how to spark transformation

Aloha Dear One, 

If you’re anything like me, you want to evolve beyond your fears and elevate the space around you. Being an active participant in my healing journey to live an extraordinary life of everyday enlightenment requires daily practices. One of these is foundational to wellbeing: keeping a journal.

Noticing the story we tell ourselves, and being courageous enough to write a new ending to this chapter of life allow us to live a good life and be of maximum service to others.

We change in here to ignite out there.

We can spark transformation by cultivating a writing practice. 

Here’s a few highlights from an article called Journal Writing as a Powerful Adjunct to Therapy by Kathleen Adams. M.A., LPC to inspire us all to reimagine our relationship with writing:

10 Reasons Why (journal writing is a powerful adjunct to therapy)

One. Immediacy and Availability. A journal teaches containment, present-centeredness, and self-direction. The journal truly is “life’s companion.”

Two. Catharsis. It’s vitally important to have a place to scream, rant, rave, ventilate and express without fear of judgment or reprisal.

Three. Object Constancy. The relationship with the journal can become a living metaphor for the relationship with self, and from there, the relationship with others. 

Four. Repetition. One of the most important therapeutic tasks for people in pain is to break the silence and tell the story.

Five. Reality Check. It is true that writing it down makes it much more difficult to continue a pattern of denial.

Six. Self-Pacing. The self-pacing aspects of the journal can become a way of regulating and monitoring the life process, of learning balance and choice-making and natural consequences.

Seven. Communication. The journal becomes a forum, a testing ground for ideas, opinions, awarenesses, fears, and insights that are moving from the pre-verbal to the verbal realm.

Eight. Self-Esteem. The very act of journal writing, in which thought is put into tangible expression, is a life-affirming celebration of self: I write, therefore I am. I exist. I have a voice. It can be heard.

Nine. Clarity and Commitment. The process of reflective writing has a cumulative effect; after weeks or months of journaling, one may discover, I no longer have to be a victim.

Ten. A Witness to Healing. The journal is a wonderful witness, it provides an ongoing trail map and trip log of the journey of healing.

There is no right or wrong way to journal. Reply and tell me about your practice now.

Marital Bliss

  1. twenty-two years 
    of wedded bliss
    a green-gold day
    with a hand-fasting.

the silk scarf–
not too tight, not too loose.

a Pacific Northwest

in Chetzemoka Park 
in a cathedral of cedars.
rimmed by salt water majesty,
bald eagles overhead

we flipped a coin,

to see who went first.
to share
hand-crafted vows.

i kid you not–
it landed on edge

2. i don’t recall–

who went first
or what we ate
or how much contra-
dancing we did. 

i can’t forget 

swirling and twirling
–diastole and sistole–
in passion’s embrace.
as we did the dance
of meet, mate, procreate.

laughing and crying,
thru living and dying,
heaving and trying,
moving and thriving,

we keep on keeping on.

on edge
we teeter
and totter

through hills of grief…
at times beyond belief
the boys maturing,
the parents dying,
the lines defining

smiles and limits.

3. each day brings 
renewed faith
in sunrise and
a delicious cup of
fresh brew from you.

thank you, boo

thou energies ebb
and energies flow,

our tender hearts
and find the

to each

to the power of breath.
to the presence of now.
to surrender to gravity.

the playful Spirit…


to be loving, 
even when I don’t feel it.

to disappoint others,
but no longer mySelf.

to gratefully ground,
in the eye of the storm.

this perpetual tumult
safety and shelter
in the stormy waves
this gig called life.

wherever we go…
come home to Self

forgive everyone,
for everything,

including Self.

finding patience with my impatience~

this is for-giving
letting go of the idea
of ever having a different past.

4. surrender to win
cease fighting.

striving leads to strife,

instead, we thrive on…

sober creative rhythms


as I’m sitting here, experiencing tight hips
pondering persistent persnickety pain
no longer cussing on my cushion
my tolerance for discomfort expanding including heavy neck
invariably inviting greater pleasure, too, below the head

running and walking the track at sunrise
indeed aware that motion is lotion
the inner massage
so even when don’t feel like doing it
cultivate drive
devote to health

this births discipline
fuels creative fire

where’d like to be is feeling as good as yesterday
mother’s day,

breaking a 38-hour family

fast with a delicious meal
quality time

of family love

one thing can help: pace
feelin’ good doesn’t mean need overextend
been there, done that, no more

what matters most is that i write to heal
as a sober creative woman of integrity
i send this telegraph out to the Universe
God hears it
Goddess knows it
Grace bestows it(self)

one thing i appreciate is the message from my therapist,
“Amy you get to put good things into your body.”
I almost cried.

wish i’d heard it way back when
grateful i heard it now…
finally i get to pass it along

you get to put good things in your body

it means a fast?
from food?
from media?
from work?


it means putting

good motion in your day
now i pause and go

mail a birthday card to a beloved friend
better than text

sober creative nurturance

  1. it’s important to go fallow sometimes
    to be in the pause
    to rest and recalibrate to a new way of being

    recent months of becoming crone
    the elder in the household
    one of the wise ones riding menopausal waves
  2. do you know your ideal mothering traits?
    mine include patience, nudging to take risks, silence-breaking
    i’ve learned how to give myself these…

    as a child there were powerful creative women drowning in alcohol
    unable to set boundaries, to speak for what they needed
    to follow their heart’s desire

    running in the woods, swimming in the lake, dreaming with clouds
    these pockets of joy in an atmosphere of divorce, drinking and chronic doing
    cigarettes and cigars the playmates of my parents

    they provided what they could, coated in layers of fear
    i wanted to be able to make a mess, to be creative, to care less
    but i was told to be tidy, to clean up after others, to be safe

  3. i was afraid
    i was locked up inside
    dwelling in an overactive mind

    excelling at academics
    earning scholarships and praise all-the-while
    drinking alcoholically & seeding depression

    my maternal grandmother drank to death
    her liver failed her due to scarring and cirrhosis
    she died on mother’s day when i was 14

    i found recovery from my own disease 
    of drinking alcoholically
    nearly a decade later

    it runs in the family roots, my, mom, too
    danced dangerously with drink
    sober or not, i know not which, she died alone
  4. today i reflect
    on the gifts of being 
    a sober creative woman of integrity

    mothering two amazing children
    loving a hubby who just lost his parents
    bearing witness to the hardest year of his life

    menopause brings me closer to truth
    direct connect with the Divine
    Mother Earth guides me and is nudging me 

5. i’m writing more
i’m pausing more, painting more, paddling more
i’m offering more time in serving my clients

revive and reveal
our true nature

live an extraordinary life

no matter your past, trauma can thaw
love yourself as your own nurturing creative mother
and enjoy relational health with Self, Other, Spirit

sending you virtual hugs and creative blessings

Amy Elizabeth (a good enough mother)

Amy Elizabeth Gordon, M.A.
Survivor & Thriver & Giver & Receiver
call/email for a nudge for greater relational health

passionately guiding couples and families
Serving Hawai’i Island and beyond
in-person or on-line

2-6 day retreats available now
5 openings through July

Breaking the myth (of a perfect marriage)

As a couples counselor, I expect myself to have a perfect marriage. This puts undue pressure on us. It’s time to get right sized. I’m not anywhere close to being, thinking, acting, feeling, or doing a perfect job. I look in the mirror and I see wrinkles and flab. I walked down the street five minutes later, and I feel fit and sexy. 

I show up lovingly and assertively when my husband is in the hospital (with his fourth kidney stone). I am elated. Feeling spiritually fit. Then I proceeded to tell him all the ways I’m fit and that instead of dwelling in anger toward him, I’m choosing to take the higher road. Perhaps next time I want to just take the higher road without articulation. He would prefer that also. And in fact, he told me as such. I get to listen. He does tell me what he wants and needs. I can be clear in my reply. I cannot always do it, but I can acknowledge the validity of his requests.

Begin, Again, Here

This is where to begin. Mirror back what you hear your partner wants. If they don’t share, you can ask. What would you like me to do or say right now? Then offer it up, three times, to encourage it to soak in fully.

Later that day, I’m stroking my ego that I can puzzle quietly next to him while he naps on the couch, heavily medicated, and an hour later, I’m judging that he is not hydrating “enough” or screening all his pee to catch the 6 mm stone. It’s not my body. Not my business. How do I forget this? 

Interestingly, I’m considering being honest with my couples tomorrow. Telling them that marriage is hard. Do you want to chance to heal – to grow – to transform multigenerational trauma? Then wake up. Do this. Now. Advocate for your partner. Find out what they want/need and go there. I dare you. 

Start with Yourself

And here’s the kicker, before you can do that, you must advocate wildly for yourself. Therefore, trust yourself to no longer abandon yourself. Ask yourself, what do I hunger for, what do I need, what does my heart desire. And courageously share it with your beloved. We are not mind-readers.

You Matter.

Your Relationships Matter.

My Daily Practices in a Life of Serenity


In the past, my life was riddled with active addictions, misunderstandings, and intense self-judgment. I had difficulty looking in the mirror without criticism, acknowledging what was enough, and coming to terms with the illusion of control. I turned to drinking, drugs and dudes to escape from the pain of Suffer. This only led to even greater Suffer.

Now, I enjoy the fruits of a well-examined extraordinary life of Serenity: sobriety from alcoholism, healthy assertive communication, and radical self-care. Here’s a peak at how I do it:

The three c’s create an extraordinary life of Serenity:




Connection is necessary for my top value: Serenity. Serenity is the opposite of addiction. Serenity is comfort in my skin, clarity in my mind, and calm in my heart. I make a daily practice to connect with a sense of ease. Recovery meetings, true friendships, heartfelt hugs with my beloveds. These all happen. Regularly. This is proper use of my will. Connection with truth and beauty happens with a flower outside.

Communication is essential for connection and Serenity. Even if I’m on a 10-day silent meditation retreat, my non-verbal communication reflects whether I’m calm in Serenity or caught in Suffer. The inner self-talk impacts my soul’s expression, so a look in the eyes is enough to tell you how I’m doing. The mirror meditation of each morning, rounding the corner and saying, “Hey Buddy” to myself is much easier when I do the first act of Serenity: Smile upon awakening, before feet kiss the earth.

Contemplation is the art of accurate self-examination through communicating with my higher powers. Prayer (yep, the Serenity Prayer is a daily practice), meditation (metta, maitri, lovingkindness) and writing. These all work. I get to use my will to allow space for them to happen.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity

to Accept the things I cannot change

the Courage to change the things I can

and the Wisdom to know the difference

In conclusion, I want to offer a reminder about dialogue. One specific and powerful communicational tool called the Imago Intentional Dialogue helped. Today’s guest blog, from Shambhala Mountain Center (a favorite place of mine for meditation, now called Drala Mountain Center), highlights the power of the Imago Intentional Dialogue.

Metabolizing Grief

keep it real

Grief. Mass grief. Personal waves of it over the last five months. Both in-laws died within 2 weeks of each other last fall. My middle brother died this month. My dream of leading retreats with my husband died (years ago, though we’re still married and working through the pain of loss), I’ve been in denial about much of this.

Pain & Blessings

The pain of unhealed wounds, unmet needs, untreated addictions, all of this touches our lives at some point on this journey, whether we are aware of it or not. I’m aware. I’m moving into acceptance. And from there, I take action.

My husband and I keep it real by meeting each other where we are NOW. I get to learn how to be more patient with his grief process. I get to provide more space. Because, when my impatience meets his procrastination, I basically generate my own suffer.

So now I offer retreats to couples without my husband. I offer free classes at Tutu’s House without my husband. I write to release the pinch of dominant culture without expecting my beloved to co-author the book. I can recognize, as we grow old together, that “we are not me” and for that I am grateful.

I have more blessings in my life than I can say grace over, truly: nearly 30 years of continuous sobriety, nearly 22 years of conscious monogamy and dedicated marriage, and two adorable and brilliant and thriving young men who inspire me to shift the drift to create a more beautiful world my heart endeavors to believe is possible. If I just release the grip. And tenderize daily.