Rope Swings and Avalanches

“If we were REALLY being authentic, we’d admit it hurts like hell.”

In Naomi Dunford’s latest post, she talks about how we (try to) filter our authenticity through ‘only the feel good’ stuff (which isn’t real authenticity at all) and the high cost of being truly authentic when you’re ittybiz’in it.

That last line is what did it for me. I (have finally) found my permission. Not from Naomi but in her demonstration and willingness to take the risk of showing her pain.

And then buried down in the comments is another really profound comment from Mark Silver where he points out that being on the internet, doing the social media thing, there is a level of personal accountability that we are removed from. We cannot see the tears slowly build up in someone’s eyes. We cannot see their brow furrow in confusion. Or even the big huge smile that appears on their faces, let alone hear a beautiful giggling guffaw.

In some strange ways, social media is giving us a vehicle to be more authentic on some levels and then dangerously converse, to hide out, being completely detached, if we choose.

Not that detachment is bad. It can really serve us well when we’re having shoes thrown at us or on the receiving end of a nasty DM or passive-aggressive email.

But detachment when you’re hiding so you can show up in ways where you say stuff you wouldn’t normally say in person is not healthy detachment. It’s showing the world you have a real fear of retribution (maybe because you know exactly what you’re doing when you say it in the first place) and then hiding out behind your computer screen or email inbox. It’s turtling (my new favorite word I first heard used by Charlie Gilkey).

And then the pretending begins. Which makes me want to barf. Because pretending is not authentic at all.

So I’m going to stop pretending right here and now. I am going to get really authentic.

Surprisingly, just yesterday, a client said to and about me that she doesn’t think she’s met a more authentic person. Wow! How do I let that one in? How do I begin to contemplate the truth in that? My stuff. We all got some.

Yet mostly because of Naomi’s willingness to share her uncomfortable feelings in her latest post and partly because of my client’s comment, I’m willing to be a different kind of authentic today.

So here goes…

I’m grieving. And I have been for a while now.

I guess if there is such a thing as a beginning point, much of this began for me earlier this year, in March-ish. I had been working with my business partner Wendy Cholbi for just over a year. In the fall of 2007, I had approached her with this idea (post is no longer available in it’s original form but I’ve republished it on my blog) of teaching coaches how to build their own web presence using a blogging content management system.

I had already known Wendy for at least a year, maybe two. She had been attracted to the life coaching work I do, where I help people shift their awareness around fear so they can discover and accept more of themselves.

I trusted her and who she showed me she was. I trusted myself too, my evaluation of what she showed me, my intuition. Trust was and continues to be a big thing for me.

And oh it was so much fun! Working together and creating The journey taught me so much. Lots of tears, lots of laughs, lots of hope. Even success as there were people saying yes to our workshop. Coming in, sitting down in front of their computers and allowing us to guide them on a technology journey that is really never about the technology, and all about the “I really can do this!”

Deep reward. Deep satisfaction. And especially hearing our participants express appreciation for what we were doing together, as a team.

And we were both always wanting more. To take it to the next level. At least, that’s what I thought because I didn’t hear anything otherwise.

And in December of 2008, Wendy got some really devastating news. A relationship very important to her was ending. One that, I imagine, defined her up until that time, in a lot of ways. Not totally. But significantly. And in the ending of any relationship is a death. A death of dreams. Of a future. Of a part of us and sometimes it feels like all of us, on some very deep levels.

It was painful to watch and yet I also knew complete liberation awaited on the other side of it. Because I had been there myself. Several times. Probably one of the reasons I sought out coaching and eventually became one. Learning how to deal with the difficult curve balls life throws us while not killing ourselves in the process.

And in the midst of the death and destruction Wendy was undergoing, she and I were also trying to create. Crazy, I know. But that’s just the timing of it all I guess. I mean, how much of it is really in our control?

We were working together with an incredible coach. Charlie Gilkey. I rant about him all the time so if you hang out with me here on my blog, seeing his name again won’t be a big surprise.

Charlie was giving us all sorts of system-y structure stuff to chew on in our business. Basecamp. Consolidating web presences into one so we could leverage our two-being presence. There’s a Wendy and a Mynde. “Leverage leverage leverage this!” he said.

So we did.

We incorporated in early February of 2009 and continued working on our plan to launch another workshop. This time it would be better. We’d have more participants. We had Charlie. We had Dave Navarro’s Launch The Shit ebook which was really about launching ebooks, but hey, I was determined to benefit by it to get asses into seats.

April 1 would be our first 2009 workshop launch date. We both agreed. We met bi-weekly with Charlie. And I Basecamped myself to near death. Wendy was…. well I really don’t know. I can guess, so I will. She was licking her wounds. She was reeling still, from her own dramatic news delivered to her just the day before Christmas. So terribly heartbreaking. But inside, a voice whispered to me and wanted to know, what don’t you see or are you not willing to see when news this terrible just “lands” in your lap?

And it’s difficult to watch someone you love be in pain. Wendy’s humor is incredibly sharp. When she shows it to you. SHE is incredibly sharp, when she decides to show up. I choose not blame her for any of the way she is because she showed this to me consistently, over and over. I knew. But I hoped. I hoped she’d find her self-approval and stand next to me and shine brightly. We’d rock it out and have a good time.

But that’s not how the story ends.

My game plan was to stay open. Keep my heart open. Always go bigger and stretch it… stay open. Be compassionate. You’ve been there yourself Mynde. And Wendy just kept disappearing. Until it was just me, in our treehouse. I was alone. And I was tired. Because I was holding up the treehouse fort. Setting up structures and affiliate programs and writing content and trying to be good biz partner and do my part.

Until that one day March I think it was. I had finally realized I wasn’t honoring myself by doing it all. And every time I thought about the fact that I was going to get 50% of the profits for 100% of the work, I got really angry inside. It was killing me. I had to say something. Maybe she would grab onto our business like a rope and use it re-center herself? I hoped.

I said, “This isn’t working for me. I need a partner. That’s why I asked you to come play with me to begin with, so I wouldn’t have to do it alone. But I’m alone. And I’m sorry you’re hurting and things can’t be timed better and everything else that is out of our control.”

“What do you think we can do here?”


The killing kind. The kind that leads to sickness when you don’t speak up.

And we never came back from there.

And both of us confessed in mediated coaching sessions our worst fear was that the treehouse would burn down. Neither of us wanting that to happen and feeling completely helpless. Because it was burning. Burning up. Smoldering inferno.

My coachy conscious said, “Wait. Stay in it. Don’t run. Stay open. Keep your heart open here Mynde. Keep asking questions, gently. Don’t run away.”


And by mid summer, the only communication I have with her now is via a Mastermind group. I’m finding out about her life, her business decisions, about OUR business, via a Mastermind group. I’m finding out she no longer wants to accept one-on-one clients. (Me: “Wow, what else will I have to learn this way?”)

Emails go unanswered. Scheduled calls drop out of reality.

But when she shows up for Mastermindy stuff. She’s chipper and fine and making decisions and learning to take care of herself. And everyone in our group, including us, know we’re struggling with our business.

And within a few weeks, I find out I’m replaced. And oh, she wants me to host our free monthly recurring business call on my BlogTalkRadio channel and give her “new” workshop with her “new” partner visibility, using our lists, our platform, our web presence.

Oh god. I need to puke.

Is this really happening?

And then Paypal. No email saying, “Hey I’d like to pay our LLC taxes.” Just a big fat huge fucking withdrawal. Nearly all of it. No reconciliation of anything.


And then, no more author rights to our web presence that I designed. I am no longer an author. I cannot access WordPress. I can’t even take my fucking picture down or get my content. And she claims she owns the domain, it was never purchased by the business. What?

Are you fucking kidding me?

Let me tell you about betrayal and grief. I’ve been betrayed. My first husband cheated while his daughter was growing in my belling. I know about betrayal.

And the betrayal in an intimate relationship, where sex is involved, is nothing like the betrayal of a business partner. It makes sex feel meaningless in the whole scheme of things.

In a business, your heart, your soul, your money, time, energy… everything is on the line. And I think that’s why it hurts so much more than the pain and loss from a broken relationship. Those come and go. How we earn our living… that is essential to who we are.

And I’m hurting. So very deeply. Broken in tiny pieces.

Really? There was no other way to do this? Seriously Universe?

More mediation. She doesn’t want any kind of relationship with me. Not friends, not anything. Oh, and there’s no animosity. Yeah, fucking right, there’s not!

If that were true, then wouldn’t we have been able to work things out? Renegotiate? Or end things together, the same way we we started it?

So this is my grief. This is the loss that I’m moving through. This is the letting go and excavating and the checking in with my own responsibility in the matter.

And deciding on what my intention is for writing this all out and sharing it.

The big one… to step out of the killer of silence and pretending and say out loud to the world, “I’ve been shit on and it totally sucks and hurts like hell!”

Pretending that “Oh yeah, things just are moving in a new direction… that’s all. We don’t owe our clients/participants or members of shared tribes any explanation. We don’t owe anyone anything!”

Bullshit. Not authentic. At all.

So today, I am scouring my life and asking myself, where am I pretending? Because I don’t want to pretend and coast along as if everything is hunky dory. I want to heal. I want closure. And I want to be and feel clean within myself.

And I’m also asking myself, where am I playing small? Where am I settling for less? Because time has run out on settling and playing small.

And, how do I heal and take care of myself and really let go of all of this?

By allowing myself to feel hurt and sad. Very powerful.

By choosing again. This time, I choose not to refuse myself the hurt and sadness because I want to feel better. I realize the more I refuse my grief and sadness, the more I stay stuck in it. And I acknowledge myself for staying in it. And giving it time. And waiting patiently. And since a healthy sense of closure is something she cannot give, I will get it the best way I know how. I will give it to myself.

So today, I grieve. And let go. And say goodbye.

Goodbye Treehouse. Goodbye Wendy. Be well. I am so so sorry for whatever misunderstanding came between us. And wish you more success, love and cooperative healing relationships than you could possibly contain.

And I am healed and healing, in this transformative alchemy of death and destruction.

Catie Curtis – Ropes Swings and Avalanches


24 thoughts on “Rope Swings and Avalanches

  1. just pressed publish. tears streaming down. letting go of my guts.


  2. Blog Item! – Ropes, Swings and Avalanches


  3. Brave, honest, fearless….words I would use to describe you and words that decribe your blog. You walk your talk girl and that’s what makes a great life coach.


  4. Mynde – I love love love you. Its tough when you love someone, you create life together and then there is nothing. Yeah ok…tough isn’t strong enough. I hear your pain, feel it to my core and sit here with you to appluad the step to uncover more of you. It is amazing to watch.

    I sit in my own pain and yet I also have termendous love for my lost best friend and sister. I miss her everyday and love her everyday. Even in dying or what truly feels like my body is giving in I have hope in that love. I have hope for you and I have hope for our world and that within its realm we have you. A person of strength when strength seems weak and a person who walks with grace even when the stiff upper chin shakes. You, my friend, are real. Stay strong…love often.



  5. Wow, Mynde. Wow. So painful… Thank you for sharing it all here. Love to your grieving heart.

    I’m not going to offer any solutions. Just love. And a big hug.

    What a mystery… things can go so bizarre…
    .-= Mark Silver´s last blog ..Is Getting Rich Really the Goal? =-.


  6. Big hug. RT @MyndeMayfield: just pressed publish. tears streaming down. letting go of my guts.


  7. .@myndemayfield well done. courageous and healing, it sounds like! a new chapter begins now.


  8. RT @MyndeMayfield: just pressed publish. tears streaming down. letting go of my guts. (via @MarkHeartofBiz) >>Wow.


  9. <hugs> RT @MarkHeartofBiz: Big hug RT @MyndeMayfield: just pressed publish. tears streaming down. letting go of my guts.


  10. (Hugs & healing, Mynde.) RT @MyndeMayfield: just pressed publish. tears streaming down. letting go of my guts.


  11. Mynde,

    This is the first piece of your writing that I’ve ever read. Huge *hugs* for your pain, and kudos, kudos, kudos for sharing it with the world.

    All the best.
    .-= Charlotte´s last blog ..How NOT to SEO. (In which I receive a crappy pitch from a John.) =-.


  12. Mynde, this is a brave thing you have done. There isn’t anything much to say now, but I wanted you to know that I’m sending you hugs. And I hope by opening up you will have found the healing that you seek. It is so important to protect our sacred boundaries and to speak up when someone else dishonours them and betrays us. Well done.


  13. Recall those flowers and pinecones, that open and close to the weather. They know. It’s ok to close. So long as you open back up when the time is right. Be well. Thank you for sharing this!
    .-= coRa´s last blog ..a whale of an idea =-.


  14. Incredibly brave. RT @MyndeMayfield: just pressed publish. tears streaming down. letting go of my guts. (via @HiroBoga)


  15. Hi Mynde,

    Thanks so much for sharing what you’re going through. I’ve wondered what has been going on with you. You were sending out little bits at a time. You needed to just speak your truth and now you’ve done it. I hope it brings you some comfort, awareness and peace. I love your willingness to be you, with no apologies. This is what I wish for everyone.

    I would love to support you in any way that I can. Truly. Know that I’m here for you.


  16. Brave & wise Mynde,
    What a powerful way to support moving forward and leaving “stuckifying” stuff behind. Bless you for your courage and your truth. I support you in breaking the sick silents and speaking of your grief and pain. Woo-hoo, Mynde. This make huge room for gigantic new space for you to be all that you are right now! Love you, Lee
    .-= Lee Miller´s last blog ..Ode to the Dash =-.


  17. Mynde,

    you are a courageous beautiful soul. thank you for sharing with us. I hope that writing this has brought some healing and peace to your heart. I’m always here for you. sending hugs your way. Love you.

    .-= Christy´s last blog ..Books That Matter =-.


  18. @Steph thanks for going first. i love short and sweet. it just gets right to the point. and thank you for seeing me. it means the world.

    @Jamie thank you for your support. and always being here and over there (FB) and just being around. in my life. cheering me on. reminding me to Love and do it BIG.

    @Mark thank you for your jewel exercise. it has been a life saver for me. and so has Remembrance. and I’m so glad I found you. and I have Wendy to thank for that.

    @Charlotte well it’s nice to meet you. i hope you’ll come hang out on an optimystical day sometime 😉

    @Samantha yes, healing is underway and has been underway. today was a declaration (kinda understatement isn’t it?). I thank you for spending time on my blog and leaving your encouraging words.

    @cora yes open. opening. always leading with my heart and looking for ways to keep it that way. loved the flower and pine cone analogy 🙂

    @Vicki in a lot of ways, this post was for you and many others. i felt like i owed an explanation and couldn’t pretend anymore. thank you for acknowledging what you could see even if it wasn’t being said (until today)

    @lee there are not words to express what an integral part of this journey you have been to me. I am grateful for the opportunity to know you and serve you and be served by you.

    @christy you are always nearby and I appreciate that. you remind me what strength and courage looks like. thank you!


  19. Mynde,

    Thank you for putting yourself out there. I hope that you are already experiencing the benefits of speaking this wrenching and courageous truth to the world. Keep the faith and remember that help is always on the way.

    .-= Michele Mollkoy´s last blog ..Put your back into it =-.


    • Thanks @Michele Mollkoy stopping by. After writing it, I felt loads better. Then the negotiations with myself began for actually pressing the publish button. I’m glad I did because I’ve received more comments on this post than any other. So I guess my “this is what it looks like to pull yourself up by the bootstraps” resonates. Thank you for your compliments. They make my (bigger) bruised heart feel warm.


  20. Wow Mynde

    This is intense. I am taken back by the rawness and openness of your words. It is both moving and challenging to me. I hope you are able to flower and fly because of it and in spite of it.

    Sending a big hug your way.

    Peace and blessings



  21. Mynde, this was an exceptionally brave and honest post. I particularly appreciate how you walked a fine line between being honest about your feelings, but avoided being vindictive or petty. As you know, I was in most of those mastermind calls, and I was very saddened to see a partnership with such promise collapse. But it takes commitment from both sides, and as you point out, Wendy’s path took her in a different direction.

    I don’t blame you a bit for being hurt by the way things played out. Breaking up is hard at best, but when somebody pulls away without explanation, that leaves only hurt and rejection with no recourse.

    Although I attempted to avoid taking sides, it became clear to me over time that Wendy has also chosen to pull back from interacting with me as well. That was not my choice, but apparently, as with Mynde, I became part of the past, but not part of the future.

    I would like to join Mynde in saying goodbye. I hope that Wendy is able to find what she’s looking for and that she meets with success in her future endeavors.

    Remember, this too will pass. And this post was a big step forward.

    Speaking of interacting, it was a complete joy to finally meet you in person last Friday. Folks, if there’s one thing to know about Mynde, it’s this: what you see is indeed what you get. Wise, witty, and a bit wacky (in a good way of course!). I only wish we had had more time to visit. We’ll definitely have to block out more time next time.
    .-= Mike Stankavich´s last blog ..Home Networking Versus Voluntary Simplicity =-.


    • Thanks @Mike! I’m so grateful that I was able to get connected to some fab people during our Mastermind days. You are just one of them. And even more fun was finally meeting in real life, hanging out and chatting over a couple of beers.

      Always and forever, WYSIWYG… and that ain’t no tech speak neither 😉



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