                             So that was a really great experience. Yeah.

Debbie DiPietro:               Little kids can be great. They’re just real. They’re just authentic. They’re no judgment. They’re just real. They’re just in the moment. They’re in the present, right?

Michelle:                             Definitely.

Debbie DiPietro:               Well, while I’m thinking of it, because I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of people out there that maybe are in a similar situation as you but they don’t know where to turn, maybe you could share with us some resources, some websites? Families, whether they’re in the Church of the Latter Day Saints or not, but just people with children that are struggling with this issue, where have you found that’s been helpful? And maybe you could pass that along to our audience.

Michelle:                             Sure. So the Facebook page, it’s a private Facebook page, but if you are LDS and have an LGBT child, you can join, and it’s called ‘I’ll Walk with You’. And then there’s a couple of other support groups, Affirmation and Mama Dragons. I haven’t been a part of those ones. And then the fourth one that I am a part of is North Star, and that’s also a LDS-supportive Facebook page and they’re out of Salt Lake.

Michelle:                             And in Seattle, we’re lucky to live in a place where there’s a lot of resources, and Blake went to a place called Lambert House in Seattle that was kind of like … Well, how would you describe Lambert House, Blake?

Blake:                                    It’s a [crosstalk 00:28:00].

Michelle:                             A place where you can go and-

Blake:                                    Yeah, it’s a place in Seattle. It’s kind of in a cool old house and it’s completely run off donations, and they have free dinner and kind of just a family vibe to it.

Michelle:                             There’s pool tables.

Debbie DiPietro:               Sounds nice.

Blake:                                    Yeah, everyone’s just hanging out and having fun, and there’s volunteers who come in and literally just make dinner for us and just make us feel at home. And it’s a lot of people’s actual home because they do help with homeless people, and a lot of LGBT kids get kicked out or end up being homeless. So they come here to Lambert, and it kind of gives them an opportunity again to reach out and meet people and just kind of start their life without worry. Yeah.

Debbie DiPietro:               Okay. Well, when this is out, I’ll put together on my own website … I’ll be sure I get from the both of you all of the names of these Facebook groups and any websites you find, and we’ll share that on my website too so people can get that sort of sources.

Blake:                                    Oh, wonderful, because the other one I was thinking of was Encircle, and they’re out of Provo.

Debbie DiPietro:               Okay. We’ll do that.

Blake:                                    That’d be great.

Debbie DiPietro:               That was a lot of great resources, so we’ll be sure to do that. And just real quick because we’re going to run out of time now, Blake, what are your plans right now? Are you staying there in Washington? Are you going back to school in Utah? What are your plans?

Blake:                                    Well, I did two years in Utah for computer science, and so now I’m going to Central Washington and I’m going to finish my two years in computer science. Hopefully, it’ll only take two years. It might take two and a half or three. I’m going to go-

Michelle:                             So Blake will start college in a couple of weeks.

Debbie DiPietro:               And where is Central Washington located?

Blake:                                    Yeah, January 1st.

Debbie DiPietro:               Where is that?

Michelle:                             [crosstalk 00:30:03] in Ellensburg.

Debbie DiPietro:               Oh, that’s right. I guess I knew that. Okay, and does Blake have to live there at school or will she be able to commute? That’s a ways away, isn’t it?

Michelle:                             Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s about an hour and a half away.

Blake:                                    I’m going to live there.

Michelle:                             Yeah, it’s new. Blake’s been home a year, has been transitioning and working through a lot of things this past year. And so now it’s been exactly a year and Blake’s going to go back to college and be who she wants to be, and I’m excited. I know she’s a little nervous, but I thought that she did so well in college repressing things. I can only imagine what’s going to happen with her in school not having to repress. She’s going to just do great.

Debbie DiPietro:               Aww. Well, I’m excited for you, Blake.

Blake:                                    Thank you.

Debbie DiPietro:               Okay. We’re out of time. I wish I wasn’t here in Florida and you guys weren’t there in Washington. I’d give you both a big old hug if I could, and I thank you so much for joining us today. You both took a lot of courage, especially you, Blake, to be here. I love you both so dearly, and thank you so much.

Michelle:                             Oh, I love you, Debbie. It’s great to see you go from your blogging to your books that have been published and now your podcast. It’s just been wonderful to see you becoming the person you have always meant to be too.

Debbie DiPietro:               Yay. That’s what we’re-

Michelle:                             Always a great, great friend.

Debbie DiPietro:               Thank you. It’s what we’re meant to do, right? I think that’s what God would want for all of us, right? To be who we’re supposed to be in this life.

Debbie DiPietro:               So anyway, I need to sign us off.

Michelle:                             All right. Love you.

Debbie DiPietro:               Oh, right. Love you both.

Debbie DiPietro:               All right, everyone. Thank you for joining us, and I’m Debbie DiPietro. Again, you can visit my website at courageouslygo.com. I have a special challenge right now. You can find out more about it on my website.

Debbie DiPietro:               So ladies, until next time, remember this. It’s our time to shine. Let’s make it so and courageously go.

Some resources and links that Michelle and Blake would like to share with you:

http://encircletogether.org

http://Illwalkwithyou.org

http://mormonandgay.lds.org/

http://Lamberthouse.org

http://listenlearnandlove.org

Alyssa Dver

50 Shades of Life: A Conversation with Mai Vu

Recently I had my friend Mai Vu on the show. Mai and I met a couple of years ago while we both were attending a public speaking training session in Largo, Florida together. Mai is truly one of the most authentic and courageous women I know. I know you will enjoy her!

Best-selling author of The Divorced Mom’s Guide to Dating, and international speaker on various topics like: “Are You Dating Like a Peasant…begging for love and attention instead of attracting the love that is rightfully yours”? Mai Vu has been featured on CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, in Entrepreneur Magazine, Wealthy Women Magazine, and Mr.Dad podcast, just to name a few. Mai is changing how women across the world work, love, and lead. A master coach and relationship lifestyle expert, Mai has worked with over 2000 clients worldwide and has trained over 1000 life coaches through two international coaching training schools.
Mai believes that relationship is key in everything we do or want in life. Teaching people her 3Ps Concept and Relationship Building skills are her superpower.

Thank you, Mai, for sharing your time and wisdom with us! Learn more about how you can work with Mai on her website: MaiVuCoach.com . She also has a great Facebook community you join in on called Bold Brave Women.

You can listen to our conversation here:

You may also listen in on iTunes!