A few days ago, my daughter showed me a photo of us and said, “It’s so strange how you look so much older in this photo than now.” As I glanced at the photo, my heart broke for my past self. I saw that Sanya, the young, broken, yet strong mother. My daughter was sitting in my lap with the utter joy of a happy child on her face, eyes lit up in a broad smile. In stark contrast, my eyes held darkness, and my well-rehearsed smile gave a forced impression of happiness after years of learning how to cover up what was really going on inside me.

I knew for the longest time that I needed healing, but I felt I couldn’t open that Pandora’s box without being absolutely sure someone could actually help me. I felt my issues were complex and layered because my scars weren’t visible. Most people wanted the life I had and often reminded me how lucky I was. A big part of my energy went into making sure those scars stayed hidden. It was all a farce, and it hurt like lies do.

Years later, when I could no longer glaze over issues that were becoming bigger, I decided I couldn’t trust anyone to understand what I was going through. So, I went back to school, earned the Master’s in Psychology I had been avoiding, and figured it out once and for all. A dual graduate degree and about five different therapists later, I understood the dynamics and diagnostics of what was occurring with me. I was constantly working on myself, but it wasn’t until I met my first coach at a luxury spa retreat during a lecture series that I started to turn my life around.


Were the therapists not good enough?
Did they not know what they were doing?
None of that…

Each of these therapists were excellent practitioners, but I wasn’t looking for yet more insight. I wanted my life to change. I wanted transformation. I needed action. I wanted to heal from the pain I kept carrying like dead bodies. I wanted to be free, and transformation requires being called out on your ‘BS,’ being guided when feeling lost is convenient, and taking responsibility when you want to blame the next moving object.

As a licensed therapist with a dual masters degree in counseling psychology, I had a bias against coaches, thinking they weren’t operating under a board and other such nonsense. Just like the people I serve, I was doing very well, even thriving in most areas of my life. I didn’t need therapeutics as much as I needed one person to look me in the eye and say, “I got you. I’ve been there. I know the way out; follow me, I’ll take you there!” And that is precisely what I found in my coach.

Donna Bond, my first and only personal/non-business coach, did that for me. I could sense her presence in the sessions, and it allowed me to go deeper, to places that were otherwise hard for me to venture. No matter how smart and accomplished you are, it is hard to see the label when you are inside the bottle. The clear guidance with compassion and support that coaching provided was not a model I was allowed to practice under the psychotherapy umbrella.

woman inside a glass bottle

My intention now is to give others what I wandered around looking for and what I would have loved to receive in my own journey out of darkness, blindness, and confusion.

The Question: Are you ready for your transformation?

The answer was ‘no’ for me for a long time. Heck, change is hard enough; transformation sounded frightening until my own life had become scarier than what I was afraid would happen if what I was used to changed. I wish I didn’t let things get that far, I wish my kids didn’t have to experience the aftermath of the unhealed parts of me, and I also know that none of us can come to solutions until we are ready to drop our excuses and blame, show up for ourselves in full responsibility, and take on our own healing head-on, independent of anyone or anything else around us.

As Anais Nin wrote, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

When you feel ready, reply to this email and let’s see what a transformation would look like for you. Your journey to healing and freedom depends on you.