Finding My Self-Worth in the Jungle Wearing Lingerie

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
~Matthew 6:22-23

As little as 5 years ago, you would have NEVER been able to convince me to put on lingerie and have someone take pictures of me. The traditional “recovering Catholic” girl in me would have heard that little voice in the back of my head saying, “Good girls don’t do things like that!” or “You don’t show your body to other people.” Or better yet, “How sinful!”

Over the last 20+ years that I have been working with women, one thing that ALL women have in common is an inability to see our physical selves as others see us. Our inner eye wears a filter, created by society, comments friends or family have made to us over the years, and our own debilitating self-talk. This filter has a dark lens…one that filters out all the good and only illuminates the bad. In reality, how we perceive we look to others is NOT how others see us. The question becomes…how do we change that lens?

Boudoir photography is a luxurious photo experience, normally done in a bedroom setting (hence the actual dictionary meaning of the word “boudoir” = woman’s bedroom or private space) that is meant to enhance the feelings of romance, courageousness, and strength. Many women choose to do boudoir photography to help change how they feel about their physical body. Let me clarify that boudoir is not raunchy, dirty, or pornography. Boudoir is a beautiful way of allowing women to fully embrace their femininity and feel beautiful in their own bodies…as is!

My journey with boudoir started when my cousin and his wife invited me to Costa Rica with them on vacation. My cousin’s wife, Amy, is a very talented and successful boudoir photographer. Two weeks before our trip to Costa Rica, Amy texted me and said she wanted to practice taking pictures outside of her studio in remote locations so was wondering if I would be a model for her in Costa Rica so she could practice. With surprisingly little hesitation, I said yes.

When shooting day arrived, Amy sat me down and asked me what parts of my body I was the most insecure about and if there was anything in particular that I wanted to focus on. As a 51-year-old woman smack dab in the middle of menopause, I was insecure about everything! I decided to go into the shoot with a completely open mind and to totally trust Amy to do what she does best.

What I experienced was a total transformation on how I not only saw my body, but how I felt about my body. Amy is a master at posing you perfectly, at body lines, and gently encouraging you during the shoot. During the shoot, we had a blast and tried many different outfits and poses both inside and outside in the Costa Rican jungle (surrounded by howling monkeys and macaws flying overhead!). One thing I loved that Amy did was show me some of the pictures right after she took them so I knew how I looked in real time. This was super powerful!

When I arrived home from Costa Rica, before I even saw my pictures in their finished form (note: Amy does not photoshop the pictures, she only fixes any lighting or shadowing that needs to be done), I noticed that my self-talk around my body had slightly changed. I wanted to wear dresses that week, (which I normally never want to do because I usually hate my legs), and I didn’t think my lower stomach or legs looked as “fat” as I thought they did before. The major turning point was one morning when I looked in the mirror and I said out loud to myself, “damn girl, you look good!” …which I never would have said to myself in the past because I never believed that to be true. What boudoir did for me was help me change the vibration of how I was seeing myself. It helped change the lens I wore over my inner eye to one that was a bit brighter.

At the end of the day, how we see ourselves dictates how we treat ourselves. We do not take care of what we do not value. Be brave enough to change that dark lens that covers your inner eye to one that is brighter, one that shines the light on how beautiful you are no matter what size, and one that changes your self-talk to encouraging, uplifting words that lift you up instead of drag you down. If boudoir is not for you, that is OK. It is simply one means of achieving this end. Start small and imagine how it would feel if you loved your body. Hold onto that feeling and create a new vibration that you can slowly begin to live into. Pay attention to your self-talk and say kind words to yourself. Big changes start with small steps.

Amy and I worked so well together that we decided to combine our “superpowers.” We will be offering 2-day workshops in Costa Rica that include transformational work around self-worth and reframing the limiting beliefs that hold us back, followed by an hour boudoir shoot with Amy. Stay tuned for how to sign up for the “Intimate Journey in the Jungle” soon! If you want to check out Amy and her work, visit her at or on her Facebook page at

In the meantime, look in the mirror and tell yourself how hot you are! 😊

Joyful in the Jungle,

Dr. Chris

What is your Leadership Energy Footprint?

Over the years, I have spoken to hundreds of successful leaders all who are leading the best way they know how. They were taught the “trade” of leadership by mentors, colleagues, old bosses, and by simply watching how others around them lead. Most of them lead with their head, their logic. They have taken courses on leadership, read books, and listened to podcasts all which tell them what a “good leader” is made of and what they do. Where do these leaders falter? Many of them are not letting their intuition guide them…their gut. Many have not even defined the type of leader they want to be. They don’t have time. They are too busy “leading.”

As leaders, we sometimes are so focused on the “doing” that we forget to focus on the “being.” What we do as a leader is important, no doubt. We need the skills and knowledge to perform our jobs and lead successfully. 

“Being” requires a different skill set. Being entails an awareness of your emotions, your behaviors, your reactions, your self-talk, and how you are expending your precious energy daily. All this combined equal your energy footprint. And I don’t mean how “green” you are being environmental-wise…I mean when I interact with you, what kind of energy do I pick up from you? What kind of energy are you leaving behind when you interact with people? 

What is your leadership energy footprint?

Many think that if we DO the things that a good leader does, we will BE a good leader. When in reality, the opposite is true. When you are being the leader you want to be (putting out the energy that is truly YOU), you then communicate better, show more empathy, express your emotions in more healthy ways, are more self-aware of your own behaviors and the behaviors and reactions of those around you. Leaders who focus on their “being” end up “doing” what good leaders do.

We have been conditioned with the wrong formula. If I want to be a good leader and I follow the formula I have been taught, I believe that if I DO what good leaders do, then I will HAVE what good leaders have, then I will BE a good leader. The problem with this formula is that it is backwards.

The truth and the formula that works every time, no matter what, is not DO-HAVE-BE, but BE-DO-HAVE.

If I am BEING the type of leader that is in most alignment with who I am and the type of leader I personally resonate with, then I will begin DOING the things that type of leader does naturally, and then I will HAVE what that type of leader has (more pay, amazing direct reports, a great company to work for, etc.). It is really that simple.

Being is not as hard as we think it is. Stop using your brain to try and “be.” Just be still and trust what comes naturally. It does not need to make sense logically all the time. If you always follow your logic, then you are simply being the type of leader that everyone else is being. How boring! Remember, being is more about where you choose to place your attention.

Where we place our attention is what drives our behaviors. Our subconscious brain responds to what we are putting our attention on because that is how it reads what we “want.” It does not know the difference between what is good or bad, what we want or don’t want, what we like or don’t like…it only can read where our attention is focused.

We can learn to shift our attention in the moment. If you are experiencing a situation or even feelings that you do not want, pay attention to what your attention is focused on. Gently shift your attention (your thoughts, actions, feelings) to that which you DO want. Of course, the key here is actually knowing what you want. This may sound simple, but most leaders I have worked with cannot specifically define what they actually want. Take the time to define, on paper, what type of leader you want to be. How does that leader act? How do they treat others? What do they know about the business? What is their network like? How do they communicate? How will it feel to be that type of leader? (you need to go deeper than “good” or “happy” here).

Once you have defined what type of leader you want to be, go out and BE that leader. Trust your gut. Trust your feelings. 

Our world needs leaders who are willing to transform the way they are leading. Our current world demands it. Step up and BE the leader YOU want to be and watch everything else you want fall into place.

Change your leadership energy footprint!

Just being me,

Dr. Chris

The Roller Coaster Principle

The Roller Coaster Principle

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

OK, I admit it…I overthink almost everything. I sometimes feel as if I can’t help it. Something happens and my brain just kicks in. I dissect what happened into a million pieces, think of every scenario, come up with every possible solution, and create an entirely different reality in my head. Thank God I have good friends who give me “reality checks” when I need them! Over the years though, I have learned how to be my own “kick in the pants and get back to reality” girl. I realized it had to do with what and how I was thinking.

Thinking is a powerful tool. It can serve the good or serve the bad. Our society is taught that logic rules. We are taught that if we think about something long and hard enough, we will find a solution. We often believe our thoughts even though, at times, we don’t even know why we think what we do. Did our parents teach us to think that? Did we hear someone we admire on the internet say it and adopted that same thought? Thinking a thought does not make it true. A thought only becomes true when we tell ourselves it is so. The brain simply receives information from the environment and it is our job to process it in whatever way we choose.

You and I could witness the exact same scenario and both walk away with different versions of what happened. Why? Because the scenario filtered through our thoughts, our values, our beliefs, and our experiences. We all live in our own version of reality, all based on what and how we are thinking.

If you and I decided to ride a roller coaster and sit in the front row and I love roller coasters but they terrify you, our thoughts about the reality of the ride would be very different. I would think it was exhilarating, my heart was pounding out of excitement, I loved feeling the wind whip through my hair, and it was over too fast. You might think it was terrifying, your heart was pounding out of fear, you hated feeling the wind on your face because it reminded you of how fast we were going, and the ride felt like an eternity. Same experience…two different thought processes…two different realities.

The next time you catch yourself upset because you are overthinking something and cannot make a decision, pause for a moment and ask yourself these three questions:

What am I feeling right now?

What am I thinking right now?

What am I doing right now?

This pulls you into the present moment and tells you the reality of the situation through your own eyes.

Once you answer those questions, ask yourself these three questions:

What would I rather feel?

What would I rather think?

What would I rather do?

This is the reality you would like to create. What do you have to do to go from your present moment thoughts and feelings to those you want to create? The answer to that question is your next step.

Remember, a thought is just a thought until we give it meaning. All we are is the result of what we think.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Thinking (as usual),

Dr. Chris

Strike Five…Listening to the Signs

Traveling Psychologist Blog
Date: January 3, 2022
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona


It all started with an itch to travel again. Having been locked up in my apartment alone for over a year due to the pandemic, I decided that I would “hit the road” and work remotely for the months of November and December. My original plan was to be in Vietnam in November and Thailand in December. That quickly changed when I realized I could not get a Visa to Vietnam and Thailand’s borders were still closed. My plan then switched to Cape Town, South Africa in November and Bali in December. The Universe apparently did not like that one either because it was near impossible to find a flight to Bali. Plan C…Cape Town in November and Medellin, Colombia in December.

Now, I have to be honest. I was not thrilled about going to Medellin, Colombia (first intuitive hit!) and it definitely was not my first choice. A desperation to travel made me pick the first place that met two criteria: one, I had never been there before and two, it was easy to enter the country during the pandemic. I endured a lot of smack from family and friends for deciding to travel during a pandemic. Although the warnings from my loved ones were well-intended, every phone call hit a nerve. With every phone call I received from yet another friend or family member warning me not to travel, I would look down at the tattoo I recently had inked into my left forearm that says “Live Fearless” and forge on with my plans.

Upon landing in Cape Town, a series of events began that made me think my friends and family were on to something…

The apartment I leased during my time in Cape Town was a spacious two-bedroom apartment overlooking the waterfront. I decided to opt-in for having a roommate during my stay there since part of my goal for traveling was to “be social and meet new people.” Within the first two days, I quickly realized I would have been happier if decided to room alone (long story!). Strike one…

Cape Town apartment

Apartment with an amazing view in Cape Town.

As the weeks passed in Cape Town, I decided to take a 4-day trip along the Garden Route with a few friends. The whole of this trip was absolutely amazing…except for when I fell climbing up a waterfall while we were hiking and dislocated my shoulder. Two emergency room visits and one very handsome orthopedic surgeon later, the shoulder was sore and in a sling but OK. Strike two…

Garden Route Chris Crew

My Garden Route gang that after my shoulder injury affectionately got nicknamed the “Chris Crew.” <3

Upon returning from my Garden Route trip, news of the Omicron virus went viral (pun intended!) and South Africa was being put on “the list” with many countries making it hard to not get OUT of the country, but to get IN anywhere else! No one wanted someone who had been visiting South Africa in November. Strike three…

After several hours of creative flight maneuvering, I was finally able to get to Medellin, Colombia (sore shoulder and all!). The minute I landed in Colombia, something felt off to me. I could not put my finger on it, but I felt unsafe…not because I was in an unsafe neighborhood or with unsafe people, it was just a feeling in my bones I cannot explain. Strike four…

Learning my lesson well from Cape Town, I had a private apartment in Medellin. Nestled in the cute little town of Poblado and within walking distance of the local town, I found myself still not feeling “right.” Maybe it was the 90-degree hill I had to walk up every morning to get to the space I was working from every day…who knows! Hoping the feeling would pass in a couple of days once I settled in, I forged on.


You have to walk the hill to appreciate it!

After being in Medellin a little over a week, the feeling still hadn’t subsided and I woke up that next Friday morning feeling a bit “off.” I went to dinner that night with a group of friends, politely bowed out of the bar-hopping that was about to ensue, and made my way back to my little apartment in Poblado. The minute I opened my eyes on Saturday morning I knew something was wrong…runny nose, sneezing, slight congestion. Strike five…

Now, most people would get to “Strike three” and call it quits, but I tend to run on the stubborn side. I probably don’t need to tell you the first thing that went through my mind when I woke up feeling ill. What terrified me the most was not the possibility of having COVID, but being “stuck” in a place where I did not feel safe. I immediately called the on-call nurse (a great perk that came with the apartment complex!) and as I waited for her to arrive, I made a decision…if my COVID test was negative, I was flying home the next day. Thankfully, the results came back negative and I quickly called American Airlines to book a flight back to the U.S. the next morning, arriving in Scottsdale 3 weeks earlier than originally planned.

It has always been my belief and experience that the Universe has our back. We get signs in the form of many things…people, events, illnesses, gut feelings, etc., all trying to gently nudge us in the direction that is part of our higher path. We sometimes just do not listen. Our job is to listen and make a choice to take action (or not). It is in the interpretation of these signs where we get confused. Our logical brains kick in and talk us out of the direction in which our instincts are nudging us. Many times we do not realize these signs as “signs” but rather think it is just our brain playing tricks on us. Sometimes we need to see more than one in order for the light bulb to go off. Other times, more often than not, the pieces of the puzzle come together after an unfortunate event has happened and we are looking back at the signs.

Soccer game in Medellin, Colombia.

I personally look at each event in my life and if I was able to take away a valuable lesson that I can use in the future, then it was worth it. One way I could interpret these events is that I should have listened to my friends and family and not traveled to begin with. Since I have learned to not “should on” myself or others over the years, I chose not to entertain that option. What I did walk away with from this experience is that down deep I DO know what is best for me. Looking back, I had a feeling while I was still in Cape Town to just go home. Making the decision to travel to Colombia anyway taught me how much I am protected from the unknown sources above (angels, God, my guides, etc.), given all of the events I seemed to be able to get through without truly causing more harm to myself. It also taught me to trust myself whether it makes logical sense or not. Logic gets in the way of our inner voice yearnings. It is our human habit to put logic above intuition. Earth is our school and we must learn to look at each experience we have, find the lesson, and gently leave the experience behind rather than questioning ourselves over and over again. We cannot change our past choices, but we can use those past choices to help us make better ones, ones more in alignment with our highest good, in the future.

At the end of the day, I am glad I chose to travel and I learned lessons I could not have possibly learned from my apartment in Scottsdale. So to all of my friends and family who urged me not to travel, I love you for watching out for me…but I’ve got this!

Clouds from plane

Taken on my flight home to Scottsdale.

Listening to the signs that this blog is long enough…forge on listening to your own signs and Happy New Year!

Dr. Chris

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