Passion Prey or Passion Play?

passion and hound at play

I must find and follow my Passion. I’ve tried everything and I can’t find it.

During my years as a coach I’ve heard this a lot...  I feel compelled to ask them
“What if you let it find you? Sometimes our search feels more like like passion prey. Wouldn’t you rather feel passion play?”
Sometimes people appreciate the question and sometimes? not so much.

See the photo? backstory
I had dropped to the ground to take a closeup of a crocus in bloom.
Teagen, my Irish Wolfhound closed in, intent in her desire to come to my aid. I mean I was laying prone-obviously in need of protection from this small blue thing in my face, right?
The crocus turned into her prey…until she read my energy and then, alas, the poor flowers became the object of play. My hound snouted the flowers out of the soil and tossed them in the air.  Prancing around, she seized the moment, tossing them up again and again.
From passion prey to passion play in the blink of an eye.

Years later this moment stays with me.
It seems a good metaphor for my take on the need to discover one’s passion. I don’t quite buy into it the whole ‘must find purpose and passion’ thing.
It seems the hunt becomes too confusing as so often we miss the obvious.

Think about it. What do you feel when you go hunting for something you really want to find? Car keys, house keys, bank card, phone? In that moment, they are the prey. What energy is fueling you? Desperation, irritation or frustration? And what do you often feel if you can’t find them.

What happens when you stalk your passion like prey?  You try to capture a fleeting glimpse of it so you can hunt it down, claim ownership and in a blinding flash know your way. My experience has been that this happens only the big screen and not in real life.

Oh ya, passion can make us feel alive. I, too love the feeling of life in my fingertips. But it’s  curiosity, resonance and peace that have consistently led me toward a more wholehearted, playful self, where I can own knowing that I am enough for me.
Passion and desire have merged with where I am. The unrealistic expectations of the hunt have disappeared. I feel more excited about possibility of play than fearful of failure to come away empty-handed.

What if clearing a welcoming, nurturing, flexible inner space that allows for growth, change and reflection could channel a little more invigorating adrenaline your way? A little less hype, a little more curiosity? A little less prey and a little more play?
If you were passion would that draw you in or push you away?
You don’t have to answer right away…let the question percolate and see what bubbles up.

The next time you feel the desperate need to find your passion, lean into curiosity.
Give yourself permission to feel a good-enough-in-this-moment vibe and then go play.
Let passion find you.

Updated and revised from a post,originally published in 2010. Seems searching for our passion and purpose in life is part of human be-ing. How can you make the search more fun?

I use a lifetime of diverse experience, humor and grass roots wisdom to guide others into mind expanding landscapes.  Find how your inner genius, creativity and pursuit of Canameaning and success connect naturally at

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the inner Wilderness – a path revealed

Wilderness Pebble reflects your Gold

When we find ourselves lost in a forest of fear, bogged down in our inner wilderness by a tangled web of doubt, comparison and perfectionism, it’s easy to give up. To flounder. To stop. To blame others for our lack of direction.
When there’s no path revealed, vulnerability overwhelms us, self-discouragement drains our courage.
It feels as if life is sandblasting our soul.
Our voice is paralyzed. We fear we might take our unique offering to the grave.

I know this feeling. It goes deeper than hurt, to that place where we are most alone. It feels cold and dark and broken. Though we try, we cannot be kind to ourselves.
But you’re not alone and you’re not broken. You’re merely stalled…and likely for good reason.
Tho’ it might be a bit obscured at this moment, there is a path into that clearing of light where your inner genius feels safe and warm and strong…
Free to be real. Free to play. Free to shine out and shine on.

Do you long to create that special something in your life that reflects your inner brilliance on a larger stage?
Do you long to reclaim your soul song, discover your soul fuel and core drivers that make it easier to commit to your dreams?
Do you long to feel a solid foundation beneath you, making it easier to show up as and for your self?
Do you long to find meaningful success without feeling like you’re sandblasting your soul?

I want you to find your bearings, align yourself with your north star,
turn your face to the sun, stand tall and be able to acknowledge Shadow; claiming that space of deep awareness as information,
as wisdom rather than a need for apology.
I want you to find your voice and not feel like an echo of someone else.

I’m at your service…
Personal coach and business mentor for entrepreneurs, soul coach and master creativity coach, helping you find your ‘through line’, revealing the path that will get you from where you are to where you long to be.
Join me at the corner of soul, entrepreneurship, creativity and life.
Dawn~ inner wilderness guide.

Drop me a line.
Let’s talk.

Automate Joy

fists flying-image
We’ve heard about the benefits of Editing your ‘To Do’ lists, Automating as many tasks as you can and then Delegating as much as possible? Edit, Automate, Delegate, clear out the junk…then what?

An article in  Daily Good blog has some helpful tips on eliminating junk stimulus and automating tasks so we can free up our time {and our headspace}~
but the most excellent tip they shared is this one:
‘Note: Don’t automate anything that brings you joy.’

Immediately, I thought of baking bread.
‘Cause everybody equates Joy with baking bread, right? OK…maybe it’s just me.
More specifically, I thought about the times I choose to bake old school bread from scratch with grandkids.
Baking bread the old school way, is always on the list when they’re here for a few days.
And when the kids help me make bread I move straight into the land of JoY.

JoY Rising-yeast cup
Joy smiles

Have you seen a child react the first time they get to watch yeast rising? See the photo above? Yep, kinda like that. A pinch of sugar dissolved into perfectly warmed water. A teaspoon of small, dull grains of dry yeast sprinkled on top.  Give it 10 minutes and the right conditions…it has a mind of its own.

Do you know what it smells like?
The musty smell of yeast rising, amazing stuff…and powerfully strong. One whiff is enough.

kneading bread photo
Have you ever watched kids kneading bread?
Pushing down against it, slapping it around, rolling it over, sinking fists deep into the soft belly of dough…getting their hands sticky and bound up in the promise of fresh homemade bread and butter.

Buying fresh bread is waaayyyy easier but when a kid is willing to rise to the challenge, kneading their way into the firsthand experience~ the Joy in that lightens the load? Priceless.

Bake old school bread.
Watch kids rise. 

How could I ever automate that?

What JoY would you never automate, edit or delegate?
Go ahead. Share & comment. My curiosity is rising.

As a Master Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, Martha Beck Certified Life Coach, seasoned entrepreneur, farmer and artist,  I use a lifetime of diverse experience, humor and grass roots wisdom to help others bridge their self confidence gap.  Don’t let fear keep you in the dark.  If I can help you in this experience called life, drop me a line. Let’s talk.
let's talk- Dawn Kotzer

Hi. I’m Dawn. I see you.



Invincibly small? What you contribute counts.


ANT by Dawn Kotzer
invincibly small- image

Does what you contribute count?
Ever feel that your contributions in life don’t really matter.
Do you fear that your actions are so small they seem invisible?
Do you wonder what is the point of lending a hand, sharing something helpful, trying to make a difference?
Maybe you feel taken for granted or doubt that you’re good enough, big enough, strong enough, brave enough, loud enough, talented enough, wealthy enough, smart enough…you get the drift.

I don’t know what you do or where you live, how you make a living or fill your days but I do know this…
what you contribute counts.

Just because

  • we don’t get to witness the impact does that mean there is no impact?
  • we can’t see an immediate benefit does that mean there’s no benefit?
  • we’re not always able to easily measure it does that really make our contribution is invisible?

A contribution is both a drop of water AND the entire ocean.
It is the best we can do in a single moment AND the manifestation of an ongoing connection to a bigger whole.
It is part of a process. Process often feels invisible.
Yet process matters immensely. Just as your contributions do.
If they’re important to you, they matter..

Don’t believe me? Take another look at the photo.
Have you ever tried to measure the length of an ant’s step? Almost imperceptible, each step is a single contribution to the journey home.
Small things make a BiG difference.
‘nuf said.

Inner Wilderness Guide
As a master coach, entrepreneur and artist, I use a lifetime of diverse experience, humor and grass roots wisdom to help others bridge their self confidence gap.  Don’t let fear keep you in the dark.  If I can help you in this experience called life, drop me a line. Let’s talk.

PS  Have you subscribed to my eLetter,  meet at dawn? Created for and delivered exclusively to subscribers. Get it here.

Frozen In Time


Do you feel frozen in time? image
Do you feel frozen in time? image

Ice has a mind of its own, a unique signature that can be dangerous and beautiful at the same time.

Overnight, an ice storm had hit hard…this was not normal…this was not welcomed. Local farmers were trying to wrap up harvest. Others were in the middle of chores that needed to be done before winter set in. Autumn’s process had been stalled, frozen solid in a premature wintry howler. It was a bleak, bone chilling morning and a little overwhelming. What if this weather stayed? Now that was depressing.

…and then the sun came out.

Holy Wowza! All mindchatter stops when I look outside once again.
In a split second my mood, kin to the ice bound lakeshore, melted away from the inside out.
{Don’t you just love life when that happens?}

The water’s edge, alive with ice crystals, shines like a string of chandeliers. Grass, moss and dogwood bushes shimmer with transformation.

Grabbing my camera, intent on capturing this magic, I head down the slippery footpath toward the lake. “WHO said this was depressing? Silleee girl,” I tease myself.

Soon enough kneecaps ache from crawling on ice-packed, still green moss. Jeans squeak with wet, shoes soak, toes freeze, fingers numb, cheeks wind warp with icy cold…it takes some effort to keep snapping photos.
So? I feel totally alive…completely at home.

30 minutes later I head back up to the house for a hot shower, a cup of joe and some timeline juggling.
Eventually, I find my way back into the activities of the day…come evening, taking my Creative & Playful Detour into the morning’s magic is the action that rings most loud, clear and true.
Many months later, as I write this post, the feeling of that morning’s magic returns. Yep. Still rings true.

Do you know what it takes to put Play into work, to feel at home in your own skin? 
Do you give yourself Permission to take a small step towards whatever warms you up from the inside out or are you waiting for the sun to come out before you’re able to fill with wonder?
Does it feel like you’re
frozen in Time?

Hi. I’m Dawn Kotzer. Master Kaizen Muse™ Creativity Master Coach. Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. Inner Wilderness Guide. Business Mentor.
Would you like to discover what warms your heart, defrosts your dreams, stirs your soul?

If you’re ready to defrost, dream and stir
let’s get together.  

drop me a line
Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.



True Story: my Christmas Rebellion


Christmas Rebellion
Christmas Rebellion

What happens when the familiar, the comfortable, the freedom of choice seems taken away and we feel dragged into the dreaded landscape of a ‘painful unknown’.
At times, when tested by one of life’s real teachers, a.k.a our ExpecTations, we might spiral into fear and angst faster than Santa drops down a chimney.
At other times, we might try rebellion, hoping to find a way out of angst and into some Zen experience that delivers peace of mind.

Let me tell you what happened when I created my Christmas Rebellion-

20 some years ago, I left my marriage. Unexpectedly I became a mother who didn’t live with her young son, often separated for weeks at a time.
Many months after the split, the first Christmas found me sitting with confusion, grief, anger and a very fractured relationship with my own family.
My son’s dad eroded our joint custody comfort zone by demanding that the holiday revolve around his plans.
Without telling me, my mother invited my very unhappy, lonely and sad ex-husband to join our family celebration.

I couldn’t really blame any of them. We were all sad, angry and confused, caught up in a situation that no one knew exactly how to cope with.
But man…I wanted to blame someone; anyone-everyone-including myself for a Christmas gone very wrong in my eyes.
The best solution I could come up with was to spend lots of time alone.
That wasn’t really the answer but it made things easier.

Did I mention that at this time I made my living as a Floral Designer?
Working hard at making everyone’s holiday cheery and bright was my specialty.
I had a love-hate relationship with my career during Christmastime. I was so miserable.
It felt like I had to watch the holiday parade from the sidelines.
By the time my son arrived at my house for Christmas, people were way past hanging stockings; they were hanging new calendars instead.
Finally, f-i-n-a-l-l-y…. I realized I DID have a SAY in all of this.
I could create a Christmas with my young son that we’d both LoVe, yet didn’t take away from anyone else’s celebration.

This is what I decided to do.
With GreAt FanFare, I declared that Christmas Eve would happen the day my son arrived on my doorstep…whatever date that was.

I will never forget  the look of confusion turned to wonder on my young son’s face the first time I first told him that Christmas Eve was the day he arrived at my house…no matter when. Period.
“but Mom, you’ll miss Christmas.”
“No way.” I said. “Christmas comes when YOU are in the house.”
A Big, B-I-G smile took over his face as he instantly hopped on board this holiday train.

The first thing we did after he arrived was to head into the forest, cut down a tree that called our name and drag it back up hills, through forest and over snowbanks.
Tired but happy, we set it up and decorated it with our favorite bling.
Did you notice the crazyhaired red flocked angel topping the tree in the photo above?
Tacky, poorly made and cheap as dirt, she’d been around forever.
In Ian’s eyes nothing else could crown our Christmas tree.

We hung stockings, listened to carols, drank hot chocolate, laid colourfully wrapped presents from family and friends under the tree. Then we’d turn off all the lights and stand in darkness watching the tree lights winking and blinking with a ‘night before Christmas’ excitement.

Stocking Chair
Stocking Chair

The next day, the calendar might show Dec. 27, Dec. 29 or even Jan. 1~
We paid NO attention. It was Christmas Day at Mom’s house.
Some of our extended family played along and waited to wish us Season’s Greetings until we celebrated our day together. I often wonder if they knew what a gift they gave me by offering my Christmas Rebel so much space and understanding.

Occasionally, my now grown son mentions what “Mom’s Christmas” meant to him.
Creating Flexibility for holidays made his childhood better and now gives his family permission to do the best they can celebrating special days in a way that makes sense for them.

All those years ago, I had no clue that allowing my Christmas Rebel to help me adjust holiday expectations would turn into the gift that keeps on giving.

So from my rebel to yours,
Best wishes for a little Christmas Zen and blessings for ‘Christmas NoW’, no matter how or when you get to celebrate.

  Beloved Angels

Beloved Angels


Life Lemonade on the Freedom Trail

Lemonade & Freedom

Natalie’s Day 3 prompt:

“Dawn, what’s your definition of freedom in business and adventure in life?”

Freedom? Adventure?
At first glance, it seems like there’s more work than freedom and less adventure than desired…more lemons than refreshing lemonade.
But scratch zest the surface beneath that thought and what do I find? That familiar taste of personal freedom and small adventures, growing day by day through 30+years of owning my own businesses.

Is Freedom in business easy?
Nope, not always.

In the beginning, everything was new and exciting. I believed if I was doing what I was meant to do, everything would be EasY-Peasy…
you know- tap into your passion,  make a wish, breathe deep and Viola`~ the Big U. would deliver in the blink of an eye.
hmmmmm…that’s not exactly how it works. Serious, consistent, grit and effort was often the flavour of the day. That is, until I discovered how to work in Aligned Effort.

 Aligned Effort has a magical quality to it. It lightens the load and brightens the road when partnered with our core motivators, making things easily feel worth the time and effort. 

Did I make mistakes?
Uh-huh. But remember, mistakes aren’t always a bad thing.
Don’t get me wrong…I don’t like making mistakes. My mistakes can make me feel pretty uncomfortable, even defensive …especially when I have unrealistic expectations of myself or I fall into Perfectionist thinking.
Eventually, I get past my sense of embarrassment and remind myself that making mistakes in life is Normal.  I get to practice a little self compassion, cut myself some slack and lean into humility as I discover how to take the best from these moments and keep on moving. That’s part of the bittersweet taste of freedom and adventure, isn’t it? We have the power to turn a bad moment, a mistake into something sweet or sour.           
Remember the saying?

when life hands you lemons, make lemonade


What if we reached for a glass of deliciously cool, homemade life lemonade the next time we celebrated a day of Adventure on the Freedom Trail? Works for me. How ’bout you?


These days, as a Master Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach and Martha Beck Certified Life Coach, my Freedom Trail connects me with individuals in their search for ways to BE Real, Find Freedom…surely the Adventure of a life time.
Feel free to drop me a line, leave a comment, give a LIKE or share this post…
Thanks for reading and may you find a cool refreshing glass of life lemonade waiting on your Freedom Trail.


Success. Measure or Treasure?


Curious beast, this thing called SuCCesS~
with its shapeshifting, sometimes elusive,
radically individualistic tendencies to show up late for some,
early for others and in the case of the truly committed curmudgeon of negativity?
and who knows how long it will hang around?
Tricky to attract. Tricky to Track.
Or is it?
Did you know that ALL success is equal?
[Tell me your child’s First Step, Word, Art
doesn’t FEEL as important to you as Man landing on the moon? ] Success is subjective, a sense of personal fulfillment that shows up in our work, our home, our creativity, our play.
A culture or group of people can embrace a singular success as ‘One for The People’ only when enough individuals feel a connection to the accomplishment.

Dawnkotzer measuring what you treasureThis brings me to my Photo:
Wondering how they could possibly relate to SuCCess?

They represent a slice of how I ‘Measure what I Treasure’.
They Remind me what Success feels like in my life.

The Steps?
I work with people around the globe from my home in the almost wilderness, perched between a lake and the Boreal Forest.
Last week we moved in some seriously huge loads of landfill to shore up retaining walls around our house.
My wellworn footpath leading down to the lake was buried in the process.
One evening, feeling the vibes of a rich summer sunset on my face and in need of a worthy form of procrastination…{quarterly tax return was now due-who wanted to do that?}…I decided to exercise my creativity by cutting a new set of stairs into the hardpacked earth.
True, I’d never done this before but that meant nothing.
I had the will, the tools, the desire, the time and the freedom to choose how to spend my evening. ~Success.
{What fun! I measured, cut, pounded and pondered, levelled and filled and shovelled to my heart’s content.
The only restriction was the soft darkness that eventually called ‘lights out.’}

The Shoes?
These are my Fav! dancing shoes.
Life has thrown a few curve balls my way these past few years and I haven’t gone dancing in a long time.
No matter.
These shoes Remind me of how much I LOVE to dance; of good times I’ve had while feeling the groove
and are a space holder for a future filled with as much dancing as I desire. ~Success.

The Dirt?
Its smell, texture, touch, colour and mineral rich nourishment are proof positive that I have chosen to live in an
environment that brings out the best in me…
and when I’m at my best, the world is rich with wisdom and wonder and curiosity. ~Success.

The Bangles?
These bangles display the loving presence of my mother, enriching my life with her memory and the knowing field of my past, the brilliance and wisdom of those who have coloured my life. They Remind me that I am a CreaTive, Zestful, PoWerful woman who GETS To choose how I Show UP in my own life, no matter the circumstances. ~Success.

Through the years, I’ve enjoyed achieving Success in my career, my art, my relationships, my life;
however, the most sustaining, memorable, life affirming Success effortlessly connects to the best of me…and fuels my creative, curious, dance loving spirit…

In what small way can you give yourself Permission to Measure what your Treasure?
To align your sense of SuCCESS with what you Treasure according to your desire, your groove, your innovative and creative soul?

I’d love to hear your take on this post~please feel free to post comments and questions about success.
I’m just an email away.
Living and working in my almost wilderness…Coaching for this business called L.I.F.E.
Dawn Kotzer

Facebook Party on Friday. see details below.

Join the Discussion.
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I Get to Wear Pants.

Jersey Cow

Many years ago, when I was just a little girl, I remember Big Gramma telling me how she loved going out to the barn to milk cows.
‘No way. Why?’  I was scared of cows. Period. Milking  a cow  sounded anything but fun to me.

“Two reasons.” said Gramma. ” I get a nice break when I sit down on the milk stool. I lean my head on the cow’s flank  and disappear into it’s warmth, the rhythm of my hands coaxing the warm milk into the pail on the floor between my feet. Secondly, I get to wear pants.”
She went on to tell me how both farm men and women worked equally hard in those early days. However, men were able to move through their day in comfortable pants and shirts while women had to wear dresses.

Dresses were fussy to put on and hot  and bothersome to wear while doing so much physical work.

It frustrated her no end until she found a solution.

Gramma was an accomplished seamstress. Using a pair of mens pants as a guide, adjusting the design to create a better fit for her body shape, she  made a pair of work pants for herself. No more cumbersome skirts tripping her up as she managed milk stools. She’d now be wearing pants to milk or not milking at all.
I remember the tone of her voice as she told me this story. It was calm, quiet, matter of fact.  She simply found her own creative way to turn a job that had to be done into a job she loved to do.

Here’s hoping that 2011 will bring us all practice at turning our own jobs that must be done into jobs we love to do.

How does your Inner Genius, Creativity, Pursuit of Meaning, Success Experience and Lizard Brain connect naturally? Find out at Dawn Kotzer is a Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, Modern Muse Group Facilitator and Certified Martha Beck Life Coach, Artist thriving in Saskatchewan.