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TYC Toolkit

Transforming Challenge to Choice

This is Not Your Average “Toolkit”

25 years. That’s how long I’ve been on a healing journey, and I’m finally ready to share it with you.

I may have an advanced degree in psychology, but frankly, education only got me so far. I learned all my most valuable lessons by hitting my emotional rock bottom and working my way back to happiness, joy, and connection one wobbly conscious choice after another, one transformed challenge after another. This Toolkit comes directly from the heart, and my personal experience.

Look. I get it. The idea of a Toolkit sounds so, well, tool-ish. Dry. Uninteresting. Therapy-like. That’s what I used to think anyway, before I looked back over the last decade and realized, in hindsight, that I’d been crafting a set of behaviors for myself, based on certain principles, through trial and error, that actually helped me take control of my well-being, made me feel better about myself and thereby better about my relationships.


But here’s the thing about the “TYC Toolkit”: Behavior is just the tip of the iceberg. Meaningful, sustained growth requires more of us than the doing of rote activity. (Think about all those aborted New Year’s resolutions!) And feeling better is altogether different from forcing oneself to exude happiness. Relationship–deep, intimate human connection, romantic or not–is where we thrive. In other words, how and why we use the tools, it took me a long time to figure out, is as important as having tools to begin with.

Below are 3 core values that weave throughout the TYC Toolkit, and my real life.


Creativity is the foundational tenet of this Toolkit. Creative endeavors of all kinds give voice to parts deep inside us that long to be heard. By learning to pay attention to thoughts, feelings, and emotions around our creativity, we uncover patterns, desires, and needs, and, eventually, authenticity. On our own terms, we begin to let go and to embrace. We reconnect our head to our heart for a fuller, clearer, more embodied life experience. And it’s fun!


Connection is where the rubber meets the road. As Brené Brown says, “People are wired for connection.” We live, work, play, and most importantly love in connection. Much of the time, though, faulty patterns and old conditioning get in the way of our ability to thrive and connect as deeply as we want. The landscape of my past is littered with failed friendships and difficult familial dynamics that severely impacted my sense of belonging, which lead to much pain and discomfort. No longer!

Mental Wellness

Taking care of ourselves is the greatest gift we have to offer, to our own self and to others. Too often, we neglect mental health and wellness because we were taught to equate struggle with weakness. But purpose and meaning–a sense of contribution, freedom, and liberation–flow from clarity. Our ability to be clear, to engage, to be content, and to feel satisfied is tied as much (or more) to mental health as to physical health. We cannot flourish without attention and action directed to mental wellness.

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Tools as Treasures

Think of a Toolkit as your personal treasure chest–a collection of habits and principles that become silent companions, dear friends. It’s not antiseptic, rather, a set of practices organically discovered, like hidden gems, derived from wisdom earned through life’s journey.

Sometimes, the hardest gift to give ourselves is permission. Permission to believe we’re worth the effort. Permission to feel and explore our vulnerability. Permission to acknowledge the validity of our experiences and their impact on us.

Conscious Choice

Every first step begins with awareness and intentional choice.


Simply stated, there is no more powerful tool for shifting perspective from one of lack to one of abundance. (Even, especially, when times are tough.)


Life is often a challenge. Our ability to adapt and manage can, with practice, be cultivated and fortified.


Joy is a spiritual experience, evoking a sense of passion and meaning. Aligning joy with intuition guides us toward authenticity.

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“Breaking the cycle of self-judgment and shame is hard, incredibly valuable work that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Opening, selecting, and using a Toolkit, on our own and within a community that cares, is a deliberate and practical approach to self-care.”

Reclaiming the heart through Art


HeArt Journaling

As a kid, I drew, sang, and danced. Then I grew up and got busy with Important Stuff. Reclaiming creativity was the main tool that helped me reclaim my heart.

My art classes focus on mixed media journaling, which is sometimes referred to as visual diary-making. In class, combine color, texture, and form to create snapshots of what’s happening around and inside us. We record thoughts, emotions, and feelings. We get our fingers dirty. We allow our inner child to come out to play.

Stories and ideas are catalysts for clarity


Writing & Reading

Writing plays an important part in some of my classes, but it also plays an important role in my life! My mental health improved dramatically when I realized that writing, as a pathway to embodied self-care, was a lifestyle rather than a to-do list item.

I write about all kinds of things here on this website – from mental health and wellness to personal growth and authentic living. If you’re into that, check out my blog!

Make a Habit out of Healing

Transform your challenges to make a new choice.

Long before I ever thought about sharing my healing journey, in the midst of crisis, I began, slowly, to create new habits. I didn’t think of it this way at the time, but I was creating a Toolkit one lesson, one tool at a time. In my own life, I was waking up to the incredible array of ways that my past conditioning was impacting my present relationships. I wanted to change that dynamic. I longed to befriend myself, and to enjoy healthier, more deeply meaningful connections with others.

Through a lot of practice and failure and more practice and more failure, through forgetting everything and having to remember, again and again, I created this Toolkit. I share useful routines, rituals, and principles that continue to help and guide me. I hope they’ll help you, too.

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Let’s go on this exploration together, shall we? Join a growing community of like-minded souls committed to supporting one another in learning, growth, and fun.