Hi, I'm Gage.  If you've made it this far, you're probably wondering who I am and what I'm all about.  You might be curious if I'm the real deal, or just another one of those new-age-y, woo woo, "just focus on it and it will appear" coaches.  Let me see if I can help you understand me a little bit better. 

- I'm a Soul Centered Professional Coach AND a Co-Active Professional Coachwhich is essentially a long way of saying that I like to make sure that I'm well-trained before working with people. The Co-Active coach in me holds you a naturally creative, resourceful, and whole person who is completely capable of finding your own answers to whatever challenges you face. The Soul Centered coach in me furthermore believes that you/your soul is here for a reason, and my work is about helping you find and express that reason.

- My Masters Degree is in Spiritual Psychology.  I bet you're wondering, What is spiritual psychology?? Great question. My teachers, Drs. Ron & Mary Hulnick (the directors of the University of Santa Monica), have defined it this way:  "Spiritual Psychology is the art and practice of conscious awakening, awakening into the awareness of who we truly are.  And there are three essential questions [that we ask in this practice]:  Who am I?  Why am I here/What is my purpose? How can I make a more meaningful contribution?"  

I really like this answer. And, in my own experience, I'd add that spiritual psychology is also the study and practice of identifying and cultivating the voice of loving wisdom within, healing the parts inside of us that may have been holding us back, and learning how to discern that wise voice from the wounded or scared voices/parts of us within. 

As such, spiritual psychology provides a set of very useful inner tools (mental and emotional technology, one could say) that help us discern our true wisdom and act on that.

- In addition to Spiritual Psychology, I love learning about all kinds of things.  Prior to getting my Masters Degree, I earned my Bachelors in Spanish & Fine Art. I also hold two coaching certifications, a 200-hour yoga teacher certification, and I am qualified to give CPR (should anyone ever need it!). 

- The (long-ish) backstory to why I became a life coach:  When I was in high school, I had disordered eating. I binged on food as a way to help me cope with what I wasn't able to feel or deal with emotionally.

As such, I began to gain weight, which, as a teenage girl in southern California, was excruciating. I felt so much shame, embarrassment, and self-hatred because of how I felt I looked. And to make things worse, I put my poor teenage body through SO many stringent diets (one I remember clearly involved eating nothing but chalky “chocolate” diet pills every other day for a week, while on the “eating” days you could only have the healthiest of foods. It was awful). 

However, the worse part by far of my binge-starvation-binge cycle was my very harsh, very critical inner dialogue:  "Ughhh. You're so fat and disgusting. No one will ever like you. I don't even like you. Why can’t you get your act together? Why can’t you just be skinny like everyone else?  What’s wrong with you?”

I remember so clearly telling myself that while I wasn’t good enough now, when I lost weight (got “skinny”), THEN I’d be happy / get the guy / be popular / have a life.

But, no matter how many starvation diets I put myself on, no matter how much I criticized myself in an effort to change, no matter how many plans I made to change myself from the outside, they never worked. 

At some point after high school, I found an unpresuming book called Overcoming Overeating. This book was quietly revolutionary for me in that it introduced me to the concept of being kind to myself and accepting myself no matter what. Specifically, I remember one chapter talking about cravings. The authors were saying that if you love chocolate milkshakes and just want a chocolate milkshake, rather than depriving and berating yourself for wanting one, to instead give yourself as many chocolate milkshakes as you want - just don't berate yourself. Not berate myself? What???

Now you have to understand this: I had always criticized myself for something. I was either telling myself I was too fat, too shy, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not popular enough, not good enough, etc. (the list was endless). And a that point in my life, I believed that the only way I would ever change was by being strict and demanding with myself, using judgment and criticism as my motivation to change. But the thing was, being critical of myself NEVER helped me get to where I wanted to be. I only grew more depressed and less motivated.

So, for the first time ever, I entertained the idea of being kind to myself. It felt strange and awkward at first, and fake.

But slowly, almost imperceptibly, things inside me began to shift. Very slowly (over many months and years) I began to feel differently toward myself. I began to cultivate a different relationship with myself on the inside. And as a result, my eating habits slowly began to shift, too.

So how is this the backstory for why I decided to become a life coach?

My early challenges with food started me on a 20+ year path of personal growth and inner investigation. I know first-hand what it's like to feel alone, ashamed, isolated, depressed and unsure of how or if I'll ever "get there". I also know what it’s like to be SO self-critical and mean. It can be really, really hard…devastating, in fact. 

And, what I also know is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We don't have to be mean to ourselves in order to effect change our lives (and in fact, it’s much easier when we love ourselves first!).

As Lucille Ball put it, "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."  I can't think of a more true statement. 

I am a life coach now because of my desire to share what I’ve learned along the way of my own path, and to help others live forward into their dreams by loving themselves first. 

- I love nature and nature-based soul work. Seriously.  Being out in nature helps me remember who I REALLY am. As such, I try to get outside (camping, hiking, backpacking) as much as I can. I'm also very into nature-based soul work. In fact, in May of 2014, I enacted my first Vision Fast:  three days and three nights alone in southern Utah, without food, praying for a vision to bring back for my people. Yeah - it's that serious :)

- My coaching philosophy is simple:  I believe that you have all your own best and wisest answers, and my primary job is to help you find them and live them into the world. My job is also about challenging you to stretch beyond what you think is possible for yourself and really go for it.  And to that end, my work is also about helping you take real, accountable actions in service to who you are becoming in the world. 

- And finally, I love birds!  My love of birds began about three years ago, during a major transition in my life.  I found comfort and connection in watching these winged ones, and I still do. Some of my favorite characters from the bird world include birds of prey (Kestrels, Owls, Hawks), Crows, and Pelicans. 

 

A few photos from the wild!

Two of my favorite things: my husband and birds!

Two of my favorite things: my husband and birds!