Hello Spring!

It’s my favorite time of year—a time for new beginnings, for starting over, and for busting out new potentials. The flowers know it, the trees show it, the air is fresh with the scent of movement and change.

I have lots of spring rituals that rev me up and move me forward and charge me into setting some new goals and intentions. They include the usual: a spring detox cleanse, a closet purge, and of course there’s the garden that needs planning and digging and planting. I always try a new exercise routine as well—just to keep my body guessing. And I set a goal to learn something new—this year it’s Mah Jong. An antique set was on my Christmas list and I can’t wait to set it up and try it out.

And of course, there is a bit of soul-searching that goes along with new beginnings—I try to stretch my soul-growing practices as well. I’ve signed up for a breathing practice class. My ayurvedic medicine practitioner told me I hold my breath and it congests and contracts my energy source. Not good for working on expanding consciousness.

What’s on your list of dreams that needs a new beginning? Is there a way you are longing to show up in your relationships or at work but you just don’t quite know how? Is there a path you’ve been longing to take or a change you’ve been wanting to make but you’re too scared to take the first steps? Are you stuck in the same old patterns of self-doubt or self-criticism and you want to break the cycle?

It’s time to get on board—the change you can feel train.

Join me in one of my new programs for Spring and let’s get you moving ahead towards the life you were meant to live.

My favorite spa for the soul program is coming up soon:

Rising Strong™ Island Retreat on Whidbey Island- May 17th-19th

We’ll gather with an amazing group of soul-sisters to learn from each other and from Dr. Brené Brown about how to Rise Strong and Live Brave.

Together we’ll explore:

  • How to live authentically from the heart and your deepest core values.
  • How to lean into vulnerability & the find the courage to speak your truth
  • Practices and tools to help you let go of the inner critic and self-sabotaging beliefs that hold you back
  • How to live with boundaries asking for what you need and want in a clear and positive way
  • Practices for Self-Compassion and Gratitude that are crucial to making changes
  • A step by step method for Rising Strong after failure, disappointment or loss

Click HERE for more information and to register.


And Guys, here’s a new one just for you:

Living Brave the Daring Way™ for Men June 1st & 2nd
The Saturn Building – Seattle

It’s a safe and respectful gathering of a small group of like-minded men, just like you, who want to learn to be better at identifying their needs and wants and communicating those needs to the people most important to them.

It’s a psycho-educational program that will expose you to the work of Dr. Brene Brown and other’s on the subject of the male psyche and the cultural myths and stereotypes that have caused you to feel less connected and alone.

Together we’ll explore:

  • How to better communicate your deepest desires and feelings to the people who are most important to you in your world.
  • How to let go of the struggle for perfection and let go of the feeling of “just not being able to get it right” and translate that into a desire for excellence and feelings of worthiness.
  • Healthy ways to manage strong emotions and feelings and use them for information and indicators of your needs, rather than getting hijacked by them.
  • Tools to help you let go of the inner critic that keeps you stuck in old patterns of behavior
  • And finally, we’ll learn to Rise Strong after struggle, disappointment and loss and use the knowledge you’ve gained to help you find a resilient new beginning.

My colleague Joseph Losi, MA,LMFT, Certified Emotion-Focused Therapist and Mankind Project Director, will join us to teach and support and share his story with all of you. Joseph has spent the last decade working with men and women toward more empowered views of themselves and their partners, and helping them create more loving and fulfilled relationships in his psychotherapy practice. In addition he has fifteen years of experience working with the Mankind Project, a global men’s movement dedicated to male emotional intelligence.

Click HERE for more information and to register.


Our Dreams are achievable. No matter what our age or condition. No matter what came before, no matter our current restrictions. There are still untapped possibilities that lie dormant in each and every one of us.

Join me as we uncover those unrealized potentials and let’s be the change we want to see in the world!

6 Steps to Self-Love this Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day is upon us and for many people this holiday, so filled with loving intentions, can actually fill many of us with a sense of dread. It might be the fact that you don’t have a sweetheart at the moment, or that you have longings or expectations that are never quite met. Or maybe you just want love to be expressed all year long and a “one day” holiday seems superficial and silly.

If you’re in a “holiday funk” this Valentine’s Day I invite you to shake things up a bit and create a Do It Yourself Love Fest. You know the old adage “you can’t feel loved by anyone else until you love yourself first”– the problem is- no one tells us exactly how to do that.

Self-Love is not a feeling so much as a set of actions that support our own physical, emotional and spiritual growth.

Let’s Explore the actions that can lead us to more Self Love.

In order to “be your own cupid” you’ve got to start by setting aside some time just for you.

I know that’s hard when you are used to “being there” for every single person in your tribe.

But if you don’t start by prioritizing your own needs, no one else will either.

I work with so many women who have low self-esteem which starts by not feeling worthy of love and respect, and ends with making choices that are not in their best interests which reinforces the experience.

According to Dr. Brené Brown who studies worthiness and living whole-heartedly, cultivating practices of worthiness begin by:

1. Learning to ask for what you need– the expectation that if people loved us they would know what we need is a completely false expectation. It’s your job to identify those needs and be specific in how you ask for them. People who have more self-love know what they think, feel and want, and they make choices based on that knowledge.

2. Setting Boundaries– that is deciding what’s OK with you and what’s not Ok- communicating that in a respectful way is the key to healthy boundaries.

3. Developing everyday rituals that calm and soothe– taking time everyday just for you- that could be a daily meditation practice, a gratitude journal or a nightly prayer.

4. Taking Care of your physical body– it is your temple and your gift and caring for it is your job. Get enough sleep, do something outside every day, feed yourself nourishing food, don’t over-work.

5. Offering Yourself Compassion and Forgiveness- accepting that we are all human, and imperfect. We all make mistakes and we are not alone. Remember there are no failures, when we take responsibility and learn from our stumbles and disappointment’s, they become the seeds for future growth

6. Living Mindfully: When we are aware of our core values and make choices aligned with those values, our lives have more meaning and purpose. When our lived experience matches our intentions, we feel a sense of self-worth and authenticity.

It turns out feeling loved doesn’t always come from an outside source. We have the power to create that all on our own. What will you commit to this Valentine’s Day to begin the PRACTICES OF SELF LOVE that can translate into a year full of loving self-kindness?

I’d love to hear from you- you can share your ideas- here on our Living Brave Facebook page »

After a 20 year phobia of flying… I flew to Paris!

Do you know what it feels like to struggle with something really hard for what seems like an eternity?

Have you given up on something because the battle seemed like… “If it is this hard, something must be wrong about it.”

I’ve been there.

I know what that feels like. I’ve had a 20 year long struggle with a flying phobia, and there were many times I wanted to give up on that struggle…..

But I’m so glad I didn’t because this year I conquered it.

I let it go.

I flew to Paris – that’s Paris, France. An 8 hour flight, and it was MAGIC. No anxiety. No panic attacks. No shaking in my boots.

And a two week adventure that was a dream come true.

Did it happen in an instant with a magical cure?

Did Someone wave a wand, pray for me, give me a mantra, a blood test, a new diet, a tapping technique, read my chart and my chakras and take my trauma history, hypnotize me and instantly it was gone?

Nope. (though each of those things helped a little)

Did it take a lot of work and digging deep and healing some trauma, and using a number of skills and getting clear about my story, and developing a tribe of loving people around me, and a faith in a higher power?


Would I give up all I learned on the way to that magical adventure?


Would I like to have given up all the negative self-talk and shame and blame and the ways I tried to numb that anxiety and all the comparison and angst and everything I missed along the way?


But what a thrill to finally arrive at that place of knowing that deep down inside I am enough.

I can ask for what I need and people will be there for me. I can soothe myself when I need to, and I am just where I need to be.

Every step along the way taught me something about myself and my capabilities:

  • About how to stand in my vulnerabilities and learn from them.
  • About how to trust my inner mentor and speak my truth.
  • About how to live authentically from what my core values and beliefs are.

And I wouldn’t trade those lessons for a trip anywhere in the world.

I’d love to share some of what I learned with you…….that’s my gift:

That I get to share my story and my life lessons with others.

All that pain is turned into gold when that happens for me.

I hope you’ll join me for this amazing weekend where we get to stand in our own story and learn from it.

Where we can dig deep and mine the golden nuggets there in the mud. Where we can learn some tools and techniques to help along the journey and where we can write some new exciting endings.

It’s happening soon – Sept 21st-23rd at Willow Pond Lodge on beautiful Whidbey Island.

Click here for the details »

I hope to see you there

Let Your Inner Love Shine

It’s February and love is in the air.

I’ve decided to focus on love this month – in my communications and in my thoughts and meditations and inspirations!

Won’t you join me?? Let’s have a LOVE IN!

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.” – Brené Brown

I had an experience recently during a meditation class I was taking where the leader led us through a guided meditation on love.

She got us in the right frame of mind – grounded and centered and relaxed. Then she asked us to imagine someone or something that we truly loved. To bring the person or animal or place to mind and focus there for 5 minutes, taking in every detail-and experiencing fully the feeling of love and appreciation we had inside us.

Then she asked us to remember a time when we felt fully loved and appreciated by someone.

It could have been a friend or a parent or a partner or a child. She asked us to focus in on that experience, taking in the full measure of that feeling and focusing there for the next 5 minutes.

Pure. Bliss.

I realized in that moment that I could feel love and loved all by myself.

I didn’t need anyone in the here and now to offer me that. I could conjure that up all on my own! Like magic.

Valentine’s Day can be a hard one for many people who don’t have a special someone in their lives right now…

But what if we focused on love all month?

What if we allowed ourselves to give in to that delicious feeling in the various forms and places that we find it? Sort of like gratitude but with a bit more juicy-ness.

There are so many times where I have experienced loving moments both big and small. I hold in my heart the times I looked into my husband’s sweet brown eyes and shared the love we had for our newborn baby. I remember the love I felt as I sat with my lifelong friends as we grieved the loss of our dear sister to cancer. I remember the love I felt for my loyal and faithful doggie as she gave me her wet-nosed, tail-wagging lip slurping welcome each morning.

I think back to the love I have always felt from my Mom as she tended us all in such sacrificial ways. I savor the unconditional love I experience as I sit in my pew at church and the words and hymns pour down their full measure of grace on my sometimes weary soul.

I’m going to be sharing on my Instagram and my Pinterest account this month the things and people and experiences I love with you. I invite you to do the same.

Share with me what brings that full- bodied experience of love in your life. Share with me your peeps, your pups, and the places that bring you joy!

Here’s to love in all it’s many forms and splendors!

Looking for a little more self-love skills, to quiet that inner critic a bit so you can let your own inner shine? Join me for the Rising Strong Island Retreat on Whidbey Island in April. Get all the details here »

A Weekend of Daring Greatly

I’m basking in the glow of my weekend with a tribe of awesome women who Dared Greatly.

A tribe that dove deep with one another, sharing their visions for their future and dancing with their fears and the inner critics that hold them back.

I am always so honored and in awe of the courage it takes and the willingness these brave women have as they tapped into their inner mentors and discovered some of their hidden callings. They supported each other in the quest to Dare Greatly and Live Brave. It is an honor and privilege to do this work.

(But don’t worry if you missed out, I have my island retreat this April 6-8th! Get all the details and sign up here »)

Here’s what some of them shared…..

“Cynthia created a warm and safe environment to face challenging ideas that prompted some very personal change. Her compassionate response to each persons sharing and questions gave me courage to explore some really tender and important areas of my llife. So grateful for these 2 days!”

“You helped me crystalize my learning into an action plan that i am excited about. There are not many places that you can show up and be vulnerable and authentic- you made it safe to unfold my truth”

“A deep bow of gratitude for the gift of transformation, your abiity to meet people where they are and guide them compassionately to an “Ah-ha” is beautiful…”

“Brené Brown’s work came alive- with time to reflect, write and apply each layer of learning to my life experience was awesome”

I couldn’t be more pleased or more proud of these brave souls.

Here’s to Living Brave and supporting each other in the work!

Check out the Rising Strong island retreat in April on Whidbey Island.

It will be a powerful weekend of discovering our capacity to rise strong and go after our dreams on this island paradise. Get all the details here »

Meet Cynthia Benge

A therapist for over 20 years, I guide people from their own “stuck” places to a life full of adventure, meaning and satisfying relationships.

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