Thoughts on “Play”

Playing is a normal part of childhood, and it’s a big part of how children learn about the world. Whether it’s make-believe in which they pretend to be a parent, or playing a board game in which they have to follow rules and take turns, or sitting down with crayons and paper and creating whatever comes to mind, playing is important as a child.

It’s important as an adult, too, but we don’t always see that. For me, “play” was usually something I did alone as a child. I created elaborate worlds and used my dolls to act out roles in stories I wanted to write. Sometimes my dad played board games or card games with me, and very occasionally I had a classmate who was willing to be friends for a while. But mostly, play was a solitary activity for me.

As I got older, I learned that play wasn’t a good thing. I should do my homework, try to get good grades so I could get into a good college, clean the house, etc., instead of playing “make-believe” games that I was supposedly too old for. I learned that I couldn’t draw or color well, so I shouldn’t even try. About the only thing I continued with as far as playing were the stories I created.

Then I became an adult, and other things were more important. Things like making money. If I wasn’t earning anything from an activity, it was a waste of time.

That was the downfall for me with writing. I started earning money with it, but didn’t earn enough. It became a waste of time because it was something I was doing instead of working a “real” job. And I’d already long since lost touch with the playful side of myself, to the point where I didn’t usually even play with my own children, I just watched them.

I didn’t only lose play. I lost joy.

Playing as an adult isn’t a waste of time, though. It’s part of self-care. Whether it’s playing board games with your kids, or mucking around with markers or paints, anything that brings you joy and creativity helps to recharge and relax you.

That’s something I’m trying to shift my mindset about, and it isn’t always easy. I take things too seriously sometimes, and I have a lot of years of “don’t waste time, earn money” to get past. “I don’t know how to play and shouldn’t anyway” has become an ingrained part of the story I tell myself, and it isn’t as easy to rewrite as I would like.

But I definitely want more joy in my life, so I’m trying.

It’s 2018!

Happy New Year! Okay, it’s a few days late, but even so, I hope your 2017 ended well and your 2018 is off to a great start!

2017 went by really fast. A lot changed for me, including a new direction for my business. Originally, River Flow Healing was meant to be a business through which I did energy healing, guided readings, and intuitive counseling. But those things never quite felt like a fit for me, even though energy healing and channeling, which is similar to the guided readings I had planned, were things I did years ago with a fair degree of success.

This time around, though, something was off. I tried doing guided readings, but I wasn’t connected enough to what I needed, and the store in which I tried to do them didn’t feel right for me. I struggled to find energy healing clients, though the ones I did find benefited from the healing work I did with them. And I couldn’t actually call myself an intuitive counselor without running afoul of licensing regulations.

As I pondered this, I started working with a woman doing what I ended up calling “holistic mentoring.” Rather than providing therapy or services based in years of study, I guided and counseled her using skills from the courses I’ve taken along with my own experiences and the work I’ve done on myself. She told me how much it helped her, and I realized that was what I wanted all along: To help others. The ways I’d been trying to do it didn’t work, but it was still very much what I wanted.

I started following some business coaches and transformational speakers online. Listening to the speakers and their messages, something resonated in me. This was another part of what I wanted to do. Not only help individuals by working with them as I had with the woman, but speaking to groups of people who might be helped by hearing my message. Speaking publicly wasn’t something I’d done a lot of, but I knew my message and what I wanted to share with others.

So from the ashes of River Flow Healing rose Kim Ramsey-Winkler, transformational mentor and speaker. Energy healing, both practicing and teaching, is still part of it, but not the primary focus. And I finally feel like I’m on the path I’m meant to be on.

I haven’t completely formed my 2018 plans yet. Sometimes having everything planned out backfires. But I do know I’ll be doing a presentation at the Provincetown Public Library in Provincetown, Massachusetts on February 21 at 6pm. I’m firming up other speaking engagements, and seeking more. I’m open to clients and am getting the word out about my services. I have a short e-book I’ll be releasing later this month, and a longer book planned incorporating my message, which I hope to have available by the end of 2018.

Kim Ramsey-Winkler isn’t my only identity. Under the name Jo Ramsey, I write young adult fiction, and I have a couple of projects planned under that name, though I don’t currently have anything scheduled for release. (It’s the first year since 2009 that I haven’t had any releases under that name…) My new pen name, KC Winter, writes adult erotic fiction, and I’ll be releasing my first novel under that name in July of this year. Both names write stories that include messages of acceptance, self-love, and living beyond one’s past, which are also the messages of my speaking and mentoring.

That’s what 2018 looks like for me, at least right now. Nothing is ever set in stone, and sometimes it’s better to roll with changes. So we’ll see where the year goes!

Approaching the New Year

It’s almost 2018!





In 2017, I didn’t accomplish all the goals I set, and now it’s too late. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to accomplish those goals at all. Only too late to accomplish them in 2017.

2018 is a whole new year, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve set some goals, and am on the way to meeting some of them already. But I’m also keeping in mind that the goals might change along the way, and that’s okay. I can’t predict the future. I can say now that these things are what I want to do, and this destination is where I want to go, in the coming year, but in, say, March, or August, or even next December, I might change my mind.

That isn’t to say I’m going to change my mind about working toward goals. But I might change my mind about what some of those goals are, or what the best ways are to get there.

Many people at this time of year start setting goals or resolutions for the new year. The problem is that some of us get hung up on “having to” meet those goals. We forget that change can always happen. Something might change in our lives that leaves us unable to meet a goal, or we might change course in our personal life or career. Or we might simply decide that something no longer serves us. And all of that is okay.

If you’re setting goals for 2018, consider including a goal to revisit your goals periodically. I plan to do mine quarterly. Set aside time at least a few times this year to look at the goals you’ve set, see how much you’ve accomplished, and see if any goals are ready to be removed, either because you’ve met them or because they’re no longer on the path you want to follow. Remember that nothing is set in stone in our lives, and that includes the goals we set.

Next week, I’ll share a few of my 2018 goals.

Family Acceptance

At this time of year, many people spend time with family members they might rarely see the rest of the year. That can be good, but there are times when it’s easy to remember *why* you don’t see them often. They question every choice you’ve made in your life. Argue with you about right and wrong. Judge you for not living your life exactly the way they live theirs.

And unfortunately, some people’s families are so judgmental that they don’t see them at all.

Being around family, or being reminded that everyone else is with family while you aren’t able to be, isn’t easy. Even if you have a life with which you’re happy most of the time, hearing your family’s opinions of it can cause you to doubt and question the way you live. Some family members also have a knack for making you feel like you’re ten years old again, and they treat you accordingly.

If your family doesn’t welcome you at the holidays, that too can lead you to doubt yourself. You might feel as if they would love you if you just lived/acted/loved the way they want you to, and might think there’s something wrong with you for not falling in line with what they seem to want.

Whatever your holiday situation is, and whomever you’re spending it with, practice accepting yourself this holiday season. If family members judge or question you, face it with acceptance. You are valid and lovable as you are, and it isn’t your fault that some people choose to place conditions on their love. At the same time, you can’t change who and how they are, so even when it hurts, try to accept that it’s something about *them*, not you, and that they don’t define who you are or should be.

I wish everyone the best of the remainder of the holiday season.


In the Mirror



One piece of advice I’ve heard a lot, and for that matter give quite a bit, is “Look in the mirror and say you love yourself.” It’s easy to do. You look in the mirror and speak the words. But saying it isn’t the same as *meaning* it, and meaning it is the hard part.

I do this every morning, and have for several years. But until recently, I didn’t mean it. I said the words because someone had told me saying them was a way to make them real. It wasn’t real for me, though. It wasn’t any different from saying “Unicorns exist” or “I know how to fly.” People can *say* just about anything, but that doesn’t mean they believe the words they say.

Loving myself has been a decades-long battle. I learned pretty early on that I didn’t deserve love, and since other people didn’t seem to think I deserved it, how could I give it to myself? Because of bullying and verbal abuse, I developed a sense of myself as an unlovable, unwanted human being who probably had a reason for existing but couldn’t figure out what the reason was.

Over a decade ago, when I met the man who became my mentor in energy healing, affirmations, and other things, he was the first to tell me to look in the mirror and say, “I love myself.” So I began doing so, not because I did love myself but because he told me to. He insisted that if I said it often enough, I would begin to believe it.

Several months ago, I realized I was still just mouthing those words, even after over ten years. I had never started believing them. I was still just saying them because someone who wasn’t even in my life anymore had told me to. And that was the problem. Doing something solely because we’re told to often doesn’t have the effect we want, if it has any effect at all.

I started being more mindful when I said the words. Instead of just mouthing them, I tried to *feel* them as they came out of my mouth. I started really looking at myself in the mirror, instead of just standing in front of it. On my partner’s suggestion, I began using the “power stance” (feet slightly wider apart than shoulder-width, hands on hips) as I spoke, and I did feel more powerful.

Power gives power. The words I spoke in that stance, when I said them mindfully and with intention, began to work. I started liking what I saw in the mirror. I started loving that woman.

I haven’t mastered it yet. It’s probable that I never will. I still have times when I fall back into the pit of hating myself, or believing I’m a bad person or fat or ugly, or any of the other drivel I was force fed as a child. But more often than not, I do love myself, and I do believe and truly feel the words that I say when I look at myself in the mirror.

In Hiding

“Living your truth” is a big thing in the coaching field. Every coach I follow has said it at one time or another, and I definitely have used the phrase myself on more than one occasion.

The thing is, it’s easy to say, but less easy to do.

When you’ve been taught that you have to hide certain things about who you are, or who your family is, you learn that living your truth not only isn’t acceptable, it can be dangerous. If you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, someone might hurt you. At the very least, you might be shunned by the people around you.

Even though I advise others to live their truth, I’m not always out there showing everything about who I am. I am in hiding about some things, because I’m one of those people who was taught to hide. As a child, I talked about things like communicating with the wind and trees. I told my parents when I “just knew” something was going to happen, and I shared my writing and stories with anyone who would listen.

I wasn’t praised for those things. I was told not to talk about the wind and trees because people would think I was “crazy.” My parents said the same thing about my “just knowing,” and also ranted at me about how little good it did to know those things since I couldn’t do anything to change them. While my parents tried to be supportive of my writing, and so did some of my teachers, my peers and other teachers made fun of me or at least of the stories I wrote.

I learned to hide.

Even as I type this, there are some things about myself that not everyone in my life knows. There are things about which I don’t talk to some people, and other things I don’t talk about at all.

Living your truth and speaking your truth are important as you build the life you want to live, but sometimes you have to be more cautious than you would like about what you say and how you live around certain people. And that’s okay. If you’re just playing it safe because you don’t believe in yourself, that’s one thing; but sometimes it really is a matter not of *playing* safe but of *being* safe.

When You Want to Change

This has likely been posted on this blog before, but it seemed appropriate to share again.

We all, from time to time, reach points in our lives where something needs to change. A job, a living situation, a relationship, even something as seemingly small as how we style our hair.

A human life is an ongoing process of change, learning, and growth. We aren’t always completely aware of those things happening, but they always are. Change isn’t easy, though. It can seem overwhelming or frightening. Sometimes we hesitate to make a change, and it can be difficult to decide whether a change is really the right thing to do, or if we should just maintain the status quo. But if you feel strongly drawn to change something, it probably needs to be changed.

Deciding whether to make a change isn’t easy. Emotions and “what ifs” can interfere. If you’re facing a change and struggling to decide whether to follow through on it, talking to a friend or loved one might help. They might be able to give you a different, maybe objective, perspective on the situation, and talking might help you see how to make the change and consider the potential results, or the pros and cons.

You might also find benefit in making a written list of pros and cons, or writing or journaling about what your desired results would be if you made the change. You might also write about what you think that change would look like, how you would go about making it, and why you think it’s necessary. If you’re facing a major change, such as a job change or a move to another house or location, breaking the task into small, manageable steps can help lessen the fear or feeling of being overwhelmed.

When you’re considering making a change, or you’re faced with one due to external circumstances, many times changing can bring you a great deal of benefit. But it’s also all right to choose not to make the change. Ultimately, whether you change or maintain your current situation, it’s your choice based on what you feel is best for you.

Life is an ongoing process of growth and learning, and sometimes regression and forgetting.

Upheaval part 2

This is a short blog post to say I probably won’t have a longer blog post this week. It’s moving week, which means a lot of last-minute packing, unpacking, arranging, and settling. Also lack of time to do other things, and no internet for a day or so. I’ll be back next week with a longer post, probably about our new place. Meanwhile, thanks for checking in.


As I write this, I’m preparing for a move to a new apartment. At the exact moment I’m writing this, I don’t know where that apartment will be.

It’s been a summer of changes and upheaval for me and my husband. I can’t speak for him, but for me, it’s been difficult and, at times, rather scary. We determined at the beginning of summer that we would have to move, and gave our landlord two months’ notice. But finding an apartment has proven more difficult than we’d expected. Staying here isn’t an option, because the landlord found a new tenant almost immediately, so we have to go somewhere. Right at this moment, though, we don’t know where.

This is a situation that in the not-so-distant past would have had me in full-blown panic mode. And, to be honest, I have had times of fear and panic. I am human, and no matter how much work I’ve done on myself or how much I trust the Universe to help me find the right place, I still feel scared sometimes.

Part of the story I tell myself is that I need to know what’s going to happen. Where I’m going to be. Who else is involved. All of those things. Although I can be flexible to some extent, I haven’t been particularly good at going with the flow, or at taking a leap of faith and seeing where it leads. That isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sometimes you need to take those leaps.

I’m reasonably sure that I’ve missed out on quite a bit in my life because of not being willing to take chances unless I have a pretty good idea of what will happen. That includes missing out on building River Flow Healing and A Story You Tell Yourself into amazing things that reach a lot of people. Reaching out and connecting with potential clients or with other practitioners requires a huge leap of faith, and it’s one I haven’t really taken.

If my husband had talked to me before giving notice to the landlord, we wouldn’t have given notice. I would have told him that we couldn’t do that without having another apartment lined up, and we would have ended up staying here. Not that this is a bad apartment, but there have been some unhappy times here as well as happy ones, and we don’t always get along well with our landlord and her family, who lives upstairs. It really is time for us to find someplace fresh, where we can start the next part of our lives.

I’ll admit I’ve felt pretty angry with my husband for giving notice on this apartment without talking to me. I still think he was wrong for not discussing it with me first, but what it’s shown me is that sometimes you really do have to take a leap and just trust that you’ll land in the best place for you.


A few weeks ago, I sat down with pen and paper, and this just kind of flowed through me. So I wanted to share.

Listen to your intuition. Trust that you know, and believe what you hear. You feel inside you when something’s right. If it is, follow it, even if the “how” isn’t obvious.

Everyone has something to offer, and everyone matters. Everyone deserves love, positivity, and good things.

The story other people tell about you is really about them. You are the only one who can truly tell your story. If the story you tell is based on what others say to you, it’s time to tell a new one. Let go of what others think and say about you. Look inside and know who you truly are.

Trust yourself. “I don’t know” is part of that story. You do know, if you look past the mental arguments.

You are infinite abundance. You’ve simply forgotten who you are. It’s time to remember. Hustling and bustling to make money doing things you despise doesn’t serve you. Find your heart, find your joy, find your love.

What holds you back? Break the bonds others have placed on you, and do what you feel called to do. If you want to speak, speak. If you want to sing, sing. Dance. Run. Write. Play. Whatever it is your heart tells you, do. You aren’t responsible for everyone and everything. You are responsible to and for yourself above all. Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. Feed your fire.

As a child, you had dreams. You believed in magic, power, and all possibilities. You took joy wherever you could find it. You defended yourself against the stories others tried to force on you. But you heard too much doubt. Those in “authority” told you the things you believed were wrong, and with no one contradicting those people, you weren’t able to sustain your beliefs. And yet part of you always continued to believe. Part of you continued to know who you are. Even when you felt defeated, part of you felt triumphant and knew you would succeed.

That is the part to which you need to listen now. That indomitable, persevering, strong part that never doubted. You deserve love and respect from yourself and others, and that inner you is demanding it now. It isn’t too late. Those dreams can still be fulfilled. That power and truth never left you; it has always been there, buried beneath the “have tos” and responsibilities and untrue stories. It holds out its hand to you, ready to pull you back into the light of your true self and your true story.

Speak your truth, and believe that truth is there to be spoken when you are ready. The fear and doubt is part of your old story. Look past those, even when it’s hard, even when it’s terrifying. You don’t realize how much darkness surrounds you, and it has become comfortable, familiar, and safe. But it isn’t who you are. It isn’t where you belong.

Allow your true self to pull you into the light of your true life. “Take chances, get messy.” What does safety gain you? You remain in the dark, your gifts obscured and submerged. You suffer in sadness and lack when happiness and abundance are within your reach, and that happiness and abundance are what you hold out to others. You are their light, and yet you continue to dwell in darkness. Be for yourself what you are for others; or, rather, accept what you offer yourself as others accept what you offer them.

You aren’t alone in this world. On the most fundamental level, everyone and everything is intertwined. Feel your connection with others. Let them reach you as you have reached them.

Do you hear and feel this wisdom? And yet you doubt that you know anything. This is you working in harmony with yourself. You ask where these words are coming from, but you know the answer, because *you* are the answer. You are the answer to everything you fear, and to everything you need and desire. Shine your light into the dark corner where you hide in misperceived safety. Safety and stagnation are not synonymous. You are safe wherever and whatever you are. Stagnation leads only to proving to yourself that you can do nothing, and it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. This is how you let yourself down, when you choose not to try.

Put yourself out there. Take the risks. Accept the love and the pain. Accept the knowing and the not knowing. Accept who you are and the joy and abundance that are meant for you.