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Volume 7 | Issue 10 | June 3, 2011


Wowie, have I been BUSY! So busy I skipped an issue of my e-zine for the first time (did ya notice?).

In the last month I hosted a retreat for my Biz & Life Accelerators, lead a full Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics workshop, did two private trainings, conducted private exams for the 2010 Certified Graphic Coaches, facilitated my usual three weekly programs --- PLUS launched two brand new ones. AND bought a new work/live space for SHIFT-IT Coach, Inc. and I (currently being built – will move into in the fall).

Biz & Life Group Shot
Fundamentals of Interactive Graphics, May 19-21, 2011 Victoria, BC Canada

When I'm really busy I look for simple ways to shift my energy and step out of my own life for a while – get a 'different vibe' so to speak. I like to put myself into someone else's shoes for a bit --- so I can lose myself in their world (and also learn a bit in the process).

My favorite way to do that is by reading biographies and memoirs ... especially of creative and uniquely talented people. Thankfully there are a whole slew of great memoirs within easy reach lately. So I thought I would share some of my recent reads and my reactions to them as this week's article ... as these biographies are so powerful that they stay with you for days and weeks after reading them.

Perhaps some reading for when you have some downtime…

Yours in SHIFTing IT,

Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach



Jennifer Voss Graphic placeholder
Jennifer Voss
Certified Graphic Coach

"In my past corporate career, I had always done big strategic planning work 'on the wall' ... without having the formal Graphic Facilitation name for it. When I moved into coaching I missed that creativity and was thrilled when a friend turned me onto Christina and her Graphic Coach Certification.

I loved the training. The pacing, materials, and support were excellent, as was her willingness to share her experience of what does (and doesn't) work. The SHIFT-IT maps fit well into my own practice and have given me a head start into doing more graphic coaching while I create visual tools of my own. My clients love to see our conversations come back to them in living color. The overarching message is that they feel seen and heard – which is HUGE!

This program also gave me tools to enhance the power of the Law of Attraction for my own life and business. It helped me gain more clarity around my own calling and how I show up in the world."

Jennifer Voss
Master Certified Life Coach
Chief Truth & Wellness Officer



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When I'm really busy I look for simple ways to shift my energy and step out of my own life for a while – get a 'different vibe' so to speak. I like to put myself into someone else's shoes --- so I can lose myself in their world (and vicariously learn a bit in the process too).

My favorite way to do that is by reading biographies and memoirs … especially of creative and uniquely talented people. Not only do I get the benefit of an interesting tale but as The SHIFT-IT Coach I get an inside look at the circumstances and temperament of an interesting person and how they roll with the ups and downs of their unique experience. Sometimes this kind of reading gives me a gift of another sort too - by leaving me very thankful for my own life – and appreciative of what human beings can overcome in order to live a satisfying life.

Thankfully there are a whole slew of great memoirs within easy reach lately. Here are a few that have captivated my interest, my curiosity about different arts and occupations … and my admiration for their courage and generosity in how they have chosen to use the platform that fame has granted them.

1. Elizabeth by J. Randy Taraborrelli

After so many near death experiences over her life, the world had to say goodbye to Elizabeth Taylor for real just recently. With the flurry of TV and print coverage on her unique life, I was compelled to pick up this previously published New York Times bestseller for some easy reading during a flight ... and wasn't disappointed.

The height of her notorious fame (i.e. all those marriages and screen roles) was a bit before my time ... however this book gives a fascinating look into her early environment (had a uber stage mother) and the distinct phases she went through as child actress, femme fatale, boozer/addict, political wife and finally her leading-edge work as ground breaking AIDS activist. Finished with a lot more respect for a woman who in many ways was a canary in the coal mine indicating shifts that the larger culture was going through.

2. High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips
I took a while to read this one because I knew ahead of time the controversial bombshell it contains about the incestuous relationship with her famous father (lead singer John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas) --- given the outcry in the public arena when she first published.

As The SHIFT-IT Coach I have A LOT of compassion for the journey that many of us go through to find our own path in life and to learn how to speak our own truth --- even if it might upset some around us. Sorting through the labyrinth of emotions, influences and perspectives in your run-of-the-mill dysfunctional upbringing is hard enough. Let alone one compounded by parental neglect, massive substance abuse and early fame and prosperity. My hat goes off to Mackenzie Phillips for her brave share ... and by what appears to be her ongoing education about the tricky and heart-breaking dynamics that incest survivors often have to bear. She's helped a lot of people keep their head held high - they aren't the ones who should be ashamed.

3. Playing with Fire by Theo Fleury
Superstar Canadian hockey player Theo Fleury did something amazing in his book – he taught me to appreciate and respect the drive, intensity and athletic prowess it requires to play at the top ranks of hockey. And deftly showed the light and dark sides of the brotherhood of men in team sports.

He too was traumatized by an authority figure when he was a young adolescent – a predatory hockey coach who took advantage of his youth, vulnerability and distance from his family. In sorting out his later substance abuse, relationship and financial troubles, Fleury enters recovery and gets the help he needs to heal the issues which drove his notorious behavior. And has since gone public with his ordeal in an effort to shed light on the abuse of boys and the male recovery journey. Caught an interview with him on Canadian radio --- very powerful speaker and has created a foundation to assist boys and men with similar experiences.

Hockey Footnote: Talking about hockey --- Go Vancouver Canucks Go!!! (home team currently competing in the Stanley Cup after a bazillion years!).

4. All That is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd
Many of us know of Ashley Judd via her career as a leading lady in movies. Or, as the sister to the very successful mother/sister country music duo The Judds. And wife of dashing race car driver Dario Franchitti. Ashley dropped off the movie track a number of years ago and her 'travelogue' accounts for those years.

Part of those years was going through her recovery process as a neglected 'Lost Child' in her family dynamic – leaving her to pretty much raise herself -And the compromising situations that her lack of parenting placed her in. Through high profile celebrity friends like musician Bono from Irish band U2, she found a calling in the poignant cause of female poverty and violence in the developing world. And entered Harvard's prestigious JFK School of Government earning a masters in Public Administration. She writes eloquently of the effect her travels with African and Indian non-governmental organizations have left on her and her passion to assist the causes of disadvantaged women.

5. From This Moment On by Shania Twain
Ever wonder what happened to Shania Twain? --- who basically disappeared from public life after a 14-year string of hits that broke country music convention and blasted through ceilings no matter the genre. Well, she just published her memoir to get her story into print, after the very public betrayal of her marriage to uber-producer Mutt Lange.

A fellow Canadian, Shania weathered a very tough childhood of poverty and domestic violence only to lose both her parents in a car crash as a teenager. Keeping her family together as best she could, her story of how she got to Nashville and the circumstances of her meteoric rise is fascinating. However the ending left something to be desired as she still seems to be in process around the issues of her personal life with no hint of seeking therapeutic or counseling assistance to help her resolve things. Hopefully her new reality show on Oprah's new OWN network will bring her the needed resources to help her move on and re-establish her voice and presence.

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©2011 Christina L. Merkley

You can, as long as you include this blurb and a functional link to my site: Christina Merkley, "The SHIFT-IT Coach" and creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other helping professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit:


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Christina Merkley
The SHIFT-IT Coach &
Interactive-Graphics Mentor

Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, she guides individuals, partners and conscious companies in defining and getting what they really, really want.

A teacher of Law of Attraction, she is also an expert in visual meeting techniques, strategic planning and visioning: having worked for such notable companies as BBC, Readers Digest Funds, eBay and Stanford University. After a move from San Francisco, she now lives in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - where she maintains a vibrant coaching, facilitation and training practice.

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Looking for more rich, SHIFT-IT content? Check out my blog for recent ramblings, resources and general interest features:

Yes, Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

Soften The Sting of Betrayal

How To Create And Evolve Your Offerings

Lessons Learned from 10 Years as a Solopreneur

What's Your Default: Shame or Grandiosity?

Orphan Rescue (Part Two)


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