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The bravest among us are the most brokenhearted. ~Brene´Brown

We risk heartache when we choose to love. The choice to love is the choice to be vulnerable. We simply cannot love without sharing ourselves fully, and that is the definition of vulnerability. We WILL have our hearts broken if we choose this path. We will be rejected and we will experience heartache as we mourn losses due to death, betrayal and misunderstandings. Knowing this risk and choosing love is one of the most courageous steps we will take.

The title quote is my favorite from the training I attended in Texas with The Daring Way™ consultants & leadership team this summer.  Brené guided us through the curriculum that will accompany Rising Strong, her newest book released in August.  There were so many highlights, but this one really stuck with me.

When I speak about courage and bravery in the context of everyday life, I’m not talking about valiant acts of dragon-slaying valor. I’m speaking of the moments we choose to address difficult topics with the ones we love, with a friend or co-worker. That’s where the potential for heartbreak comes in.

What’s worse however, is the choice not to be brave… we stay small, we never speak up, we please or push away. In our drive to be accepted and “keep the peace”, we create the inverse effect… disconnection, isolation and superficiality.  Of course there are no guarantees that our courage will result in what we hoped-for.  In fact, we may actually get our butts kicked.  That’s where Rising Strong comes in with new language and perspective for getting back up after the fall.

The people who love us do so because of our kooky ideas and unique gifts. Those who are open will relish our new ideas, and those who can stand on their own two feet will be inspired and curious. Those are your people!

Be brave: LOVE the quirks – your own and those of your people.
I promise, you won’t be sorry.

Courageously yours,


Link here to a recent Huff Post article on Rising Strong

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New Beginnings for Summer’s End

We’re in the dog days of summer here in New England (though pictured here is my cat, Gypsy). The air is thick and the crickets are performing a beautiful symphony tonight. It feels like the right time to tell you that my practice (Full Circle Coaching) is now simply Joan Shulman. It’s a bit like lifting a veil. There was some safety in hiding behind a catchy name, but my work is evolving and courage is at the heart of my message. So here I am, bringing more of my true identity to you.

I hope you’ll explore the new website where you’ll find fall workshop offerings, information about my coaching services, and a new focus on supporting healing professionals.  I think you can see that my offerings reflect what I truly desire for each of us: a vibrant community with the value that we are beautifully imperfect beings with a common need to be seen and loved for who we are right now.

Coming soon will be a resource library and a listing of my favorite blogs (among other things!). Please get in touch if you have any questions. I also hope you’ll share this with friends, colleagues or clients with whom you feel it will resonate.

Join me in nurturing a movement.
Welcome to my new online home!

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Swept Away

Yesterday was a hot one. I had the day mapped out… get the barn chores done while it was still cool in the morning, go to the nursery to buy the last of my annuals, pot them and do some weeding in the vegetable garden, all before a 2PM client call. It felt doable and enjoyable. I love this time of year!

Here’s how it actually unfolded: Two unexpected work calls, a flat tire on the farm vehicle, and an unexpected visitor. Ok, I got this. I can go with the flow. I finally ran to the nursery where I often wander aimlessly for quite some time. I was a bit perplexed. Why am I not enjoying what I love to do most? Since when do I struggle to make aesthetic choices? Why am I getting impatient with this lovely sales woman? I started to feel that churning in my stomach, so I bought a few things and headed back home.

Clearly, this day had a mind of its’ own. Without an urgent deadline, it can all wait – until later in the day, tomorrow or maybe next week. I know this about myself; when I’m anxious and operating from that “get ’er done” perspective, I lose myself. My creativity switches off, I get stuck in my head and completely lose site of the intended meaning of an activity.

In the early evening I went back out to the porch to sweep the dirt I had left after planting. All was quiet and still except for the birds. A soft breeze blew across my face. Sweep, sweep, sweep. Every crevice between the wooden floorboards appeared needy of attention. Sweep, sweep. The corner cobwebs formed during the winter had collected all sorts of insects and dust. Sweep, sweep. Under the cushions of the porch furniture I found coins and an old receipt. Sweep, sweep, sweep. 45 minutes later I looked up to see the sunset through the trees. The dogs were sleeping in the warm grass and my porch was immaculate. There wasn’t another place in the world I wanted to be. This is what mindfulness feels like, and sometimes it happens at the darndest moments.   I felt refreshed and complete.

The day had turned out exactly as is should.

I struggled here to keep from writing more about mindfulness techniques, quoting authors and the philosophy behind it.  I wanted to share the feeling with you rather than the intellect.  If you are new to Mindfulness, you may enjoy guided meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Christopher Germer or Kristin Neff.  All can be found on the Internet.

Do you remember an activity or moment when you’ve surprisingly found yourself swept-away? Do you have a daily practice that brings you moments of clarity? A special place or activity?

Wishing you many more of those,


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Steppin Out

I always loved watching old Fred Astaire movies. “Steppin Out” was such a favorite that my high school friends and I created a little tap dance to go along with the song. I was reminded of it by one of them just last week (wink, wink, you know who you are!).

I have never been so happy to say goodbye to the month of March. It has been an arduous winter on many levels. When I saw this photo of Fred Astaire, it reminded me of stepping out – into spring, into lightness, into new beginnings! I’m still waiting for the snow and ice to melt so I can get into the garden and for the day I can walk the trails without boots. And so, the lesson in patience prevails.

What’s in that lesson for all of us? I think it’s a reminder of how little control we really have in our lives. It’s about staying with what is, and taking stock in what’s available to us right now. It’s about gratitude for the small things – for the love in our lives, for everyday beauty and for knowing that we are good-enough.

And when all else fails… do a little tap dance, just for the fun of it.
Check out this amazing video of Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers steppin out!

Happy springtime,


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Natural Spirit

I so resonate with the attached story by Fabiana Fondevila, that I had to share it with you. In regard to her lack of spiritual identity she writes: I had a God-shaped hole in my heart that no cause or ideology could fill. Though I have never set out intentionally to find a spiritual practice, I have often felt that hole she speaks-of.  Also raised in an intellectual household, I’ve felt a longing to put words or a definition around those times in which I’ve felt deeply connected to something larger than myself. All along I’ve known that my closest connection to spirit (call it God, Divine, etc.) is in the moments I get lost in my garden or feel deeply moved by natural beauty. I’ve known this since adolescence. While in California last week, with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean crashing wildly against the rocky shore, the hole that Fondevila describes filled graciously and with ease. More to come on this topic.

Please link here to NPR’s On-Being blog to enjoy:

Not Conviction But Devotion: I Stumbled Upon the Ground While Looking for Faith

Wishing you a peaceful weekend,