Re-Write Your Story

“Break ups don’t have to leave you broken. They can bring growth & a better life.” -Karen Salmansohn

You can always re-write the story of your life. You are the author in charge of the story.

Yes, it can be terrifying. However, there is a beautiful life waiting for you to claim. Had I been too afraid to claim the life I wanted, I’d be missing out on this beautiful partnership.


It’s never too late to change the script.

I Want to Understand My Truth

“I just want to understand my truth rather than what I have been programmed to believe about myself. I am tired of being a robot doing things because I am supposed to. I feel alone.”

This is just one of the comments that was shared with me when a client talked up about her divorce. We do have patterns from our past, things we were taught about the world-such as what it means to be a wife, a mother, a householder. Some of those things are amazing and some don’t serve us. We are programmed and when that veil starts to fall, it can be quite shocking and upsetting. 

Change takes awareness and bravely asking, “how did I get here?” Sometimes it’s the realization that we have been abandoned and neglected. Maybe we made our other roles and responsibilities more important then ourselves. Maybe NOW we are waking up to deeper aspects of who we are and why we are here, which by the ways, IS AMAZING.

Our conversation concluded with her saying, I deserve more and I deserve to be in a relationship where I can thrive and grow.

Damn right.

The Current Was Strong…

I have this quote hanging in my house in a framed art piece with the image of a woman standing in front of an enormous wave as it is ready to crash down upon her as her hair is standing on end.

Her stance is one of, “Okay, I got this.” She is about to be engulfed with probably “too much” but yet she is standing her ground as if to say, I am here. I can do this. ⁣Relationship breakups and the aftermath of what comes next like a giant wave and a HIGH TIDE moment-but you are built to do this even when you don’t think you can.

Caretaking is Consuming!

It is so easy for us to be consumed with our caretaking roles and to not heed the inner voice that tells us we are abandoning or neglecting ourselves.

⁣When we start to say, I deserve more, I deserve to be in relationships that thrive and grow-we begin to open ourselves to the mighty FORCE of who we are. ⁣Women who rise up, take the whole collective with her, it’s a win-win situation.⁣If you’re ready to say, I deserve MORE.

Send me a DM / tap the Get in Touch link to chat with me about what is possible for you!

How Do You Grieve the Past?

How do you grieve the past and set sail on your future? ⁣Often in relationships we lose our sense of self. We start to wonder after a divorce, who am I now? ⁣It is important to start by identifying what’s most important to you. ⁣Recognize the different stages of grief and identify what you are actually grieving.⁣Understand the tools of how to manage grief.⁣Set up the support you need physically, emotionally or mentally from your support system, coaches, and health care team.⁣Establish your first line of goals and move forward with an action plan. This helps you feel excitement for your future and see yourself letting go of what once was in in the past in order to create excitement for life now.

When Christmas Isn’t Merry

For some of us Christmas isn’t really a merry time of the year. 

This season can be difficult! It may not be a festive, celebratory time for you or for someone you know. Instead of creating joy, the lights, tinsel, and cheer can add to a sense of heaviness and separation. That can be confusing and even sometimes offending to those who don’t struggle this time of year. That too adds to the feeling of being alone and the what’s-wrong-with-me-ness of the holidays.

We all know that there is an amped up and overly busy environment in the malls, on the roads, and even in the smaller shops in town. Restaurants are busier, lines are longer, and often tempers are shorter. Less daylight also makes it tough for many. 

I’ve never really been able to trace back to a specific reason why this season has often been difficult for me. Yes, I live with depression, but this is something outside the realm of mood disorder characteristics. I’ve never had a bad Christmas experience; there’s never been a single event that turned the season off for me. But something often happens when the music cranks up, the lights appear, and the decorations begin showing up in stores. 

It can feel like I’m separated from those around me. That they are all having fun enjoying the activities and I’m basically being a buzz-kill, a downer to their celebration. I don’t want to mess around with putting a tree up, hanging lights on the house, or helping with decorations inside. It felt for years like I had to wear a mask and pretend so that I could even participate at a level that didn’t ruin it for those around me. (That does come across as a bit dramatic, I know. It is simply how it feels at times.)

I have found, for me at least, something that helps turn this around. It’s been a subtle shift and has taken a lot of awareness and kindness to myself to change my experience of the season. So what is it? 

Love & Trust 

It really can be that simple. It has been a powerful practice that has taken work and time on my part along with patience in those closest to me. The way it began was accidental and happened over a number of years. It is not completely immediate, at least it wasn’t for me but the benefit was nearly instantaneous. 

Seek out that one person in your life that you know beyond a shadow of doubt loves you. If you can think of more than one it’s even  better. They don’t have to be local to you but you do need to have telephone access to them at the very least. Email can work as a support tool in this but you really need to hear the voice of those who care. 

The hardest part? Communicating to that care team about your needs. Sometimes it takes more than one time but keep at it until you’ve been able to share how hard the season can be for you. How it’s not all beautiful lights and song, laughter and joy. Keep trying! If you just can’t get through to someone then find someone else. Let them know that you need a touch-stone during this difficult time. That you’d like to meet or have regular phone calls to talk about one or two things you can begin to feel grateful for this season. Plan at least one activity with those you trust and love. Fill a thermos with hot chocolate and go find the 5 best residential light displays where you live. Some towns and cities even list them online and folks, a few of these displays are surprisingly amazing!

It is hard to reach out and ask for help. Probably because somewhere along the way we were taught that we’re supposed to be able to do it all on our own. We’re supposed to be independent, strong, fearless, etc. Frankly friends, that’s wrong. We are inter-dependent. We do rely on one another. That’s understood more in rural communities than it is in our busy but often isolated city living. We need one another. You have strengths and talents others don’t. The same is true for those around you. 

To recap… as hard as it is and as difficult as it sounds find that one person who you know truly values you. Tell them how tough this time of year is and ask for help. Let them know that you’d like to find even a little joy, a little light, a little togetherness and belonging this Holiday Season. Remind them not to push because it will probably cause you to run away and cave-up again. This requires gentleness, kindness, and understanding. 

I believe we all have a spark of loving awareness inside and that there are times we can share that light with each other and even with ourselves. You are valuable, important, and here for a reason. Stick with it and find a way to reach that Love & Trust. Even when it’s difficult. I look forward to this time of year again in a way I haven’t for many years. I cheer my support crew; we’re not here to do it all alone!

To your best life, 

Zane Darner
The Condition of Happiness Podcast

This is important… I am not a physician, therapist, counselor, or health care provider. I offer the following in the event it may help you or someone you love. The information below and similar symptoms can be found online. Talk with your provider:

I’m not referring specifically to symptoms of clinical depression, anxiety, bi-polar or other mood disorders in the article above. Unfortunately, mental health issues are still taboo for many—It’s just not something often talked about. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for. If you or someone you love are experiencing any of these please, please visit a licensed health care provider. Let them know how you’re feeling and what’s going on. Depression can be treated but it takes you or someone you love to take action. 


Possible Symptoms of Depression:

Summarized from WebMD (

  • Less interest in activities that you typically enjoy.
  • Sadness lasting longer than usual.
  • Less energy—you may feel extremely tired or lethargic.
  • Sluggish thinking—you might catch yourself thinking or reacting more slowly. Words may be difficult to find.
  • Sleep changes—you may wake earlier or feel a strong pull to stay in bed.
  • Appetite changes—you might be over or under eating.
  • Anger, short tempers, and anxiety might also be part of this menu of symptoms.

If you’re experiencing sadness for longer than usual, feel like you’re under a cloud or in the shadows, feel isolated from those around you or have the symptoms above go see your doctor for your sake and for those who care the most about you. This spiral can almost always be slowed, stopped, or managed in a way where you feel you have your life back. This really is important.


P.S. You are always welcome to reach out to me. Send me an email, let me know what’s going on. Let’s share the light. 

P.P.S. If the list of symptoms I shared above about depression rings even a little true please reach out to qualified health care professionals. The first time I chose to really talk about it was with an N.P. I found in a doc-in-the-box. From there my understanding, referrals, and support system grew. Take care of yourself—life truly is precious!

Is the Scale Your Enemy?

What if we had something that gave us different information about our food choices instead of simple mass metrics? Maybe something along the lines of an indicator of how we feel after we take in a meal or snack?

Did what we ingest make us feel heavy or light, slothful or awake, upset bodily or calm? What about our mood? I know that when my mood is low I sometimes eat to fill a hole inside that feels larger than what is outside. It never really works though, it just ‘depresses’ my low mood or distracts me for a while.

I do use the scale regularly — but not to measure choice failure or to support the guilt that we are sometimes so loyal to when it comes to food. I use it as a record of where I was. I look back at those numbers and can review my journal to see what was up. What was I doing?

“Oh, I was here before my wedding, or, Wow! I was there after that cruise.” (There is a story there…) Or I can see how I made different food choices after my dad died. The scale doesn’t tell you whether or not you’re a good person. It only offers you a waypoint about where you are or were at a specific point in time.

I have a several years of records that simply act to remind me of what I want or need to do today to get where I want to be tomorrow. It really does help to make steps and choices in the direction that will get me there. It’s that easy.

I will turned 57 in January. I’ve LOVED the 50’s, but I’m in training for my 60’s and 70’s. I want to be mobile as I age. Sure I know our bodies decay, but the care I give this rental body now determines my physical self down the road.

We do have something that gives us other information about our food choices. It’s our present, honest awareness.

There is a Mexican potluck buffet simmering in the next room brought in by the office staff. I love that food, the smells are incredible, I can taste the cheese, the enchiladas, the heavenly wonderfulness of how I know a plateful will taste. But I’m also aware of how I’ll feel in two hours, of how uncomfortable I’ll be in this evening’s yoga class, even of how heavy I will feel tomorrow hiking the trial with my beloved. So I’ll have a tiny taste or pass completely thinking of the amazing meal Sandra S. Wood and I can make tonight together

How do you want to feel tomorrow?

Zane Darner
The Condition of Happiness Podcast

So, Who Are You Really?

Wow… there are so many books, magazine articles, workshops, motivational speakers and coaches, self-help courses, and opinions on this difficult — yet deceivingly simple – question! Who are you really?

Are you what you do?
How many times have you asked, and how many times has this been asked of you, “So, what do you do?” That question is so ingrained in us that it is almost as impersonal as how we can ask, “How are you doing?” and not really care or even want to know; we’re just being “kind.” What would you if instead of what you do, someone asked, “So, who are you?” What would you say?

Are you the roles you fill?
For example: Self, parent, child, grandchild, sibling, family member, community member, spouse, employee or employer, tax payer, church member, national or world citizen, etc, on and on. Or how about your hobbies? Outdoors-man or woman, geek, athlete, yoga practitioner, motorcyclist, rafter, pilot, sailor, etc.

Are you your values?
 Does your integrity, competitiveness, certainty, calmness, honesty, freedom, trustworthiness, work ethic, or connection to others define you; are your values who you are?

How about spiritual belief or lack of one?
Most belief systems lean toward a “ghost in the machine” understanding of Self. Philosophers have pondered on who this observer is who lives within us. Is it mind, God, chemical changes in the brain, random firings of your neural synapses? I created an analogy for myself to voice my belief of spirit: In this life, in this body, we are simply moving around in a rental car. It’s not ours, we don’t own it, and we will need to turn it in when the contract expires. However the “Me” driving the rental isn’t turned in with the car.

I have no idea what comes next but have often enjoyed the peace of how differing beliefs try to explain this unknown that we travel into beyond the curtain of death. But that still barely covers the question… Who are you? (Or, more personally, Who am I?)

You’ve read this far musing over my questions waiting for my answer. Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have an answer for you. That is what you get to identify on your own. I am here in this post to pose the question and ask you if you’ve thought about it at all lately.

Why is any of this important? Well, going back to our example of driving around in a rental car we can bring the concept of Awareness into the picture. (I’ll write on Awareness later.) Awareness offers you a sense of presence in this moment. If you’re driving your car around without really being in the car then you are not really in the activity of living your life are you? I mean… you’re not even daydreaming. You’re just not there. You are lost in the thoughts you allow to control your mind, your life, and your experience of the present moment. Sound harsh?  Do you disagree? Think of this then….

How many times have you driven anywhere in your own car realizing somewhere along the drive that you weren’t really in the car? How often do you get to work and not really have any true direct experience of driving. Did you run any lights? Did you cut anyone off while talking on the phone oblivious to others around you? Well sure! We’ve ALL done that.

You are defined by the level and attention you give to your actions in this moment. Next time you brush your teeth — only brush your teeth. Next time you talk to you partner — be only with your partner. During dinner — taste the food, feel the sensation of fueling your body, take your time. Multitasking minimizes your experience of life by letting you sample random moments without partaking of the feast. Don’t get me wrong, multitasking is a useful tool. Unfortunately though it is how most of us live our lives.

So, based on this idea, my understanding is that you are this moment right now. You will either be present to it or let it drift away like others before it. You will either experience it fully or you will discard it without a thought. You are not your occupation or birth order in your family. You are not your body or your strengths and weaknesses. You are not what you believe, feel, or think. Especially, you are not your mind.

This is ALL you have, all you are… just this moment. What are you going to do with it; how are you going to experience it? How will you spend this most finite resource?

All I ask is that you think about it for yourself.

Live your best,

Zane Darner
The Condition of Happiness Podcast

P.S. Oh, if your answer is, “I don’t know.” That is a GOOD thing. It means now you can go about this discovery with a clean slate. If you don’t know what you are, know what you are not and vice versa. Today is a great day to start. Right now. In this moment.

Current Updates

We are excited to announce a few changes coming down the line! Discover Life Balance, LLC is now the parent company of Sandra Wood Coach and Encourage, Uplift, Inspire, and The Condition of Happiness Podcast.

Sandra’s site, Sandra Wood Coach, has undergone a MASSIVE change! Her coaching practice focusing on empowering women is being rebuilt from the ground up with a global perspective shift.

Zane’s site, Encourage, Uplift, Inspire, is getting a facelift as well. His focus on working with adults in the four primary rooms of their lives — Mind, Body, Heart, and Spirit — has deepened and become more focused around helping adults get from where they are to where they want to be.

We have recently added The Condition of Happiness Podcast. Happiness isn’t accidental! Tune in for interviews, commentary, lessons, coaching, and tips designed to reconnect with your own inner joy.

We will be sharing blog entries from our sites along with great posts from loved and respected coaches and professionals. Stay tuned and as always use the contact links to connect with us for questions, suggestions, and comments.

All the very best!

Sandra & Zane