- I was born in a small town in Florida and didn’t leave the state, barely left the county, until I went to college. On my mother’s side, seven generations have lived in Florida.
- I grew up on a mini-farm where we grew all our food and lived in the same house (built by my father) from age 2 until I left for college. I am a cow whisperer. Until I met Biology, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I used to adopt orphaned animals, including an orphaned lamb.
- My father was the youngest of seven children, only two lived to reach adulthood. As a child, I couldn’t understand why my grandmother worried so much.
- My mother was a stay-at-home mother to four children until we grew up. She then got a job at a pharmacy as a clerk and retired from there.
- My father had many careers: farmer, postal worker, insurance salesman, real estate broker, contractor, construction worker, and teacher were among them. He was a construction supervisor on the Disney monorail track.
- My parents had rental properties and built an occasional spec house to supplement our income. As a child, I painted, dug footings, and performed a lot of manual labor. I sold my first house at age 12, when my father ran an errand and left me to watch an open house.
- I attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. I never considered any other university or college.
- I majored in International Studies and was a foreign student adviser for a short while and produced the Festival of Many Lands which brought western North Carolina seventh graders to our college campus to learn from our international students. I was also responsible for weekly international meals. I learned to cook curry before I learned to make American food.
- I met my first ex-husband at Warren Wilson. He was an international student, from Colombia. We are still friends.
- I was 19 when I gave birth to my first child.
- I took a year off college and worked at 7-11. I was passed over as assistant manager because I was pregnant.
- I majored in Economics and Business Management, too. My Econ professor was a free-market economist and I was an avid Ayn Rand fan right out of college. My second ex-husband was a frequent candidate on the Libertarian party ticket and owner of a taxi company.
- I drove taxi and once I was the getaway car driver for a bank robber I picked up in my cab. I was granted immunity before I testified and I had to report that on my bar applications.
- As a taxi driver, I became a good road mechanic. We bought Chrysler products so the parts were interchangeable. I once rebuilt a slant-6 engine in a Dodge Dart.
- I ran for political office. I attended conferences with election officials and wrote my third year legal seminar paper on ballot access for third parties.
- I didn’t know any lawyers and I didn’t know law school was hard. I applied to the University of Florida and was admitted, clueless about what I was getting into.
- When I started law school, seven children were living at home and I was homeschooling. I mothered a passel of children. Sixteen children lived with me between 1977 when my son was born and 2003, when my youngest daughter moved out.
- The only time I was licensed as a foster parent was for my own step-son, after the divorce.
- Our taxi company was like a rolling social work organization. We took the elderly to grocery shop, helped a woman with multiple sclerosis get in and out of bed, “adopted” a 92 year old grandpa, and shuttled drunk accountants when the bars closed. My best friend was a single mom of four boys who lived in public housing and worked as the breakfast cook at a hotel. I picked her up every morning at 5 a.m.
- I went to law school because our family was so complicated, we were often in court, and my husband often spent time in jail for civil disobedience.
- Just out of law school, I was Executive Director of a domestic violence agency and have been on founding boards of at least a dozen nonprofit organizations. I am a domestic violence survivor.
- I have worked at many call centers, fundraising, making reservations, and conducting research. I was the refusal converter for refusal converters. [Yes, I was the one who called people back after they’d said “no” at least six times.] My success rate was higher than first time callers.
- When I graduated from law school, I did not want to be a lawyer because I did not want to be a jerk. Then, in 1993, I met Forrest Bayard, a Chicago collaborative lawyer. He inspired me to transform myself and the legal profession.
- I was an early adopter of mediation and collaborative law, was one of the first lawyers in the country to have social workers on my staff, and have led the way in bringing holistic principles into law.
- As a restorative justice trainer and practitioner, I sat with families of murder victims as they prepared to meet the killers face to face and I met with the killers as they prepared to express their apologies. I honored the process for both.
- I’ve planned many conferences and events from small retreats to conferences for hundreds.
- After my third divorce, I stopped getting married, but didn’t stop having relationships which have lasted an average of four years. I’m told that I am not that hard to get along with, but it is challenging to keep up with me.
Personal Lifestyle and Personality:
- MBTI: ENTP (redesigning myself to be XNXX)
- Enneagram: 8
- DiSC: High D, High I, Low S, Middle C
- Astrology: Capricorn with Cancer Rising/Sagittarius Moon
I gave up my house and office in early 2008. I’ve been a nomad ever since, only occasionally settling into one place for a few months.
While my travel revolves around work, I find plenty of time for recreation along the way. I’ve been in 48 states and have visited dozens of national parks and monuments. I’ve visited several countries. I love the adventure of not knowing where I’m going next and the freedom to explore the next place when I’m ready, being responsive to my calling. I like back roads and hometown diners that serve the best tamales (or other local cuisine) in town. I love sleeping on the ground, under the stars.
I’m not materialistic and it shows. When I gave up my house, I started the process of down-sizing and have recently reduced my stored belongings to a few boxes, mostly books, winter clothes and camping equipment in a 5×5 storage. I still think I have more stuff than I want to manage. I have been accused of being a “money witch” because I have been known to manifest money on command. (I wish I knew more about how that works.)
Spiritual, Not Religious
I’m a spiritual being but not religious. I have had some mystical experiences that are as real to me as what you had for lunch is to you. My life is a spiritual practice in that I have surrendered to my path and purpose. I’ve studied shamanism and energy healing, including reiki. At times, I talk to Ascended Masters. I recall past lives. I tend to be tapped in, sometimes clairvoyant. I trust what you might call my Intuition. One of my superpowers is that I can find things – I see them where they are. Sometimes I also see places, people and dates of significance in a similar way. And usually I question all of that with a healthy dose of lawyer skepticism.
My politics combine a belief that we are all one and that we should be kind and take care of each other, a love for personal freedom, and some sadness that most people haven’t evolved to the point where we can be trusted to do what takes care of us all.
My Social Connections
My work colleagues quickly become my friends.
My father is gone, but my mother still lives on the family farm. My kids are grown and so are some of the grandkids. I don’t knit booties…. I’m off to new adventures and new projects now, making the world a better place for my children and grandchildren.
I hang out with a wide variety of folks. Diversity stimulates me. I’m told that I am a lot of fun and I think that is true if you like to camp, engage in deep conversations, or get silly sometimes. If your idea of fun is figuring out how to redesign a system so that it works better, I’m right there with you. I love systems of all kinds.
Balancing the Masculine and Feminine
I’m a competent, self-sufficient, independent, powerful woman who loves to put all that down and check in with my feminine side. Just because I can do it all doesn’t mean that I want to do it all the time.
Beliefs that might impact our working relationship:
- Everything happens for a reason.
- Everything is perfect, unfolding as it should.
- Everything happens when it is supposed to happen.
- We have free will.
- We’re all doing the best we can.
- Most people have positive intentions. Everyone is meeting a need.
- We are all interconnected.
- Life brings us lessons and we choose our responses.
- There is no Other – what I see in another is a reflection of myself.
- I only do what I like to do and find someone else to do the rest – or sometimes just realize that it doesn’t need to be done at all.
- I can change direction as quickly as a jetski but sometimes need to work with organizations and systems that are more like ocean liners. (I prefer the former.)