Hard To Let Him GO! (You Been Through This?)


While smores fixings sit on the table waiting to be eaten after running across our first rattlesnake, we read under the stars that have yet to show themselves to us tonight, the same stars that as a family, we will sleep under soon, and without shelter, just as I did in the wild a month and a half ago. 

I walk behind Nolan and realize that without trying, we are now both on the same chapter of Beautiful Boy, a father’s story of his son’s addiction [when we decided this would be Nolan’s next life homework read, I ended up giving him the book I was reading and bought the audio version to finish it (Josh just started the book and is reading it on his iPad)].

I find both this moment and my boy, beautiful. This year and these days/this last month, with high school starting soon, I find myself watching him longer, recognizing more the man in him than the boy and feeling his independence ~ the quiet and healthy space between us that still fits so much of the closeness created in the wonder years.

I feel excitement! I keep telling him how FUN high school is and I see his eyes widen (though he doesn’t know anyone in his freshman class, it’s not nerves he feels, he says, but excitement, I’m proud and happy to hear that). 

At the same time, I also feel sad ~ sad that a long (13-14 year) season of another kind of young boy connection and physical closeness is shifting. I’m learning a new way…

And it’s the biggest shift yet in the way we’ve known one another, not just me knowing him, but, to my surprise, him knowing me, too, as his comment after my nine day vision quest shares so sweetly: “I’m proud of you Mama. Over the last year or so, I’ve realized that you’re more than just my Mama.”

This was one of my favorite moments, realizations, truths (and embraces) of all time, and I understand that this new chapter in his life, and me continuing to see HIM as more than MY son, will be, too. 

I want so much for his safety and joy in this next season of life and realize deeply today as I write this how much this is his job more than mine, especially in the years to come in high school and college etc. 

I can continue to have open conversations with him which we both enjoy (I do get to be more creative now though, as parents of growing humans understand), create “rules” or guidelines that play at keeping him safe, but his choices are part of this ~ his life.  

That’s exciting! I tell him. You get to continue to feel into who you truly are and express that person, choosing life at your speed and in just the way you want. 

He seems happy about that, each time I mention it in new and slightly different ways (ode again to being creative in how you discuss, open and close things with humans at this age). 

I was here for your dependence and I’m also present, as available and excited for your independence, I say, as I swallow with more water in my eyes than in my throat…

In the background of these conversations with him, I more deeply understand how much more the guidance (and the letting go!) really steps up in these years (read: if we thought we were needing to be available, present and guiding them (or letting go!) in the toddler years, we see and feel a whooooole new level now.

And it IS a whole new level now. 

IIIII am the toddler! Learning how to walk and talk. 

How can I express my love (and my trust in him that we can have the deeper, more adult or tougher conversations) as well as the desire to continue to be close in the ways where HE will most feel it?

That’s the question.

How can we continue to grow this human to human relationship, recognizing that mother and son has just been one way to describe it? 

How can I love him by letting him go? 

These are the questions, my own present life homework and next quest for truth. . .



Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur

Human’ing Vs. Parenting

Human’ing. Different from parenting. 

The truth is (I’ve come to this again and again over the last year as Nolan begins to more deeply experience teenage life)~> I’m a parent second, and a human first and it’s THIS person I want Nolan to know (especially now), to, in turn, know that most true person inside himself.  

I may want it, but I don’t need him to know his role or identity as a son as much as I deeply desire for him to know the role and responsibility that he has to himself (high truth). 

That’s how much I love him.


Parenting. That’s where we stay close, like a watchful bird, helping them reach something, feeding them a few times a day to make sure they physically grow, creating boundaries or rules that play at keeping them from hurting themselves (of course, there’s emotional teachings here, too, but the core is made up each day of the former). 

Human’ing. This feels like the evolution of this very important role of keeping them safe — alive — to connection and prioritizing that they grow emotionally and spiritually; to having planted seeds when they were young, maybe, that might mean that now at their most tender ages, they feel able (comfort-able) to USE us as those humans first & parents second who have had experiences with like and love and letdowns (of course, there may also be guidelines about safety and other rules, too, but the days carry more of the weight of larger life lessons and relat-ing…relationship). 

In essence, human’ing says: use us as the built-in therapists or healers we are (as their nurturers we come with deeply healing powers). 

This doesn’t mean we have all the “right” answers, but it does mean we make the right decision to take the time at 10:49pm when we wanted to go to bed at 10pm to tell them you understand, to talk to them about your own experience with that same issue and sit with them. And sit. And sit.

I’m here with you — not just physically, but I’m here AND over there with you as a human who knows, I really know, my sweet love.

Our love for our kids ~ is there another deeper or more able healing power?  

Use us, use us, we say…see me, see me as a human for then you will see that you are never ever alone.  

So how do we encourage young adults to let us in? So we can help them through the normal stuff we all go through at this stage? And so we can all feel less alone and us as parents experience the closeness we always envisioned — as well as having THEM truly enjoy what it feels like to know their parents, really know their HUMAN parents.

As individuals (and as families), we are different, but our humanness is the same and it’s that thick gold thread-turned-rope that sustains deep and everlasting connection, the kind that can sail over the roughest waters. 

We want those who love us to sit with us and sit some more (true at any age), to more deeply and genuinely SEE us.

That’s it and it’s a lot.


Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur

I Only Drank H20 for Four Days

“I can FEEL it so clear but I don’t know how to put words to it yet, to physicalize it…”⁣

⁣This is almost exactly what (most) clients say before we start working together on evolving their business (going from where they’ve been in business to a higher calling or purpose project that integrates their core talents, life & professional experience and desire to help others/do great good in the world) and building their brand/identity to one that is more vibrantly, creatively and genuinely them. ⁣

This is alsoooo WHAT I AM (STILL) SAYING ABOUT THE NINE DAY VISION QUEST that came to a close for me, a month ago yesterday! ⁣

I want to tell you so much about it yet it‘s difficult to put the actual experience into words. But I will find some, however inadequate, soon as I’ll be one of the speakers at our next Greater Good Party (8/23) talking about ‘The Solo Experience’, ~ I’ll be sure to share the words I do find here, too…⁣

For now, I have this for you —⁣

• Three elements make up a vision ⁣quest: no food, no shelter and no social interaction (or distractions like books or music etc. unless you are making either of them yourself).⁣

• I had no idea that helping to carry the group food to be eaten before and after each of our solo journeys would add so much weight to my pack. And to my initial thoughts. It was challenging (to say the least) hiking two to three hours in the heat straight up granite rock with approximately 40-45lbs on my back when I’m 114 lbs (my knee was hurting which added a level of difficulty I was not anticipating). ⁣

• But we ARE capable to hold and carry ourselves through the toughest terrains of our lives. And we know that it’s made easier by what we tell ourselves. The initial hike up and subsequent days were made deeply enjoyable by this very thing ~ what I told myself and the non-physical “tools” I had to calm my nervous system. I definitely used them. ⁣

• You CAN (also) ask others for help. I did going up the mountain (in addition to the big pack, I also had a small day pack I was holding on the front of me and I asked someone to help me carry it). In solo, however, that “help” came from yours truly in the form of compassion. Allowing myself not to DO anything which was a hard habit to break and to simply allow myself to sit longer and sit again and again (I used every tree nearby to sit next to, against, under), because I didn’t have much energy to walk around. Or — meditating or praying as many times as I needed to throughout the day when I felt I needed an energy boost or to calm myself. As social creatures, we do very much need each other to survive (one of the stories I will tell at GGP is a beautiful one around this topic: how I kept myself safe during those three nights and days in the wild on my own with the “help of others”, but without us ever seeing one another) — but but but no one can take the journey for us of growth, emotional strength, forgiveness and/or of enlightenment, whatever that means to you. ⁣

• What is natural is being fully you. If you’re not feeling all of you, if you’re feeling stunted or stagnant in any part of your life, a check has been forged or a part of you, maybe an emotional arm or leg or two, has been deeply society-influenced or man-made (~>not natural/sustainable). Remembering this may help: nothing real can be threatened. Be real, be you.  ⁣

• I had a few fresh bear scat droppings around my solo site and though I threw the small plastic bag of emergency food my guides gave me (3 dried apricot pieces, 2 emergen-C packets & 1 Luna bar in case we felt too weak or sick) high into a tree, as they had taught us, I spent a few minutes of each day wondering if bears, with their heightened sense of smell, were walking around me and I simply would turn at the right time and not see them off in the distance. Though I felt genuinely safe and was surprised post solo at how calm I’d enter each evening, my favorite time of day, my bear bell was around my neck every minute, even when I slept…⁣

• I loved the crisp (filtered) creek water up there. Yum. I got bored of. only. drinking. the. crisp. (filtered) creek. water. ⁣

• I’ve never had a more beautiful bedroom. Had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time! ⁣

• Seriously, choose your hardships/challenges — you’ll suffer less at the hands of those unchosen challenges that come. ⁣

• Our kids need us to bring the light received from the proverbial mountain (and from more consistent interactions with nature and from wherever we get that “light” or lightness from). They need us, the more present, calm and honest us, more than ever before!  ⁣

• Just as a car — and love— is a tool, nature is one, too. Most of us just haven’t “picked” it/her up in awhile. ⁣

• I didn’t want to come home (and you know how I lo-hove the people in my home). ⁣

• Get/stay wild about your life! And while I’m at it, what are you really hungry for???⁣

[Did I mention that three of the five of us ran into bears, some right next to their sleeping bag? That I saw at least two shooting stars per night and one comet a few seconds after I was talking to Dino and my Mom about communicating with me even more overtly? And that I only started to fantasize about food for a few minutes on the fourth and final day of fasting?]⁣





Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur

The Day I Fled in 1979

When we fled on that Pan Am flight in 1979, moi proudly wearing my white ankle socks and white clogs (which I felt so much older in), I had no idea the many joys and adventures, both physical and emotional, my young and later life would hold.

We may have left for fear of not being safe inside our home, the four walls we normally associate with peace and safety, but what really happened that day and every day since was not at all driven by fear, but by love, wild optimism and an unapologetic energy (joy), everything I stand tall for at 5’3.

Though the navy blue booklet I’m holding right now says I’m American, my imaginary guitar points to being a world citizen holding Guatemalan life membership.

And this is much more than my own story.

Each of us yearns to, not only know where we really come from, but to go there, be it and bring it back…


Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur