Monday, November 15, 2010

What's Your Theme Song?

     Remember when we were teenagers and we had a mix tape for every occasion?  Yes, I realize I am dating myself with that statement- but I am a child of the 80's, dammit. The running joke in my family is that I have 73 old tapes labeled "Keisha's Funky Songs".  My girlfriends and I would play this tape while we were getting ready to go out and in the car on the way.  There were tapes for every occasion- "Beach Music", "Dance Mix", "Car Tunes", and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!"  Break up with a boyfriend?  Just play Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" really loud a few thousand times until your neighbors beg you to take him back.

  Why did we go to all of that effort? Because music can put us in a mood.  Mood music, right?  Now, we have playlists on our Ipod- but we mainly use those for working out.  Sometimes for cleaning- I enjoy mopping to Journey.  Well, not exactly enjoy, but- it makes the task more tolerable.  I realized how much I missed music when I started listening to it again while I was getting ready in the morning.  My husband bought me this little speaker set for my Ipod for Christmas- and ever since then, I have been rockin out while drying my hair and brushing my teeth.  I see the effect it has on my mood, and I wonder how I forgot to use this amazing Prozac-like tool.

    As soon as I rediscovered this, I decided that I needed a theme song.  You know, like Rocky...or Ally McBeal.  I thought that if I came up with my own song that motivated me- I could conquer the world!  So, after months of serious deliberation, I came up with this  Yeah, it's disco. So? Were you expecting opera? Puhleezz! Now I play this song whenever I want to get into my zone- and it works- every single time.

     So, knowing how well it has worked for me-I ask my clients to find a theme song for themselves.  Not only do they feel triumphant when they find their song, but they thoroughly enjoy the process of finding it.  Once you find your theme song, hang onto it as long as it feels good.  Feel free to change it when you want- or find a theme song for any emotion you want to evoke.

Here's how to find your theme song...

1) Listen to music
2) See what energizes you
3) Wait to see which song gets stuck in your head
4) Analyze how you feel when you hear it
5) Repeat until satisfied

    Finally, something that makes us feel good that is healthy, cheap, and easy.  Let me know what you come up with.  Now rock on with your bad self.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


People who know me are sometimes shocked by what my teenagers tell me. And I have sons- who usually get through the day with a few grunts and a point. It's not just my kids either, it's other teenagers that wander in to my home. Usually stopping by to scrounge up something to eat, but sometimes it's for an emotional safe haven. Somewhere they can ask questions they say they can't ask their parents, or to have someone listen without judgement. Here are the rules that I follow to build a good, trusting relationship between you and your teenager.


1. THOU SHALL NOT GASP. When your teen is talking to you, you may hear things that are gasp-worthy. Resist the impulse. If you hear something that makes you uncomfortable, take a breath and ask a question- casually. Gasp and you erase the trust.

2.THOU SHALL BECOME AWARE OF WHAT I AM CONVEYING NONVERBALLY. 90% of communication is non-verbal. Look at your tone, your pacing, your expression. Embody calm, openness, and empathy

3. THOU SHALL NOT BELITTLE OR DISMISS. It's too easy for us to brush off the issues that concern our kids. Supposedly, adults have "real problems". Not true. Remember what it felt like to be in 8th grade? Would you go back to that for any amount of money in the world? What is going on in their lives is important to them, therefore needs to be important to us. Remember to explain, not condescend.

4. THOU SHALL TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD MY TEEN'S CONFIDENCE AND SELF WORTH. This may not mean what you think it does- like pouring on the praise. There is a place for that absolutely. But what about giving them the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them? How about empowering them by giving them more responsibility incrementally to boost their self reliance?

5. THOU SHALL NOT TRY TO FIX EVERYTHING. Allow your teen a safe place to fall after a difficult situation. Remind them that they will learn much more by learning to come up with their own solutions rather than have you run in and save the day. The goal is to guide more and do less as they get older.

6.THOU SHALL NOT TRY TO BECOME MY TEEN'S BEST FRIEND. Your kid has friends, they need parents. They need boundaries to feel safe. Believe it or not, you are still your teen's number one influence.

7.THOU SHALL TRUST BUT VERIFY. Check up on your kid's whereabouts occasionally and make sure they are where they say they are. Email teachers and find out if there are any issues you need to be aware of. Yes, ask them to show you the pictures on their phone and Facebook. Make them come in to your room after going out at night and notice possible signs of alcohol or drug use.

8. THOU SHALL STAY INVOLVED. Get to know your teen's friends. Talk often about sex, alcohol, drugs, internet safety, relationships and self esteem. Even "good kids" with good grades ARE having sex, drinking and smoking pot. Grades are not always a barometer of high risk behavior

9. THOU SHALL BE A GOOD EXAMPLE. Just because your teen may physically look like an adult, does not mean they are mentally and emotionally. They are watching everything you do, and are using your behavior as an indication of what is ok and what's not. Kids do as you do, not as you say.

10. THOU SHALL NOT BELIEVE TEEN WHEN THEY PUSH YOU AWAY. Kids want you to care. Do not believe claims of "It doesn't matter", "Don't worry about it", or "No one else's parents are going." Part of being a teen is to distance from parents in order to grow, but not when it comes to love and support. Hug often, speak lovingly and praise thoughtfully. That, they will need forever.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Last week I was doing this cool meditation. I was really relaxed and feeling my inner woo woo and all, when I decided to ask myself a question. What can I do to get my business to the next level, I mean really crackalackin? An image came to mind of a yellow dandelion. A weed, essentially. That's dumb, I thought. That can't be right. Then I remembered that I am not supposed to judge whatever images come in, no matter how stupid they may seem. Just when I decided to leave the lame dandelion alone, the image morphed into a white poofy dandelion, the kind with all the little seed pods that drift away on a breeze. I got a very woo woo, non verbal message that told me something like- don't worry, your message is out there, and it is already done. All is as it should be. Kind of like my energy has already been sent out like the little white fluffs on a dandelion. The next night I had a dream that a dandelion poof blew up like a firecracker, sending little pieces all over the sky- and that amused me. I got a new client that day. Then I got another one. Later, I was telling my friend Martha about this dandelion business, and she told me she had just been trying to get a piece of clip art of something else, but all that would come up was a dandelion poof. With a couple of little pods flying away. Huh, that's interesting... She asked me how many poofs flew away in the first image. Two I said. Hmmm, two puffs, two new clients. More interesting. Then, I got this weird picture in my mind of this bully guy that has been harassing my sons. Since we were going full on weird, I decided to look up his address. He lives on Dandelion Way. No joke. What the hell does that mean? I have no idea. Then I told my friend Mary about all these weird synchronicities, and she said her new blog post has a picture of a dandelion poof on it. Seriously? Seriously, she said. Then I was sharing this weirdness with another friend, and she said she has been taking classes at a place called Dandelion Tea. Come on? Really? Really. Which leads me to my blog's new look. I didn't like the old template, but my web/blog design skills are pitiful, so I'd been avoiding it. Today, I got a bug up my butt to do it, and while looking at the different ready made templates- this one came up. With the white dandelion. At this point, I'm not going to feign shock. Of course it's a dandelion. What do I take all of this to mean? Well, I take it to mean that I am on the right track- my own starlit path. Yes, I should keep meditating- even if I suck at it. I am doing what I should to get my business to grow, primarily by just BEING. Just being me. The bully is here to teach me something- even if I detest him. My clients will come at the exact right time for us both. My friends are all loving witnesses to my journey. And- I should blog more. All that from a dumb little weed.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


WHAT FEELING ARE YOU TRYING TO BUY? So you know when you are driving your car and somehow inexplicably find yourself at the mall? Maybe your car drives to the mall by itself a lot. When you walk into the air conditioned, brightly lit shopping mecca, you take a deep breath and sigh- knowing you are in for a really great distraction, experience. Ooooh, the shoes literally sparkle, and are in so many colors and the handbags beckon you with their shiny patents and luxurious suedes. Maybe you go to the cosmetics department and see a new red Chanel lipstick and think, "I NEED this, I DESERVE this. It will make me look pretty." STOP!!! What feeling are you trying to buy right now? Ladies, I am not picking on you. Really, I'm not. I am completely aware that men do this too. Maybe with clothes, or tools, or gadgets, or random sporting equipment. It's just that I am a woman, so I write what I know. Now back to the lipstick counter. What feeling are you trying to buy right now? That may sound like an odd question. "Duh, I'm not trying to buy a feeling, I'm just trying to buy a damn lipstick!" you may say. Au contraire, mon frer. Do you know what one luxury item sold more units than any other during the great depression and world wars? Lipstick. Red lipstick. Think about it. Put on a happy face! Lipstick sales doubled right after 9/11. Lipstick is a luxury. It's unnecessary, but somehow makes women feel pretty, pampered and desirable, all at the same time. All those good feelings in a shiny little tube. I ought to know, I've got about 87 of them in my makeup drawer right now. It's called "The Lipstick Effect." According to, "The Lipstick Effect theory assumes that, in a crisis or when consumer trust in the economy is low, people will buy goods that have less impact on their available funds. Women buy lipstick and men spend money on items like gadgets rather than new cars." Do you see where I am going with this? Yes, sometimes we shop because we really do need underwear. But a lot of the time, we shop to get a pick me up. We are literally buying a feeling. It could be "These jeans are so in- I feel fashionable, hip, sexy and cool." Or, "These shoes just scream rich! Feel the leather!" Before you got to the mall, maybe you felt frumpy. Or depressed. Or poor. But after you buy your pick me up item, you feel, well...possibility. I am completely and totally guilty of this behavior. Really, just ask my husband. But, what I have noticed is that now that I shop with awareness- I spend less money. I buy less crap. I drag home less feelings in a bag. This is very good for my bank account, and my marriage come to think of it. How, you ask, have I changed my shopaholic ways? Well, I ask myself, what feeling am I trying to buy right now? And then, what can I do to give myself that feeling without buying this ____(insert your pick me up object here). Depending on the day- I could be trying to buy...comfort, wealth, sexiness, organization, self esteem, warmth, calm, adventure, freedom, a sense of belonging, camouflage, glamour, confidence, happiness, attractiveness, power, pampering, or even, love. Once I identify the feeling, I try to figure out a way to get the feeling, without leaving my money at the store. If I am looking for comfort, I can go home, curl up with a blanket and read a good book. If I'm looking for a sense of belonging, I can spend time with a friend or my family. I suppose that depends on who whether your family makes you feel warm and fuzzy or not, but you get the gist. Sometimes I buy the comfort sweater and power pumps, sometimes I don't. Just think about what you really need, and it may just be something money can't buy. ~Keisha Gallegos, Certified Life Coach, Former Shopaholic

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Does your spending reflect your values?

Does your spending reflect your values? As a life coach, I have noticed that how we deal with money mimics the way we deal with life. People who are very cautious with their money are usually very cautious with how they live their lives. People that spend money freely tend to be people who take chances. It isn’t just about putting your money where your mouth is, it is about following the action patterns in your life. Make sure you are being INTENTIONAL about where your money goes and how much of it goes there. I am not talking about the standard budget with exact dollars and cents for each category. I’m talking about setting money priorities. What are your family values? If charity is high on your list of values, but due to the economy, you’ve cut back- make sure you are giving SOMETHING. It doesn’t really matter how much, but the act of giving needs to be prioritized. If more family time is a family value, spend money on activities that enrich your relationships with one another. Look at where your money is going, and ask yourself if it represents your values so that you are living financially the way that you intend to live emotionally. If one of your family values is health and wellness, but all of your family activities involve being sedentary with a bucket of grease laden popcorn, you are living contrary to your values. Write a short paragraph about what sort of values and lifestyle you want your family to uphold. Be descriptive (i.e. I want to have game night once a month, walk together every weekend, and work in some sort of charitable capacity once a quarter). Put it on the refrigerator and revisit your priorities when faced with a spending decision you need to make. This is a great tool to teach kids how to spend wisely, and make sure it reflects what it really important to them. If you practice being intentional in all things that you do, you will have more of what you want, and less of what you don’t. Keisha Gallegos (Starlit Path Life Coaching)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Going to Oprah's Party

I met my friend and fellow coach Martha Monaco at JFK after months of anticipation for the Oprah Magazine 10th Anniversary Party. The weekend started with a reception suare on Friday afternoon at Gotham Hall in Manhattan. We received beautiful gift boxes to start the part right. Inside our boxes was a beautiful journal, pen, makeup bag, lip gloss, scarf, and signature O tote bag. We were also given our very official lanyards for the ticket to the next day's seminars, and an engraved invitation and ticket to Oprah's night at Radio City Music Hall. Waiters worked the room with gorgeous strawberry lemonade vodka drinks and cold noodle salads in pretty pink take out boxes. Official looking photos were taken of the guests by the L'Oreal people there, but only after a lip gloss touch up by the make up artists. The room was covered in gorgeous pink peonies and purple lilacs. Pink tulle hung from the rafters way up high and crystal chandeliers created a decadent feel. What a beautiful beginning to a fabulous weekend. The next day was started by a welcome speech from Oprah herself. She talked about how happy she was that we had given ourselves this weekend to celebrate with her. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love" was the keynote speaker- and gave a hilarious talk about her journey in her book. We learned why diet sodas will make you fat from Dr. Oz ( your body is ticked off by the trick of having something sweet without the actual sugar behind it, so it gets even by craving sweet things after you drink it!) Nate Berkus told us one of her biggest pet peeves in decorating is when people leave their mantles exactly the same FOREVER. He wants us to rearrange things so that we see them in a new light. Martha Beck talked about her experience of having her son with down syndrome, Adam, who turned 22 that day. We roared with laughter when she said that upon his birth, Adam peed in the face of the Dr. who told Martha she should abort him. She brought Adam out to the crowd at the end and they both took a bow. It was so touching and a double hankie moment. We had a date with Oprah at 8pm that night. She gave an amazing speech about her life and a lot of the obstacles that she encountered on her road to success- like when a threatened coanchor demeaned her and told her she needed a makeover- so she went to a super posh salon, where they proceeded to burn every single hair off of her head. Oprah had to come back to work bald! She gave us encouragement to get us through times when you want to give up. The Rockettes and Hugh Jackman ushered a cake onto the stage and sang and danced. It was a great celebration!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Going to New York for business is not something that I do. Not me, who got married right after college. Not me who got pregnant right after getting married. Not me who moved around the country following first my father's corporate career, and then later my husband's army career. Not me who has always put everyone else's needs, school schedule, and budgetary constraints to take precedence over my own secret wishes. I'm not complaining. I went into marriage and motherhood with my eyes and heart wide open. I love my sons, now both taller, stronger, and thankfully harrier than me. I love my husband dearly, and the fact that he has worked so hard which enabled me to care for them, my dogs, and my home. I am grateful that I have been able to live in my suburban neighborhood of San Ramon outside of San Francisco, where my husband Alex has commuted to the Silicon Valley, no longer in the army, for the past 14 years. Not to say that I haven't worked outside the home. I was a substitute teacher at the elementary school that my sons attended. The thing is, teaching was definitely a job for me, and not a career. It was a job I chose because of my desire to be close to my children and to work my schedule around theirs. When I decided to go back to school to become a "life coach", my husband thought I had lost my marbles. He was craving a second full time paycheck, and thought I should go into the secure career of teaching. " What the hell is a life coach?" he asked, and "how many of them do we know?" "Is this really a risk you want to take? We have 2 kids to put thru college. What do you know about starting your own business?" Well, nothing~ I said. And I know one life coach- Oprah magazine's Martha Beck, who left her career in academia after getting 3 degrees from Harvard, to follow her passion to teach people how to design their lives. When I read her column every month in O magazine, I felt like she was speaking right to me. I then read her books and felt that every cell in my body resonated with her words. When I had the opportunity to see Martha speak at the O You conference in SF, I jumped at it. I had to see this woman! I heard her say that she taught people to be life coaches and my life was forever changed. "I am going to be a life coach" I said to myself. As soon as I acknowledged my heart's desire, I felt light. So light, I felt like I had sprouted wings and begun levitating. This is what freedom feels like, I thought. You see, I always knew I would have my own career. I envisioned a life where my innate talents and God given gifts would be utilized. Where I would feel inspired and inspiring. I just had absolutely no idea what that career might be. And, I certainly had no inkling that living a life just for me would take so damn long. I knew raising kids would be a commitment, I just had no idea how all encompassing it was, and how long I would put my career ambitions on the back burner- the way way way back burner. Flashing forward 18 months, after I became a life coach, after I started my own business, after I began public speaking- to hearing about a party. An anniversary party. An Oprah magazine 10th anniversary party. I would love to be there, I thought. I have read every single one of the 120 issues of that magazine from cover to cover. It was through this magazine that I began reading Martha Beck's columns. It was through her that I found my "calling". It was through the words on those pages that inspired, educated, and gave me the courage to follow my heart. Who better than me to celebrate the success of the magazine that became my monthly manual for life? Booking my ticket to New York, buying the $375 ticket to the conference, making my hotel reservation was a true first for me. It was the outward manifestation that I was practicing what I preached. That I was putting myself at the top of my priority list. That I was worth the investment in my career to go to a professional conference where I would learn and grow, and consequently bring back all that knowledge and wisdom back to my clients, family, and friends. I am so happy that I got out of my own way and committed to myself and my business. Now that you know the story of how I got to the party, my next blog will be about what I learned once I got there. Thank you for being a witness to my personal evolution!